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Published April 20, 2011, 02:24 PM

ND 'Religious Freedom' Petition Submitted

Supporters of a North Dakota constitutional amendment that is meant to strengthen religious freedom have turned in petitions to put an initiative on the ballot.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Supporters of a North Dakota constitutional amendment that is meant to strengthen religious freedom have turned in petitions to put an initiative on the ballot.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says the measure's backers claim to have gathered about 30,000 signatures. They need at least 27,000 names.

The proposed amendment says the government must have a compelling interest before it regulates religious practices. Any regulation must be done in the least-restrictive manner possible.

Initiative campaign chairman Tom Freier says other states have approved a similar amendment.

He says it would strengthen protections for religious freedom beyond what is allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jaeger has until May 25 to decide whether the petition has enough valid signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

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