By KYLA MARTIN
11:24 PM EDT, June 8, 2012
Protesters gathered Friday in South Bend against a government mandate requiring businesses to provide birth control for employees.
About a hundred people gathered at the plaza in front of the Morris Performing Arts Center to protest the law, saying the law violates their religious beliefs.
Religious and community leaders spoke and prayed while the crowd raised signs calling for the mandate to be reversed.
"Right now we feel that everyone's ability to practice their faith is in jeopardy. Not just Catholics, not just Evangelicals, but the Jewish community, the Islamic community and anyone who professes faith in God,” says Sister Agnes Marie Regan.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades, from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, wrote a letter to rally participants, saying, “The HHS mandate with its narrow exemption violates the First Amendment and requires our institutions to submit to ‘an intrusive governmental examination of our religious missions.’ We protest this mandate. In doing so, we are standing up for justice and are honoring our nation’s heritage of liberty.”
In May, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and University of Notre Dame joined the list of organizations which filed suit against the mandate because they do not qualify for the "religious exemption."
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