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Judge redefines religious objectors

Judge redefines religious objectors

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - A Roman Catholic teacher whose religious beliefs conflict with the political positions of her labor union cannot be forced to pay dues, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost's ruling broadens the category of employees who may opt out of unions because of religious beliefs beyond Seventh-day Adventists and Mennonites.

In his ruling last week, Frost struck down the Ohio law that held only members of religions that "historically held conscientious objections" to union membership could opt out. The judge said anyone with demonstrated religious beliefs should be exempt from paying dues to unions whose positions they find objectionable.

The law discriminated among religions by recognizing the Seventh-day Adventist and Mennonite objections to joining unions while denying the same right to others, the judge said.

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