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A religious-freedom measure on the Florida state ballot failed on Election  Day.

Amendment 8, which was one of two state ballot questions supported by the  Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, was defeated, with only 44% of voters in  favor. The measure required 60% of people voting Yes in order to amend the  state’s constitution.

Supporters said Amendment 8 would have allowed faith-based organizations,  such as Catholic Charities, to continue delivering social services without the  threat of lawsuits because of a 19th-century law, rooted in anti-Catholic  bias, which bans public funding for all religiously affiliated groups.

Floridians deserve the opportunity to benefit from programs with a secular  purpose run by religious entities,” said Juan Zapata, president of Citizens for  Religious Freedom and Non-Discrimination, which championed the amendment.

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