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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A senator touted as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney says President Barack Obama's administration treats religious freedom as "a second-class right."
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman told the Faith and Freedom Coalition that conscience rights were "treated as a mere afterthought or inconvenience" in the mandate forcing employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and sterilizations.
Portman said it's particularly objectionable that religious exemptions only apply if charities turn away people of other faiths.
Another Republican vice-presidential prospect, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, said people of faith aren't trying to impose their religion on others, but want to live out their faith without government interference.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the government must be stopped from "purging faith from the American way of life."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)