Next Gay Marriage Fight: Religious Exemptions

Oct 21, 2014

By Rachel Zoll

Alarmed by the broad expansion of same-sex marriage set in motion by the U.S. Supreme Court, religious conservatives are moving their fight to state legislatures — seeking exemptions that would allow some groups, companies and people with religious objections to refuse benefits or service for gay spouses.

But winning sweeping carve-outs for faith-affiliated adoption agencies or individual wedding vendors will be an uphill battle. Public attitudes against exceptions have hardened, and efforts by faith groups in states where courts, not lawmakers, recognized same-sex unions have had little success.

“When the judiciary does it they don’t do the kind of balancing that legislatures tend to do,” said Tim Schultz, president of the 1st Amendment Partnership, which has organized legislative caucuses focused on religious liberty in 20 states.

Every state legislative debate over gay marriage has addressed the question of whether religious objectors could be exempt in any way from recognizing same-sex unions. But in states where same-sex marriage became law through the courts, only one, Connecticut, followed up by enacting significant new exemptions. Massachusetts, Iowa and New Jersey have provided no opt-outs for gay marriage opponents.


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5 comments on “Next Gay Marriage Fight: Religious Exemptions

  • If you are a long standing couple, sex is rather irrelevant. For all practical purposes you are mutually dependent roommates. Perhaps the business of survivor pensions should be reformulated in those terms to get rid the the complication of marriage.

    Nobody likes having to pay out money. Any excuse to avoid doing it will suffice.

    Note these same folk don’t boycott gay businesses or businesses that hire gays. They not sincere.

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  • Here in OZ we are still at the stage of trying to win the right for Gay Marriage so when Yank knockers have a go at you guys from our part of the world throw that one back in our faces.

    I’m perfectly happy if say the Catholic Church does not wish to marry gay couples in their churches (no-one is forcing you to be Catholic and you can if you are have that argument internally) however this is where I feel very strongly that governments should maintain a church state separation. Essentially society has said it is discrimination to not allow gays to marry and they are trying every nasty tactic in the book to try to continue to exclude homosexuals from anything they can with religious exemptions. Childish really, and I think ultimately going to result in them losing power than they think, and quicker.

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  • In some countries the faith-head discrimination is much worse!

    Egypt: Eight men sentenced to three years in prison for ‘gay wedding’ video

    Cairo court hands down jail sentence amid uproar from defendants’ families.

    A court in Egypt has sentenced eight men to three years in prison for appearing in a video that purported to show a gay wedding.

    The video, which became an online hit after it was posted on YouTube in September, shows two men kissing, exchanging rings and embracing among cheering friends. It was filmed at a birthday party held on a boat on the Nile.

    The sentences, which can be appealed, were met with uproar from the families of the defendants, who demonstrated outside the court in central Cairo and were dispersed by police. The defendants, who had denied the charges, stood silent in the courtroom cage as the verdict was read, one of them holding up a copy of the Qur’an.

    The eight were arrested in September when Egypt’s chief prosecutor decided that the video was “shameful to God” and “offensive to public morals”.

    At the last hearing, on 11 October, a spokesman for the justice ministry’s forensics department insisted the men were innocent.

    “The entire case is made up and lacks basis. The police did not arrest them red-handed and the video does not prove anything,” Hesham Abdel Hamed said.

    “The medical test showed that the eight defendants have not practised homosexuality recently or in the past.”

    He was referring to anal examinations, a long-standing practice in Egypt that Human Rights Watch has condemned. The New-York-based lobby group had called for the men be released.

    Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, but it is a social taboo, and allegedly gay men have often been arrested on charges of immorality.

    The court appears to have use “faith-thinking” as “evidence”!

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