religious exemption

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“Religious Exemption” is Really “Religious Privilege”

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Sue O'ConnellWe have been oh so careful. How many times have we assured religious leaders that marriage equality will not mean that Catholic priests will have to start performing marriages between two lesbians? How many times have we bit our lip when a religious school has fired a gay person because he didn’t set the correct example? How many times have we crafted laws to clearly allow religious organizations an out — a way to circumvent the law because of their strongly held anti-gay religious beliefs?

We were careful because the LGBT community understood the tensions between religion and being LGB or T. Many of us are — or were — religious people. Many of us have been rejected by our faith leaders. Many of us have been rejected by our families because of their religious faith.

We grew a tolerance to the anti-gay parts of our religion, or we found a more accepting faith. We accepted our Catholic grandmother’s anti-gay sentiment as “religious conviction” even though she seemed supportive of our brother’s divorce.

Last week, the United States Supreme Court rewarded our thoughtfulness with a slap.

Authored By Sue O’Connell – See the Full Story at The Dallas Voice

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USA, New Jersey: Senate Democrats May Take up Marriage Equality Bill

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

New Jersey mapAlthough same-sex marriage is now legal in New Jersey, there is no official law supporting it. New Jersey Democrats are considering changing that.

NJ.com reports:

Key Senate Democrats are moving forward with a plan to turn a court decision legalizing gay marriage into state law, saying they want to protect same-sex couples from having this right removed by a future court. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday is scheduled to hear a new bill called the Marriage Equality Act, (S3109) which is a slightly modified version of a bill (S1) to legalize gay marriage that Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed in 2012. The measure was posted for a committee vote late today. Sponsors said while they believe this is the best option, the debate isn’t over.

The proposed bill does have a religious exemption, which does not exist in New Jersey under the current arrangement. I also wonder if Governor Christie would sign the bill.

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Colorado: Rally Against Civil Unions Bill Held Outside State House

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

ColoradoAs the democratically-controlled legislature worked to pass a civil unions bill inside, opponents of civil unions and marriage equality rallied outside the state house.

The Denver Post reports that former House republican leaders spoke to the crowd (no estimate given of crowd size).

Civil Unions opponents are apparently upset that the bill doesn’t have exemptions for religious organizations, especially those involved in adoption services. Recently the Catholic Church threatened to shut down its adoption services if the bill is passed.

Maine, USA: Marriage Equality Supporters Push for Change in Ballot Wording

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Mainers United for Marriage, the group seeking to pass marriage equality in Maine via a ballot measure this November, held a press conference today to express their unhappiness with the ballot language Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers released a week ago, which reads: “Do you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

While that language appears simple and clear, marriage equality supporters are concerned that it does not properly reflect the religious protections that would be assured by passage of the law.

MPBN reports: Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage says the law, if passed would actually do something else as well: “It would add a new section to Maine’s marriage law to strengthen and protect religious freedom by ensuring that no church or clergy be required to perform or host any marriage that goes against their religious beliefs,” McTighe said at a news conference today.

Full Story from Towleroad.com

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HI: Is Civil Unions Religious Exemption in Trouble?

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Is Civil Unions Religious Exemption in Trouble in Hawaii?Conference Room 325 was packed with lawmakers, staff, citizens and others, many of them waiting to hear of the fate of HB 2569, the civil unions bill. They included on one end of the civil unions extreme the former Hawaii Associate Justice Steve Levinson and the Biker for Christ on the other.

The House this week proposed amendments to allow for what Judiciary Chair Gil Keith-Agaran called “narrow” exemptions for religious groups that don’t wish to have ceremonies performed in their facilities.

There is some doubt that the Senate will accept this, however, and Judiciary-Labor Chair Clayton Hee now has his own amendment in mind.

Full Story from the Honolulu Civil Beat

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HI, USA: Lawmakers to Add Religious Exemption to Civil Unions Law?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

HI, USA: Lawmakers to Add Religious Exemption to Civil Unions Law?Hawaii lawmakers are considering a proposal to the state’s civil unions law to allow religious organizations to deny use of their facilities for a solemnization ceremony.

The proposed conference draft — known as a CD1 — for House Bill 2569 is intended to ensure that churches do not violate the state law on public accommodations that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The new language, which is highlighted in the document posted at the end of this article, says the facilities must be those used only for religious purposes, restricted to members of the organization and not operated for commercial purposes.

Full Story from Civil Beat

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NY: Text of the Religious Exemption Amendments to the Marriage Equality Bill

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The New York Assembly has introduced amendments to the marriage equality bill. Text from Towleroad below:

S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K

8520
2011-2012 Regular Sessions
I N ASSEMBLY
June 24, 2011

Introduced by M. of A. O’DONNELL — (at request of the Governor) — read
once and referred to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to the ability to marry; and to amend a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed
in legislative bill number A. 8354, in relation to the statutory construction of such chapter; and repealing certain provisions of the domestic relations law relating to parties to a marriage

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEMBLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1.

Section 10-b of the domestic relations law, as added by a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A.8354, is REPEALED and a new section 10-b is added to read as follows:

S 10-B. RELIGIOUS EXCEPTION. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY STATE, LOCAL OR MUNICIPAL LAW, RULE, REGULATION, ORDINANCE, OR OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, A RELIGIOUS ENTITY AS DEFINED UNDER THE EDUCATION LAW OR SECTION TWO OF THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW, OR A CORPORATION INCORPORATED UNDER THE BENEVOLENT ORDERS LAW OR DESCRIBED IN THE BENEVOLENT ORDERS LAW BUT FORMED UNDER ANY OTHER LAW OF THIS STATE, OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION OPERATED, SUPERVISED, OR CONTROLLED BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, OR ANY EMPLOYEE THEREOF, BEING MANAGED, DIRECTED, OR SUPERVISED BY OR IN CONJUNCTION WITH A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, BENEVOLENT ORDER, OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION AS DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDIVISION, SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE SERVICES, ACCOMMODATIONS, ADVANTAGES, FACILITIES, GOODS, OR PRIVILEGES FOR THE SOLEMNIZATION OR CELEBRATION OF A MARRIAGE. ANY SUCH REFUSAL TO PROVIDE SERVICES, ACCOMMODATIONS, ADVANTAGES, FACILITIES, GOODS, OR PRIVILEGES SHALL NOT CREATE ANY CIVIL CLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION OR RESULT IN ANY STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTION TO PENALIZE, WITHHOLD BENEFITS, OR DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SUCH RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, BENEVOLENT ORDER, A NOT-FOR-PROFIT EXPLANATION–Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
LBD12066-08-1

A. 8520 2
CORPORATION OPERATED, SUPERVISED, OR CONTROLLED BY A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, OR ANY EMPLOYEE THEREOF BEING MANAGED, DIRECTED, OR SUPERVISED BY OR IN CONJUNCTION WITH A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, BENEVOLENT ORDER, OR A NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION.
2. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY STATE, LOCAL OR MUNICIPAL LAW OR RULE, REGULATION, ORDINANCE, OR OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL LIMIT OR DIMINISH THE RIGHT, PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ELEVEN OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-SIX OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, OF ANY RELIGIOUS OR DENOMINATIONAL INSTITUTION OR ORGANIZATION, OR ANY ORGANIZATION OPERATED FOR CHARITABLE OR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES, WHICH IS OPERATED, SUPERVISED OR CONTROLLED BY OR IN CONNECTION WITH A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION, TO LIMIT EMPLOYMENT OR SALES OR RENTAL OF HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS OR ADMISSION TO OR GIVE PREFERENCE TO PERSONS OF THE SAME RELIGION OR DENOMINATION OR FROM TAKING SUCH ACTION AS IS CALCULATED BY SUCH ORGANIZATION TO PROMOTE THE RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES FOR WHICH IT IS ESTABLISHED OR MAINTAINED.

3. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED OR CONSTRUED TO LIMIT THE PROTECTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS UNDER SECTION THREE OF ARTICLE ONE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

S 2. Subdivision 1-a of section 11 of the domestic relations law, as added by a chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A.8354, is amended to read as follows:

1-a. A refusal by a clergyman or minister as defined in section two of the religious corporations law, or Society for Ethical Culture leader to solemnize any marriage under this subdivision shall not create a civil claim or cause of action OR RESULT IN ANY STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTION TO PENALIZE, WITHHOLD BENEFITS OR DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SUCH CLERGYMAN OR MINISTER.

S 3. A chapter of the laws of 2011, amending the domestic relations law relating to the ability to marry, as proposed in legislative bill number A. 8354, is amended by adding a new section 5-a to read as follows:

S 5-A. THIS ACT IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A WHOLE, AND ALL PARTS OF IT ARE TO BE READ AND CONSTRUED TOGETHER. IF ANY PART OF THIS ACT SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ACT SHALL BE INVALIDATED. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO AFFECT THE PARTIES’ RIGHT TO APPEAL THE MATTER.

S 4. This act shall take effect on the same date as such chapter of the laws of 2011, takes effect.

Ireland: Church of Ireland Wants Exemption From Civil Unions Law

Monday, March 8th, 2010

A delegation from the Church of Ireland is to meet Department of Justice officials tomorrow to press for a ‘freedom of conscience’ clause in the Civil Partnership Bill. The Bill, which is before the Oireachtas, provides for legal recognition for civil unions, including between homosexuals.

The Protestant Churches – including a Church of Ireland bishop and a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church – are pressing for the inclusion of a clause in the legislation which would enable public officials such as registrars to refuse to perform civil ceremonies for gay couples on the grounds of religious beliefs.

The bill proposes that an official who refuses to preside over a civil union can be fined €2,000 and jailed for six months. The Churches also believe that they could be forced to offer the use of Church property for same-sex ceremonies and events, or be sued if they do not.

Full Story from The Post

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