Thursday, January 25, 2007

Any takers?

Some of the opposition to gay marriage--and giving gays any rights or protections at all, really--is that this would somehow trample on the rights of religious bigots to, well, be religious bigots. Somehow they have convinced themselves that if sexual orientation is added to hate-crime laws, for example, then the First Amendment would go out the window and people would be allowed to prosecute them for spouting off homophobic vitriol, or that it would be illegal for a priest to refuse to marry a gay couple.

This is all absurd, of course, or so I thought. But today I found out that a proposed bill in New Hampshire actually would infringe on the religious freedom of ministers:
Itse's bill would change the law to allow all "religious officiants authorized by their church, religion, sect, or denomination to solemnize marriages in the way usually practiced among them" -- with a catch. Those ceremonies would only be allowed "provided that such marriages do not conflict with existing state law prohibiting marriage between persons of the same sex."

He said there should be a clear distinction between civil and religious marriage, and doesn't believe the state should regulate religious ceremonies.

"This makes it a purely religious ceremony and hopefully those who enter into such an arrangement will really think of it as before God and not before the governor," Itse said outside the committee room.

Liberal ministers say they want the same thing, which is why they're angered by the bill. Unitarian Universalist ministers told the committee the bill violates their religious freedom because they regard same-sex couples joined in ceremonies as married in the eyes of their church.

Any bets that Focus on the Family will decry this attempt to impinge the religious rights of Christians?

...and as an amusing aside, in the first link I found this amusing quote:
I cannot give any more of the details as of this time, but SBM is coordinating a private meeting with President Bush and other FORMER homosexual men and women, along with their families to VETO this bill, should it come to that point.

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