Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Friday, June 09, 2006

"It won't hurt you..." (Oh really?)

The redefinition of marriage is not a simple issue. It's not a matter of, "c'mon...let homosexuals 'participate' in won't affect you!" Consider the following, from a news article in World Magazine:

Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress and a go-to guy for liberals grappling with civil rights, said legal same-sex marriage would set church and state on "a collision course," triggering "a sea change in American law . . . [that] will reverberate across the legal and religious landscape in some ways that are totally unpredictable." George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley termed the clash "a coming storm."

Among other scholars weighing in: Georgetown University law professor and gay-rights activist Chai Feldblum, University of Maryland law professor Robin Wilson, and Douglas Kmiec, a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University. Messrs. Turley and Stern, as well as Ms. Feldblum, support gay marriage. Ms. Wilson is undecided and Mr. Kmiec is opposed.

Thus, the Becket Fund's panel could hardly be said to have an anti-gay-marriage bias. And yet its findings on the questions at hand showed same-sex marriage sharply curtailing, and in some cases wiping out, the religious freedom of its opponents in spheres ranging from taxation, charitable giving, housing, public accommodation, and employment to licensure, professional practice, education, and equal access.

That's because the term marriage and its legal emanations echo throughout the canons of American law, Mr. Picarello said. "Once you change the definition of marriage, you don't change one law, you change thousands of laws."

The following segment from the same article outlines the ways in which the redefinition of marriage would negate the rights of people who are opposed because of religious reasons:

The broad legalization of same-sex marriage would place local, state, and federal governments on a collision course with religious institutions that adhere to a Judeo-Christian ethic. A group of First Amendment scholars—several of whom support, or are at least neutral on, the issue of gay marriage—predicts a hail of religious liberty litigation in four broad categories.


After Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, Boston Catholic Charities exited the adoption business rather than cede to state demands that it place children with same-sex couples. If same-sex marriage is legalized, professional licenses might also be denied to psychological clinics, social workers, marriage and family counselors, and others who believe same-sex relationships are "objectively disordered."

Tax Exemption and Government Benefits

Religious groups could find themselves suffering along with the Boy Scouts, as access to public facilities is stripped away. Gay-rights litigators will likely challenge groups' federal tax-exempt status, charging that such an exemption "subsidizes discrimination."

Conflicts Between Civil Rights Law and Religious Freedom

Among the possibilities: Religious employers who refuse to hire or retain employees in same-sex marriages can expect to be sued on the basis of "marital status discrimination." Religious colleges that refuse admission to same-sex couples could face civil lawsuits and loss of accreditation. In Massachusetts, Catholic colleges already are examining whether they must provide married student housing to legally married gay couples.

Freedom of Speech

Principles used by courts in deciding workplace sexual harassment cases will likely migrate to suppress an expression of anti-same-sex-marriage views by religious groups and people. The attorney general of New Jersey recently backed officials at William Patterson University after a non-faculty employee objected to receiving a mass e-mail inviting people to see gay-themed movies. The school disciplined the employee for having engaged in harassment because of her use of a single word, "perversions," to describe the content of the films.

—Source: The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty —

I believe it's been almost a year since I've posted anything on this topic, which is becoming more relevant than ever. In light of the recent vote in the Senate, the issue has been on my mind again. My position remains the same as what I wrote in July of 2005:

Legal Marriage: It's Not About Your "Special Relationship"
Why traditional Marriage Matters


Anonymous Amy said...

As you're probably aware, same sex marriage has been legalised in Canada. In spite of assurances by the government that the religious freedoms of groups who oppose same sex marriage will be protected, many pastors are afraid that they could end up in jail someday. For instance, a sermon against homosexuality could potentially be viewed as a "hate crime", and what about a pastor who is approached about performing a marriage ceremony for a sam-sex couple and refuses?

In a small town in our area a Christian high school teacher lost his job and had to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees because he wrote letters to the editor, published in the local newspaper, outlining the well known dangers of homesexuality (HIV for example).

3:15 PM, June 09, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

Great stuff - thanks for linking to it. My friend Jamie works in government in DC, and she's been discussing this on her blog too - you'd be interested to read it, I think.

2:51 PM, June 12, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

I wrote my senator and informed him that he has lost my vote. He voted against the amendment

4:30 PM, June 13, 2006  

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