-- The battle over gay "marriage" is heating up in the states, energizing religious groups that oppose same-sex relationships – but also dividing them.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court gave "married" gays and heterosexuals "equal" status under federal law, but did not declare a nationwide right for gays to "marry", setting the stage for state-by-state decisions. So faith leaders are forming new coalitions and preparing for the legislative and courtroom battles ahead.
Yet, traditional religious leaders, their supporters and the First Amendment attorneys advising them are divided over strategy and goals, raising questions about how much they can influence the outcome:
_ Several religious liberty experts say conservative faith groups should take a pragmatic approach given the advances in gay rights. Offer to stop fighting same-sex "marriage" laws in exchange for broad religious exemptions, these attorneys say. "If they need to get those religious accommodations, they're going to have to move now," said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a family law specialist at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Critics reject the idea as a premature surrender.
_ Religious leaders lobbying for exemptions can't agree how broad they should be. A major difference is over whether for-profit companies should qualify for a faith-based exception. which means you will be sued if you don't help a same gender "wedding"
_ Some religious liberty advocates and faith leaders are telling houses of worship they could be forced to host gay weddings, with their clergy required to officiate. The Louisiana Baptist Convention is advising congregations to rewrite their bylaws to state they only allow heterosexual marriage ceremonies, and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty group that opposes same-sex "marriage", is advising the same. But legal "experts" across a spectrum of views on gay rights say it can't happen given strong First Amendment protections for what happens inside the sanctuary. notice that the liberal talking points are only guaranteeing rights for religious people inside a house of worship
"A few people at both ends of the spectrum have talked about religion and religious freedom in a way that is really destructive," said Brian Walsh, executive director of the Ethics & Public Policy's American Religious Freedom program which has formed legislative caucuses so far in 18 states. "I think they've made it polarized and difficult to understand."
The issue of accommodating religious opponents has already been a sticking point in legislative battles. In Rhode Island and Delaware, disputes over broader religious exemptions led to the failure of some same-sex "union" bills. Both states went on to approve civil "unions" in 2011, then same-sex "marriage" this year. In New York, gay "marriage" became law only after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state's top two legislators struck an eleventh-hour compromise on religious exemptions.which still led to people being sued for not renting out their facility for a same gender "Wedding". Our Jewish lobbying groups (OU, and Agudas Yisroel) helped write these worthless laws to pass the "marriage in exchange for them not fighting it properly. If the whole Orthodox Jewish community truly wanted to we could have stopped the bill by not voting for prop toevah candidates. The bill passed by 5 votes in the assembly and 2 in the senate, if it would have failed in any house the "marriage" bill would have failed. We had the ability to stop it in both houses if we would have chosen to vote in full force like Jews. (In the senate we could have knocked out Kruger, Carlucci, Squadron, and Parker)
Still, advocates for stronger religious protections haven't won anything close to what they've sought in the 13 states and the District of Columbia where gay "marriage" has been recognized.
The only other protection written into the laws is a provision First Amendment scholars consider redundant: All spell out that clergy are exempt from performing same-sex ceremonies and can't be sued for their refusal.
The overall result: a patchwork of regulation, with gaps that are likely to become the target of lawsuits. Massachusetts and Iowa, where same-sex "marriage" won recognition through the courts, have approved no enhanced religious exemptions related to the rulings.
The statehouse negotiations concern what, if any, exemptions religious believers should have in the public arena. Should a religious social service agency with government funding be required to legally recognize married same-sex couples in all circumstances? Should a congregation that makes money renting property to the public be required to allow gay wedding receptions in the space? notice how much these liberal rishaiem our askoniem love so much care about our freedom of religion. They have a safek if shuls should be forced to rent out it's hall for a same gender "marriage"
Some advocates only some! go further, arguing religious accommodations should extend in some cases to individuals. In this view, owners of a mom-and-pop bakery that makes wedding cakes should be exempt. So too should the county clerk who issues marriage licenses, as long as someone else in the clerk's office can step in easily and provide the service.
Many cities and states have anti-"discrimination" ordinances that include sexual orientation , setting up fines or other penalties for failing to complyliberals are not smart enough to understand the difference between not selling flowers to a gay person for their parents anniversary versus not selling them flowers for a so called "Wedding". Absent an exemption, objectors may have to shut down their businesses or give up their jobs, religious leaders say. it's already happened They argue losing your livelihood is too harsh a punishment for views on such a core religious issue as marriage.
But gay "rights" advocates say this argument puts too heavy a burden on gays and lesbians, and presents them with an unfair set of choices. and most of the politicians representing frum neighborhoods, who we stupidly vote for, agree with the gays on this issue
"In some states, the price of "equality" in "marriage" has been agreeing to give up protections against discrimination as part of the negotiations," said Jenny Pizer, senior counsel for the gay rights group Lambda Legal. "In ways, I think, other politically vulnerable groups are not required to pay that price."
Advocates for the exemptions don't agree on where they should go from here.
read this next paragraph
Nathan Diament, policy director for the Orthodox Union, which represents Orthodox Jewish congregations and has been a prominent voice on religious liberty issues, said his group hasn't taken a position on the religious rights of businesses or employers, but has advocated for broader religious exemptions for employees, such as a clerk who issues marriage licenses. In fact one of the senor political members (David Luchins) of the OU is strongly against Jews fighting against same gender "marriage"! The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which in the last two years has made religious freedom a signature policy issue, believes any organization with faith objections, whether a for-profit corporation or a nonprofit agency, should be exempt.
Fretwell Wilson is among legal experts urging faith groups to be practical, in light of growing public support for gay "relationships", and focus solely on securing exemptions, instead of trying to block a specific gay "marriage" law. however he fails to recognize that very soon gays win one fight in this manner they then try and win what they just promised not to fight, like in England She is part of an informal group of lawyers who have been drafting model language for exemptions to share with state lawmakers. These legal experts differ on whether same-sex "marriage" should be recognized, but agree on the "potential" ?potential? risks to religious liberty.
"The religious community would have done much better to ask for protection for their religious liberty instead of trying to stop same-sex "marriage" and try to prevent it for everybody," said church-state expert Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia, who is recommending the more pragmatic course.yet he fails to mention that gays have tried to force religious people to help in same gender "marriages" in states where same gender "marriages" were not recognized by the government (New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado etc.) "The more same-sex "marriage" seems inevitable, the less likely we are to see religious liberty protection in blue states."
But Matthew Franck, of the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank in Princeton, N.J., argued the only real protection for religious freedom is maintaining the traditional definition of marriage. He said same-sex "marriage" advocates are unlikely to tolerate for long any "deviations from the `new normal' they wish to create," so he predicted religious exemptions granted now will eventually be repealed.
"We have not lost the fight for the truth about marriage, and surrendering the field is premature," Franck said. "I continue to hope that it will never finally be necessary, and I work to make that hope a reality." The Jewish community in NY if it chooses to can help push back the acceptance of toevah by stop voting for rodfiem
Whatever strategy the faith groups choose, there's no sign gay "rights" advocates are prepared to make major concessions.
Jonathan Rauch, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is one of the very few gay-"rights" supporters publicly urging fellow advocates to be more magnanimous. He argues that offering religious accommodations makes sense politically.
"I think there's a real risk that we will overreach and set up the other side to portray itself as the victim if we decide we have to stamp out every instance of religious based anti-gay "discrimination"," Rauch said. "I also think that there's a moral reason. What the gay rights movement is fighting for is not just "equality" for gays but freedom of conscience to live openly according to their identity. I don't think we should be in the business of being as intolerant of others as they were to us."
Others reject such accommodations.
Rose Saxe, an ACLU senior staff attorney, said the call for a middle ground, "while trying to sound reasonable, is really asking for a license to "discriminate"." And the Rev. Darlene Nipper of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said religious groups have another choice: They can accept same-sex "marriage".