NH Gay Marriage Bill Stalls Due to Religious Protection Language

I found this news story out of New Hampshire disturbing. I do not believe the definition of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples, so I should be glad that the New Hampshire House of Representatives did not pass this bill. However, I am disturbed because of the reason why it did not pass.

Reuters:

A bill that would have made New Hampshire the sixth state in the United States to authorize gay marriage stalled unexpectedly Wednesday over concessions to religious groups opposed to such unions.

The state’s House of Representatives objected to language in the bill that would have allowed religious groups to decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies or to offer gay couples other services …

A version of the bill with more limited religious protections passed the state’s House of Representatives on March 26.

So as I understand it, the New Hampshire House of Representatives would have voted to pass the bill if it did not contain language protecting the right of conscience for religious groups. This would imply that they want to use the bill in the future to require religious groups to participate in same-sex ceremonies — even if such participation were to violate their conscience and religious beliefs. That would be a dangerous precedent as well as a violation of First Amendment rights. (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”)

HT: Stand to Reason

1 Comment

  1. John W says:

    Wow. That’s rather disturbing — and very strange for New Hampshire. Of all states, I would expect they would be interested in protecting the decisions of what are effectively private organizations. While I do not object to a social/civil contract between two people (same or different gender), I absolutely disagree with any measure that might potentially force a private organization to perform a ceremony that is against its wishes and ethics. IMO, legally recognizing same-sex marriage is more a matter of opinion and personal moral-ethics — however, potentially forcing a church to perform a civil/social union is effectively tearing down the separation of Church and State.

    That is just wrong. I believe it might even be called … oh what’s the word… um… “unconstitutional”? ;^)

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