Gay Marriage – Coming To A Church Near You. Or Else.

gay marriageDo your religious beliefs oppose gay marriage?  Those beliefs may soon be in conflict with criminal law. 

Does your church oppose gay marriage?  Your church may soon be forced under law to provide gay marriages or face civil and criminal penalties.

In the United Kingdom, British Prime Minster David Cameron and the coalition government are pushing strongly to grant gay couples the option of entering into civil marriages.  British clergy are strongly protesting.

Neil Addison, the director of the Thomas More Legal Centre, said Cameron’s assurances to the Church that they would not be compelled to perform religious marriages for gay couples are worthless.  He said two judgements from the European Court of Human Rights and a Court of Appeal ruling show that the government would be acting illegally if it made civil marriages legal without permitting them on religious premises as well.

Addison said this means if the government presses ahead with plans to redefine marriage to include gay couples that the Church could face prosecution under equality legislation for acting according with its teachings.

“Certainly a good legal case can be made that any place or person who is registered to perform marriage must be willing to perform same-sex marriage on the same basis as they conduct heterosexual marriage since, in law, there will be no difference between the two,” Addison said.

But what does this mean for churches in the United States?  Methods used to eventually compel churches to provide gay marriages are on track to succeed in the United Kingdom and proponents of gay marriage in the United States are taking notice. 

There are already states recognizing same sex marriages.  The federal government does not.  The Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 is a federal law that defines marriage as one man and one woman.  But, there are already numerous challenges to this law and the Obama administration has taken steps to assist in it’s defeat.

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder released a memo regarding two lawsuits that challenge the Defense of Marriage Act.  He wrote: “After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny.  The President has also concluded that Section3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard as is therefore unconstitutional.  Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.”

All across the country, gay couples are filing discrimination complaints against businesses refusing to provide services which the business owners believe would support gay marriage and, therefore, would be in conflict with their personal beliefs.

A few examples:

In Dallas, a gay couple filed a complaint against the Dallas Morning News for refusing to publish an announcement of their gay wedding.

In New Mexico, a photographer was fined $7,000 for refusing to take pictures of a lesbian ceremony.

In Illinois, a gay couple filed a complaint against two bed and breakfast inns who refused to provide a venue for their civil union ceremony.

In Iowa, a cake maker may be facing legal action for refusing to provide a wedding cake for two lesbians.

The State of Washington appears to be taking the lead in the assault on churches.  A gay marriage equality bill was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Gregoire which poses a serious threat to religions freedom.  The bill’s introduction says it would not force clergy or church to marry gays, but it adds a section dealing with discrimination to the state marriage law. The law previously had no discrimination provision.  A church or minister who took part in newly defined discrimination against gays would face lawsuits and legal penalties.

Section 7 of the bill reads:  “Consistent with the law against discrimination [RCW 49.60], no religious organization is required to provide accommodations, facilities, advantages, privileges, services, or goods related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage unless the organization offers admission, occupancy, or use of these accommodations or facilities to the public for a fee, or offers those advantages, privileges, services, or goods to the public for sale.”

This mean a church that allows the public or non-members to use the sanctuary for a wedding could NOT deny a gay couple the same use.  Any church that allows it’s facility to be used for a fee by another Christian organization would not be able to deny use of the facility for a gay wedding. 

Proponents of the law say it doesn’t force clergy and churches to perform gay weddings, but fail to mention the ‘Unless’ section.  The discrimination provision wasn’t added to the law for no reason.  You don’t create a discrimination clause without an intent to use it.

There has already been an attempt to repeal this law but it appears to be failing.  Over 120,000 signatures are needed by June 6 to place a referendum on the November ballot, but so far only about 6,000 have been collected.

Where gays succeed in one state, others will follow.  It may take years, but I believe every state will eventually have such laws, or the federal government will enact such a law and force gay marriage on every state under some ridiculous link to the Commerce Clause.

The gay assault on churches is just getting started.  It will not end until religious freedom is extinguished in the name of ‘equality’ for gays.  Churches who decline to perform gay weddings will face civil rights lawsuits and severe penalties that could bankrupt the church.  And I have no doubt that eliminating churches who oppose their ‘equality’ would be a goal for gays.  With new discrimination laws being used against them, churches who stick to their beliefs may find it difficult to survive. 

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