Thursday, April 23, 2009

Connecticut passes update of marriage law for gays; Governor M. Jodi Rell signs the legislation

04/23/09 AP:

"HARTFORD, Conn.—A decade-long battle for same-sex marriage in Connecticut has ended with the governor’s signature on a bill updating the state’s laws. Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed the legislation Thursday, one day after the state House and Senate both approved it."

Source of reference to AP article: National Center for Lesbian Rights

04/22/09 AP:

"HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut lawmakers voted late Wednesday to update the state's marriage laws to conform with last fall's landmark state Supreme Court ruling allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry ... In an effort to appease some gay marriage foes, lawmakers amended the bill to show they want to protect religious liberties. For example, it says religious organizations and associations are not required to provide services, goods or facilities for same-sex wedding ceremonies."

The law's exemptions for religious faith can be found here and here.

04/23/09 Volokh Conspiracy Blog:

University of Minnesota Law Professor Dale Carpenter blogs about the exemptions:

"The bill obviously draws on the proposal made by the five academics whose ideas I discussed earlier today. It does omit some of the more problematic aspects of the proposal, such as providing an exemption to 'any individual' and its specific reference to the 'sincerity' of religious belief."

Source of reference to blog post: ADF Alliance Alert

04/24/09 Mirror of Justice:

"In response to the proposal of four of us for a broad religious-liberty exception [for individuals] in same-sex marriage bills in Connecticut and elsewhere, Dale Carpenter at the Volokh Conspiracy welcomed but also raised some questions about our proposal. Below is our response."

Source of reference to blog post: ADF Alliance Alert

04/24/09 Volokh Conspiracy:

Dale Carpenter expresses appreciation for the "the great thought, care, and time that went into this reply" by the four scholars on religious liberty, invites his readers to respond, and identifies related posts."


The Connecticut Post reports that the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Church and Family Institute engaged in a "weekend public relations blitz" as they lobbied the state Senate to add religious-faith exemptions to the legislation. As part of this campaign, "the Roman Catholic Bridgeport Diocese circulated a letter sent to [Connecticut Senate President Martin] Looney by four law professors urging the Legislature provide religious conscience protections." The legal scholars urged the state Legislature to follow the example of Vermont's new law on same-sex marriage, which exempts religious organizations from providing "services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges" related to "the solemnization and/or celebration of a marriage."

The Senate was reluctant to add the exemptions, but the media campaign appears to have succeeded. Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, a judiciary committee co-chairman, explained why he opposed the law's exemption for religious organizations deny commercial wedding services to same-sex couples:

"Could Christian caterers say, 'I refuse to cater a Jewish bar mitzvah because I don't believe in Judaism'? Once you hold yourself out to the public to provide goods or services to the public at large, you cannot discriminate. That has nothing to do with marriage. It has everything to do with discrimination law in place in Connecticut since 1991. You can't discriminate against anybody based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation."

McDonald also objected to a "a full-page newspaper ad that ran Sunday [04/19/09] alleging the Senate bill would 'deny citizens their religious rights' and result in the government punishing church groups and in companies going out of business." He said the advertising had been "riddled with misinformation," including a familiar allegation of oppenents of same-sex marriage - that "schools will be forced to teach gay marriage and parents will have no choice in the matter."

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