Saturday, May 23, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage Laws Pose Protection Quandary

05/23/09 NY Times:

Reporter Peter Steinfels carefully reviews the debate among legal scholars about the necessity and scope of proposed and enacted religious-liberty exemptions in same-sex marriage laws. He discusses a proposal by law professor Robin Wilson and her colleagues to exempt individual religious-conscience objectors who sell wedding services. He notes that Douglas Laycock,"a foremost analyst of First Amendment religious liberty questions," not only supports this proposal - and same-sex marriage - but has recommended the proposal to New York legislators, who have already acted on proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriages.

Steinfels also considers whether same-sex marriage laws will increase the likelihood of legal conflict between same-sex couples and religious objectors. Relying on a recent blog post by law professor Dale Carpenter, he considers Carpenter's observation that experience so far shows that under antidiscrimination laws, legal conflicts have been very few, even though, as Carpenter says, that pre-2009 experience involves "a combined 27 years’ worth of experience fully recognizing gay relationships."

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