Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gay Marriage Bill to be Introduced in Washington, D.C. on October 6th; Token Recognition of Religious Liberty?

09/30/09 Washington Business Journal / Gay Marriage Watch:
Councilmember David Catania told a group of gay and lesbian activists on Sept. 30 that he intends to introduce his long-awaited same-sex marriage bill to the D.C. Council on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Congress has authority to override the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009," even though it failed to act this summer when the District adopted a law recognizing out-of-state marriages.

10/01/09 press release by D.C. Councilmember David Catania:
This legislation will not infringe on the religious freedoms enjoyed by District residents, churches, and clergy. The bill amends the District’s statutory eligibility requirements for civil marriage only, and specifically provides that no church or member of the clergy shall be required to perform or recognize a marriage that runs counter to their religious beliefs or teachings.
A recent initiative to repeal Prop. 8 extends the same token recognition of religious-liberty protection under the First Amendment. It's questionable whether legalization of same-sex marriage raises any question about protecting religious liberty that does not already arise from laws against sexual-orientation discrimination. But does political expediency at least call for a narrowly drawn form of exemption - tied (problematically) to the marriage ceremony - that goes beyond reiterating the First Amendment?

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