As currently drafted, the legislation states that religious officials would have to offer wedding-related services to same-sex couples if those services are available to the public. But the Archdiocese of Washington and other religious organizations oppose that language, arguing that it would force them to restrict charitable and other services. Bowing to that pressure, a council committee is expected to revise the bill to state that a church or religious official can deny services related to the "solemnization, celebration, or promotion" of a same-sex wedding without fear of running afoul of the city's anti-discrimination laws. The proposed revisions mean, for example, that church officials do not have to rent reception space to a same-sex couple for a wedding, even if heterosexual couples can access that space. But churches would still have to abide by other aspects of the city's Human Rights Act, including not discriminating against gay employees who choose to get married.
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