Human Rights Campaign
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Should faith based organizations be required to render services outside of their faith?
Gay Marriage is heating up as well as fizzling all at the same time all over the country, actually. In Washington, D.C., if you didn't get the tweet earlier (twitter.com/familyblendz), the city council wanted to "broaden" an exemption that would protect businesses and organizations from discriminatory lawsuits filed by same sex couples for being denied business services.
One Councilmember, Yvette Alexander, wanted to go even further and prevent lawsuits toward individuals from same sex couples as well. But an attempt by those opposed to gay marriage to broaden those exceptions outside the church community has garnered meager council support. Alexander was rejected.
“Just as we’re protecting large institutions, we should ensure that individuals can be afforded the same liberties and protections,” said Alexander, who cast the five-member committee’s lone “no” vote, citing her ward’s “overwhelming” opposition to same-sex marriage.
The legislation to expand the provision was adopted Tuesday by the D.C. Council’s judiciary committee, provides that any religious society can deny a gay couple services, facilities, goods or accommodations related to their wedding without fear of liability.
Listen, my view on this is simple, regardless of my sexual preferences, life preferences, preferences, if you don't want to serve me, if you don't want my money because you think your religous beliefs are compromised? Ok. Familyblendz is always in support of policy that protects everybody. What I mean by that is this;how many people didn't want to serve muslims right after 9-11? Your fear caused that reaction. With Education, awareness, our perception of that changed.
As long as we are not saying that someone can just look at me and decide, "he must be gay, so um not going render my business services to him", as long as we are not condoning and making provision for discrimination in our governing, I'm okay with it.
If my desire to get married, affects your beliefs in your small bridal business, you should be required to inform me of that, and further, I should be required to accept that you are not comfortable with that. Come on guys, its not that hard to understand that everyone is not in support of our lifestyle. Their lack of support, I can live with, their discriminatory acts towards me and my family;I cannot accept.
“That shield of course would be an invitation to act on that discriminatory impulse,” said Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh.
In Bernalillo County, N.M., in 2006, photographer Elaine Huguenin refused to provide services for a gay couple’s commitment ceremony, citing her religious beliefs. The couple filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint. The New Mexico Commission on Human Rights, after investigating, found the complaint justified and ordered Huguenin to pay attorney’s fees totaling $6,637.94.
The photographer has appealed to New Mexico’s 2nd District court. The lawsuit threatens to affect gay marriages, and who must participate in them, if it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court — where Huguenin’s lawyers have promised to take it.
Opponents of D.C.’s gay marriage bill argue the religious liberty exemption is too narrow. The Washington Archdiocese, for example, said in a statement that the legislation “leaves religious organizations and individuals at risk for adhering to the teachings of their faith.”
But the Rev. Dennis Wiley, pastor of D.C.’s Covenant Baptist Church and a gay marriage supporter, said the bill “clearly protects clergy who disagree with me about marriage equality while also standing by the tenants of inclusion” that the District is known for.