• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Awareness of Same-Sex Threat to Religious Liberty Growing

    As state recognition of same-sex marriage spreads,  awareness is rising about the threat it poses to religious liberty.

    On Wednesday, the governor of Maine signed a bill creating government recognition of same-sex relationships. Lawmakers in New Hampshire have also moved forward on legislation that would redefine marriage, though it is not certain whether the governor of that state will sign the proposed law.

    In April, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman is impermissible discrimination under the Iowa Constitution. This decision struck down the Defense of Marriage Act that Iowa lawmakers passed by large margins in 1998.

    A few days after the Iowa decision, lawmakers in Vermont overrode a gubernatorial veto to enact legislation creating same-sex marriage in that state. A 1999 Vermont Supreme Court decision already had forced lawmakers to extend most of the benefits of civil marriage to same-sex couples. Lawmakers originally complied with that judicial mandate by creating civil unions; under the more recent legislation same-sex unions will be licensed as “marriages.”

    In addition, the District of Columbia Council recently voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Before the legislation can become law, it must be reviewed by both the D.C. Mayor and the U.S. Congress.

    Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was the only council member to oppose the D.C. legislation. One of the supporters of the legislation, council member David A. Cantania, reportedly described Barry’s position as “bigoted.”

    Cantania’s public condemnation of support for marriage as a man and woman as “bigoted” reinforces serious concerns about conflicts between same-sex marriage and religious liberty. Arguments for same-sex marriage often assert that limiting marriage to relationships between one man and one woman is a form of irrational prejudice and unacceptable discrimination. But the understanding that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman is a core religious belief for a significant number of Americans. Once government officials come to regard the traditional understanding of marriage as a form of irrational prejudice that should be purged from public life, religious individuals and institutions will face growing burdens on their freedom to express their beliefs about marriage, family, and sexual values.

    However, lawmakers are beginning to recognize that same-sex marriage will burden religious liberty. In Connecticut and Vermont, for example, lawmakers recently enacted specific legislative protections for religious institutions that believe marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.

    The protections make clear, for example, that churches will not have to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or rent facilities for same-sex marriage celebrations. These protections will not solve all the religious liberty problems associated with marriage redefinition. Nevertheless, though significantly limited in proportion to the scope of the problem, these protections demonstrate a growing awareness that same-sex marriage poses genuine threats to religious liberty.

    Thomas Messner is a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Awareness of Same-Sex Threat to Religious Liberty Growing

    1. Leticia Velasquez, C says:

      I wish the religious protection in CT were reliable, but Raymond Arroyo on "The World Over" expressed doubt that even Catholic schools would be protected from the homosexual agenda.

    2. Monty, Seattle says:

      Unfortunately, as soon as government created marriage licenses the arguments from a religious perspective become somewhat irrelevant. I do not think anyone dismisses those that have a religious belief that does not account for same sex marriage as our country is perhaps overly tolerant of religious beliefs no matter their origin.

      However, religions are contradictory and our laws have to be enforced equally to all citizens. If the goal is to create a marriage based on religion, we need to separate government and religion when it comes to marriage.

    3. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      NOW they realize the damage that is immanent! Another item that we have been trying to explain for years that recognizing homosexual marriages will violate Religions beliefs and freedoms! But when WE say anything, WE are the bigots!

    4. D.B. KENT OH. says:

      Liberals don,t understand or recognize the difference between the words;

      Of and FROM; when dealing with religous freedom . I hope that the Sothern Democrats won't allow there rights to be jerked out from under them by the up east Social Democrats . ( YOu know. The ones that are living in Grandaddy's mansion telling us that WE need to give more !

      Have a nice day ,


    5. Mom, Concord, NH says:

      We need to stand strong on marriage as one man and one woman, because it looks like our healthcare providers who oppose abortion will be forced to perform the procedure regardless of religious beliefs or retire from from their profession. IF we lose the marriage and abortion battles, the liberals/progressives'education reform will prevail in brainwashing our children to the point that there will be little left of our religious beliefs at all. And, now, even the president's actions speak louder than words — he is not affiliating with any of the faith groups or churches in DC. God Bless America!

    6. Pingback: FRC Blog » Daily Buzz

    7. Pingback: The Frog in Hot Water » Daily Buzz

    8. JR, Tennessee says:

      The problem with the current trend is that homosexuality will be normalized while religious liberty becomes the "exception."

      Soon after, the "loop-holes" for religious liberty will need to be "closed."

      Face it: the two world-views concerning the issue are not compatible. One will strengthen, the other will weaken.

      "Tolerance" from the "gay" side is an illusion. We now live in the most tolerant time concerning this issue–but it is fading fast.

    9. Barb -mn says:

      Open the minds. Here, there are people that want exception, attention and privileges based on THEIR CHOICE in the way they have sex?!? They sure have exploited this private matter…selfish yuck. How do they prove they're gay for extra privileges and exceptions? Word of mouth or do actions speak louder then words?

    10. andrew, charleston says:

      ahh so now the tables have turned, discrimination against gays has been fine for all these years, then we bring back equality and the religious right calls foul, and crys about their freedoms beinv "threatened." There is nothing about same sex marriages that affects you, just leave them alone

    11. Albinoni, Baltimore says:

      "andrew, charleston writes:

      ahh so now the tables have turned, discrimination against gays has been fine for all these years, then we bring back equality and the religious right calls foul, and crys about their freedoms beinv “threatened.” There is nothing about same sex marriages that affects you, just leave them alone"

      Andrew, your post reverses truth. There has never been any equality before the law for gay relationships vs. marriage to "bring back." Equal protection of the law cannot be divorced from actual conditions, such as the basic difference between persons whose level of maturity must prepare for the possibility of pregnancy occuring during sex and those who can have all the sex they want and never conceive. This is no small matter — it goes to the heart of the nature of human life. Would you give up food in order to have "equally nourishing" vitamin pills for the rest of your life? Some things are not meant to be compared. Homosexual actors have the right to become chaste and committed to a person of the opposite sex in marriage, just as straights do. That's equality. If they don't want to do that, that's freedom.

    12. Randy says:

      In reference to Monty from Seattle, our founding documents can never be separated from the moral and religious ideas that they were built on. It is the constant unraveling of those ideas out our our government and civic lives that have let us to these problems. Religion may be contradictory but Christian religious principles never are, and it was those principles that our founders cherished so much.

    13. JOHN-PAUL PHILIPPE says:

      tell me this… IF there was a god… wouldn't his presence alone be enough to protect his followers supposed threatened liberties?…

    14. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      The day we learn, somehow has did our forefathers, to be in harmony with the laws of Nature, all these abnormalities will vanish.

    15. CG, NJ says:

      –Open the minds. Here, there are people that want exception, attention and privileges based on THEIR CHOICE in the way they have sex?!?– Nope, not a choice

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.