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NY religious leaders: opponents of marriage bill speak falsely

NY religious leaders: opponents of marriage bill speak falsely

While the leadership of the Catholic church and others rail against the New York same-sex marriage bill, other religious leaders say “there are some among us who are using religion as a smokescreen to hide their intolerance, choosing to misstate the plain language of the bill and falsely claiming that it fails to protect religious practice.”. Among those is Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.

From the statement put out by New Yorkers United For Marriage:

Our faith traditions teach us that all people are children of God, deserving of love, dignity and equal treatment, and we the undersigned therefore believe that gay and lesbian New Yorkers in committed, loving relationships should be able to protect each other with the critical safety-net provided by civil marriage. We recognize and respect that not all faiths support marriage equality, and agree that it is appropriate that the proposed marriage equality legislation provides broad protection for religious freedom. Sadly, however, there are some among us who are using religion as a smokescreen to hide their intolerance, choosing to misstate the plain language of the bill and falsely claiming that it fails to protect religious practice. Nothing could be further from the truth: the Governor’s bill specifically provides that no clergy, house of worship or denomination would be forced to perform same-sex marriages or make their facilities available to same-sex couples for marriage ceremonies, receptions or other functions.


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David Allen

And yet Chris H, most of us see where the real smoke screen exists, the fear-mongering against a possible future that has never come about as legal marriage has been expanded in the US before. No clergy of any religious affiliation has been required to officiate at interracial marriages.

There is a vast difference in rights guaranteed by the 1st amendment of your federal constitution and folks who have a state issued business license who then violate their state’s public accommodation laws in regard to their license by discriminating against the public who seek to buy their services.

Apples and oranges, two very different things. The argument is a strawman meant to sow fear and confusion. And every time it is offered, it must be quickly refuted for the lie that it is.

Chris H.

I think it’s more a case of the conservatives looking forward and saying if you can change the law to say same sex couples can marry, then in a few years the law will be changed to say “must”. That is the smokescreen they see. They see the protection as a delaying tactic, not real protection. If photographers, bakers, universities, etc. can be sued for not helping/accepting same sex couples, then to be equal under the law, clergy won’t have a choice either. They watch places like San Francisco trying to ban circumcision-a requirement of more than one religion, and see that religious exclusion/protection laws are crumbling. Their protection won’t last. They’re sure liberals don’t want it to last-and in many cases they’re right.

Lois Keen

I think those who claim these bills to not protect clergy know very well that they do. It’s a smokescreen. It’s more of saying a lie enough until the lie is believed to be the truth and you’ve shouted down the truth.

I’m tired of this. I’m running out of an assumption of good faith and good will.


Anyone who claims that these bills do not “protect” clergy needs to look again at the canons of their own churches. NO minister is ever forced to do a wedding s/he does not want to do. Ministers are the last arbiters of who will do the RELIGIOUS portion of a marriage. This bill, like all the others, is about the LAW.

I truly think it’s time for the Church to get out of the business of doing the state’s business. We should be concentrating on the theology and blessing of marriage, not signing legal documents.

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