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Lies. And the lying liars who lie them. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Lies. And the lying liars who lie them.
Let's say you're the owner of a bakery who doesn't want to be forced to take an order from a gay couple for their wedding cake. Your supporters will say you're entitled to your right to "religious freedom."

Or, posit, that you're a large for-profit corporation engaged in interstate commerce named Hobby Lobby. Your owners are religiously opposed to providing certain contraceptives to employees because it would infringe on their "religious freedom" to be forced to. (Tangent: consider how the Faux News crowd would have reacted if that corporation's name had been Jhabi Jlobi, and its owners were religiously opposed to its insurer providing medication or treatment for alcoholism because their religious beliefs forbid the consumption of alcohol. I suspect the words "Sharia law" would have been used, and self-righteous teeth gnashed. Ah, but I digress.)

Just in the past week: say you were the employee of a famous sporting organization, one of only 32 in the country at the highest level, and you tweeted out your disgust when you saw a public display of affection between the first-ever openly gay player to be drafted and his significant other. Never mind that you and your ilk were never offended by any similar PDA's between hetero players and their girlfriends. Your supporters are citing, among other things, your "religious freedom" to be offended and to speak your mind about the offense.

Religious freedom for all! America and apple pie! Except, you know, for actual religions.

When the god-fearing voters of North Carolina passed a gay marriage ban in 2012, they left intact an earlier provision of law which makes it a crime for any "minister, officer, or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage" to do so unless the couple produces a license from the state permitting such solemnization. The officiant can also be sued by "any person who sues therefore." So even if a celebrant is entitled, under the doctrines and practices of his or her own faith, to join two men and two women before God into the state of holy matrimony, he or she does so at peril.

Religious freedom, my ass.

Unfortunately, as of this moment, no pastor of my own denomination is in a position to test this conflict (except in a few Jurisdictions and Conferences where the bishops have said, essentially, "Discipline Schmisipline when it comes to obeying what Jesus REALLY said"), but in the United Church of Christ, it's a settled issue. They ordained their first gay clergy in 1972- the same year my beloved United Methodist Church first took upon itself to ban gay weddings and ordinations in its doctrinal documents- and they have welcomed same-sex couples at their altars since 2005. So a group of their clergy, joined by some UU's, a Lutheran pastor, a rabbi (who did NOT walk into a bar;) and an openly lesbian Baptist minister (::waits for hell to freeze over at the mere mention of THAT::), have sued the state in federal court, claiming the criminalization of their permitted practice is an infringement on,.... wait for it,...their "free exercise of religion."

I'm sure you will be shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that the State of North Carolina is defending the statute in court. There's the usual quibbling associated with such, suggesting that UCC pastors can celebrate anything they want as long as they don't utter the magic words “By the authority vested in me by the State of North Carolina, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”(Which they wouldn't, anyway. Duh.) They also make a laches argument, and grease the usual slippery slope about Teh Big Gay/Media Conspiracy, and try to pooh-pooh the whole thing.

Just one problem. That's not what the law says. If a celebrant "marries any couple" without the required rendering from Caesar, he or she is open to suit and to prosecution.  Plain meaning of the law is a big deal with the current conservative SCOTUS bloc, although I'm sure Scalia will find a way to weasel out of reading it that way this time if the case ever gets before him.  Knowing how quickly the opponents of equality move to squelch any progress as soon as the rice is thrown, there will surely be demands on state and local attorneys (district and general) to Enforce The Law, and the right of private action against these celebrants only doubles their risk when Adam and Steve show up for pre-wedding counseling.

There's also the political reality facing these potential prosecutors- that anything short of a full-on defense of this law will be used by Teabaggers to primary them out of jobs.

So it's left to a District Judge, who is life tenured and not subject to such whims. As his (as it happens) colleagues in such progressive places as Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas and (just now) Idaho have already done, realizing that the 21st century is now fourteen years old and not in need of any more 17th century bullshit.
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greenquotebook From: greenquotebook Date: May 14th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
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