Same-Sex Marriage

Mary - posted on 02/11/2011 ( 54 moms have responded )

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My state is currently in the process of debating legislation that would legalize same-sex marriages. This past weeks, activists on both sides of the issue have flooded the state capital to have their say on the bill, which is entitled the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. Although similar bills have come before the senate before, this is the first time there are a fair number of senators who support it, and even opponents of the bill concede that it actually has a shot at passing.



My question is not really about the morality of homosexuality or "allowing" gay marriages, but more about the validity of some of the opponent's arguments and concerns. The following is an excerpt from the Balitmore Sun's article about this:





....The legislation would repeal a 38-year-old provision in Maryland law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The two-page bill includes a section saying that religious institutions would not be compelled to perform same-sex marriages.



But opponents said those protections are inadequate. They say the bill would do nothing to shield businesses or individuals who want to steer clear of aiding such ceremonies.



Senate Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs gave the example of a small wedding cake business that might not want to provide confections for a gay marriage. Another example was a hypothetical court clerk whose religious convictions might make him or her unable to issue a marriage certificate to a gay couple...




I'm fine with allowing churches the ability to refuse to conduct these ceremonies, but saying that a court clerk should have the right to refuse to do their job and issue a marriage license because it offends his/her morality??? What if her morality is also offended by interracial marriages, or a marriage where one partner is divorced?



I'm left wondering why a state senator thinks it is "okay" for a state employee to refuse to provide any service to a resident just because their personal religious convictions may conflict with who or what that resident is.



http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/marylan...,0,1140373.story

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Mary - posted on 02/12/2011

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Just because it's legal, doesn't mean someone has to be capable of helping the process. I mean if I worked in a hospital, and I was told to go assist in an abortion, I would say no!

Laura, you may think that, but then you'd be out of job. When I graduated from college, I really wanted to work in L&D. However, I knew that it meant that if I didn't want to be a part of terminations, it limited me to working in Catholic hospital. While, for the most part, the 'routine' first trimester terminations are done in clinics, it doesn't mean they are never done in the hospital setting. 2nd trimester terminations for genetic anomalies (both those for things incompatible with life, as well as things like Down's) are done in L&D. Regardless of you feelings on abortion, no one who works in L&D likes doing them, but if you work in hospital that offers that service, you would be expected to care for that patient without prejudice, or find another job. It's why I spent six years working in cardiac surgery before a position in L&D opened up in a religiously affiliated hospital that did not (routinely) do these .

Sorry, but medical professionals do have to care for everyone, competently and without bias, regardless of whether or not that someone "offends" their beliefs and morality. If they can't, they will not have a job.

Amie - posted on 02/11/2011

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Churches are exempt from Canada's Chart of Rights and Freedoms. Which gives them their power to refuse to marry gay couples and inter faith couples. How far that reaches, I'm not sure but I do know that much for sure.



My province recently said a resounding No to passing a law that would allow Marriage Commissioners (JoP's don't perform marriage ceremonies here) to deny same sex couples. It was all sparked 4 years ago when a Marriage Commissioner did just that, he said no to a same sex couple based on his faith.



Here's the rub. We are a country where same sex marriage is legal. He is a government employee, his job is to perform marriage ceremonies for people who do NOT want a religious ceremony. Commissioners are not a representative of their beliefs (as a priest would be), they are a representative of our province and are performing secular marriages ceremonies. They are also subject to the same anti discrimination laws. As the marriage commisioner in question found out when he was brought before the Human Rights Tribunal. He was fined. He appealed and did not win.



His religious beliefs do not get to trample on another persons rights in this country.



If small businesses want to run bigoted businesses, I can't really say anything about it. It makes my blood boil thinking about it. In this day and age that anyone thinks their rights should be allowed to run over others basic rights.



In the states, this is tricky. They (the country) are behind the times with allowing same sex couples to marry. I do not know why it is such a big deal. If it really is going to impact or reflect on your marriage, you need to look deep and figure out why that is. My marriage is no more or less meaningful because gay and lesbians are allowed to marry up here. It doesn't even register on the radar since they are not IN my marriage.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 02/11/2011

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This is a touchy subject for me, I am not in a same sex marriage, but an interracial one, and in the year freaking 2011 many people still have a problem with that and hold in the same ‘that’s immorally wrong box’ as same sex marriage.

I think a judge should not be able to say no…..

[We are all people who love, and want to share our life, be with the one we love for ever or as long as we can stand them]

Marriage is a man made

Who the fuck…is man to say who [as in a person] we can love, what is the right way…i mean really though…



I would be pissed beyond reason [and wish them misery for they rest of their life] if song and I came up to someone wanting to get married and they said no because they don’t ‘believe’ in interracial marriage and bringing biracial kids into this world….so on and so forth.





Im going to shut up now cuz im livid



But I will say…



Im for gay marriage [just a reminder gay means happy]

So im for a happy marriage between same sex

Sara - posted on 02/13/2011

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Does anyone ever notice that when it comes to religion, it gets a free pass? Like it's the one last thing that you dare not offend its delicate sensibilities even if it supports ridiculous or archaic and exclusionary policies that we would not tolerate from any other group of people?

Jenn - posted on 02/12/2011

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I think that if something is in the realm of your job, then you should either do it if requested, or find yourself a new job that isn't going to be impacted by your "morals". I live in Canada and am a part of the United Church of Canada - so same-sex marriage is legal, my church will perform marriages, and they also allow gay ministers. It amazes me that so many people are still so openly bigoted. It wasn't that long ago that people "morally" objected to interracial marriages and wouldn't perform them. It wasn't that long ago that people were "morally" opposed to sending black and white kids to school together. Some people need to get over themselves. Seriously.

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Jocelyn - posted on 02/13/2011

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Yes Cathy, I do have a problem with you Brits...



You are....





ummmm....





you don't.....





England is stupid?





:P

Johnny - posted on 02/13/2011

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I do agree with you Jenny. If churches want the right to discriminate against whomever they choose, they need to pay taxes like all other private organizations. Unfortunately, in the Canadian constitution, the freedom of religion is protected allowing religious people to get away with bullshit that no one else can. And that includes being bigoted against gays.

Jenny - posted on 02/13/2011

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@Jenn Because churches don't pay taxes. In my city alone it is over $6 million dollars per year not going into our city.

Sharon - posted on 02/13/2011

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I'm pretty sure the KKK has the same exclusions as other private groups. But I can't find anything that says they have to accept non whites/non whatevers.

Anyway - i wish it were possible to make devil worshippers illegal, kkk clubs illegal... so you keep fighting the good fight Jenny!

Sharon - posted on 02/13/2011

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Its from the olden days where if you tried to force a church to do something it would screw you royally. Like excommunicate a king who wanted a divorce.... then the peasants would raise hell and make the kings' life a fucking misery.

The church controlled so much of the population, in a way the government couldn't. This is how the seperation of church and state came about.

Jenny - posted on 02/13/2011

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The KKK DOES have to accept everyone equally. I know that they don't but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be making the message loud and clear that they are going to have to get over it to be functioning part of our society. Also, the KKK is not subsidized by taxpayers, unlike religions.

I feel we need to stop kowtowing to religion over their archaic views once and for all.

Sharon - posted on 02/13/2011

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Yeah - if that is part of the church's beliefs. I don't like it, but then I don't affilliate with those churches.

It would be like saying the KKK has to accept jewish.

Jenny - posted on 02/13/2011

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Would we say it is ok for a church to not marry an interracial couple because of their beleifs? I don't acccept intolerance and bigotry on ANY grounds. If you can't accept two people in love then it is YOU who needs to change your ways.

Sharon - posted on 02/13/2011

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Its perfectly fine for churches to get to back out of a religious ceremony that goes against their beliefs.

It is NOT ok for a public servant to back out. Next they'll be refusing to serve transgenders, gays and people who have an eye color they don't like. assholes.

Sal - posted on 02/13/2011

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in australia we don't have a marrige licence so me the actual service aand signing the marriage certificate part is the big thing, i had no idea it was the big deal. and why do we another word for gay marriage, why can't we change the definition, really why is "a union between 2 people" wrong and "a union between a man and a woman" right (i know probably not the exact word but i'm sure you get the idea..man and woman excludes gay, between 2 people excludes no one, isn;t that better

JuLeah - posted on 02/13/2011

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Wow. As a Lesbian, I gotta say, the prior 39 posts give me hope for the world. Now if only we could get the rest of the population on the same page:)
All of these arguments were spoken in America in the 1960 when we were debating interracial marriage .... really all of the same arguments. It is interesting to read back on old news papers and letters to the editor.
There will come a day when this debate seems as odd as the debate about a person of color joining with a person of ... no color? White, I mean, which is a color .... anyway, there will come a day that our kids won't understand what the fuss was all about.

Angela - posted on 02/12/2011

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"As for the same sex debate, I don't think marriage should be the term used for this. I think marriage is already well defined as a man and a woman, so we need a new term to define man to man or woman to woman partnerships.
I wouldn't deny their rights to dedicate their lives to each other, I just think marriage is already well stated as such."

this is the definition for Marriage:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/m...

hence part B of the definition.

Angela - posted on 02/12/2011

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I dont think its right for ANY Institution to refuse gay Marriage.
Iam all for Gay Marriage,and I think they very well should. I dont see how its anyones business or how it affects anyone who is not homosexual...Love is love.

Merry - posted on 02/12/2011

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Yeah, Idont think I'd feel bad about just being the clerk admitting someone, I wouldn't feel that was anything really involved enough to bother to refuse. At that point they still could change their mind, or something.

But isn't the marriage license pretty much the biggest part of a marriage? I thought that the license is the main part, and the ceremony is mostly for show....

Idk :) maybe it isn't a fair comparison.

Iridescent - posted on 02/12/2011

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It's discrimination and should be covered like any other acts of discrimination. For example, some people are morally offended by inter-racial marriages. Does that excuse them from doing their jobs? NO, not according to any law. So how, exactly, is this different?

Sal - posted on 02/12/2011

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laura, if you were just the clerk admitting someone in for a procedure you would still refuse?? that is what i see equivilant to the clerk refusing the marriage licence, they are just doing the paperwork

Merry - posted on 02/12/2011

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I wouldn't actually get a job that would ask me to do that, it was just a hypothetical.

Like if I got the job before abortion was legal, and then it was made legal I likely would resign. Or refuse and be fired and try to collect unemployment based on religious convictions etc.

As for a dr refusing life saving surgery for religious reasons I'd have to say that the dr knew going into medicine that he would have to treat everyone, and if he backed out because of my faith he would be fired.

I'd willingly be fired for refusing to do something I felt was wrong. In fact I'd probably quit first!

So, to topic, yes I think if a clerk has such a big problem with it, they should quit or be fired.

Because if they are in capable fo doing their job it's well within their boss rights to hire someone who is capable of performing the duties of the job.



But, if I went into an er and needed surgery, I don't think anyone would know my faith anyways :) :)

Krista - posted on 02/12/2011

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Hear, hear, Jenn! Nicely said! People, when bigoted, get all defensive about it, saying that they have a right to their opinion.



Sure they do. But that doesn't give them the right to use that opinion to try to give people fewer rights than they have.

Janessa - posted on 02/11/2011

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I think same sex marriage is weird. That is just my view it does not mean that I hate the person. I just find it odd and let them live they own lives.

Medic - posted on 02/11/2011

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I LOVE that you posed this. My biological mom is a lesbian and has been with the same person my whole life. (her being a lesbian had NOTHING to do with her putting me up for adoption and I have known her my whole life). It makes me sick that they do not have the rights my husband and I have. From health care, to what happens when one or the other dies, to what happens if one of them has a kid by whatever means and they raise them together as a solid family. I think that all people should have the inherent right to love whom ever they want and the absolute right to respect. I couldn't give two shits less if my dr does not agree with my religious or political views he is my dr he is paid to keep us healthy not to judge. Certain religions do not allow blood products to be used while treating them or their children medically, whether I feel they are right or wrong I HAVE to treat them to the best of my ability and adhere to their cultural beliefs. As an EMT or Paramedic we don't get to pick and choose who we treat, we treat everyone, including the SOB that hurt that child or that woman. If a certain bakery or whatever does not want to make a cake for a same-sex couple then they don't deserve my business.

Johnny - posted on 02/11/2011

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I mean, personally, I can't stand Basques. Really don't like them. When I was a social worker employed by the province I would have loved the opportunity to reject all Basques who were asking for assistance, but I simply didn't have the right to put my personal feelings into my professional work when my employer's views and requirements did not match mine.

Johnny - posted on 02/11/2011

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So Laura, just to turn the tables for a second, if a doctor was opposed to people choosing to worship God, would it be okay for him to refuse you life-saving surgery in a state hospital until you renounced your faith?

Lady Heather - posted on 02/11/2011

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Totally agree. I know there have been some marriage commissioners here who have tried to pull the "morals and religion" card, but unfortunately you don't get to play that one when you are a public servant. Some people might say to just find another one, but that is sometimes easier said than done. I contacted every single MC in Victoria well in advance of my wedding and only one was available. What if she had said no for "moral" reasons?

I figure if they don't like it they can go get ordained and do weddings for God instead of the government.

Merry - posted on 02/11/2011

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Just because it's legal, doesn't mean someone has to be capable of helping the process. I mean if I worked in a hospital, and I was told to go assist in an abortion, I would say no!
I could not be a part of something I feel to be so wrong as a murder of an unborn baby, so I really couldn't assist in that proceedure.
And I think it would be against my free will and rights to make me do something I feel is so very wrong.
So I can see how it would be a hard spot for a clerk or such to issue a lisence for a gay marriage if they are so very opposed to it.

As for the same sex debate, I don't think marriage should be the term used for this. I think marriage is already well defined as a man and a woman, so we need a new term to define man to man or woman to woman partnerships.
I wouldn't deny their rights to dedicate their lives to each other, I just think marriage is already well stated as such.

Rosie - posted on 02/11/2011

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marina, our pastor was a complete asshole, and i still think it was the best day and wedding EVER!! :) seriously, he yelled at my sisters kid, and my kid for playing during rehearsal, he didn't want us to kiss-yep you heard me right, he told a mentally challenged co worker of mine very rudely to put his water bottle somewhere else, he yelled at my grandpa for holding up the pictures (grandpa didn't realize he was in the pics, lol) , he was rude to the photographer, rude to my bridesmades, my sister and him got into an argument because he was being an ass, and my sister called him out on it. but the fucker married me and that's all i care about, lol!



i would've liked to of had someone who wasn't an asshole, that's very true, but i got married and i'm happy that's all that matters to me. :)



to answer the op, it's ridiculous that any government worker would be able to discriminate like that.



a business? i don't think they should be able to either. can you imagine the stink it would cause if someone refused to make a cake for a black couple? i see no difference. it's plain discrimination.

Sal - posted on 02/11/2011

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i don;t know your states law but i am certain here atleast that being prejudiced against gay people is illegal, so not doing your job because you are against gay marriage would land you out in your but here, so suck it up princess and do it, if they aren't capable of doing it they should leave , isn;t usa facing a huge unempolyment at the moment i'm sure there would be heaps of people happy for the job, and if your bussiness doesn't want to deal with customers who are same sex, then your clearly have more money than brains.

Johnny - posted on 02/11/2011

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Here in Canada 3 fairly major denominations will perform same sex marriages, the United Church, the Unitarians, and most Anglicans. Although there has been a serious split in the Anglican community over this. Of the two same-sex weddings I have attended, one was in a garden with a justice of the peace and the other was in the United Church. The one at the United Church was actually performed for a Reverend and his husband. So not only was the marriage sanctified by the church, but the church had also ordained a gay minister, quite a long time ago.

I have no issue with allowing churches to choose who they will marry. As an agnostic, most churches would not marry me. If your views differ from that of a church, it is their religious right to refuse to serve you if they so choose. However, if you are performing marriages for the state it is your legal duty, at least here in Canada, to follow the letter of the law and marry anyone who wishes to do so as long as it will be a legal union. Recently this was challenged by a few justices of the peace in Saskatchewan who did not want to marry same-sex couples. The highest appeals court in the province ruled that their challenge was unconstitutional, and that if one wished to perform civil marriages as a provincial employee in that province, one had to perform all legally sanctioned unions.

It's a terrible precedent to set when any government employee is allowed to refuse legally sanctioned services of any type because they disagree with the person's lifestyle or inherent traits. The ramifications to the expectations on government employees to serve the populace would be enormous.

Tara - posted on 02/11/2011

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There are Christian same sex couples and there are Christian Ministers, Reverends etc. who will marry same sex couples in places where it is legal to do so.
They are few and far between but they do exist and there are many Christian lesbians and homosexuals who are practicing, church going, productive members of their religious communities.

Stifler's - posted on 02/11/2011

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If it's the law in the state which their license is governed by, they shouldn't have the right to an opinion on who is getting married. They should just shut up and marry them. Churches don't support gay marriage, it's against their religion why would gay people want to get married in a church? The whole point of getting married in a Church is to bring the element of God into your marriage.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/11/2011

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I did get married in a church, and if the priest that married us thought in any way that we should not get married, I would not feel like the ceremony was valid. I would have found another priest. Yes, easier said than done in the same sex marriage issue...I am not sure if I am making myself clear. I know I have a valid point, just not wording it the way I would like.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/11/2011

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Ok, so I think all of you ladies have points. But I cannot tell you how a same sex marriage feels about this. I would feel personnaly like I have fought so hard for this right, and waited for so long...that I would not want someone with a snarl and gnashing their teeth talking under their breath and shaking there heads at me. It would contradict the whole point to me.

Tara - posted on 02/11/2011

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For some people they don't really care "who" is marrying them, a lot of people that are married by a civil servant, ie:justice of the peace do so 'because' they don't want any affiliation with a church or religious institution, people who get married at city hall, probably don't care a whole lot about what the civil servant who is paid with their own tax dollars feels about the sanctity of marriage, or whether they like to dress in womens clothes, or whether they are vegetarian opposed to omnivorous.
If you are old fashioned or you are religiously opposed to marriage that does not give you a right to refuse to do your job as a civil servant or worker in the private sector.
If a same sex couple chooses to have a religious ceremony they aren't likely seek a mainstream church, they may however find a clerk or justice of the peace who is sympathetic and willing to perform a religious centered ceremony, just as if a heterosexual couple choose to have a clerk marry them, they too can choose a religious centered ceremony or non-denominational etc. etc.
A church, yes.
A civil servant? no.

Krista - posted on 02/11/2011

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See, the problem with THAT, Marina, is that you're assuming that it's easy to find someone else who would support the marriage.

If two people are in a small town, and the sole Justice of the Peace is a homophobe and refuses to marry Mike and Steve, now they have to go to the next town over to find someone. And what if there's nobody THERE who will marry them? Do they have to travel the countryside like gypsies, looking for someone who will marry them? They pay taxes just like you do and like I do. So if their taxes are paying the salary of this civil servant, then it is unfair for them to not be able to avail themselves of that person's services.

And you know what? I'm just guessing here, but I would venture to say that considering how long same-sex couples have been seeking the right to marry, the joy and happiness that they bring to the occasion will be what sanctifies the marriage, and the officiant's scowling will be no more of a impediment than the wrong frosting colour on the wedding cake.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/11/2011

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I guess I am the only one with a different vuew on this. Marriage is a lot more sacred tgan ordering a cake, serving someone of a different culture in a bar...and so on. It is joining two people by law for what is suppose to be forever. I can't help but feel if the person doing the ceremony religiously or in court does not believe in the sanctity of joining 2 said people...then it means squat. Especially if they are morally opposed to performing it in the first place. Go find someone that is not so old fasioned, and truly supports you! Why in the world would you WANT to FORCE someone to perform such a binding sacred act for you if they are predjudice? No thanks....

Jocelyn - posted on 02/11/2011

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The Church should be able to say no to performing a same sex marriage.

Everyone else, it is their JOB to issue certificates and perform ceremonies. They shouldn't have a choice in the matter.

It's like me saying I'm not going to serve the British that come into my bar while I'm working.

Ridiculous!

Mary - posted on 02/11/2011

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I support same-sex marriages, and would love nothing more than to see it allowed in my state. I am, however, really concerned about these "shields" that opponents of this are going to try and tack onto it. The current bill itself is pretty simple: it merely strikes out the standing law that uses the terms "man and woman" and replaces them with "two individuals". The second part (currently) only states that religious officials cannot be required to officiate ceremonies that "violate" their right to exercise their religious convictions. I am fine with all of that.

I am NOT fine with a state senator implying that someone should have the freedom to refuse services to someone because it against their beliefs. It opens up a whole can of worms....can devoutly religious court clerk than refuse to issue birth certificates to children of single mothers? Can a public school teacher refuse to engage in parent teacher conferences with a lesbian mother because she finds their family dynamics morally objectionable? Can a caterer refuse to host the bat mitzvahs of the children born into a biracial family just because their neo-nazi church preaches racial purity?

I'm sorry, but any "shields" tacked on to this would be nothing less than promoting and enabling discrimination under the shady guise of religious "convictions".

Krista - posted on 02/11/2011

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No not really….but its their job to adhere to the law and/or job polices…

Exactly.

If you go into ANY kind of field where you have to deal with the public, then you have to accept that you are going to be faced with people who you may not approve of. If you can't deal with that, then you'd best find some sort of office job where you don't have to deal with the public, or go cloister yourself off somewhere.

Besides, I always find it rather ludicrous that people will say that a private business has the right to refuse services based solely on who a person IS.

If a bakery wants to not serve same-sex couples, then I will refuse to take their complaint seriously until they also develop a customer questionnaire to give to all potential customers, so that they can also ensure that they are not serving any thieves, or adulterers, or murderers, or those who covet, or those who are filled with pride, or those who do not honour their parents.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 02/11/2011

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No not really….but its their job to adhere to the law and/or job polices…

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/11/2011

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Great point E...but would you WANT to be married by someone who firmly is against it? I would NOT.

Tara - posted on 02/11/2011

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Holy Shmoly. That's redonculous to say the least...

I agree that Churches and other religious institutions should reserve the right to not participate or perform same sex marriage ceremonies, however to go so far as to suggest that a bakery might not want to bake a wedding cake for John and Jack and therefore they need "protection" from this bill? Well that's just plain old........ stupid. Really stupid. If a bakery has a problem with making cakes for someone who is different than them they really shouldn't be in private business.
If a clerk doesn't want to issue a certificate of marriage because he opposes same sex marriage, well he should get a job in a church or a religious institution where his morals don't conflict with is job, or he should keep his religion out of his workplace like most other places of government.
This has to be one of the dumbest things I've read all week.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/11/2011

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But no job could pay me enough to go against what I firmly believe.

Joanna - posted on 02/11/2011

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Those people should find a new line of work. Judge some beauty pageants or something - somewhere discrimination and judging are okay.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/11/2011

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This is a tricky issue. I of course believe in same sex marriages and support it 100%. but forcing someone to do something they are morally against I am not for. Yes, it may be with a predjudice heart...but that is what they believe. This to me is along the lines of the Pharmacist that would not issue the morning after abortion pill. It was against their moral beliefs, and I cannot blame them for this. I can disagree, but I certainly cannot force the issue on someone.

Nikki - posted on 02/11/2011

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I agree that an employee of the state should carry out the state's business according to the law, not their opinion.

In my opinion though, churches and independently owned businesses should be able to serve or to refuse services to whomever they see fit. The gevornment cannot regulate an individual's choice to do business their way in their establishment.

Krista - posted on 02/11/2011

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I agree with you. I have no problem with churches getting a pass. But any other service provider, ESPECIALLY one paid by the taxpayers, would be guilty of flat-out discrimination, and should be condemned for that.

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