Earlier this week, the Connecticut Senate approved religious-exemption clauses for their recent gay-marriage bill, following the model set by Vermont. The Hartford Courant reports :
Opponents of gay marriage, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Family Institute of Connecticut, had sought legal protections for business owners and organizations that oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Clergy opposed to gay unions were already exempt.
A compromise amendment approved by the Senate aims to do just that.
Well, not quite. The exemption clause, the article goes on to report, applies to explicitly religious businesses and organizations, so that, for example, the Knights of Columbus would not be required to rent their halls out for same-sex wedding receptions, and Catholic Charities could restrict adoption to traditional families. However,
The amendment does not permit individuals and businesses such as florists or justices of the peace to claim the religious exemption, something the church and the Family Institute had sought.
“No individual gets to pick and chose which constitutional right” they will respect, said Sen. Andrew McDonald, a Democrat from Stamford. “That’s not right.”
So we can only exercise freedom of conscience and religious conviction collectively? If something is “not right” for the individual, how long will it be right for the institution? Leave that argument aside for a moment, and turn to an equally convoluted one. (At least this one is put forward by an adolescent, not a senator.) The Portland-Herald Press reports that Maine legislators held a hearing on gay marriage this week, with thousands present and hundred testifying. One of the younger proponents, a fourteen-year-old boy, came to the podium with his mother and the mother’s partner:
“I’m stuck saying my mom’s partner, when really, I should have the right to call her my stepmom,” said the boy. “Our family deserves this right, just like any other family. Really, we shouldn’t even have to askwe are all human beings.”
At least he didn’t ask to call her “Dad.” The Maine same-sex marriage bill could be passed by lawmakers within a few weeks, or it may be put on the ballot for popular vote.
(via the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy )