20 June 2011

Oh ... religious freedom is now a concern for anti-marriage equality folks

With the debate on marriage equality in New York, one of the major issues is protecting the religious freedom rights of those who don't endorse marriage equality.

Today on Andrew Sullivan's "Dish" blog, he wrote about the need for religious freedom protection in any state law granting marriage equality to same-sex couples:
It's a BFD because it will also insist on maximal religious liberty for those who conscientiously oppose marriage equality. A gay rights movement that seeks to restrict any religious freedom is not worthy of the name. And it makes me glad that we have largely avoided anything that looks like that strategy, and that last-minute negotiations were flexible enough to strengthen the protections for religious groups, churches, mosques, synagogues and the like.
One needs to keep in mind that there are some churches and congregations who are being denied religious freedom and prevented from freely exercising their religious beliefs when civil marriage equality for same-sex couples is not the law.

For example, Unitarian Universalists (UU) and United Church of Christ (UCC) support marriage equality as denominations. Many UU and UCC clergy will solemnize same-sex unions in religious ceremonies today.

But UU and UCC folks are told that their clergy must disregard their religious beliefs when acting as agents of the state in solemnizing marriages where marriage equality does not exist.

That suggests that the "religious liberty" concern voiced by anti-marriage equality folks is a specious concern. They haven't worried about religious liberty when it comes to my Unitarian Universalist religion or liberal Protestant denominations like the United Church of Christ that do recognize same-sex couples as families.

I'm willing to support the religious freedoms of anti-marriage equality folks to discriminate but it looks like they don't want to repay the favor and support religious freedom for Unitarian Universalists who want to celebrate same-sex marriages in their congregations.