Same-Sex "Marriage" Threatens Freedoms
Special Report - November 21, 2008
Hundreds of state anti-discrimination laws would be “triggered” by the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and used to bring lawsuits against religious individuals and organizations that object to the practice, according to a new study by the Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty. The October 2008 issue brief, “Same-Sex Marriage and State Anti-Discrimination Laws,” features the results of a national survey by the Beckett Fund of more than 1,000 anti-discrimination laws in 50 states to determine “how those laws would affect conscientious objectors to same-sex marriage, if same-sex marriage were legally recognized.” The survey focused exclusively on state provisions that ban discrimination based on “sexual orientation,” marriage, and gender. Of these, 20 states prohibit discrimination based on “sexual orientation,” such as in housing or employment; 50 states, including North Carolina, prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender; and 33 states ban discrimination based on marital status. While some of these state statutes include religious exemptions, the Beckett Fund notes that some are very narrow in scope.
According to the study, “over 350 anti-discrimination provisions would likely trigger liability upon legal recognition of same-sex marriage.” Regarding gender-based anti-discrimination laws, such as North Carolina’s (which prohibit discrimination in some types of housing, social services and government contracts and includes a limited religious exemption), the Beckett Fund argues that “moral objections to same-sex marriage could be treated as a form of gender discrimination in every state.”
The issue brief warns that “if same-sex marriage is recognized by courts or legislatures, people and institutions who have conscientious objections to facilitating same-sex marriage will likely be sued under existing anti-discrimination laws. Lawsuits will likely arise when religious people or organizations choose, based on their sincerely held religious beliefs, not to hire individuals in same-sex marriages, refuse to extend spousal benefits to same-sex spouses, refuse to make their property or services available for same-sex marriage ceremonies or other events affirming same-sex marriage, or refuse to provide otherwise available housing to same-sex couples.” The Beckett Fund recommends that state legislatures amend their anti-discrimination provisions now “to include robust exemptions for religious or other conscientious objections to same-sex marriage.”
“This important new study from the Beckett Fund shows that the redefinition of marriage would gravely threaten religious liberty in this country,” said Tami Fitzgerald, attorney for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “The legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’ would be used by homosexual activists and their allies to undermine our most sacred right as Americans to freely exercise our religious beliefs. The only way to completely protect the institution of marriage and to preserve religious liberty in our state is through a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only the union of one man and one woman. North Carolinians deserve the same opportunity given to the citizens of 30 other statesincluding every state in the Southto vote on a Marriage Amendment.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.