Those curious about what this exemption does and does not cover might be interested in this item, from a Baptist website:
Religious exemption language that was part of a successful “gay marriage” bill in New York addresses a handful of religious liberty concerns but ignores a large number of other religious conflicts, says an attorney familiar with the issue.
The religious exemption language was critical to getting a handful of Republican senators — four total — to support the bill, allowing it to pass, 33-29.
The issue of religious liberty has been at the forefront of conservative concerns about “gay marriage.” After it was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004, Catholic Charities chose to get out of adoptions instead of being forced to place children in same-sex homes. While the language might prevent that from happening in New York, Alliance Defense Fund attorney Austin R. Nimocks says, it would not protect a husband-and-wife photography team from state action if they declined to take pictures at a same-sex “wedding.” It also would do nothing to prevent the teaching of “gay marriage” in New York schools. Alliance Defense Fund is a legal organization that fights for religious liberty.
Following is a partial transcript of an interview with Nimocks:
BAPTIST PRESS: Give me an example of what the bill supposedly would cover in its religious exemptions.
AUSTIN R NIMOCKS: A church or religious organization that, for example, owns property, would not be required to have their property used or appropriated for purposes inconsistent with their theological beliefs or views about marriage.BP: Would the exemption protect Catholic Charities and prevent the problem that they had in Massachusetts?
NIMOCKS: It’s hard to say because you don’t know how all this is going to be interpreted. But I would say that Catholic Charities would likely be covered [by the exemption] because of the religious nature of Catholic Charities. But if you have a private adoption agency that is not overtly religious but believes they want to adopt kids out only to moms and dads — they’re not covered.
BP: You’re saying that the term “religious” is up to a judge’s interpretation.
NIMOCKS: Absolutely. Where a conflict arises, it will be played out in court or some tribunal. This language does not cover everything it needs to cover and everybody that needs to be covered. In terms of what it purports to cover, it remains to be seen whether it will be interpreted in the way that many legislators who enacted it are promising it will be. There are significant holes in this religious liberty language.
And you can read the exemption for yourself right here.