Illinois Passes Civil Unions Bill

I’m happy to say my Governor, Pat Quinn, signed civil unions into law in Illinois yesterday. (He’s a Democrat, in case you couldn’t guess.) It’s not marriage equality yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The law, which goes into effect on June 1, will provide same sex couples many legal protections now given to married couples, such as emergency medical decision-making powers, inheritance rights, pension benefits, adoption and parental rights, and the ability to share a room in a nursing home.

For years, different versions of such legislation have been considered in Springfield, this state’s capital city, but it wasn’t until last December that supporters of the notion could gather the votes. At that time, a Democrat-dominated legislature, which included some soon-to-depart lawmakers, succeeded with a split vote: 32 to 24 in the State Senate, and 61 to 52 in the House.

The state legislature has done a lot of shitty work over the past couple years — I can’t remember the last time they did something overwhelmingly positive — but they deserve credit for making this happen.

The Illinois Family Institute opposes it, of course, but their reasoning makes no sense to me:

“Marriage was not created by man or governments,” said IFI Executive Director David E. Smith. “It is an institution created by God. Governments merely recognize its nature and importance.”

Got that, atheists? Your marriages are all shams because you excluded god from the wedding.

IFI never mentions why they oppose giving same-sex partners “medical decision-making powers,” and the “ability to share a room in a nursing home.” Why they oppose same-sex partners getting pension benefits, we never learn.

But I’d love to hear their “Christ-like” reasoning for opposing the new rights gay couples in Illinois will soon have. Better yet, let’s hear them tell a loving gay couple to their face why they don’t deserve the right to care for each other.

Maybe they never mention those things because they realize they’re fighting a losing battle when they oppose common human decency. Young people support equal rights for gay people by a wide margin. The state legislature does, too (albeit by a lesser one).

IFI can fight gay marriage all they want. By doing it, they’re only encouraging the rest of us to stand united in support of civil rights for everyone.

  • Noel

    The mysticists have a point.

    As a homosexual friend told me (who also happens to live in Illinois), civil unions *aren’t* a step in the right direction. It’s a concession that surrenders the instrument of marriage to the religion, as if these people have any authority to decide who can get married and who cannot.

    Civil union is a pragmatic. sleight-of-hand achievement with a fundamental cost. It evades the principal confrontation, the basic human right to express love in the highest form without special dispensation. In so doing we legitimize the warrant of these evil people.

    Same-sex union is now a government hand-out. It shouldn’t be. Marriage is a basic right, and it needs to be wrestled out of the hands of mysticists.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom is Money

    What’s next? Left-handed people marrying right-handed people? This must be stopped. We cannot allow 20% of the population that “chooses” to be left-handed corrupt our children and make them smudge their handwriting in the process. Or worse, make them develop disgusting hook-hands to avoid the smudging. Help us, Jesus. It’s the end of days.

  • Matto the Hun

    As a homosexual friend told me (who also happens to live in Illinois), civil unions *aren’t* a step in the right direction. It’s a concession that surrenders the instrument of marriage to the religion, as if these people have any authority to decide who can get married and who cannot.

    I agree, it capitulates to the idea of separate but equal.

    Also,

    “Marriage was not created by man or governments,” said IFI Executive Director David E. Smith. “It is an institution created by God. Governments merely recognize its nature and importance.”

    If that were true wouldn’t the Abrahamic faiths be the only cultures with marriage? Of course this is not true, many other cultures have marriage as well. It seems like it would be so easy to point this out to these hate mongers when ever they try to claim ownership of this idea.
    Am I missing something there?

  • Raven

    As I understand it, marriage was pretty much something that existed in human societies since antiquity and then some, and Christianity basically co-opted the institution as its own at a certain point in history, requiring marriages to suddenly start being performed in churches by clergy.

    In the grand scheme of things marriage has changed vastly over time, and the current institution of heterosexual romantic marriage with the possibility of divorce initiated by either partner and available through wholly secular means would be all but unrecognizable to not a few of our ancestors. To me the journey from marriage as a process of a groom’s family buying a bride for “business” type reasons to where we are now was a lot longer than the journey from where we are now to allowing gay marriage will be.

    Churches did not originally own marriage, and while there was a time when they effectively did, it’s pretty much over with.

  • Matto the Hun

    Thanks Raven, that’s how I understood it as well.

  • Robert W.

    Raven,

    As I understand it, marriage was pretty much something that existed in human societies since antiquity and then some, and Christianity basically co-opted the institution as its own at a certain point in history, requiring marriages to suddenly start being performed in churches by clergy.

    But it has always, even seculalry, been only between a man and a women.

  • Claudia

    Civil union is a pragmatic. sleight-of-hand achievement with a fundamental cost. It evades the principal confrontation, the basic human right to express love in the highest form without special dispensation. In so doing we legitimize the warrant of these evil people.

    This used to be my position as well. Separate but equal isn’t equal. However over the years I’ve seen how the existence of civil unions has helped improve the support for full marriage rights. Some people are merely ignorant and afraid and once they’re shown that gay couples are in practice just like straight couples, many of their misgivings are gone. Yes of course by conceding to civil unions you do unfairly legitimize the absurd proposition that the religious (and not even all of those, since some religious institutions are gay affirming) own the word “marriage”. On the other hand I don’t see this as neccesarily being a stopping point but a quite useful way-station on the way to full equality.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    From a Christian perspective, the only “marriage” that should count is a marriage to Jesus that happens in an afterlife. Relationships with mere humans should be outside of the confines of religion and up to the consenting adults involved.

    It is too bad that Christians don’t just consider “being faithful” as “dating Jesus” and then they get to “marry” Jesus for eternity after they die… They shouldn’t go around passing laws restricting whom consenting adults can marry.

    Religious people will have to eventually give up any pretense on owning (and being able to define) marriage.
    What they need, though, is a new term to mean that two people have been married with the extra constraints that they are of different genders and have given their lives to Christ. Maybe they could do something like have red-tented bands for their wedding rings to let everyone know they are of this more narrowly defined group. Then just live and let live.

  • Steve

    But it has always, even seculalry, been only between a man and a women.

    No, it hasn’t. At various points, there have been societies that have recognized or accepted same-sex unions throughout history. It wasn’t widespread, but it did exist.

  • Nancy W

    I’ve been engaged to my partner for 23 years now and we’re both approaching retirement age. I could care less what it’s called as long as our relationship is recognized equally under the law. Let them keep “marriage” as a sacrament, whatever. We just need to be legally recognized, as long as it is completely equal.

  • Josephine

    Robert W.:

    That is not strictly true. In many ancient societies, there was a form of same-sex union. China is the most common example, in the Zhou dynasty. There is also evidence of gay union in the Roman Empire. Most historians agree that it occurred. It is true that these unions probably did not involve religious sanction, but same-sex union has historically occurred in a secular context.

  • Mr Z

    Religious folk who oppose same sex marriages on the grounds that marriage is a gift from their god need to do some other things to prevent them looking like stupid liars and bigoted assholes.

    Some suggestions to help them keep in line with their world view are:

    Petitioning state and federal governments to retract funding for _any_ science based on evolution. – This will certainly be a good use of their time and the government’s time, especially if they even try to find out what this entails.

    Boycotting evolutionary supporters and science by not buying any products which are designed or engineered using evolutionary science. – perhaps 2-3 generations from now, they’ll all be dead.

    They should all stop visiting doctors and let god heal them when they are sick. – health care problem solved.

    They should stop eating pork and shellfish. – keep the hypocrites out of restaurants, more food for the rest of us.

    They should start stockpiling on stones so that they can correctly punish those among their ranks which break any of the moral laws of their holy books. – this will surely encourage more to join their ranks.

    They should refuse to work at jobs which require them to work on the Sabbath – plenty of atheists need work.

    Then, if they’re still able go ahead and oppose same sex marriage.

    If they are only going to be half-assed hypocritical Christians they need to STFU!
    It should take them a few years to get a law passed for establishing capital punishment by stoning for all the crimes mentioned in their holy text.

    They should wear a band on their arms with a cross on it so they can tell who is who out in public.

    If that doesn’t sit well with believers, then they need to admit they are and have been wrong about this whole law thing and apologize to all the people they have and are oppressing with bigoted hatred. They need to apologize to several generations of people for the trouble they continue to cause this very day.

    Oh, the best way to apologize? REALLY REALLY study their holy books with open eyes and an open mind and start blogs and websites explaining why there are differences between what their holy books say and what reality is…. and ensure their answers resonate with actual reality instead of the one they make up in their heads.

  • http://cincinatheist.blogspot.com cincinatheist

    Someone needs to alert Mr. Smith that this didn’t legalize gay “marriage” in Illinois (of course, to my chagrin.) So arguments as to civil unions/separate but not equal aside, his statement regarding his god and marriage is a straw man in this case. This bill addresses civil unions, not marriage. To Hemant’s point, what is their beef with medical care power of attorney decisions, etc? Also a great point about my marriage being invalid since a god wasn’t involved. I should remember to tell my wife.

  • Rich Wilson

    But it has always, even seculalry, been only between a man and a women.

    So, if two men live their lives together and are known by their community as being a committed couple, that’s not marriage? Humans, like other animals, make pair bonds. Sometimes for life, often not. Sometimes with the same sex, often not. Always have, probably always will.

  • Spencer

    “IFI’s Director of School Advocacy Laurie Higgins says ‘If marriages were centrally or solely about affirming love between individuals, the government would have no reason to be involved in the business of sanctioning marriage.’
    They are, so it doesn’t. Keep the government out of marriage.

  • Vas

    Better yet, let’s hear them [IFI] tell a loving gay couple to their face why they don’t deserve the right to care for each other.

    You, (Hemant) say that as if you think they wouldn’t, or would be afraid to. I’m betting they would have no problem doing this.
    Robert the resident troll has come pretty close from time to time as he spews his vile hate filled superstitions, (read xtian love) on these forums.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Robert W:

    Wrong, you homophobic git.

  • Robert W.

    Rich,

    So, if two men live their lives together and are known by their community as being a committed couple, that’s not marriage? Humans, like other animals, make pair bonds. Sometimes for life, often not. Sometimes with the same sex, often not. Always have, probably always will.

    I’m sure they have and always will. But that isn’t really the issue. The issue is state sanctification of this union.

  • Robert W.

    Vas,

    You, (Hemant) say that as if you think they wouldn’t, or would be afraid to. I’m betting they would have no problem doing this.
    Robert the resident troll has come pretty close from time to time as he spews his vile hate filled superstitions, (read xtian love) on these forums.

    Again, not really the issue. The issue is state sanctification of their union.

  • http://heathenrepublican.blogspot.com The Heathen Republican

    Good for Illinois. Now we just need the federal government to recognize civil unions.

    When you say, “It’s not marriage equality yet, but it’s a step in the right direction,” what else has to be done for equality?

    What rights are still missing?

  • Nakor

    So your defence then is that specifically US law had never allowed gay marriage? Because if so… so what? When a law, no matter how long it may have been around, is found bad, wrong or insufficient in some way, we change it. So the fact that in the past there was a time before which the US had never had state sanctioned gay marriage is utterly irrelevant. We NOW think it should be allowed, and the arguments in favour are mountainous in size. So we change the law, regardless of its age or whether it had been changed prior.

    Really, it sounds like you’re just saying, “This is new, therefore it’s bad.”

  • JT

    Personally I feel the whole same-sex marriage debate is a waste of time. Just do away with marriage all together. Your wizards can wave their magic wand and declare you all sorts of things but at the end of the day the government won’t recognize it as anything real. What they will recognize as a legally binding status is a civil union…or whatever new word we come up with. The thing that anyone can enter into that will allow for visitation, survivor benefits and all that jazz. Honestly, I don’t even care if the two people love each other, are related or have the same equipment downstairs. If both parties want to enter into the contractual joinment of shit they own, that’s their business. Legally it’s made more complicated by more than two parties, but if that’s worked out I don’t care about that either.

    Everybody wins. Religious get ownership of “marriage” like they claim to want and the rest of the world can move on with their lives. No separate but equal, just one new ungodly institution in which anyone can enter. This isn’t supply and demand economics, your union is not made more valuable because there are fewer people who have them. The value is determined by what you put into it and the compatibility of those you enter it with.

  • Steve

    Personally I feel the whole same-sex marriage debate is a waste of time. Just do away with marriage all together.

    That would just play into the hands of religionists. Marriage was a private and mostly secular institution for thousands of years before Christianity co-opted it in the middle ages. Suddenly they declared that a priest is required for the ceremony to be valid.

    Why leave marriage to them? That would mean you let them win and get away with theft. Marriage is a secular institution. What churches can do is have some religious stuff at the wedding. But it’s the government that recognizes marriages and gives people licenses. In many European countries, you are required to be married at civil hall – even if you want a religious ceremony too later.

  • Linda Binda

    The thing to love, really, is the constant goalpost-moving.

    First, they say they’ll support civil unions but not marriage. But then, they’re only honest at the polls when they vote for these amendments to ban any semblance or recognition of gay couples whatsoever, much like what they’ve done here in Georgia. What does that tell you?

    This isn’t about the “sanctity” of marriage or any other such made-up bullshit — it’s about their secret wish that they could have what they have in many African countries like Nigeria, Uganda, and Sudan, where they can put such people in jail and even exterminate them, if they could. Of course, if they did, that would only make them like the primitive blacks. So *gasp* they wouldn’t ever.. (not for now, anyways — they’ll preach for that, later)

    Just keep in mind that Fred Phelps is the only honest one in the bunch.

    (I’m African-American, BTW.)

    (Also: my first ever post. Yay. :) )

  • Linda Binda

    “Again, not really the issue. The issue is state sanctification of their union.”

    And what’s wrong with that? The U.S. is a secular state, not an explicitly Christian one. If we don’t have priests to rule our government, and we don’t have blasphemy laws on the books, then we can have gay marriages. Any other consideration is just putting religious sentiment in secular law.

    EDIT: BTW, there’s no “sanctification” going on with recognizing marriages. All that talk of “sanctification” and “holiness” is just meaningless, overly subjective bunk within a secular context.

  • http://needforcognition.blogspot.com/ Christy

    I’m with JT. If the fruitloops are getting their panties in such a bunch because of the word “marriage,” let them just have it. It would send a very clear message that our governments are not entangled in religion, and make the whole thing moot. If you want property rights, etc., get a civil union from the state. If you want Yahweh to smile down on your acts of coitus, go to a church and get married.

  • ACN

    Robert,

    What does “state sanctification” mean to you? Are you concerned that someone is going to force your church to perform gay marriages, or are you concerned that the state can “sanctify” (whatever that means precisely) a gay marriage? Or is it something else?

  • http://needforcognition.blogspot.com/ Christy

    ACN, I have a friend who is extremely intelligent and fairly well read. But she’s a conservative Christian, and she told me one day that ministers were in danger of being arrested if they didn’t marry gay couples. When I pointed out how ridiculous that was, we eventually got around to her agreeing that probably the worst that would happen is that a few zealous gay couples might sue civilly, and not really have a leg to stand on.

    It’s unreal the lies churches are spreading about “the homosexual agenda.”

  • BKsea

    Do people engaged in a civil union have to pay taxes as a married couple? If not, can heterosexuals get a civil union and pay taxes as two singles (great for working couples!)?

    Actually, any heterosexual couple that supports gay marriage should get a civil union instead of being married. They would be expressing their solidarity and also their disdain for a discriminatory institution.

  • Robert W.

    ACN,

    Probably a bad choice of words. I mean official recognition.

    As for the fear that churches will be forced to perform same sex marriages, I am sure that this will be the next step. As much as those who support same sex marriages say it isn’t a real concern, they already put pressure on private organizations to support them on this issue (i.e. the recent Chic Filet issue) so I will not be surprised when that happens.

    Not unlike the concern that this will lead to others trying to legitimize other unions such as polygamy for example. This is already occurring in Canada. Or that traditional marriage will be harmed. This is already occurring in Norway where marriage is almost nonexistent at this point.

    Not saying this will happen but the concerns are legitimate and have a basis in fact.

  • Rich Wilson

    Chic Filet issue

    Or the way the Roman Catholic Church is being pressured to ordain women.

    legitimize other unions such as polygamy

    ironic that those pushing to legitimize polygamy in Canada are also some of the most anti-gay people you’ll find anywhere.

    Norway where marriage is almost nonexistent

    The fact that you mention a single country and don’t say anything that would indicate causality made me suspicious. http://www.slate.com/id/2100884/

    Hey, you’re concerned. That’s fine. I’m concerned that when my son is old enough to go to school the fact that his teachers will probably be Christians might mean he’ll get a poor science education. But I’m not about to call for a ban on religious science teachers.

    Oh, and BTW, we didn’t have state sanctified driving until we had it either. Just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s bad.

  • Jeff Ritter

    “Marriage was not created by man or governments,” said IFI Executive Director David E. Smith. “It is an institution created by God. Governments merely recognize its nature and importance.”

    I’m currently enrolled in a World History II class with UMass Lowell and learned an interesting thing this week. It wasn’t until the 1200′s that the Church became pre-occupied with marriage and divorce. That’s the first time it was a matter of clergy. Prior to that it was dealt with by aristocrats and peasants alike as a family matter and the clergy had no jurisdiction. So how is it again that this institution was created by god? Governments merely recognize it? Seems to me that the church came in a stole it, not the other way around. If you don’t like the idea of gay people marrying then don’t marry a gay person. In my lifetime this will not be an issue, and that will be a good day.

  • Apollo

    As for the fear that churches will be forced to perform same sex marriages, I am sure that this will be the next step. As much as those who support same sex marriages say it isn’t a real concern, they already put pressure on private organizations to support them on this issue (i.e. the recent Chic Filet issue) so I will not be surprised when that happens.

    Churches can refuse to do marriages for anyone for any reason. They do so today. If I requested a Catholic wedding, I have no doubt that the church would refuse to perform it (unless I did a whole lot of lying). The Catholic church can (and does) refuse to perform marriages for previously divorced individuals. What makes you think that giving gays equal civil rights would somehow void the separation of church and state?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Let me see if I get the progression right.

    First we legalize gay marriage.
    Then churches are forced to perform gay marriages.
    Then everybody is forced to engage in homosexual behavior.
    Then men and women stop getting married.
    Then people stop having babies.
    Society goes into a downward spiral.
    Civilization comes to an end.
    The human species becomes extinct.
    God is pissed off and sends everyone to hell.

    All because marriage was made legal between any two consenting adults.

  • ACN

    Jeff,

    If I might be so bold as to add something to the progression:

    In the words of Dr. Peter Venkman:

    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!

  • Dan W

    Illinois hasen’t quite gotten there yet, but your state is at least trying to head in the right direction. (Not quite there, as civil unions aren’t the same as marriage.) Meanwhile in my state, Iowa, the Republicans in the state House are attempting to overturn same-sex marriage. http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2011/02/01/house-oks-marriage-vote-3-dems-vote-with-gop/

    Fortunately, the Democrats have a majority in the Iowa Senate, and they’re not going to let this shit happen.

  • Samiimas

    What makes you think that giving gays equal civil rights would somehow void the separation of church and state?

    Robert already knows theirs no truth at all to the claim that churches could be forced to marry gay couples. He knows its a lie and he continues repeating it anyway, because he knows theirs no honest argument to defend his bigotry.

  • Robert W.

    Rich and Samiimas,

    Steps towards that are already happening in Europe.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2009/apr/09041408

    In Canada, there was legislation to include any opposition to homosexuality as “hate speech” and it is called the “the Bible as Hate Literature” bill. (Don’t know if that passed).

    The same fear is being expressed in Britain where the threat is criminal but through civil discrimination lawsuits:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=127055

    I grant you that the First Amendment should protect churches from this, however I can foresee where that could not stand in the way. This would not be like a Catholic church refusing to perform a marriage to a non Catholic because being Catholic is not a legally recognized group for anti- discrimination laws. Once sexual orientation is a recognized group, then discrimination laws kick in and unless religious institutions are exempted they would be subject to them.

    If you don’t think that there would be pressure on Churches to change their views and perform these marriages, then you are being disingenuous.

  • Robert W.

    Sorry that should have said the threat is not criminal, but civil in Britain

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Robert W:

    Hey guess what, Robert.

    CANADA AND BRITAIN DO NOT HAVE THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!

    What happens in the US stays in the US, until we have a one world government document there’s nothing that happens in Canada, Britain, Spain, or anywhere that will affect us. No church in America has to marry anyone they do not want to marry. Whether that’s a same-sex couple, a multi-ethnic couple, a multi-religion couple, or so on and so forth – they cannot be told by the government that they have to marry them.

    And I – even with my desire to see same-sex marriage as completely equal to hetero marriage – would be against any government that tells any church they have to marry someone.

  • Steve

    @Robert:
    If you want people to take you seriously (which is already extremely hard), don’t use Wing Nut Daily as a resource. All they do is lie and scream. They are one of the most vitriolic anti-gay rags out there.

    Who the fuck would want to get married by a hateful, bigoted, narrowminded priest anyways? If someone wants a religious wedding, there are enough gay-friendly churches to chose from.

    The problems arise only in areas where the churches meddle in secular affairs, like assuming secular functions such as adoption agencies. In those cases they already need to follow secular laws. So quit the childish whining. Deep down you know you are lying. They’ll continue to discriminate in their core business. Just as they always have.

    Also, in the US many same-sex marriage bills contain (completely redundant and superfluous) clauses that explicitly allow churches to discriminate. Or they vote on a separate bill alongside it. Just to appease the holy rollers.

  • bernerbits

    And I – even with my desire to see same-sex marriage as completely equal to hetero marriage – would be against any government that tells any church they have to marry someone.

    Exactly. Robert, when (yes, when) gay marriage is legalized, if the government does decide to start forcing churches to marry gay couples, most atheists in this country will be 100% on your side in that fight.

    Even so, pork is legal in the US, and yet the government isn’t forcing any Jews or Muslims to eat bacon.

  • stogoe

    Robert W:

    But it has always, even seculalry, been only between a man and a women.

    You are either a god-damned liar or a fool.

  • Robert W.

    Kevin,

    Hey guess what, Robert.

    CANADA AND BRITAIN DO NOT HAVE THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!

    Actually Kevin, Canada does have a freedom of religion clause in their constitution. Its section 2 of the fundamental freedoms in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (similar to our Bill of Rights).

    Steve,

    The problems arise only in areas where the churches meddle in secular affairs, like assuming secular functions such as adoption agencies. In those cases they already need to follow secular laws. So quit the childish whining. Deep down you know you are lying. They’ll continue to discriminate in their core business. Just as they always have.

    Also, in the US many same-sex marriage bills contain (completely redundant and superfluous) clauses that explicitly allow churches to discriminate. Or they vote on a separate bill alongside it. Just to appease the holy rollers.

    We will have to see of course how it plays out.

  • http://askanatheist.tv/ pinkocommie

    Robert:

    The first story has to do with legislation that was approved in 2003 in Canada after a religious guy took out an offensive full page anti-homosexual ad in a paper. They didn’t say strictly that the bible was hate literature, they concluded that the bible can be used for purpose of hate literature and in those instances, it would be considered a hate crime in the exact same way it would be considered a hate crime to take out a full page ad and use the Koran to call for the mass murder of non-Muslims. The bible has hateful stuff in it. The bible is open to interpretation. In Canada, they made it illegal to use the bible in such a way that promotes hate.

    This has what to do with gay marriage in America?

    Your second link begins:

    British lawmakers have tentatively approved a bill to allow churches to host same-sex marriages, prompting warnings that the measure would be one step from forcing clergy to perform the homosexual ceremonies.

    So it’s not a story about anyone forcing anyone else to do anything. It’s a story about Britain passing a bill that allows gay people to get married in churches with some guy’s evidently apocalyptic vision of (gasp) a super-gay-is-ok (the horror!) future that may arise from it tacked on for scare factor. And…evidently it worked?

    There most certainly might be pressure on churches in the future to accommodate gay people, just like there was pressure in the past for churches to accommodate minorities and interracial couples. These things are not infringements on anyone’s religion, they’re social pressures that become unavoidable in a progressive society because acceptance of your fellow human beings is the decent thing to do.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Robert W:

    Regardless of whether or not Canada has a freedom of religion clause (which they do, but I still wasn’t wrong – their constitution is not our constitution) it doesn’t affect anything that happens in America. If legislation passes that makes opposition to homosexuality a hate crime in Canada, there’s no guarantee it will happen in America.

    The government and legislation of Canada doesn’t affect America. The majority of Canadians agree that clergy shouldn’t have to marry anyone they don’t want to anyway, so it’s very unlikely that bill will pass through legislation.

    And as I said earlier, if such legislation were going to pass in America, I would be vehemently against it because I believe the government should keep its hands out of religion as much as religion should keep its hands out of the government.

  • Steve

    Here is the text of the Maryland marriage equality bill:
    http://mlis.state.md.us/2011rs/bills/sb/sb0116f.pdf

    Clearly shows that Robert is either ignorant or a liar.

    Though as said, the religious provisions are unnecessary. They are just there to appease fundamentalist Christians who would otherwise interfere in the political process (more than usual). But better having them there than having to listen to one of their idiotic campaigns.

  • Robert W.

    Kevin,

    Of course the Canadian legislation doesn’t effect us legally. I never said that. All i said is look at what is happening in other countries that have done this to see if the concerns of those that oppose it have some basis. In my opinion the concerns have a basis based upon those same concerns already beginning to occur in these other countries.

    Will it happen here? I don’t know. But I do like that everytime other countries are doing something you agree with we are told “look at Europe” then when we look at those countries and see problems with what you want done we are told those are different countries, it wouldn’t happen here.

    Steve,

    I am neither.

    What do you think will happen when federal anti discrimination laws conflict with this Maryland law? I do. The Federal law will supersede it and it will provide no protection to the clergy in Maryland.

  • Samiimas

    I love how Robert’s still lying about this even though he’s had it pointed out to him literally dozens of times that their are already anti-discrimination laws regarding women, religion and race and still their has never been any successful attempt to sue the Catholic church to allow women, sue a Christian church to hold a Jewish wedding or to sue the mormons/christian identity into accepting black people.

    The fact that the pathetic bigot has to resort to such lying s the surest sign equality is winning.

    PS: I love how you guys have already pointed out that the hate site Robert linked to *Their are columns on WND supporting the death penalty against gay people in Uganda, something I’m sure Robert also supports* was full of crap.

  • Robert W.

    Samiimas,

    You are an idiot and religious bigot. You don’t even understand the definition of the word lie yet you throw it around as if I have done that which I haven’t.

    And I’m not the only one who forsees upcoming clashes between religious freedom and anti-discrimination laws.

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1228/gay-marriage-free-exercise-religion

    And to claim that there have been no successful lawsuits for discrimination against religious organizations:

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/samesex_marriage_could_threaten_civil_liberties_and_religious_freedoms/

    These weren’t for marriages, but they were suits that went to the religious beliefs of the church that they could not practice due to alleged discrimination.

    Finally, to ease your pea brained mind, I don’t agree with the death penalty laws in Uganda for homosexuality.

    So claim all you want that it will never happen and I will continued to be concerned about it. So far history has shown that my concerns are valid and your pollyanna denials are false and disingenuous.

  • Sarah

    Yay for Pat Quinn, my governor!

    People outside of Illinois might not realize that this almost didn’t happen. Bill Brady, the anti gay/woman/middle class lost by a mere few thousand votes. The fact that he lost only by a few thousand votes shows is really really depressing.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Robert W:

    I’ll say this slowly, and I’ll use small words so you can understand it, you homophobic asshole.

    There is no legal precedent in America that forces any priest or church to have to marry anyone they do not want to marry. The “gays will force churches to marry them” canard is almost as bad as the “gay marriage will lead to pedophilia” one – just as offensive and pernicious.

    Of course people are concerned about it. I’d be concerned about it if I knew that it just was not going to happen. Catholic churches are free to not recognize the marriage of Protestants, they do not have to marry them. It is fully a part of the First Amendment. The laws of other countries may be a little more lax, but one thing stands:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    If a judge forced a church to marry a gay couple that it did not want to – I would be out there as much as anyone else, protesting the decision. It is a clear violation of the First Amendment to force a church to recognize the marriage of someone they do not want to. The government cannot trounce the free speech or free exercise of a religion, so your fears are completely unfounded.

  • Samiimas

    I don’t know what’s funnier: Robert’s pathetic bigoted attempts to justify taking civil rights away from gay people or the fact that a grown man who still has imaginary friends thinks he can call other people ‘pea brained’.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    @Robert W:

    Also, according to your Catholic News link (good non-biased sourcing there) the following lawsuits were brought up:

    1) Catholic Charities sued because of adoption rights of a gay couple.
    2) A Jewish university barred gay students from its married dormitory.
    3) A gynecologist refused in vitro fertilization to a lesbian couple.
    4) A photographer was sued for refusal to serve a lesbian couple’s wedding.
    5) A Methodist association was sued because it refused to rent part of its boardwalk.

    NONE of these examples have anything to do with marriage rights. Churches were not required to marry gay couples, what they are required to do, however, is follow the law. If any of these places refused to perform these actions for an interracial couple – they could also be sued. It’s discrimination, not religious exemption.

  • Steve

    Yup, all of those examples are cases where religious organizations or people got involved in secular matters. None of it has anything to do with religion as the main business.
    And those Catholic charities probably received federal funding because the government did some outsourcing. That happens frequently.

    You aren’t above the law simply because you believe in something.
    To use the slippery slop argument Christians are so fond of: what’s next? Beating some up or killing them because your religion commands it? And no, that’s not any different just because people are physically harmed.

    Christians whine about how gay people want “special rights”. The only ones I see wanting special rights are believers who think the don’t have to follow the law no matter what they do.


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