The Purpose of Gay “Marriage” is to Smash Religious Liberty

The Purpose of Gay “Marriage” is to Smash Religious Liberty November 13, 2013

Reader Joe Grabowski writes of the gay “marriage” law in Hawaii:

Under the law as it stands and is being signed into action by the Governor today…

1) Churches need to keep a register of congregants or else risk being sued for refusal to officiate a gay marriage for a non-member.

2) Churches that own buildings can only disallow same sex marriages in those buildings if all the other activities in the building are closed to the general public (nonmembers). Thus things like scouts, AA,  reception halls generally must go away. Otherwise, the Church can be sued and risk losing tax exemptions or even face property closure.

For advocates of gay “marriage” those are features, not bugs. The goal of gay “marriage” is to crush religious liberty.

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  • Newp Ort

    Any verification on this? Every source I can find says to qualify for the protection, a church must “not make its facilities or grounds available to the general public for solemnization of any marriage celebration for a profit.”

    I can’t find anything about other church uses – AA, etc.

    • IRVCath

      Yeah. I think the statute seems to mainly target Protestant churches and non-sectarian ‘chapels’ who rent out their facilities for all manner of people to get married in. Though I would not put it past some cheeky lawyer to argue that the donations and customary payments attendant to church weddings (to support the priest, the congregation, the facilities, the organist and so on) count as “profit”.

      • chezami

        First they came for the non-denoms and I said nothing because I was a Catholic…

        • IRVCath

          I understand the situation is still horrible. But we must not exaggerate the real vices of legislation, lest they call us out on it and make ourselves unnecessarily ridiculous.

          Of course, the Protestants and the for-profit wedding chapels could, it seems, avoid the effects of this bill – namely, by refusing to solemnize marriages for profit, that is, by not regularly renting out their space for marriages not conducted by them – just as we Catholics by and large do in this country. Of course, some of them, with their “prosperity Gospel”, would likely then lose their raison d’etre…

  • Rachel

    I just checked the actual bill contents and the FAQ’s page on the governor’s website. This is what I found: and :Q: Under the 9/9/13 version of the bill proposed by the Administration, can a member of the clergy be required to solemnize a marriage between two individuals of the same sex, if the clergy member objects to such marriages on religious grounds?

    A: No. The Constitution requires us to be respectful of religious beliefs, and this bill has been drafted with that intent. Under the bill, members of the clergy are not required to solemnize any marriages and may refuse to do so for “any reason,” including any objection on religious grounds. The bill expressly provides that a clergy member who refuses to perform a marriage cannot be sued, fined, or subject to any civil action because they refuse to perform a marriage.

    Q: Under the bill, can a church be required to open its place of worship for a wedding ceremony between two individuals of the same sex, if the church usually restricts wedding ceremonies to its own members?

    A: No. A religious organization that allows only its own members to use its place of worship for wedding ceremonies will not be required to allow a same-sex couple to celebrate a marriage there. In addition, the bill protects religious organizations from any suit, fine, or civil action for refusing to allow a same-sex couple to use their place of worship for a wedding ceremony if:

    The religious facility is regularly used for religious purposes;

    For the solemnization of marriages, the religious organization limits the use of the facility to its members; and

    The religious facility is not operated as a for-profit business.

    A religious organization remains subject to the public accommodations code if the organization allows the public to use a facility run by a religious organization, such as a meeting room. Whether public access to a facility will subject the religious organization to the public accommodations code is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on each specific situation. If, for example, a religious organization allowed the public to use a meeting room for community meetings, allowing these community meetings does not mean that the space must be open to the public for all other potential uses (like weddings). It is also possible that some buildings or spaces may be open to the public while others are not.

    So, unless some sneaky thing was thrown in there that is unconstitutional then the rumor is false

    • Gail Finke

      Sounds to me like the rumor is 100% true. The summary in the comment box says,

      “No more AA meetings, town hall meetings, or any other community activity can be done unless the church also allows gay marriages to be performed on site. Otherwise, they can be sued with a risk of losing their tax exempt status and potentially their property.”

      The text you quoted says, “Whether public access to a facility will subject the religious organization to the public accommodations code is determined on a case-by-case basis, based on each specific situation. If, for example, a religious organization allowed the public to use a meeting room for community meetings, allowing these community meetings does not mean that the space must be open to the public for all other potential uses (like weddings).”

      And who determines whether or not the public accommodations code applies? A court. So yes, unless a church restricts access of all its property to its members, it “can be sued with a risk of losing tax exempt status and potentially property” if it refuses to host same-sex weddings.

      • Rachel

        I don’t think that the rumor is true. Granted, there is room for a judge to make silly judgments but take a look at it again, “If, for example, a religious organization allowed the public to use a meeting room for community meetings, allowing these community meetings does not mean that the space must be open to the public for all other potential uses (like weddings). It is also possible that some buildings or spaces may be open to the public while others are not.” AA meetings, etc would still be fine. It states specifically that the meeting halls do not need to be used for weddings. The point about the accommodations code is right here, “The religious facility is not operated as a for-profit business.”. Is AA meetings, etc a for profit business? This is where there are sticky situations since a for profit business must accommodate anyone. Since I don’t think AA and other meetings are for profit, then those can continue with no fines. The question really comes down to the money. In fact, that’s the entire reason for this law among others, more money to go to government coffers. If you notice, all the conflicts between religious organizations and gay rights activists is about money.

        I can see where there are potential problems but saying we can’t have community meetings anymore if we don’t have gay weddings on church property is stretching it a bit

        • entonces_99

          The bit about the religious facility not being operated as a for-profit business is only one of the hoops the church has to jump through in order to be in the clear. It also has to limit use of the facility, as far as marriages are concerned, to its own members. (This means that a church like the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, if it were in Hawaii, would be out of luck, because it doesn’t have any members and thus can’t say it only allows its members to marry there.)

        • kenofken

          All a church has to do to avoid problems is to stay out of the “rent a hall” public wedding business. No civil rights law or ordinance requires to to offer any product or service you don’t already do. I can’t, for example, sue a Halal grocery store for their refusal to special order my favorite scotch. On the other hand, if they decide to open liquor store, they can’t refuse to sell to me because they don’t like “my kind.”

        • Newp Ort

          Renting to AA for profit has to be one of the worst business plans ever imagined.

      • Jeremy Adkison

        This is complete nonsense. It’s hard to be able to have serious and thoughtful conversations with people who believe anything, no matter how deranged it is.

    • entonces_99

      What about the part that only gives the church a safe harbor if “[f]or the solemnization of marriages, the religious organization limits the use of the facility to its members”? So if I want to get married, and my home parish was built in the 1970s and is there a hideous abomination against God and man, and I ask the pastor of St. Swithin’s (the church across town, which was built in the 1930s and is a beautiful neo-Gothic building), in accordance with canon 1115 of the Code of Canon Law, if he would allow us to get married at his church, he’ll have to say no, because neither I nor my fiancee is a parishioner, and if he lets us marry there, he’ll have to open his church to same-sex marriages.

      • Stu

        No. You are still a member of the THE CHURCH.

        • Therese Z

          and what is the “facility?” the sanctuary only? or the parish hall, which was remodeled to be nice for public rentals as well as church use? we don’t technically have Mass in there on a regular basis, so is it fair game for SSM?
          I wouldn’t put it past particularly nasty people to try to use a Catholic school auditorium, or cafeteria (my high school’s were nice enough to use)….

          • But only if the Church or school in question was in the habit of letting its auditorium or cafeteria be used for marriages or other public events, for profit.

      • James Lorenzato

        entonces, what is the definition of member? If you are a member of the church as a whole, though not a parishioner of a particular parish, the use of the word member should allow you to marry at St. Swithin’s. Your problem appears to arise not from the civil law but from a provision of your canon law.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      AND you can keep your health insurance if you like it! The government says so on their website!

    • wlinden

      Um, isn’t that “public accommodation” business what the original post said?

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    I really have to protest the way this is being spoken of. I’m a gay Catholic, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church (though naturally my practice falls short), and I think this kind of antagonistic language seriously damages the capacity of Christians to understand — and, correspondingly, evangelize — the gay world.

    Let’s suppose, for the purposes of argument, that everything posted here about the bill is exactly true. Well, back when I supported gay marriage, I would also have fiercely opposed such an infringement of religious liberty. And I would not have been the only one.

    There is no monolithic gay movement: not all gay people, even those outside the traditional views of the Church on sexuality and marriage, want the same things; some view gay marriage as a contemptible selling out to a heteronormative society. And, as Catholics have cause to know from, e.g., the Catholic League, the voice of activism does not necessarily represent the real life and thought of the people they agitate for.

    Some gay people are non-religious or irreligious. But even they are not necessarily indifferent to religious liberty. And their desire for civil marriage, while it may be wrong from our perspective, is not in itself a desire to smash the Church. Even if it leads ultimately — whether by its internal logic, or by the constantly mingling causes of history — to damaging religious freedom, or even the Church herself, it is not necessary and not just to accuse gay marriage advocates of this kind of deliberate malignancy. That simply isn’t the kind of thing most of them are interested in; what they want is social recognition and legal protection.

    Do I oppose gay marriage? Yes, with (I admit) some reluctance, because it was something that I used to want very much. But if an idea or a law or anything else is wrong, it is sufficient to say that it is wrong, without attributing the worst motives to those who support it. And certainly not without thorough verification.

    • Stu


      I can agree with you to a point. I’m confident that individuals can support it just as you say but I also have seen enough of policy making from the inside to know that more nefarious motives are often afoot.

      • tj.nelson

        I agree with Gabriel as well. Especially here:
        “There is no monolithic gay movement: not all gay people, even those outside the traditional views of the Church on sexuality and marriage, want the same things; some view gay marriage as a contemptible selling out to a heteronormative society. And, as Catholics have cause to know from, e.g., the Catholic League, the voice of activism does not necessarily represent the real life and thought of the people they agitate for.”

        Likewise here, as regards the lesbian lawmaker:
        “And I’m sure she meant it. My point is, I don’t think she is representative of the whole gay community in that respect (a lot of whom are religious themselves), and certainly not universally representative.”

        After all of these years blogging, I have certainly learned by experience this is true – there are voices which get air time or are published – look at Dan Savage’s recent comments. There isn’t a consensus – per se. Of course some political activists may have an agenda – but every politician has one of there own.

        It’s important to understand and admit that there are really ‘normal’ gay people who just want to be able to live their lives quietly. They have no interest in squashing religious liberty.

        Two friends of mine – two guys – just got married in a civil ceremony a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t go – but I never go to weddings anyway. They probably assumed I didn’t attend because I’m Catholic, but they never said that. Before they were legally wed, I asked one if they intended to get married – at first he said no, then it turned out his company announced same sex benefits would cease because marriage has been legalized. So they got married and made an event of it.

        What can I say? It’s their life, it’s legal, they know Church teaching, they have no intention of adopting kids – one guy is retired – but they settled their legal issues together and did something significant for the two of them.

        They’ve been my friends for years and have put up with my being Catholic and we’ve had our ups and downs – they know I’m against same sex marriage, they know I accept Church teaching on homosexual activity. But they have never insisted I stop being Catholic, never condemned the Church or its teaching or my efforts to be faithful to it, and they have no desire to see it persecuted out of existence. Neither do they want the Church to change its teaching to suit their lifestyle.

        Sorry for the long comment – but I wanted to say I think Gabriel makes an excellent point. Thanks.

    • chezami

      I never said there is a monolithic gay world. I said that the purpose of gay “marriage” is to smash religious liberty–because it is. A lesbian lawmaker in Hawaii who opposed the measure said the same.

      • Gabriel Blanchard

        And I’m sure she meant it. My point is, I don’t think she is representative of the whole gay community in that respect (a lot of whom are religious themselves), and certainly not universally representative.

        I argue the point because I think the sort of thinking that defines all advocacy for gay marriage as a deliberate assault on religious freedom makes it impossible to understand the movement from within, and without understanding the movement, it is next to impossible to reach anybody in it. I certainly was not reached by this sort of language; and among my gay friends, Christian or otherwise, the reason I’ve retained any credibility with them is because, while honestly and frankly disagreeing, I don’t attribute these motives to them (they certainly weren’t my motives when I supported gay marriage).

        • Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

          Persuasion really is a lost art. It seems like all anyone ever does anymore is rant for the benefit of the like-minded.

          (Or maybe I should spend less time reading Facebook and comboxes. That’s probably also true.)

          • Headstand

            I’m less impressed. Contrary to thoughtful, I find Gabriel’s morally ambivalent remarks in regard to religious liberty and Christian persecution unexceptional.

        • orual’s kindred

          The thing is, in this particular subject at least, it seems the advocacy (and the various advocates) in certain regards differ greatly from many of the actual policies that are in development. And the differences seem to be increasing.

      • Newp Ort

        So are you saying the only goal of supporters of gay marriage is to smash the church, or that the purpose of gay marriage itself as an institution is to smash the church?

        If the former, I think you are ascribing a malicious motive to people who in large part, as misguided as their good intention may be, do just want the freedom to marry for same sex couples. (undoubtedly there are those who would love to see the church hurt and would be very happy for same sex marriage to contribute to that, but I believe them to be a small minority.)

        If you mean the latter it is reasonable that a faithful catholic such as yourself would believe the purpose of gay marriage itself as a creation of the Evil One is to smash the church, and it’s supporters are the unwitting dupes of evil.

        Either way, you might want to fine tune your message a bit as you come off as malicious to gays and gay marriage supporters.

      • S. Murphy

        Yeah, but when you title the blog post thus, you may as well be the guy at ‘Gay and Enjoying it,’ that posts ‘The Purpose of Catholicism has always been to Smash GLBT Liberty,’ or the guy at hochhuthdotDeputydotcom who says ‘the Purpose of Christianity has Always been the Holocaust’ or some such shite.

    • wlinden

      But if you don’t support the “activist” agenda in toto, you will be told that you are not “authentically gay” and an enemy. Ask the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

      • Disgusted in DC

        And the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, PLAGAL, (which I think is not doing all that much now), has been periodically booted from pro-life events because, as gays, they were not deemed “authentically pro-life.” It cuts both ways and it will not do to say “oh, those terrible gay activists” while at the same time saying “how wonderful are our kind, tolerant, SSA-luuuuving pro-life activists,” ignoring the visceral hatred that many pro-life and “pro-family” activists express towards gays. Put another way, PLAGAL has been a most “Unlucky Pierre” in the sex-n-gender culture wars, though they handled it well for the most part. Conversely, not all pro-life activists agreed with the treatment meted out by certain prominent pro-life activists to PLAGAL and some of them made their feelings known at significant personal risks to their livelihoods and/or influence.

        • Disgusted in DC

          That said, a huge portion of the gay community really does bay for the blood of conservative Christians. Some of things I have heard from average gays in DC in my presence about conservative Christians are as horrifying bloodthirsty as the things I have heard from some conservative “observant” Christians. Some of this can be chalked to “talking big” or “liquid courage,” but I am afraid that a significant number of gays/conservative Christians would happily murder the other side if they could get away with it, a la, eastern europe during WWII.

          • Rachel

            well said Disgusted in DC 🙂

    • kenofken

      Assigning a universally evil motive to gay people’s demand for civil marriage does a lot more than undermine the Church’s ability to evangelize gays. It pretty well tanks its credibility as a sane moral voice for a large majority of Americans. It will identify the Church with the likes of Charles Worley and the Westboro gang.

      • wlinden

        And Mark Shea and Joe Grabowski are not “thechurch” in the sense that you mean. Most people in the country have never heard of them.

        • kenofken

          I don’t know Joe, but Mark is a pretty influential voice among conservative/traditional minded Catholics. Public opinion of the Church is formed as much or more by people’s experience of lay members as by bishops and popes. Most of the cultural conversation around gay marriage or any other topic on a day to day basis happens among ordinary people in real space and online, not from official USCCB statements or encyclicals. Mark’s language around this issue demonizes gays and makes common cause with some very ugly and hateful elements in the debate. That does reflect upon what ordinary people experience as “The Church.” It’s unfortunate that he lends his voice and influence to the worst instincts of the anti-SSM movement, because he tends to bring a sense of decency and temperance to most other issues.

    • Headstand

      Well golly gee whiz Gabriel, should we ask the gay community or the Church to award you your merit badge? The only thing I gather from your comment is you’re gay and morally ambivalent regarding religious liberty and Christian persecution.

      • Rachel

        This is one of the most disgusting comments I’ve heard. You just verified his concerns.

      • Steve Pable

        Nice – stay classy, there, “Headstand”. So courageous of you to use your own name in slamming sincere and thoughtful comments.

      • Rosemarie


        I don’t gather that at all from what he wrote. Where is he “morally ambivalent regarding religious liberty and Christian persecution”?

        He’s a gay man striving to be faithful to the teachings of the Church. We should love and support him as our brother, not act all morally superior. We all struggle in one way or another as Christians; we all have our temptations and besetting sins.

    • Elaine S.

      I agree with Gabriel. I would NOT assume that all gays are diehard supporters of gay marriage any more than I would assume that all American women are baby-hating feminazis who want abortion on demand and free contraception at all costs.

    • Jeremy Adkison

      First off, no smashing of religious liberty has happened anywhere in regards to this gay marriage issue. Let’s break it down.

      Owners and employees of public businesses do not have some creative right to mistreat people. We don’t let them do it for people of color, for people of faith, of no faith, for being an immigrant, etc. In other words, you have a right to detest the Mormon who works for you- you have no right in this country to try and hurt them or make their life worse by denying them basic services you still feel you are obligated to give to all the other groups you don’t like.

      So there’s false arguments going on here- I have as much right to discriminate against or deny services to a straight marriage in Massachusetts as I do to discriminate against a gay one- NONE. There’s no special rights being given, and no personal rights being trampled, this is the way an economy works, and the way civil laws work in a civil society.

      The argument, really then, is that by the virtue of the existence of gay marriage religious liberty and beliefs are therefore undermined. That because a subset of people believe that I, and perhaps even people like me, should be denied basic legal protection and societal recognition that there is an affront or violation when these laws are passed in spite of demonstrably false concerns and objections. The existence = infringement of religious liberty. This cannot logically be so.

      Beyond that, I have to rebut Gabriels written attempt at receiving some sort of kitchy validation as a gay person who prescribes to an antigay life and beliefs.

      You see gay antigay people, people like Gabriel who are gay themselves but hold to antigay religious theology and practice(i.e., he and people like him can never date or have a natural family, unless they force themselves to imitate a heterosexual relationship) get really touchy at this idea that they are working against their own community, and the gay friends who still bestow charity upon them by being nice to them and not rejecting them for rejecting himself, and vicariously themselves. There’s this drive, almost, to be a part of the community that really understands you, because at the end of the day the straight Christians won’t ever get it, and they certainly won’t get people like him. That’s sweet, but the answer is no- there is something different about people like Gavbriel, Chambers, Eve Tushnet, etc.

      Yes, not all gay people are alike, but there is one definitive difference between all the folks in our community!

      There are gay affirming persons, and antigay persons. I.E., gay and antigay.

      There are people who see that some folks are born, naturally different, that its a part of human design, that we should integrate them into society for what will be the benefit of us all, families, and children to be raised and yet to be born. History has shown us their relationships harm no one, they don’t harm society, but we certainly harm them(needlessly) through persecution because they are a sexual minority.

      Then there’s the other side, Gabriels side, who says that that this form of natural sexual expression is so wrong that people born biologically different should, as a short end of the stick graciously given by a loving ‘god’, be celibate, without natural sexual expression, no natural families for them, only the charity of straight families, unless they get really deprecated and decide to physically FORCE themselves to “marry” and have ‘sex’ with an opposite-gendered ‘spouse.’

      The above side hurts the gay community, unequivocally. It has absolutely destroyed families, people, and is probably the cause for deaths and suicides in many different circumstances. The antigay people people like Gabriel espouse is the CORE belief about the indignity of gay people, as somehow being ‘less than’, and its something he embraces and propagates gleefully.

      Then there’s the other side, which so clearly does not contribute to suicides, mixed-orientation “marriages”(which some studies estimate have less than a 20% likelihood to last longer than three years), and general environments that are inherently unhealthy for LGBT youth to be in, and for children to be raised in.

      So it’s quaint that some people are gay and antigay, and poster-boy catholics for their catholic friends and communities. It is a wonderful act of grace that your gay friends exhibit truly saintly behavior and don’t condemn or reject you for your personal rejection of yourself, what unites you all in common, and your vicarious rejection/judgment upon them.

      I realize that for people like the one’s I’m describing, it’s a bit more nuanced. In short, they recognize the massive harm their religion has done, and is doing, to gay people- but embrace the core cause of it and argue that we should try to reform the consequences of antigay theology on gay people. I.E., making a loving world where we smile and happily tell LGBT people how broken the are, that ‘god’ calls them to lifelong loneliness, or inherently unnatural relationships, and that this can all be done in a way that corrects the 2,000 years of persecution, death, and personal destruction that gay antigay people themselves are subjected to, and still subject themselves to.

      So, yes, Gabriel, we aren’t all one homogeneous group. Some of us are gay christians, gay celibate(and in my view antigay) christians, or nonbelievers, and some of us are even Vaishnava’s that purposefully force themselves into interfaith dialogues that make their skin crawl. 😉

      But I think I can mix us all in a pot, throw that dividing line down of gay and antigay, and place us in our respective gay affirming and antigay sides.

      Simply put, you may be gay, but you are not gay in the way the vast, vast majority of this country is, or your peers, and although I don’t want to wave a constant Ferret-Of-Persecution battlestand(its an inside joke for me at this point), I can’t sit here in good conscience and let people pretend they are something their not, for the sake of their own feelings, and let them say unchallenged that they are a part of a shining community- that they completely and utterly work against in every conceivable way.

      Hare Krsna,

      • SteveP

        After a passionate assertion that “gay” is different, you lambast Gabriel for not being the same and end up at: “I can’t sit here in good conscience and let people pretend they are something [they’re] not, for the sake of their own feelings, and let them say unchallenged that they are a part of a shining community- that they completely and utterly work against in every conceivable way.”

        Pretty funny.

        • Jeremy Adkison

          I think that’s a pretty light hearted attempt at reading what I wrote- yes, we aren’t all the same, but there is a difference between people with vastly antigay, self-deprecating theology, and people who are gay affirming.

          Are we both gay? Yes. But there’s still something very distinguishable between us, and rightly so.

          • SteveP

            What you wrote cannot be taken seriously: “gay” is self-identified and only self-identified. There is nothing empirical about “gay;” to read your rejection of someone’s self-identification based on your stereotypes was quite amusing as capped by the open statement of intolerance for another’s feelings.

            • Guest


            • Jeremy Adkison

              Steve, the post was touching on the difference between versions of ‘gay’, and that his gay community is not my gay community. We may use the same language and terminology to describe each other, but the real difference is not minute, it’s very important. Gay antigay persons embrace the very theology and belief that causes all the harm they feel the need to blog about.

              Endlessly blog about.

              Also, and I’m not entirely certain where I stand on this yet, there is a strong argument that gay is a political identification, created by a particular group to describe themselves in such a way that it has always held a traditional meaning of being a gay affirming self-identity. Gabriel is not gay affirming. Ironically, this is an argument I’ve seen both gay activists AND extremist antigay christians quabble over. There’s some merit to the conversation, absolutely.

              Can you be culturally gay but still antigay? Gods willing, not around me.

  • TruthSayer

    This is false. The bill was amended to exempt churches from performing same sex marriages or making their facilities available to same sex ceremonies or celebrations.

  • AshleyWB

    Nearly everything in the OP is untrue. There’s no requirement to maintain membership rolls, and religious organizations can open their churches to activities involving non-members without allowing same-sex marriages. However, if the church runs a for-profit marriage business for non-members, then it must accept all marriages. This is an issue in Hawaii because many churches make money providing marriage services to tourists.

    There are no penalties or punishments for churches that break the law, though of course they could face civil lawsuits.

    This is exactly the state of things in Hawaii now for same-sex civil unions, and according to the Hawaii AG, no church has ever been sued for not providing marriage services.

    • kenofken

      Yeah, but the truth doesn’t sell as well as a frantic persecution myth! What is being help up as “religious liberty” is really just an assertion of a twisted “right” to deny other people their most basic civil rights of public accommodation and dignity. A right to oppress others in public is not within the scope of any religious liberty and it deserves to be smashed now, as its ugly forerunners were 50 years ago.

  • Guest

    A Hawaii lawyer here —

    The exemption language provides that “a religious organization or nonprofit organization operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization shall not be required to provide goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage that is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith.” HRS 572-E(a). There is corresponding immunity from civil liability. HRS 572E(b). This exemption and immunity is broader than what existed with respect to civil unions under the former HRS 572B-9.5(a), which only exempted the requirement to allow the use of religious facilities for civil unions if: (1) the facility was regularly used by the religious organization for its religious purposes; and (2) use of the facility was restricted to marriages of members; and (3) the facility was not being operated as a for-profit business. So, it appears that the original post is incorrect and is mixing things up with the former requirements for the exemption relating to civil unions.

    What appears to have expanded, however, is who is required to solemnize a wedding. Under the civil union law, no person was required to solemnize a civil union “for any reason.” HRS 572B-4(c). Now, the exemption for solemnizing same-sex “marriages” and civil unions is limited to “a clergy, minister, priest, rabbi, officer of any religious denomination or society, or religious society not having clergy but providing solemnizations” if it would violate their religious beliefs or faith. So, for example, a judge (or a ship captain in Hawaii waters) who is a Christian would likely not be able to refuse to perform a same-sex “marriage” on religious grounds (although they could have refused to perform a civil union under the prior law).

    What is truly amazing is that the new law strikes the following recital language despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of the public rallied and testified against the law: “The legislature finds that the people of Hawaii choose to preserve the tradition of marriage as a unique social institution based upon the committed union of one man and one woman.” In fact, the people of Hawaii have continued to make this choice, and made that patently clear to our legislators, but with the stroke of a pen the people’s choice was deleted. Tellingly, the new recital language states that “it is the intent of the legislature to … [e]nsure that there be no legal distinction between same-sex married couples and opposite-sex married couples with respect to marriage under the laws of this State….” Our legislature unabashedly replaced the choice of the people with its own.

    The legislator who most earned my respect during this process was a lesbian representative who voted against the bill explaining that, while she had a personal interest in passing the law, her constituents were clearly against it and she needed to represent her constituents on this issue. She received some vicious messages from the pro-ssm crowd.

    • James

      Genuinely want to know your opinion about this. I am an ordained minister. If I was also a ship’s captain, a judge, or a JP, could I refuse to perform the ceremony on the grounds that I am also an ordained minister, or would that exemption then not apply? Which position takes precedence?

      • kenofken

        Most likely you would have to perform a civil service as part of your public role. You could not be forced to conduct a religious wedding against the rules of your own faith.

        • The statute makes no mention of any role, public or private. It says only, and plainly, that a minister is not required to perform a SSM wedding. Whether the minister happens to be behind the wheel of a ship, the statute cares not.

      • The law signed by the governor is plain: if you are a minister, you are not compelled to perform a SSM wedding ceremony, at all. Period. The exemption is based upon your clerical status, and the statute makes no qualifications of that exemption.

  • rotopig

    Every taxpaying American picks up the tab of these tax exempt churches regardless of religion, none religious or sexual identity.

  • Whatever one believes about the ultimate objectives of SSM advocates, there is no language in Hawaii Senate Bill 1, signed today by the governor, to substantiate the OP’s assertions.

    Regarding OP assertion 1, there is no language in the new law requiring churches to “keep a register” of members. None. There is no language in the legislation about members of churches at all.

    There is, in Section 6a (formerly Section 572-13), language that requires any person authorized to solemnize a marriage to keep a record of every marriage he/she officiates. Each failure carries a $50 fine. (The purpose of this provision, as evidenced by Section 6b, is to assure that the state department of health is notified of marriages).

    This is not the same thing as keeping a list of members. Not even close. The law says nothing about church membership.

    Also, this language concerning keeping a record of all marriages already is on Hawaii’s books, and was not changed by SB1.

    Regarding OP assertion 2, the new law forbids what the OP claims it requires. The statute specifically permits churches to refuse to conduct a SSM (See Section 572B-4(c) ). The law then goes on to specifically immunize churches from being sued for refusing to conduct a SSM wedding (SEction 572B-4(d).

    Finally, nowhere does the law qualify any these provisions by the use of church facilities by non-members or the “general public.” In fact, the law doesn’t mention the use of church facilities by outside organizations at all.

    The new law can be read here:

  • lavallette

    Still it will not been long in coming: It is the modus operandi of those who agitate on the basis of tolerance and diversity: All rights for me but not for thee unless you agree with me and Ya Boo Sux to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights..

  • Dave G.

    Do all gays support the use of gay marriage to crush religious liberty? Probably not. Do most gays? Probably not. Is gay marriage the main issue that the post-Christian Left is using to crush religious liberties? It cannot be denied.

    • IRVCath

      I think for many of them same-sex people are like political pets: only useful when turned against their enemies and when they unload boatloads of money to their own political campaigns.

      • Dave G.

        I’m sure.

    • Headstand

      So what are you saying, gays are just useful political pawns allowing themselves to be used by our gov’t?

      • Dave G.

        Possibly. I can’t account for why so many gays object to being lumped in with such accusations, and yet spend so little time fighting the obvious.

      • IRVCath

        At least to most politicians, yes.

      • kenofken

        Pawns? Gays are actually getting their agenda realized through politics. They’re nobody’s fool. Everyone who works through the political process gets used at some level. Unless you can deliver or leverage the votes and/or money to help elected officials keep their jobs, they ain’t doing anything for you. Like any other transactional relationship in humankind, the politician is going to expend the least amount of political capital on your behalf that they can possibly get away with. The interest group, be it gays or anyone else, in turn is going to press for the biggest return on investment possible.

        The end result will be somewhere in the middle and will fluctuate over time. Until very recently, gays got fairly modest, if not minimal commitments from politicians. In the last few years, they are getting the lion’s share of their core agenda. That’s not some liberal media conspiracy or any of the other nonsense that gets alleged. They’re winning because they invested 40 years of effort changing the cultural consensus about homosexuality. They have won over a modest but solid and growing majority to their point of view, and politicians are going where the votes are.

        • wlinden


        • Dave G.

          No, they’ve won because key institutions that shape public opinion have helped advanced their cause. And now politicians are doing what they do – following the direction of the wind. It’s not hard to gain acceptance when it’s made clear that if you don’t accept you’re in trouble. I recently had to take a compliance exam for my company. One of the questions was on diversity regarding this issue. It stated clearly that as an employee, I celebrate acceptance of marriages in all forms. I said no. I got pinged for that answer. That’s a small example, but one that Mark alludes to. Personally I’ll bet more people don’t accept it than polls suggest. But just like it was tough finding people who openly supported socialism in the 50s, don’t expect too many to stand up and oppose gay marriage in the near future, and not because of the movement’s wonderful ability at winning hearts and minds.

          • kenofken

            Ah yes, we’re overdue for the “gay mafia” arguement. It’s not that their ideas are more persuasive or were sold more effectively than yours. It’s that a tiny subset of 2% of the population has Jedi-like mind powers to hold the rest of us in mortal fear of them…

            • Dave G.

              No, it’s the same argument as any time mass media is involved. The GRM had the right friends in the right places. In a shallow and superficial age that will gladly believe squares are round if we get a good lay out of it, the GRM didn’t even need that much help.

              • kenofken

                They didn’t have friends in the right places. They spent decades cultivating those friends. The mass media didn’t even begin to feature gay people as real human beings until the height of the AIDS crisis in the mid to late 1980s. The real growth in public support for gay marriage has only happened in the last four to maybe six years, at a time when the influence of the mass media has been at an all time low.

          • Dave G., that’s stunning. I’ve been predicting this sort of thing and getting laughed at by gay rights activists for saying companies would ever use gay “marriage” acceptance as a religious test against employees. All of them without exception say it will never happen; your example shows it already is. I would love to hear more about your experience, if you’d feel comfortable contacting me at redcardigan (at symbol) gmail (dot) com.

  • Headstand

    And the first case challenging the religious exemptions reaches the Supreme Court which rules in favor of the plaintiffs finding the state religious exemptions unconstitutional in……5….4…..3…..2…..1.

    Gays have already proven themselves liars by persecuting bakers, photographers and other local businesses that refused to accommodate them on religious grounds, why wouldn’t they go after religious institutions? I don’t recall any gay organization stepping out to denounce the persecution. Gays aren’t after only redefinition of marriage, gays want universal moral acceptance and will stop at nothing, especially through unjust legal means, to pretend they have it.

  • Victor

    Hey everyone, a guy named Joe from the internet said stuff, so it must be true! No need to actually look things up to see if they are true. If Joe said it, let’s just repeat it.

    No marriage law, whether it covers same sex couples or not, provides any cause of action against any third party. In plain English, no one can be sued under a marriage law. The public accommodations laws, under which certain commercial businesses who are licensed to serve the public may be sued for discrimination, do not apply to churches. They have been around since 1948, and the ones covering gays have been around since 1971. The first statewide law to protect gays from discrimination in public accommodations was enacted in Wisconsin in 1982 – that’s 33 years ago.

    News flash: Religious liberty was not crushed in Wisconsin 33 years ago or in any of the 21 other states that passed similar laws. No church has ever been required to keep a registry and no AA meetings or scout meetings have ever had to close or leave any church. And no church has ever lost its tax status. And the same goes for all the states that have passed gay marriage. No closed AA meetings. No shuttered reception halls. No suit for failure to keep a registry. Never. Not once.

    Do you folks even care about facts any more? Is it just about lying to yourselves in order to whip yourselves up into a frenzy?

    • Victor

      Sorry, brain fart. 1982 was 31 years ago. My mistake. Joe Grabowski says that gay marriage makes people fail at math.

      • IRVCath

        The problem is that the laws, laudable in purpose, have been interpreted by certain persons as more restrictive than they are – what about that baker who got fined because he wasn’t going to give a wedding cake for purposes of a gay marriage ceremony? My problem isn’t with the laws, it’s the people enforcing them.

        • kenofken

          Bakers aren’t churches. They’re businesses, and they’re subject to civil rights laws pertaining to public accommodations. In many states and cities, those laws prohibit refusal of business on the basis of sexual orientation. In those cases, the people enforcing the laws are honoring the legislative intent of those laws.

          • Headstand

            I know, I know, just like fetuses aren’t children. Bakers aren’t churches and neither are they businesses, they’re human beings whose civil rights are also protected under the law.

            • kenofken

              I’m not injecting anything about fetal life into the debate, but yes, bakers are human beings entitled to all the protections of citizenship. The thing is, 50 years ago or so, civil rights law formed around the concept that a person’s right to be treated equally in service establishments outweighs the right of individuals to refuse them service. Courts have affirmed this time and again, and they also realize that the imposition on the rights of people like bakers are not insignificant. This is not at all some new nefarious invention by gays. This concept has been in play for a long time now. All that has changed is that we have added one more reason (sexual orientation) to the list of reasons that we are not allowed to discriminate against in commerce.

              • James

                And that’s why all of these “accomodations laws” need to go away. If someone wants to discriminate against me, should it matter whether it’s because I’m white, of Irish descent, red headed, Christian, or any number of other things? Frankly, I really don’t care if someone discriminates against me. There are more than enough other businesses for me to patronize who would appreciate me and my money. Let the market (the people) decide when a business has stepped over the line in discriminating. If we all quit going to those establishments, they will be forced to change or close without government intervention. That’s the way it should be. Otherwise, you are stuck with a baker who now has to lie and say they didn’t want to give them a wedding cake because she thought the gay couple were rude, or some other legal excuse.

                • kenofken

                  That’s great that discrimination doesn’t bother you, but most of us have no real desire to go back to the good old days where everyone had to stay on the right side of the tracks and deal with “their own kind” to get service. The free market approach to civil rights is best illustrated by the history of the Negro Motorist Green Book, which was published annually for the 30 years prior to the 1965 Civil Rights Act.

                  It was a traveler’s guide, and survival guide really, for black cross country drivers. It listed the relative handful of gas stations, restaurants and hotels that would accommodate them. As the listings were thin in many parts of the country, road tripping often meant packing your own food and sleeping in your car.

                  Though the book was a successful business venture for its publisher, he was happy to let those times pass:

                  “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published…It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment.”

                  • James

                    Does the reason behind the discrimination matter that much? Does it matter if a white man kills a black man just because he’s black, or is that worse than the white man killing the black man just because he wanted to kill someone and that black man was the first person he saw? I don’t think it matters to the dead man. Would you feel better if someone legally discriminates against you because of the color of your hair rather than illegally because of the color of your skin? Some people are just moronic jerks and you can not legislate that away. Why not work on changing the views of society, rather than pretending that discrimination is now over because it is now illegal?

                    • kenofken

                      Civil rights law has no pretension to change what’s in people’s hearts. It doesn’t demand love. It demands respect in the form of outward action in certain settings. The law can, over time, foster a change in attitude by establishing new norms, but doesn’t demand that people change their views.

                      In fact, you retain the right to disapprove of, or outright hate whatever group of people you like. The law just says you can’t translate those views to actions in certain settings of commerce, which have been subject to regulation since the first wall was built around the first settlement.

                      Gays have worked very successfully on changing views in society, and so in practice would not frequently be refused service in most locales, but that’s not the point. The point is that being told “we don’t serve your kind” sucks and is un-American to the core.

                    • SteveP

                      “The law just says you can’t translate those views to actions in certain settings of commerce, which have been subject to regulation since the first wall was built around the first settlement.”
                      How amusing! Squealer cites tradition — appealing to customary practice across generations to defend the casting aside of customary practice across generations. Perhaps he’ll give us more sow’s ears from silk purses.

                    • The original Mr. X

                      “The point is that being told “we don’t serve your kind” sucks and is un-American to the core.”
                      Who’s talking like that? The point is that some people don’t want to work at a particular activity, not that they don’t want to work for certain types of people.

          • The original Mr. X

            Unless said bakers refuse to work for any homosexuals, full stop, they aren’t refusing business on the basis of sexual orientation, but rather refusing to work at an activity that makes them feel uncomfortable. Do you think that, say, a Jew should be allowed to refuse to cater for an Aryan supremacist meeting? Or that somebody with young children should be allowed to refuse business to a NAMBLA convention?

            • kenofken

              The “I’m discriminating against the activity, not the person” dodge has been tried in New Mexico up to that state’s supreme court. (Elane v. Wilcock). It failed. Whether or not the business owner has any malice for gays as a general matter, or whether they’re willing to do other sorts of business with them, is irrelevant. When a wedding photographer, or baker, refuses to take on a job they normally do for the general public, it’s illegal discrimination, and the decision arises from no other reason than the orientation of the clients.

              • The original Mr. X

                “Whether or not the business owner has any malice for gays as a general matter, or whether they’re willing to do other sorts of business with them, is irrelevant. When a wedding photographer, or baker, refuses to take on a job they normally do for the general public, it’s illegal discrimination, and the decision arises from no other reason than the orientation of the clients.”

                Erm, if a business owner takes on jobs for gay people in any circumstances other than same-sex marriages, then clearly their not doing same-sex marriages isn’t “from no other reason than the orientation of the clients”, because if orientation per se were the problem, you’d expect it be a problem in all those other circumstances as well.
                Honestly, it’s quite depressing the number of people who are unable to mentally separate “being attracted to people of the same sex”, “having lots of gay sex” and “getting a gay marriage”. It’s almost as if lots of self-proclaimed gay rights activists actually have a really shallow and dehumanising view of gay people, and see them as nothing more than congeries of sexual desire. The idea that someone might be attracted to people of the same sex and — gasp! — not think that promising to only sleep with one partner is enough to make their relationship a marriage, or even — swoon! — freely choose not to have sex at all, seems quite literally inconceivable to some people.

                • kenofken

                  The only people who obsess about gay sexuality are anti-SSM folk. They think and talk about the lurid details of it far more than any actual gay people I have known. The fact that a business owner might be cool with doing non-marriage business with a gay person has nothing to do with anything. When the law says you have to respect someone’s civil rights, it’s not a part-time gig. You don’t get to pick and choose when you’re going to honor their right to public accommodation, and saying you honor it 99% of the time doesn’t fix the one time you don’t. It also doesn’t matter if you say (and mean) that you don’t have a problem with gay people as a general matter. Nobody refuses to cater a gay wedding unless they have a problem with the underlying orientation. The only reason they do business in other contexts, ie a birthday cake rather than a wedding cake, is because they don’t have to acknowledge the person’s orientation in any way then.

                  • chezami

                    I don’t give a shit about trying to control what gay people do. I do give a shit about the gay subculture trying to force me to approve of what they do and punish me for refusing to do so. That’s what gay “marriage” is ultimately about.

                    • Victor

                      How would someone’s marriage “force” you to approve of a marriage? Does someone come by and arrest you if you don’t throw rice? We have had gay marriage in some form in this country since 2004, and you are very free to not approve of gay marriage. So unless you are posting comments on Patheos from a prison after having been convicted of the crime of gay marriage disapproval, gay marriage doesn’t seem to have forced you to do anything.

                    • SteveP

                      More propagandist road apples – “You’re not incarcerated so you must be free!” Yet you would gladly have the IRS fine me or imprison me if I do not pay into a system that lets men receive payment because they loved another man. Keep it up – you’re doing a good job imitating the 1% swine who are trying to shoulder their way higher on the slop trough.

                  • The original Mr. X

                    “The only people who obsess about gay sexuality are anti-SSM folk. They think and talk about the lurid details of it far more than any actual gay people I have known.”

                    Funny, because I’ve noticed the exact opposite. I guess our unsupported anecdotes cancel each other out, then.

                    “Nobody refuses to cater a gay wedding unless they have a problem with the underlying orientation. The only reason they do business in other contexts, ie a birthday cake rather than a wedding cake, is because they don’t have to acknowledge the person’s orientation in any way then.”
                    Why is it any of your business why somebody disapproves of a certain activity? If somebody disapproves of an activity, they shouldn’t be forced by law to help with said activity.
                    Incidentally, say a pair of neo-fascists want to have a Nazi-themed wedding, complete with swastika flags and readings from Mein Kampf. Say that they want to engage the services of a certain Jewish caterer to make a cake for their wedding. Should this caterer be allowed to refuse?

              • The original Mr. X

                Incidentally, my Aryan supremacist and NAMBLA questions still remain. Does refusing to serve at these count as a refusal to serve people based solely on their race/sexual orientation, and if so, should people be legally compelled to serve at these events?

                • kenofken

                  My answer is twofold. One, if someone is entitled to the protections of civil rights law in the form of public accommodation, then yes, the business owner should be compelled to do so regardless of public opinion of the groups involved. That said, I don’t think the examples you cited would come under civil rights laws. I’m quite certain your NAMBLA hypothetical would not. In my own state at least, (Illinois), our state human rights act specifically does not recognize pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
                  “Sexual orientation” does not include a physical or sexual attraction to a minor by an adult.” (775 ILCS 5/1-103, subsection (O)

                  Would a Jew be compelled to cater an Aryan event? I don’t think so, but I don’t know for sure. The civil rights laws which force people to accommodate others in business enumerate specific categories which you cannot discriminate upon. Those include race, religion, marital status, disabilities etc. It varies by the law, but none, so far as I know protect folks on the basis of political belief.

                  Members of the Aryan group could assert that they are being refused service because of their race. I’m not sure that would hold up. The Jew in this case is not refusing service because they are white, per se, but because of an ideology which he finds repugnant. The question then becomes does the discrimination arise directly from the race of the complainants? When someone refuses to cater a gay wedding, it is solely because of their orientation. There is no way to separate the act of discrimination from the protected category of orientation (though some have tried).

                  The antisemitism prompting the Jew’s act of discrimination does not, arguably, arise from the whiteness of his clients. Antisemitism is not an inherent trait of being white, and in fact is an anomaly these days. Antisemitic views are found among many races and nationalities. If it can be shown that the Jewish owner would also refuse service to antisemitic Arabs or blacks or Asians, then it’s not a racial thing. This is an interesting legal question and I’ll admit I don’t know the answer for certain. In general, when it comes to public accommodation and civil rights laws, those bound by the law should be held to it, whether I agree with their views or not. A gay man, for example, or an atheist might find Christianity to be repugnant, but they should not be allowed to refuse service to Christians.

                  • The original Mr. X

                    Huh, it seems my other reply got eaten by Disqus. Basically, though, if the photographer or baker are happy to serve gay people on other occasions, then how can their refusal to serve at a gay marriage be “solely because of their orientation”? If their orientation per se were the problem, it would be a problem all the time, not just on one particular occasion.
                    As for your point about whiteness and anti-Semitism being synonymous, that’s a coincidence, because homosexuality and wanting a gay marriage aren’t synonymous either. And I’m aware that anti-discrimination legislation doesn’t cover paedophilia, but that’s kind of irrelevant: the point is what the law *should* be, not what the law *is*. If you think that somebody shouldn’t be forced to cater for a NAMBLA convention, then it follows that people shouldn’t be forced to cater for events celebrating or promoting sexual behaviour they find abhorrent. But why, in that case, should they be forced to cater for events celebrating or promoting homosexual behaviour, if they find that abhorrent? And again, the issue here isn’t refusing to ever serve somebody on the basis of their orientation, it’s refusing to serve at a particular event promoting a particular kind of behaviour.

                    • kenofken

                      It is entirely about what the law is. The law is enforced on what it is, not what it should or could be. Pedophilia is not a protected orientation or trait under the law. Adult homosexuality (and heterosexuality) are. Civil rights law has nothing to do with what people find abhorrent or not. The boys in old Dixie found school integration to be abhorrent, to the point that they very nearly got into a shooting war with the federal governement over it. The entire basis of civil rights law is that a person’s right to deny service based on their perception of something as “abhorrent” is outweighed by the rights of the people seeking the service. We don’t need civil rights laws for people who aren’t abhorred. White guys in Selma didn’t need the threat of law to get served grits at their favorite restaurants.

                      In the case of gay marriage, it’s true that not all gays get married, but ONLY gays have gay weddings, and the refusal to cater that business is rooted only in the orientation of the participants.

                      The New Mexico Supreme Court laid out their reasoning in the Elane Photography case:


                • Victor

                  See my response above. The answer is no. Political party affiliation and/or ideology are not covered under antidiscrimination laws. Sexual orientation is covered under some state and local laws, but when it is covered, it is specifically defined and limited to homosexuality, bisexuality, and heterosexuality. So pedos are not and never have been covered. And yes, heterosexuals are covered. It would be illegal for any business serving the public, including a gay business, to turn away a customer on that basis.

        • Victor

          The baker to whom you refer is actually a bakery – a commercial business – in Oregon. Oregon doesn’t have gay marriage. From 2004, Oregon has had a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. So as an initial matter, whatever we might think about the bakery and its legal dispute, we can say that the dispute did not arise out of a gay marriage law.

          As for the dispute itself, it arose out of the public accommodations laws I described above. Oregon’s law has been in place for many years. It is not new. Apparently, if it “smashed” religious liberty in Oregon for all these years, no one noticed. It is only now that gay marriage opponents are scrounging around for some argument that these decades-old laws are deemed a dire threat.

          But what about the religious liberty of the commercial bakery? Well, a commercial business doesn’t have religious liberty. It is a corporation; it doesn’t worship. It wasn’t created by God, but by man and the laws of Oregon.

          Even if the individuals at the bakery are considered, it is not true that every action one takes in any setting becomes the “exercise of religion” just because it is religiously motivated. Laws that apply generally to all people have to apply to religious people too. That is what the Supreme Court ruled back in 1990, with the opinion being written by good Catholic and father of a Roman Catholic priest, Justice Antonin Scalia.

          You could disagree about this and urge a different rule to exempt all “religiously motivated” acts from law. This, of course, would extend far beyond baking cakes for gays. And it would allow other religiously motivated people – like Muslims for example – to discriminate against Christians and Jews. And it would allow evangelical Christians to discriminate against Roman Catholics and for businesses run by old-school segregationist Christians to discriminate against Black people. And it would apply to a raft of other laws that have nothing to do with discrimination – zoning laws, traffic laws, quality of life laws such as those dealing with noise and littering, environmental laws, worker safety laws, etc.

          I don’t think this arrangement would be a good idea, but we could debate it. However,none of this has anything to do with the claim in the post that “gay marriage smashes religious liberty.” That is patently false.

          • The original Mr. X

            “It is only now that gay marriage opponents are scrounging around for some argument that these decades-old laws are deemed a dire threat.”

            Probably because it’s only now that people have started using these laws to trample on others’ freedom of religion.

            “This, of course, would extend far beyond baking cakes for gays. And it would allow other religiously motivated people – like Muslims for example – to discriminate against Christians and Jews.”
            If a Muslim doesn’t want to work at a Christian or Jewish wedding, that’s his prerogative. If he doesn’t want to serve Christians or Jews, full stop, then that’s a false analogy.
            Incidentally, how far do you want to take this denial of businesses’ rights to choose which jobs to take on? Should, say, a Jewish baker be forced to cater for a fundraiser for a Wahabbist mosque? Or what if a pair of Neo-Nazis wanted to get married in a ceremony featuring a prominent display of swastika flags and a series of readings from Mein Kampf? Should said baker be forced to cater for that as well?

            • Victor

              Mr X, this notion that antidiscrimination laws violate “religious liberty” (defined as any act that is religiously motivated) is not something that has just popped up since gay marriage. You just need to read up on this area of the law. That argument has come up in a variety of contexts and in a variety of courts over the last 50 years. it isn’t new. It just doesn’t come up very often because most people don’t take the radical position that “everything I do that is religiously motivated is the exercise of religion and is therefore exempt from law.” When people do take that position in court, they lose.

              But even if it were some new, it would not be the result of any marriage law. Of the few cases that have arisen recently, most are in states that don’t recognize gay marriage..

              As far as the distinction b/t not serving Jews and not serving a Jewish wedding, if we used your “religious liberty” exemption, it wouldn’t matter. A Muslim could protest that serving cake to evil Jews is feeding the enemy of Allah and is a violation of his religious beliefs, regardless of the setting or occasion in which the Jews would eat the cake. The state would be forced to accept that as a reason. So that baker wouldn’t serve Jews, but would serve Muslims. Baker #2 might serve Jews, but not evangelicals or Muslims. Baker #3 might serve evangelicals and Roman Catholics, but not Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Baker 4 might serve any of the above, but no gays or Black people. And so on. This is the divisive, Balkanized society that we want to avoid, if only the the context of commercial businesses licensed to serve the public.

              Would a Jewish business be prohibited from turning down a Nazi wedding? No, because political party affiliation is not a protected category. So if that Oregon baker had refused to provide cake to that couple because they were Democrats or Republicans or Nazis, the couple would have had no cause to file any complaint. The bakery also could have turned them and other customers away for a thousand other reasons. But it can’t discriminate on just a few enumerated bases. You might disagree, but it is not the “smashing” of religious liberty.

              • The original Mr. X

                So if we can allow people to turn away customers for political reasons without leading to a divisive, balkanised society, why can’t we allow them to turn away customers for moral/religious reasons? Why is that inherently more likely to split society than allowing someone to work for only Democrats/Republicans?

  • David B

    I have one gay work colleague who is soon to get married to her partner.

    Her only purpose in this is that she wants to be married to her partner,

    And why not? My congratulations to both.

    The very idea that gay people wanting to get married have any agenda beyond that is bizarre.

    • Having gone through the process of marriage, if a vendor had said they didn’t want my business whether it was hall rental, cake, photographs, or whatever, I would not waste my time, attention, or resources suing or even questioning why they do not want my business. I would just go elsewhere. Life is too short to do otherwise and the process of pulling off a wedding in the US too busy to really bother with more.

      Life is not, however, too short for some. It’s the lawsuits that raise my suspicion of ulterior motives on the part of some people. I suspect that I’m not alone in that.

      • kenofken

        It’s always the case that the people who say they’d just shrug off discrimination of that sort are those who have never come within a light year of it actually happening to them and probably never will.

        • You are assuming that I have not been ill treated by a vendor. You do not know me, nor my history. All you know of me is that I am Catholic, which should be enough, for a well read man, to understand how ridiculous your statement is. Anti-Catholic bigotry does still happen and whether a Catholic actually encounters it is sort of a “luck of the draw” thing.

          I also am pretty publicly a Byzantine Catholic, which has its own sad history of being discriminated against, one that, on a memorable occasion when it did *not* happen, actually surprised my bishop and, I hope, played a tiny role in healing up an old wound.

  • Eve Fisher

    Sorry, but Mr. Grabowski is wrong. I just read the bill and he is absolutely twisting everything. It says, and I quote: “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any minister, priest, officer of any religious denomination or society, or religious society not having clergy but providing solemnizations that is authorized to perform solemnizations pursuant to this chapter to solemnize any marriage, and no such minister, priest, officer of any religious denomination or society, or religious society not having clergy that fails or refuses for any reason to solemnize any marriage under this section shall be subject to any fine, penalty, or other civil action for the failure or refusal.” Also, “A religious organization that refuses to make a religious facility available for solemnization of a marriage under subsection (a) shall not be subject to any fine, penalty, injunction, administrative proceeding, or civil liability for the refusal.” You can read the entire text here.

    Opposition to same-sex marriage is your right, but please don’t perpetuate lies about what the bill actually says and then say “we’re being persecuted! They’re out to destroy religious liberty!” No, they’re not.

    • Newp Ort

      To give Mr. Grabowski the benefit of the doubt, I don’t think HE is twisting things so much as he is believing the content of emails forwarded to him by his great aunt.

      • Eve Fisher

        I agree re Mr. Grabowski. But what’s Mr. Shea’s excuse for perpetuating this, with editorial emphasis? That’s what bothers me.

    • Mike

      I think perhaps the important section is: “(2) For solemnization of marriages pursuant to this chapter, the religious organization restricts use of the religious facility to its members.” (572-G) Mr. Grabowski, as best as I can tell, here then is partially correct. This quote is part of the exemption and concerns who is married in the Church. The issue here then is that if a priest marries members from a different parish (which happens, though may depend if the definition of member includes the whole Church or that particular parish) or a couple where one is not Catholic (which happens), they lose the exemption. Whether this can be interpreted more broadly is also a concern, but the Church in Her ordinary ministry of marriage is not protected under this exemption from what I can tell.

      • . . . except that the section you cite, and the language therein, is not actually contained in the law that was enacted. It may have been included in some previous version of the law, but you will not find that language in the bill that the governor signed.

        A copy of SB1 as it was approved by the Hawaii Legislature can be read here:

        • Eve Fisher

          Thanks, 2muchcoffeeman. What bothers me is that falsehoods (i.e., lies) are being used and passed on as truths in support of the dangers of gay marriage. If you can’t defend your position using the truth, you’re not defending it at all.