WASHINGTON --- By just two votes (188-186), the New Hampshire House refused to pass the religious exemptions requested by Gov. John Lynch (D)- just hours after the Senate approved the same wording along party lines (14-10). Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement urging Governor John Lynch to fulfill his promise to veto same-sex "marriage" legislation that will have grave implications not only for the family, but also for religious liberty:
"Now that Governor Lynch's exemption has been rejected, voters want to know where his veto is. The bill to legalize same-sex 'marriage' has been sitting on the Senate President's desk since the Governor demanded religious exemptions. Since those conditions have not been met, Gov. Lynch should demand the bill so he can veto it as he promised to do.
"Governor Lynch agreed that this bill fails to protect religious liberty - which we agree. The legalization of same-sex 'marriage' elsewhere has shown a real threat to the religious identity and beliefs of churches, religious organizations, business owners, and individual citizens. However, we disagree that the governor's proposed 'religious exemptions' provide meaningful protection for religious liberties. History has shown us that any religious exemption provides limited and only short-lived protection and is subject to later removal or elimination by activist courts."
Among the threats same-sex "marriage" poses to religious liberty:
--This rushed and incomplete exemption will leave New Hampshire nonprofits and businesses -- from florists to photographers to wedding facilities -- fully exposed to the homosexual agenda.
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--Public schools will teach the fully equal status of homosexual and heterosexual conduct based, in substantial part, on state marriage law. Those who object may find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
--Religious-based adoption agencies that refuse to place children with same-sex couples (like Catholic Charities in Massachusetts) could be forced to discontinue operations unless licensing waivers are granted; such waivers are unlikely to withstand constitutional challenge.
--Faith-based organizations that do not recognize same-sex marriage could lose tax exemptions (e.g., see the 1983 Bob Jones University case dealing with federal tax exemptions). Since the Bob Jones case dealt with interracial dating, it could now serve as an indirect precedent for punishing a Christian college that discourages or prohibits same-sex dating while allowing male-female dating.