South Dakota has already banned gay marriage. Now, the state is proposing legislature that would protect anyone who refused to participate in gay weddings on account of his/her religious beliefs.
If passed, the bills would prevent “clergy or businesses from being forced to perform or supply goods or services to anything related to same-sex marriages.” Thus, if a florist refused to supply flowers for a gay wedding, he would be doing so within his legal rights.
The bill has been referred to as “irrelevant” in terms of its effect on clergy members, whose right to act accordingly to their beliefs is already protected by the constitutional separation of church and state.
However, the bill’s inclusion of businessmen seems to be an attack on the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as Don Frankenfeld, a member of Equality South Dakota, points out. The 1964 bill was passed primarily to “prevent businesses from refusing service to black people.”
As Frankenfeld argues it, “You can’t be forced to believe that gay marriage is OK. But you can be forced and you should be forced in your business to provide the same goods and services you provide to anyone else, regardless of their orientation or their color or their religion.”
Even as South Dakota moves to preserve marriage as a vow exclusively between a man and a woman, other states, such as Oklahoma and Utah, have been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.
Notably, South Dakota also does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
Sources: www.bhpioneer.com, Christian Post
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