Gay Issues

Same-Sex Marriage Laws Jeopardize Religious Freedom, Experts Say

| by Baptist Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) --- While a pastor's right to preach against same-sex "marriage" may not be threatened by its legalization, many other religious activities may be in jeopardy, the general counsel for the American Jewish Congress told National Public Radio.

"What if a church offers marriage counseling? Will they be able to say, 'No, we're not going to help gay couples get along because it violates our religious principles to do so'?" asked Marc Stern. "What about summer camps? Will they be able to insist that gay couples not serve as staff because they're a bad example?"

In states where same-sex "marriage" has been legalized, homosexual couples have won consistently when they lodged discrimination complaints against religious groups, Stern said.

Stern cited several examples: Yeshiva University, a conservative Jewish university in New York City, which was ordered to allow same-sex couples to live in its married student housing. Catholic Charities decided to discontinue adoption services in Massachusetts after they were ordered to place children with same-sex couples. A lesbian couple prevailed in their complaint against a psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel them. A Methodist retreat center in New Jersey lost the tax exemption on a building when they declined to allow a lesbian couple to hold their "marriage" ceremony at the facility.

If the popular culture in the United States and laws in various states continue to move toward recognizing same-sex "marriage," religious groups and companies owned by believers will be forced to come to terms with the fact that their customers will include homosexual couples, Georgetown University professor Chai Feldblum told NPR.

"They need to start thinking now, proactively, how they want to address that," Feldblum said. "Because I do think that if a gay couple ends up being told their wedding cannot be filmed, five couples will not sue, but the sixth couple will."