In an effort to appease some gay marriage foes, lawmakers amended the bill to show they want to protect religious liberties. For example, it says religious organizations and associations are not required to provide services, goods or facilities for same-sex wedding ceremonies.
"We wanted to make it completely clear that the state of Connecticut fully embraces not only the rights of same-sex couples to marry, but we fully embrace the rights and protections afforded by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and the Connecticut Constitution to the free exercise of religion," said Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, a gay marriage proponent.
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If churches are private clubs, that portion of the bill is certainly understandable, although by no means laudable or even acceptable. However, churches and other houses of worship are tax exempt and, as such, are partially underwritten by taxpayers. As such, the troubling practice of taxpayers' underwriting religious activities is compounded when those very institutions can now continue to discriminate against some of those tax payers by excluding them from exercising their civil rights.
If heterosexuals are allowed to use church facilities for their marriages, same-sex couples must be allowed to use those same facilities for their marriages if they so wish! As long as churches enjoy tax exemption, they must be obligated to afford equal access to Gay people as they do to Straight people!
The tragic fact is that this level of equality is not likely to come to most churches within the Institutional Church any time soon.
For a long time, I've advocated the removal of tax exempt status from religious institutions for a variety of reasons, and this is one more reason why people must seriously consider removing that status from religious institutions.