Saturday, February 15, 2014
Law - "Gay-marriage foes scrambling after court setbacks"
David A. Lieb, David Crary, and Rachel Zoll of the AP have this lengthy story today - a few quotes:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Opponents of same-sex marriage are scrambling to find effective responses, in Congress and state legislatures, to a rash of court rulings that would force some of America's most conservative states to accept gay nuptials.
Some gay-marriage foes are backing a bill recently introduced in both chambers of Congress that would leave states fully in charge of their marriage policies, though the measure stands little chance of passage. In the states, they are endorsing a multitude of bills — some intended to protect gay-marriage bans, others to assert a right, based on religious freedom, to have nothing to do with gay marriages should those bans be struck down. * * *
The demand for religious exemptions ... is widespread. Gay marriage opponents have fought for strong exemptions in every state where lawmakers have already decided the issue. In New York, for example, gay marriage was recognized only after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state's top two legislators struck an 11th-hour compromise on religious accommodations.
However, the resulting exemptions have generally been limited in scope — and haven't come anywhere near to what gay marriage opponents sought. In Massachusetts and Iowa, where same-sex marriage won recognition through the courts, there are no religious exemptions related to the rulings.
In light of this track record, opponents in red states have been proposing pre-emptive bills with broad accommodations for religious objectors. Most of the bills aim to protect individuals or businesses who, for religious reasons, don't want to serve same-sex couples. * * *
The Kansas House passed a measure last week providing a faith-based legal shield for people who refuse to provide services to gays and lesbians. It details which services would be exempted — ranging from bakeries to adoption agencies to government clerks — and allows faith-based refusal of services to gay couples in any domestic partnership. But the top Republican in the state Senate put a quick stop to the bill's momentum, declaring that a majority of GOP lawmakers in that chamber don't support it.
"A strong majority of my members support laws that define traditional marriage," said Senate President Susan Wagle. "However, my members also don't condone discrimination."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 15, 2014 03:11 PM