Is It Discriminatory to Protect Religious Individuals from Being Forced to Perform Same Sex Weddings?

 

In the past few days, there has been great debate about the bill in Georgia which would have protected the religious rights of individuals from performing a gay wedding which violates their religious beliefs. As reported in Variety: “Georgia legislators passed the bill last week. It protects religious officials from having to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, and would allow faith-based organizations to deny services or employment to those who violate their ‘sincerely held religious belief.'”

With that in mind, does anybody find this language discriminatory?

 

 

That an official of a religious order or body authorized by the rules and customs of that order or body to perform a marriage ceremony may not be required to solemnize or officiate any particular marriage or religious rite of any marriage in violation of the right to free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution . . . Each religious organization, association, or society has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine, policy teachings, and beliefs regarding who may marry within that faith. An official of a religious order or body authorized to join individuals in marriage under § 2–406(a)(2)(i) of the Family Law Article and who fails or refuses to join individuals in marriage is not subject to any fine or other penalty for the failure or refusal.

SECTION 3. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That:

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization, association, or society, may not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request for the services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges is related to:

(1) the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs; or

(2) the promotion of marriage through any social or religious programs or services, in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs, unless State or federal funds are received for that specific program or service.

(b) A refusal by an entity described in subsection (a) of this section, or of any individual who is employed by an entity described in subsection (a) of this section, to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges in accordance with subsection (a) of this section may not create a civil claim or cause of action or result in any State action to penalize, withhold benefits from, or discriminate against the entity or individual.

(c) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed or construed to prohibit any religious organization, association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization, association, or society, from limiting admission to or giving preferences to individuals of the same religion or denomination when otherwise permitted by law.

SECTION 4. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That:

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a fraternal benefit society described in
§ 8–402 of the Insurance Article that is operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization may not be required to admit an individual as a member or to provide insurance benefits to an individual if to do so would violate the society’s religious beliefs.

(b) A refusal by a fraternal benefit society described in subsection (a) of this section to admit an individual as a member or to provide insurance benefits to an individual may not create a civil claim or cause of action or constitute the basis for the withholding of governmental benefits or services from the fraternal benefit society.

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