As I pointed out not long ago, Republican Del. Richard Metzger is still on the anti-same-sex marriage hobby horse and sponsoring a bill designed to allow discrimination against same-sex couples under a bogus claim of protecting religious freedom.
Governor Hogan responded weakly, with his office saying that he would wait for the legislative process to proceed. Contrast this lack of backbone to stand up for established law and actual Marylanders with his willingness to oppose Syrian refugees–an issue on which he has zero power. A real profile in courage.
Wrong on the Basic Facts
Red Maryland, however, has not been silent. A pity, as their post contained a real whopper:
2012’s Question 6, which was supported by Maryland Democrats and current Republican Senate candidate Chrys Kefalas, contained not a single provision protecting the religious liberties of any Marylanders.
Has Brian Griffiths read the legislation to which he linked?
Section 2 reads:
SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, 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 and by the Maryland Constitution and Maryland Declaration of Rights. 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 §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 Section 4 are also about religious protection:
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.
Of course, all of these provisions are redundant of the Constitution’s protections of religious freedom but were included to assuage concerns nonetheless. Red Maryland also neglects to mention that marriage equality expanded religious liberty by finally permitting religions that want to conduct legal same-sex marriages to do so. Yep, many religious people are pro-same-sex marriage.
I hope that Red Maryland corrects the record and apologizes to Republican Chrys Kafalas for their inaccurate claim in their slam against him for showing the content of his character by standing up courageously for religious freedom and his own civil liberties. Chrys demonstrated what used to be called leadership in the pre-Trump Republican Party. But I’m not holding my breath.
The Republican Discrimination Agenda
Red Maryland describes Metzger’s bill as follows:
Basically, the law is designed to ensure that religious organizations that have a moral objection to gay marriage don’t have to be forced to participate in one. You would think that this would be a basic common sense idea, that religious individuals would not be forced to officiate or participate in a same-sex marriage.
Not one rabbi, priest, minister, imam etc. has been forced to officiate a single same-sex marriage against their will in any place in the nation. Not one. So let’s put that red herring to bed.
Instead, the bill is designed to protect the likes of Kim Davis, who as a public official has a duty to issue marriage certificates that are now perfectly, but she finds repugnant. Where does this end? Religious beliefs are personal and vary endlessly. Can people like Kim Davis refuse to issue marriage certificates to mixed race couples if it offends their religious beliefs? What about divorced couples? Or to people who have committed adultery?
The idea of not forcing religious individuals to participate in same-sex marriage is equally broad. Should Holy Cross or Adventist Hospital be able to prohibit a same-sex spouse from being with their spouse or making medical decisions if needed on the grounds that it would force a religious organization to “participate in marriage” as described by Brian Griffiths.
This is not a religious freedom agenda. This is an effort to roll back anti-discrimination protections for lesbians and gay than have been established law in this State since 2001 with no problems not withstanding the howls from the right. Red Maryland thinks that the reality of same-sex marriage is a good excuse to change this.
Again, where does it end? If you follow the logic, anyone can discriminate against anyone on religious grounds because religious beliefs are inherently personal. It would be the undoing of all anti-discrimination law, which is the point.
In our daily lives, we all have to rub up and deal with lots of people who live their lives differently than we choose. As it turns out, the people of Maryland and the First Amendment are managing just fine without this legislation. Marylanders understand that it takes all kinds to make a world and are not such special snowflakes that they need protection beyond the boundaries enshrined already in law and the Constitution against the reality of same-sex marriage. After all, they voted for it.