Monday, October 04, 2010

Schwarzenegger vetoes religious freedom

According to a post by ADF, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently "vetoed SB 906, the Civil Marriage Religious Freedom Act" which was "designed to protect clergy who refuse to solemnize a marriage that is contrary to their faith."


Kevin said...

Details matter in this case.

From the ADF post, "The Governor, however, objected to the portion of the bill that inserted the word ‘civil’ before [every instance of the word] ‘marriage’ in the California Family Code’s definition of marriage.”

If protecting the clergy was the primary objective then there shouldn't be any real need to add the word 'civil' to the California Family Code... at least for now, just protect the clergy. So why not remove the 'civil' part?

Senator Mark Leno's (D) response to the veto makes the intent of the bill more clear. The bill was designed to make a distinction between civil and religious marriages. The clergy would be protected because the state has no authority over religious practices... and it would follow that religious motivations have no relevance to civil marriage; it would seem that this approach could strengthen a legal case for same-sex marriage in California on the grounds that to do otherwise would violate California's anti-discrimination laws. It may then aide in undermining any referendums that would conflict with the anti-discrimination laws. It also becomes a very powerful tool in public argument... emphasizing that civil marriage is a state construct that has little to do with what people traditionally conceive marriage to be.

I'm not opposed to the distinction. In our society it's probably going to be come necessary. My concern is that protecting the clergy's rights to perform obviously religious practices is a good step, but not nearly enough... individuals and religious-organizations must have their freedom to act on their religious beliefs protected in non-religious activities (ex: Catholic adoption services in Massachusetts)

Dennis said...

Good response!