Connecticut's Senate Judiciary Committee codified yesterday their state supreme court's decision to legally recognize same-sex marriages in that state. It still has to go through the Senate, House, and signed by the governor, but it'll get through because the court already decided.
Some details are still being hammered out, like exemptions for religious organizations. One Democrat proposed a sweeping exemption that would have allowed for religious organizations, buildings, and associated organizations (like the Catholic Knights of Columbus) from having to perform or host same-sex weddings or recognize same-sex marriages of employees for benefits purposes. What did pass was an exemption that just said churches don't have to perform weddings they don't want to (um, isn't that already the law? Or do Mormon temples in Connecticut have to marry non-Mormons?).
More on that after the jump.
But the committee unanimously approved a one-sentence amendment from Rep. Arthur J. O'Neill, R-Southbury, the committee's ranking member, that would exempt churches from hosting marriage ceremonies in violation of their religious beliefs.
O'Neill, in an interview after the committee meeting, said his idea for editing Morris' amendment came to him during the debate. When he offered it up, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle embraced it with relief.
"The amendment makes very clear that there's no possibility that you can insist that a church, or a related school controlled by a church, perform your wedding," O'Neill said.[...]
But Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said his organization will continue to oppose the legislation.
"We're not at all happy with what came out of the Judiciary Committee," Wolfgang said. "Essentially it's business as usual for the Judiciary Committee." He said McDonald and his co-chairman, Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, D-East Haven, are continuing an "attack on religious liberty." He also called the amendment weak.
"It only goes to whether same-sex wedding ceremonies will be performed in church structures or church-related associations," Wolfgang said. "What about Knights of Columbus halls? What about receptions? What about employee benefits for people who work for the Knights of Columbus or Catholic charities if they don't want to validate same-sex marriages?"
Is it just me, or is there rotting garbage where these people's hearts should be? A law like this is being debated, and all they can think of is how they can keep people from getting access to health care.
Good on Connecticut for keeping the religious exemption small. You give these people an inch, and they'll take a mile.