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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Religious Leaders Sue North Carolina for the Right to Perform Gay Wedding Ceremonies

Posted by on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Many thanks to Slog tipper Joe for sending this story our way:

In a twist on the conservative argument over the separation of church and state, a group of clergymen filed suit in North Carolina today challenging state laws that make it illegal for them to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples within their congregations.

...According to a plaintiff in the case, Rev. Joe Hoffman, Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville, NC, “As senior minister, I am often asked to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in my congregation. My denomination – the United Church of Christ – authorizes me to perform these ceremonies. But Amendment One denies my religious freedom by prohibiting me from exercising this right.”

I'm going to be closely watching the conservative blogs to see how Republicans manage to explain why this religious freedom shouldn't be allowed but Hobby Lobby's religious freedom is sacrosanct. I expect the contortions will be painful to watch.


Comments (12) RSS

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dnt trust me 1
You must feel pain awfully easy. Toughen up Big Boy.
Posted by dnt trust me on April 29, 2014 at 1:13 PM · Report this
I've wondered this for a long time. Gay people have been having marriage ceremonies and such far longer than they've had the legal right to marry.

The smart move would have been to eliminate federal recognition of marriage (and replace with a strictly legal-financial partnership recognition which can't be hijacked by "morality") and let churches perform religious rites for whomever they chose.

The market has spoken pretty clearly - with some outliers, gay marriage is largely accepted and only becoming moreso (also handily describes why conservatives are appealing to the courts, rather than churches). Giving more power to the market on this issue would be a step in the right direction.
Posted by fetish on April 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Right here:…

They respond by making an attack on the plaintiff's religious doctrines. Without a trace of irony suggesting that the suit is groundless because its filed by a bunch of heretics.

Posted by Alden on April 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM · Report this
Well played UCC!
Fuck the bigots.
Posted by drwas on April 29, 2014 at 1:28 PM · Report this
treacle 5
@3 - Now that is some first-class hilarity!
Posted by treacle on April 29, 2014 at 1:44 PM · Report this
@3: Hm, so if it were the will of the people for marriage to be equal, they would accept it? Somehow I doubt this.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on April 29, 2014 at 1:49 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 7
I attended several religious same sex weddings before this state recognized gay marriage. This makes a good press release, but legally it has no legs. The government doesn't stop anyone from performing religious ceremonies, it just chooses which ones count as civil marriages too.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on April 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
@7 No, no, no, no, no.

Seatackled posted a celebratory comment on the Slog morning news to an article about this story which contained a link to the full brief:…

In that brief is a reference to the section of law that criminalizes a minister conducting a religious marriage without a license. To wit:…
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on April 29, 2014 at 2:29 PM · Report this
In most states that have marriage equality bans, the bans are strictly civil. What makes the NC law different is that it also outlaws religious ceremonies as well. I don't see how this would hold up if a minister did get arrested for sanctifying a same sex couple's relationship, but that is how this law was intended.

The UCC has been pushing its member churches to support LGBT inclusivity for over 25 years now. This included same sex commitment ceremonies in states that still have marriage equality bans, and marriage ceremonies in states that allow it. We have been saying for a while now that our religious freedoms are being infringed upon by those churches that are working to keep the bans in place.
Posted by SeattleKim on April 29, 2014 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Nice to see that the comments are pointing out that the NC bigots overreached with their law and did indeed make it a crime to conduct a same-sex marriage. Not content to merely deny gay people equal marriage rights, they had to go and legally forbid anyone to perform such a ceremony under penalty of law.

Hoist by their own petard, if there's any justice.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 11
@8- Thanks for the correction. I had no idea they'd attempted to criminalize a religious marriage ceremony.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on April 29, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
venomlash 12

@3: Wow, that's a whole new delightful little fishbowl of cluelessness.
Posted by venomlash on April 29, 2014 at 4:27 PM · Report this

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