Bill allows churches to refuse to marry gays

February 1, 2010

A new bill is being introduced in Sacramento, protecting clergy and churches from legal consequences for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in California, though that law is currently being challenged in court and could also be subject to a voter initiative. Supporters of gay marriage say they’re trying to alleviate concerns of opponents who have religious concerns.

The proposal, which has the backing of the California Council of Churches, states that no clergy member would be required to perform a marriage that conflicts with his or her faith. Other religious organizations, including the California Southern Baptist Convention, have also endorsed the legislation, introduced by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).


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21 Comments

  1. bobfromsanluis says:

    Has any church, anywhere, ever been forced to perform a ceremony that they didn’t want to? Has a real church ever been successfully sued for refusing to perform a same sex marriage ceremony? This bill isn’t necessary as when same sex marriage is legal in California, churches will not have to perform if they don’t want to, just as it is now. I’m not Catholic, therefore I can’t go demand that the Mission Church allow me to do anything in there building; I’m not Jewish, I can’t go the the Temple Beth David and demand that they allow me to do anything there- NOTHING has to change, other than allowing any two, unrelated adults to get married if they want to. As for removing the tax exempt status on churches; if they do not advocate political viewpoints, I don’t have a problem with them having tax exempt status, but if they do, such as for Prop h8, then their tax status should be called into question.

    (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
    • Typoqueen says:

      So Churches should also have the right to discriminate agains blacks from what some of you are saying. BTW, if you want to get married in the Catholic church you can convert so getting married in the Catholic church is not off limits to you as it is for gay people, I guess they aren’t as equal or ‘good’ as other people. As Afrrican Americans can’t change their color homosexuals can’t change who they are.

      (-6) 6 Total Votes - 0 up - 6 down
      • Cindy says:

        Good Lord Typo, Please take off the blinders. You always have such a good sense of reason so what it is about this that you don’t get? Anybody can become a Catholic (we will use Catholics as an example although this pertains to most any religious group). A gay can become a Catholic. However a gay like anyone else has to agree to abide by the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Church say’s it is a sin to engage in homosexual relations. So the problem isn’t how they were born, the problem is that they act upon their desires. They have to agree not to engage in homosexual relations, if they make a mistake and are sorry, they can confess the sin and be forgiven. If a man walks up to a priest and asks the priest to marry him and his boyfriend, well that’s just not going to happen. GET IT? This is true of most religions barring a few New Age non-denominational sects, which are mostly christian. There is a church for everybody. Your attempts to use race as a analogy doesn’t fit and never will. Again, it isn’t about who or what someone is, it’s about what they do.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • SLO LOCAL says:

        There is no discrimination taking place, the rules in California and in churches are the same for everyone. Everyone is allowed to marry another person of the opposite sex, regardless of their race.

        No one is allowed to marry their brother or sister, father or uncle, even if they are in a committed loving relationship.

        No one is allowed to marry more than one person at a time, even if they are in a loving relationship.

        No one is allowed to marry a sheep or a donkey, even if they are in a loving relationship.

        And, yes, no one can marry another person of the same sex even though the crazy California courts have granted you to be treated with the same tax breaks and laws of legitimately married people.

        Under your thinking, it is discriminatory that incest relationships are not granted marriage status and taxed as though they are married. Come on, they are just 2 people that love each other and want the respect of marriage, just like everyone else…

        Californians generally do not care what you do behind closed doors. If you want to be in a homosexual relationship, I think that is really bizarre but, good for you. But do not try and change the definition of marriage because you belong to a 1% sexual deviant group.

        If I chose incest as my sexual deviancy, I would not expect that I “not be discriminated upon” and demand that my relationship with Uncle Johnny be recognized as a legitimate marriage.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  2. Typoqueen says:

    Cindy and Aaron, I’m going to start a church out of my home. It’s not open to the public only to my friends. I won’t allow anyone with the names of Cindy or Aaron because those names are against our beliefs. But Araron and Cindy please continue paying my income, state and property taxes for me so I don’t have to. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    As long as ANY of my tax dollars pay the taxes (which they do Cindy) then I should have the right to use the services of that church, if not then it should be deducted from my taxes as it is not an equal opportunity org.. Private church private funds, public church public funds and not being able to utilize the services of a church makes it private IMO.

    (-10) 12 Total Votes - 1 up - 11 down
    • Cindy says:

      It’s true that they (churches/ all churches) are exempt from property taxes. The fact is that we can’t pick and choose which church does or doesn’t have to pay property taxes! It’s about a separation from Church and State. FREEDOM OF RELIGION. There are many religions with different rules and beliefs. Church’s bar people from communion, or the Temple or a hundred other religious rituals (for perceived unworthiness) . That’s what freedom of religion is. Do you really think a congregation should be forced to practice according to the beliefs of (what they consider) sinners and/or non believers? The Jews have their Temples as the Mormons do. The Catholics have their churches and confessions and communions, The LDS have their Kingdom Halls and so it goes. There is a Church for everyone. The gays church will be just as tax exempt as every other church. Many of theses bible thumpers believe it is a mortal sin to be engaged in homosexual activities, they will show it to you in the Bible along with 1000 other beliefs they have. You really need to get out of their faces and stop trying to cram this stuff down peoples throats. Your not helping, in fact ideas like yours incite more hatred and contention. I usually agree with you but not on this one.

      (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        “The gays church,..” Why am I the only one that finds that offensive? So if a guy was raised in a church where his grandparents and parents worship he must go to the ‘gay church’ and hook up with the rest of the family later. Cindy, I’m on the same page regarding separation of church and state, there should be complete speraration of church and state but as long as they don’t pay the same taxes as the rest of us then there isn’t a separation of church and state so they shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate. I do believe in religious freedom, Bible thumpers have managed to evolve from stoning children to death and allowing husbands to kill their wives, I believe that they can evolve past their dicrimination of gays. I probably have about a minus 100 thumbs down if this get read so I know when to bail out of a debate.

        (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  3. R.Hodin says:

    This proposed legislation weakens the separation of church & state. When the state can dictate who can or cannot be allowed access to a church’s services, we are creating a state church. Anyone is free to join or to leave a church, depending on how they feel that church supports them spiritually.

    By the same token, churches have an obligation to refrain from ALL politicking. The reason we have religious groups inserting themselves into the political process is primarily because the state has insisted on co-opting the moral discourse (in a corrective manner), a discourse formerly the provence of religious demagogues. The churches have let society down by becoming the social repository of bigotry, discrimination, regressive values and moral absolutism.

    (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
    • Nancy says:

      Hodin,
      You are so right on. The churches (I believe) already have a right to refuse any services to anyone that goes against the faith and beliefs of the religion they expound. This issue muddies the waters where the separation of church and state are concerned. This latest action (bill) has actually been brought by the gay supporters in an effort to address and silence any religious arguments surrounding gay marriage thus attempting to negating the arguments brought by the churches during the court hearings.

      (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
  4. ThomasPaine says:

    “We as a society should not have forced upon us what the majority have already rejected twice.”

    If we acted thus, slavery would still be the norm in the south.

    Churches should not be tax exempt.

    (-3) 13 Total Votes - 5 up - 8 down
    • R.Hodin says:

      At least the churches that lobbied members to support Prop. 8: the Catholic and Mormon churches.

      (-3) 7 Total Votes - 2 up - 5 down
  5. Typoqueen says:

    You are correct Robert, but we should have the right not to pay their taxes. I’m all for churches doing what they want but I shouldn’t have to pay for it. If your church is anti gay then your church should not be tax exempt.

    (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
    • Cindy says:

      Typoqueen, Where in the world did you get the idea that pubic funds (ie taxes) subsidize churches?
      The church’s are supported by the parishioners donations. The gov doesn’t give them any funding to operate, in fact there is a clear separation of church and state. Tax exempt simply means that the church doesn’t have to pay income taxes on the donations they receive. Same as the politicians and their campaign contributions.

      (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
      • Use_it_or_Lose_it says:

        Cindy darling- We ALL subsidize churches. WE -TAXPAYERS- help churches avoid paying their fair share of state taxes. You see this, yes? If not, get Peter to cast the scales from yoru eyes. Churches don’t just have to not “pay income taxes on the donations they receive” Cindy, they are EXEMPT from -ALL- taxes.

        When an individual or an entity is exempt from taxes, YOU pay for them. Since you don’t seem to mind too much, please pay my share, too.

        (-6) 10 Total Votes - 2 up - 8 down
      • zaphod says:

        Same as federal judges they are also exempt . IIRC.

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
    • aaronw80 says:

      I have to disagree with you on that point. Many churches (even the anti-gay ones) support charity, a tax on the church would mean less money for people in need. The fact that they are tax exempt is based on things like the fact that the money goes in part to charity and helping the community. However, a church did lose it’s exemption status in one stat for owning a building that was open to the public, but off limits to gays. The state said that their tax exemption status was only due to the fact that the building served the community, but if the church wanted to limit who could and could not use it, that made it a privately owned property and thus they would have to pay taxes on it.

      The same can not be said of a church however. Even though you’d think the same would apply to a church being considered a privately owned property, since it is a religious institution (unlike the building that was simply purchased by, but not connected to, the church) it can still limit it’s member and still maintain tax exempt status. To the best of my knowledge anyhow. I think it’s because the members donations pay for it and thus it’s income is considered contribution dollars, which are not taxable. If they charged for membership, rather than simply asking for donations, that would be different story.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m gay, I hate discrimination, but if we truly want separation of church and state, the church’s rights must be protected too. They must have the right to say “Sorry, but we don’t agree with you, so you’re not welcome.” harsh though it may be, it should always be their right. But many churches are starting to see that according to the laws of the Christian faith, it’s wrong to discriminate against anyone, and some even say that if you look at the laws that Jesus put into place, it overrides the old laws of the bible, making homosexuality no longer a sin in their eyes. So I think eventually the day will come when most churches gladly open their doors to the gay community. But it must always be their choice.

      Separation of church and state cuts both ways!

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
      • Robert1 says:

        Nicely put,thank you and I agree with your statement.I believe that you can’t force any group or entity to accept any and all people under all circumstances.

        (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • zaphod says:

        Hey! you got Thessalonians in my Leviticus !

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  6. Robert1 says:

    Each and every church should have the right to reject that what it determines to be unnatural and against its principals.We as a society should not have forced upon us what the majority have already rejected twice.

    (9) 21 Total Votes - 15 up - 6 down
  7. Typoqueen says:

    Any church that refuses to marry gay couples should lose their tax exempt status. The gay community also pays the taxes that help subsidize churches.

    (-16) 28 Total Votes - 6 up - 22 down

Comments are closed.