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Maybe the backers of Oregon's "Protect Religious Freedom Initiative" should ask Westboro Baptist to come collect signatures for them.
Opponents of marriage equality know they're likely to lose a ballot vote in Oregon next November. So they're turning from preventing marriages to trying to protect bigots, with the "Protect Religious Freedom Initiative." The concern isn't that clergy members who oppose same-sex marriage will be forced to perform marriages—the clergy's right to refuse is already in the marriage initiative, just as a Catholic priest can refuse to marry non-Catholics, for instance. No, the concern is all the poor bigoted florists and wedding photographers who might be sued if they refused to work for same-sex couples:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if doing so would violate a person’s deeply held religious beliefs, a person acting in a nongovernmental capacity may not be:
(a) Penalized by the state or a political subdivision of this state for declining to solemnize, celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support any same-sex marriage ceremony or its arrangements, same-sex civil union ceremony or its arrangements, or same-sex domestic partnership ceremony or its arrangements; or
(b) Subject to a civil action for declining to solemnize, celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support any same-sex marriage ceremony or its arrangements, same-sex civil union ceremony or its arrangements, or same-sex domestic partnership ceremony or its arrangements.
About those "deeply held religious beliefs." How do the backers of this initiative propose to distinguish someone who doesn't want gay people to get married for religious reasons and someone who's just using religion as an excuse for bigotry? Surely they don't want non-religious people making a mockery of the deeply held beliefs of others! So, what'll it be? Will wedding professionals who want to be covered under this, should it ever become law, have to get a signed attendance slip proving they were at church every week? Will there be a written test for people to prove their familiarity with the Bible or other religious text of their faith? Or would this initiative just protect anyone who chose to bring God into their objections to other people's marriages? Because, if so, that would look less like genuine religious concern and more like a desperate attempt to give cover to bigots by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, the initiative's backers have an awful lot of signatures to collect.
Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 08:32 AM PST.