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Concern re: religious protections in ‘gay marriage’ bill

Charlie Butts   (OneNewsNow.com) Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A bill to legalize homosexual "marriage" in Rhode Island is already at the stage of committee meetings as sponsors try to push it through the state legislature. Alliance Defending Freedom is concerned over the lack of religious protections in the bill.

Rhode Island already has civil unions, but activists there -- as in other states that have passed civil unions -- were not satisfied and have come back with a demand for the right to same-gender marriage. Governor Lincoln Chafee has joined top labor officials and several religious leaders in launching what they hope is the final push to allow homosexual couples to marry in Rhode Island.

Several ministers spoke in favor of "gay marriage" at Monday's event. But Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has urged lawmakers to drop the legislation, saying same-gender marriage is "immoral and unnecessary."

ADF attorney Kellie Fiedorek is taking a role in testifying today before the Rhode Island House Committee on Judiciary.

Fieforek

"Religious freedom belongs to everyone, not just a handful of people," she offers in a statement provided to OneNewsNow. "The government cannot limit constitutionally protected religious liberties in a way that's foreign to our Constitution. This bill fails to ensure that those liberties of every Rhode Island citizen will be respected. The First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom for all Americans is not limited to the four walls of a church."

The legislation contains protections for clergy who refuse to do homosexual "wedding" ceremonies, but not people of faith who serve as justices, judges, or court commissioners.

Another provision in H. 5015 prohibits penalties against churches and religious denominations that oppose same-gender marriage, but it fails to protect businesses operated by people of faith and Christian counselors who do pre- or post-marriage counseling.

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