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N.Y. Religious Groups Exempt From Gay Rights Legislation

Posted on Jun 25, 2011
Flickr / wallyg

A provision in New York’s legislation would protect Trinity Church in lower Manhattan, above, and other religious institutions from lawsuits if they refused to perform same-sex marriages.

Language protecting New York churches, synagogues and other religious institutions from lawsuit and penalty upon refusal to perform same-sex marriages was one of the key amendments that won Republican support for Friday’s historic gay rights legislation. The new law contains an inseverability clause, which binds all parts of the measure together. If the religious exemptions were ever successfully challenged in court, then all other aspects of the law, including its important gain for civil rights, could also be deemed invalid. —ARK

The New York Times:

The Republicans who insisted on the provision did not only want religious organizations and affiliated groups to be protected from lawsuits if they refused to provide their buildings or services for same-sex marriage ceremonies, they also wanted them to be spared any penalties by state government. That would mean, for example, a church that declined to accommodate same-sex weddings could not be penalized later with the loss of state aid for the social service programs it administers.

... The amendment that was passed stated that barring access to same-sex ceremonies, or failing to provide services for them, would not “result in any state or local government action to penalize, withhold benefits, or discriminate against such religious corporation, benevolent order, a not-for-profit corporation operated, supervised or controlled by a religious corporation.”

... Finally, the legislation contained what is known as an inseverability clause. If a court found any part of the act to be invalid, the entire legislation would also be invalid. The clause is an important provision to Republicans because it means that the marriage legislation would be at risk if the religious exemptions were successfully challenged in court.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 27, 2011 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

i contend it is the noble gay
person who represents the last, most ominous
convenience of catch-all, sure-fired, acceptable


Nope.  Not even next-to-last.  Fat people still wait for acceptance. It’s been shown statistically that when allowing for other factors, fat people earn less money and see fewer promotions.

But even fat people have fought back and demanded respect.

No, the last group of people that society feels safe to abuse and treat with contempt and disdain are….

That’s right, smokers. People who would NEVER give someone shit about being a racial minority, gay or even fat have NO problem dumping on smokers at any time, even when the smokers are in their designated ghettos, the anti-smoking fascists feel no compunction about giving them shit. You can OPENLY discriminate against smokers, not hiring them, not accepting them in hotels, etc.

No. I’m not a smoker. My dad died of lung cancer and was a smoker. The cigarette companies are the worst kind of drug pushers. But that doesn’t mean that banning ALL outdoor smoking in a city is a sane, sensible or even fair practice.

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By reynolds, June 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

panties? prancing? thank you for your sincerity.
my work is done.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

You can’t set me straight, reynolds, because I already am straight.
But good try.  You have your panties tied in knots and prance
around trying to crucify me for what?  What exactly is it?  Misogyny? 
Your last bombast was really a revealing harangue at women and I
am to represent them.  Okay, it is your bit of curtain.  To whom do
you think I pointed my comments?  What comment precisely is
sticking in your craw?  What equivocations?  You generalize your
hollow criticisms, and your attempt to put nails in my hands and feet
indicates how decayed your brain is.  Here is some advice from the
justice maven, the woman of the world.  Go get help.

I agree that people feel more a part of a whole when they are not
invoked as a separate group or grouped within an acronym but that is
the lingua franca at the current moments.  It is a transition period and
it is not black then white!  There is a passage from one mind set to
another.  But also people feel more a part of a whole when they don’t
invoke themselves as outsiders, as in the Gay Pride Parades.  Why not
just have a parade for everybody?  Don’t do a holier than thou routine,
reynolds, it is unbecoming.  It isn’t a question at all of your “deserving”
your humanity, that is a pompous histrionic way of putting it, you have
humanity only because you are a member of the human race., sans any
big dramatic moment.  It is even more melodramatic to imply that I
think sanctioning is within my power.  You speak like an adolescent. 
The “noble gay person?”  Now who is separating people?  And how
is nobility an appropriate adjective?  You are a bitter soul typical of the
prepossessed.  smmmmk smmmmk here!  Have more kosmic kisses! 
You feel down not because of anything I’ve said but because of what
you want me to have said.  Get over yourself!  I didn’t say I didn’t like
the SInatras, I said I was not a fan of any of them.  It is you who keeps
invoking their ghosts.  Unless you are just blathering and I suspect that
is what you are doing in summoning Sinatras, YokoOnos, Yahwehs, it
teeters on occult hysteria.  You bring in a gallimaufry of bits and orts of
stuff that you think is sophisticated brine against me, but sweetie, it is
pure crap.  Write a check to breast cancer research or go see The
Vagina Monologues to raise your own consciousness.

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By reynolds, June 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

you haven’t seen excoriation, but you answer your
own question. i feel the need to set you straight
because you are off course. a small point? to you,
maybe. not so small to those at whom it is pointed.
i’m the minority, therefore an oppressed people,
therefore recipient of the free spin. i’m sorry,
shenonymous, but the line coach must cry foul on
your equivocations. there has to be a small step
taken before ownership of vast confusion can be
granted a clear title. i suggest to you that people
feel more a part of a whole when they are not
invoked as an group or, worse, as an acronym
this morning, you were all kosmic kisses. the dialog
becomes the least diametric and i note the change in
your tone. i assert my humanity and sense your
efforts to repress it, to keep me down. might be a
mother thing, or hormone replacement rage. i am
familiar with your unfulfilled need to control, but
i must resist your power play. you might have a gay
child, but i am not he. i am not deserving of my
humanity because you lend it your sanction.
yoko ono was, perhaps, self absorbed when she
posited the musical presumption that ‘woman is the
n-word of the world’. i contend it is the noble gay
person who represents the last, most ominous
convenience of catch-all, sure-fired, acceptable
prejudice. what cause, in the history of the world,
has galvanized israeli and palestinian as united
against it more completely, more immediately than
the gay olympics in jerusalem, 2009?
i mean this from the heart of my bottom, to you, to
yoko, to yahweh;
get over yourselves, girls.
we, the houseproud, double-income-no-kids of the
world will press on. your gratuitous attmept to
denigrate the sinatra is uncalled for. who said
anything about liking them? they are sinatra,
s i n a t r a.
one doesn’t like the sinatra; one loves them.
you honor them or they put on their boots and walk
all over you. for homework, i’m assigning nancy’s
2004 number “bossman”.
now, straighten you kimono and write a check to
human rights watch. feel free to check in for guidance. i’ll set you straight, i mean correct.

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By Shenonymous, June 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

You make a small point, reynolds, but it is such a small one.  Until
GLBTs see themselves as well as part of the greater humanity, it is an
insignificant matter if I use the terms gay, lesbian, bisexuals and
transgender.  It doesn’t mean that I subliminally keep them separate. 
There has to be a first step taken before miles can be achieved, and
you must admit there is a large part of society who do not see us as
one people.  And why you would want to excoriate me,  who is bringing
to public consciousness the fact that those who have been marginalized
for centuries, ought now in our bore and more enlightened state to
notice we are all humans of the world, men and women, is only known
to your habit of conceit. 

If you have a fixation on Nancy Sinatra as well as on me, then that is
what you have.  I don’t find it even mildly interesting that you do.  I was
never a fan of any of the Sinatras. 

I may have said a few things in response to your acerbic comments, but
I doubt I ever said you were a child victim of anything.  You might find
that post and refresh my memory with a date and time.

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By reynolds, June 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

shenonymous; “my people”, it’s a joke, my way of
demonstrating my dislike of the idiom THE GAYS which
usage even you deny. scroll down this page until you
[By Shenonymous, June 26 at 2:43 am
Actually, it is a good thing, the exemption of
churches, as it will just keep more people out of
the dens of iniquities. Thank god for small favors,
and in the final analysis, the gays and lesbians
ought to thank Republicans for providing another
excuse to keep people out of churches.]
you might recall, we met over my objection to the
use, your use of this idiom as it seems- to me- to
relegate, segregate, separate and altogether
at that time, you denied having used it, called me a
liar for pointing it out, suggested i felt i was
less than a man which- feelings of deficiency you
then attributed to likely incident of childhood
molestation- not to dwell, i’m just saying, you
recognize your style, i’m sure.
una mujer del mundo such as you has surely
encountered the tendency of marginalized peoples to
self identify as a tribe. they buy into their
assigned roles. i tend to improvise, hence the joke.
i have the entire nancy sinatra catalog at my
fingertips, just so you know.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 27, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause seems perfectly clear…unless you are one of the 5 justices who get to decide that its meaning is REALLY that we are a “Christian” nation and that the Founding Fathers never meant to keep the Church out of government.

The sad thing is, no matter how divorced from reality the Five are, they STILL get to make Law, and say what it means, even if a 6 year old could see the problem.

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By Shenonymous, June 27, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Your argument appears impeccable, DaEggman.  I wonder how
many others here agree with me?  that is just a rhetorical question.
You need to test it though.  If you are gay, then get your partner
and see if there is a church that will marry you, then get married. 
If you are not gay, then find a gay couple who would do it.  If the
government voids the marriage, then file a class action suit on behalf
of all gays who would want a church wedding.  Is it that simple? 
Good luck.  Personally I do not the necessity for a church wedding,
but some do and they have the basic right to want what they want
and get it if they so choose, just as anyone does.  Although it must
be remembered that marriage brings with it all the legal aspects as do
all marriages.  So the marriage law is what is important, not any church

Another thing occurred to me.  If a church wedding is so important to
some gays, and no church will perform the ceremony, what s to prevent
gays from establishing their own church?  If they are religious, then
there are gay pastors out there who could serve as a cleric who could
perform the marriage ceremony, since there is a legal law now on the

Just another comment to reynolds.  When you said earlier, “my people,”
June 25 at 11:20 pm, I had meant to say that I do not see gays as
separate from the rest of society.  We are all people together.  Though I
am not gay, “your people” are my people, we are one people.  I think
that separateness will continue until all people see that all are a one
unified humanity.

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By DaEggman, June 27, 2011 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If any church will marry gay people, then, according to the constitution, the state must make it legal. Our government must treat religions equally accross the board as to not be favoring one over the other. Churches should be able to choose who they will marry and who they won’t based on their creed and how it relates to their specific bent on their philosophy. However, the government must stand up for all, and since there are churches that will marry gay people, the only way for freedom to prevail is to let the government marry all comers and allow the churches to restrict them based on their individual beliefs. We cannot, as a nation, bow to the fundamentalist views of Christianity or any of the other “Desert God” religions. I don’t understand why this arguement isn’t used and law set up in this manner.

And for all you OK staters, no sharia law should also mean no Christian laws either, since you can’t single out a religion and be biased against it without being biased against all religions. READ THE CONSTITUTION, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, therefore government may not prohibit gay people from marrying if even one church will marry them, since the government may make no laws respecting an establshment of religion (can’t suck up to the fundamentalists, by doing so establishes a preference of one religion over another, something the govenment may not do.) So government must come down on freedom’s side by allowing any marriages, whereas, the church, as a private institution, may decide who may or may not get married. This keeps the government from appearing to collude with one religion over another.

How simple is that!!

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By reynolds, June 27, 2011 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

gayness might be a choice, but nancy sinatra is an
innate compulsion. paste the entire tag in google and
be delivered directly unto 1967. forgive me, carson and

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By reynolds, June 27, 2011 at 4:06 am Link to this comment
q=nancy sinatra something stupid

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 27, 2011 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

Indeed, reynolds, indeed.  Che tu possa avere una buona vita!
May you have a good life!

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., June 27, 2011 at 1:06 am Link to this comment

Get the f&*king government out of my bedroom and
personal business.
Should be: Get the f&*king church out of my bedroom and
personal business.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., June 27, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

What’s the problem with the church exemptions?
They are so irrelevant, what possible difference could
it make?
Anybody with half a brain would go with a civil union
regardless of their “orientation”.
Get the f&*king government out of my bedroom and
personal business. wink

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By reynolds, June 26, 2011 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

dear shenonomous; oscar wilde said;

“marriage is the triumph of imagination over
intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope
over experience.”

good morning. by any name, as depicted by however
intricate a free form linguistic filigree, your
support for my people, the gays, is moving. all the
more moving for your impartiality, given that you
have shared with us your story, your personal
insights on gayness. you are the justice maven and
friend of dorothy. you are the earth mother and we
owe you, really.
we’re all of us anthony newly, in this way; we have
to be us. my personal take on samesexuality, not for
nothing, is that it has more philosophic heft in
context of being a choice rather than of some
happenstance which might befall us. art and science
notwithstanding, to spend too much time in
consideration of how and why one is arrived is to
have wasted a trip. i’m sure you would agree.

suave; felicidades (emoticon of your choice here) on
your big day! now, get out there and make us all
proud, fly boy.

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By Shenonymous, June 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

ITW!  They don’t count.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, She!
Don’t tell Tao Walker that. Or Robert. Or GRYM. Or Elisalouisa. Or Diamond. Nor MarthaA, and especially not the bad Doctor, Doctor Quack!

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By Shenonymous, June 26, 2011 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

Horray for you ITW!  You are a rational man! 

Were the world full of men like you it would be a much better one.

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By clearwaters, June 26, 2011 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Iam sure the Catholic church is exploring all the possibilities to sue itself in order
to invalidate the new law and rights.

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By Leslie, June 26, 2011 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You know marriage is a barbaric practice developed by men to obtain control over women and the inheritance rights of the children, which until men figuered out that they had something to do with the birth process, had passed down through the women.  There is no doubt who the mother is when the baby is born, but men needed to posess the women and make them chattel, so the could have some measure of certainty that they were the father. Hence the woman is still “given away” from the father to to groom.  This is no sacred thing and all of it should be done away with in favor of civil unions for everyone.  Meantime, who needs churches.  They are the ruination of the world anyway.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2011 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

OK. I don’t give a DAMN if it’s called a “marriage” or a “civil union” by the legal system as long as all persons are treated equally.

I’ve been happily “civil unioned”...OK, married, to the most wonderful and patient (obviously) woman in the world for nearly 25 years. Would that change in ANY way by either:

a) Allowing same-sex marriage?
b) Having the state only sanction “Civil Unions” and religions and non-religions (like Ethical Culture) define “Marriage”?

No! Not for this man, not for my wife, and not for any couple I know or have ever known.

If happily consenting adults want to create a legal personal union, it’s not my business. I don’t care if they call it “Marriage” or “Mating” or whatever.

Funny thing, though: Divorce is and will remain a legal function of the state.

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By munky, June 26, 2011 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Speaking as an atheist, I’m happy because it means more secular-type marriages will take place. Let the churches and synogagues take themselves out of marriage. Good!

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, June 26, 2011 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If they can’t or won’t live by the laws of the state they should have their tax exemption revoked.  Holier than thou ok, but not above the law.

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By jltnol, June 26, 2011 at 7:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m fine with the exemptions…. I understand the difference between the legal
arrangement and the religious one….but trust me.. once gays start throwing
weddings costing in the high 5 figures, churches will be BEGGING to be part of the

Forget their morality….. in the end, it always comes down to money, and churches
need as much as they can get their little praying hands on.

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By Chris Herz, June 26, 2011 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Freedom of religion is an absolute of human rights.  But so is freedom from religion.  These churches need to pay taxes on their properties, as do any other businesses. I likewise do not like their interferance with education.  In many US jurisdictions the white kids go to mock-Christian schools, the black to public schools.  But the purpose remains the enforcement of apartheid:  In the USA no institutions remain as tightly segregated as do these churches.
In other countries, marraige is a civil contract, the parties appear before a magistrate to register their vows.  Of course thereafter they are quite free to ratify this contract in a religious milieu of their choice, but it is the performance of the civil ceremony that has legal meaning.  I resent making of clergy civil officials, allowed at all to represent the state in the area of marraige.
As the US imperial state continues on its course of failure, the theocracy of the dominionists is going to replace it, at least in many places.  I wonder how long it will take for for these various sects to start fighting among themselves?  That is their historical record.

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By Shenonymous, June 26, 2011 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

I disagree ITW.  I do not see why the marriage act ought to be
given up to the narrow definition of the irrationality of religions.
It is a secular legal commitment first then religions wanted to
give sanction to preserve and guarantee loyal membership.  In
order to marry, religiously or not, in this country, a legal marriage
certificate must be bought from the state and signed by the
marrying authority, be it a religious clergy, or a secular judge,
or justice of the peace.  Both institutions, religion and secular
societies, are interested in reproduction and the rearing of children
in a more stable environment.  The first to insure many members,
the second to insure survival of the species.  It also has to do with the
taboo of incest and the subliminal understanding how interbreeding
corrupts a gene pool. Anthropologist, Claude Levi-Strauss’s “The
Elementary Structures of Kinship,” is very revealing of the development
of marriage as an organizing social principle.  Also he theorizes how
marriage between families strengthened tribal unity.

To marry is a formal transitive verb meaning to combine one thing with

Encyclopedic definition:  Marriage is a social union or legal contract
between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which
interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are
acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or
subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a
wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony.

      That lofty fellow and cosmic thinker, George Bernard Shaw said,
“When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most
insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required
to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting
condition until death do them part.”  Notice he did not say that those
two people need to be a man and a woman.  I agree with George on
this.  Marriage puts more of a guarantee on certain legal rights for the
married individuals such as rights of inheritance, property rights,
medical rights, custody rights, all those rights enjoyed by the
man/woman married arrangement.

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By ardee, June 26, 2011 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

I join the chorus of those approving the exemption. But I doubt that this will stifle those who thing their own religious or personal views MUST be the law of the land.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2011 at 4:11 am Link to this comment

I have no problem with the “State” getting out of the marriage business and defining all civil “marriages” as Civil Unions, exactly the same as what Gays and Lesbians now have, seen as 2nd best.

Let “Marriage” return to the religious and non-legal word it was and let religious and other orgs define it as they will.

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By Shenonymous, June 26, 2011 at 1:43 am Link to this comment

Actually, it is a good thing, the exemption of churches, as it will
just keep more people out of the dens of iniquities. Thank god for
small favors, and in the final analysis, the gays and lesbians ought
to thank Republicans for providing another excuse to keep people
out of churches.

Report this

By TDoff, June 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

Makes sense. After all, religious groups should not be expected to do the right, fair, rational things.

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