February 11, 2016
Lo Saamod - Do Not Stand By

Threat To Religious Freedom

“Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, all of which protect gay men and lesbians in their public-accommodations laws.”

In New York State, which just legalized same-sex marriage, there is a religious exemption that allows a religious institution to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. That protection is for an institution, like a shul (synagogue) but not for members of the shul.

If a religious person’s profession is affiliated with a wedding hall, photography, musicians, caterers, etc. there is no legal protection for them to refuse to service a same-sex wedding. Additionally, if their business involves any city or state contracts or licenses, they will be revoked for refusing to service a same-sex wedding.

We are just beginning to see the repercussions for people of faith on this issue. As this becomes the law of the land we will see an increase in the following types of headlines.

Fired or almost fired for having a Torah based belief:

Gay Marriage Stance Costs Vidmar Olympic Role

Peter Vidmar had to resign from a leading role representing the US Olympic team after several reports revealed that he had supported initiatives against same-sex marriage.

Broadcaster Is Fired For His Stance On Marriage

A Toronto broadcaster, Damian Goddard was fired after he wrote a Twitter message supporting traditional marriage as the only true marriage.

Chaplain Cleared Of Hateful Language Toward Homosexuals

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, an Orthodox chaplain in Toronto was nearly fired from his job simply for stating his opposition to the Jewish federation’s call for Jews to join the Toronto gay pride parade.

Lawsuits and legal sanctions for not wanting to
participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony

Photographer in New Mexico guilty of breaking state law
for refusing to take pictures of a lesbian ceremony

A small business owner who is a photographer was sued and forced to pay a fine for not wanting to photograph a same sex ceremony. This happened in a state that does not have same-sex marriage or even civil unions. In states where same-sex marriage is legal the punishment will be much more severe.

Group Loses Tax Break Over Gay Union Issue

“A boardwalk pavilion in the seaside town of Ocean Grove, N.J., that has been at the center of a battle over gay civil union ceremonies has lost its tax-exempt status because the state ruled it no longer met the requirements as a place open to all members of the public.”

Couple Sues a Vermont Inn for Rejecting Gay Wedding

“A lesbian couple is suing a Vermont inn, claiming it refused to host their fall wedding reception because of their sexual orientation.

…Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia have similar laws. Greg Johnson, a law professor at Vermont Law School, said the suit could set a precedent as more states legalize same-sex marriage. Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, all of which protect gay men and lesbians in their public-accommodations laws.

‘I think this case could set an important precedent not only for Vermont but for other states with marriage equality,’ Professor Johnson said.”