D.C. Marriage Bill’s Religious Exemption Finalized
Yesterday, the The D.C. Council Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary performed a final mark-up on the language of the D.C. marriage bill, voting 4-to-1 to send the bill to a full council vote. The vote will likely take place early next month. Yay!
In committee, the bill's religious exemptions were finalized to ensure that no religious organizations—including churches, schools, and nonprofits—would have to "provide services, accommodations, facilities, or goods" to aid in the solemnization, celebration, or promotion of same-sex marriage. Boo.
I can't imagine that you folks are as interested in the implications of the religious exemption than Mike Riggs and I are, but the full language [PDF] of that portion of the bill is after the jump.
No priest, imam, rabbi, minister, or other official of any religious society who is authorized to solemnize or celebrate marriages shall be required to solemnize or celebrate any marriage.
Each religious society has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine, teachings, and beliefs regarding who may marry within that particular religious society’s faith.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious society, or a nonprofit organization that is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, or goods for a purpose related to the solemnization or celebration of a same-sex marriage, or the promotion of same-sex marriage through religious programs, counseling, courses, or retreats, that is in violation of the religious society’s beliefs. A refusal to provide services, accommodations, facilities, or goods in accordance with this subsection shall not create any civil claim or cause of action, or result in a District action to penalize or withhold benefits from the religious society or nonprofit organization that is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious society.