Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Hampshire gets back on track for SSM

If "traditional marriage" (read heterosexual monogamy) supporters thought they were stopping the gay "marriage" bandwagon in New Hampshire, they can think again. New Hampshire's bill is moving forward. From "Everyday Christian."
"New Hampshire is now home to a winding road that may ultimately lead to it becoming the sixth U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage. The other five are Iowa, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Democratic governor John Lynch had been on the record as supporting civil unions for same-sex couples but opposed to gay marriage. He later agreed with the state legislature which viewed it as a civil rights issue and sent a bill to be signed. Lynch sent the bill back seeking extra protections written in for churches and religious groups which might refuse same-sex weddings. The amended bill was narrowly defeated in the House and has been sent to a conference committee for restructuring.

The new compromise bill may be on Lynch’s desk as early as next week. A hearing is scheduled next Wednesday, June 3.

The delay in passage has been helpful to illustrate the potential pitfalls same-sex marriage holds for people unrelated to a gay couple who oppose the marriage, said Bruce Hausknecht.

'We wouldn’t support any same-sex marriage bill, period, but what (Lynch) has done is raise awareness of the connection between religious liberties,” said Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action. 'The fix proposed falls woefully short of any serious protection of religious liberties.'

Hausknecht cited in particular the New Mexico case of Elaine and Jonathan Hugenin. The conservative Christian couple owns Elane Photography in Albuquerque. Vanessa Willock contacted Elane asking it to photograph a commitment ceremony with her girlfriend. After the Hugenins declined, Willock filed a charge against the company with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. The commission found the company guilty of discrimination and fined it $6,000.

'When (Lynch) said he wanted to revisit the language that’s OK, but it barely scratches the surface,' Hausknecht said. 'There are a whole host of small businesses that will be effected by this and punished if they don’t agree with what is happening.'

The provisions being taken in the bill are adequate and worth a few days’ wait for Mo Baxley. Baxley is the executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, a leading state lobbying firm in favor of gay marriage.

'Absolutely, we would stand up for individual liberties, including people’s religious liberties,' Baxley said. 'It’s pretty clearly spelled out in the legislation. The intent is not to discriminate.'

Baxley also defended Lynch on being characterized as a flip-flopper on supporting civil unions then later supporting gay marriage."
I've heard talk in my own church about retreating from "state registered" marriages which was amusing to hear since when debating the topic of polygyny being marriage, even if informal, I continued to hear variations of the "living in sin" argument based on the fact that the polygynous marriage was not "legal." Now the very same people are saying "well, we just won't have 'legal' marriages if we're forced to submit to laws geared for SSM." It's amusing because I'm now hearing the argument rejected by my opponents instantly offered as a shield against gay marriage. They propose to simply take marriage private, as polygynous marriages have always been. Remind me again, what was the objection to the informal nature of polygynous unions? They weren't "legal?"

Combine the interest now in Evangelical/Reformed circles to take marriage "private" or "not legal" (not "illegal" mind, you, just not "legal) and the following story reported on over at "Modern Pharisee."
KTVG San Diego - "Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

Broyles said, 'The county asked, "Do you have a regular meeting in your home?" She said, "Yes." "Do you say amen?" "Yes." "Do you pray?" "Yes." "Do you say praise the Lord?" "Yes." '

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed 'unlawful use of land' and told them to 'stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit' -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars."
There could very well be a move on to do what was done to the FLDS, after a fashion, and bring churches under more state regulation. Attack them on all fronts, including the pocketbook. Whoever thought that there would be a move on to make Bible Studies "illegal?"

Consider this: A chain of events where you are driven into the church building to have Bible studies, and the state starts moving in to see if you're engaging in "hate speech" and zoning laws imposed on Bible Study gatherings and informal weddings.

I can see it now, we get forced to have all services in designated areas. We are sued and regulated in those areas where we officially practice. We end up not being able to have "informal" weddings. We're charged with a variety of violations for this or that. We're bled of our resources in lawsuits, and so on.

All of this to get you in church for church. To tell you what you can and can't do in church. To discourage informal weddings. To force churches to participate in SSM.

Forgive me if this appears a bit fuzzy at the moment but it's beginning to sound like a communist nation with the state sitting in on everything we say and do. I honestly don't know how it's going to work out but I foresee the state not wanting informal marriages and wanting to be in on every aspect of our religious practice and I can't see that as good. Feel free to comment as I don't think I'm making the best connections here, but I see the connection between the two stories.

I have been saying for years that perhaps we should fold our tent on opposition to SSM in exchange for being able to write religiously defined "marriage contracts" or prenups. I think that window is rapidly closing and what we'll be left with is the state writing and regulating our "marriage contract," and SSM as well.


  1. Churches want it both ways. They want to tell other people what to do with their genitals, but don't want to be told what to do. Either have the churches stop trying to force state regulation of Same Sex and Plural marriage, or understand that churches which regulate other people will reap what they sow and, themselves, be regulated. This is why sexuality and marriage need to be a private matter between consenting adults, not something regulated, defined or prescribed by the State. The more government takes, the more it wants. The churches are very foolish to get into bed with it.

  2. I pretty much agree, though I am sure it's not for the same reasons. The church only has jurisdiction over those in the church, not those outside it, this is supported by the Apostle Paul in 1st Corinthians 5, 6 & 7.

    The church only has one God ordained punishment open to it, and that is to put the disobedient outside the church. In other words, revoke membership, communion and fellowship, shunning.

    That certainly doesn't include marching down to the public square and telling gays or bisexuals what to do. There is also the matter of Christ speaking to the speck in their eyes, vs the log in our own.

  3. I see both sides on this. The churches are afraid that they won't be allowed to speak against homosexuality because the government wants to call that "hate speech" like they do in Europe and Canada so seeing gay marriage get government approval is a step to making churches shut up about homosexuality. On the other side of it I see why churches should not be saying what people outside of their church can do. Maybe if there was a compromise where the rights of Pastors to speak out against homosexuality was protected and churches were not forced to do gay marriages then maybe gay marriage would be not so scary to those churches. I am in a funny place because I am not so okay with homosexuality but legalizing gay marriage means poly marriages could also be legal again and that would be nice for families like mine.

  4. Megan, I'm essentially in the same "funny place," and resolved that Same Sex Marriage laws would have to pass without my support, and then, I could work through the courts (like SSM advocates did) to point out that it is unfair to allow gays to marry, but not three people to marry. Thus I've settled on working through the legislature and/or the courts to get the word "two" removed from Laws in Vermont and New Hampshire. That would work for me, then we could have a polygyny marriage mecca to go and get married in.