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"We must promote religious liberty for all people. Every man and woman must be free to profess his or her faith, whatever it may be. Why? Because that man and that woman are children of God."
– Pope Francis
Pope Benedict XVI taught: "Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself" (Sacramentum Caritatis, 29). As the following examples illustrate, efforts to redefine marriage are harming our religious liberties.
New Mexico (2013)- The owners of a photography studio would not take the pictures of a same-sex "commitment ceremony" because they did not want to participate in behavior contrary to their religious beliefs. In 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court denied the owners' appeal, affirming the lower court opinion that the studio violated the state Human Rights Act. The owners of the studio, who have also been ordered to pay almost $7,000 in attorneys' fees to the complaintant, have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Washington (2013)- A florist who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex "wedding" was sued by the state Attorney General.
Ohio (2013)- Legal action has been taken against a Catholic high school for firing a teacher who publicly disclosed being in a same-sex relationship.
Maine ( 2012) – The State of Maine has informed all notaries public (approximately 25,000) that regardless of religious objections, they must "wed" same-sex "couples," if they wed opposite-sex couples. Otherwise, these notaries could be subject to a claim of discrimination. In the words of one notary: "I'm a Catholic and under no circumstances would I do a same-sex marriage." He added, "I'm concerned that if I refused to perform a same-sex marriage, I could be challenged legally."
Maryland (2012) – A university administrator was placed on administrative leave for signing a petition to place a marriage redefinition law on a state ballot.
York (2012) – A Catholic hospital has been sued by an employee for not providing health insurance for the employee's same-sex "spouse".
Vermont (2012) – For allegedly not hosting a "wedding" reception for a same-sex "couple," Catholic owners of a bed and breakfast settled a discrimination lawsuit, requiring them to (1) pay a $10,000 civil penalty, (2) pay $20,000 to a charitable trust, and (3) not host wedding receptions of any kind. Upon settling the lawsuit, the owners of the bed and breakfast said, "But no one can force us to abandon our deeply held beliefs about marriage."
New Jersey (2012) – The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights found that a Methodist organization violated a public accommodations law by not allowing a same-sex civil union ceremony at its boardwalk pavilion.
Catholic Charities – Catholic Charities of Boston (2006), Catholic Charities San Francisco (2006), Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., (2010), and Catholic Charities affiliates in Illinois (2011) had to cease adoption services or face civil liability for not placing children in the homes of same-sex couples.
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