Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The Connecticut legislature is taking up a bill to implement the state supreme court's October 2008 decision in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health requiring the recognition of same-sex marriage. The bill currently contains only a narrow religious-liberty exemption protecting clergy from having to solemnize a same-sex marriage "in violation of [their free exercise] right[s]" -- in contrast to the exemption in Vermont's recent statute that protects religious conscientious objections to same-sex marriage in other contexts as well. These issues are plainly among the most important religious liberty matters in our nation right now.
Here are a couple of letters to the speaker of the Connecticut house arguing for meaningful religious liberty exemptions in the bill. One is from four religious liberty scholars, including Robin Fretwell Wilson (Washington and Lee, drafter), Carl Esbeck (Missouri), and MOJ's own Rick Garnett and Tom Berg, proposing a text of a broader exemption. The other is from Professor Doug Laycock, explicitly supporting both same-sex marriage and religious liberty and endorsing the text in our letter.