Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Religious liberty and SSM in the State of Washington

Here is a letter (Download Washington letter), from Prof. Robin Fretwell Wilson, Tom Berg, Carl Esbeck, and others to legislators and officials in Washington, urging them to include meaningful protections for religious freedom in that state's pending same-sex-marriage legislation.


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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Would you ever consider writing a letter urging legislators considering a ban on same-sex marriage to include "meaningful protections for religious freedom" in that legislation?

More generally, what protections do you support for the religious freedom of those who support SSM?

Posted by: william brennan | Jan 31, 2012 10:12:13 AM

Brennan -- I don't think the question is asked in good faith, but I'll answer it anyway: As you know full well, I support religious freedom for all, whatever their views of SSM.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 31, 2012 10:22:28 AM

First, even though you claim to answer "the question ... anyway", you don't. Instead, you studiously avoided answering either of the questions I asked.

Which kinda points out why I asked it - you assert a committment to religious freedom for all, but I have a great deal of trouble figuring out what generally applicable protections for religious protections you support (and I acknowledge that I don't know you at all and haven't read this blog for long). I get that you support concrete protections for dissenters/religious minorities when your brand of Catholicism disagrees with the prevailing legal regime, but the rubber really hits the road when we're talking about concrete protections for dissenters/religious minorities when your brand of Catholicism AGREES with the legal regime. But that's precisely when I see you resort to anodyne bromides - "I support religious freedom for all".

Second, why don't you think my questions were asked in good faith? Obviously, I support legal equality for SSM, but is that enough to convict me of bad faith?

Finally, I appreciate the fact that you open comments and respond to them.

Posted by: william brennan | Jan 31, 2012 6:26:50 PM

The post for the Maryland letter is not open to comments, so I wonder if I might raise a question here, since they seem to be related.

As I read the proposed exemptions in the Maryland letter, I don't think they are limited to same-sex marriage. Could a Catholic organization treat divorced and remarried couples in the same manner as same-sex couples, refusing to cooperate with or recognize their marriage? Could Catholic Charities, for example, refuse insurance coverage to the spouses of divorced and remarried heterosexual couples but grant them to couples whom they considered to be in sacramental marriages or valid natural marriages?

Posted by: David Nickol | Jan 31, 2012 7:21:21 PM

A good question. Here's another - if Catholic hospital may refuse to "treat as valid" a SSM, could a Catholic hospital refuse to recognize the right of a spouse in a SSM to visit a sick/injured spouse? To make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse?

These hypos could also be asked about remarried heterosexual spouses, too.

Posted by: william brennan | Feb 1, 2012 6:15:21 PM