Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Continuing SSM / Religious Liberty Debate in New Hampshire

After the New Hampshire House narrowly refused yesterday to pass a same-sex marriage bill with reasonable religious-liberty protections demanded by Democratic governor John Lynch, there now appear to be negotiations to return to the issue.  New Hampshire seems likely to pass SSM sometime soon; the question is whether it will act as a decent model for allowing religious traditionalists to follow their conscience as well.  As background on the issues, here is the letter that Robin Wilson, Carl Esbeck, Rick, and I wrote to the governor on May 1.  [UPDATE: Here too is the letter that Professor Doug Laycock wrote to the governor on April 30 supporting same-sex marriage but also strong religious exemptions.]

The original New Hampshire bill had a wholly inadequate provision protecting only clergy from actually having to solemnize a marriage.  The governor's proposal would, among other good things, protect other religious organizations and their employees, and in contexts beyond the marriage ceremony itself that involve "promotion" of a marriage: for example, a religious college objecting to including same-sex couples in married-student housing.  The governor's proposal is not perfect; it wouldn't (as we argued should happen) protect individuals in small commercial businesses, like wedding photographers, who personally, directly participate in a marriage ceremony.  But Gov. Lynch nevertheless deserves credit and support for standing up for protecting the deep beliefs and identities of both groups, traditionalist objectors as well as gay couples.  


Berg, Thomas | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Continuing SSM / Religious Liberty Debate in New Hampshire :