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Federal ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ Nonetheless Wants Spiritual-Freedom Fixes| Nationwide Catholic Register

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, despatched a Nov. 23 letter to members of Congress.

A federal invoice to acknowledge same-sex unions as marriages lacks enough religious-freedom protections and can undermine the reality about marriage, the US Convention of Catholic Bishops stated Wednesday.

“The Respect for Marriage Act’s rejection of timeless truths about marriage is clear on its face and in its function. It might additionally betray our nation’s dedication to the basic proper of non secular liberty,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, stated in a Nov. 23 letter to members of Congress.

Cardinal Dolan heads the US bishops’ Committee for Spiritual Liberty, whereas Bishop Barron heads the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Household Life, and Youth.

“This invoice is useless and dangerous and should be voted down,” the bishops’ letter stated. “On the similar time, Congress, and our nation as a complete, should resolve to foster a tradition the place each particular person, as a baby of God, is handled with respect and compassion.”

The Respect for Marriage Act superior final week in a key US Senate vote of 62-37, with some Republican help. If the invoice turns into regulation, it could federally acknowledge same-sex civil marriage and require states to acknowledge any marriage contracted in different states. It might additionally present authorized protections for interracial marriages.

The act would repeal the Protection of Marriage Act, a 1996 regulation signed by President Invoice Clinton that outlined marriage federally because the union of a person and a lady and permitted states to not acknowledge same-sex marriages contracted in different states. That regulation is just not in impact below the 2013 and 2015 Supreme Court docket choices United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodgeswhich required states to acknowledge same-sex unions as marriages.

Backers of a bipartisan religious-freedom modification to the invoice say their modification ensures that nonprofit spiritual organizations wouldn’t be required to supply companies, services or items for the celebration of a same-sex marriage and protects spiritual liberty and conscience protections out there below the Structure and federal regulation, together with the Spiritual Freedom Restoration Act. The modification, backers say, would be certain that church buildings, universities and different nonprofit spiritual organizations wouldn’t lose tax-exempt standing or different advantages for refusing to acknowledge same-sex marriages and wouldn’t be required to supply companies for the celebration of any marriage.

Nevertheless, the US bishops questioned these claims.

“Sadly, a lot of spiritual teams and senators are asserting that the amended textual content of (the Respect for Marriage Act) sufficiently protects spiritual freedom,” Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Barron continued. “From the attitude of the US Convention of Catholic Bishops, whose bishops’ ministries perceive the most important non-governmental supplier of social companies in the US, the provisions of the act that relate to non secular liberty are inadequate. If handed, the amended act will put the ministries of the Catholic Church, folks of religion, and different People who uphold a standard which means of marriage at better threat of presidency discrimination.”

In an evaluation accompanying the bishops’ letter, the US bishops’ convention stated the invoice “shall be used to argue that the federal government has a compelling curiosity in forcing spiritual organizations and people to deal with same-sex civil marriages as legitimate.” This can permit lawsuits to revisit present precedent based mostly on the federal Spiritual Freedom Restoration Act, the First Modification to the US Structure, and different related regulation.

“(R)eligious objectors are more likely to be denied exemptions,” the evaluation stated. If the Respect for Marriage Act turns into regulation, it may have an effect on employment choices, worker spousal advantages, eligibility for grants or contracts, accreditation, and tax exemptions.

Religion-based foster care and adoption companies, housing suppliers, and social-services companies that serve immigrants may all be affected. Religion-based teams that assist present foster care to unaccompanied refugee kids might be shut out of working with the US Division of Well being and Human Providers.

“Spiritual organizations might be pressured to rent and retain employees who publicly repudiate the organizations’ beliefs about marriage,” the evaluation stated.

Wedding ceremony distributors might be pressured to take part in same-sex weddings. The IRS may revoke the tax exemptions of non secular organizations with conventional beliefs about marriage. Authorities companies may exclude spiritual colleges from eligibility for public advantages and applications, together with scholarships and college vouchers. Moreover, authorities companies may exclude spiritual organizations from entry to or use of public services.

In keeping with the evaluation, solely the stronger religious-freedom modification proposed by Utah Republican US Sen. Mike Lee has “complete, affirmative and enforceable protections,” however this modification has not been added to the invoice. Lee’s modification would prohibit the federal authorities from discriminating towards anybody who holds a non secular perception or ethical conviction that marriage is a union between one man and one lady or is a union between two people.

The US bishops famous that the invoice is being thought of within the wake of a lethal mass capturing at Membership Q in Colorado Springs, the place 5 folks had been killed.

Opposition to the act, Cardina Dolan and Bishop Barron stated, “in no way condoms any hostility towards anybody who experiences same-sex attraction.”

“Catholic instructing on marriage is inseparable from Catholic instructing on the inherent dignity and value of each human being,” they stated. “To assault one is to assault the opposite. Congress will need to have the braveness to defend each.”


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