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Federal same-sex marriage invoice nonetheless wants spiritual freedom fixes, bishops say – Catholic World Report

US Capitol, Senate facet, public area. /null

Denver, Colo., Nov 23, 2022 / 5:47 p.m. (CNA).

A federal invoice to acknowledge same-sex unions as marriages lacks ample spiritual 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 objective. It will additionally betray our nation’s dedication to the elemental proper of spiritual liberty,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester stated in a Nov. 23 letter to members of Congress.

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

“This invoice is pointless and dangerous and have to 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 assist. If the invoice turns into legislation, it might federally acknowledge same-sex marriage and require states to acknowledge any marriage contracted in different states. It will additionally present authorized protections for interracial marriages.

The act would repeal the Protection of Marriage Act, a 1996 legislation 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 legislation isn’t in impact beneath the 2013 and 2015 Supreme Courtroom choices United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, which required states to acknowledge same-sex unions as marriages.

Backers of a bipartisan spiritual freedom modification to the invoice say their modification ensures that nonprofit spiritual organizations wouldn’t be required to offer companies, services, or items for the celebration of a same-sex marriage, and protects spiritual liberty and conscience protections accessible beneath the Structure and federal legislation, together with the Non secular 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 offer companies for the celebration of any marriage.

Nevertheless, the US bishops questioned these claims.

“Sadly, numerous spiritual teams and senators are asserting that the amended textual content of (the Respect for Marriage Act) sufficiently protects spiritual freedom,” Dolan and Barron continued. “From the attitude of the US Convention of Catholic Bishops, whose bishops’ ministries perceive the biggest 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 higher danger of presidency discrimination.”

In an evaluation accompanying the bishops’ letter, the US bishops’ convention stated the invoice “can 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 may enable lawsuits to revisit present precedent primarily based on the federal Non secular Freedom Restoration Act, the First Modification to the US Structure, and different related legislation.

“(R)eligious objectors are prone to be denied exemptions,” the evaluation stated. If the Respect for Marriage Act turns into legislation, 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 businesses, housing suppliers, and social companies businesses that serve immigrants may all be affected. Religion-based teams that assist present foster care to unaccompanied refugee kids may very well be shut out of working with the US Division of Well being and Human Providers.

“Non secular organizations may very well be pressured to rent and retain employees who publicly repudiate the organizations’ beliefs about marriage,” the evaluation stated.

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

In response to the evaluation, solely the stronger spiritual freedom modification proposed by the 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 in opposition to anybody who holds a non secular perception or ethical conviction that marriage is a union between one man and one girl or is a union between two people.

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

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

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

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