Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Civil unions and loss of religious liberty comes to New Jersey

One aspect of the same sex marriage debate is the impact marriage redefinition will have on religious liberties. I and others have argued it will invariably infringe on religious freedoms of groups and individuals who do not support same sex marriage. This will happen, at least initially, through use of anti-discrimination laws and nonprofit tax laws. The message will be toe the line or lose your tax status and face anti-discrimination charges.

The basis for this belief? What's happening in European nations and Canada where same sex marriage is currently recognized. And now there's an example in New Jersey where a Methodist church group has lost its state tax exempt status for property taxes, because it refused to allow a homosexual couple to celebrate their civil union in the group's facility.

The state says the group must make the facility available for all purposes including celebration of civil unions (which are de facto same sex marriages.) Where's the religious freedom here? (Maybe freedom to harbor the thought that marriage is between one man and one woman but definitely don't act on that belief.) Advocates will say, "But we're not forcing you to authorize civil unions, you just can't have the state benefit of tax exempt status if you don't." What that means is the power to tax (which is the power to destroy) is now applied to churches. If you want to be free from government tax regulation then submit to our view of civil unions.

Expect more of these attacks in states where same sex marriage or civil unions are recognized.

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