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September 10th, 2013
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The latest draft of a gay marriage bill released by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday includes a revised religious exemption.

The bill, which will be considered by the state House and Senate in special session on Oct. 28, does not explicitly say that clergy have a constitutional right to refuse to perform gay weddings, as earlier drafts did. The constitutional right is implied, as it is in the state's civil unions law.

Here is the new language:

Refusal to solemnize a marriage. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any minister, priest, officer of any religious denomination or society, or religious society not having clergy but providing solemnizations that is authorized to perform solemnizations pursuant to this chapter to solemnize any marriage, and no such minister, priest, officer of any religious denomination or society, or religious society not having clergy that fails or refuses for any reason to solemnize any marriage under this section shall be subject to any fine, penalty, or other civil action for the failure or refusal.

Here is the old language:

Refusal to solemnize a marriage. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any person authorized to perform solemnizations pursuant to this chapter to solemnize any marriage in violation of the person's rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of this State and the United States Constitution. No authorized person who fails or refuses to solemnize any marriage under this section shall be subject to any fine, penalty, injunction, administrative proceeding, or civil liability for the failure or refusal.

10 Responses to “Refine”

  1. Much ado:

    Much better. This also excludes (public employees) judges from the exemption.


  2. Especially Incognito:

    "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

    Happens when America stops being ethical and having a government that is of the party, by the party and for the party. What would senator lindsey graham say? Oh, no you can't ask and he won't tell. Rumored to be gay but does not want same sex marriage.


  3. Manoa_Fisherman:

    The new language provides less protection than the original language. Implying constitutional protection provides an unclear and vague path that does not protect the freedom of religion for those who beliefs and faiths are trampled on? What next kalua pig at Temple Emanuel weddings?


  4. Goober:

    Seems that it is legal to sodomize between to consenting adults.
    Solemnize or sodomize, what is clearly needed is to redefine this draft.
    Only a draft and just a bunch of words.

    Reword specificly to mean exactly without the loopholes. Dazzle with brilliance if cannot baffle with Bureacratic Standards.


  5. Kolea:

    The amendments actually make sense, though I think the earlier language flowed more nicely. Much ado raises a valid point, the older version could have allowed public officials to refuse to conduct same sex marriage ceremonies, which would be a violation of government nondiscrimination. So limiting the exemption to religious clergy (or their equivalent) appears to be appropriate.

    Removing the explicit references to the constitution is also the right thing to do. A statute should not contain within it an explicit interpretation of the constitution, even when the interpretation is non-controversial. The constitutional protections exist, whether they are mentioned in the statute or not. And if a court were to disagree with the interpretation contained within the statute, it would be tossed out anyways, as it is not the legislature to make a determination of the meaning of the constitution, but the courts.

    So there really is no issue here, in these specific amendments. No opportunity to find something which might rally the opposition or sink the overall bill. Opponents will have to look elsewhere. And supporters of the bill have nothing to worry about either, with these minor changes.

    And, no, no one is going to require kalua pork be served at Temple Emmanuel. Though the mere mention of it makes me hungry for the lunch I missed. Where's the best Hawaiian food in town?


  6. Alan R. Spector:

    @ Manoa Fisherman - Speaking of Temple Emanu-El. It is a Reform synagogue affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Reform Judaism has been a long-time proponent of marriage equality and it is highly unlikely that a Reform Rabbi would decline to perform a same-sex marriage (assuming it was a marriage with at least one Jewish person). Additionally, Reform Judaism doesn't mandate following dietary laws. So Kalua Pig might be just fine.


  7. ohiaforest3400:

    I fully support marriage equality and, if it's politically necessary to secure the votes, including explicit language providing a religious exemption that is already implicit in the First Amendment.

    But doesn't anyone find it odd that the opponents think that a same-sex couple -- or any other couple for that matter -- would try to force someone to solemnize their marriage if that someone doesn't want to? I would want my marriage performed by someone who is as happy and excited for me as I am for myself and my about-to-be spouse, not someone like, uh, Larry Silva. Of course, I only said that 'cuz I'm not Catholic . . . .


  8. Auto de Fe:

    This language will be ruled unconstitutional.


  9. Kolea:

    OK, I am back to report someone sent me an email as a result of my comments here. I was urged to go to Yama's in Moilili for ono Hawaiian food. I got laulau, lomi salmon, poi, haupia and, yes, kalua pig. And it WAS ono. Glad to hear folks at the Temple can eat kalua pig. That will save from form having to lobby for a bill to require them to eat the stuff.

    Frankly, nothing Auto de Fe has written here, or on his blog, leads me to think he is qualified to pronounce so definitively what is or is not "constitutional." And, in this case, I think he is clearly wrong. But he should try the ono kalua pig at Yama's! Finally, something we can all agree on!


  10. Especially Incognito:

    Even those without wind can eat pork.
    They make bacon of each other.


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