By Derrick DePledge
The state Senate released its draft of a gay marriage bill on Tuesday afternoon.
The draft, unlike previous versions that were circulated, carves out a narrow exemption to the public accommodations law for churches that do not make religious facilities or grounds available to the general public for weddings for a profit.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie also submitted a revised draft on Tuesday that incorporates some of the suggestions from religious leaders but does not exempt churches from the public accommodations law.
Readers can compare the religious exemption in the Senate draft with previous versions by clicking here.
From Senate Bill 1, in Section 1:
(3) Protect religious freedom and liberty by:
(A) Ensuring that no clergy or other officer of any religious organization will be required to solemnize any marriage, in accordance with the Hawaii State Constitution and the United States Constitution; and
(B) Clarifying that unless a religious organization allows use of its facilities or grounds by the general public for weddings for a profit, such organization shall not be required to make its facilities or grounds available for solemnization of any marriage celebration.
From Section 2:
§572-E Refusal to solemnize a marriage. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require any clergy, minister, priest, rabbi, 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. No such person who fails or refuses to solemnize any marriage under this section for any reason shall be subject to any fine, penalty, injunction, administrative proceeding, or other civil liability for the failure or refusal.
§572-F Religious organizations and facilities; liability exemption under certain circumstances. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no religious organization shall be subject to any fine, penalty, injunction, administrative proceeding, or civil liability for refusing to make its facilities or grounds available for solemnization of any marriage celebration under this chapter; provided that the religious organization does not make its facilities or grounds available to the general public for solemnization of any marriage celebration for a profit.
For purposes of this section, a religious organization accepting donations from the public, providing religious services to the public, or otherwise permitting the public to enter the religious organization's premises shall not constitute "for a profit."