Ruling: Officials must marry gay couples

Ruling: Officials must marry gay couples

There are 58 comments on the Stamford Advocate story from Oct 29, 2008, titled Ruling: Officials must marry gay couples. In it, Stamford Advocate reports that:

When Connecticut lawmakers made gay civil unions legal in 2005, Norwalk Town Clerk Andrew Garfunkel knew some justices of the peace would want to conduct the unions, but others would refuse.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Stamford Advocate.

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Jogger

Bridgeport, CT

#1 Oct 29, 2008
What gay (or, for that matter, straight) couple would even want an unwilling justice of the peace to preside at their wedding? If I were getting married, I would want everyone to be happy for me and the person I was about to marry. How uncomfortable it would be for me to know that the justice of the peace thought my union to be immoral and maybe even disgusting.
Catherine

Christchurch, New Zealand

#3 Oct 29, 2008
Jogger wrote:
What gay (or, for that matter, straight) couple would even want an unwilling justice of the peace to preside at their wedding? If I were getting married, I would want everyone to be happy for me and the person I was about to marry. How uncomfortable it would be for me to know that the justice of the peace thought my union to be immoral and maybe even disgusting.
I agree. It certainly wouldn't be an ideal situation. However, it is their job. If they don't want to do it as prescribed by the law, they should find a different line of work.

They certainly couldn't get away with refusing to marry any other couple they didn't agree with, so why should they be able to refuse gays?
Moose

Danbury, CT

#4 Oct 29, 2008
Whatever your religious beliefs are on this issue (and I can understand and respect those that do) the fact needs to be highlighted that church and state are and need to remain separate. This ruling confirms that thankfully.
Tax paying Gay adults should not be discriminated against by their own government and denied the same rights and responsibilities straight couples have. From a non religious and unbiased stand point this is a fair action whether your personal belief is for or against it.
dinosaur

Stamford, CT

#5 Oct 29, 2008
This is just another government stunt to force acceptance.

We talk about rights. What about the rights of the justices of the peace and their religious freedoms?

No one straight or gay should be able to force someone to marry them
dinosaur

Stamford, CT

#6 Oct 29, 2008
Moose wrote:
Whatever your religious beliefs are on this issue (and I can understand and respect those that do) the fact needs to be highlighted that church and state are and need to remain separate. This ruling confirms that thankfully.
Tax paying Gay adults should not be discriminated against by their own government and denied the same rights and responsibilities straight couples have. From a non religious and unbiased stand point this is a fair action whether your personal belief is for or against it.
How long do you think it will be before dictator Blumenthal tries to tell churches they will have to conform as well?

We were told that all they wanted would be civil unions. That the justices would be allowed the choice to marry these people or not.

Now we are told that marriage is allowed and you cant refuse to do it.

My understanding is that no justice HAS marry anybody

Yet we have now made an exception for gay people.

Stop the world, cause I want to get off.
Catherine

Christchurch, New Zealand

#7 Oct 29, 2008
dinosaur wrote:
This is just another government stunt to force acceptance.
We talk about rights. What about the rights of the justices of the peace and their religious freedoms?
No one straight or gay should be able to force someone to marry them
Like I said, they shouldn't *be* justices of the peace then.

They are *legal* representatives. Their religious beliefs should be left at the door so they can do their job without discrimination.

No one is going to try to force church ministers to marry homosexuals.

“Your Gods' Rules not mine.”

Since: Apr 07

Indianapolis

#8 Oct 29, 2008
If you are a govt rep and the govt says this is how it is, then you are required to follow the law.

If these bigots can start denying the laws of the land when it comes to Gays, will they start doing it for miscegenation? Poor people? Foreigners marrying citizens? Where do you stop?
Moose

Danbury, CT

#9 Oct 29, 2008
dinosaur wrote:
<quoted text>
How long do you think it will be before dictator Blumenthal tries to tell churches they will have to conform as well?
We were told that all they wanted would be civil unions. That the justices would be allowed the choice to marry these people or not.
Now we are told that marriage is allowed and you cant refuse to do it.
My understanding is that no justice HAS marry anybody
Yet we have now made an exception for gay people.
Stop the world, cause I want to get off.
Great, don't let the door hit ya where your good Lord split ya!!
Churches are Exempt

Dallas, TX

#10 Oct 29, 2008
Tax Exempt churches and religious groups will NEVER be forced to marry gay couples if they do not want to, nor will they ever be forced to hire people whose lifestyles they disagree with. They are protected under separation of church and state. Our constitution prohibits ordering churches to marry anyone they don't want to. That is the beauty of separation of church and state.

A judge or justice of the peace, however, is a government employee, not a religious tax-exempt figure. Therefore as a government employee, they must abide by anti-discrimination laws. They are overseeing a secular, civil ceremony in the court, not a religious one.

All these ridiculous claims that churches will be forced to marry gay couples are false, misleading and promoted with the single purpose of scaring the public.

Our constitution is a beautiful thing. It protects everyone's right to worship or not worship, as they so choose. It keeps the government out of your church. So no worries.
Moose

Danbury, CT

#11 Oct 29, 2008
Churches are Exempt wrote:
Tax Exempt churches and religious groups will NEVER be forced to marry gay couples if they do not want to, nor will they ever be forced to hire people whose lifestyles they disagree with. They are protected under separation of church and state. Our constitution prohibits ordering churches to marry anyone they don't want to. That is the beauty of separation of church and state.
A judge or justice of the peace, however, is a government employee, not a religious tax-exempt figure. Therefore as a government employee, they must abide by anti-discrimination laws. They are overseeing a secular, civil ceremony in the court, not a religious one.
All these ridiculous claims that churches will be forced to marry gay couples are false, misleading and promoted with the single purpose of scaring the public.
Our constitution is a beautiful thing. It protects everyone's right to worship or not worship, as they so choose. It keeps the government out of your church. So no worries.
And vice versa, keep the church out of your government contrary to the opinion of some. Those who stand in judgement of others on standing on their pulpits want to impart their religious beliefs into government, but yet want their churches to be free to do as they please without government intervention. It doesn't work that way, hence keep your religious views out of civil matters.

And live and let live! Judge human beings on their character and not their sexuality. The God I know and love doesn't discriminate the way that those of you who use him to spew your negativity do. History years from now will prove you wrong as it always has on those who come from a place of discriminating against others.
Churches are Exempt

Dallas, TX

#12 Oct 29, 2008
Exactly, Moose. That is why I'm a card carrying member of AU.org - Americans United for Separation of Church and State - and support them financially. I don't want some other group dictating how I worship, nor would I want to tell that group what they should or should not believe, no matter how much I disagree. Religion is private - keep it out of government and keep government out of it.

If a person is a government worker they must abide by anti-discrimination laws on the job on the taxpayer's dime, but they are free to do whatever the heck they want on their own time. They can stand on a street corner and preach if they want. They can pray to the god of soda pop for all I care. But while working as a tax paid employee, they must not impose their religious beliefs on others, whether directly or by refusing to provide a service. No one is telling them what to believe or not to believe - just not to impose it on others during their work hours.

Churches enjoy the freedom to choose who they want or don't want to marry specifically because of separation of church and state. It keeps government out of religion. It also keeps religion out of government. If we inject religion into government, we will ALL lose freedoms. People only like mixing religion and government when it's THEIR particular religion or even denomination. Even within denominations there are divisions on what people believe, accept, and tolerate. Best to leave things as our country's founders intended - let the people worship freely as they choose - and keep government out of religion, and religion out of government.

Personally, I could care less who people marry as long as it's consenting adults of legal age. That is their choice, between them and God (or no God, depending on their beliefs. It's America.) Their decision does not affect me in any way. It does not change my relationship with God. It does not "threaten my marriage" my marriage. If two people are in love and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, then I'm happy for them.
dinosaur

Stamford, CT

#13 Oct 29, 2008
Churches are Exempt wrote:
Tax Exempt churches and religious groups will NEVER be forced to marry gay couples if they do not want to, nor will they ever be forced to hire people whose lifestyles they disagree with. They are protected under separation of church and state. Our constitution prohibits ordering churches to marry anyone they don't want to. That is the beauty of separation of church and state.
A judge or justice of the peace, however, is a government employee, not a religious tax-exempt figure. Therefore as a government employee, they must abide by anti-discrimination laws. They are overseeing a secular, civil ceremony in the court, not a religious one.
All these ridiculous claims that churches will be forced to marry gay couples are false, misleading and promoted with the single purpose of scaring the public.
Our constitution is a beautiful thing. It protects everyone's right to worship or not worship, as they so choose. It keeps the government out of your church. So no worries.
Excuse me, it has already happened.

Church owned hospitals are now required by the state of Connecticut to dispense morning after pills. Even with the Catholic churches belief that abortion is the number one no-no. And even if there are plenty of secular non religious hospitals around if someone comes in after a rape, they have to dispense it. Another one of King Blumenthals mandates.

Which is one of many reasons why Saint Josephs hospital is no longer around.

Also, if the Federal Government ever really wanted to force the issue, they could deny tax exempt status to any and all churches that refuse to marry gay couples. Since very few churches could afford to operate if they had to pay taxes, it could well result in a slippery slope thing.

Since: Jul 08

Parsippany, NJ

#14 Oct 29, 2008
Catherine wrote:
<quoted text>
Like I said, they shouldn't *be* justices of the peace then.
They are *legal* representatives. Their religious beliefs should be left at the door so they can do their job without discrimination.
No one is going to try to force church ministers to marry homosexuals.
You say the justices of the peace should have to find a different line of work - I disagree. I can understand that for anyone new wanting to become a JP - but for ones that were already in that line of work prior to this law taking effect, it's not right to force them to do something that goes against their religious beliefs. They chose this line of work before there would be any conflict between personal beliefs and the job description. Any one NOW considering this line of work would take the law into consideration and choose a different profession if it violated their religious beliefs. But the ones who are already JPs should have a grandfather clause. I believe also that it's only a matter of time before churches are forced to be "accepting" and Christian & Catholic schools are forced to hire gay teachers. The anti-religious zealots may be a greater force in this country thatn the religious ones. Freedom of religion is supposed to mean that an individual can practice whatever religion he or she chooses and separation of church and state is supposed to mean that the government can't force any particular religion on anyone, but the individual has the right to choose. That was the original intent, anyway.
The First Amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".
Good Deal

Stamford, CT

#15 Oct 29, 2008
If the people who would refuse is in such a minority why force them to do something against their beliefs? Because they want to force this issue on everyone! Mark my words, Churches will eventually be forced to do the same or risk losing their tax exemptions! This is what the Obama nation will bring us!
My2Cents

Wallingford, CT

#16 Oct 29, 2008
Why would anyone (Gay or not) volunteerly get wed by someone who finds them repulsive, if I were taking this approach I would want a good experience something to look back on with fond memories....

Andrew Garfunkel did the right and honorable thing by locating those willing and unwilling...again, why go somewhere for an unpleasant experience...
Churches are Exempt

Dallas, TX

#17 Oct 29, 2008
dinosaur wrote:
<quoted text>
Excuse me, it has already happened.
Church owned hospitals are now required by the state of Connecticut to dispense morning after pills. Even with the Catholic churches belief that abortion is the number one no-no. And even if there are plenty of secular non religious hospitals around if someone comes in after a rape, they have to dispense it. Another one of King Blumenthals mandates.
Which is one of many reasons why Saint Josephs hospital is no longer around.
Also, if the Federal Government ever really wanted to force the issue, they could deny tax exempt status to any and all churches that refuse to marry gay couples. Since very few churches could afford to operate if they had to pay taxes, it could well result in a slippery slope thing.
That is because the hospital receives government funds and subsidies. By accepting government funds, they agree to abide by government rules. They are free to turn down the taxpayer's funds and continue not providing morning after pills to victims of violent rape. As much as I disagree with that, it's the hospital's right as long as they don't accept taxpayer's dollars.

Your example of the government refusing to provide tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to marry gay couples is a fear-mongering lie propelled by the religious right. I'm sorry you've been fed that misinformation. There are still churches who flatly refuse to marry interracial couples TO THIS DAY - and they still have tax exempt status despite federal laws against discrimination based on color of skin. Please explain how they are able to discriminate against race for decades, yet gay marriage will suddenly overturn our constitution.

A Catholic cannot walk into their church and demand the priest perform a ceremony to marry them to a Buddhist or a Muslim. It's the churches right to refuse simply because they don't accept tax dollars. Another church can refuse to marry people of different colors, to this day and age, and it's their right because they don't accept tax dollars. Again, if they don't accept tax dollars, churches can discriminate however the heck they want - no matter how displeasing it may be to others. It's their right as along as they don't accept government funds. Likewise, they will not be forced to marry gay couples, just as they have not been forced to marry people of different religions, or colors, or any other reason they deem fit in their religion.
dinosaur

Stamford, CT

#18 Oct 29, 2008
Churches are Exempt wrote:
<quoted text>
That is because the hospital receives government funds and subsidies. By accepting government funds, they agree to abide by government rules. They are free to turn down the taxpayer's funds and continue not providing morning after pills to victims of violent rape. As much as I disagree with that, it's the hospital's right as long as they don't accept taxpayer's dollars.
Your example of the government refusing to provide tax-exempt status to churches that refuse to marry gay couples is a fear-mongering lie propelled by the religious right. I'm sorry you've been fed that misinformation. There are still churches who flatly refuse to marry interracial couples TO THIS DAY - and they still have tax exempt status despite federal laws against discrimination based on color of skin. Please explain how they are able to discriminate against race for decades, yet gay marriage will suddenly overturn our constitution.
A Catholic cannot walk into their church and demand the priest perform a ceremony to marry them to a Buddhist or a Muslim. It's the churches right to refuse simply because they don't accept tax dollars. Another church can refuse to marry people of different colors, to this day and age, and it's their right because they don't accept tax dollars. Again, if they don't accept tax dollars, churches can discriminate however the heck they want - no matter how displeasing it may be to others. It's their right as along as they don't accept government funds. Likewise, they will not be forced to marry gay couples, just as they have not been forced to marry people of different religions, or colors, or any other reason they deem fit in their religion.
Well, I guess that you just dont see the handwriting on the wall.

Kindly tell me which denomination refuses to marry interracial couples.

I genuinely believe an Obama administration coupled with a democratic House and senate, will indeed try to do something like witholding tax exempt status.

The threat in fact was made against the Episcopal Church in the 60's over the Vietnam War, and Kent protests.

The IRS told them that if they were going to take positions on political issues like a private company, that they were going to be taxed as such.
Churches are Exempt

Dallas, TX

#19 Oct 29, 2008
For example, the entire Bob Jones University fundamentalist christian church run campus forbid interracial dating of its students until just a couple of years ago, and the pastors from Bob Jone's ministries still refuse to marry interracial couples. Yet despite these bigoted views, they remained tax exempt and no one is forcing them to marry people they don't want to marry.

There are also many small, bigoted, non-denominational churches across the US who still have views against interracial marrige. As terrible as that is, no one is forcing them to marry couples they do not approve of.

Yes, churches who actively endorse or oppose candidate lose their tax exempt status and are reclassified as political organizations. This is tax law 101. A church can say "don't vote for candidates that are pro-abortion" but cannot say "don't vote for Joe Smith, he's pro-abortion." This is the IRS view, not a particular administration or lawmaker. To have a church active in politics violates mixing of church and state.

I understand your concerns. I would not anyone forcing a church to marry people against their beliefs, even if I disagree with them. But it's an unfounded fear. Our constitution is not going to allow churches to be forced to marry gay couples.

“Your Gods' Rules not mine.”

Since: Apr 07

Indianapolis

#20 Oct 29, 2008
My2Cents wrote:
Why would anyone (Gay or not) volunteerly get wed by someone who finds them repulsive, if I were taking this approach I would want a good experience something to look back on with fond memories....
Andrew Garfunkel did the right and honorable thing by locating those willing and unwilling...again, why go somewhere for an unpleasant experience...
Why do government employees get to put their personal opinions into their duties? If they cannot abide by the law, then let'em get a job at McDonalds, oh wait, they're Gay friendly too. Perhaps they could move to Westboro Baptist and have them feed, clothe and house their bigoted behinds.

Or they could admit that their prejudice comes from ignorance and learn how to get over it.
dinosaur

Stamford, CT

#21 Oct 29, 2008
lndychick wrote:
<quoted text>
Why do government employees get to put their personal opinions into their duties? If they cannot abide by the law, then let'em get a job at McDonalds, oh wait, they're Gay friendly too. Perhaps they could move to Westboro Baptist and have them feed, clothe and house their bigoted behinds.
Or they could admit that their prejudice comes from ignorance and learn how to get over it.
My understanding is that Justices of the Peace are not government employees, like judges, for instance.

They are more like a notary public. They apply to the State, take a test,(usually open book), pay a yearly fee. They then charge a fee to those who use their services. IE, they dont get a salary from the state. If this is the case, they are more like an independent contractor, and should be able to do as they wish.

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