Search This Blog

Sunday, 8 March 2009

We want it all our own way!

Continuing my Catholic-bashing trend (sorry, can’t help it: they keep asking for it), I note that Catholics in Connecticut want to extend a Catholic priest’s refusal to do the mumbo-jumbo with same-sexers to all kinds of other services, such as florists, wedding photographers and justices of the peace.

If same-sex marriage goes against their delusions, they should be allowed to refuse service.

We’re told in the Hartford Courant that a lobbyist for the Catholic Church, David Reynolds, is bleating, “Same-sex couples have their liberties protected fully. Religious people are wondering, ‘How is this going to affect me?’ ”

Not the same argument, though, is it, Dave? If opposite-sex couples have a right to marriage recognised by the state, so should same-sex couples. When you’re appointed as a justice of the peace, you’re expected to do your duty (just as registrars are expected to in the UK, but sometimes get uppity).

When you advertise yourself as a photographer or florist, there’s an expectation that you’ll treat your customers equally – although I suppose it’s really up to a private individual as to whom he or she does business with, unless that business has been licensed in some way to operate (as pharmacists are here in the UK, but, again, we sometimes get people being uppity), and therefore has legal expectations placed upon it.

You could argue, I suppose, that, if a business is being granted permission to operate on a particular patch of land (usually in a high street), and there is a legally binding agreement between the business and the state, county or city over the business that is being operated, then, again, there is an obligation to treat everyone equally.

And, of course, there’s the usual argument that Catholics are coming at this from a belief in the impossible while same-sex couples and their supporters are looking at life as it’s lived, here, now, in reality, played out by real people, made of flesh and blood, interacting with one another, trying to do so harmoniously.

And then some shit comes along and sows discord.

But that’s the Catholic Church for you.

The story goes on:

Reynolds raised his concerns Friday as the legislature’s judiciary committee considered a bill to ensure that existing statutes comport with the landmark state Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

“A situation has been created . . . where state policy seriously conflicts with the religious beliefs of a large number of the citizens of the state,” Reynolds said. He cited examples in other states where businesspeople have faced legal action because they declined, on religious grounds, to provide goods or services to same-sex couples.

The judiciary committee hearing is likely the final chance opponents will have to put up obstacles to gay marriage. But several lawmakers oppose extending the religious exemption. Sen. John Kissel is Catholic and has long shared his church’s opposition to gay marriage.

“I’ve been with you guys all along,” said Kissel, a Republican from Enfield. But, “we’re at a fork in the road and I have to let go of your hand.”

A law preventing a Catholic caterer from serving guests at a same-sex marriage could also be used by a Protestant baker who doesn’t want to sell a cake to a Catholic father for his son’s first communion, Kissel said. “It could just as easily turn against each and every Catholic in the state of Connecticut.”

Connecticut’s state Supreme Court ruled in October that gay and lesbian couples had the right to marry and, the following month, Connecticut became the second state legally to recognise same-sex marriage. The legislature is now codifying the court’s decision.

No comments: