Friday, November 11, 2011

New York Archbishop: No Same-Sex Ceremonies on Catholic Properties

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan issued a strongly worded decree this week, declaring that nothing belonging to the Catholic Church — whether real estate, articles or clergy — would be allowed for use in performing same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Dolan also said sanctions would be issued against any Church members violating the decree. “Ecclesiastical solemnization or celebration of same-sex marriages is expressly forbidden by Canon law,” he wrote.

Though New York’s same-sex marriage law, passed this June, contains language saying churches won’t be forced to participate, the Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said it’s “only a matter of time” until an activist tries to create a court case to remove that exemption.

“By the very nature of having to put that in there, you’ve excluded other people and discriminated against them,” he said. “It’s much easier to come back someday and take out the religious freedom language. An amendment to prevent that from happening is much more difficult to pass once the bill is a law.”

McGuire, an ordained minister who is no longer affiliated with a particular church, also said people like him could face charges because the law’s religious exemption is so narrow.

“I officiate some weddings but not others,” he said. “This law does not protect me because I’m not on staff with one local church.

“One pastor I know said, ‘I didn’t need any protection until you passed this law.’ “

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