Thursday, September 6, 2012

Same Sex Marriage Will Have Chilling Effect on Religious Freedom

Posted on by SBrinkmann
Women of Grace

Only weeks before voters in the state of Washington will vote on a new state law allowing same-sex marriage, the state’s bishops issued a statement warning the public that changing the definition of marriage will have a chilling effect on religious liberty.

The bishops issued their statement in anticipation of the November 6 ballot measure known as Referendum 74 in which the people of Washington State will vote to “approve” or “reject” a new law that legalizes marriage between couples of the same sex. The law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year but was blocked from going into effect after the citizenry gathered enough signatures to allow a public vote on the matter this November.
With polls showing increasing support for same-sex marriage, the bishops of Washington State have launched an aggressive campaign to educate people on the value of traditional marriage and what could happen to society and particularly to children if homosexual unions are approved.
“If the state successfully disconnects marriage from the potential inherent to sexual union between a man and woman, the civil meaning of marriage will be lost, and the institution that results will be a genderless contract without reference to children,” the bishops write.
“The foundational nature of marriage for the good and the strength of human society will be harmed beyond repair. Faithful, monogamous marriages between one man and one woman will cease to be the legally-established social standard for uniting children with their parents, even though social science has established that children do best when raised in homes with married mothers and fathers.”
The statement also brings up the fact that religious liberty will suffer if states legalize same-sex unions because churches will be forced to comply even though homosexuality is in violation of their beliefs.
” . . . (T)he legal separation of marriage from procreation would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience,” the bishops state.
“Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.”
As is already happening throughout the country, no one will be allowed to even suggest that there are any benefits to heterosexual unions or that married heterosexual couples provide singular benefits to children without being accused of discrimination.
“Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage underscore the danger. Those who uphold families based on the permanent, faithful relationship between a married man and woman as the best environment for raising children already have been accused of hate speech, and the right of religious institutions to freely practice their faith has been abridged.”
To those who accuse the Church of being homophobic for these beliefs, which is just another form of the religious persecution the bishops warn against, they assert:
“Our support for traditional marriage is not born of bias or intolerance toward anyone. Instead, our purpose is to support the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in order to promote the common good. We therefore urge Catholic people to uphold our consistent teaching on marriage for the good of the Church, society, spouses and their children. Finally, we reject the redefinition of marriage as a “civil contract between two persons.”
Click here to read the full document.

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