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Forced ‘Tolerance’ (New Jersey Town Forced to Accommodate Same-Sex Unions)
NCR ^ | January 21, 2009 | DENNIS POUST

Posted on 01/21/2009 1:20:37 PM PST by NYer

OCEAN GROVE, N.J. — A Christian camp meeting community here is being forced to accommodate same-sex ceremonies. Are Catholics next?

Ocean Grove, a tiny seaside village on the Jersey Shore, is in many ways like something out of another time.

With its wood frame Victorian inns, small family-run cafes and restaurants (no alcohol served in this “dry” town with a long history of temperance), Ocean Grove might have been lifted out of the 19th century.

But a distinctly 21st-century controversy has rudely intervened in this Methodist Church-owned village, which began as a place for Protestant tent revival meetings.

Ocean Grove has come out on the short end of a homosexual union controversy that traditional marriage advocates say portends chilling religious liberty implications.

An official of the state’s Catholic Conference voiced concern that Catholic organizations could be next.

It all started in March 2007, just three months after the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill allowing homosexuals to enter into state-sanctioned civil unions, the legal equivalent of marriage.

Two lesbian partners sought permission to hold their civil union ceremony at the Ocean Grove Boardwalk Pavilion, owned by the Methodist-run Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.

Ocean Grove was founded in 1869 by a group of Methodist ministers seeking an oceanfront Christian camp meeting community. They formed the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, which continues to own all of the village land, which it leases to residents.

The association regularly made the pavilion, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, available for weddings, regardless of religious affiliation. The pavilion also has long been used as a site for religious services. (The association keeps its section of beach closed on Sunday mornings.)

Because the Methodist Church disapproves of homosexual activity, same-sex “marriage” and civil unions, the two women were denied the use of the pavilion. That prompted them to file a claim of discrimination with the state of New Jersey.

On Dec. 29, the state’s Division of Civil Rights ruled that because the association regularly made the pavilion available for weddings and other public use, it was a public accommodation and therefore bound by the state’s anti-discrimination law to allow the civil union ceremony.

Lawrence Lustberg, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who represented the plaintiffs, hailed the decision as a “spectacular victory.”

But those who support not only traditional marriage but the ability of a religious organization to remain true to its teachings saw it as a grave assault on religious liberty, with potentially dire consequences.

“Gay ‘marriage’ advocates seek to get the law to endorse a new moral principle — orientation is just like race,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which was the biggest single financial supporter of California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex “marriage.” “Once the law endorses this principle, traditional religious communities are going to be treated like racists if we act on and promote our countercultural view [that] there’s something special about unions of husband and wife. Ocean Grove is the tip of a very large iceberg. Take it seriously.”

Experts say Ocean Grove is just one example of religious liberty taking a backseat to promotion of the new societal ideal of nondiscrimination against homosexuals in any possible form.

For example, in 2006, Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Boston had to stop its adoption services because the state of Massachusetts, where court-ordered same-sex “marriages” have been performed since 2004, would not allow it to “discriminate” against homosexual couples seeking to adopt. And last year in New Mexico, the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission found a private wedding photography business in Albuquerque run by a Christian husband and wife guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination” for declining to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony.

What About Tolerance?

One attorney fighting the discrimination charge in Ocean Grove warned of a “real and present threat” to religious liberty.

“On a broader level, what you’re seeing is these nondiscrimination laws that are being turned against Christian people,” said Jim Campbell, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund who served as associate counsel representing the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. “They’re being used against religious organizations to tell them what to do and force them to use their own property in a way that violates their own religious principles, which is a very dangerous road to go down. We’re elevating these sexual relationships to a level that’s trumping one of the fundamental rights in this country — our right to religious liberty and religious freedom.”

In New Jersey, Campbell believes the deck is stacked against the association because state law makes the Division of Civil Rights, “the judge, the jury and the prosecution” in such cases. Now that the agency has issued its determination, the case moves to a trial-like hearing by the same agency, which will also decide on any remedies.

Lustberg, the ACLU attorney, told the Associated Press he would seek an order for the pavilion to be “open to all on an equal basis.”

Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference, worries about the implications for the Catholic Church. While former New Jersey Attorney General (now chief justice of the state Supreme Court) Stuart Rabner previously issued an opinion saying that clergy would not be required to bless civil unions, the decision could impact the Church in other ways.

“We do have serious concerns about Catholic organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, being required to provide a facility for events and activities which would violate Catholic teaching,” said Brannigan.

Since the controversy arose, the association has stopped permitting any weddings to be held in the pavilion. This is the only way to avoid charges of discrimination, similar to the action taken by Catholic Charities in Boston regarding adoption.

“It just goes to show the pretense of tolerance from the homosexual agenda; that’s exactly what it is — a pretense. It’s not true, and we see that here,” said Campbell. “They will talk about it all day, saying, ‘We’re not trying to infringe on anyone’s religious liberty.’ … But when the rubber meets the road, look what they’re demanding here.

“They’re demanding that a Christian organization use its property in a way that violates their religious principles and forces them to recognize — in a sense, endorse — these relationships.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: aclu; christians; gaystapo; homosexual; homosexualagenda; methodist; nj; ruling; umc

1 posted on 01/21/2009 1:20:40 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...
Catholic Ping
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list


2 posted on 01/21/2009 1:21:25 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

A Christian camp meeting community here is being forced to accommodate same-sex ceremonies. Are Catholics next?

How is this not illegal? Not Un Constitutional?
By using the law to force Christians to perform an un Christian ceremnoy how is the Government not establishing a State Religion?
Every Amerian that loves freedom and liberty should be fighting against these Government attempts to destroy our Constitution and our society.
You do not need to be a Christian to be afraid of this. Once they destroy the Christians you will be next.......


3 posted on 01/21/2009 1:27:49 PM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Coming to You From the Front Lines of Occupied America)
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To: NYer

Lawrence Lustberg, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who represented the plaintiffs, hailed the decision as a “spectacular victory.”

Anyone that does not realize that the American Communist Lawyers Union is not out to destroy our Constitution and our society only needs read this lawyers gleefull statement in a victory over Christianity and our Constitution....


4 posted on 01/21/2009 1:31:09 PM PST by SECURE AMERICA (Coming to You From the Front Lines of Occupied America)
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To: SECURE AMERICA

It’s none of the government’s damn business. I would tell them “forget it” it ain’t gonna happen. You want to make a scene, come on out. I’d make sure there were plenty of cameras on hand.


5 posted on 01/21/2009 1:35:22 PM PST by A_Former_Democrat
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To: A_Former_Democrat

It’s New Jersey. They took away most peoples right to own a gun and now there no fighting back against this abomination.

Coming to all states if “O” gets his anti-gun moves in place.


6 posted on 01/21/2009 1:40:09 PM PST by George from New England (escaped CT 2006; now living north of Tampa Bay)
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To: NYer

At what point will we fight? Will we simply allow our freedoms to be steadily encroached on?


7 posted on 01/21/2009 1:45:11 PM PST by SeminoleSoldier
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To: George from New England

Religious Liberty is the first of the first rights enumerated in the Constitution.


8 posted on 01/21/2009 1:46:21 PM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: NYer
Push...

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9 posted on 01/21/2009 1:56:32 PM PST by polymuser (Bye, bye Miss American Pie.)
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To: polymuser
Wait, missed a big part:

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10 posted on 01/21/2009 1:59:40 PM PST by polymuser (Bye, bye Miss American Pie.)
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To: SECURE AMERICA

Why wasn’t this an issue of seperation of church and state? Why is the state being allowed to dictate what a church-owned and church-run facility can do?


11 posted on 01/21/2009 2:03:57 PM PST by MissEdie
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To: NYer

“There are those who believe that a new modernity demands a new morality. What they fail to consider is the harsh reality that there is no new morality. There is only one morality...all else is immorality. There is ony true Christian ethics over against which stand the whole of paganism”.... president Theodore Roosevelt


12 posted on 01/21/2009 2:04:00 PM PST by tflabo
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To: NYer

Trust me.... a homosexual “marriage” will never take place in any Catholic Church in good standing.


13 posted on 01/21/2009 2:14:22 PM PST by SumProVita (Cogito, ergo...Sum Pro Vita. (Modified DeCartes))
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To: NYer
“Gay ‘marriage’ advocates seek to get the law to endorse a new moral principle — orientation is just like race,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which was the biggest single financial supporter of California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex “marriage.” “Once the law endorses this principle, traditional religious communities are going to be treated like racists if we act on and promote our countercultural view [that] there’s something special about unions of husband and wife. Ocean Grove is the tip of a very large iceberg. Take it seriously.”

And there you have it, in print!!I might suggest that in the future, starting now, ALL Churches go back to calling weddings, (for purposes of advertising and rental of their properties policy,) HOLY MATRIMONY. If in fact they do however, do not stop fighting this fight, it is crucial for our very existence as a free country.

14 posted on 01/21/2009 2:18:41 PM PST by gidget7 (Duncan Hunter-Valley Forge Republican!)
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To: SECURE AMERICA

Why do all these homoactivists have names that sound like porn names? Wonder if they choose them.


15 posted on 01/21/2009 2:20:41 PM PST by gidget7 (Duncan Hunter-Valley Forge Republican!)
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To: NYer
"The Methodist church disapproves of homosexual activity."

Not true. These are the folks with 'Open Minds,' remember?

16 posted on 01/21/2009 2:24:26 PM PST by informavoracious
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To: wagglebee

Sigh. More list fodder.


17 posted on 01/21/2009 2:32:21 PM PST by little jeremiah (Leave illusion, come to the truth. Leave the darkness, come to the light.)
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To: NYer
The problem was that they allowed non-members to use the structure. If they had just kept it for their membership, the boy scouts case would apply and they would not have a problem.

This case means that religious organizations all over the country are now going to have to withdraw all of their facilities from public use. The public is going to be surprised, but this is exactly what the leftists in control of the case want.

18 posted on 01/21/2009 2:35:49 PM PST by FateAmenableToChange
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To: NYer

How sad. My family spent many summers at the camp meetings there. They wouldn’t believe what is occurring today. They were very devout Methodists when Methodists were actually Christian.


19 posted on 01/21/2009 2:36:15 PM PST by earlyamerican
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To: MissEdie
Why wasn’t this an issue of seperation of church and state? Why is the state being allowed to dictate what a church-owned and church-run facility can do?

Because the church, until recently, pretty much allowed anyone and everyone to use the pavilion regardless of religious or atheist affiliation. Under the NJ public accommodations law, that means they have removed the special associational and private property rights that normally attach and essentially opened their doors for business with the public.

It is the equivalent of a church operating a food stand at the local fair -- they can't refuse to serve atheists or lesbians because there is nothing in the business arrangement that is associated with their primary religious mission.

The NJ public accommodation doctrine developed fully in the 1970s (it actually has existed in the English common law going back a couple hundred years) in response to businesses attempting racist exclusionary practices. Hotels would, for instance, refuse to blacks on racist grounds. If it were limited in scope, it wouldn't be so bad. Essentially, it's a statement that if you invite the public to do business in your establishment, you must serve all of the public. I actually agree with a corollary of this, which suggests that a mall that invites the public in to do business cannot contractually remove my civil right to carry a concealed gun.

Unfortunately, as you saw in the boy scouts case, leftists in NJ can't leave a good thing alone without poisoning it for the purpose of destroying private property rights. Pretty much anything and everything except a private home is now a public accommodation in NJ, which permits the state to exert extraordinary control over its operation. And that's what's happening here. The church long ago gave up exclusivity requirements over the community (it was started as a methodist-only community) and is now having to deal with state regulation of its commercial enterprises, including regulation of its rental business for its pavillion.

20 posted on 01/21/2009 2:45:56 PM PST by FateAmenableToChange
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To: massgopguy
This seems to be a matter of state law, so the Constitutional limitation on what Congress can do doesn't apply. Of course our courts just make up the law as they see fit, regardless of what Congress does.

A few years ago I was in Canada and remember a news story on the radio about a Catholic high school which was forced to allow a homosexual student to bring his boyfriend to the prom as his date. Canada is just a few steps further down the slippery slope than the US is.

21 posted on 01/21/2009 2:46:37 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: FateAmenableToChange

Thank you for answering my questions.


22 posted on 01/21/2009 2:58:54 PM PST by MissEdie
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To: NYer

Close it to the public or tear it down so that nobody gets it.


23 posted on 01/21/2009 3:12:59 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: SeminoleSoldier
At what point will we fight? Will we simply allow our freedoms to be steadily encroached on?

The battle lines are being drawn. The White House web site clearly spells out the new president's agenda.

Wake up America!

24 posted on 01/21/2009 3:31:27 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer
Old, Out of fashion intolerance:

Today's Updated, Hip Intolerance:


25 posted on 01/21/2009 3:45:46 PM PST by Reaganesque
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To: NYer

How can two gays loving each other be a threat to you? </s>


26 posted on 01/21/2009 3:49:02 PM PST by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: NYer

Leftist homo-activists inject themselves and their perverse values into every conceivable area of normal people’s lives by deeming certain things as “public accommodations.” As the marxists gain control of the language through liberal courts (aka: political correctness) there is nothing they can’t get labeled a public accommodation. Thus, if something a private organization does touches someone or something, however tangentially, who government has ever benefited or regulated, then the private organization or individual must bow to the government’s regulation, no matter how onerous and unconstitutional. It then becomes impossible to conceive of ANY activity or association that can be considered sacred by the basic precepts of the Constitution.


27 posted on 01/21/2009 4:42:40 PM PST by fwdude ("...a 'centrist' ... has few principles - and those are negotiable." - Don Feder)
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