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Will Churches Be Sued Over Gay Marriage? (yes)
The Deacon's Bench ^ | 6/27/2013 | Deacon Greg Kandra

Posted on 06/27/2013 2:01:59 PM PDT by markomalley

Flashback: 

A church group that owns beachfront property discriminated against a lesbian couple by not allowing them to rent the locale for their civil union ceremony, a New Jersey department ruled Monday in a case that has become a flash point in the nation’s gay rights battle.

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights said its investigation found that the refusal of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to rent the oceanfront spot to the couple for their same-sex union in March 2007 violated the public accommodation provisions of the state’s Law Against Discrimination.

While the ruling is decisively in favor of the couple, Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster, it does not end the case. An administrative law judge still must decide on a remedy for the parties.

“What this case has always been about from my clients’ perspective has been equality,” said Larry Lustberg, the lawyer for the couple. He said they will seek an order that requires the pavilion to be “open to all on an equal basis.”

Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based group that represents the Methodist organization, Camp Meeting Association, said his clients would keep pushing back against being forced to allow civil unions on the property.

“Our position is the same,” he said. “A Christian organization has a constitutional right to use their facilities in a way that is consistent with their beliefs.”

Meanwhile, the parties in the dispute are awaiting a ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether the issue should be decided in the division on civil rights or in federal courts. A lower federal court has ruled that the state could consider the case.

More recently: 

A New Jersey judge ruled against a Christian retreat house that refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises, ruling the Constitution allows “some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.”

On Thursday, administrative judge Solomon A. Metzger ruled that religious liberty did not exempt the seaside retreat, which is associated with the United Methodist Church, from renting its facilities out for purposes that violate its moral beliefs.

In March 2007, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association declined Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster’s request to rent its Boardwalk Pavilion for the ceremony. The couple sued, claiming they had been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation. In December 2008, the state Division on Civil Rights found the Christian campground had likely violated the state Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and joined the case.

The United Methodist Church teaches, “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” and that “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions shall not be conducted by our ministers and shall not be conducted in our churches.”

But Judge Metzger said church doctrine was irrelevant. “As to ‘free exercise’ [of religion], the LAD is a neutral law of general application designed to uncover and eradicate discrimination; it is not focused on or hostile to religion,” he wrote. The free exercise clause did not factor into his ruling, he stated, but “a much lower standard that tolerates some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.” He believed the “arm’s-length nature of the transactions” gave Ocean Grove “comfortable distance from notions incompatible with its own beliefs.”

“He said this isn’t a case of religious liberty, which is simply not true,” Jim Campbell, who represented the resort and serves as litigation staff counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), told LifeSiteNews.com. “What this case involves at its core is the rights of a religious group to use its property in a way that is consistent with its religious beliefs.”

Campbell said most people will find Metzger’s belief that the state can force a religious facility to violate its conscience “a very scary concept. If that is a principle of the law, then essentially the government can cast aside religion if it deems something more important.” Campbell called Metzger’s ruling “an error of Constitutional law.”

UPDATE: A reader notes a distinction that he feels should be made:

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is not a church.  Granted, they have some affiliation with the United Methodist Church, however the controversy was the result of the non-church status of the OGCMA.  That organization, because it is not a church, applied for a “Green Acres” tax exemption via the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The tax exemption required that the OCGMA allow use of its facilities to the public “on an equal basis.”

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases08/pr20081229a.html

Because the OGCMA allowed the public to use the pavilion for weddings, and because the  OGCMA voluntarily agreed to make its facilities open to the public “on an equal basis” in exchange for a tax break,  the court ruled that the OCGMA could not exclude same-sex weddings from its pavilion.

Nonetheless: to my way of thinking, the central conflict here between a church’s values and a court’s ruling that those values are irrelevant seems one worth noting, along with the judge’s comments that “some intrusion into religious freedom [may be needed] to balance other important societal goals.”


TOPICS: Catholic; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS:
Did you read this from the judge's opinion?
As to ‘free exercise’ [of religion], the LAD is a neutral law of general application designed to uncover and eradicate discrimination; it is not focused on or hostile to religion,” he wrote. The free exercise clause did not factor into his ruling, he stated, but “a much lower standard that tolerates some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.”

1 posted on 06/27/2013 2:01:59 PM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

That is coming

Make no mistake.


2 posted on 06/27/2013 2:02:46 PM PDT by wardaddy (the next Dark Ages are coming as Western Civilization crumbles with nary a whimper)
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To: markomalley

almost time to go underground. Accept their way? NEVER!


3 posted on 06/27/2013 2:04:51 PM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: markomalley
Ross Douthat - Just another nytimes.com Blogs weblog

Religious Liberty and the Gay Marriage Endgame


4 posted on 06/27/2013 2:07:35 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: markomalley
They will "keep coming" until they are stopped.

No inferences, implications or threats...
just say'n--that's how they roll.

5 posted on 06/27/2013 2:08:11 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: markomalley
Churches should pull a "liberal" and say, "We do not perform 'marriages'. We only perform holy matrimonies".

Liberals love to play semantics, why shouldn't we?

6 posted on 06/27/2013 2:10:22 PM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: markomalley
Ask the florist in Washington state if the rights of faggots to force you to celebrate in your face trumps your first amendment rights to honor and practice deeply held religious beliefs.

As I recall, the homos in Lot's day insisted on celebrating their perversion right at his front door. God then celebrated their celebration in his own way.

7 posted on 06/27/2013 2:10:32 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Wings-n-Wind
They will "keep coming" until they are stopped.

Phrasing.

8 posted on 06/27/2013 2:11:53 PM PDT by FredZarguna (Separated by a common language.)
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To: markomalley

To the headline: hell yes they will

obama et al will point to all the other countries who throw pastors/priests into jail for that very reason.


9 posted on 06/27/2013 2:14:56 PM PDT by svcw (Stand or die)
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To: markomalley

Looks like Christians (and others) will eventually end up back down in the catacombs.


10 posted on 06/27/2013 2:14:57 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: markomalley
A church group owns a beach front property and refused lesbians who wanted to rent it? Don't tell me they weren't targeted!!

So..... if the KKK tried to rent a property owned by the NAACP and were refused, could they sue the NAACP?

11 posted on 06/27/2013 2:15:47 PM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: markomalley

EVERYTHING - most definitely religious organizations - will soon be deemed “public accommodations.” This is the pretext that will be used to inject homosexual oppression into every corner of private society.


12 posted on 06/27/2013 2:17:06 PM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: markomalley

“The free exercise clause did not factor into his ruling, he stated, but “a much lower standard that tolerates some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.”

In this case the societal goals are to force homosexuality into every crack and crevice of our lives.


13 posted on 06/27/2013 2:17:18 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Inside every liberal and WOD defender is a totalitarian screaming to get out.)
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To: markomalley

This is little different actually than the Civil Rights law that makes you sell your property to whomsoever wants to buy it.

In the 60’s Blockbusters came into a block and sold to a black, knowing that other houses would then go up for sale.
The Courts ruled that you had to sell the house to blacks if they wanted it.

This is little different and the Church will lose.The fag know that. This BS about looking for equality is horse dung. They are looking to make a case for their nasty perverted agenda.

2 female muff divers screwing up life for thousands of normal people. It isn’t Equality they want, its revenge for being born without a penis.


14 posted on 06/27/2013 2:18:36 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: markomalley; wardaddy; jeffc

You bet they will!

But I think people are missing the endgame. It’s not just the sentimental gay stuff.

It’s that the government is now going to define every aspect of human life. This ranges from relationships between people, to how people are identified (note the fact that the government decides to give a new birth certificate to a supposedly “transgendered” person), to the increasing control over reproduction and the means of reproduction.

This is about creating a totally managed society that has rejected Natural Law and, now that Obama has transformed our government into an executive-only government, has the power to crush and destroy anyone who opposes or even questions it.


15 posted on 06/27/2013 2:20:08 PM PDT by livius
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To: markomalley

But, but there is separation of church and state. They can’t do this.

Wake up Virginia, not only is Santa Claus a drag queen, but the Yankee government can force you to believe it.

For all the NSA trolls, FU.


16 posted on 06/27/2013 2:20:50 PM PDT by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: jeffc

NO the catch phrase is “societal goals” which means only the thing they are for.


17 posted on 06/27/2013 2:21:43 PM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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To: Venturer

Shortly after this ruling there would be an accidental fire.


18 posted on 06/27/2013 2:22:40 PM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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To: Huskrrrr
Looks like Christians (and others) will eventually end up back down in the catacombs.

Actually, this has the potential to become much worse than the worse pogroms of the Roman Empire. The Romans were largely ambivalent toward Christians unless hostile Jewish leaders cast them as disturbers of the public order and usurpers of authority.

The Gaystapo hates Christians personally, with perfect hatred, by virtue of believers' association with their Eternal Enemy. If all restrain were removed from queers doing what they really wanted, the Roman Arena would seem like a merciful end in comparison.

19 posted on 06/27/2013 2:24:36 PM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: livius
It’s that the government is now going to define every aspect of human life.

Bingo.

20 posted on 06/27/2013 2:26:31 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: markomalley

Many church leaders of pretty much all denominations have made common cause with the Progressives for nearly a hundred years. This is only the natural outcome of sleeping with the devil.

Just wait until the 10-30 million illegals get to vote for the Party of Free Stuff. There will be no stopping the Progressives and Christian teaching will become illegal.


21 posted on 06/27/2013 2:29:14 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Harriet Meiers is looking pretty good right about now.)
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To: markomalley
A New Jersey judge ruled against a Christian retreat house that refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises, ruling the Constitution allows “some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.” On Thursday, administrative judge Solomon A. Metzger ruled that religious liberty did not exempt the seaside retreat, which is associated with the United Methodist Church, from renting its facilities out for purposes that violate its moral beliefs.

By the same logic, Judge Metzger, how much sh*t would you like in your soup? Even a gram will make it officially sh*t soup.

Other comments about hizzoner's hubris will be left out to save the mods the trouble of dumping the post.

22 posted on 06/27/2013 2:30:58 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: markomalley

Given they have in other places, it’s a certainty.

How successful is another matter. Liberty Counsel and Alliance Defense League, and others are very good at winning for Christians in the courtroom.


23 posted on 06/27/2013 2:31:27 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: Resolute Conservative

Yep. Salt air, wiring....


24 posted on 06/27/2013 2:34:18 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: markomalley

I swear I may put this in every post. I don’t think it is sunk in yet.

VRA ruling is MEANINGLESS. Full Faith % Credit coming to a Court near you.


25 posted on 06/27/2013 2:42:22 PM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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To: no-to-illegals
"almost time to go underground. Accept their way? NEVER!"

The reason this once Christian nation has fallen to this point is because so many people have spent decades having their heads underground while their rear ends played, "go along to get along"

"Underground" is functionally identical to surrender and acceptance of their way whether individuals want to admit that to themselves or not.

26 posted on 06/27/2013 2:48:39 PM PDT by Rashputin (Jesus Christ doesn't evacuate His troops, He leads them to victory.)
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To: FredZarguna
yeah.... yeah...
I hit "post" before running the BS & innuendo detector....
27 posted on 06/27/2013 2:55:39 PM PDT by Wings-n-Wind (The main things are the plain things!)
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To: Rashputin

Sometimes that is what they wish for ... LOL


28 posted on 06/27/2013 2:56:42 PM PDT by no-to-illegals (Scrutinize our government and Secure the Blessing of Freedom and Justice)
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To: RIghtwardHo

You better believe this is their goal - to sue churches for discrimination. Sounds like many pastors will not do weddings any more - the perverts can just as easily get married by a judge at city hall, but,no they want to shove their sin in the faces of Christianity.

All Christian businesses will be under attack from the gays - just wait and see.


29 posted on 06/27/2013 3:21:33 PM PDT by Catsrus
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To: jeffc

We only perform holy matrimonies”.

I couldn’t agree more!!! The gays may get “marriage” but never “holy matrimony”!


30 posted on 06/27/2013 3:55:23 PM PDT by Isabel2010
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To: wardaddy

can’t wait until the same-sexers start lining up to rent real estate owned by mosques .....


31 posted on 06/27/2013 3:56:43 PM PDT by silverleaf (Age Takes a Toll: Please Have Exact Change)
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To: markomalley

Be ready for the revolt, it is coming.


32 posted on 06/27/2013 4:04:59 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Revolt is coming.


33 posted on 06/27/2013 4:07:23 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Huskrrrr

Or part of a revolt.


34 posted on 06/27/2013 4:09:45 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: markomalley
Here's the relevant section:

That organization, because it is not a church, applied for a “Green Acres” tax exemption via the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The tax exemption required that the OCGMA allow use of its facilities to the public “on an equal basis.”

They wanted special treatment from the state, and then were shocked, shocked when the state put conditions and held the group to them.

If you don't want to dance to the government's tune, then pay for your own piper.
35 posted on 06/27/2013 4:10:18 PM PDT by highball ("I never should have switched from scotch to martinis." -- the last words of Humphrey Bogart)
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To: fwdude
"The Gaystapo hates Christians personally, with perfect hatred, by virtue of believers' association with their Eternal Enemy. If all restrain were removed from queers doing what they really wanted, the Roman Arena would seem like a merciful end in comparison."

It will come to that before it is over, it is written.

36 posted on 06/27/2013 4:24:12 PM PDT by SENTINEL (Kneel down to God. Stand up to tyrants. STICK TO YOUR GUNS !)
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To: jeffc

“The sacrament of Holy Matrimony”


37 posted on 06/28/2013 2:50:41 AM PDT by michaelwlf3
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