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On Faith: Gay marriage in New York

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Now that same-gender marriage has passed in New York, I wanted to update this article since the "religious exemption" also passed. This week, the Washington Post “On Faith” topic is: A religious exemption for gay marriage?

A bill legalizing same-sex marriage for couples in New York state is at a standstill over the issue of exemptions for religious organizations and individuals. The reach of these religious protections is wide-ranging -from whether Catholic adoption agencies may reject same-sex couples, to the right of religious caterers to refuse services for gay weddings. In New York’s Marriage Equality Act, should there be exemptions for religion? What should happen when equal rights for gay citizens and the right to religious free exercise clash?

So it seems that one of the sticking points of the New York gay marriage debate was whether the state should allow religious believer to remain bigoted and ignore the law for religious reasons. I think if you are a religious person you really have to wonder if you are being a good person when it comes down to this.

Look, I get that Churches don’t want to be forced to hold ceremonies for same-gendered couples because they are immoral institutions of hate (in my opinion). No problem there. It took the Catholic Church a long time before they “forgave” Galileo for being RIGHT so I get their issue. But that issue as far as I am aware has already been resolved. No one is demanding that Churches marry gay couples. Personally, I don’t know why gay couples would even want to be married in a church that thinks they are evil anyway.

It seems that the Catholic Church has no problem holding cities hostage so that they can continue to hate. But the fact is that if they open up their services to the public, then other businesses should not be able to discriminate against people in the public they don’t like. America went through this in the 60s with African Americans. You can’t have a sign on your store that says, “No shoes, no shirt, no blacks, no gays, no atheists...No Service.” Either you are open to the public or you aren’t... except in New York in which case you can apparently have a sign that says, "No shoes, no shirt, no gays, no service."

The law must apply to everyone. We are a nation of laws and in the eyes of the law we all ought to be equal. That means everyone should have the equal right to marriage. Religious exemptions are an attempt to give religious believers special rights to violate the law. It is these types of political debates which inspire me to push for more atheists in public office. But I do think that this religious exemption in the New York same-gender marriage law shows just how hateful and immoral religion is. So for all those who want to say religion is all about peace and love, I point you to the New York same-gender religious exemption law. It seems that most religious believes want the right to be immoral and hateful. Congratulations to all those who can now marry in the Empire State.

Please check out the Atheism 101 series for frequently asked topics.

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