FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2013
Contact: Christopher Plante (401-228-7602)
"Besides advocating a flawed policy, HB 5015 and SB 38 contain a shocking lack of religious liberty protections, potentially ghettoizing people of faith unless they compromise and remain silent in the public square." — Christopher Plante, Regional Director for the National Organization for Marriage
Providence, RI — The National Organization for Marriage Rhode Island today urged the Rhode Island House to defeat HB 5015 and SB 38 redefining marriage, citing their flawed understanding of marriage and absence of any real religious liberties protections.
"Redefining marriage into a genderless institution to satisfy the demands of a small but politically powerful group is bad enough, but besides advocating a flawed policy HB 5015 and SB 38 contain a shocking lack of religious liberty protections," said Christopher Plante, executive director of NOM Rhode Island. "If anything, experience since the civil union bill was passed shows that the need for robust religious liberty protections has only increased; yet HB 5015 and SB 38 fail to address the serious consequences that will befall people of faith and the organizations they operate to serve the public."
The only true remedy to the coming conflict between religious liberties and sexual liberties in Rhode Island is to not redefine marriage in the first place. Barring that, HB 5015 and SB 38 ought to contain real and enforceable protections for people of faith from having to violate their consciences.
"We urge the Rhode Island House to reject HB 5015 and SB 38 because redefining marriage into a genderless institution that intentionally denies children the love of both a mother and a father is a fundamentally flawed policy," Plante said. "However, at a bare minimum, the legislation should be amended to provide all the provisions of the Corvese amendment to our civil union law and to ensure that individuals, small businesses and religious-based charitable and educational groups are not targeted by government or others with lawsuits, fines, denials of contracts and other forms of punishment for refusing to accept this radical redefinition of marriage."
In other states that have recently redefined marriage such as New York, Maine, Vermont and Washington, people of faith have faced consequences for refusing to accommodate genderless marriage in violation of their deeply-held faith. A Christian couple in Vermont was sued for not hosting a same-sex ceremony in their inn, and was forced to pay a fine and agree to no longer accommodate any weddings in their facility. Recently the Washington State Attorney General has taken legal action against a Christian florist for declining to utilize her artistic talents in celebration of a same-sex wedding, which she opposes on religious grounds. The florist has also been sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU. Notary Publics in Maine have been warned that they must surrender their certifications if they refuse to solemnize a same-sex marriage even if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. Town Clerks in New York faced similar threats.
"When marriage is redefined into a genderless institution, it presents a range of legal conflicts for people of faith and the small businesses and charitable organizations they operate to serve the public," Plante said. "Without robust legal protections to allow these faithful people and groups to maintain fidelity in the public square to their religious beliefs, we’re likely to see a raft of lawsuits and governmental action such as license revocations, fines and denial of governmental contracts to these faith-based groups and individuals. If the House of Representatives pass HB 5015 or SB 38 without substantial religious liberty protections, it will be putting their constituents with deeply held faith beliefs about marriage directly in the cross-hairs for punishment by political groups and ambitious politicians."
To schedule an interview with Christopher Plante, Regional Director of the National Organization for Marriage, contact him at 401-228-7602 or [email protected]