07 November 2013

Religious liberty protection that isn't

The Chicago Tribune today takes a look at the religious protections that aren't granted by the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act:
Critics of the bill that positions Illinois to become the 15th state to allow gay marriage point out that, though it protects clergy and houses of worship, it doesn't spell out exemptions for people and businesses who, based on their religious beliefs, might not want to do business with same-sex couples. The text of the bill makes clear that it doesn't alter two related laws: the Illinois Human Rights Act and the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows exemptions from certain rules as long as those exceptions don't harm the welfare of society.
For more particular examples, read the article.

It should be remembered that when the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act was passed and signed into law, we were repeatedly told that the Human Rights Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected religious liberty, yet it took only 6 months for the state to force Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services:
In addition to objecting to the law on moral grounds, Catholic groups say the narrow exemption for clergy and places of worship fails to protect the religious freedoms of other religious entities such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes and social services.
Patrick Cacchione, executive director of the Illinois Catholic Health Association, points out that when Catholic Charities refused to issue foster care licenses to gay couples in civil unions, the state chose not to renew its contract, saying it violated the law.
"I couldn't have anticipated it," Cacchione said, recalling assurances from lawmakers that the civil union law would not interfere with the groups' social work. "I was shocked."
After that surprise consequence, Cacchione said, he expects the marriage law to produce "fallout that I can't even anticipate."
"That's what we fear going forward: the unknown, the implementation, the administration of this and the variety of different rules and regulations that we can't even imagine," he said.

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