New Hampshire

Now allowing same-sex marriage (or will be as of January 1). People started e-mailing me about it when it passed the legislature, but I was waiting for it to be signed into law. It’s been signed.

Andrew Sullivan comments on the New Hampshire governor asking for (and getting) wording that exempts religious groups and clergy from being required to perform or participate in same-sex marriages, and how that might make a difference in whether same-sex marriages passes muster in other states. Now, mind you, the First Amendment allows them to beg off from doing this anyway, so this little bit of verbiage is redundant. But if it helps get people their rights to say it twice, I don’t see a problem putting it in there.

88 Comments on “New Hampshire”

  1. Re the redundant verbiage: If that’s what it takes, fine, but it feels like enshrining into law a pat on the head for people who don’t know any better.

    I suppose it’s also a poke in the eye to those who were disingenuously using that argument …

  2. This exemption will only help posterity remember which segment of the populace fought tooth and nail to ensure their bigotry and hate were legally enshrined.

  3. Most of the folks who would demand the religious exemption clause are too ignorant to know that the First Amendment already covers that, so if it helps hand-hold the idjits into letting reasonable legislation pass, then I’m all for the legal equivalent of training wheels for fundies.

  4. Good on you, New Hampshire. And we here in California are once again mortified at our own lameness.

  5. …wording that exempts religious groups and clergy from being required to perform or participate in same-sex marriages

    Well, you know, thank God for that.

    I, for one, have just about had it with all those militant gays who kidnap clergy and force them to perform homosexual weddings at gun point. It’s about time this terrible injustice was righted.


  6. That exemption… would a Catholic church be required to provide insurance coverage to an employee who had divorced, and then remarried?

    If so, then that exemption isn’t quite so redundant, it seems to me.

    (I honestly don’t know the answer to my question, and I am hoping someone else does.)

  7. I haven’t seen the “protection for churches” language yet (I suppose I could try to find it before I talk about it), but so long as it only applies to churches and can’t be taken up by Clerks as an excuse to not issue licenses, or Justices of the Peace to not execute them (think Pharmacists not filling birth control), I’m happy to see progress.

  8. It’s the being forced to participate in same-sex marriages that has me puzzled. I’m a perv, so maybe the mental image I get isn’t the one that normal people do, but…

  9. chris@9 — even in the worst case, with regards to my question, I too am very, very happy to see progress towards justice.

  10. Sean, that’s a totally different question, and would depend on quite a few things. It doesn’t affect how clear it is that under no circumstances would a church be forced to marry two people it didn’t want to. A church can, for example, decline to perform a mixed-race marriage, so the question of being forced to perform a gay marriage is just silly. But I’m with everyone else on this–throw ’em a bone, it won’t change the outcome. Nothing but good here.

  11. Quoting DailyKos, who was quoting someone else:

    It also clarifies that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same sex spouses of employees. The earlier version said “charitable and educational” instead of “charitable or educational.”

    If a Catholic church is required to provide insurance to a remarried divorced employee, but not provide it to a woman married to another woman, that isn’t equality, and the exemption is not redundant.

    As I said earlier, I agree that it’s progress, and it’s very good… but everyone keeps saying that the exemption added to the bill was not necessary because it was redundant. Hence my question.

  12. It looks like the purpose of the extra language was to enshrine a little bit of bigotry to satisfy those who just can’t live without someone to look down on. There has never been a case in the US in which any church or other institution has been forced to perform a marriage of which they disapproved. Never. If there had been even one, the anti-equality folks would have been screaming it from the housetops.

  13. Well, I seem to recall that religious organizations are exempt from certain fair-hiring requirements — it’s okay, for example, for the aforementioned Catholic church to not hire a lesbian to work in the actual church. (But it’s not okay for the supposedly-secular homeless shelter it runs and gets state/federal money for. And I seem to recall that both of these have been upheld at various appellate courts. Please, if I’m wrong, correct me!)

  14. Well, yay. Marriage, with all the benefits!

    …except health benefits if your spouse works at a Catholic university, for example. The exemption is more than verbiage. It means that a specified class of married people will be denied benefits such as spousal health insurance that all other married employees will be given.

    In a country like the US with little/no public health care, it seems to me that this is actually quite a big thing.

  15. Scalzi said:
    “Now, mind you, the First Amendment allows them to beg off from doing this anyway, so this little bit of verbiage is redundant. But if it helps get people their rights to say it twice, I don’t see a problem putting it in there.”

    James Madison felt the same way about the entire Bill of Rights – that it essentially restated things that were already in the Constitution, and that therefore there was no harm in putting it in. It would convince fence-sitters to support the larger Constitution (an issue at the time), and add nothing to what was already there.

    Actually, in practice it did add something – lots of somethings – so perhaps those who pushed for this language in NH had a point in doing so. Language in constitutions and laws tends to take on a life of its own once written down for all to see. Personally, though, if it helps with the larger issue of defending the institution of marriage from those who would reserve it as a privilege, it is a concession I am willing to make.

  16. I am still pissed that my state dropped the ball on this. And no, voting down their budgetary shenanigans didn’t make up for it.

  17. but it feels like enshrining into law a pat on the head for people who don’t know any better

    That’s exactly what it is. But if it takes away the GAYS ARE IN UR CHURCHES VIOLATIN UR ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE scare-tactic used to such effect in California, I’m on it.

    Speaking of California, people tend to focus on the Berkeley and LA and SF parts of the state and forget that we have an urban/rural divide, just like everybody else. Drive through the outlying areas around Fresno or Bakersfield sometime and you won’t see any difference (except maybe the dry heat) between that and the rural South or Midwest.

  18. *migraine salute*

    Ten years from now, Gay Marriage being “A Thing” is going to be as much of “A Thing” as a (I fucking hate this word) “miscegenated” *KAH! GAH! spit* marriage is now.

    That is, two different-skinned humans getting hitched. You know how that’s not a big deal? Among people with brains, anyway.

    Ten years from now, the only people holding out against gay marriage will be the same messed-up mugwumps as them who are still going “T’ain’t right!” about “mixed race” marriages today.

    And to whom I would refer The Admiral stating “There is no Latino Race, no Black Race, no White Race, no Chinese Race, there is only one Race – The Human Race! So Say We All!”

  19. You forgot the most important race of all: the race to the bathroom after a long drive.

  20. Yay New Hamster!

    Boo to the added language…”affiliated” organizations don’t have the right to refuse service to gay people under the First Amendment. So frex the church in NJ that rented out their nice outdoor space to anyone but refused to rent to a Lesbian couple for their civil union lost the resulting lawsuit, as they should have, but would have won in NH.

  21. I think the language states that the organization (like a catholic university) doesn’t have to take part in the wedding. Where does it say that the organization doesn’t have to RECOGNIZE it? These are very different things. If they don;t have ot give benefits, then you pretty much have “separate but equal” only without the equal, and then you have the supreme court layig the smack down on it as soon as it gets to them (my bet’s on 4 years).

  22. I was born in New Hampshire. Does this mean I am gay now? Or on January 1st?

  23. Patrick – if you;re worried about it, it’ll happen Jan. 1. If you’re not worried, then you’re already there.

  24. Eddie @ # 16 – Well, yay. Marriage, with all the benefits!

    No, only the ones granted by the state in question, and other states that recognize the marriage.

  25. Holy out of context batman! Josh, read the rest of the post :P.

    Although yes, this is an additional minus in addition to the ones I identified.

    – No immigration status;
    – No federal benefits; AND
    – No spousal employee benefits.

    There. That’s more accurate.

    Obviously, better than nothing by a long way, but its still not equal, even if its less separate than Civil Unions. Now there’s a nice question – would you rather have California-style civil unions, which don’t exclude employee benefits like this, or the NH marriage law, because it’s called marriage.

    The best option of course is genuinely equal marriage, but it doesn’t look like we’re there yet.

  26. Could the insurance exemption be overturned on sex discrimination grounds?

    Bob and Todd are both employees of St. X Hospital in New Hampshire. Bob marries Alice, and Todd marries Mike. Due to the language included in NH’s same-sex marriage bill, St. X Hospital can deny Mike spousal benefits. But if Todd were a woman, St. X’s couldn’t deny Mike spousal benefits. Doesn’t this violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

  27. Great news. One day we’ll all look back on this and wonder what the fuss was about. Maybe there’s hope for mankind after all.

  28. Let me start by saying that as far as gay marriage goes, I literally don’t care about the issue one way or another. Depending on the wording of the ballot initiative I would most likely vote for it. But I do have a couple of comments here.

    First, I don’t see the benefit restrictions as that big a deal, in effect. Because if you are someone who would be affected by them, why in the would would you be working somewhere that would enact them? That would be like me, as a conservative white male, working on just about any college campus. If I’m going to be out in the open about my beliefs there, I’m going to have to deal with bigotry and intolerance, and negative consequences in the job, so I’m better off just not being there when there are hundreds of places I can work without dealing with it. I know several conservatives who teach, and they all learned very early to keep their heads down and their mouths shut, and not espouse any opinions that aren’t the prevailing hard left orthodoxy. Hard lefties are some of the most intolerant folks on earth, and they’re not content to just disagree and debate opponents. Opponents must be demonized and destroyed.

    Second comment is in the form of a question. I know a retired minister who runs a wedding chapel in a small town. Does the first amendment prevent him from being sued if he chooses not to do a gay marriage, if gay marriage becomes legal in this state? (Answer. No, it doesn’t, and without some sort of statutory protection that will cause such suits to be dismissed quickly it will be very expensive to defend against).

  29. Because if you are someone who would be affected by them, why in the would would you be working somewhere that would enact them?

    Skip, do you know just how bad the job market is?

  30. Skip: I don’t know, maybe because…you need to pay the mortgage and buy groceries and make the medical bills go away? Not everybody has the luxury of selecting a workplace that not only meets their financial needs but is a welcoming, tolerant environment.

    As for your minister, if he uses his chapel to perform weddings, or allows it to be used only by members of his faith, he’s fine. If he rents it out, as you suggest, then how is he different than the Secular Little House O’ Weddings down the road, as far as the law is concerned?

    You don’t appear to understand how the law works. Neither do most people, which is why a redundant provision is fine.

  31. Josh @32: no probs. Not actually offended, really. But I’ve wanted to use the phrase “holy out of context, Batman” for quite some time, and this was an excellent opportunity to do so :).

  32. I do think it is a serious form of discrimination. If a marriage is legal, everyone should recognize it.

    I could understand if exception would be given to a church actually performing the marriage service (but I don’t think they could be legally forced to any way) but denying spousal secondary benefits? That _is_ discrimination in its purest form.

    I disagree with the objection ‘then just don’t work there’, because changing jobs is not as easy as changing socks. Besides, there are actually gay people that are very religious, so much so that they want to contribute in that sense.

  33. ‘…but denying spousal secondary benefits?’

    Like a Catholic Church owned employer denying its employees a health plan which includes a spousal benefit such as abortion?

    Or a Catholic Church run hospital, one that receives federal money, being able to keep its facilities from being used to perform abortion?

    A lot of good comments here about bigotry and practical results, but please realize that in the U.S., exemptions for religious organizations in terms of complying with employer equality or federal funding rules have a long, long history.

    And like it or not, a significant portion of Christianity continues to find same sex marriage sinful, regardless of what any secular law states. Accomodating bigots is certainly one perspective, but here is another perspective (and from a real case) –
    An Amish man refused to put any colored markings on his horse buggy, and was repeatedly ticketed for his religious based refusal to follow traffic laws. However, when he was jailed, he was not forced to wear an orange prison suit, but was instead given a blue one, in deference to the same religious beliefs that had led to his imprisonment.

    Accomodating any religion to their satisfaction is theocracy, but recognizing that sincere disagreement, even disagreement which leads in individual cases to an undesirable outcome from a non-religious perspective, is just part of the price of living with religious people may provide a slightly different framework.

    The Catholic Church is not currently forced by government decree to pay for abortions (regardless of the hypocrisy revealed in stories of the Catholic Church deciding to pay for abortions as the best way to cover up its own problems), and any political theory which holds that forcing a religion to actively support what it considers wrong is a cure worse than the disease.

    Of course, I have yet to see why anyone cares about marriage as being anything but a legal framework which is covered just as well by civil unions, but then, I don’t live in a country which supports a giant wedding industry, one which seems to thrive on repeat business these days, especially among those who are adamant in their defense of marriage while divorcing and remarrying repeatedly.

  34. Skip, I don’t know what colleges you’ve been attending, but I can tell you that with my experiences with different colleges (three I’ve attended, two after graduating with my BFA) and my wife teaching at four different colleges (some 11 in total over her career), most of them are conservative. I know “the media” (and specifically Fox) like to say the opposite, but then they also don’t tell the truth about the rest of the world either.

  35. Any church can choose who they wish to marry or not. Some, maybe all, catholic churches will not marry a couple if they do not agree to raise the kids as catholics so choosing to not marry gays is no surprise. That is their right. People can feel looked down upon all they want but they just have to get over it. That you can get married somewhere else is fine.

    As for the catholic hospital that receives fed money but will not provide abortions, again too bad. You can still get your abortion somewhere else, the hospital is not required to maintain a OBGYN on staff who specializes in abortions. It would insane to force any doctor to perform a procedure that that are not qualified for or do not support.

    I agree with a previous poster that mentioned marriage as being nothing more than a legal framework covered just as well by civil unions.

  36. Applewhite – Any church can choose who they wish to marry or not. </i.

    The question is actually who they are not allowed to refuse if they rent space to the public.

    I agree with a previous poster that mentioned marriage as being nothing more than a legal framework covered just as well by civil unions.

    I think you’re mistaken there, or you’re trying to say that a civil union *could* provide the same coverage as a marriage does. Currently, they don’t. A civil union between two men or two women in NY is not recognized as having any legal standing in parts of the country.

  37. not_scottbot, the right of religious beliefs to carve out an exemption from secular law was drastically reduced in Employment Division v Smith…an opinion authored by that crazy religion-hating Justice Scalia.

  38. @17 You have to be kidding me. I can’t even buy beer after 8 PM or on a Sunday. New England is curiously liberal in some areas and curiously despotic in others.

  39. Applewhite, that’s also fine, but that hospital then shouldn’t accept federal funds, and none should be offered to it. IMHO.

    Also, since civil unions are also a “legal framework” why not just call it marriage and get done with it (as the word “marriage” is what has been written into laws)?

  40. Skip — As a white, conservative, heterosexual male employee, you would still receive the exact same benefits as a black, liberal, heterosexual female employee (and possibly a better salary for the same job.) Your conservative views have got nothing to do with your employment. A liberal employee at a conservative Catholic university still receives standard benefits.

    Gays don’t care about forcing the Catholic church or evangelicals to marry them. There are plenty of Christian faiths that are willing to marry them, as well as sects of other religions, plus secular marriage. So the churches don’t have to do it bit is an opt-out clause for politicians, so that they feel comfortable signing such legislation because they can say that they protected the churches.

    But the NH one is very broad and the spousal benefits are probably going to be problematic in some cases. However, given that the federal government doesn’t recognize gay marriage yet, the 99 parts of a loaf view is going to have to do here.

    Rhode Island has been trying to get gay marriage legalized for several years now, but the state is majority Catholic, the bishop there is an open bigot and has fought to block such legislation. New York and New Jersey are looking like better bets.

  41. …I literally don’t care about the issue one way or another…

    Hint: Prefacing your argument with a laughably false assertion of objectivity does not help your argument.

  42. Question. Say I’m married to a woman. My wife gets hit by a bus in New Hampshire and taken to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment. Happens to be a Catholic hospital.

    Can I go visit her in the ICU? I’m legally her wife (and such visitation laws are a big motivator here), but the Catholic institutions don’t have to recognize it?

  43. Skip@35: I don’t see the benefit restrictions as that big a deal, in effect. Because if you are someone who would be affected by them, why in the would would you be working somewhere that would enact them? That would be like me, as a conservative white male, working on just about any college campus.

    Yes, those are exactly the same. A gay christian who works at a church organization that won’t extend spousal benefits to his husband, and a conservative white male working at a college having people disagree with his political viewpoint.

    Oh, wait. No. They’re completely different.

    Hard lefties are some of the most intolerant folks on earth

    Seriously? what was the political affiliation of the man who killed George Tiller?

    What was the political affiliation of Jim David Adkisson, who walked into a Unitarian Universalist church with a shotgun and started shooting? He said he wanted to kill as many liberals and democrats as he could. He didn’t walk into a Southern Baptist church, did he? He walked into a UU church.

    Now, what’s interesting, is you start off by saying that you working at a college where you get all the employment benefits but would have to put up with people disagreeing with you is equivalent to a gay man working at a church organization that refuses to give his husband health benefits. Which is just silly. the two are not alike in any way.

    But then you go further and say that hard left folks are the most intolerant people on earth. And yet, the Department of Homeland Security came out with a report on domestic terrorism in April, they named right wing extremists as the most likely threat to cause violence, not left wing.

    And as far as just plain old “intolerance” goes, there’s this wonderful montage seems to be pretty fricken intolerant and sickening. The title is “God hates fags”.

    Now, I’m not sure what sort of terrible and attrocious behaviour you’ve encountered as a conservative white male from the “hard lefties”, but somehow I’m guessing (and it is just a guess) that you haven’t had to worry about disagreeing with a hard lefty and worrying about them bursting into your church and murdering you and your congregation. I’m guessing you haven’t had to work at a viper’s den of hard leftism like a college and have to worry about how your wife will get medical insurance because the college won’t give benefits to conservative spouses. I’m guessing you haven’t had to deal with hard lefties telling you that god hates you, that you’ll burn in hell for all eternity for being white, male, or conservative.

    I’m pretty sure that statistically, the amount of “discrimination” you’ve had to put up with from “hard lefties” is a pittance compared to the murdering, violent attacks, and real economic discrimination that certain groups have had to put up with from conservative white males.

    So please, spare me your false equivalences.

  44. “Now, mind you, the First Amendment allows them to beg off from doing this anyway, so this little bit of verbiage is redundant. But if it helps get people their rights to say it twice, ”

    Hence the 14th Amendment, ‘cuz, you know, the original colonies and the Republic of Vermont knew the Bill of Rights meant EVERYONE when they signed off on it, but tell that to the states c. 1865. State gov’ts are probably the most clueless political entities in America. Witness California’s recall of Gray Davis (A cattle call? Are you frakkin’ kidding me?) or the entire state of Ohio. And I’ve lived in Ohio all my life.

  45. here’s an interesting twist:
    would a religious affiliated institution (university, hospital etc) have a financial INCENTIVE to hire married gays? they don’t have to foot the bill for insuring spouses – so a whole class of people become cheaper to employ – one could argue that givea an unfair advantage to married gays and therefore the law is descriminatory against hetero couples (and unconstitutional) and therefore the language should be removed!

  46. As a non-religious man, I really wouldn’t want to take a job at a church organization. I would get too tired of biting my tongue all the time. I don’t understand why an openly gay person would want to work there either. Even with this awful economic situation, there must be better places to work for someone with that kind of conflict. How could they stand to be there in the first place?

    Are there any people here who know of someone in that kind of a situation?

  47. CJ, I knew a gay man who held a clerical job for the RCC. He was a very devout Catholic who happened to disagree with their position on homosexuality. I’m sure he’s not alone.

  48. This is America, I’d expect somebody to *pretend* to be gay to try and take a job at a religious organization to sue them and collect a sentiment, heh.

  49. “I think you’re mistaken there, or you’re trying to say that a civil union *could* provide the same coverage as a marriage does. Currently, they don’t.”

    Assuming this is true (which I take your word for it), then that is a problem and would not work.

    As for jobs in religious org. etc. Just plain silly to think they cannot have their own set up standards, many organizations, non-religious included are allowed to set their own standards. I am fairly certain that NOW would not elect a pro-life person to lead their org. Nor would a baptist church select a gay pastor. If someone who openly believed that being gay was a mental disease wanted to work at a AIDS clinic should the clinic be forced to hire him? Could he wear shirts or symbols that indicated his opinion?

  50. I agree with a previous poster that mentioned marriage as being nothing more than a legal framework covered just as well by civil unions.

    They could be contrived to be legally identical, sure. But there’s also the weird equal-but-separate social aspect of ‘You Are Not Allowed To Use This Word’.

    If it’s alright to pull this thesaurus trick on homosexuals, why should it stop there? In order to assuage some people, perhaps we could reserve…

    – ‘Marriage’ for racially homogeneous unions; mixed unions would have to use the term ‘Muddenings’.

    – ‘Person’ for males; women would have to use the term ‘Entity’.

    – ‘Parent’, ‘Mother’, ‘Father’ for those with naturally-conceived and vaginally-delivered children; those who have received fertility treatment, have used in vitro fertilization, have delivered by c-section, or have adopted would have to use the term ‘Guardian’.

    – ‘Child’, ‘Daughter’, ‘Son’ as above; ‘Ward’ or ‘Charge’ otherwise.

  51. Oh well, I guess this is as good a place as any to put in the thing I’ve been trying to say for months. Apropos of nothing in particular, but everything in general:

    My congregation has been covenanting same-sex couples since 1987. We changed that to marrying them – yes, the M word – as soon as our Church said it was okay – around 1995 or so. We did have to make it clear that while we as a congregation, and nationwide as a church proclaimed their marriage, and considered them such for all purposes, the state (well, Province) didn’t, and they couldn’t do the one thing in the marriage ceremony that they did for opposite-sex couples, which was fill out the official state form.

    When we were allowed to do that bit, we did. That was 2005. The world has not come to an end.

    All I’m saying is when people say “but make sure that the Church doesn’t have to use the M word” that there are Churches – mainline, Christian Churches – who aren’t in that fight. In fact, that gave Jesus’ compassion to all years before the government “forced” them to do so. They don’t speak for us – frankly, they don’t speak to us if they can help it. On the other hand, we are an open communion congregation – all who profess faith in Jesus are welcome at the table. All. So it’s not exactly a big leap of logic. Trust me, it’s not the gays and lesbians that are the hard ones to accept; we’re also a downtown church, with all that implies.

    And yeah, if we had a problem with marriages of whatever type, legal or no, we can tell the couple to go down the street to a place that will do it. I would expect, however, that most of the time marriages don’t happen in our sanctuary, it’s because the family has issues with our theology, not because we have issues with their lifestyle.

  52. John, sorry for the double-post, it was crossthreaded.

    Chris, I think you missed one: “child”, “son”, usw. for naturally conceived and vaginally delivered children borne to married (or, I guess, muddened) couples. And “Parents” who didn’t fit this category when their “child” was born would need a different word, as well – “Guardian” doesn’t cut it, really.

  53. Diana @ 49 – A case like that just occurred in CA, where the two women missed out on marriage equality, and yes, one of them was refused a ride along in the ambulance, refused visiting partner’s rights, and generally given a bad time.

    And this wasn’t a Catholic hospital. *ANY* hospital a LGBT person winds up in is pretty much a crapshoot as to whether a staff member will be a raging bigot. And in most states, they’re under no obligation to treat same sex civil unions the same as they would marriage.

  54. Applewhite – As for jobs in religious org. etc. Just plain silly to think they cannot have their own set up standards, many organizations, non-religious included are allowed to set their own standards.

    Sure. But organizations receiving tax dollars are not allowed to discriminate. For example, a Christian Identity Church excludes black members. But if they wanted federal funds to run a school, they couldn’t refuse black teachers based on race.

    I am fairly certain that NOW would not elect a pro-life person to lead their org. Nor would a baptist church select a gay pastor.

    Right, but being a pastor is different than being an employee of a church based organization that hires laypeople. And, actually, there are gay baptist ministers. Laws regarding who churches can and can’t hire are a bit more complicated than you might think.

  55. Mycroft,

    Yup, there’s that. And if producing children is taken as the goal of a proper marriage, then there’d have to be yet more words for physically infertile, or willfully non-reproductive, couples. And many other possible instances.

  56. Our economy is heading for an implosion, our President just tossed Israel under the bus . . . but the big news is all about gay marriage!

    Can’t you tell when you’re being played? This is all a diversion to keep you happy and feeling all warm and fuzzy about the new hopenchange administration — while the man behind the curtain steers toward disaster.

  57. Ah, I see the conspiracy theory nutbar tea baggers are coming out of the woodwork.

    Yes. That’s right. Obama used his psychic powers and mind controlled the media and the NH state legislature. And if you don’t shut up, he’ll turn those powers on you, and explode your head, like that guy in Scanners!


  58. Oh, John 64, please go wring your hands somewhere else if you think they need wringing. It’s OK to celebrate good news even when (in fact, especially when) most of the news is bad.

    And as for the President’s speech…it’s off-topic.

  59. LOL JJ (now that you’re the only JJ on here, YAY!).

    Hey fellow liberals! Let’s all scan John. Ready?

    *squints, makes funny whistling noise*

  60. John:

    “but the big news is all about gay marriage”

    Actually I never saw it as the top news story on any of the major news sites I went to, either yesterday or today. So that assertion is wrong.

    Also, the suggestion that Obama — who is on record not supporting same-sex marriage — somehow engineered a wholly state-level action to detract from one of the most important policy speeches he’s ever given, is all sorts of stupid. Please don’t bring such stupid onto my site. Thanks.

  61. *puts hands to temples*

    *eyelid twitches*

    *nearby car alarms go off*

    Ow. Anyone got an Excedrin? I kept trying to attack this dude’s brain, but all I got was *BEEEEEEP* “We’re sorry, the customer who’s brain you were trying to explode has been disconnected from the neural net due to lack of activity.” *BEEEEEEEEEP*.

  62. Anti-gay discrimination in Fresno? Whoda thunk.

    I’d expect somebody to *pretend* to be gay to try and take a job at a religious organization to sue them and collect a sentiment

    I have yet to see a lawsuit where the plaintiff was awarded a “sentiment”. The law usually deals in cold hard cash.

    Discrimination doesn’t actually require you to be whatever it is the bad guy thought you were. If your tool-and-die shop manager fires you because he thinks you’re Jewish, it doesn’t matter if you’re actually Jewish.

  63. Greg London — Hey, let’s be fair. The Dept of Home did not say that far right domestic terrorists were the biggest threat. They issued a report about the far right and the possibilities for domestic terrorists. A couple years earlier, they had issued a report on the far left and the possibilities for domestic terrorists. They’re keeping an eye on everybody.

    Applewhite — “Could he wear shirts or symbols that indicated his opinion?” — You mean like yellow stars for Jews? I don’t think we want to go the symbol direction. As it happens, a lot of anti-gay people work to help AIDS patients, such as in Rick Warren’s church.

    But in any case, the New Hampshire decision is one more brick in the cathedral. Cathedrals take time to build. :)

  64. Josh Jasper @61, What I’m specifically asking is given this “religious institution” wording in NH, would the state-legalized spouse of the same sex be recognized as such in a Catholic hospital ICU *in NH* or would the hospital be allowed to keep them out?

    Because if the hospital does reserve the right not to recognize spouses under religious grounds, that’s one of the big rights being fought for.

    I lived with my boyfriend for years before we got married. The difference between hospital visits before and after was eye-opening.

  65. Actually Obama’s speech did not contain much policy today. Lots of feel good talk but nothing really changed. Pretty much par for the course…

  66. Josh – wait, it is the fault of the vast right wing conspiracy, remember?

  67. Diana @ 73 -A good question. Undoubtedly, there will be someone trying to do this. If not a hospital, then another service, like an adoption agency or school. But I think the law is just about not being forced to officiate at marriage services.

  68. Josh Jasper, that’s what I thought, too. But then people are talking about benefits and such, which are not about wedding services, but about recognition of the marriage. So I wondered.

  69. The text of the bill is here, and the big New Paragraph (III) does make it sound like a Catholic hospital could, in fact, boot the same-sex spouse out:

    …any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association, or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if such request … is related to [a marriage], and such [marriage] is in violation of his or her religious beliefs and faith. …

    Edited because legislators are fond of run-ons and commas.

  70. Thanks for the legwork, Chris. That sounds even worse than current CA law, which prohibits such things.

  71. The interesting thing is that it says “marriage”, not “same sex marriage”, so technically, couldn’t a white supremacist christian institution fire someone because they were married to a Jew, or a black person? How about if they were married to a Democrat? Has the door now been opened for religious institutions to require virginity tests for unmarried women?

  72. Yes, it could mean that, JoshJ. It’s badly worded law so that bigoted doctors can refuse care, etc. But here’s the thing: there’s a reason that Disney started doing same sex partner benefits despite outcrys that it was a family company, etc. — it lets them attract and keep good employees, and has numerous other benefits. Sometimes people are stuck in jobs and can’t move, but not always, and companies and institutions that are tolerant and generous will attract the better people. This law lets religious groups retreat to their bunkers, but it will drive business away from their hospitals and good employees from their doors. And the law can be adjusted over time, certainly will be if we eventually get a federal law.

  73. JJ, I don’t know if it would allow them to fire people; that might be covered under other anti-discrimination laws.

    To my reading, that clause would apply to stuff like spousal visitation at hospitals, housing (suppose a religious charity is operating a shelter with special accommodations for married couples), insurance/benefits, and other assorted marriage-based privileges (suppose the Salvation Army started a little promotion where you buy a 10%-off membership that is shared with your spouse), etc.

    But I think that you’re right about it opening the door for other weirdness. Forget about simply “married to a Jew”; it’s worded in such a way that it could apply to “married Jews” as well. If the organization/institution really gets a bug up their butt, they could say that all marriages that aren’t performed according to their specific sect’s ceremonies are “in violation of their religious beliefs and faith”. And voilà: other Christian-denomination, jewish, muslim, hindu, buddhist, pagan, and even city-hall-only civil hetero marriages no longer pass muster.

  74. Okay, this is kind of off the subject, but something interesting seems to be going on, and I’m wondering if other folks here may know the genesis of it. We had our conservative “wrong” commentator claim that Obama’s speech threw Israel “under a bus.” Then I hear that the Fox newscasters are claiming that Obama’s speech threw U.S. intel “under a bus.” And another conservative newscaster claims that Obama’s speech threw the U.S. military “under a bus.” I keep running into this phrase.

    So what I’m wondering, is this something that came off one of the websites, conservative think tanks, or wherever conservative media get their talking points and orders from? They do tend to like to use the same phrases. I won’t be surprised to hear that the New Hampshire legislation threw traditional marriage under a bus, etc. It’s sort of a nice change from socialism, but I was just wondering if anyone knew the origin of the spin.

  75. Kat, it’s a common phrase in politics, left or right. It got applied to McCain when he severed his relationship with pastor Hagee.

  76. Diana, the hospital can keep them out the same as the spouse in a traditional mixed sex couple. The whole “hospital visitation” thing is a giant red hering. They may have a “policy”, but tey are not “required” to do anything.

    If you don’t have a signed medical power of attorney, you don’t have any legal say, regardless of whether you are married or not.

    Two wills, living wills, and medical powers of Attorney, costs under $500 for a lawyer to draw up. (much less if you use a do-it-yourself service). Every couple should have all of these documents, regardless of gender.

    Regarding the news cycle, NV passing a sweeping domestic partnership law was big news out here, but Whatever was the only place I read about NH. Odd…

  77. so technically, couldn’t a white supremacist christian institution fire someone because they were married to a Jew, or a black person?

    Yep. Won’t it be a fun day when they figure it out? It’ll be just like Senator Hatch learning that the Equal Access Act helps the Student Gay-Straight Alliance.

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