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NH Legislature Reaches Compromise on Marriage (That Could Legalize Discrimination)

May 30, 2009

Towleroad has linked to an article at Boston.com that announces that the New Hampshire Legislature has reached a compromise on the vetoed marriage equality legislation.

The new version, which is expected to come up for a vote Wednesday, adds a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage. 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.

This may not seem like a big deal, but would any church ever be protected under law for refusing to insure the spouse of an employee who was in an inter-faith or inter-racial marriage simply because the church wants to discriminate?  I’m fine with exemptions that say churches don’t have to perform marriage ceremonies for gay couples, but–and I’m no lawyer–legalizing discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation can’t withstand a court challenge.  Appalling.

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