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Gay marriage opponents refuse to give up fight. E.U.A.. The Telegraph. EM INGLÊS. Versão para impressão Enviar por E-mail
Domingo, 05 Julho 2015 22:48

Despite historic Supreme Court ruling, same-sex marriage opponents remain determined to fight for traditional values


Por David Millward





The Supreme Court judgment which legalised same-sex marriage across the United States is facing a backlash from conservative and Christian groups.

Legislators in some states are drawing up proposals to weaken the ruling, while elsewhere gay marriage opponents are creating administrative roadblocks to try to prevent same-sex weddings taking place.

Staff at a county clerk’s office in Tennessee have resigned their positions rather than issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, saying it conflicts with their religious beliefs.

The gesture, which is supported by the Decatur County Commissioner, has attracted widespread publicity in the US and could be a template for similar moves across the country.


In Texas Ken Paxton, the attorney general, has pledged to defend clerks who refuse to issue licences because of their religious beliefs, while Greg Abbott, the governor, sent out a memo instructing state employees to “respect and preserve Texans’ religious liberties”.

He told staff: “As government officials, we have a constitutional duty to preserve, protect and defend the religious liberty of every Texan.”





Elsewhere some officials are simply defying the ruling. In Alabama, at least seven of the state’s 67 counties have refused to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, despite the risk of fines or even imprisonment.

Other tactics include drafting legislation to protect the right of gay marriage opponents to exercise their religious beliefs. In North Carolina, campaigners are pushing for a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” that would protect religious groups from losing their tax exempt status and other legal sanctions if they oppose gay marriage.

Tami Fitzgerald of the North Carolina Values Coalition likened the opponents’ position to that of the Pilgrim Fathers who settled in New England in the early 17th century. "They came here so they could exercise their religious beliefs freely, and we certainly don't want to erode religious freedom on the altar of sexual libertarianism."

In Colorado, conservative groups are trying to undermine the Supreme Court ruling by drafting new laws which will be put to voters in a referendum.

The measures, registered last week, would redefine same sex marriages as civil unions and would also allow business opposed to gay weddings to hire contractors to serve the couples rather than act against their own religious convictions.

This would, for example, protect bakeries that have been sued for refusing to provide wedding cakes to same-sex couples.

Evan Wolfson, president of the Freedom to Marry campaign group, condemned the tactics adopted by those opposing the Supreme Court ruling.

"Unfortunately, whenever we take a civil rights advance, we see those who first tried to block it then try to subvert it by proposing 'licence to discriminate' carve-outs often disguised as 'religious freedom.'

"But there is no religious freedom to harm others, and when a business holds itself out as serving the public, it must serve the public without discrimination."

Gabriel Blau, Executive Director, the Family Equality Council, added:

“The claim that the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling threatens religious liberty in this country is a lie and nothing more than fear mongering. We expect our neighbours who work for the government to set aside not their religious liberty, but their personal beliefs as they fulfil their duties.

"We must also remember that many many Americans of faith finally live in a country whose marriage laws match their religious beliefs, and for whom denying a class of people the rights and protections that heterosexual couples have, goes against their faith."



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