Maryland Democrats Begin to Mobilize Against Religious Liberty
That as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to Him, all persons are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore, no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion, or profession, or for his religious practice, unless, under the color of religion, he shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others in their natural, civil or religious rights
– Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 36
Maryland’s Democrats are already organizing against a bill designed to protect the religious liberty of Priests, Pastors, and Religious.
Delegate Ric Metzgar has introduced HB16, a bill that is designed to protect religious leaders and groups associated with religious organizations from having to participate in marriages that violate “the rules, customs, or religious beliefs of the religious order or body.” Basically, the law is designed to ensure that religious organizations that have a moral objection to gay marriage don’t have to be forced to participate in one.
You would think that this would be a basic common sense idea, that religious individuals would not be forced to officiate or participate in a same-sex marriage. However, the left has already exploded in anger about it, often mischaracterizing the bill as something that it isn’t.
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While in the guise of protecting “religious freedom,” the bill is cast so broadly that it would allow broad discrimination in public accommodations. For example, hospitals operated by religious institutions could refuse to allow husbands or wives of same-sex couples to visit their spouses as a “privilege” related to marriage.
Larry Jacobs, chair of the Equality Maryland board of directors, told the Blade on Thursday that his organization is “surprised” that Metzgar “seems to be searching for a solution to a non-existent problem.” “We thought that Maryland legislators would have learned from states such as Indiana where these ‘license to discriminate’ bills have created nothing but trouble for their sponsors,” said Jacobs. Jacobs expressed confidence that Maryland lawmakers will reject Metzgar’s bill once the General Assembly reconvenes next month. “This bill is mean-spirited and unnecessary,” said Jacobs. –
Of course, the bill says nothing of the like and is merely an attempt to stop any attempts to prosecute religious organizations that don’t want to participate in a marriage.
While we have already seen a number of cases where individuals had their First Amendment rights violated by the courts (such as in Colorado, Oregon, and New York), this bill doesn’t even address that. It merely seeks to ensure that religious organizations are not forced to violate their conscience.
As should be well known, there is no need to pass legislation to protect religious institutions from having to perform marriages they oppose–a widely-respected right protected by the Constitution and Maryland law.
But is it? Something that should have been obvious from the get go but 2012’s Question 6, which was supported by Maryland Democrats and current Republican Senate candidate Chrys Kefalas, contained not a single provision protecting the religious liberties of any Marylanders. You might not think it’s a big deal, but when we already live in a world where courts are mandating to Catholic schools that they have to hire personnel in violation of their religious beliefs or forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraception we need to do what we need to do to protect our First Amendments rights to Worship freely.
Maybe if the liberals were so hellbent, as Erick Erickson likes to remind us, that we will be made to care, Metzgar wouldn’t need to file such a bill in the first place.
Metzgar’s bill is likely dead on arrival when it gets to Annapolis. There will be almost no support for it in the Democratic General Assembly, and it will likely die a quick death after its committee hearing. But it really makes you wonder why Democrats are so eager to trample the basic right of all Marylanders that is ensconced in our First Amendment and in our State Constitution.