ARTICLE: PUBLIC POLICY, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, AND EXEMPTIONS FOR MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2010 Florida Coastal Law Review 
Florida Coastal Law Review

ARTICLE: PUBLIC POLICY, SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, AND EXEMPTIONS FOR MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE

Fall, 2010

Florida Coastal Law Review

12 Fl. Coastal L. Rev. 135

Author

Mark Strasser *

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

As more states recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions, commentators are increasingly interested in discussing the merits of passing conscience clause legislation, whereby those who for religious reasons wish not to play any role in promoting same-sex unions are provided exemptions for refusing to do so. The justifications offered for affording such exemptions often involve a claim about respect for tolerance and religious diversity. Regrettably, proponents of these provisions tend not to provide sufficient limitations on the reach of the exemptions, neither with respect to the types of activities subject to the exemption nor to the groups against whom the exemptions might be applied. Yet, without some sort of limiting rationale, this kind of legislation poses two great dangers--either members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community may alone be relegated to a special untouchable status or members of a variety of communities might be subject to ostracism by others, leading, at the very least, to even greater balkanization in this country. The creation of these exemptions may violate constitutional guarantees and, in any event, would be a public policy disaster. While religious liberty should be respected, conscience clause exemptions will create many more difficulties than they will solve.

Part II of this Article discusses conscience exemptions when applied solely to members of the LGBT community, concluding that they trigger constitutional guarantees prohibiting states from relegating a group to second-class status. Part III discusses the public policy implications of expanding such exemptions to any objectionable ...
 
 
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