Lesbian couple sues church for not letting them get married on their property

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Opponents of Prop 8 called it "a ridiculous lie" when supporters of traditional marriage warned that churches opposing gay marriage would soon find themselves in court being sued for hate-speech and discrimination. "But equal rights will never impose upon religious freedoms!" Well if you believed that, come by my house...I got a bridge I would like you to sell you...

From The Star-Ledger in New Jersey:

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights ruled Monday that a church group discriminated against a lesbian couple when it denied them the right to hold their civil union ceremony on beachfront property the group owns but has advanced as a public space.

The division found that Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster had probable cause to claim that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s rejection of their bid to rent the boardwalk violates the state’s antidiscrimination law. According to a press release from the LGBT civil rights organization Garden State Equality, the opinion was based on the boardwalk pavilion’s being “public” by nature of its historic use as open to everyone without restrictions. For years, the Camp Meeting Association had applied for and received state tax breaks under New Jersey’s “Green Acres” program, which requires facilities to be open and nondiscriminatory to all. In September 2007 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ended the association’s tax breaks for the boardwalk area based on the group’s ban on civil unions.

“What this case has always been about from my clients’ perspective has been equality,” Larry Lustberg, the couple’s lawyer, told the Associated Press. Lustberg said they are seeking an order that would require the boardwalk to be equally accessible to everyone.

Alliance Defense Fund attorney Brian Raum, who represents the Camp Meeting Association, said his client would attempt to continue blocking civil union ceremonies on the property.

Associate Commentary:
Same-Sex "Marriage" Faces Off Against Religion
Lawsuit finds church “discriminated” against lesbian couple

Lesbian couple wins suit against Methodist camp
NJ rules against church group in gay rights case
New Jersey rules against church group in same sex union case
NJ Rules Against Church Group in Gay Rights Case.
NJ rules against religious freedom


Pearl said...

I found something at WyBlog about this case that I hadn't heard before. A very beautiful charter:

"The New Jersey State Legislature granted [the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association] a Charter which begins by stating:

Recognizing the truth and beauty of the Scripture declaration, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof", and being especially impressed with the propriety of having a portion of the land skirting the sea consecrated to sacred uses, we, whose names hereunto annexed, with a single eye to the Divine glory, and in humble dependence upon our heavenly Father's aid, do hereby solemnly covenant together, to use certain land, which has been providentially committed to our trust for these high and holy purposes. And we further declare it to be our design, to keep these lands a perpetual oblation upon Christ's altar, enjoining the same duty upon those who may succeed us. To this end we mutually pledge our Christian honor."

Obviously, the state has abandoned its "Christian honor."

VegasTeaRoom said...

"beachfront property the group owns but has advanced as a public space."

So a church is running a public business renting a beach for public event? If that is so then rent to the lesbians or just keep it for congregational use. If a tax exempt church is engaged in a public for profit venture, they should be treated no differently that any other public venture. This means that their ability to discriminate is waived. Look at the Boy Scouts. They have every right to discriminate against gay boys but in doing so they exclude themselves from public benefits, like public rent waivers.

Anonymous said...

It is disappointing when this type of thing happens. The group should be able to rent or refuse to rent to who ever they want.
By renting their property to a couple like this they are being forced to support this disordered life style.

Anonymous said...

Vegas TeaRoom,
I guess the state is also guilty of promoting a life style which is disordered then. The government should be protecting all of its citizens from harm not encouraging sexual perversion and disorder.

Anonymous said...

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We’re looking to build a solid group of social conservatives who’ll frequent our site regularly and contribute to some good discussions. I hope you’ll check us out!

If you’ll add us to your blog list we’ll gladly add you to ours. Just drop us a comment over at our blog so that we’ll know to add you. Our blog is called Religion and Morality.


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