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Catholic Bishops a Religious Outler in Opposing Bill to Protect Same-Sex Marriage

The Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), a bipartisan bill aimed at ensuring national protection of same-sex marriage rights, has garnered support from religious leaders who oppose same-sex marriage but find satisfaction in the bill's religious liberty protections. However, the Catholic bishops in the United States continue to express concerns about the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, citing potential risks to Catholic organizations.

The RMA, which has passed in the Senate and awaits approval in the House of Representatives, requires states to recognize marriages legally contracted in other states, regardless of the individuals' sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. While it provides legal recognition for same-sex marriages, it also includes provisions to shield religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage from providing services or goods for the celebration of such marriages. Additionally, it prevents churches and religious nonprofits that do not recognize same-sex marriage from having their tax-exempt status altered or revoked.

Religious groups such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventist Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and Orthodox Union of Orthodox synagogues have expressed gratitude for the bill's religious liberty provisions. They view the bill as a way to balance LGBTQ rights and religious freedom.

]However, the Catholic bishops have taken a more critical stance, arguing that the RMA's rejection of traditional views on marriage and religious liberty could result in negative consequences for religious nonprofits. They suggest that the federal government could revoke tax exemptions and compel faith-based social service agencies to place foster and adopted children with same-sex couples.

This opposition from the Catholic bishops aligns with their long-standing stance against federal legislation recognizing LGBTQ rights, which has included opposition to bills like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act.

Legal scholars, including Douglas Laycock and Thomas Berg, have expressed differing views on the Catholic bishops' concerns. Laycock believes the bishops are taking an absolutist stance that hinders compromise, while Berg argues that the risks outlined in the bishops' analysis are overstated and that the RMA includes protections for religious organizations.



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