Blog of Rights

Haunted by Claims that Churches Will Be Required to Perform Same-Sex Weddings? Don't Be.

By Chris Hampton, ACLU LGBT Project at 4:39pm

Jim Nieves and Lisa Panensky of Elmsford, New York, had been planning a costumed Halloween theme wedding at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow for over a year. But when they recently contacted the church to request that the organist play music from The Addams Family and The Munsters at the ceremony, the pastor backed out. Saying his church is no place for a “costume party,” he told the couple they couldn’t have their wedding there after all.

Nieves and Panensky are now scrambling to find a location for their wedding and say they may just have it at home. While we wish them well and hope their wedding plans work out okay, their situation brings to mind the big lie anti-gay activists tell when they say that if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, then churches will be forced to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. Churches don’t have to marry anyone they don’t want to. That’s guaranteed by the Constitution.

I personally think the Old Dutch Church missed out on a heck of a fun wedding, and so do churches that refuse to perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. But nobody is going to force any church to perform any wedding ceremony it doesn’t want to, and trying to scare the public by saying so is creepy, kooky, and altogether ooky.

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