Utah Legislator Introduces Law Exempting Churches From Blessing Gay Marriages

As written, it would exempt church-affliated businesses from having to publicly accommodate same-sex couples for any part of their nuptials — including photo shoots of their engagement or the reception after the wedding.

Anderegg says that he began working on amendment more than a year ago and that Utah's recent legalization of marriage equality hastened its introduction into the legislature. If approved, Utahan citizens would vote on the amendment during the next general election.

The amendment may face dubious prospects however in light of the state attorney general's pledge to "spend whatever it takes" to defend Utah's anti-gay amendment.


  1. anon says

    How many times has a heterosexual couple sued a church to force them to perform a marriage ceremony? NEVER

    The Catholic church REFUSES to perform marriages for people who have been divorced. Has any hetero couple ever sued them to force them to perform a wedding? NO, NEVER

    Why don’t people understand that a church already has the right to refuse to perform a marriage for any couple for any reason?

  2. The Milkman says

    Seems too broad. Officiate or solemnize? Fine. Recognize? No. If it’s a marriage that’s legal in that state, then everyone has to recognize it from a legal perspective, whether they choose to perform those kinds of weddings or not. Some churches don’t perform marriages for divorced people, but legally they must recognize the union. Same thing.

  3. Nelson says

    I do not see why there is this hysteria on the part of religious groups, since nobody was going to force them to perform or recognize people’s love anyway. they never WERE going to be forced to perform same sex weddings. As usual, total paranoia reigns with religion

  4. Gast says

    In time that law will get sued and found to be unconstitutional. And all that will be left will be the historical record of the Jim Crows of the gay era.

  5. HadenoughBS says

    It reads as being too broadly written to give, say, a “Mormon baker” or “Mormon photographer” the right to opt out of baking a wedding cake or photographing a wedding for a gay couple. I know, why would the couple want someone who felt this way to work for them in the first place, but….

  6. JackFknTwist says

    Religious churches must recognize civil marriages as all citizens have to do under the law.
    We don’t want “religious marriages” as part of equal rights; we want legal marriages as part of our equal treatment.
    What the delusionals do behind their church doors is their business.
    But the butcher and the baker must be subject to the law that civil marriages must be recognized as the law of the land. They have no conscience clause which allows them to disobey equal treatment. and they cannot be allowed to discriminate on the basis of medieval obsessions.

  7. DC Insider says

    The Milkman nails the problem with this amendment. The Catholic church may not perform same sex marriages, but it must recognize the marriage of the doctor and her wife when they are applying for benefits as employees of a catholic owned hospital.

  8. Hansel Currywurst says

    “…in a role connected with a religious organization…” can be interpreted as member, believer, supporter or donor, fan or fanatic, hired muscle or even hitman.

    So when someone comes to firebomb your house to protest your marriage it’s okay because a church sent them to do it. Ninety percent of mormons might think that’s going too far, but crazy happens at the margins.

  9. AdamTh says

    Too broad, plus it’s unnecessary to protect a church’s right to refuse to bless any marriage.

    I’m guessing in Utah the Mormon church has also infected other areas that generally provide public services, such as hospitals. Under this law a Mormon owned hospital could refuse to recognize any legal marriage.

  10. Randy says

    “As written, it would exempt church-affliated businesses from having to publicly accommodate…”

    Beware of this. It isn’t just about us. This is about the expansion of religious rights over all other rights. It needs to be stopped.

  11. TonyJazz says

    Yes, this is a too-broad bill meant to protect bigots in their businesses.

    But I can’t get too upset. I’ve still got a broad smile seeing gay marriages in Utah!


  12. Dan says

    I agree with those who believe this is too broad. It seems like an attempt to give business oweners a way out of serving the public based on their beliefs. It allows anti-gay segregation in the public square, using religion as the excuse for discrimination.

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