Amendment Gives Religious Organizations Exemption to Same-Sex Ruling

April 23, 2009

Author: Daniela Altimari

Source: The Hartford Courant,0,3521923.story

State legislators on Wednesday approved a measure that strives to strike a balance between the rights of gay couples and the rights of religious institutions that object to same-sex marriage.

A spokesman for Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she will sign the bill.

Votes in both the House of Representatives and the Senate came after hours of often impassioned discourse that touched on broad themes of religious liberty, freedom from discrimination and the state's long history of tolerance. The debate capped a multi-faceted campaign by gay marriage opponents that included newspaper and radio ads and messages from the pulpit.

The language exempting religious organizations, borrowed from the statute that legalized same-sex marriage in Vermont, wasn't essential to protecting religious liberties, said state Rep. Beth Bye, D- West Hartford.

"But there were people who felt it needed to be there," she said at 11:15 p.m., moments after the measure passed in the House by a vote of 100-44.