New York Same Sex Marriage Law’s Religious Exemptions

Many thanks to the Loyal Reader(s) to sent over the link to the full text of New York’s same sex marriage law just signed permitting gay marriage in the state of New York. As I wrote extensively, my position on the subject was less about restricting gay marriage than about maintaining religious exemptions. For those interested, here are the relevant passages from New York’s new law.


Note: For the sake of clarity I have not edited the text or grammar and I am not using the typical “blockquote” tags for citations. Everything below this line is directly copied and pasted from the text of the law itself as of the date of this blog post.


S 10-B. APPLICATION. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION NINE OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-TWO OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, A CORPORATION INCORPORATED UNDER THE BENEVOLENT ORDERS LAW OR DESCRIBED IN THE BENEVOLENT ORDERS LAW BUT FORMED UNDER ANY OTHER LAW OF THIS STATE OR A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION INCORPORATED UNDER THE EDUCATION LAW OR THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAWS SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE IN ITS NATURE DISTINCTLY PRIVATE AND THEREFORE, SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATIONS, ADVANTAGES, ACILITIES OR PRIVILEGES RELATED TO THE SOLEMNIZATION OR CELEBRATION OF A MARRIAGE.

2. A REFUSAL BY A BENEVOLENT ORGANIZATION OR A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, INCORPORATED UNDER THE EDUCATION LAW OR THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW, TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATIONS, ADVANTAGES, FACILITIES OR PRIVILEGES IN CONNECTION WITH SECTION TEN-A OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL NOT CREATE A CIVIL CLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION.

3. PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ELEVEN OF SECTION TWO HUNDRED NINETY-SIX OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, NOTHING IN THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE DEEMED OR CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT ANY RELIGIOUS OR DENOMINATIONAL INSTITUTION OR ORGANIZATION, OR ANY ORGANIZATION OPERATED FOR CHARITABLE OR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES, WHICH IS OPERATED, SUPERVISED OR CONTROLLED BY OR IN CONNECTION WITH A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION FROM LIMITING EMPLOYMENT OR SALES OR RENTAL OF HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS OR ADMISSION TO OR GIVING PREFERENCE TO PERSONS OF THE SAME RELIGION OR DENOMINATION OR FROM TAKING SUCH ACTION AS IS CALCULATED BY SUCH ORGANIZATION TO PROMOTE THE RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES FOR WHICH IT IS ESTABLISHED OR MAINTAINED.

S 5. Subdivision 1 of section 11 of the domestic relations law, as amended by chapter 319 of the laws of 1959, is amended and a new subdivision 1-a is added to read as follows:
1. A clergyman or minister of any religion, or by the senior leader, or any of the other leaders, of The Society for Ethical Culture in the city of New York, having its principal office in the borough of Manhattan, or by the leader of The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, having its principal office in the borough of Brooklyn of the city of New York, or of the Westchester Ethical Society, having its principal office in Westchester county, or of the Ethical Culture Society of Long Island, having its principal office in Nassau county, or of the Riverdale-Yonkers Ethical Society having its principal office in Bronx county, or by the leader of any other Ethical Culture Society affiliated with the American Ethical Union; PROVIDED THAT NO CLERGYMAN OR MINISTER AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO OF THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW, OR SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE LEADER SHALL BE REQUIRED TO SOLEMNIZE ANY MARRIAGE WHEN ACTING IN HIS OR HER CAPACITY UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION.

1-A. A REFUSAL BY A CLERGYMAN OR MINISTER AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO OF THE RELIGIOUS CORPORATIONS LAW, OR SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE LEADER TO SOLEMNIZE ANY MARRIAGE UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT CREATE A CIVIL CLAIM OR CAUSE OF ACTION.

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