A church group that owns beach front property has refused to rent the property to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony.
The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights found that the refusal of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to rent the oceanfront spot to the couple for their same-sex union violated the public accommodation provisions of the state's Law Against Discrimination.
Brian Raum, who represents the Methodist organization said his clients would keep pushing back against being forced to allow civil unions on the property. "Our position is the same," he said. "A Christian organization has a constitutional right to use their facilities in a way that is consistent with their beliefs."
Larry Lustberg, the lawyer for the “couple” said. "What this case has always been about from my clients' perspective has been equality," He said they will seek an order that requires the pavilion to be "open to all on an equal basis."
The dispute has become a rallying point for both sides in the political battle over gay unions. Opponents of traditional marriage rights say the decision made by Ocean Grove Camp shows that New Jersey's two-year-old civil unions law falls short of its intent to give gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples.
Traditional marriage rights supports say that by recognizing same-sex couples, states are interfering with religious freedoms. The New Jersey Law “Against Discrimination” is an example of bad laws bringing about bad consequences for society. There are times when we need to discriminate between good and evil. Refusing to rent your property to a couple who want to use it for a civil union ceremony is not unfair discrimination. The fact that they want to enter into a civil union indicates that they also wish to take part in homosexual acts. Homosexual acts are disordered and immoral according to Christian teaching. If this church group had supported this civil union by renting the property, they would also have been endorsing homosexual acts and gone against their own churches teaching. They could have been accused of hypocrisy and charged with aiding immorality and disorder in the community.
To set the record straight, an example of unjust discrimination against people with a same sex attraction would be to-
- Refuse to sell a newspaper because a person has a same sex attraction.
- Call a person insulting names, threats or physical abuse because they have a same sex attraction.
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