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First Amendment Religious Freedom Under Attack in Connecticut (Again)

SB 899 oversteps in allowing same sex marriage to trump religious liberty

Contact: Peter Wolfgang, President, Family Institute of Connecticut Action, 860-548-0066; Eric Thompson, Senior Pastor, Wayfaring Ministries, 203-410-2358; Rick McKinniss, Senior Pastor, Wellspring Church, 860-225-0661

HARTFORD, Conn., April 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- Following on the heels of the legislative assault on the First Amendment in March, with a now-tabled bill (1098) that would have stripped Church hierarchy of their authority, the Connecticut legislature is considering a new bill, SB 899, which would be a disaster for First Amendment religious liberty rights in the state of Connecticut.

Family Institute of Connecticut Action is running newspaper ads statewide to raise awareness about the threats posed by SB 899. The ad can be viewed at www.ctfamily.org. SB 899 claims to make the Connecticut Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage the law. But it goes much further than that.

It includes totally inadequate accommodation of First Amendment religious liberty rights. The rights of religious organizations, charities, individuals and Churches would be endangered.

Section 17 of the proposed bill would remove the current legal restrictions, and would pave the way for:

• A pro-gay agenda to be taught to children in schools,
• Preferences and quotas based on sexual orientation for gays and lesbians, religious groups would not be exempt, even for religiously sensitive, key  positions,
• Forcing public officials to perform same sex ceremonies, regardless of their religious beliefs,
• Forcing religious groups to rent their facilities for same sex ceremonies.

"This legislation is a complete assault on the First Amendment and destroys the wall of separation that is supposed to keep the government out of religious affairs," said Peter Wolfgang, president of the Family Institute of Connecticut Action. "The creation of a new right to same sex marriage does not somehow invalidate the First Amendment, and our legislators must remember that."

"I encourage every citizen of Connecticut to contact his representative and senator and tell them to vote NO, on 899. Destroying the First Amendment is an embarrassment to the 'Constitution State,'" Wolfgang added.

Rick McKinniss, Senior Pastor of Wellspring Church in Kensington, stated, "The right of conscience is our first liberty and any threat to undermine that undermines all of our liberties."

Eric Thompson, East Hartford Councilman and Senior Pastor of Wayfaring Ministries, added, "SB 899 is deeply offensive to the religious liberties that are so deeply rooted in the history of Connecticut. It must be defeated."  

The Family Institute of Connecticut Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to creating a family-friendly environment in our state. We are working to encourage and strengthen the family as the foundation of society and to promote sound ethical and moral values in our culture and government. You can learn more about the Family Institute of Connecticut Action at our web site, www.ctfamily.org, or by calling our Hartford office at (860) 548-0066 or toll-free (877) 33-FAMILY.