The impact of same-sex marriage on religious freedom


At the heart of the arguments in favor of Proposition 8 are concerns about eroding religious freedoms that come about as the same-sex agenda is advanced. Below are some of the legal cases heard across the country as compiled by Rancho Santa Fe Attorney Charles S. LiMandri. Affiliated with the Thomas More Law Center, LiMandri was involved in the Mount Soledad cross case and the first case listed below. He has also been involved in the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.

LiMandri's list also includes source documentation, which can be found at his Web site at Click on the resources link. The cases are listed in a Powerpoint presentation called "The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage on Religious Freedom." The cases are listed on pages 4 to 11.

February 24, 2000: A professional printer refused to print material for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives because he felt doing so would violate his religious beliefs. He was fined and ordered to print the material anyway. He took his case to the Ontario Supreme Court and then to the Ontario Court of Appeal and lost both times. His total legal bills exceed $170,000.

2001: An evangelical Christian employed as a prison guard in Canada placed an ad in the Saskatchewan Star Phoenix. The ad was a picture of two stick men holding hands, with a red circle with a bar superimposed on them. Below the picture were four Scripture references, but not actual Bible verses. He was convicted of a hate crime by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal. The judge suggested that using Bible verses in a newspaper ad like this could be construed as hate literature. Thus, there is now legal precedent in Canada that the Holy Bible is hate literature.

May 1, 2002: A Catholic high school in Whitby, Ontario was forced by the Ontario Supreme Court to allow a homosexual student to take his boyfriend to the graduation prom, even though the church-run school has strict prohibitions against condoning any kind of homosexual behavior.

January 26, 2004: Cardinal Gustaaf Joos is sued by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight Against Racism (CEOFAR) for human rights violations because he said that most homosexuals are perverts.

February 3, 2004: Canadian teacher Chris Kempling was suspended for one month for his Christian views on homosexuality, expressed in a letter to the editor.

October 15, 2004: A group of Christians was arrested, spent 21 hours in jail, and was charged with multiple felonies for peacefully protesting at a Philadelphia gay pride event even though the event was open to the public and held on city streets and sidewalks.

October 27, 2004: Rocco Buttiglione of Italy is nominated as Commissioner of Justice for the newly formed European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union. He said publicly that he thought homosexual conduct was immoral, and members of the European Parliament blocked his nomination.

January 1, 2005: Calgary Bishop Fred Henry is forced to remove a diocesan letter from his Web site because it urged Catholic Christians to support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage.

January 26, 2005: B.C. Knights of Columbus are sued for not permitting the rental of their Canadian hall for a same-sex wedding reception.

February 11, 2005: A Swedish pastor is sentenced to jail for one month after speaking out against the homosexual lifestyle from the pulpit. The Gota Court of Appeals subsequently overturned this decision. In the meantime, his sermon was replayed numerous times throughout the appeal process and was eventually broadcast by several news agencies.

June 1, 2005: A former manager with Allstate in Illinois was fired on the sole basis that he wrote a column posted on several Web sites that was critical of same-sex marriage and espoused Christian beliefs. This was done while he was not at work. He sued and reached a settlement.

June 5, 2005: Gay protestors march down the aisle of the altar of Notre Dame Cathedral in France during mass, where one of the protestors, dressed like a priest, performed a mock marriage ceremony for a lesbian couple. One of the priests saying mass receives a minor injury while trying to remove the protestors from the cathedral.

June 30, 2005: A lesbian couple used Vermont's public accommodations law to file a discrimination complaint against a couple who owns a small inn for expressing their concern that, as Roman Catholics, they would have moral difficulty hosting a same-sex civil union on their premises.

March 9, 2006: The California Supreme Court voted unanimously that the City of Berkeley could withdraw a rent subsidy to a Boy Scouts affiliate (the Sea Scouts) at the city marina because of the scouts' opposition to homosexuality.

March 10, 2006: Catholic Charities in Massachusetts is forced out of the adoption business for the first time in 100 years because it will not place children with homosexual couples.

April 5, 2006: San Francisco City Board of Supervisors issued a scathing resolution condemning the Catholic Church's moral teachings on homosexuality and urged Catholic leaders to defy Vatican directives telling agencies not to place children with same-sex couples.

April 28, 2006: A government commission ordered a man who runs a video duplicator business to do a job for a lesbian activist after he initially refused because, as a Christian, he did not want to help promote homosexuality.

June 16, 2006: Robert J. Smith, a member of the board of directors of the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, appointed by Governor Robert L.Ehrlich, discussed the federal marriage amendment on a local cable show and stated that gays and lesbians are "persons of sexual deviancy," and was subsequently fired from his position. He said that as a Catholic this was part of his religious beliefs.

November 1, 2006: Emily Brooker, a social-work student at Missouri State University, was charged with violating the school's "Standards of Essential Functioning in Social Work Education." One of her professors accused her of the violation after he assigned a project that required the entire class to write and each sign a letter to the Missouri Legislature in support of gay adoption. Brooker said her Christian beliefs required her to refuse to sign the letter. She subsequently sued the school for a violation of her First Amendment rights and won.

January 1, 2007: Christian Vanneste, a member of the French parliament, was convicted for homophobia by a French court. He had said that "heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality" and that "homosexuality endangers the survival of mankind."

May 31, 2007: was sued in California for refusing to offer its dating services to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. was founded in 2000 by an evangelical Christian with strong ties to Focus on the Family.

June 1, 2007: The Oakland, Calif. city government found the words "Marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values" to be a hate crime and reprimands a group of Oakland city government employees for using these words on a flier in the workplace.

June 12, 2007: Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, leader of the Italian Bishops' Conference, received his second death threat, in the form of 3 bullets, from an anonymous militant homosexual activist enraged at the Catholic Church's campaign to defeat civil union legislation in Italy.

June 27, 2007: Belgian homosexual activists have brought charges against Monsignor Andre-Mutien Leonard, the Roman Catholic bishop of Namur, for homophobia because he is said to have described homosexuals as "abnormal" people.

July 21, 2007: Four San Diego firefighters were ordered to participate in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade. The employees filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego in California Superior Court alleging sexual harassment and violating their freedom of speech. After a mistrial was declared, a new trial is scheduled for after the first of the year.

July 28, 2007: Anglican Church in the United Kingdom was found guilty of discrimination against homosexuals for requiring lay Diocesan Youth Director to be celibate if not married. It is now against the law for a Christian organization to require its employees to abide by Christian teaching.

August 2, 2007: Two Christian physicians were sued for acting in accord with their religious beliefs by not artificially inseminating a lesbian. The California Supreme Court ruled in August 2008 that the doctor's religious rights did not carry as much weight as the woman's civil rights under California's anti-discrimination laws which protect sexual orientation. The case is still under appeal and has cost the physicians nearly $1 dollars.

August 24, 2007: A Massachusetts father, who objected to the homosexual curriculum being taught to his kindergartener, was handcuffed and taken to jail for refusing to leave a school meeting where he came to voice his concerns. An appeals court later ruled that the father had no rights to question the school's curriculum and suggested the best option for parents who object to school content is to segregate.

September 15, 2007: California Lutheran high school is being sued for expelling two girls who engaged in "homosexual conduct" on campus.

September 25, 2007: A lesbian high school student in California accused principal of violating Equal Protection and First Amendment rights for issuing disciplinary action in response to continual inappropriate displays of public affection on school grounds. U.S. District Court ruled in favor of school defendants, finding no federal or state constitutional violations.

October 2, 2007: General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was fired because he publicly expressed moral opposition to homosexual behavior.

October 7, 2007: Ocean Grove Camp Ground, a Methodist camp in New Jersey, loses its state tax-exempt status for not hosting a same-sex union in its marriage pavilion.

October 24, 2007: A Christian couple in the UK were denied re-registration as foster parents following their refusal to sign an "Equality" policy which forbids discrimination on the grounds of homosexuality. After public outcry, on October 31, 2007 Somerset Social Services met with the couple and allowed them to make a conscientious objection to the "Equality" policy, reinstating them as foster parents.

November 3, 2007: British Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld a decision rejecting a discrimination claim by a Justice of the Peace. The Justice sat on the court's Family Panel and had requested to be excused from hearing cases involving same-sex couples based on his Christian religious beliefs. His request was denied and he filed a discrimination claim. The EAT concluded that magistrates must apply the law as their oath requires, and cannot opt out of cases on moral grounds.

January 28, 2008: Jon and Elaine Huguenin, a young Christian couple from Albuquerque, N.M, were tried before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission after they declined a request to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, citing their religious beliefs. The same-sex couple filed a discrimination complaint with the commission, which scheduled the hearing. In the hearing, the Huguenins cited their First Amendment rights, but the commission sided with the same-sex couple. The Huguenins were fined $6,600.