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-New Jersey: Judge Rules That Church Denial of Same-Sex Ceremony is Discriminatory

by Dr. D ~ January 13th, 2012


A New Jersey judge ruled that Methodist Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association violated state nondiscrimination laws by refusing to allow a same –sex civil-union ceremony on their property.

Solomon Metzger, an administrative law judge, said the following in reference to the United Methodist camp association:

“The respondent violated the [Law Against Discrimination] when it refused to conduct a civil-union ceremony for Ms. Bernstein and Ms. Paster.”

“Respondent opposes same-sex unions as a matter of religious belief, and in 2007 found itself on the wrong side of recent changes in the law.”

The seaside meeting place is a popular location for weddings  but the association, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, does not allow same-sex ceremonies to take place on its property for Biblical and denominational reasons.

When Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster were turned down for a same-sex ceremony they filed a discrimination complaint which was picked up by the state’s Division on Civil Rights.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), is representing the ministry and evaluating how they will respond if the ruling is final and not overturned by the Division of Civil Rights. The ADF argues that the ministry was simply exercising its constitutionally protected right to use its private property in a way consistent with its own beliefs. ADF Attorney Jim Campbell made the following comments about the case:

“The government should not be able to force a private Christian organization to use its property in a way that would violate its own religious beliefs.”

“Religious groups have the right to use their private property in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. That right, protected by both the New Jersey and U.S. constitutions, obviously trumps any law enacted by the state’s legislature.”

Response: Just yesterday we were celebrating a victory in the Supreme Court that supported religious freedom and now we have this case before us.

We have written about the coming of cases like this in the future and now here is one already. It is a matter of conflicting rights. In this case the judge rules that the rights of homosexuals trumps religious freedom and the Constitutional right of churches and religious organizations to determine their own belief system and use their own property in a way that conforms to their own beliefs.

The judge in this case makes the statement that the Methodist Association is “on the wrong side of recent changes in the law.” But in reality the application of the law to a religious organization’s belief based policy is clearly unconstitutional. It is the judge in this case that is on the wrong side of the law. 

This is just the first among many cases to come as different activist groups try to define and establish case law that supports a new hierarchy of civil rights that challenges and trumps the First Amendment clause on religious freedom. The greatest assaults will be attempted by Gay rights and atheist organizations in the future.

If Biblical Christianity continues to decline in popularity in America, then look for some of these efforts to be successful since many of the traditional Christian teachings may become increasingly unpopular in a future dominant secular culture.  Another reason why Christians should be praying for a new awakening and religious revival in America.              *Top

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3 Responses to -New Jersey: Judge Rules That Church Denial of Same-Sex Ceremony is Discriminatory

  1. NJ Judge: Church Illegally Banned Gay Ceremony On Its Own Property | Examiner.com | Joe Newby | 1/13/12 | Vinh P. Su, Esquire

    […] -New Jersey: Judge Rules That Church Denial of Same-Sex Ceremony is Discriminatory (answersforthefaith.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreEmailPrintLinkedInDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. -Will Churches be Forced to Host Same-Sex Marriages? | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] that would force churches that rent out their facilities to host same-sex ceremonies. Also a Methodist camp facility has already lost its tax exempt status and several lawsuits so may soon be forced to rent out its facilities for gay celebrations. So the concerns are not […]

  3. -City in Kansas May Force Churches to Host Gay Weddings? | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] is not the first and it will not be the last. Here’s a post about a Methodist Camp in new Jersey facing a similar ruling. The war between rights is on and religious freedom may lose out in the future when activist judges […]

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