N.Y. Ministers Charged for Marrying Gays

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by 5stringJeff, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    N.Y. Ministers Charged for Marrying Gays
    By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press Writer

    KINGSTON, N.Y. - Two ministers were charged with criminal offenses Monday for marrying 13 gay couples — apparently the first time in U.S. history that clergy members have been prosecuted for performing same-sex ceremonies.

    District Attorney Donald Williams said gay marriage laws make no distinction between public officials and members of the clergy who preside over wedding ceremonies.

    Unitarian Universalist ministers Kay Greenleaf and Dawn Sangrey were charged with solemnizing a marriage without a license, the same charges leveled against New Paltz Mayor Jason West, who last month drew the state into the widening national debate over same-sex unions.

    Each charge carries a fine of $25 to $500 or up to a year in jail.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=533&e=4&u=/ap/20040315/ap_on_re_us/gay_marriage_ny
     
  2. eric
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    eric Guest

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    :clap: :clap: :clap:
     
  3. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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  4. Aquarian
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    Aquarian Member

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    ummm aren't they ministers, performing a religious ceremony? I thought the gov't wasn't supposed to get involved in the practice of religion... I'm looking at this as separate from the gay (civil) marriage debate.
     
  5. _dmp_
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    _dmp_ Member

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    Depends, honestly...Marriage is not just a religious institution...it's a legal one too.
     
  6. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    I don't think ministers are above the law. Illegal is illegal.

    "Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams said gay marriage laws make no distinction between public officials and members of the clergy who preside over wedding ceremonies."
     
  7. Aquarian
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    Aquarian Member

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    But Jim-

    This is different than the cases of the various mayors in that they represented the gov't when doing so, the ministers do not. I'm not arguing that churches are not subject to any laws, but since these 'marriages' would not be recognized outside the church they were performed in I can't see how they could justify fining or imprisoning these ministers.
     
  8. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    They may have been issuing marriage licenses, or signing them at the least.
     
  9. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Williams said he decided to press charges because the marriages were "drastically different" from religious ceremonies since Greenleaf and Sangrey publicly said they considered them civil.

    Greenleaf, who acknowledged performing the ceremonies in New Paltz knowing the couples did not have licenses, said she signed an affidavit for the couples and considers the ceremonies civil.


    It's obvious when 25-30 couples are showing up that they are trying to thumb their noses to the law. Is it coincidental that these gay marriages pop up in the same town that they were forbidden just a few short weeks ago?
     
  10. Aquarian
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    True, and I kind of see the point, but just because the ministers say they have civil import does not mean that they do. I agree also that the location of the church is not coincidental but would classify the actions as civil disobedience (another time honored tradition) rather than a thumbing of the nose.
     

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