Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gay Weddings

Check 1,2! Is this thing on?...

Some interesting changes are possibly afoot in New York. There is the possibility that the Senate will pass a same sex marriage bill. A bill was already passed by the Assembly, and they are one vote short in the Senate, so if one Republican can be induced to vote for it, the bill will be come law.

(This is just a question of timing anyway. It is inevitable that a same-sex marriage bill will be passed in NY sometime soon.)

Here's an article that discusses what Republicans are negotiating with regard to the bill.

Check this part:
Ball, one of the critical undecided Republicans, said he was looking at the same-sex marriage bill from a "very pragmatic perspective."

"I understand that there's going to be certain areas where they're not going to be able to have religious protections because you open up a whole new can of worms," he said.

One example: a proposal by a Washington and Lee University professor that would create exemptions for individuals who don't want to provide marriage-related goods or services because of their religious beliefs.

Professor Robin Wilson believes, for example, that a baker should be able to reject a couple's request for a wedding cake if his religion prevents him from serving a same-sex -- or an interfaith, or even interracial -- couple. He would only be forced to bake the cake if his refusal created unnecessary hardship for the couple, because, Wilson said, "in a straight up contest [...] marriage equality trumps religious liberty." Such a proposal would likely be a non-starter in New York state, particularly for individuals, as opposed to religiously-affiliated non-profits. "You can't institutionalize discrimination within the bill, nor would I ever want to," Ball said. Yet the proposal is an example of the issues that lawmakers may have to grapple with should they decide to broaden religious exemptions.
Depending on the final bill passed (whether this bill or a few years down the road) there may well be implications for how "frum" wedding bands deal with this issue.

Currently, I have seen offices take the following approaches to booking gay/lesbian weddings.

1) Turn the job down for religious reasons.
2) Book lesbian weddings and send out an all female band. (In Halacha, lesbian relations are only prohibited Rabbinically, as opposed to male homosexual relations whichy are Biblically prohibited.)
3) Book the wedding, but under a different band name.
4) Book the gig, and claim the client surprised the band a week or two out with the fact that it was a gay wedding. (This actually happened. The claim, that is. Not that I believe it.)
5) Refer the job to a different band (and earn a referral fee).
6) Accept the job.

Depending on the final legislation, some of these options may no longer be legal.

It is possible that this might open up the field of options for gay and lesbian couples looking for Simcha/Chassidic music at their weddings, which would be very meaningful to some homosexuals from the frum community.