Andrew Cuomo Takes a Walk on Religious Liberty


Kathryn Lopez at NRO's The Corner:

New York State senators are using new religious protections in Andrew Cuomo’s Marriage Equality Act as cover, but the legislation leaves out the “most important” protections, according to Robin Wilson, law professor at Washington and Lee University, an expert on religious liberty and public policy.

In a letter to state senator Greg Ball, Wilson writes: “The real protection missing from the proposed Marriage Equality Act is express protection from penalty at the hands of the government. Such risks are not speculative.” This is not a mere academic exercise. Wilson spells out in the latter: “The city of San Francisco stripped $3.5 million in social services contracts from the Salvation Army when it refused, for religious reasons, to provide benefits to its employees’ same sex-partners. In light of such risks, Connecticut, Vermont and even the District of Columbia saw fit to expressly protect religious organizations from being ‘penalize[d]’ by the government for such refusals.”

... In [the bill's] current form, she says, Governor Cuomo “has walked,” leaving the most important religious-liberty questions unclear at best.

The bill passed the Empire State senate yesterday and may be voted on in the senate as early as today or tomorrow. It is currently one vote short.