• Sec. 5. 19-A MRSA §655, sub-§3 is enacted to read: 3. Affirmation of religious freedom. This Part does not authorize any court or other state or local governmental body, entity, agency or commission to compel, prevent or interfere in any way with any religious institution's religious doctrine, policy, teaching or solemnization of marriage within that particular religious faith's tradition as guaranteed by the Maine Constitution, Article 1, Section 3 or the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. A person authorized to join persons in marriage and who fails or refuses to join persons in marriage is not subject to any fine or other penalty for such failure or refusal.
Clarifies that this act does not affect the rights of any church or other religious group to define "marriage" in its own terms for religious purposes; clearly separates "civil marriage" from "religious marriage," and specifies that this bill is only addressing the legal implications of "civil marriage."
• Sec. 6. 19-A MRSA §701, as amended by PL 2007, c. 695, Pt. C, §4, is further amended to remove the specific statutory bar to same-sex marriage contained in paragraph 5, which now reads: 5. Same sex marriage prohibited. Persons of the same sex may not contract marriage.
Deletes the line in Maine law that bans same-sex marriage.
• Other parts of the bill involve: 1) gender-neutral rewording of marriage-related language (example: changing the language prohibiting marrying close relatives from words barring a man from marrying his mother, grandmother, and so on, to language barring all people from marrying their parents, grandparents, etc.); 2) deleting the specific denial of marriage rights to Maine residents who got same-sex marriages elsewhere; 3) language that is not being changed by the bill, or is only being changed in minor clerical ways (such as to correctly count the number of paragraphs or sections in the bill).
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