Opponents of gay marriage in Massachusetts are misleading in saying that religious liberty is threatened by its legalization in the state, says The Reverend Katherine H. Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and director of the Somerville, MA think tank Political Research Associates.
“Clergy have always had the freedom to determine whom they will or will not marry,” says Rev. Ragsdale. “We can legally marry couples where the law permits, and, regardless of State law can religiously marry any couple we chose – just as we can refuse to marry any couple, gay or straight if we feel it would be inappropriate.”
In supporting a state referendum to overturn the legalization of same sex marriage in Massachusetts, the group Family Research Council asserted that state laws allowing legal marriage are an assault on religious freedom.
“This is absolutely false,” says Rev. Ragsdale.
In addition to her role as director of PRA, Rev. Ragsdale leads a congregation in Pepperell, MA.