PORTLAND — Faith leaders will be in Portland today for a press conference to talk about the religious exemption that’s part of Question 1, the ballot measure asking Maine voters if they want to allow same-sex couples to marry in Maine.

The Religious Coalition Against Discrimination and Catholics for Marriage Equality will be at the Cathedral of St. Luke at 2 p.m. to talk about the right of clergy to refuse to perform gay marriages.

“Clergy of all denominations are free to refuse to marry couples for many personal or philosophical reasons,” said Bishop Stephen T. Lane of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, in a statement. “Question 1 affirms that right in Maine law.”

Gay-marriage supporters fought hard earlier this year to get the religious exemption language into the question that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. Secretary of State Charlie Summers did not add it in, despite the heavy lobbying from the activists. The ballot question simply reads: “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”

While the proposed state law provides for a religious exemption for clergy, it does not protect business owners or others from possible discrimination lawsuits if they refuse to provide services to gay couples.

The requirement to provide equal services to all couples regardless of sexual orientation was put into Maine law in 2005, when voters approved adding gays and lesbians to the state’s human rights act.

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