Buyer's Remorse in the Marriage Debate
Support for allowing same-sex couples to marry is apparently on the rise. Advocates -- through help from friends in media -- have effectively crafted and communicated talking points portraying the debate over same-sex "marriage" as a question of equality, helping turn public opinion on the issue. But as this social experiment goes from theoretical to actual, taking firm hold in certain parts of the country, some features of so-called "marriage equality" are giving many a reason for pause.
As we are all now starting to realize, by "equality," advocates mean more than availability of a marriage license. Everyone must be forced to accept the legitimacy of these same-sex unions and, if called upon, participate in and support them.
Many cities and states are passing aggressive legislation labeled "human rights" and encouraging homosexual couples to turn in anyone who declines to provide services to them, even in states that have not yet legalized same-sex "marriage."
With full societal acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle being the end-game, the same-sex "marriage" train is on a collision course with religious liberty.
Throughout the country, bakers, florists, photographers, venue proprietors, and other wedding-related vendors are learning about this clash the hard way. Those who would rather not profit from something they cannot condone due to their religious beliefs -- choosing to turn down jobs for homosexual weddings -- have been subject to criminal investigations, sanctions, and fines, as well as hateful, and at times vile, responses.
Despite the bullying tactics and threats to livelihood, many religiously motivated individuals have stood their ground, finding the cost of violating conscience too high.
For example, Aaron Klein and his wife in Oregon face an investigation by the state DOJ after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Soon after publicity came out about the incident, they also received numerous e-mails wishing them and their family harm. But as Klein informed his local NBC affiliate, he'd rather close down their Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery business than "be forced to do something that violates [his] conscience."
A recent Rasmussen poll asked, if a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, whether he should have the right to say no. The survey reveals that 85% of American adults believe he should.
Even as same-sex "marriage" enjoys legal victories and favorable media bias, a vast majority of Americans object to this intrusion on the freedom of conscience, a refreshing indication that we might not have lost our way after all.
Nate Kellum is the chief counsel at the Center for Religious Expression, a non-profit organization based in Memphis.