Gay Marriage vs. Religious Liberty

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case to determine whether the Constitution requires states to issue same-sex marriage licenses and requires other states to honor same-sex marriages performed in those states. A primary argument by the plaintiffs is that gay marriage is covered under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and that if straights can marry, then so can gays.

The counterargument is that marriage is a privilege and not a right, a union of one man and one woman sanctioned over millennia by virtually every culture and country over time as the stable foundation of any society, a framework for the bearing and rearing of children that are the future of any society:

That was the argument made by Investor’s Business Daily on the occasion of U.S. District Judge Vaughan Walker striking down California’s Proposition 8 defining marriage as between one man and one women which had passed in November 2008 with 52% of the vote:

Prop 8 supporters believe there's no more a constitutional right to marriage than there is to a driver's license. On the secular level, both are privileges granted by the state, which is entitled to define the ground rules for its secular reasons and purposes.

This country and healthy societies around the world and throughout history have given marriage between a man and a woman special legal protection because of the recognition that it is the one institution that ensures the society's future through the orderly procreation and upbringing of children.

Lacking a constitutional foundation, marriage is entitled to be defined by the people or their elected representatives.

Remove that bedrock pillar of society, traditional marriage supporters argue, and you create social chaos. We have already seen how the decline of marriage and rising illegitimacy has created more poverty and crime and ravaged the black community. We need to be supporting stable marriages of men and women rather than undermining the institution by essentially gutting the rules.

Then there’s the question of religious liberty and what happens to those licensed by the state to perform marriages. What will happen to churches and ministers and priests who refuse to perform same-sex marriages? Already there is a “We will not comply” movement echoing the resistance by the Catholic Church and others to the contraception mandates of ObamaCare, which established heathcare as a right, and whose final fate remains in litigation. This mandate threatens to shut down even the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns serving the poor and elderly.

The pledge was crafted, Fox News radio’s Todd Starnes reports at, by Rick Scarborough, the president of Vision America Action, James Dobson, the founder of Family Talk Radio, and Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Talk Radio. Dobson et al fear this decision could indeed undermine modern society:

“The institution of marriage is fundamental and it must be defended,” he told me. “It’s the foundation for the entire culture. It’s been in existence for 5,000 years. If you weaken it or if you undermine it -- the entire superstructure can come down. We see it as that important.”

It is a constitutional as well as cultural crisis. Will pastors and churches be sanctioned like the Oregon bakery that faces a $135,000 fine for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding or the Washington State florist who faces fines for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.

Scarborough rightly sees dire consequences looming if the Supreme Court essentlly legislates a national same-sex marriage statute from the bench:

“Christians are being declared the lawbreakers when we are simply living by what we have always believed, and by a set of laws that the culture historically has agreed to,” he said. “Right now the courts are changing the playing field and declaring that what the natural eye can see and natural law reveals is not truth... What will we do, and how will we respond?”

This nation was founded by those fleeing religious persecution and the wrath of the state for obeying the dictates of their faith and religious conscience. May still believe, as the Founding Fathers did, that our inalienable eights come not from government but from the Creator mentioned in the Declaration of Independence  

Let’s hope SCOTUS does as well or the “fundamental transformation” of America that President Obama promised will be upon us.   

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