Friday, May 15, 2015
May 9, 2015|9:42 am | The Christian Post|
MIAMI BEACH — Christians who have so far avoided controversial "culture war" issues will likely be pulled into those battles as their religious freedom becomes threatened due to gay marriage, Dr. John Inazu warned Monday.
Theologically conservative Christian non-profit organizations, including churches, could face losing their tax exempt status or being shut down, and Christian doctors, lawyers, counselors and other professionals could be forced out of their professions, he explained.
Inazu, associate professor of law and political science at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, was delivering a presentation, "Religious Liberty and the American Culture Wars," at the Ethics and Public Policy Center's "Faith Angle Forum."
Even though his personal beliefs often align with conservative Christianity, Inazu explained that he often thought of himself as a "civilian" in the culture wars and he thinks a lot of other Christians feel the same way. These Christians serve their communities and work through ministries that "do a lot of good for society — in education, social services, hospitals, mercy ministries, and many other areas."
To illustrate, he spoke about Focus on the Family and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Focus, he pointed out, used to be considered part of the Christian Right while it was led by James Dobson, but that is no longer the case under its new leader, Jim Daly. Recently, for instance, it partnered with the Gill Foundation, a gay rights group, to help pass an anti-human trafficking bill in Colorado.
As a member of its board, Inazu is even more familiar with the work of InterVarsity. Since its founding in 1946, Inazu explained, InterVarsity has sent tens of thousands of students all over the world to help build infrastructure and serve the poor, sick and dying. The student group has never "really been fighting the culture wars," he noted, and is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse groups around. But InterVarsity has recently found itself on the culture war front lines as some colleges and universities have forced it off campus. Last year, for instance, all the state universities in California required the group to allow non-Christians to be leaders to remain a campus group.
If the Supreme Court rules in June that the U.S. Constitution requires all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage, Inazu believes that the resulting religious freedom issues will depend much on how the opinion is written. He pointed to an amicus brief in the case submitted by Douglas Laycock, a religious freedom expert and law professor at the University of Virginia law school.
Laycock argued in favor of same-sex marriage, but warned the Court about the religious freedom issues that would inevitably follow.
He wrote, for instance, "Must pastors, priests, and rabbis provide religious marriage counseling to same-sex couples? Must religious colleges provide married student housing to same-sex couples? Must churches and synagogues employ spouses in same-sex marriages, even though such employees would be persistently and publicly flouting the religious teachings they would be hired to promote? Must religious organizations provide spousal fringe benefits to the same-sex spouses of any such employees they do hire? Must religious social-service agencies place children for adoption with same-sex couples? Already, Catholic Charities in Illinois, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia has closed its adoption units because of this issue.
"Religious colleges, summer camps, day care centers, retreat houses, counseling centers, meeting halls, and adoption agencies may be sued under public accommodations laws for refusing to offer their facilities or services to same-sex couples. Or they may be penalized by loss of licensing, accreditation, government contracts, access to public facilities, or tax exemption." (For brevity, all footnotes have been removed.)
During the Court's recent oral arguments on gay marriage, Inazu recalled, President Barack Obama's solicitor general acknowledged that some of these challenges are "going to be an issue" if the Court favors gay marriage. How much of an issue it will be depends on what Inazu calls the "Bob Jones question."
In Bob Jones University vs. United States (1983), the Supreme Court ruled that the Internal Revenue Service was correct to revoke the Christian school's tax exempt status over its interracial dating prohibition. The analogy is important because gay marriage supporters often claim that opposition to gay marriage is bigotry motivated by hatred. If the Supreme Court suggests the same in its ruling, lower courts will be less likely to uphold the religious freedom of traditional marriage supporters.
"Now is a good time to be thinking about the implications of the Bob Jones question: whether we really think Gordon College in 2015 is like Bob Jones in 1983, that InterVarsity is like a neo-Nazi group, and that Tim Keller is like the Grand Wizard of the Klan. If we think there are meaningful differences, then now is a good time to think harder about the rhetoric fueling some of these debates," Inazu said.
Inazu has a book that will be published later this year, Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference. Audio of his Faith Angle Forum presentation is available on the Ethics and Public Policy Center website. A transcript will be posted later.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
May 13, 2015|4:13 pm| The Christian Post|
Legislators in Texas are considering bills that would seek to enforce a ban on gay marriage even if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to declare such bans unconstitutional.
Last month, the highest court in the land heard oral arguments in an appeal to determine whether or not state-level bans on gay marriage were constitutional.
Texas representatives have introduced measures, including House Bill 4105, which would bar government funds from being used to support gay marriage.
"State or local funds may not be used for an activity that includes the licensing or support of a same-sex marriage," reads the bill.
"A state or local governmental employee may not recognize, grant, or enforce a same-sex marriage license … State or local funds may not be used to enforce an order requiring the issuance or recognition of a same-sex marriage license."
HB 4105 was introduced by Republican State Representative Cecil Bell and on Tuesday was put on the Texas House's "General State Calendar."
"The leap to assume that Texas moves with (a Supreme Court ruling) is just that — a leap," said Rep. Bell in a statement, as reported by Charisma News.
"History is replete with cases where Supreme Court precedent isn't immediately embraced and in some cases isn't ever embraced."
In 2005, voters in Texas approved Proposition 2, which added an amendment to the state constitution legally defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The measure had over 1.7 million votes in favor, totaling 76.25 percent of the ballots cast. Kansas voters passed a similar measure in the same year.
In February 2014, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled the Lone Star State's ban unconstitutional. An appealed was made to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and a stay on the decision granted.
On April 28, the Supreme Court heard arguments on an appeal from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding four state-level gay marriage bans.
Most experts believe that the highest court in the nation will narrowly rule that all states must allow same-sex couples to obtain a state marriage license.
Nevertheless, many Republican legislators, elected officials, and presidential hopefuls have proposed ideas to counter a potential Supreme Court ruling against the gay marriage bans. In addition to Texas' proposed legislation, another idea has been to enact an amendment overturning the Court's possible ruling.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
May 11, 2015|12:17 pm| The Christian Post|
The Rev. Franklin Graham has said that the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming decision on whether to legalize same-sex marriage across America or allow states to continue to make their own decisions will "rank as the most historic and far-reaching judgment of the 21st century." He argued that it could pave the way for "persecution of believers," and said he would be praying for the nine Supreme Court justices.
"This is a pivotal moment in the history of America. As nine U.S. Supreme Court justices consider arguments brought before the court on April 28 about whether to make same-sex marriage a constitutional right, we need to pray fervently for the wisdom and counsel of God to work its way into the hearts and minds of those making this momentous decision," Graham said in a message on Facebook Saturday.
"The impending decision will rank as the most historic and far-reaching judgment of the 21st century. If our nation's highest court decrees same-sex marriage as the law of the land, the consequences will be great. It sets the stage for persecution of believers committed to living by the truth of God's Holy Word. "
While 36 states, as well as the District of Colombia have legalized same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether the Constitution requires that all 50 states make the practice legal, or require a state (where gay marriage isn't legal) to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
Conservative religious leaders have said that preserving marriage as a union between one man and one woman is central to protecting children and offering them both a father and a mother. Advocates for gay marriage, on the other hand, have said that the issue is a matter of all Americans receiving the same rights.
Graham has said that those who speak out against gay marriage are not anti-gay, and last week defended Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council after CBS host Bob Schieffer suggested he had taken his stance against gay marriage "too far."
"I know Tony. He's a great American and a strong Christian. Just because Christians take a stand aligned with what the Word of God says is true, that doesn't mean we are anti-gay," Graham said of Perkins.
The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling on same-sex marriage sometime this summe
Monday, May 11, 2015
Thu May 7, 2015 - 6:51 pm |By Fr. Mark Hodges| LifeSiteNews|
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Religious leaders from such diverse faiths as Islam, Mormonism, and most major Christian communions affirmed "a shared witness" that marriage is exclusively "the union of one man and one woman."
"An Open Letter from Religious Leaders to All in Positions of Public Service" is signed by Islamic, Mormon, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian clergy jointly. The timing of the public letter is intended to impact the deliberations of the U.S. Supreme Court, whose justices are now considering imposing same-sex marriage on all 50 states.
"At this significant time in our nation’s history with the institution of marriage before the United States Supreme Court, we reaffirm our commitment to promote and defend marriage," the letter states.
Signers "from diverse faith communities" agree that marriage is "the union of one man and one woman." Furthermore, they agree that "marriage is the foundation of the family where children are raised by a mother and a father together."
Significantly, these religious leaders connect the defense of traditional marriage to equality and civil rights. "Our commitment to marriage...is inseparable from affirming the equal dignity of all people and the necessity of protecting their basic rights," they state.
Leaders say that traditional marriage "as it has been understood across faiths and cultures for millennia" is rightly affirmed by government, because the State "has a compelling interest in the well-being of children."
"It is in the best interests of the State to encourage and uphold the family founded on marriage and to afford the union of husband and wife unique legal protection and reinforcement," the clergy say. "Every child has a mother and a father, and every child deserves the opportunity, whenever possible, to be raised by his or her own married mother and father in a stable, loving home."
Although the clergy admit that the ideal of both parents raising their children "cannot always be realized and sustained," they call single parents "heroic." But nevertheless they conclude, "Marriage as the union of a man and a woman is the only institution that encourages and safeguards the connection between children and their mother and father."
The clerics state that marriage concerns people of all faiths because of the likely steps that will follow any change to that traditional, faith-informed definition. "The redefinition of legal marriage to include any other type of relationship has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom," they warn.
The religious leaders who signed the open letter recognize that they have been charged by God to serve and witness to the truth about marriage and the family.
Instead of forcing citizens to betray their faith, the open letter says that "government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges [of] hostility, animosity, or hatred of others."
Rather, the leaders say their motivation is love, including love for those who disagree.
The open letter ends with a call for lawmakers to preserve the traditional understanding of marriage. "The well-being of men and women, and the children they conceive, compels us to stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We call for the preservation of the unique meaning of marriage in the law, and for renewed respect for religious freedom and for the conscience rights of all in accord with the common good."
Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville commented on the letter, “Marriage as the union of one man and one woman provides the best context for the birth and rearing of children and should be specially protected by law. The law, when it upholds the unique meaning of marriage, is simply recognizing an objective reality, not constructing one: children always have a mother and a father and deserve to be loved and raised by both of them. Society should work to strengthen the unique bond between husband and wife, knowing that strong marriages build stronger communities.”
The letter is signed by Islamic Imams, and Mormon bishops. National Christian organizational leaders endorsing the letter include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops officials, the presidents of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Fellowship of Evangelical Christians, the Hispanic Evangelical Association, and clergy officials from the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies.
Christian clergy signing included national Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Anglican, Pentecostal Holiness, North American Lutheran, General Baptist, Conservative Congregation, Missouri Synod Lutheran, Evangelical Congregational, Great Commission, Missionary, Wesleyan, Southern Baptist, United Brethren, Bruderhof Communities, Assemblies of God, Nazarene, Free Methodist, American Presbyterian, and Grace Communion clergy.
You may read the entire letter here.
Friday, May 8, 2015
By Fr. Mark Hodges| LifeSiteNews| Thu May 7, 2015 - 4:53 pm EST
RICHLAND, WA, May 7, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) -- GoFundMe has again shut down the support page of a beseiged business whose owner believes in Christian morality.
A campaign to help Barronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist being sued because she declined to take part in a homosexual “marriage” ceremony, has been canceled by the fund raising website.
Stutzman, who owns Arlene’s Flowers, referred a longstanding homosexual customer to nearby florists, because she could not in good conscience create custom arrangements in support of his same-sex “wedding.” The homosexuals sued her, and to help pay mounting costs, Stutzman set up a GoFundMe page.
Now GoFundMe has shut down the page and banned her pro-marriage cause, just as it did Melissa and Aaron Klein, Christian bakers being fined for refusing to participate in a separate same-sex “marriage” ceremony.
GoFundMe announced the ban in a blog post titled, “Protecting Our Community.”
Not only did Stutzman employ homosexuals at Arlene’s Flowers, but for nine years she served the very couple now suing her.
n order to justify its banning Stutzman, GoFundMe changed its public policies to include banning GoFundMe from funding anyone guilty of "discriminatory acts."
To make matters worse, the Washington state Attorney General's office interpreted a state statute to single out and punish a private citizen. Not only did they sue her business, but they sued Stutzman personally. This ruling prevents her case from going to trial and makes her personally responsible for paying damages and attorney's fees incurred by either the homosexuals suing her or the State of Washington, or both. This means Stutzman's home, her family business, and her life savings are at risk.
Before Stutzman, GoFundMe shut down the fundraising campaign of Sweet Cakes By Melissa, after the Kleins were fined $135,000 for refusing to cater a homosexual “wedding.”
GoFundMe defended that ban by saying, “The subjects of the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”
Greg Scott of Alliance Defending Freedom commented, "GoFundMe has facilitated fundraising for inane things like sending a man to a stranger’s bachelor party, but have now cut off families who face financial ruin and who’ve had their fundamental freedoms obliterated by unjust government action. If there is a better example of a company and culture with its priorities and loyalties completely upside down, I can’t think of it."
Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse picked up Sweet Cakes By Melissa's cause, and created a campaign to help persecuted Christians who face financial distress and are punished for living their faith.
"They have taken a stand for the Word of God, and they should not have to stand alone," Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said. "Please pray for our nation. When our judges are punishing Christians for practicing what they believe, that's persecution, plain and simple."
“We’ve already seen many laws that have been passed that restrict our freedom as Christians. I believe it’s going to get worse," Franklin Graham said. “We are losing our religious freedom in this country, and we’re losing it a little bit day by day.”
Readers may support Christians who are facing persecution for standing up for their beliefs by donating to Samaritan's Purse here.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
May 7, 2015|8:04 am| The Christian Post|
English Dictionary publishers are considering the possibility of adding a new honorific term alongside "Mr.," "Mrs." and "Miss."
Recently an assistant editor with the Oxford English Dictionary stated that the transgender title of "Mx" may soon be added to their list of honorific terms.
Jonathan Dent, assistant editor on the OED, explained to the Sunday Times earlier this week about the new addition.
"This is an example of how the English language adapts to people's needs," said Dent, adding that its "people using language in ways that suit them."
Emily A. Brewster, associate editor with Merriam-Webster, Inc., told The Christian Post that the British-based dictionary publisher planning to add Mx. was unsurprising.
"Contrary to what some news outlets have reported, the OED does not yet include the honorific Mx. We're not surprised, though, that its editors are considering adding the term," said Brewster.
"Mx. is used increasingly on various official forms in the U.K., as well in British newspapers and periodicals."
Regarding whether or not American English dictionaries will add the term, Brewster noted the contrast of popular usage between the United Kingdom and the U.S.
"Evidence of Mx in the US (or Mx., as it's styled over here) is far sparser, but we are monitoring its development and will be interested to see if it takes root here in the same way it has in the U.K.," explained Brewster to CP.
According to Dent of OED, usage of the term "Mx" is not unprecedented, and can be dated at last as far back as 1977 in the issue of an American magazine titled "Single Parent."
"he early proponents of the term seem to have had gender politics as their central concern [and] saw the title as one which could sidestep the perceived sexism of the traditional 'Mr.,' 'Mrs.' and 'Miss,'" said Dent to the Times.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
May 6, 2015|8:20 am| The Christian Post|
An English professor at California State University-Northridge, who was raised by two lesbian mothers, claims that the federal government could be liable for paying "reparations" to thousands of children raised by same-sex parents due to the emotional damage suffered from being deprived of opposite-sex parents.
Professor Robert Oscar Lopez, who is openly bisexual and also married, wrote in an op-ed for the American Thinker that somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 children could be placed in homes with same-sex parents in the next 15 years as a result of state and federal governments' growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting.
"Whatever the numbers of kids being raised in gay homes might be right now, with the rise of gay marriage, there was a rise in kids being raised by gay couples," Lopez wrote. "Those responsible for gay marriage will be responsible for thousands upon thousands of individual children who would not have been raised by same-sex couples were it not for actions taken by the government."
As the Supreme Court is set to rule in June whether or not states are constitutionally obliged to issue same-sex marriage licenses, a ruling assuring such a constitutional right could result in a future generation of children growing up and taking legal action for the emotional harm they suffered from being raised in a same-sex household, Lopez asserted.
"A sizable number of these citizens could come together and document losses, damages, or 'pain and suffering' incurred because they were forced to grow up in same-sex parenting home as opposed to home with a mother and father," Lopez stated. "If so, there will be grounds for later Congresses, Supreme Courts, and presidential administrations—ones that aren't as cowed by the gay lobby as our current leaders – to go back and investigate how gay marriage passed, how it led to depriving children of a mother or father and who has to pay up."
Lopez, who co-authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Court cautioning against the dangers of same-sex parenting, authored a hypothetical scenario in which a group of 9,000 adults who were raised by same-sex parents came together in 2030 looking to sue the the federal government for reparations after being raised in same-sex households.
"What will the investigators of 2030 find? There are more than a few details that will not look great," he argued. "When our imaginary hero of 2030 travels back to 2015, he will not find lawmakers, judges, or a Fourth Estate that lacked substantiated warnings about the likelihood of large-scale problems resulting from gay marriage."
Rev. Dr. D. Paul Sullins, a professor of sociology at Catholic University of America, recently released findings he compiled from the U.S. government's National Health Interview Survey that found that 32.4 percent of children in married same-sex households report crying or being fearful everyday.
Lopez co-edited a book of essays (Jephthah's Daughter's: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family Equality) that documented all the parties in society that are harmed by same-sex marriage. The book was published in February and included 57 essays and over 500 endnotes.
"Our book was published in February of 2015 and brought to the attention of the Supreme Court through our amicus briefs," he explained. "Mind you, these 480-plus pages of documentation include copious details of the impact of children, and they represent only what has been documented up to February 2015."
Lopez compared people seeking reparations for being raised by same-sex parents to the over 100,000 Japanese-Americans that received $20,000 each from the U.S. government for damages incurred while being placed in internment camps during World War II.
"The fifty-second or fifty-third president of the United States may have to answer to well over 500,000 citizens who were permanently cut off from their own biological heritage, forced to live in sex-segregated homes for two decades or more, and then denied not only the actual inheritances they should have gotten from the excluded biological parents, but also their cultural identities," Lopez wrote.
"In the case of Japanese internment, there was a war, and America had been attacked by the Japanese air force," Lopez added. "Children of gay parents didn't bomb anyone, yet they were stripped of one of their parents without due process and forced to live in the homes of unrelated gay adults for eighteen years."
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
By JOHN STONESTREET| LIVESITE| Mon May 4, 2015 - 11:40 am EST
May 4, 2015 (BreakPoint.org) -- This past Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a group of cases that will decide whether same-sex marriage will become the law of the land.
Although a decision in what will probably be called Obergefell v. Hodges is not expected until June, it’s not too early to think about the question “what’s next?”
And the first and most important thing to keep in mind is that while the Court can redefine marriage for legal and constitutional purposes, it cannot redefine marriage itself. That’s far beyond its competence and its authority.
Marriage is an institution that predates both politics and even religion. When Jesus talked about marriage, he pointed us back to the very beginning, to the proclamation that we find in Genesis 2: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Those twenty-two words sum up what Justice Kennedy was getting at when, in the oral arguments, he said that “I don’t even know how to count the decimals when we talk about millennia . . . This definition has been with us for millennia. And it’s very difficult for the court to say, ‘Oh, well, we know better.’”
Some think that this comment means the outcome isn’t the foregone conclusion that many on both sides have assumed. Perhaps. What is true is that, regardless of the outcome, our primary allegiance as Christians must be to the actual definition of marriage, not any legal innovations, just as our allegiance has been to the sanctity of human life for the forty-two years since Roe v. Wade. And it’s for the same reason: these things ultimately belong to God, and we are called to be witnesses to the truth—even if it costs us our job, our popularity, our business, or our tax-exemptions.
And our responsibility includes setting the historical and anthropological records straight. Some of the comments by the justices brought to mind the professor’s question in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”: “What do they teach them at these schools?”
For example, after asking whether it would be prudent to wait and see whether the legalization of same-sex marriage “is or is not harmful to marriage?” Justice Stephen Breyer dismissively replied, “You know . . . you could have answered that one the same way we talk about racial segregation.”
With all due respect to Justice Breyer, this silly analogy has gone on too long. First of all, marriage literally dates from time immemorial. But legally-mandated segregation, or “Jim Crow,” didn’t last a century, and it only lasted that long because the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, gave the noxious idea of “separate-but-equal” its imprimatur. While marriage is the most ancient and venerable institution known to man, segregation was a modern idea born of modern ideas about race.
Similarly, while heterosexual marriage is a universal norm, Jim Crow and Apartheid were local aberrations. Comparing the two isn’t apples and oranges, it’s apples and bricks.
The same can be said of Justice Ginsburg’s citing a case in which a Louisiana court gave the husband “sole control of marital property.” According to Ginsburg, this proves that we’ve “changed our idea about marriage.”
Well, no, it doesn’t. There is a huge difference between changing our ideas about the legal status of husbands and wives within a marriage and saying that either husbands or wives are unnecessary to have a marriage.
Regardless of what happens in June, we need to be prepared to respond to these kinds of arguments now. If not to change other’s minds, then at least to be clear in our own.
In the meantime, we pray and we bear witness to the truth. And for believers, that’s always something we can do.
Monday, May 4, 2015
April 28, 2015|4:41 pm| The Christian Post|
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered by experts to be a "swing vote" in the gay marriage case that's expected to split the justices in a five to four decision, made statements both for and against same-sex marriage during Tuesday's oral arguments.
"The word that keeps coming back to me is 'millennia,'" Kennedy told Mary Bonauto, a lawyer for the same-sex couples challenging state laws that prohibit same-sex marriages. "This definition has been with us for millennia. It's very difficult for the court to say, 'Oh well, we know better.'"
Later in the day, however, Kennedy said that same-sex couples were seeking the same "dignity" and "ennoblement" as heterosexual couples.
Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, asked tough questions to plaintiffs and the defense during the two and a half hour arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges.
At one point, Roberts told a lawyer for the same-sex couples, "you're not seeking to join the institution — you're seeking to change what the institution is. The fundamental core of the institution is the opposite sex relationship and you want to introduce into it a same-sex relationship."
Lawyers argued before the justices whether the U.S. Constitution requires states to permit same-sex couples to marry. The nine-member court agreed to hear arguments for and against same-sex marriage based on four cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circut as part of the legal ruling process, which include:Obergefell v. Hodges (Ohio), Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan), and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky).
Donald Verrilli, a lawyer for the Obama administration, argued that "gay and lesbian people are equal, they deserve the equal protection of the laws, and they deserve it now," while urging the court not to wait on the ruling, which could come as early as June.
A lone Christian protester dramatically interrupted oral arguments during the first 90 minutes, shouting that "homosexuality is an abomination."
"'The Bible teaches that if you support gay marriage you will burn in hell for eternity,' he screamed, prompting Justice Antonin Scalia to joke that the interruption was 'rather refreshing,'" according to USA Today.
The protester was subsequently removed from the court room and handcuffed by police.
There are 12 states that still ban same-sex marriage, including Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas.
Friday, May 1, 2015
Ryan T. Anderson / @RyanT_Anderson / May 01, 2015/ The Daily Signal/
Forty-two years ago, in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court tried to settle the abortion debate by declaring the Constitution somehow creates a right to abortion in all fifty states.
There is nothing in the Constitution that requires abortion in all 50 states, and that’s why Roe is rightly viewed as an activist decision, as explained in this Heritage paper:
Judicial activism occurs when judges decline to apply the Constitution or laws according to their original public meaning or ignore binding precedent and instead decide cases based on personal preference.
Labeling as ‘activist‘ a decision that fails to meet this standard does not express policy disagreement with the outcome; it expresses disagreement with the judge’s conception of his or her role in our constitutional system.
The result of this judicial activism has been three distinct types of harm: on the substance, on the process and on the rights of conscience.
On substance, by preventing states from making common-sense compromise policy on abortion, untold numbers of babies and women have been harmed. Look no further than Kermit Gosnell’s house of horrors. Or consider the fact that the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world—alongside North Korea and China—that allows elective, late-term abortions after 20 weeks.
On process, by removing the issue of abortion regulation from the democratic process, the Court has created a 40+ year culture war. No issue in American public life is more contentious than abortion politics every election cycle. The Court short-circuited constitutional self-government on this issue.
On the rights of conscience, by unilaterally creating a “right” to abortion, the Court created a situation where for the past 40 years abortion funding has been a constant source of religious liberty concerns—most recently with the coercive Department of Health and Human Services mandate.
Why would the Court want to repeat these mistakes now on marriage?
After all, there simply is nothing in the Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Whatever people may think about marriage as a policy matter, everyone should be able to recognize the Constitution does not settle this question.
Unelected judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and then say the Constitution requires them everywhere. Since nothing in the Constitution requires the redefinition of marriage, as explained in this Heritage legal memorandum, a Supreme Court ruling redefining marriage everywhere would simply be an act of judicial activism.
Perhaps the Court doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of Roe v. Wade. Indeed, the justices on Tuesday gave voice to each and every one of these three potential harms that could occur due to judicially imposed redefinition of marriage.
On substance, judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to marriage itself—and thus to spouses and children.
No one knows with certainty how redefining marriage will harm the institution of marriage. The lawyer defending the state marriage laws certainly made good arguments that it’s reasonable to think it could cause harm.
So what’s the rush to have the Court strike down state laws that define marriage as a union of husband and wife? Why should, as Justice Stephen Breyer asked, “nine people outside the ballot box … require states that don’t want to do it to change … what marriage is?”
Breyer then asked, “Why cannot those states at least wait and see whether in fact doing so in the other states is or is not harmful to marriage?”
Wait and see. Justice Anthony Kennedy said the same thing:
Well, part of wait and see, I suppose, is to ascertain whether the social science, the new studies are accurate. But that it seems to me, then, that we should not consult at all the social science on this, because it’s too new. You think you say we don’t need to wait for changes.
Clearly, we do need to wait and see what the consequences of redefining marriage will be. And that’s why the Court shouldn’t attempt to settle this once and for all.
Judicial activism on the marriage issue could cause harm to the substance of marriage by not allowing citizens and their elected representatives the ability to arrive at the best public policy for everyone.
On process, judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to civil peace and self-government.
Chief Justice John Roberts noted that a court-imposed 50-state solution would not lead to civil peace, but to anger and resentment. If the Court redefined marriage, “there will be no more debate.” And this would cause problems: “closing of debate can close minds, and it will have a consequence on how this new institution is accepted. People feel very differently about something if they have a chance to vote on it than if it’s imposed on them by the courts.”
Indeed, just as Roe v. Wade created a culture war on the abortion issue, an activist Court ruling redefining marriage everywhere could create a similar backlash.
On the rights of conscience, judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to religious liberty and the rights of conscience.
After all, the Obama administration’s Solicitor General himself, Donald Verrilli, admitted that religious schools that affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman may lose their non-profit tax-exempt status if marriage is redefined, saying: “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is it is going to be an issue.”
But where marriage has been redefined democratically, religious liberty can best be protected. Justice Antonin Scalia explained that in the states “They are laws.” He continued:
They are not constitutional requirements. That was the whole point of my question. If you let the states do it, you can make an exception. … You can’t do that once it is a constitutional proscription.
Scalia repeated himself, almost verbatim, mere minutes later: “That’s my whole … point. If it’s a state law, you can make those exceptions. But if it’s a constitutional requirement, I don’t see how you can.”
And that’s why judicially redefining marriage could cause harm to religious liberty and the rights of conscience.
In sum, when you consider the harms that judicial activism caused on the abortion issue, and when you see the justices given voice to the potential harms of judicially imposed marriage redefinition, it seems a much better path forward to respect the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected representatives to make marriage policy in the states.