We want to boil down all of the complex and unclear analysis from the Supreme Court decisions on marriage last week to TWO key takeaways for you at this time.
1. The Supreme Court said nothing good or bad about same-sex marriage.
Contrary to whatever you may be hearing, here is what happened: the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and they threw Prop 8 (California’s marriage amendment)into legal limbo – but in all they did, they did not find a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage.” They also did not find that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue (which is something our legal opponents in the Prop 8 case had wanted from the beginning).
2. The way in which DOMA was struck down enhances the danger to your (already threatened) religious freedom.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his majority opinion, said, “The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states.” In other words, Justice Kennedy suggests in his opinion that the only reason Congress and President Clinton had for protecting marriage when they passed DOMA in 1996 was a bias towards couples in same-sex relationships. That is a chilling statement that poses an immediate threat for future lawsuits against anyone who believes marriage exists only between one man and one woman. It wrongly implies that those of us who recognize marriage to be the unique union of a husband and wife – something recognized by diverse cultures and faiths throughout history –are motivated by dislike rather than a desire to affirm the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father. Simply astounding. Justice Scalia said it best when he called this, “jaw-dropping.”
Business owners and church leaders alike should be on notice to contact Alliance Defending Freedom before you reach a confrontation on these issues. We offer free legal resources and assistance to help you prevent litigation when possible, and, where unavoidable, ensure that religious freedom wins.
So remind your friends, neighbors, pastors – and anyone talking about these decisions –that the Court did not find a “right to same-sex marriage,” and that the debate still very much continues. The mountain may have steepened, but it did not change our resolve. We at Alliance Defending Freedom are a resource for you. We will continue to promote a healthy marriage culture – and advance our mission to protect the right of people to freely live out their faith.