Is Gay Marriage Compatible with Religious Freedom?

Short answer, “No.” Longer answer, with a sarcastic “um” at the start, “Um, no.”

Kim Daniels outlines the repercussions of a Supreme Court ruling that establishes a right to homosexual marriage. She makes it sound pretty catastrophic, and let me tell ya, she’s soft-pedaling it:

We don’t yet know how the Supreme Court will rule next week in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases. But here’s what we do know: If same-sex marriage continues to gain ground in our law and culture, we’ll see an increased erosion of religious believers’ freedom to witness to their faith. And if that happens, we all lose out. A robust pluralism of diverse views will give way to an increasingly homogenized public life.

“Erosion” is putting it mildly. It implies that we’ll see rights diminish gradually, imperceptibly over a long period of time. It will be less like erosion and more like firing the starter’s pistol at a Boston Marathon of gay civil rights lawyers (which would be a colorful Boston Marathon indeed).

And the loss of “robust pluralism” would be the kindest way to describe how Christian organizations would be muzzled and driven from public life. The Christian view of sexual morality will become as welcome as “Down Home Cookin’ with Paula Deen” on BET. (Topical humor!)

More from Daniels:

Should the Supreme Court change the legal definition of marriage, that right will face serious challenges. Religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, and social-service ministries that continue to live by their beliefs about marriage could face anti-discrimination lawsuits, and their access to government contracts and benefits could be at risk. It’s not far-fetched to think that such groups may face the loss of tax-exempt status; the California Senate has passed a bill that would take away the Boy Scouts’ tax-exempt status in reaction to what it sees as the Scouts’ discriminatory membership policy. 

What’s more, religious groups and individuals that hold to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman could lose access to public facilities, accreditation, and licensing. In Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., Catholic Charities groups were forced to stop providing adoption services because they wouldn’t give up their religiously grounded belief that kids do best with a mother and father.

And note that I say “Christian” very deliberately. Muslim religious tradition tends to frown on homosexuality, but I predict the number of civil rights lawsuits filed against Muslim organizations will be somewhere between “zero” and “please don’t kill me.”

Leave a Reply