Today it begins.
On this day, June 26, 2015, five members of the United States Supreme Court declared themselves at war with America’s religious population, who do not believe that “marriage” can exist between same sex couples.
The majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges shows such disdain for the vast majority of the American people, one wonders how they can bear to rule over such a bigoted populace. As Roberts’ dissent puts it:
These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.
Roberts is right in holding that the decision is not just wrong, but fundamentally so—and the victory is hollow:
If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
Scalia warns darkly of the future this Court has given us:
…it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler—and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast—is a majority of the nine members of the Supreme Court.
This, as was made clear at oral argument, sets up a cascade of (perhaps not unintended) consequences. Were a state to decide the definition of marriage, it would be allowed to permit various exceptions to the rule as its citizens see fit—such as a bar to forcing clergy to participate in such a ceremony, or to forcing a religious institution that views homosexual behavior as sin to hire someone involved in such a relationship to teach that religion.
With the imprimatur of the Court, however, marriage is now a right extended to all people (though only in a configuration of couples, for the moment), and no exceptions can be made.
That means you must bake that cake, arrange those flowers, and take those photographs, no matter how repulsive you find the ceremony to be that you are asked to participate in.
Although the term is often used inappropriately, here no other fits: this is a moral outrage.
There is only one remedy to such a decision; a Constitutional Amendment saying otherwise.
It should be noted, however, that even that is uncertain, as this Court has arrogated to itself such power as it may consume:
This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a Constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices ‘ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.
Justice Thomas asserts that the Court is short-circuiting the democratic process:
The definition of marriage has been the subject of heated debate in the States. Legislatures have repeatedly taken up the matter on behalf of the People, and 35 states have put the question to the People themselves. In 32 of those 35 States, the People have opted to retain the traditional definition of marriage. That petitioners disagree with the result of that process does not make it any less legitimate. Their civil liberty has been vindicated.
Justice Scalia reminds the Court that it has no power to enforce:
“With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the ‘reasoned judgment’ of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.”
Justice Roberts reminds us of the folly of judicial over-reach, pointing to the consequences of the Court substituting its judgment for the People’s by striking down the Missouri Compromise with the Dredd Scott decision: “Dredd Scott’s holding was overruled on the battlefields of the Civil War and by Constitutional Amendment after Appomattox…”
It is to be hoped that this culture war can be decided without actually taking up arms. However, it will not be without sacrifice. Just a few weeks ago, every president of the Southern Baptists’ Convention since 1980 pledged to defy the Court if it ruled in favor of gay marriage: “We will not recognize same-sex ‘marriages,’ our churches will not host same-sex ceremonies, and we will not perform such ceremonies.”
Make no mistake. Those words will be tested, as will every Christian who chooses to resist, reject, or rebel against this nationwide decree. The Supreme Court is your master now.
You shall have no other.
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