Did You Know the Supreme Court is About to Decide Whether Gay Marriage Should Be Legal for All States? Then What?
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Once they make a decision it is binding on all 50 states and there is little (if any) recourse for anyone opposed to the ruling. For this reason the pending decision regarding marriage is more than important, it is potentially historic.
The question everyone is wondering is whether or not the court will impose a sweeping decision on all 50 states that is – at best – controversial.
Let’s rewind a few years to the Roe v. Wade decision. This decision, which legalized abortion in all 50 states has been hailed as one of the most infamous decisions in U.S. history. This is primarily because it removed states’ rights to determine the issue within their borders. Rather than letting each state determine how to handle the issue, the court issued a sweeping ruling that was binding on all states.
To say that decision has been contested ever since would be a monumental understatement. The fact that pro-life laws are being passed on the state level at record rates is but one sign among many that the court made the wrong decision regarding abortion.
So, will the court repeat their historic mistake and issue a sweeping ruling regarding marriage?
A brief history of the issue in our culture is helpful as we await the high court’s decision. Advocates of same-sex “marriage” like to point out that 36 states have now legalized gay “marriage.” What they fail to mention is that in nearly every one of those states a court or a judge made the decision, not the people. In almost every state where people were allowed to vote on the issue the traditional definition of marriage was upheld. That’s an inconvenient fact that is often overlooked.
According to a recent article, the specific questions the court is seeking to answer are:
“The justices will assess whether states should be permitted to ban gay marriage — or whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires it. They will also examine whether those states that do not permit same-sex nuptials are allowed to refuse recognition of gay unions performed in other locations.”
The ramifications of this decision could impact every sector of life in America.
The lingering questions that will eventually be answered by the court’s decision involve whether churches have the right to refuse gay people into membership; whether a pastor has the right to refuse to officiate a gay wedding; whether churches have the right to refuse use of their property to gay groups. And, perhaps just as critical are the questions surrounding personal liberty, and whether or not a baker has the right to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding. (The same can be said for photographers, and florists.)
In other words, free speech and religious freedom are at stake in this decision. If the court decides that same-sex “marriage” is a legal right under the Constitution, what will be the recourse for Christians that have a conscientious objection based on their deeply held religious convictions? Will we even be allowed to vocalize our opposition or be faced with government attack; as in the case of the florist in Washington, baker in Colorado, and photographer in New Mexico?
Perhaps we could learn from our neighbors to the North. Canada legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2005. Since that time a systematic erosion of free speech and religious freedom has taken place. Recently the daughter of gay parents shared her experience and issued a warning to the United States Supreme Court, she wrote:
“I am one of six adult children of gay parents who recently filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. I also live in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005. I am the daughter of a gay father who died of AIDS…Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences in our household environments growing up. We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats. I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms if the US Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.”
We could talk about the right of every child to be raised by their biological mother and father. Something I believe strongly. But the truth is that I am concerned that we witnessing the crumbling of fundamental rights that our forefathers fought and died for. Our right to speak freely. Our right to live life according to our religious convictions. Our right to disagree with each other and still behave civilly. Will those rights exist in 10 years?
I don’t know how the court will rule and I’m not keen enough to guess. What I do know is that the ruling will impact our culture, permanently. Regardless of the decision there is no doubt that people will be deeply affected. So, how will Christians handle the outcome? I have two very short suggestions:
First, set an example for what life-long marriage is supposed to look like. Get married. Stay married. And live out what it means to be a man, husband and father; or a woman, wife, and mother. Do it well for the glory of Christ and His Gospel.
Second, be gracious. People will be hurting and the last thing we need to do is rub it in their face. Seek to love them in the same way Jesus would. I don’t know what this will look like for you but I know that love is powerful and can build bridges.
We ought to be praying for the court as they deliberate this issue and render their decision sometime in June. It seems to me we truly are at a turning point.