Blog Post

Fallout Continues from Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

same sex marriage symbolCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

Reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage is far ranging, from ecstatic parades to state’s defying the ruling and a priest being spit upon at a Gay Pride event.

Now that the long-awaited decision has been rendered, people are reacting to the new reality in American law – the legalization of same-sex marriages – in varying ways.

Gay Pride parades sprang up across the country this weekend featuring the usual public nudity and overt sexual innuendo. In this article, SFGate published comments from parents giving advice about how to explain what they might see at these parades to children.

As for the nudity, no worries, says this parent. “Kids in general aren’t at all fazed by seeing nudity — after all they like to run around and play with as little on as possible, too.”

Another parent, named Gladyss Hana suggests, “ . . . (T)he most important tip I can give is to stay calm. Don’t act shocked at what you see, instead, explain that everyone has their own personalities and each person expresses them individually. . .”

How’s that for a textbook example of relativism? It’s also a great tip for parents who want to desensitize their children to all forms of immorality.

In one parade, taking place in New York City, the popular Father Jonathan Morris who frequently appears on Fox News reported being spit on.

“Walking down Broadway and 22nd St just now, I ran into gay marriage parade,” Father Morris tweeted. “Two men walked by and spat on me. Oh well... I deserve worse.”

Only the day before he had tweeted: “The greatest evidence of authentic good the way we treat people with whom we passionately disagree.”

So much for authentic good will.

For the most part, discussions about the legal ramifications of the ruling have occupied center state since the decision was handed down on Friday. In some cases, such as in Texas and Mississippi, the discussion has gone beyond conjecture.

Same sex marriageFor instance, Ken Paxton, attorney general for the state of Texas, issued a statement encouraging country clerks to ignore the ruling and turn away same-sex couples applying for marriage licenses if same-sex marriage is against their religious convictions. He reassured them that their religious freedom allows them to refuse to issue the licenses.

In the event that they are sued for doing so, “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs, in many cases on a pro-bono basis, and I will do everything I can from this office to be a public voice for those standing in defense of their rights," he said.

Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi says the ruling “usurps” states' long-held rights to self governance and is studying the state’s options. A Mississippi lawmaker has already suggested that the state may stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

The question of how this ruling will impact religious freedom in the United States is by far the most frequently discussed aspect of the decision due to the scant mention given to this important issue in the majority opinion in the case.

After reassuring Americans that the justices were not disparaging people of faith, Justice Kennedy wrote in a paragraph that will probably become the focus of scrutiny by church-state experts that:

"It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered."

But this didn’t go far enough, argues Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent. “The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to 'advocate' and 'teach' their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to 'exercise' religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses."

This could lead to the likelihood of future conflicts between gay rights and religious rights such as the tax status of conservative Christian colleges.

Roberts adds: “There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”

Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops say the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable.

“Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today," the bishops said in a statement. "Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

They are encouraging the faithful to “move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.”

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