Blog Post

Robert George: Same-Sex Marriage Ushering in Legal "Trainwreck"

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist Princeton law professor Robert P. George says that the conflict between religious liberty and same-sex marriage is fast becoming the predicted legal "trainwreck" in states where the unions have been sanctioned. According to CNA/EWTN News, George believes that legalizing "gay marriage" is already having major repercussions on religious freedom in America. Citing the prediction of Marc Stern, a American Jewish Committee lawyer who predicted in 2006 that the two diametrically opposed ideas would create a "legal trainwreck" George says he believes that train wreck has now arrived. The unions are already creating chaos in states where they have been legalized, he said, causing religious adoption and foster care agencies to be pushed out of work and small business owners to be fined or sued for not accommodating same-sex couples. Education is another “critical area,” he says. “Once a state recognizes same-sex partnerships as marriages or the equivalent, then naturally the argument is made that in family life classes in schools this has to be taught to be a valid partnership.”   Religious parents who do not want their children to be “indoctrinated in beliefs contrary to their own” are “out of luck,” he said. Another position that has been hit hard by the legalization of homosexuality is that of town clerks and other officials who object to participating in same-sex union ceremonies or to the granting of same-sex marriage licenses. Many of these people, such as 65-year-old Ruth Sheldon, a town clerk in New York who said she could not, in good conscience, sign a same-sex marriage certificate, are being told to find another job in spite of years of dedicated service. In some states, such as in New York, it is considered to be a misdemeanor for a clerk to refuse to provide a marriage license to eligible applicants. What this amounts to is denying jobs to people such as Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews or others who cannot in conscience participate in such ceremonies. "You are not eligible to be a town clerk, because that’s one of the things that town clerks are required to do” in states that recognize the unions, he said. Is it possible that a nation founded for the purpose of granting religious liberty to all could be on its way to allowing state-sanctioned discrimination of people of faith? It certainly seems that way. As George points out, scholars like Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown Law Center professor and lesbian activist who was appointed to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, once said she could not think of any cases where she believed the rights of religious liberty should triumph over gay rights.” He insisted that “(p)eople are bound to follow their consciences, especially in matters of religion, and the state should, to the extent possible, accommodate the religious consciences of its citizens.” But instead of doing so, marriage laws and anti-discrimination laws are being used as “instruments to whip dissenters from the laws into line” in order to change people’s views and to advance an agenda, he told CNA. The laws are being used to “brand and label as bigots and the equivalent of racists people who have the temerity to say that marriage is a union of a man and a woman and to say that sex belongs in marriage and not outside of it.”   It's a brilliant strategy, he says. “It’s a great way to change the culture, by depicting your opponents as bigots and haters, and imposing on them civil disabilities by using the weapons of anti-discrimination law. . . . I have to applaud them for the brilliance of the strategy as much as I loathe its bad faith and consequences.”  But people don't have to stand for this, says Maggie Gallagher, former chair of the National Organization for Marriage. Those who are refusing to compromise their beliefs or resign their positions are to be applauded and supported, she said. “Kudos to those who have refused to bow to Caesar’s demands. And even more kudos to those who've decided not to resign but to stay and fight for their own, and all our rights,” Gallagher told CNA. “If we start speaking out, rising up together, this kind of persecution would not, cannot continue. Their hope is that we give up, give in, acknowledge their sovereignty over God’s,” she said. “This we cannot do. We have to find the unshakeable 10 percent who will stand, who will speak truth in love to the new power, and make it clear we cannot be bribed or coerced into muting or disappearing.” Are you willing to be a part of that unshakeable 10 percent? © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®