Marriage Equality, by Stephen Alcorn

Will the Court protect religious objectors to same-sex marriage?

Marriage Equality, by Stephen Alcorn

Marriage Equality, by Stephen Alcorn

Now that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, the courts will be presented with a slew of cases asking for religious exemptions. And in his dissent from today's Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Chief Justice John Roberts gives a couple of examples:

Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples.

So how will the Court decide such cases? In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy has this to say about religious (and non-religious) objectors:

Finally, 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. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.

Roberts finds it "ominous" that the majority speaks in terms of a freedom to "advocate" and "teach" rather than to "exercise" one's religion, in the language of the First Amendment. For that reason, he believes that "people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today." In their dissents, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concur.

I'm not so sure. On its face, the majority opinion only seems to point to a free speech right. But what exactly is "proper protection" for organizations and persons seeking to teach opposition to same-sex marriage? Teaching by example is at least as important as teaching by word. Wouldn't it undermine the ability of Catholic University to teach Catholic doctrine on the subject if it were required by law to provide married student housing to same-sex spouses?

Bear in mind that this Court takes an expansive view of Free Exercise rights. In 2012, it unanimously decided in Hosanna Tabor that any employee of a religious institution deemed to be performing "ministerial" work is not covered by anti-discrimination laws. And earlier this month, in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, it decided, also unanimously, that zoning laws could not discriminate against religious speech.

It's possible, then, that the Court will look for a way to permit faith-based educational institutions as well as religious bodies proper to evade the full implications of Obergefell. The problem is that to do so, it's going to have to get around its 1983 Bob Jones decision, which upheld the IRS' lifting of Bob Jones University's tax exemption because of the university's policy of barring admission to anyone in an interracial marriage.  The 8-1 decision determined that the Free Exercise clause does not protect a religious university if it is in violation of a compelling government interest (in this case, ending racial discrimination).

It's hard not to see today's ruling as announcing a compelling government interest in ending discrimination against gays and lesbians. Nevertheless, the majority opinion does not say that in so many words. Arguably, the Court could differentiate between a right to be considered for admission and an eligibility for married student housing, requiring the former but not the latter. But as for bakers and florists who want the right to refuse their services at same-sex weddings, I'd say they're out of luck.


  1. “But as for bakers and florists who want the right to refuse their services at same-sex weddings, I’d say they’re out of luck.” Unless they are careful how they sell their services. If they have a one-size-fits-all service, they may be out of luck but since all weddings are different to some extent, they may customize their services. In that case, they may have limits on what kinds of situations they are willing and able to provide services.

  2. I’ve always said that I could see this court making same-sex marriage available across the board yet allowing states the right to protect citizens’ 1st Amendment right not to participate. After reading all the opinions, I think it’s even more likely. The key “suspect classification” language was conspicuous by its absence.

  3. “I’ve always said that I could see this court making same-sex marriage available across the board yet allowing states the right to protect citizens’ 1st Amendment right not to participate”

    Which is just a phony euphemism to say that you support discrimination against gays in public settings. You can call it anything you want, but the end result is denying goods and services to people on the basis of prejudicial reasons. Discrimination by any other name is still discrimination.

    Your right to free exercise of religion does not include a blanket authority to cause harm to others. Discrimination is a recognized form of harm. The 1st Amendment doesn’t cover it.

    Whatever “protections” will exist are the ones which always existed. Exceptions for churches and religious ceremonies. Bakers, florists, companies which sell yarn and popcicle sticks and government clerks should consider themselves out of luck.

  4. “Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage–when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples”.

    Couldn’t one argue that such a religious college should not have even admitted same-sex married couples in the first place?

  5. Many religious colleges have students and faculty sign a lifestyle covenant before being hired or admitted.

  6. “…you support discrimination against gays in public settings.” Only where it constitutes participation in actual SSM weddings. That’s when it runs head-on into free exercise rights;

    “Discrimination is a recognized form of harm. The 1st Amendment doesn’t cover it.”

    Violation of religious conscience is also a recognized form of harm–its avoidance being the very reason why this country was founded. To justify it, government has to have an extremely compelling interest, such as the protection of a “suspect class” receiving the highest scrutiny (such as race). THAT was the missing language that your side wanted to see but the majority went all around the world to avoid putting in.

    And I think this is ultimately the reason why — because with the exception of rabid haters like you, ordinary people really don’t want to see other ordinary people jailed or impoverished over their religious beliefs for the sake of…cake and flowers.

  7. Of course the definition of “religious college” is pretty vague and would need clarification based on context.

    1) It could mean something where students are expected to be of the same faith/sect and studying to reinforce doctrine or be clergy /scholars of the sect. (Bob Jones University, Liberty U, seminaries in general)

    2) It could also mean a general studies university which receives some funding or support by a religious organization but all faiths are welcomed and encouraged. (St. Johns, Notre Dame..)

    3) Or it could mean that members of a given sect are given preferential treatment in admission and tuition but academics are not geared towards sectarian ends (BYU).’

    #’s 1 & 3 are most likely to be able to get away with religious excuses for discrimination of that type. #2 being more common, would have less relation between the academic environment and propagation of sectarian religious dogma.

  8. No it isn’t. Banning you from performing a human sacrifice does not violate your 1st Amendment rights.

    Calling an act religious expression doesn’t make it automatically worthy of consideration for 1st Amendment protection. Acts which are considered objective and obvious harm to the public are usually not afforded 1st Amendment protections as speech or religious practice. Your right to religious practice never gave you a right to attack others. Discrimination is a clear attack on those being discriminated against.

    Religious freedom is not license to take leave of any other considerations of the law. Even the RFRA does not make such allowances.

    At least you are not trying to pretend your little phrase, “not participating in..” is something other than a euphemism for discrimination.

    As for florists and bakers, if they want to act like Jim Crow has made a return, eff them and their supporters. They get what they deserve under the law.

  9. Btw SCOTUS recognized gays as a “suspect class” since 1996 in Romer v. Evans. One of several cases penned by Justice Kennedy which set the stage for the decision yesterday. So you are only half-right on that front as well.

  10. Well obviously, since I started posting comments here I have been consistent to the dread that gay activists will bring to Christians that dare not show obeisance to the rainbow idol.

    Now the flood gates are open to attack Christians anywhere they dare be Christian. Hopefully the sicko’s in the majority of this decision will not impart their fanaticism against Christians as they come before them with the inevitable defense of the faith that Christians will have to seek all the way to where those justices find their place of employment.

    Homosexual marriage does not affirm homosexual behavior. It only makes economics available to people of the same gender some monetary pluses.

    Christians need an honest lawyer on every Church board, Christian school and anywhere else Christians dare to be Christian. The persecution being planned by gay activists and other anti-Christians to be meted out on Christians is palpable.

  11. You mean they are asking for them to be honest and morally and theologically sound Christians. You know, like the New Testament teaches. The people that LGBT’s and their supporters call bigots and haters. Hopefully homosexuals and those that encourage them will finally stay away from Christian institutions and live their lives as they so chose.

    Isn’t it a nice bright world now.

  12. But what you consistently fail to understand is that not all classifications are the same. No one has ever held orientation to be equal to race (or religion) wrt scrutiny merited.

  13. “Banning you from performing a human sacrifice does not violate your 1st Amendment rights.”

    Of course, because government has a compelling interest in protecting human life which outweighs the right to free exercise when the two are balanced together. The government interest in ensuring everybody can get Christian-provided cake and flowers is trivial in comparison.

    “Acts which are considered objective and obvious harm to the public are usually not afforded 1st Amendment protections as speech or religious practice.” You don’t have a very clear understanding about what is “usually afforded” 1st Amendment protection. The trend over the last generation has been for more, not less, 1st Amendment protection.

    “Discrimination is a clear attack on those being discriminated against.” As is violation of religious conscience. Hence the balancing process.

  14. Fat chance. They absolutely can’t stay away from Christian schools, Christian businesses, Christian discussion boards, you name it. Moths to the flame. Insecurity and inner turmoil galore. A sign, at least, that the Spirit is still at work and calling.

  15. No I understand fully. But I also understand that religious belief is not a license to do whatever you want, to whomever you want.

    The government has a compelling interest to keep commerce free of the arbitrary restrictions imposed by prejudice and discriminatory conduct. At least when it comes to open public commerce. A much more justifiable interest than a personal need to treat a given class of customers in a business open to the general public, like crap.

    Of course there is balancing involved. This is why I qualify my statements with terms such as “open commerce” or “governmental duty”. It is also why religious institutions can still justify discriminatory conduct. Notice I do not deny that the religious institutions are discriminating, I just stated that their ability to do so are easier to legally justify. A church or religious school has a much wider latitude here than florists and bakers.

  16. “But I also understand that religious belief is not a license to do whatever you want, to whomever you want.” Nobody ever said it was.

    “The government has a compelling interest to keep commerce free of the arbitrary restrictions imposed by prejudice and discriminatory conduct.” Again, that has to be balanced against the compelling interest of protecting everyone’s right to free exercise of their religion. The commerce clause is far from absolute.

    You need to re-read Romer, BTW. You haven’t understood what it is about.

  17. Hey Pro-gay-anti-Christians,

    It’s over now and you have won the “secular world” to your ways.

    Will you allow Christians to be Christians or is it retribution time for the enemies of sodomy?

  18. The commerce clause is far from absolute, but it is generally the last word on the subject of commerce. Where it usually fails is when taken out of such a context. But we aren’t here. Religious belief hasn’t been a legitimate excuse for violating various anti-discrimination laws in the past. It remains so.

    The interests in discriminating because God says so, are generally not considered very compelling. There is no such thing as a well intentioned act of discrimination. It is malicious by nature.

    At no point has freedom of religion been held to give a right to harm others. You can’t say God wants my house burned down and expect a “balancing test” to be done. You can’t assault someone in the name of the Lord and expect the RFRA to be considered in court. You can’t claim that God commands you to commit fraud against your neighbors. There is no reason to believe God commanding you to discriminate in commerce should be treated any differently.

  19. Within ten years there will be no more rule of law. The laws of this land no longer mean anything. The SCOTUS has made a mockery of written law. In one breath Lawyer Roberts says that we will consider what was intended, not what was written. Then in the next decision Lawyer Roberts condemns the majority for straying far from the constitution by actually writing law, saying this is not permitted by the Constitution. Boy that is a real head scratcher is all I can say. But I do believe that it is time to seek a reformation of our government, as this one clearly no longer works. Even though Lawyer Roberts got it wrong the first time, he seemed to have a Divine Revelation the second time. Hmmm. What does the Declaration of Independence recommend?: “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,” Not my words, but our Founders’.

  20. By the power invested in me by the Church of The Powerful Abe, you Be Brave… are officially gay married for all eternity!

    Take that for persecution!

  21. Wow, you REALLY hate those Christian florists and bakers, don’t you Larry? Not even the Gay Gestapo can beat your hatred, it seems.

    But don’t stress out on it, dude. After all, Indiana, New Mexico, Vermont, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, etc, have already proven that the Gay Gestapo will fulfill your wildest dreams with one econonic Kristallnacht after another.

    For Christians, the First Amendment Rights will soon be replaced by Jackboot Rights: Either Christians cooperate with the jackboots, or else Christians get no rights.

    So you should be full of happiness right now, Larry. Your particular version of Utopia (and/or the Fourth Reich) has finally arrived !!!

  22. Holy crap that was stupid.

    Roberts was on the side supporting gay marriage bans. Feel free to criticize his lack of consistency and intellectual dishonesty. I never thought much of him or the rest of the conservative wing of SCOTUS

  23. Help me understand some of the fear and bitterness in this stream by — someone, please — giving me a coherent answer to three questions. Here they are:

    1). How is any Christian’s belief in the one man/one woman model of marriage threatened by other understandings of the institution?

    2). Why is any government official — Cruz, Jindal, Scalia — attempting to define a secular contract (that’s what marriage is under the US Constitution, which does not mention God) by reference to the sacred writings of any religion?

    3). In what way is there any genuine threat to Christianity in the US, where churches abound, tax-exempt, from sea to shining sea?

    Clarity and charity, please.


  24. The above understanding of freedom from religion is almost the exact policy toward religion that was followed in the now defunct Soviet Union.

  25. Roberts seems to have a case of mild schizophrenia. His opinions are arbitrary at best. He might have gotten it right this last time, but it seems his reasoning is tied to a roulette wheel. Spin it, see where it lands.

  26. Edgar, answer to question #1: you’ll begin to see the fallout in 10 to 15 years, and it will be self evident

  27. 10 to 15 years? You ARE being charitable, Greg.

    Me, I give it five. Tops.

    (Unless divine judgment hits in four. Then ALL bets are off !! )

  28. Why has the Supreme court ruled on something that the Supreme Being has brought into existence? Makes no sense at all. Marriage has a purpose as one of its most important points, to procreate. Gay persons cannot procreate with a same sex partner. Therefore, this is not marriage in the true sense of the word. There is another agenda here that is not honest. Figure it out.for yourself.

  29. There was the Divine Mercy messages in the 1930’s where Jesus said, “this is the time of my Mercy after it will follow the time of Judgement” ,This is definitely that time period and it probably won’t even be 5 years. God help us all.

  30. “The commerce clause is far from absolute, but it is generally the last word on the subject of commerce.”

    You’re a decade or so behind the times, Lare. While the trend in favor of more protection for religious liberty has increased, the commerce clause has been more and more narrowly construed. Lopez, Sebelius and Hobby Lobby have all laid the groundwork for a substantial rollback of the loose interpretation of the commerce clause that has prevailed since the New Deal — which appears to be a pet project of Roberts.

  31. How very odd that Russia is now doing more to defend traditional religious rights and mocking the West over their intolerance. My how things have changed in less than 26 years. Of course the reality is that anyone who wants to buy a service (in our Capitalist society) has a plethora of vendors to choose from. In fact, it may behoove Christian photographers and bakers to begin posting the cross on their websites and ads to show their beliefs. At that point anyone has the choice to choose another vendor. If someone picks them to prove a point, then you may have grounds for religious harassment as it was clear as to the profession of faith in your advertisement and website. It may be challenged by so-called “human-rights” boards which are essentially the thought police.

  32. True, even some Christian adoption agencies won’t place children with a Christian family if they do not have proof that they are regularly attended a church and are members in good standing. So the criteria is high, and if you don’t meet their qualifications, there are other agencies which will aid in those adoptions. Been there, done that.

  33. And why is everyone is so distracted with this applesauce that they are not pulling back to see the entire tapestry that is being woven. This is but a small section of a bigger picture, and it is not pretty. Within those five years Iran will have a nuclear weapon thanks to the feckless ones machinations…which as I recall in a song by the Blind Boys of Alabama called “Atom Bomb”, …”it will be by FIRE, the next time” . Yeah, I think upping those daily prayers for each of us is a good thing.

  34. Doc, it is really no surprise at all regarding Russia and its defense of traditional religion. In 1917 the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima Portugal, and told three young visionaries that she wanted the pope, in union with all the bishops of the world, to consecrate Russia to her immaculate heart, and if that was done, then “Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, fomenting wars and persecution of the Church. The good will suffer martyrdom … But in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and some time of peace will be granted to humanity.” (July 13th 1917). Well numerous attempts at the consecration were done, but not collegially. Then finally on March 25th 1984, Pope John Paul II arranged it and it was completed. And through a series of odd and mysterious events Communism fell, and Russia has since converted. Hmmm; heaven has spoken.

  35. Anita, the Devil at work here to destroy the sacrament of marriage. The people are mere victims of his efforts. First step, remove procreation from the act of Love between a man and a woman. That is called sterilization, contraception, among others. Next use contraception to increase marital infidelity (contraception = low risk cheating). Thirdly, drive married couples to divorce, and remarry, over and over. Fourth, establish radical feminist movement. Fifth, establish governments that give the best freebies to single mothers so that they stay single and fornicate, rather than marry. Sixth, establish churches that freely remarry men and women who are divorced. Seventh compel gay men and women to become pastors of the separated churches. Next, extend marriage to gay couples in these churches, and at the State level. Finally compel national government to normalize gay marriage. In the end, the Sacrament of Marriage is desecrated, God is offended, and the Devil jumps for joy.

  36. Issues like this have already arisen but generally in the context of graduate students at religious universities where the grad schools are less overtly religious in daily life. Such cases will continue to arise. Yeshiva University and St. John’s University, for example, both have well-regarded law schools that aren’t thought of as “religious” exactly, even though the latter has crucifixes on the lecture room walls and the former is closed on Jewish holidays. YU was in fact sued about 15 years ago under NY law on housing discrimination involving a lesbian couple enrolled in its medical school.

  37. “The interests in discriminating because God says so, are generally not considered very compelling.” Not by you, of course, but neither does your opinion matter. Free exercise is as compelling as, and arguably more compelling than, anti-discrimination policy. The former is the reason our country exists, while the latter does not even appear in the original constitution–nor ever would have were it not for the peculiar difficulties posed by slavery and race. In any case, most commerce-clause anti-discrimination case law deals with race. Race does not equal orientation, and the SCOTUS has taken great care to say nothing suggesting that it is.

  38. Well, they could decline to announce their business to the general public, and only market their business services to their church or other group, but you seem to place too much on customized services. Despite the wonderful, original cakes you see on cable TV’s Ace Of Cakes, the vast majority of bakeries use a standard style book they purchased and from which customers choose. Wedding photographers? Their stuff is a repetition of the same wedding photos they all take; being a wedding photographer is something the boss of the TV station in “Hairspray” threatens the camera operator with because it’s considered very low-level work. I saw the work of that anti-gay Elaine from New Mexico whose conviction was upheld by the US Supreme Court, and it was one cliché after another. Neither baking a cake nor taking routine photos is a “religious act.”

  39. Sorry, Shawnie, you used to insist the Supreme Court would violate the Constitution the way you want. How’d that work out?

  40. Shriek louder, Doc. Keep posting those same lies. There are still a few Americans fooled by those routine anti-gay lies, and the more they read them now, the more they realize their mistake and come to support equality.

  41. Enjoy your echo chamber, boys. But be reminded, no one is fooled.

  42. “Insecurity and inner turmoil galore.”

    Psychologists call this”projection.” The majority of Americans who support marriage equality won. You’re describing the losers.

  43. Actually, what has happened is these “Christian” adoption agencies were all discriminating with taxpayer dollars. When told they could only do that with their own funds, these adoption agencies threw the orphans under the bus by closing–showing the agencies’ anti-gay political agenda was far more important to them than finding homes for orphans.

    Every time an anti-gay posts a lie about how that worked, more Americans check it out for themselves and realize anti-gays are lying.

  44. i never said any such thing, Carrot. I said that the SCOTUS would make SSM available across the board but would ultimately protect the states’ rights to allow conscience exemptions from participation. Your reading comprehension is as bad as Larry’s.

  45. It doesn’t matter who owns a medical school, that isn’t a religious act or function.

  46. Well, let’s just say he thinks it’s politically convenient to pretend he’s being persecuted, but that only works with the “Gay Obsessed Party,” and that’s the #1 reason why that party is collapsing.

  47. Anti-gays are lying when they claim all Christians share their agenda to destroy our Constitution and force their “beliefs” on all Americans. The major Christian, Jewish and other denominations that are marrying same gender couples now were denied their right to practice their religion freely until the US Supreme Court ruling of June 26, 2015:

    Affirming Pentecostal Church International
    Alliance of Christian Churches
    Anointed Affirming Independent Ministries
    The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
    Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
    Community of Christ
    Conservative Judaism
    Ecumenical Catholic Church
    Ecumenical Catholic Communion
    The Episcopal Church
    Evangelical Anglican Church In America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Inclusive Orthodox Church
    Moravian Church Northern Province
    Metropolitan Community Church
    Old Catholic Church
    Presbyterian Church USA
    Progressive Christian Alliance

  48. No I’m not, Carrot. You’ll find few Christians trolling on gay or atheist boards. But they absolutely swarm religious boards. It’s insecurity in high definition. If they were fully persuarded of the rightness of their own actions, they would not care about our opinions in the slightest.

  49. And:

    Reconciling Pentecostals International
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reform Judaism
    Reformed Anglican Catholic Church
    Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    United Church of Christ
    Unity Church

  50. It was the anti-gays who tried–and failed–to disrupt the Proper Rule Of Law as written in the US Constitution, as the US Supreme Court demonstrated Friday. If you think America is so bad, why not leave?

  51. Wow, he even violated his Oath Of Office and the US Constitution for you, and you still attack him personally? Anti-gays routinely fling personal attacks at normal, non-homophobic Americans, but now that anti-gays are attacking each other, they themselves demonstrate they are finished. Thank you for helping to destroy the anti-gay agenda.

  52. It’s sad but true. There’s no logic in anything anti-gays say, they are deeply disturbed individuals. Psychologists identified homophobia as a mental illness and published their results in the Journal of the National Institutes of Health in 1953. Homophobia is the irrational fear, disgust, or hatred of gays, lesbians, and/or bisexual people, or of homosexual feelings in oneself. It refers to the discomfort one feels with any behavior, belief, or attitude (in self or others) that does not conform to traditional sex role stereotypes. Homophobia exhibits itself in the fear of knowing, befriending, or associating with gays, lesbians, or bisexual people; fear of being perceived as gay or lesbian; and/or fear of stepping out of accepted gender role behavior. Psychologists report that the most commonly observed symptom of the mental disorder homophobia is cognitive dissonance.

  53. I know for sure that the Catholic Church will be most attacked due to this ruling because it can never change what God ordained. I envision gay married couples showing up at Catholic celebrations of married couples in the Parish, to provoke the Church, but who will be kindly asked to leave the Church……for there is no such thing as a gay “marriage”. This is but one example of what I expect to see from the gay lobby, and I’m sure fellow Catholics can forsee more. I can only hope that the Supreme Court defends the Catholic privilege of practicing its Faith…… the Church and in the public square.

  54. It sounds to me like the anti-gays better be packing for Russia.

  55. Sorry, anti-gays, government was involved in marriage long before the Church made a power grab for marriage in the 1100s.

  56. Well, anti-gays do keep fantasizing nonsense like that. At least you can admit it’s nothing but an anti-gay fantasy that is entirely disconnected from reality–right? No one cares what the bishops say or do. Thousands and thousands of other churches want to marry same gender couples.

  57. “I’m sure fellow Catholics can forsee more.”

    Dead wrong. Look:

    “Our analysis found that this increasingly diverse Catholic community is strongly supportive of acceptance of and rights for gay and lesbian Americans. Generally speaking, Catholics are at least 5 points more supportive than the general population across a range of issues. For example, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace; 63 percent of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military; and 60% favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

    On the more contentious issue of same-sex marriage, the evidence is also stacking up for solid Catholic support at both the national and state levels. A Washington Post/ABC News Poll recently found that fully 63 percent of Catholics supported making it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry, compared to 53 percent of the…

  58. …compared to 53 percent of the general population.”


    “Sixty-two percent of Catholics said they were in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. Catholics approved of same-sex marriage at a higher rate than Americans as a whole”

    And how did that work out in Ireland?

  59. Ever notice that some activities are never considered legal even if you declare that its part of your religious beliefs?

    Human sacrifice, polygamy, child abuse, smoking controlled substances, and a host of activities don’t become socially or legally acceptable if you claim to be doing them for the Lord. Guess what, discrimination in open commerce is in the same category.

    If Christian vendors want to be such uncivil, malicious SOB’s as to deny business to potential customers because they think God hates them, they don’t have to do business to the general public. They can work through word of mouth, advertising in church/religious group settings, private membership clubs and all sorts of restricted market strategies.

    You want a practical solution, form private exclusive membership clubs for “Christian Vendors”. But then you lose the malicious glee of telling potential gay customers, “Begonne!! God tells me not to serve your kind!”

  60. 1. It gives Christians a phony cause to rally around and express bigotry in a socially acceptable fashion.

    2. Because they hate separation of church and state and want to exert undue privileges on the basis of being Christian

    3. Apathy, annoyance and increasing lack of relevance in society.

  61. In 20 years you revisionist lying wannabes will be trying to take credit for the efforts of various affirming churches in the efforts to make marriage equality happen.

    Just like when Christian conservatives try to pretend they had anything to do with the Civil Rights movement. This is as opposed to owning up to their history as the main supporters of segregation.

  62. Anita,

    God will certainly help all meek and good-hearted persons on the entire planet when his heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) soon puts an end to all problems of man (including all wicked ones) and brings true blessings on earth that we cannot even fathom!! (Isaiah 11:1-9)?

  63. God’s kingdom or heavenly government will soon replace all of man’s existing governments and judicial systems (Daniel 2:44), so there is nothing to worry about in the future. Even man’s corrupt economical systems (debt, debt and more debt) will no longer exist! Imagine that! ?

  64. “Guess what, discrimination in open commerce is in the same category.”

    Guess what, nobody whose opinion matters has ever declared that it is, with regard to anything except race.

  65. All those percentages of Catholics you speak of can now be considered non-Catholics…….excommunicated by personal choice. The Church does not tolerate heretical defiance. Free Will can have dangerous consequences.

  66. Except various anti-discrimination laws on the books all over the country and the Civil Rights Act of 1963 is far more expansive than just race. But don’t let facts get in the way now. It never stopped you before.

    BTW those cases concerning the commerce clause where rollback occurred, had nothing to do with actual acts of commerce. If you weren’t just name-checking you would know such things.

    Face it, you guys lost. Stop being such whinybabies and act like civil human beings for once in your lives

  67. Regarding: “Wouldn’t it undermine the ability of Catholic University to teach Catholic doctrine on the subject if it were required by law to provide married student housing to same-sex spouses?”

    – No one at a Catholic university is required to be a pure catholic in order to attend a catholic university. The lack of purity in the denizens of the catholic university has yet to stop teaching of catholic faith, doctrine, or dogma. So it is doubtful that gay couples, married or otherwise, will cause the downfall of Catholicism.

    – Gay couples who are students at and live in any of a myriad of ways on the largess of the catholic university housing department would not undermine catholic teaching by their presence.

    – Interestingly, if housing for gay married couples is a problem, then perhaps catholic universities ought not to allow shared dorm rooms / suites because well who knows what might be going on in there.

  68. Yeshiva U initially got the case dismissed but the Court of Appeals (NY’s highest court) reversed the decision and remanded it down to the lower court. The school eventually changed its housing policy as a way out of the lawsuit. But that was back in 2002. The situation has become a bit clearer since then.

    IMO, its a dicey situation probably largely dependent on how the school handles applicants of a different faith/sect than its sponsors. A school with a wide variety of faiths/sects attending can’t be said to be in the role of upholding the sponsoring faith through its education system.

  69. “BTW those cases concerning the commerce clause where rollback occurred, had nothing to do with actual acts of commerce.”

    LOL! Neither have most of the cases brought under the commerce clause. The Post-New Deal activist era saw the expansion of the commerce clause’s common-sense interpretation to cover anything that even tangentially affects commerce–which, in effect, includes everything. All three of these cases were thought to be slam-dunk commerce clause wins for the government. That this SCOTUS has declared three situations outside of commerce clause reach is remarkable. Obama in 2005 voted against Roberts’ nomination for this very reason.

    “Except various anti-discrimination laws on the books all over the country and the Civil Rights Act of 1963 is far more expansive than just race.” Which has nothing to do with commerce clause jurisprudence, of course. Try to remember what we’re talking about.

  70. You get a little bit of half-heard information and you think you are an expert. Jeez. The commerce clause was narrowly construed where it was not directly related to the subject at hand. Such arguments don’t apply to actual commerce.

    “Which has nothing to do with commerce clause jurisprudence, of course. ”

    Quite untrue. They intersect frequently when there is discrimination in commerce. Still comes down to religious belief is not license to do something which would considered harmful actions towards others nor activities which would not be otherwise illegal if done for other motives.

    Do you honestly think that carving out a right to discriminate against gays in public/commercial settings has a chance of sticking around? You guys couldn’t for the life of you cough up rational and secular arguments for banning gay marriage. You don’t have one here either.

  71. “The commerce clause was narrowly construed where it was not directly related to the subject at hand. Such arguments don’t apply to actual commerce.”

    Larry, take a reading comprehension course. Anti-discrimination law under the Commerce clause would never have been possible under any kind of “narrow” construction. It had to be expanded beyond its plain meaning of actual commerce BETWEEN states to include everything that directly or indirectly AFFECTS commerce. That is exactly the kind of construction that the Roberts court has rolled back.

    “They intersect frequently when there is discrimination in commerce.”

    They don’t intersect at all. The Commerce Clause is federal law. State and local anti-discrimination law is a different animal.

  72. “Do you honestly think that carving out a right to discriminate against gays in public/commercial settings has a chance of sticking around?”

    Not a generalized exemption, no, but no one wants that. A narrowly-tailored, conscience-based exemption limited to actions which constitute actual participation in SSM, sure, perhaps.

  73. “Anti-discrimination law under the Commerce clause would never have been possible under any kind of “narrow” construction.”

    Except in the field of COMMERCE. Where it has been so applied. Actual commercial transactions. You keep dancing around the most elementary fact here. The commerce clause applied to commerce even in its most narrow construction. Jeez.

    “A narrowly-tailored, conscience-based exemption limited to actions which constitute actual participation in SSM, sure, perhaps.”

    Which is still nothing more than a euphemism for discriminatory conduct in business open to the public against gays. Back to square one.

    Of course you guys don’t want something “narrowly tailored”. Hence intentionally vague wording on those mini-RFRA laws. Language which is meant to encourage widespread discrimination in as many public areas as possible. Hence the uproar when such laws get reduced in scope.

  74. Of course you guys don’t want something “narrowly tailored”.

    Kindly refrain from telling us what we think. We can do that just fine ourselves, thanks. And we’ve been through all this before. Nobody wants to deny gays service in restaurants, stores or any other general public setting. In fact, the question never even came up until SSM. This is about very specific fact situations related to SS weddings.

    “The commerce clause applied to commerce even in its most narrow construction.”

    Sure — INTERSTATE commerce. Virtually none of the cases that possibly present a commerce clause question in this matter have to do with interstate commerce. Regulation can only be fit in by resorting to the post-New Deal expansionist view of purely intrastate commercial activities tangentially AFFECTING interstate commerce — the view that this SCOTUS is quickly rolling back.

    Larry, you’re never going to get this. No more than you get what the RFRAs are all about. Hopeless.

  75. YU isn’t the most potent example because its non-overtly-religious grad schools — law, medicine, social work, etc. — have long had a pretty secular population. Consider the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. It has, among others, a rabbinical school, a cantorial school, and a general graduate program that accepts non-Jews looking to do a PhD. in a Jewish-studies field. (JTS has the largest Judaica library in the Western hemisphere). In real life JTS does ordain gays and lesbians as rabbis and cantors, but let’s say it didn’t. What about the grad school? If JTS provides married grad housing, would it have to do so for same-sex married couples? Certainly the grad school is part of the institution’s general mission to impart Jewish values.

  76. A seminary by definition would easily fall under a religious exemption for compliance with anti-discrimination laws since its purpose is to train clergy in that faith. People who will perform ministerial functions of the religion. The PhD program and gentile admission would undermine such assumptions. I guess it would come down to the evidence presented. Context is everything here.

  77. Require all couples (or polygamists) to obtain a civil license/certificate of “marriage” or what ever someone wants to call it. All those who want nothing to do with Christianity and its version of marriage need not fuss with the church. Leave them alone

    Anyone wanting to be wedded in a church with a minister will go to the church of their choice and agreement AFTER they were married in the courts.

    The objections are not necessary unless this matter continues to be about money and media aggrandizing.

    The churches and their ministers are already distinguishing themselves concerning whom they will or will not marry. Congregations are re-writing their by-laws and constitutions to reflect these views. Congregations will continue to divide and to be brought together in solidarity accordingly.

    Ministers in churches have never had any business “representing the State” in said unions. They should never have signed any state forms. This will be a grand separation.

  78. “But as for bakers and florists who want the right to refuse their services at same-sex weddings, I’d say they’re out of luck.”

    I’m not convinced of this.

    The Hobby Lobby holding’s protection of closely-held corporations could be expanded to provide protection for the religious exercise of business owners objecting to the facilitation of SSM. Obergefell hasn’t closed the door on this possibility.

    If the SC effectively serves to coerce business owners to facilitate SSM against their religious conviction, it will have the effect of further radicalizing a large constituency of religious Americans.

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