COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 27, 2015—The U.S. supreme court—which no longer deserves to have its name capitalized—yesterday ruled that two people of the same gender have the right to marry under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To come up with that startling conclusion, the five-judge majority, led by Justice Kennedy, wrote:
The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.
If long is the whole of human history, then that is not trivial. The key question one must ask the learned judges is, “What changed?” What is the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry that has now been made manifest to these sages?
If it’s not obvious to you, you’re in good company: the four dissenting judges wrote scathing opinions.
Justice Scalia, joined by Thomas: “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”
Justice Alito: “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed.”
Even the Dread Pirate (aka Chief Justice) Roberts wrote, “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.”
The dissenting opinions are worth reading in full. Excerpts of their reasoning can be found at National Journal.
If we disagree, what should we as Christians do?
That’s the easy part: Christians answer to a higher power, the Creator of the universe who created us male and female and instituted marriage. The court has no authority to redefine what God has ordained. Christians are free to ignore the ruling. Indeed, Christian thinkers since St. Augustine in the fourth century have said that such an immoral law is no law at all. Some, such as the Rev. Stacy Swimp, go so far as to say there is a duty to oppose it:
The Supreme Court has gone rogue. It created a new law, instead of interpreting the laws…. Now is a time for civil disobedience. Civil clerks who have a Christian conscience should refuse to marry two people of the same gender…They should be willing to disobey the law, even if that means we go to jail or be fined.
Our country was founded first and foremost on freedom of religion. This ruling and the whole notion of gay marriage is seen by many as a vehicle to attack Christianity generally. Exercising our natural right to freedom of religion is likely to come at a cost as proponents take the next steps to ram the decision home.
What should we do as citizens?
The decision by the court in favor of 2 percent of the population runs contrary to the will of the majority. As reported by gay marriage proponent New York Times, gay marriage is legal in only two states whose people voted for it; now it is being imposed on all 50 states by judicial fiat.
What the court wrote is an opinion, not law. Although they are accused of trying to make law, they cannot. Nor can they enforce their opinion. As Andrew Jackson is reported to have said about John Marshall’s decision in Worcester v. Georgia in 1832, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”
The court won’t have to. Gay rights activists are likely to step up their suits against florists, bakers and wedding-venue organizations. Every hint of dissent must be wiped out: this is the meaning behind the Twitter hashtag #LoveWins because in the totalitarian world view of the left, love wins when all opposition has been crushed.
As we approach the Independence Day holiday, we should reflect on the words of the Declaration of Independence that were central to its original purpose:
…when a long train of abuses and usurpations . . . evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.
Such new guards are likely to include an increased push for an Article V convention of states as well as a re-evaluation of the role of the state in marriage. There is already a proposal in Congress to limit the jurisdiction of the court.
This decision is bound to be the most divisive since Roe v. Wade. It will precipitate an uncivil war in society and is likely to be a major issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. So much for Alexander Hamilton’s opinion in Federalist 78 that the judiciary would be the least dangerous branch.
One thing is clear: in releasing the decisions in Obergefell and the day prior in Burwell, the court has abandoned its constitutional role as judge and attempted to take on the role of the legislature. In doing so, it has greatly diminished its reputation and claim to authority.