In December of 2005 The Becket Fund, a nonprofit institute dedicated to protecting freedom of religion, held a conference to discuss the legal ramifications of same-sex marriage. Ten of the nation’s top First Amendment scholars, liberal, conservative, and moderate, were brought in to present their views of same-sex marriage and the likely outcomes if it is legalized. As a result of the conference a series of papers was published. These papers were widely reported on. Publications such as The Weekly Standard, National Review, World Magazine, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many others have covered the results of this conference.
The conference focused on four topics: Can the government force religious institutions to recognize same-sex unions? Can the government withhold benefits, such as tax exemption, from religious institutions that refuse to recognize same-sex unions? How will freedom of religion arguments fare against legal same-sex marriage? What are the effects on biblical (traditional) marriage?
Mark Stern, general counsel for the liberal leaning American Jewish Congress and a supporter of gay marriage, wrote in his paper, “No one seriously believes that clergy will be forced, or even asked, to perform marriages that are anathema to them. Same-sex marriage would, however, work a sea change in American law. That change will reverberate across the legal and religious landscape in some ways that are today unpredictable.” According to Peter Steinfels, writing for The New York Times, what Mr. Stern has in mind are “schools, health care centers, social service agencies, summer camps, homeless shelters, nursing homes, orphanages, retreat houses, community centers, athletic programs and private businesses or services that operate by religious standards, like kosher caterers and marriage counselors.”
George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley, also a supporter of gay marriage, in his Becket paper noted that, “As states accept same-sex marriage and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, conflicts will grow between the government and discriminatory organizations. There will be many religious-based organizations that will refuse to hire individuals who are homosexual or members of a same-sex marriage. If those individuals are holding a state license of marriage or civil union, it will result in a discriminatory act that was not only based on sexual orientation, but a lawful state status.”
Doug Kmiec, professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, and an opponent of gay marriage, participated in the Becket conference and wrote, “Were federal equal protection or substantive due process to be construed to require states to license same-sex marriage, those who have profound moral or religious objection to the social affirmation of homosexual conduct would be argued to be the out-liers of civil society.” Therefore, he argues that churches could be targeted for legal penalties and disadvantages as were universities that participated in racial discrimination decades ago.
He adds that, “This is hardly a far-fetched (idea), as apparently one of the main aspirations of the homosexual movement is retaliation against the defenders of traditional marriage.” Dan Brown of the National Organization for Marriage hinted at “aspirations of the homosexual movement” as well, and took it even further. After the will of the
people was undone with a judge ruling Proposition 8 unconstitutional, Brown
declared that, “The goal of this movement is to use the law to reshape the
culture so that disagreement with their views on sex and marriage gets
stigmatized and repressed like bigotry.” California
There you have it. Ultimately this debate isn’t about marriage or “discrimination.” This is an attempt, using the power of the American legal system, to force moral legitimization of homosexual behavior upon the American people. And it is about revenge upon all those—past and present—who have stood, and continue to stand in the way of such “progress.”
Unless America comes to her senses, there almost certainly will be many more Brendan Eichs, Barronelle Stutzmans, Jack Phillips, and Elaine Huguenins. After all, the undoing of an absolute truth (marriage is a union of one man and one woman) is bound to be confrontational and messy. When you call good evil and evil good, there are bound to be casualties.