Religious Conservatives love playing the victim, but with the recent marriage equality ruling, their rights are not being infringed upon
And so it begins. Not only does the United States enter a new era of equality, it also enters a new era of right-wing backlash. Religious conservatives are out in force already, crying about the recent Supreme Court decision which legalized gay marriage nationwide. And they’re singing the same tired song; religious liberty is at stake.
The base attack against the Supreme Court ruling is grounded in religion. No serious secular reason is being presented to not allow marriage equality. The main opponents have and will continue to be religiously motivated. Every right-wing Christian has gone out of their way to attack the recent ruling.
Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, you name it. Even my governor Bobby Jindal has chimed in. They’re all out blasting marriage equality, and using ancient texts of the bible to justify their positions. While we have heard time and time again that somehow God “created marriage” and that the bible states clearly homosexuality is a sin, we must remember this; these writings are irrelevant.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, nor shall prohibit the free exercise thereof.” This is what the First Amendment of the US Constitution says about religion and government policy.
Often the right will call themselves “Strict Constructionists” and bitch constantly about how we need to “interpret the Constitution” by what it strictly says. Well, the First Amendment is pretty plain in its language on religion and government. Government cannot sponsor religion nor can it prohibit anyone from practicing a religion.
This is important, because conservatives are trying to frame the issue as religion being infringed upon. The issue is clear by the SCOTUS ruling, however; no religious group is being forced to wed gay people. Churches are not forced by law to wed gay couples. The SCOTUS ruling merely deals with marriage certificates, the legal documents declaring someone married. Churches that do not condone gay marriage do not have to wed gay couples. However, state and local officials have to legally abide by and fulfill marriage contracts if applied for by gay couples.
I repeat again; religious groups are not obligated to wed gay couples. This matter rests purely with the secular authorities of the state, and no church has to agree. So when conservatives complain about religious liberty, they should be reminded of these facts.
The recent ruling does not threaten anyone’s religious rights. If you are a Christian and you don’t agree with gay marriage, you are not obligated to have a gay wedding. If you are a church that does not condone gay marriage, you do not have to perform gay weddings. If you are a Christian and are opposed to gay marriage, your rights to bigotry are not threatened at all in this matter.
Marriage equality is purely a secular and practical matter that had to be settled legally. While conservatives scream about “religious liberty” and “God’s law” being attacked, they should be reminded of the First Amendment. We cannot base our laws on religious law, and in no way can or should we take religion into account when denying citizens their secular legal rights. No one’s religion is threatened legally here.
If you morally disagree with the SCOTUS decision, then that is your choice. If your religion puts you in disagreement, that is your choice. But you have no legal right to enforce your religious doctrine on others by denying them their secular rights to marry. Marriage is as much a secular right of society as it is a religious right-of-passage.
When I hear Bobby Jindal or Mike Huckabee spout off about God and his law, they should immediately by swatted by the First Amendment. America is a secular nation governed by secular laws. The Supreme Court has moved forward. Religion has no legal grounds to oppose marriage equality.