Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Gay Marriage Fight that Should Unify the Right

 

As we endure the oral arguments over California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court this week, things are likely to get a little chippy here on Ricochet. This site often acts as a mirror of the conservative movement itself, and we’ve seen, essentially from the day we opened our virtual doors, that there are few issues that engender as much protracted debate here as gay marriage.

Now, I’ll confess up front that I favor gay marriage as a policy matter (the legal arguments before the Court are a different issue altogether). If you want to litigate that point in the comments, fine, but we’ve been down that road a million times before and I think the arguments are pretty well-rehearsed. You either think the definition of marriage is fixed as a metaphysical matter or that it’s capable of evolution. For what it’s worth, I’ve found the arguments on this site for the position contrary to mine better than what I’ve found virtually anywhere else.

There seems to be a growing recognition amongst both supporters and detractors, however, that this increasingly looks like a fait accompli. Even if the Supreme Court doesn’t advance the ball down the field, the sea change in public opinion seems to presage a day in the not-too-distant future when gay marriage will be something approaching the norm. Which is why all of us on the right would do well to heed Erick Erickson’s message over at RedState:

Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.

Within a year or two we will see Christian schools attacked for refusing to admit students whose parents are gay. We will see churches suffer the loss of their tax exempt status for refusing to hold gay weddings. We will see private businesses shut down because they refuse to treat as legitimate that which perverts God’s own established plan. In some places this is already happening.

Christians should, starting yesterday, work on a new front. While we should not stop the fight to preserve marriage, and we may be willing to compromise on civil unions, we must start fighting now for protections for religious objectors to gay marriage.

Churches, businesses, and individuals who refuse to accept gay marriage as a legitimate institution must be protected as best we can. Those protections will eventually crumble as the secular world increasingly fights the world of God, but we should institute those protections now and pray they last as long as possible.

Now, I obviously don’t share Erickson’s core convictions about marriage and there are several parts of his commentary that I find overwrought (including his title, “Gay Marriage and Religious Freedom Are Not Compatible” — if that’s the case, one wonders what the point of his exhortation in those last two paragraphs above is). I also think both the time frame and some of the examples are probably excessively pessimistic. But I think he’s right about the underlying dynamic.

Just a few years ago, this may have seemed hyperbolic. But that was before HHS was requiring employers to underwrite contraception, the EEOC was seeking to classify a failure to hire ex-cons as a “disparate impact” violation, and a Christian wedding photographer in New Mexico was being accused of discrimination for refusing to shoot a gay wedding. The left never seems to be happy until they’ve forced people who disagree with them to sacrifice their rights to free association on the altar of tolerance (“tolerance” defined by the left as the capacity to shut up on command).

I want a “leave me alone” society — one where Christian schools can turn people away for rejecting their doctrine, just as gay rights groups can reject those who don’t share their beliefs. I don’t want us all to get along — not because I’m misanthropic (well, not just because I’m misanthropic), but because I know that “consensus” is usually a fancy word for muting minority viewpoints. I want us all to be free to be annoyed with each other from our separate corners. Is that too much to ask?

On the core point, Erickson is right. The coming fight is preserving what’s left of the rights of free association and conscience. That fight, in my judgment, has much more to do with the preservation of basic American liberties than the one playing out in the Supreme Court this week.

There are 86 comments.

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  1. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    All this fuss for 3% of the population. Surely there must be something other than marriage driving the gay agenda?

    • #1
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:10 AM PST
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  2. katievs Member

    It’s not a practical principle exactly, but it’s true nonetheless: Whatever is good and true unifies. Whatever is evil and false disunifies.

    Why has the country come to peace over the abolition of slavery and civil rights movement? Because those were just causes, however bitterly contested for a time.

    Why is the country still wretchedly divided 4o years after Roe v Wade? Because abortion is a grave evil, objectively inimical to the natural law and the founding “doctrine” of our nation.

    The legalization of SSM will cause deep and deepening disunity.

    • #2
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:16 AM PST
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  3. Mendel Member

    Much of the handwringing over forcing the churches to provide services to gay couples is overwrought.

    Only last year, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that religious freedom allows churches to exclude anyone they please from their institutions. And nobody disputes the legality of the Catholic Church denying its sacraments (such as communion) to non-Catholics or Catholics not in good standing. I doubt any court would give a lawsuit by a gay couple wanting to be married in a church the time of day.

    Which isn’t to say those lawsuits/public campaigns aren’t coming. But in many ways, that is a fight we should all welcome: the chance to explain that the rights of churches to exclude people who do not share their beliefs is greater than the right of people to not be “discriminated” against.

    • #3
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:27 AM PST
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  4. Merina Smith Inactive

    Wow, Mendel and Troy, it’s sweet how you trust that accommodation can be made with the left. Has experience taught you nothing? 

    • #4
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:33 AM PST
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  5. Keith Inactive

    And this is a reason to support Rand Paul, even if you think his father was possibly a bigot or racist for not suporting the civil rights act and wanting to place a high value on the rights of free association, and the freedom to contract with whomever you wish tio contract with.

    Someone has to have the guts to stand against political correctness and these socialists/nanny-statists that have an incurable desire to control everyone because they think they know better than you do.

    I also want a “leave me alone” society.

    I support you in your fight to preserve what’s left of the rights of free association and conscience.

    edited a typo

    • #5
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:39 AM PST
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  6. Mendel Member
    Merina Smith: Wow, Mendel and Troy, it’s sweet how you trust that accommodation can be made with the left. Has experience taught you nothing?

    I don’t see any accomodation. I think the fight for religious freedom is the central issue that should be fought to the death.

    But I also don’t see government sanctioning of gay relationships as a religious issue (here goes that debate again…).

    Our system of liberties in America is founded on the principle that everyone wants the whole cake, and we compromise by giving everyone one whole piece and but denying them another. We separate spheres, and rights granted within one sphere are not necessarily transferable to another.

    Our society needs to re-learn how to live with the conflicts inherent in limited rights. I welcome the chance for religious liberty to reaffirm its right to include and exclude whomever it pleases.

    • #6
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:42 AM PST
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  7. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member
    Frozen Chosen: All this fuss for 3% of the population. Surely there must be something other than marriage driving the gay agenda?

    I’m wondering how many of that 3% even want to get married.

    • #7
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:44 AM PST
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  8. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member
    Mendel

    In a way, I welcome the chance for religious liberty to reaffirm its right to include and exclude whomever it pleases.

    I don’t see too many strong advocates well-placed and ready to fight that fight. That HHS mandate is still hanging over us, isn’t it?

    • #8
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:46 AM PST
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  9. SteveS Inactive

    I agree whole heartedly Troy that the real issue remains “the preservation of basic American liberties”.

     The church may suffer loss, which it certainly has throughout history in various forms of persecution and attempted eradications, but survives because of God’s will and claim that His kingdom was never of this world and can never be extinguished but shall `always outlive it’s pall bearers. 

    The real danger is in the very foundations of liberty this great nation has been erected upon and when once removed this proud edifice of freedom may be destroyed forever.

    Frozen Chosen: All this fuss for 3% of the population. Surely there must be something other than marriage driving the gay agenda? · 6 minutes ago

    This battle as you lay it out Troy is not with “3% of the population” but with a growing majority of Statists and Leftists throughout our country and the world, mind you, hell bent on manipulating anyone with an agenda, for their own evil purposes and desire for “fundamental transformation”.

    • #9
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:46 AM PST
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  10. SteveS Inactive
    Mendel
    Merina Smith: Wow, Mendel and Troy, it’s sweet how you trust that accommodation can be made with the left. Has experience taught you nothing?

    I don’t see any accomodation. I think the fight for religious freedom is the central issue that should be fought to the death.

    But I also don’t see government sanctioning of gay relationships as a religious issue (here goes that debate again…).

    Our system of liberties in America is founded on the principle that everyone wants the whole cake, and we compromise by giving everyone one whole piece and but denying them another. We separate spheres, and rights granted within one sphere are not transferable to another.

    Our society needs to re-learn how to live with the conflicts inherent in limited rights. In a way, I welcome the chance for religious liberty to reaffirm its right to include and exclude whomever it pleases. · 4 minutes ago

    Edited 2 minutes ago

    I agree with your definition of the correct battle to wage but is your hope really in the courts to defend our religious liberties. The fight for religious freedom surfaced in a healthcare law through HHS for Pete’s sake.

    • #10
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:52 AM PST
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  11. Mendel Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    Mendel

    I don’t see too many strong advocates well-placed and ready to fight that fight. That HHS mandate is still hanging over us, isn’t it? 

    How about the Supreme Court? Last year they voted 9-0 that a religious school had the right to fire a disabled teacher under the protections of religious liberty. That seems like a pretty staunch defense of the right to free association for churches to me.

    • #11
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:53 AM PST
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  12. SteveS Inactive
    Keith Bruzelius: And this is a reason to support Rand Paul, even if you think his father was possibly a bigot or racist for not suporting the civil rights act and wanting to place a high value on the rights of free association, and the freedom to contract with whomever you wish tio contract with.

    Someone has to have the guts to stand against plitical correctness and these socialists/nanny-statists that have an incurable desire to control everyone because they think they know better than you do.

    I also want a “leave me alone” society.

    I support you in your fight to preserve what’s left of the rights of free association and conscience. · 13 minutes ago

    Rand Paul, with all due respect, has one filibuster along with some speeches and he has now been anointed King George The Dragon slayer. 

    My money is on Gov. Scott Walker who is really in the fray fighting for freedom and liberty everyday.

    • #12
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:56 AM PST
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  13. Frederick Key Inactive

    Erickson is about 1000000000% right on this. In any event, I am so sick of this topic I make Samuel L. Jackson look like he positively loves snakes on airplanes by comparison.

    • #13
    • March 27, 2013, at 2:57 AM PST
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  14. Merina Smith Inactive
    Mendel
    Merina Smith: Wow, Mendel and Troy, it’s sweet how you trust that accommodation can be made with the left. Has experience taught you nothing?

    I don’t see any accomodation. I think the fight for religious freedom is the central issue that should be fought to the death.

    But I also don’t see government sanctioning of gay relationships as a religious issue (here goes that debate again…).

    Our system of liberties in America is founded on the principle that everyone wants the whole cake, and we compromise by giving everyone one whole piece and but denying them another. We separate spheres, and rights granted within one sphere are not necessarily transferable to another.

    Our society needs to re-learn how to live with the conflicts inherent in limited rights. I welcome the chance for religious liberty to reaffirm its right to include and exclude whomever it pleases. · 18 minutes ago

    Edited 13 minutes ago

    Well, Mendel, I live with (am married to) a church/state scholar who has published extensively on this subject who is pretty sure that the marriage battle is a key component of this. With all due respect, I think you are naïve.

    • #14
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:04 AM PST
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  15. Douglas Inactive

    “There seems to be a growing recognition amongst both supporters and detractors, however, that this increasingly looks like a fait accompli.”

    Standing athwart history yelling “But I wouldn’t want to offend anyone..”

    • #15
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:07 AM PST
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  16. Douglas Inactive
    Keith Bruzelius:

    I also want a “leave me alone” society.

    All you’re going to get is a leftist mandate society. 

    • #16
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:09 AM PST
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  17. Mendel Member
    Merina Smith
    Mendel
    Merina Smith: 

    Well, Mendel, I live with (am married to) a church/state scholar who has published extensively on this subject who is pretty sure that the marriage battle is a key component of this. 

    Merina, could you please elaborate on this?

    Does your spouse think that legalizing gay marriage will de jure force churches to marry gay couples against their will? I was under the impression that churches don’t have to marry anyone they don’t want to (i.e. Catholic churches can’t be forced to marry Muslims). Am I wrong?

    Or does he think that the general sanction of gay marriage by society violates the religious freedom, even if churches are not coerced into recognizing them?

    Or something else entirely?

    • #17
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:11 AM PST
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  18. Merina Smith Inactive

    He could do it better, but I’ll give it a go. First, the freedom of association was shot down in the Hastings case against the Christian Legal Society there. That’s one bulwark that would be a protection for churches gone. The HHS mandate is another assault on religious freedom, which shows that the left cares not a whit about conscience. It’s a ridiculously small thing for people to buy their own contraceptives, yet the Obama administration insists on putting that burden on the consciences of religious people. It does not bode well. The left is very good at first marginalizing a point of view and then rendering anyone who doesn’t agree with them as proponents of hate. Then come hate speech codes–you know the drill. If a group gets heightened scrutiny, it’s game over, baby. That’s when people start to be prosecuted for refusing to marry ss couples, etc.

    In the academy, secular scholars are increasingly coming to say that religion does not deserve the special protection that it has traditionally had on account of the good it does and the requirements of conscience. If that goes, there goes the tax free status. 

    • #18
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:21 AM PST
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  19. Percival Thatcher

    Wow. That’s awfully nice of you guys. If we just surrender now, you’ll throw us a bone and help out when they come after the churches. Thanks. That will make all the difference, because the Republican Party is so good at tactical withdrawals just prior to brilliant strategic victories.

    I am so enthused.

    • #19
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:24 AM PST
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  20. jkumpire Inactive
    Frozen Chosen: All this fuss for 3% of the population. Surely there must be something other than marriage driving the gay agenda? · 1 hour ago

    It is simple: Gay people are trying to find a way to justify their lifestyle and find affirmation for something that harms them and society. They want to be justified in their own minds that to be first and foremost gay is perfectly normal. So now that they find acceptance among a certain number of people they believe that they can make everyone else accept their lifestyle choices too.

    It’s a shame for all of us.

    • #20
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:25 AM PST
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  21. Joseph Stanko Member
    Mendel: 

    Only last year, the Supreme Court ruledunanimouslythat religious freedom allows churches to exclude anyone they please from their institutions. And nobody disputes the legality of the Catholic Church denying its sacraments (such as communion) to non-Catholics or Catholics not in good standing. I doubt any court would give a lawsuit by a gay couple wanting to be married in a church the time of day.

    I agree, I think you’re right here. And I believe the HHS mandate included an exemption for churches all along.

    The position of the Obama administration, and of progressives in general, is that freedom of religion means freedom of worship, that in your church/mosque/synagogue you can include or exclude whomever you wish from your prayers, rites, and ceremonies.

    The sticking point in the HHS mandate has been over religious charities, non-profits, and businesses: hospitals, adoption agencies, soup kitchens, and so on. Since these are not exclusively devoted to prayer and worship, “freedom of religion” does not apply to them so they better get on board with contraception, abortion, gay marriage, and all the other progressive dogmas.

    • #21
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:35 AM PST
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  22. BrentB67 Inactive

    If the handwriting is on the wall that SSM is going to come to pass I wonder if this is the over reach point? Obamacare may overreach, but it isn’t in full effect yet and SSM may hit he shores in full force much sooner.

    Progressives have run the federal government unopposed, Sen’s Paul, Cruz, and Toomey, can’t hold the ramparts alone, since 2009. They are racking up victories for their cause at an admirable pace. 

    There comes a point where they win the game, the question is what have they won. Utopia may not be all it is cracked up to be.

    • #22
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:36 AM PST
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  23. Crowbar Inactive

    “the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.” This “pipe dream” seems similar to past pipe dreams like civil rights, end to prohibition, women’s suffrage, abolition of slavery, and independence from the British empire. As conservatives & libertarians we believe that the federal government does not have the moral authority to give benefits to one group at the expense of another. Some people support government social engineering because it goes in line with their personal beliefs. However, it is unwise to trust this kind of authority to a government that has a history of being on the wrong side of morality. The best way to ensure that our values and beliefs are not threatened by a central authority is to fight government attempts to define or redefine marriage at all. This is why I believe and can only support the “libertarian pipe dream” of getting the government out of the marriage debate. This by in no way means anyone should keep silent about their beliefs and convictions. However, logic and reason should always be used before laws and regulations. If we truly believe in freedom, this is the price of it.

    • #23
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:36 AM PST
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  24. Aaron Miller Member

    Mendel, I remember a time when the Church was permitted to run an adoption agency in Massachussetts.

    • #24
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:38 AM PST
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  25. Mendel Member

    Everyone here is buying into the left’s premise.

    As several in this thread have pointed out, many gay marriage advocates don’t care about gays marrying per se. Instead, they think that by legalizing gay marriage, traditional-values Americans will be forced to accept homosexuality in their collective conscience.

    And people here seem to be falling for that fallacy. Weak sauce.

    Our country is based on the ideal that just because something is legal does not mean any citizen has to accept it as being good. Consider: 

    – the Westboro Baptist protesters have been granted legal protection for their bile: are the rest of us forced to agree with them?

    – many states sell alcohol in state-run stores: do Mormons or Muslims have to accept that alcohol is a good thing?

    – we went to war in Iraq: are religious pacificists compelled to embrace war?

    With all respect, anyone who claims that legalized gay marriage will force them to change their conscience has a weak conscience to begin with. Let anti-religious crusaders legalize gay marriage, then show them that it has no effect on your beliefs. Then you will win the real battle.

    • #25
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:46 AM PST
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  26. Merina Smith Inactive

    It’s a slow strangulation. They still give exemptions to congregations per se, but the net grows ever tighter.

    • #26
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:48 AM PST
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  27. Nick Stuart Inactive

    It would have been unimaginable 20 years ago that a Catholic hospital would be forced to pay for their employees to have abortifacients (and that is a long road we’re just at the beginning of, the Left will not rest until Catholic hospitals, all hospitals, are forced not only to pay for their employee’s abortions, but to perform them).

    It would have been unimaginable 20 years ago that a Catholic adoption agency would be forced to stop arranging adoptions in a state because they refused to arrange adoptions for same sex couples.

    Consequently it has become easy to imagine sanctions of any and all sorts being imposed on religious believers and institutions who fail to positively affirm and accept practitioners of marriage redefined to include same sex couples, polygamous groupings, intra-familial couples and groups, and so on.

    • #27
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:53 AM PST
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  28. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Now here’s a challenge for advocates of Same Sex Marriage.

    Forget polygamy. Forget marriage within the bounds of consanguinity.

    If the definition of marriage is to be changed to “very special friends who really love each other and want to spend their lives together in a committed relationship.” Or however you want Same Sex Marriage defined.

    Give a definite, bright line reason why the definition of marriage can not be changed so that inter-species marriage is also state sanctioned and privileged.

    [edited for spelling]

    • #28
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:57 AM PST
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  29. Mendel Member
    Merina Smith:First, the freedom of association was shot down in the Hastings case against the Christian Legal Society there. 

    But the Hastings case involved whether a Christian group would be sponsored at a public university – much different than the question of free association for an independent church. I think the Tabor case is a much stronger counterargument.

    Merina Smith: The HHS mandate is another assault on religious freedom, which shows that the left cares not a whit about conscience. 

    And can you think of any policy Obama has had to walk back more due to public outrage? He has already backtracked twice and is still taking heat. That shows the strength of supporters of religious freedom.

    Merina Smith:

    secular scholars are increasingly coming to say that religion does not deserve the special protection that it has traditionally had on account of the good it does and the requirements of conscience.

    And the academy is also fiercely opposed to gun rights and campaign finance, yet we still have the Heller and Citizens United decisions.

    Again, I don’t think we should be sanguine about the freedom of religious conscience, but this is a battle which is eminently winnable.

    • #29
    • March 27, 2013, at 3:59 AM PST
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  30. Merina Smith Inactive

    Nick is exactly right, Mendel. The left is obviously trying to make it beyond the pale to oppose the redefinition of marriage. Have you been paying attention? Westboro has no relevance here–they are beyond the pale and everyone knows it. Selling is not analogous at all. That’s a commercial transaction. Of course people will choose if they want to do it. The left is trying to change what is considered beyond the pale. Then if you want to get a job or start a business, you will be punished if you do not believe the right way. That’s exactly what happened here in CA during the Prop 8 battle. People who didn’t agree lost jobs and businesses, churches were defaced, old ladies were shoved about. It isn’t about being forced to change your views–no one can force me to do that–but I can be deeply marginalized and punished because of them. THAT’S what we’re talking about.

    • #30
    • March 27, 2013, at 4:00 AM PST
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