Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Freedom: Portents of Future Trouble

By: Matthew J. Frank

Obergefell v. Hodges, the pending Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage, is the year’s most closely watched case among advocates of religious freedom. Yet it is doubtful that considerations of religious freedom, or questions of individual conscience, will enter into the central reasons for judgment given by the justices in deciding the case. Such considerations may not even be mentioned at all in the opinions of the justices.

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Supreme Court Debates Meaning of Marriage and Consequences of Judicial Redefinition

By: Ryan T. Anderson

Last Tuesday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court were excellent. There were so many good points made about what marriage is and why redefining marriage would cause harms.

This serious consideration of the harms of marriage redefinition stands in stark contrast to outrageous lower court rulings that had declared no rational basis to state marriage laws defining marriage as it always had been in America: a union of husband and wife. 

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Conscience, Discrimination, and Marriage Equality: Are Analogies to 1964—and 1967—Inevitable?

By: Linda McClain

The swift “fix” of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to clarify that the law would “not create a license to discriminate” followed “storms of protest” from “the worlds of arts, business and college athletics” and threats of boycotts. To some, the highly publicized controversy had parallels to Arizona’s preemptive effort in 2014 to protect religious conscience, even though Arizona neither permitted nor recognized same-sex marriage. Former governor Frank Keating criticized the Arizona law (vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer), commenting: “This isn’t 1964 anymore. We’ve moved beyond that. If you open up your doors to the general public, you can’t pick and choose who are you are going to deal with.”  Following criticism of the Indiana law, Governor Pence invoked his activities in the Civil Rights Movement, asserting that “the issue of discrimination has been an anthem throughout my life.” 

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Redefining Marriage Would Erode Religious Liberty and Free Speech Rights of Citizens and Churches

By: Carl H. Esbeck

Among the many friends-of-the-court briefs in support of the states in the current same-sex marriage litigation, three especially noteworthy briefs have been filed by religious organizations, public speakers, and scholars concerned about religious liberty and free speech. One brief expresses the joint views of several Protestant churches and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), while a second brief was filed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Both reject the notion that support for man-woman marriage is founded on animus and that the marriage laws can be struck down on that basis. They also warn that elevating sexual orientation to a protected class or same-sex marriage to a fundamental right would impede religious liberty. 

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Faith and Family, Better Together? Religion and Family Around the Globa

By: W. Bradford Wilcox

All the attention devoted to the first Roman Catholic Synod on the Family, which wraps up this week at the Vatican, is but one sign that the ties binding hearth and altar to one another can still be the subject of considerable concern. That’s in part because the fortunes of the family in the West have largely ebbed and flowed with the fortunes of religious faith over the centuries, as scholars like Peter Berger, Robert Wuthnow, and Mary Eberstadt have noted. 

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