As many expected, the U.S. Supreme Court today handed down its decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, deciding 5-4 that homosexuals have a constitutionally-protected 14th amendment equal right to marry. The decision requires that as of today, all 50 states must permit gay marriage and must recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
Justice Kennedy, who is oftentimes the “swing vote,” joined the 4 liberal Justices and wrote the opinion for the Court. Chief Justice Roberts and the three conservative Justices wrote blistering dissenting opinions, stating emphatically their disagreements with the opinion of the Court. Chief Justice Roberts summed up the issue with his rhetorical question, “Just who do we think we are?” That statement really says it all—that the Supreme Court of the United States has no business changing how marriage has been defined throughout thousands of years of human history, especially since God, the Creator of marriage, defined marriage in both the Old and New Testaments. Since the dawn of time, marriage has been between one man and one woman. It has provided the support for stable families, which in turn have provided the foundation for successful governments.
The underlying issue of gay marriage will likely, in the long term, be just as controversial as Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision which legalized abortion in all 50 states. Both decisions involved moral and ethical issues and people on both sides were—and are—unlikely to change their views merely because the Supreme Court has legalized an action which many consider to be immoral and in violation of their religious beliefs. Just as with Roe, this issue is far from being completely decided in the sphere of public opinion. The bottom line is that what is legal in many situations is not always moral, ethical, or in keeping with one’s religious beliefs and practices.
The reality is that none of us knows the full ramifications of today’s decision. What we do know is that the NCLL will continue to fight for the rights of individual Christians— particularly those in the wedding industry—as well as pastors, churches, and other Bible-believing ministries, to be fully protected in their beliefs regarding God’s definition of marriage. We will not sit idly by and allow the Freedom of Religion—our First Liberty—to be defined as protecting only the freedom to worship, because it does far more than that. We must, and will, fight to make sure that all Americans have freedom of religious expression in the public square, which is what our Founding Fathers intended.
More than ever, we Christians must shine our light in this dark world with compassion, grace, and love for all people, while also standing up for our own rights as believers. As always, however, when we take a stand, we must do so in the right way and with the right spirit.
Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, a Supreme Court legal decision is not able to definitively determine what is moral and ethical—especially for Bible-believing Christians. Today’s Obergefell decision will remain a controversy for many years. The Supreme Court has spoken, but our responsibility as Christians has remained unchanged.