Forget A Federal Marriage Amendment and Go For Religious Freedom Acts In All 50 States
“I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.
By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas.” – Justice Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court decision that forced gay marriage on the country
The dilemma Christians and conservatives face after the Supreme Court’s made-up-from-whole-cloth-instead-of-the-Constitution ruling on gay marriage is one that Machiavelli described over 500 years ago.
“And what physicians say about disease is applicable here: that at the beginning a disease is easy to cure but difficult to diagnose; but as time passes, not having been treated or recognized at the outset, it becomes easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. The same thing occurs in affairs of state; for by recognizing from afar the diseases that are spreading in the state (which is a gift given only to a prudent ruler), they can be cured quickly; but when they are not recognized and are left to grow to the extent that everyone recognizes them, there is no longer any cure.”
Of course, all of that is water under the bridge and the majority of states in the country, which didn’t vote for gay marriage, have had it thrust upon them unwillingly by tyrants in black robes.
As a response to this, some Republicans have called for term limits for the Supreme Court. Ted Cruz has called for justices to have to face the voters every 8 years. Scott Walker has called for a constitutional amendment to roll back the Supreme Court’s decision.
The problem with all these proposals, well-meaning though they may be, is that they’re really nothing more than futile gestures designed to send the right signals to conservatives. While there’s certainly something to be said for showing the conservative base you’re on its side, at the end of the day it doesn’t change anything for the better.
For example, the three longest serving Supreme Court Justices are Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. That’s two conservative originalists and a coin-flip. What if they were term-limited out now while Obama is President? How would that make the Supreme Court hew more closely to the Constitution?
As to the Supreme Court justices facing the voters, do we really want Supreme Court justices to start putting getting elected ahead of adhering to the Constitution? That might work on the local level to help get rid of judges who are soft on crime, but it seems doubtful that it would lead to a better Supreme Court.
As to the suggestion that we should put a Federal Marriage Amendment in place, that’s trying to close the barn door after the horse has already run away. Orrin Hatch is generally useless as a senator, but back in 2004 he actually had a pretty good proposal for an Amendment to Protect Traditional Marriage.
“We are therefore pleased to learn that Sen. Orrin Hatch is introducing his own constitutional amendment. His version reads as follows: ‘Civil marriage shall be defined in each state by the legislature or the citizens thereof. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to require that marriage or its benefits be extended to any union other than that of a man and a woman.’ This amendment would not only clearly allow civil unions to be enacted by legislatures; it would even allow legislatures to enact full-fledged same-sex marriage. But it would bar federal or state courts from imposing either.”
Could that have passed in 2004 when even Democrats were pretending to oppose gay marriage? It’s entirely possible, but Republicans have grown so timid, afraid of social issues and generally scared to rock the boat that they never even tried. Today, when Democrats are as supportive of gay marriage as abortion, disarming Americans, and raising taxes, there’s not a chance.
So, if those proposals are largely posturing, what should we be doing?
We should be pushing for religious freedom acts in all 50 states. Thirty one states currently have at least SOME RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS. That needs to become an issue in EVERY state because this ruling means the Left is about to start engaging in open warfare on Christians.
They’re going to go after the tax status of Christian churches. They’re going to try to get Christians fired from their jobs. They’re going to try to censor Christians at best and define parts of Christian doctrine as hate speech at worst. They’re going to try to use the government to put Christians who refuse to sin by working on gay marriages out of business.
Since when do Christians lose their First Amendment rights if they start a business? Since when does “freedom of religion” only apply as long as you don’t own a bakery or take wedding photos? This is a country founded on religious freedom and those rights don’t cease the moment someone walks out of the church doors.
We need these laws to keep Christians from being persecuted. The anti-Christian Left can get awfully loud, but polls consistently show that the American people agree by large margins that Christians shouldn’t be legally penalized for refusing to cater gay weddings.
The issue presents a nice contrast. We’re the people who support Christians. They’re the people who hate Christians. We believe in religious freedom. They’re the people who don’t believe in religious freedom. We’re protecting the rights of Christians. They’re the ones who want to take away the rights of Christians. They don’t have any qualms about lying to claim that we hate gay Americans; so why can’t we tell the truth about the raw hatred for Christians that’s driving so many liberals to try to crush religious freedom?
Instead of pushing pie-in-the-sky policies that aren’t ever going to accomplish anything, conservatives should embrace these popular laws that can defend the First Amendment rights of the roughly 70% of Americans who refer to themselves as Christians. We lost one battle, but unless we make this a hill to die on, we’ll lose the war and Christians will become second class citizens in our own country.