Only a few isolated locations in the country remain where same-sex couples can't get married. Those opposed to equality are getting increasingly desperate, with stall tactics and long-shot legal games. We're also likely to see renewed attacks on other civil rights, so there's still going to be a lot of work to do in order to protect equality. But the story of marriage is changing from something we're fighting to achieve to something we're actually living. That's why as of this week I'm wrapping up Marriage News Watch.
In recent years, a host of charismatic wild species, the coyote being only the most famous, have returned to American cities in numbers not seen for generations. Yet the official response in many areas has been, at best, disorganized, and people’s responses varied. The time has come for us to accept that these animals are here to stay, and develop a new approach to urban wildlife.
Most big American cities occupy sites that were once rich ecosystems. New York and Boston overlook dynamic river mouths. San Francisco and Seattle border vast estuaries, while large parts of Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, DC rest atop former wetlands. Even Las Vegas sprawls across a rare desert valley with reliable sources of life-giving fresh water, supplied by artesian aquifers the nearby Spring Mountains. All of these places once attracted diverse and abundant wildlife.
In an interview, [Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission] told The Huffington Post that one of the movement's main mistakes in the gay marriage fight was assuming traditionalists would always have public opinion on their side. Social conservatives didn't anticipate or prepare for the dramatic turnabout in national sentiment on this issue over the last 10 years, he said, assuming they'd always operate from a position of strength in the culture war. They believed that fundamentally, Americans shared their values.
"I think that many pro-marriage people assumed that we would always represent a majority in American opinion," Moore said. "For a while, that was true. But we needed to be prepared to argue for something that is right regardless of whether or not the majority of Americans agree with us. I think that was a key error."
Moore added that the movement had also failed to put a humane face on its opposition to same-sex unions, though he said he thinks this was not the primary reason for the loss.
"There were some people speaking to this issue from my side who were angry and presented a public face of outrage in a way that I don't think was helpful," Moore said. "Evangelicals don't dislike our gay and lesbian neighbors, and we don't mean them harm."
While other conservatives moved on to incoherent babbling about “religious liberty”, Douthat used his New York Times column to dig his heels into the argument soundly rejected by Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges: that same-sex marriage is somehow an assault on traditional marriage.
Kennedy argued that the case for same-sex marriage “strengthened, not weakened” the institution of marriage by affirming that it upholds “the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.” Douthat, however, remains skeptical, complaining that “approval of divorce, premarital sex, and out-of-wedlock childbearing” is on the rise and that younger Americans, in particular, take “a more relaxed perspective, in which wedlock is malleable and optional, one way among many to love, live, rear kids—or not.” This sense that marriage is optional offends Douthat greatly, as he sees it as an immoral shunning of duty.
Douthat isn’t wrong on the facts, even if he’s wrong on his assessment of them. It’s true that women in modern society no longer feel like they have to be married to be granted entrance into adult society. Single women living by and supporting themselves is no longer considered scandalous. Marriage is, bit by bit, becoming more about a partnership between equals who choose each other for the purpose of love and happiness. Which means it’s becoming less about giving men control over women’s lives.
In this sense, Douthat isn’t wrong that “support for same-sex marriage and the decline of straight marital norms exist in a kind of feedback loop.” To accept same-sex marriage is to accept this modern idea that marriage is about love and partnership, instead of about dutiful procreation and female submission. Traditional gender roles where husbands rule over wives are disintegrating and that process is definitely helped along by these new laws allowing that marriage doesn’t have to be a gendered institution at all.
The Iowa lawmakers suggest in their statement that same-sex marriage violates the separation of church and state.
Separation of church and state means the government cannot interfere with religion, the statement claims. “At the same time, in order for the United States to function at its best, the people who represent the citizens in government must reflect a strong Judeo-Christian ethic in all we do, including having a solid, unmovable moral basis in our laws,” it adds.
I am grateful that the First Amendment continues to protect the sincerely held religious beliefs of public servants like me. That has not changed since last Friday.
Clerk Gwen Pope and employees Sharon Bell and Mickey Butler cited their religious beliefs as the reason behind their decision.
Confirming the resignations, County Commissioner David Boroughs praised the employees’ decision because “their faith is so strong and well-rounded that they feel they can do that.”
Now, the ACLU has filed a federal class action lawsuit against one of those clerks, Kim Davis (below right) of Rowan County, on behalf of two gay couples and two straight ones.
From the ACLU’s release:
In explaining the ACLU’s decision to file suit on the couples’ behalf, ACLU of Kentucky Cooperating Attorney Laura Landenwich stated, “Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion, but as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs.”
On Wednesday the Episcopal Church overwhelmingly voted to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The vote occurred at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, and it passed in the House of Deputies just days after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality.
The new rule will be implemented after November 1, and will eliminate gender-specific language from church laws on marriage. Instead of words like "husband" and "wife," the new church law will use words like "the couple." Same-sex couples will be permitted to have religious weddings in the church; however the new rule also gives clergy permission to decline to perform the ceremonies.
Bishops making these changes have chosen to align themselves with culture rather than the Bible, which puts forth a model of marriage and family life upholding marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. The vast majority of global Christians affirm traditional marriage. Unsurprisingly, there are no bishops in an official capacity from the Church of England here at General Convention, let alone from Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches.
State Rep. Mike Ritze (R), whose family funded the monument, told Doocy that he was shocked because the judges had never ruled against a Ten Commandments display before.
“Well, you know, it’s curious because in many instances like this, Mike, things in state capitals and on public ground are regarded as historical because that’s where our laws and our heritage comes from, came from in the beginning when this nation was first founded,” [host Steve] Doocy opined.
Our Constitution fiercely guards freedom and liberty, and strongly disapproves of state-sanctioned discrimination. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges recognizing a fundamental right to equal marriage for LGBT Americans sits squarely within both text and tradition. Indeed, what is truly remarkable about this case is not the outcome, but rather the people who made it possible — all of the many individuals across our nation who came forward to fight for the liberty and equality that our Constitution guarantees for all of us.
When looking at this equal marriage decision, Chief Justice John Roberts asserts that the Constitution “had nothing to do with it.” He’s wrong. Our Constitution had everything to do with it — with the liberty of two adults to have their love treated the same as that of any other couple. And it is because of the tireless work of jurists, lawyers, husbands like Jim Obergefell, and countless other LGBT Americans who stepped forward to speak out, that our nation will no longer look away from what our Constitution requires.