As the Supreme Court continues to consider whether or not to take cases on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Good As You reminds us what motivates opponents of marriage equality. The so-called Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the central anti-marriage equality organizations involved in this legal battle, is clearly and unsurprisingly motivated by religious values that have no place in our laws:
Redefining marriage will hinder the spread of the Gospel. This is especially true when it comes to ministering to those caught in the snare of sexual sin. When the government implicitly endorses behaviors that can ultimately lead to a person’s eternal destruction, it is an easy step to prohibit proclaiming the biblical Truth about marriage by labeling it “hate speech.” How tragic! Once a society descends to this depth, evil is labeled good, and good is labeled evil.
Those who oppose the biblical definition of marriage and sexual sin do not just want the government’s endorsement of homosexual behavior. As evidenced by numerous lawsuits we’re defending, many want to use the full force of the state to silence, and even punish, anyone who has convictions to the contrary.
To be clear, opponents of marriage equality have a right to their own religious beliefs no matter how much I or others disagree with them. If they choose to believe that LGBT people are “caught in the snare of sexual sin” or that “the biblical definition of marriage” is the correct one they absolutely have that right.
What marriage inequality advocates do not have the right to do — at least if you’re still a fan of our First Amendment — is impose these religious beliefs on a nation of great religious diversity. They have the right to their beliefs but they do not have a right to have those beliefs enshrined in law. That’s a fundamental part of the basic social contract that Americans have made with each other, albeit imperfectly, since the very beginning.
The Obama administration’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act because the administration views it as unconstitutional shouldn’t have been at all controversial. There is no rational basis for marriage inequality; there is only a religious argument, an argument that opponents of marriage equality are entitled to believe but are not entitled to force on the rest of us. If the First Amendment means anything it must mean that the Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 8 and other laws like them are unconstitutional and it is well past time for our nation’s highest court to recognize that and strike down these laws.