With the U.S. Supreme Court set to take up gay marriage and potentially legalize it this summer, churches that host wedding ceremonies or other events for traditional couples should examine their bylaws and shield themselves from the impact of possible litigation, says an attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues.
Ryan T. Anderson and William E. Simon write:
Conservatives rightly uphold the institution of marriage between a man and a woman because marriage is the seedbed of society, the necessary precondition for limited self-government.
But not everyone sees it this way. With the United States Supreme Court expected to decide this week whether to hear challenges to traditional marriage laws, now is the time for citizens to think deeply about the nature and purpose of marriage.
Marriage unites a man and woman holistically—emotionally and bodily, in acts of conjugal love and in the children such love brings forth—for the whole of life.
In the revisionist view of marriage, however, what sets marriage apart from other bonds is emotional intensity—what one philosopher refers to as your “number one person.” But nothing about emotional union requires it to be permanent. Or limited to two. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive. Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands.
Quoting Justice William Douglas:
We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. (Zorach v. Clauson)
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Chief Justice John Marshall concluded in 1819 (McCullough v. Maryland):
“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”
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Quoting Justice Joseph Story:
“No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.”
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