Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Rules for Marriage Equality

In a 5-4 decision that presumably has sent the heads of fundamentalists everywhere spinning, the Supreme Court has just ruled that marriage equality is now the law of the land in the United States. The majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy struck down state bans on same-sex marriage as violations of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Kennedy grounds his opinion in two separate but related provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment: the due process and equal protection clauses. The "liberty" protected by the due process clause, Kennedy explains, protects gay couple's fundamental right to marriage. And the equal protection clause bars the government from singling out a specific group—here, gays—and depriving them of certain rights. Kennedy nicely describes the "synergy between the two protections":

"The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always coextensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other. In any particular case one Clause may be thought to capture the essence of the right in a more accurate and comprehensive way, even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right."

I guess this means the "spiritual war" declared by the Southern Baptist Convention is on. Except that basically, they just lost, at least in terms of civil law. At the same time, all the nonsense about churches being forced to perform same-sex weddings and such is just that. Churches can define marriage however they want, and the constitution fundamentally protects their rights to do so. They just can't force their religious definitions of marriage onto everyone who doesn't share their beliefs.

And just as a point, I'm also guessing that this guy isn't really going to set himself on fire now that the Supreme Court has ruled against him. Or, for that matter, any of these other goofy predictions from prominent evangelicals coming to pass.

UPDATE: And I totally nailed that one. "Oh, I wasn't really going to set myself on fire, it was just a quotation!" Rick Scarborough, you are officially full of shit. The rest of them likely are as well.

Just as a point, some people have been passing this sad article around without reading it closely as proof that he did it. But the Texas minister who set himself on fire was Charles Moore, not Rick Scarborough, and it happened last year. In his suicide note, Moore explained that he did it to protest racism. It had nothing to do with marriage equality.

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