Charles Krauthammer has been reading Bookworm Room about gay marriage

That post title is, of course, a wild leap of faith.  But there’s no doubt but that Dr. Krauthammer has come to exactly the same conclusion I’ve been trumpeting forever at this blog:  making gay marriage a civil right protected by the Constitution will cause a headlong crash into the First Amendment’s promise that government will leave religious doctrine and practice alone.

I’m going to quote myself from March 2009, long before gay marriage got to the Supreme Court:

As you know, one of my main reasons for supporting Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, was because I believe that move to redefine marriage has the potential to put the State and religion organizations — especially the Catholic church — into a head-on collision.

Liberals, when confronted with this notion, will often argue that, while the Catholic Church objects to abortion, that’s never created a constitutional crisis.  What they ignore is the fact that, while the church is not in the business of providing abortions, it is in the business of providing marriages.  It also ignores the fact that abortion is a legal right, not a constitutional one, while gay marriage proponents have been framing it in the opposite way:  they say gay marriage as a constitutional, rather than a mere legal right.

Keep in mind that, for Catholics, marriage isn’t just a white dress, cake and Mendelssohn’s wedding march.  Instead, it’s a sacrament.  A basic tenet of the religion is the joining of man and woman before God.

So imagine this scenario:  Two men go to the local Catholic parish and demand that it marry them.  The priest, sympathetic to their love for each other, nevertheless states that he cannot, at a purely religious level marry them.  The men turn around and sue the Church for violating their Constitutional rights.  Suddenly, the judicial system is called upon to examine doctrinal issues to determine whether they mesh with Constitutional issues.  It’s a scary scenario for anyone who takes seriously the principle that government may not interfere with religious doctrine.

The only thing that’s changed now is that, thanks to ObamaCare, which requires that Catholic institutions pay for birth control and abortifacients, the Obama administration has already managed to create a Constitutional crisis with regard to abortion.  I hadn’t seen that one coming back in 2009.

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Comments

  1. says

     
    It’s going to get very ugly……and the pretzel-like shapes that more or less nominal supporters of the President will have to contort themselves into so they can continue to back him will be interesting to see.
     
    The truth is that there will be a choice – the President’s agenda or the Constitution.  And the effort to avoid facing that truth will have to be heroic.
     
    :-(

  2. says

    “Liberals, when confronted with this notion, will often argue that, while the Catholic Church objects to abortion, that’s never created a constitutional crisis. What they ignore is the fact that, while the church is not in the business of providing abortions, it is in the business of providing marriages.  It also ignores the fact that abortion is a legal right, not a constitutional one, while gay marriage proponents have been framing it in the opposite way:  they say gay marriage as a constitutional, rather than a mere legal right.”
     
    A brief quibble: the church is not in the business of providing abortions, but it is in the business of providing health care, e.g. Catholic Healthcare West. It refuses to provide abortions and a great many family planning services at its health care facilities, as a function of adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. This has been the case for many years, and so far as I know nobody has taken them to court to force them to do otherwise. It has indeed never created a constitutional crisis.
     
    Similarly the church is in the business of providing marriages but not same-sex marriages. Thus same-sex marriage is to marriage as abortion and planning are to health care services. I do believe the concern over having priests hauled into court to force them to perform ceremonies inconsistent with their doctrine overblown. Not entirely without substance, as some crackpot somewhere may well try such a thing. But it won’t work if they do.
     
    Also I believe abortion rights are indeed constitutionally-based; Roe v. Wade was based on what the constitution required in the view of a majority of the then-sitting justices. I realize many many people disagree with their constitutional analysis, as do I, but it was based on a particular view of constitutional jurisprudence.   

  3. says

     
    And yet….in several jurisdictions, Catholic Social Services has been forced to exit the adoption “business” because it was held to be an impermissible act of discrimination to refuse to work with homosexual couples wishing to adopt……
     
    And bad as it looks for the church entities, it’s going to be far worse for individuals with religious convictions.  Pharmacists already face this, and many have left the profession rather than dispense abortifacient drugs.  Landlords also know what it means to take a stand for conscience, when they are prohibited from discriminating against unmarried couples in the renting of their properties.
     
    As I said….it’s going to get (very) ugly.

  4. says

    Earl said: “And yet….in several jurisdictions, Catholic Social Services has been forced to exit the adoption “business” because it was held to be an impermissible act of discrimination to refuse to work with homosexual couples wishing to adopt……”
     
    Yabbut that has to do with government contracting, and the strings generally involved when you contract with the government. It does not have to do with being forced or precluded from doing anything based on your religion, it has to do with what you are required to do to comply with contracts with the governmental you may enter into or not. If the government qua government can’t discriminate then neither can its contractors.

  5. says

     
    I’m confident that I’m far too cynical (although I find that I can’t keep up, no matter how hard I try), but I don’t think that pharmacies are contracting with the government….they’re just taking government money when they accept Medicare/Medicaid/etc.
     
    It’s the same with colleges and universities – if they accept students who have a federally-guaranteed loan (now a federal loan), they are REQUIRED to abide by all the regulations that the federal government places on them.  Check out Hillsdale College for more on this particular situation.  Why would the government fail to apply the new definition of marriage to private colleges and universities enrolling students using government loans?  Even religious ones with objections on religious grounds?
     
    As for churches, I can easily see the Catholics (to use a single example) being told that since they, or their associated entities, accept government largesse – payments for services rendered at a Catholic hospital or a homeless shelter or a free clinic or a soup kitchen or whatever; or perhaps simply exemption from various taxes – they must do what the regulators tell them.  What could be more reasonable?  Your orthodox view of Scripture precludes your cooperation in this matter?  Tough.  Get with the program or sever every possible connection, however indirect, to the government.  Millions of citizens will be negatively affected?  Doesn’t matter, government is being advanced and the private sector is being shrunk.
     
    And even if the government leaves the churches alone (highly unlikely, in my opinion), what about the wedding photographer with orthodox Christian views?  Or the apartment owner with similar views?  Or the employer who provides health insurance for “married” people and doesn’t accept the government’s definition because it conflicts with their religious beliefs?
     
    The Left is not going to “leave them alone”…..they will be forced to kowtow, or to disrupt their lives.  It’s what they do.

  6. lee says

    This gets into something I wrote about on my blog in the fall, http://moxiehoxie.blogspot.com/2012/06/fortnight-for-religious-freedom.html : How the Federal Government is violating the Establishment Clause by telling us what constitutes a “religious entity.”
    1. “Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose”;
    2. “Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets”;
    3. “Primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets”;
    4. “Is a nonprofit organization”
    The Gubmint is telling us what is a “religion” and that certain aspects of some religions don’t count. (I guess the Good Samaritan will have to be edited out of the New Testament. It could give people the WRONG idea.)  Which means any hospital, university, family services organization is screwed: they can only operate if the primarily employ and primarily serve persons who share that organizations religious tenets, that is assuming that caring for the sick, the indigent or that education can be considered “inculcating religious values.”
     
    We are so screwed.
     
     
     
     

  7. says

    “This has been the case for many years, and so far as I know nobody has taken them to court to force them to do otherwise. It has indeed never created a constitutional crisis.”
     
    That only makes sense in a nation that isn’t run by a totalitarian government. However, context is different for the US.

  8. says

    The idea that people can opt out of national Obamacare… that evaporated when people became a pawn of the Left, via voting Democrat all the time.
     
    Well, it’s not like politics matter given how democracy is merely designed to convince the people that their tyrants have a right to crush them.
     

  9. says

    One of the things I’ve been wondering is whether, if marriage is redefined as including same-sex couples, the societal acceptance given to married couples may wind up being withdrawn from purely civil marriages and retreating to religious marriages.  Perhaps rather than same-sex couples coming to be regarded as opposite-sex couples, only people in religious marriages will be granted the social status accorded to traditional married couples.
    More thoughts at this post which I finally decided to put on my blog.

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