The Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide, in a historic decision that invalidates gay marriage bans in more than a dozen states.
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. But in a 5-4 ruling, the court held that the 14th Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples and to recognize such marriages performed in other states.
The ruling means the remaining 14 states that did not allow such unions, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans. Already, gay marriages were underway Friday in several states where they had been banned. A court in Atlanta issued marriage licenses to three same-sex couples Friday morning, soon after the decision. Other licenses reportedly were issued in Arkansas and Texas -- where Gov. Greg Abbott also issued a memo directing state agency heads to protect religious liberties.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.
"No union is more profound than marriage," Kennedy wrote, joined by the court's four more liberal justices. He continued: "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right."
I've said many times on this blog as well as on the radio show that 2+ years ago I conceded the fact same-sex marriage would one day be the law of the land. As such, I wrote last year how social conservatives need to start gearing up for the next phase of this battle, which is religious liberty. We've already witnessed how private citizens who own service oriented businesses are shamed (and in some cases sued) for refusing to violate their religious objections in providing services to gay weddings. And lest you think that we're making mountains out of molehills, check out this excerpt from Chief Justice John Roberts' dissenting opinion.
In defense of SSM, America's Solicitor General has already said Churches will be targeted. This isn't a game. pic.twitter.com/ykRCeDy82e— John Nolte (@NolteNC) June 26, 2015
While I haven't seen any specific stats or polling, I would venture to say that the majority of SSM proponents have no interest in forcing citizens to violate their religious beliefs or demand churches be mandated to host gay weddings. However, we've seen quite clearly what just a handful of rabble rousers will do when there's less than 100% acquiescence to the "Gay-stapo."
One of the persistent arguments from SSM proponents was that legalizing a union of two people who love each other is no one's business and doesn't cause harm to heterosexual marriages. In short, they were saying "live and let live." I can only hope that those who expressed that mantra equally apply that sentiment to those with deeply held religious beliefs.