Wednesday, June 26, 2013

All Around the Web - Gay Marriage Special Edition

Russell Moore - How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Church’s Witness? | You should always begin with Dr. Moore.

The Supreme Court has now ruled on two monumental marriage cases, and the legal and cultural landscape has changed in this country. The court voted to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and remand the decision of the Ninth Circuit in the Proposition 8 case, holding that California’s Proposition 8 defenders didn’t have standing. The Defense of Marriage Act decision used rather sweeping language about equal protection and human dignity as they apply to the recognition of same-sex unions. But what has changed for us, for our churches, and our witness to the gospel?

In one sense, nothing. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is calling the cosmos toward his kingdom, and he will ultimately be Lord indeed. Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesn’t need “family values” to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it. That’s why the gospel rocketed out of the first-century from places such as Ephesus and Philippi and Corinth and Rome, which were hardly Mayberry.

In another sense, though, the marginalization of conjugal marriage in American culture has profound implications for our gospel witness. First of all, marriage isn’t incidental to gospel preaching.

There’s a reason why persons don’t split apart like amoebas. We were all conceived in the union between a man and a woman. Beyond the natural reality, the gospel tells us there’s a cosmic mystery (Eph. 5:32).

R. Albert Mohler - “Waiting for the Other Shoe” — The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage |

On the last day of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today on two same-sex marriage cases. Both are important cases, and both will go far in redefining the most basic institution of human civilization. The Court knew it was making history. A majority of the justices clearly intended to make history, and future generations will indeed remember this day. But for what?

In the first decision handed down today, the Supreme Court found that the Defense of Marriage Act, passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, is unconstitutional. Specifically, it found that the federal government’s refusal to recognize a same-sex marriage that is legal in a state to be unconstitutional. The Court left in place the DOMA provision that protects states from being required to recognize a same-sex union that is valid in another state. In the Proposition 8 case, the Court’s majority held that the plaintiffs in the case, representing the people of California, lacked legal standing to appeal the lower court’s decisions that found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. In 2008, a majority of voters in California passed a constitutional amendment that defined marriage in that state as the union of a man and a woman, effectively overturning a California Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in that case today means that the decision of the Federal District Court stands, presumably meaning that same-sex marriage will be legal again in California. This is presumably the case, but not necessarily, because of disputed provisions in California law. Courts in that state will have to sort out those issues

Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About the Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Cases |

1. The two cases, United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry, are each based on differing -- and perhaps mutually exclusive -- theories of which level of government has the right to define marriage.
2. United States v. Windsor was a direct challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
3. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a federal law that restricts federal marriage benefits and required inter-state marriage recognition to only opposite-sex marriages.
4. In a 5-4 decision on Windsor, the Court struck down DOMA  and ruled that the federal statute is an unconstitutional deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
5. In Windsor, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia wrote dissenting opinions, claiming the Court lacks jurisdiction to review the decisions and that Congress acted constitutionally in passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
6. Hollingsworth v. Perry was a case challenging whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
7. Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state elections.
8. In a 5-4 decision on Perry, the Court ruled that opponents of same-sex marriage did not have the constitutional authority, or standing, to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial years earlier.
9. The Perry decision makes same-sex marriage legal again in California.

WORLD Magazine - Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, but passes on Prop 8 |

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote Wednesday, ruled that proponents of California’s Proposition 8, which is a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, did not have standing in the case to appeal it at the federal level. The decision not to decide leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. California officials likely will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex marriages in about a month. 

The high court said nothing about the validity of same-sex marriage in California and roughly three-dozen other states. 

The vote was not along ideological lines. 

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Antonin Scalia.

TIME Magazine - In Landmark Ruling, Supreme Court Strikes Down Defense Of Marriage Act |

Seventeen years after a Democratic president signed a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down Wednesday, capping one of the fastest civil rights shifts in the nation’s history.

In a landmark 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by bipartisan majorities and signed by President Bill Clinton, is an unconstitutional violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The Court broke along familiar ideological lines, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the majority opinion, joining his four more liberal counterparts. “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment,” Kennedy wrote. Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Samuel Alito filed separate dissents to the Court’s decision. Scalia delivered a lengthy and scathing oral dissent in court as after the decision was announced.

The offending section of the law, which sailed through Congress in 1996, restricted gay couples from receiving more than 1,000 benefits accorded to married couples, even if they were legally married in the states where they reside. In a forceful indictment of the law, Kennedy cited the contradictions between state and federal statutes as among the reasons for striking down the measure.

Last week, the largest Christian ministry devoted to helping homosexuals struggle against their attractions apologized to the gay community and announced it was shutting down.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. The Supreme Court also declined to rule on Proposition 8 from California (Christianity Today has the full story here).

In doing so, same-sex marriage remains a state issue and (although this is not completely clear that this time) it appears to remain legal in California, as it is in 12 other states and the District of Columbia. Also, the United States government will recognize the legality of those marriages with respect to federal benefits. (I'll update this paragraph as the ruling is analyzed, but this is the first look.)

Needless to say, our culture is changing-- quickly and dramatically on this issue. But how should Christians respond?

Our typical response has been to post on blogs, write articles, and send tweets to shout about our opinion and speak out against those who differ. But, I'm not sure that is all we should be doing. Why? Because courts don't determine biblical morality, and regardless of what government does, churches shouldn't stop their mission.

1. The Loss of a Culture of Marriage
2. Threats to Religious Liberty
3. The Cost of Conviction

John Stonestreet - The Supreme Court, Marriage, and Us |

We should hear today the Supreme Court’s decisions on two cases which will significantly impact the legal definition of marriage in America. However, Christians must not think that this will in some way “settle the matter.”  Whether the legal definition of marriage is upheld or overturned in law, the functional definition of marriage is already thoroughly wrong in culture, and too often, in the church.

So, we’ve got work to do. And, we can look at the breadth of the pro-life movement for lessons learned. As long as it’s a joke on sitcoms that marriage ruins men’s lives and stunts teenagers freedoms, we’ve got artistic work to do. As long as tax laws penalize marriage, we’ve got legal work to do. As long as cohabitation is the choice for young couples, we’ve got mentoring work to do. And as long as we cannot articulate over the back fence what marriage is for, we’ve got training in pro-marriage apologetics to do.

The Weekly Standard - Clinton Hails Supreme Court Overturning Law He Signed | As the headline says, a former president celebrates the supreme court tearing down a law he signed. We have come a long way in 20 years.

President Bill Clinton released a statement, together with his wife Hillary Clinton, hailing the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill he signed into law in 1996.

"By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union. We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California. We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic victory," the Clintons' statement reads.

Denny Burk - A sweeping decision in the DOMA case |

The Supreme Court just struck down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In doing so, the court issued a sweeping judgment that in my view will lead to a constitutional right to gay marriage in very short order. One test case should do the trick. 

Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, and there are some elements in it that are chilling—as Justice Scalia makes clear in his scathing dissenting opinion. The Court’s majority holds in contempt anyone who defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

CNN - Religious reactions to #SCOTUS decisions

Washington Examine - Obama: I won’t make churches conduct gay marriages | I guess I should gravel at his feet and say "Thank you Mr. President for perserving my religious liberty."

Here’s Obama’s full statement:
I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal — and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.
So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.
On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital.  How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions.  Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.
The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts:  when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.
Post a Comment