Let’s talk about personal liberty, here – it’s a pretty complex topic, but your rights are not given to you by government decree, nor government recognition. They are inherent in your being by the very biological blueprint from which all of the qualities of your person spring, whether a gift from God or the very nature of our reality; many of these rights have been explicitly recognized in the Constitution and its Amendments, as the Constitution sets out to recognize and protect them, but many more freedoms exist implicitly within those explicitly recognized. Liberty, for example, is widely acknowledged to broadly include the Power of Locomotion, or the using of one’s physical ability to remove oneself from one place to another, free of imprisonment or restraint, except by due process of law; you might recognize said Power of Locomotion to be a vitally indispensable tool in exercising the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. Freedom of Thought, Speech, and Religion are grouped together as yet another more-or-less inseparable group of concepts; None of these rights can exist truly if just one is denied you by government, as each of our natural rights is dependent on being able to exercise each of the others without threat of force or coercion.
We should all endeavor to hold this truth as self-evident: That all men (and women) are indeed created equal, and endowed by their very flesh with the biological capacity to make certain decisions regarding the way in which they behave; that so long as that behavior does not violate the rights or property of others, a free man should not be restricted from engaging in it; that so long as you are doing no harm to others, you will be free of government force and coercion. If you permit the religious freedom of marriage to be usurped by your state, by defining marriage in any legally restrictive sense, it has either ceased to be a religious freedom, else you support the individual States’ power to enact compulsory religions or religious beliefs.
WHAT? To rephrase: I believe that if you accept the idea that a State (or city, or Congress) may define Marriage for all peoples within, you have, by enacting that will through legislature, removed the argument of protecting freedom of religion. To assert that a state may enact laws regarding Marriage into the legislature, and still claim that it is a matter of religious freedom to practice freely, is to assert that all such matters of religious freedom can be dictated by the state. It’s a self-contradictory viewpoint that should be causing far more cognitive dissonance in those who espouse it. From the point of being enacted as legislature, it is no longer a matter of religious freedom – it is a matter of religious oppression by the state; it is a matter of social engineering and designing society to whichever standards you deem fit, by government force.
Insofar as the Supreme Court ruling overturns laws which had the full effect of religious persecution over a different religious belief in the principle of marriage, the ruling is actually SPOT-ON. It wasn’t morally right to ban whites from marrying blacks at the State level, and it wasn’t morally right to ban men from marrying men at the state level. To argue otherwise is to argue that marriage is solely an institution of state creation and definition and is not a matter of religious freedom at all. If it is indeed solely an institution of the State, then it no longer bears any religious protections. If it does deserve protection as religious freedom, how is it that you can argue a State may deprive a Gay Couple of that religious freedom, or refuse to acknowledge the marriage? If you are able to deprive a Gay Couple of marriage by law, can you not also deprive a Christian Couple of marriage by law?
How is providing tax benefits to only opposite-sex marriages any different from giving a $10,000 state tax deduction to only people of “Christian faith and relations”? How is banning a gay woman from making medical decisions for her gay wife any different from banning a black man from making medical decisions about his white wife, simply by enacting State Law which refuses to recognize the union? How is it any different to bar same-sex couples from adoption than it would be to bar interracial couples from adoption?
The only logical conclusion I can come to: It’s not. It’s not any different, it’s not OK, and these laws needed to be struck down, just as badly as the laws enforcing state-sanctioned segregation needed to be struck down, and the laws against interracial marriage needed to be struck down with Loving v Virginia in 1967.
Maybe it’s the millennial in me speaking, but I think that bans on Gay Marriage at the State level are equally oppressive and invasive as wholesale bans on Christianity or Buddhism and their associated forms of interpersonal relationships. When Christian citizens assert they have religious freedom to deny that Gay Marriage is valid, and freedom of speech to express that, I say: “You’re right! Oh and, by the way, the SCOTUS decision definitely does not include language which threatens private, dissenting individuals with a visit from the Thought Police, so can we cool the anti-Gay rhetoric?”
Seriously: if just one more individual makes a reference to the “Gaystapo” coming to take their religious rights, my head might explode from the pure ignorance, irony, and blithering hatred. The Gestapo was the secret enforcement police of the Nazi regime; you wouldn’t call a Jewish individual fighting for rights which are being forcefully denied them by the State part of “Jewstapo”, but the Nazis killed and persecuted homosexuals alongside the Jews; what rational person would characterize their opposition as Nazis, when they themselves are the ones fighting for government control over the lives of those very “Nazis” who would dare attempt to enter a different kind of marriage than the one their religion prescribes? This is the kind of rhetoric that both the left and the right in our American political spectrum are reduced to when they have no sound arguments left; when they are in desperation to convince others to stomp on the rights of the few while protecting those institutions, which have been enshrined in government and enforced at the barrel of a gun, from the challenges of the oppressed.
Disagree with my analysis? I’d love to hear why! (P.S. Until such a time as a gay couple successfully takes an American Church to the SCOTUS over refusing to perform their wedding ceremony, I refuse to believe the notion that this case will set precedent for such a departure from protecting marriage freedom to oppressing it. This ruling affects only State Law, thus far. Not individual who have a dissenting opinion. The SCOTUS does not have the jurisdiction to assign an individual’s beliefs or thoughts to them; only to interpret the laws on the books)