This morning I went to the steps of the Supreme Court to be present in case the Court rules on Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) cases. The court chose not to rule today but it will issue decisions in both cases this week (as early as tomorrow but probably no later than Thursday).
Just in case the importance of the moment has not sunken in, allow me to briefly review why we should all be praying for good decisions from the Supreme Court this week — because this is what is at stake:
1) This could be the Roe v. Wade of marriage. The Supreme Court could conceivably rule that language protecting marriage in the state constitutions of over 30 states (approved by the votes of over 60 million Americans) are “unconstitutional.” While unlikely, this is a real fear, and so we must pray that the Court instead recognizes the truth of marriage — that is the unique union of one man and one woman.
2) A broad ruling in favor of redefining marriage could put into law the false (but “legal”) norm that those of us who believe in marriage as the unique union of one man and one woman are guilty of holding “animus” towards gay people. We would thus find ourselves the legal equivalent of racist bigots before our own Constitution and state and federal laws. This is again reason to pray that the Court upholds the rights of pro-marriage Americans this week.
3) A broad ruling in favor of redefining marriage would be represent the most urgent threat to the religious freedom of pro-marriage Catholics and other Christians we have ever witnessed in this country. Countries that have redefined marriage (think Canada) are actively and aggressively fining and imprisoning Christian pastors and Catholic priests and bishops who continue to speak the truth about marriage and human sexuality from the pulpit. Stories like the ones told on the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance website reveal that private citizens will also see their rights and livelihoods threatened.
4) A broad ruling in favor of redefining marriage would put at risk, in one fell swoop, every Catholic and conservative christian adoption agency in America that only adopts children into married (heterosexual) households. Where marriage has been redefined on a state level or where same-sex civil unions have been passed without explicit and robust religious freedom language, Catholic, Lutheran and other Christian denomination-run adoption and foster care agencies have been forced to shutter their doors or face crippling lawsuits and penalties. This has happened already in Washington, D.C., Massachussetts and Illinois, to name a few states.
5) What the Supreme Court decides will echo around the world. In other countries there are insurgent movements in support of marriage (witness the millions of French citizens who have poured into the streets of Paris week after week in defense of marriage) — but these nascent efforts will be set back if the United States Supreme Court rules that the institution of marriage somehow contradicts our Constitution. As on the issue of life, we know from experience that what happens in America does not just stay in America — it effects the rest of the world. Therefore we have a great responsibility to hold fast to the truth of marriage both here and for the rest of the world.
6) A win at the Supreme Court for gay marriage activists will embolden them to expand their campaign against people of faith and those who disagree with them. Some of us have given in to the lie that if we just cede the ground on marriage, that will end this contentious debate. The opposite is true. Currently a huge amount of resources and cultural heft is being waged against annihilating marriage. These same forces will turn their activism to combating other goods once they have overthrown our commonsense definition of marriage. We must stand on marriage or else stand on ever-shifting and more-shaky ground.
7) … last but not least, redefining marriage really will harm the institution and therefore harm the people whom marriage serves. Channeling through the formative power of the law the false notion that children do not deserve a mother and father, and that marriage is nothing more than the emotional and temporary union of any two consenting adults, will harm society. Untruths such as the “pro-choice” and “no fault divorce” movement told lies that convinced much of the public in their time — it is only now, decades later, that we are experiencing the full negative brunt of the damage these agendas have wreaked — especially on the poor and vulnerable.
Let’s not recreate the same mistakes today — let’s stand for marriage now and always.
So please, pray for the Supreme Court this week. And join me in testifying to the truth of marriage.
May God preserve marriage and give us, and the Court, the courage to stand for it.