One year since Obergefell

One year since Obergefell


160623obergefellOne year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, opining that states should grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ramifications of that ruling, however, reveal Obergefell has done anything but “settle” the issue of marriage. In fact, just as we continue to debate abortion and its related issues 40 years after Roe v. Wade, the discussion over Obergefell has only just begun.

First ripples and ramifications

For years, advocates repeatedly told Americans that same-sex “marriage” wouldn’t affect anyone but same-sex couples. They were wrong.

The nation has been profoundly shaken by Obergefell and its undefining of marriage and human sexuality. Even our most basic liberties have come under assault as activists within government and without push ever more far-reaching “rights” into our laws. This infringes on legitimate rights to privacy, safety, and religious freedom for all, even pressuring people to violate their deeply held beliefs and publicly participate in undermining their own faith.

Since Obergefell, for example:

• The Gortz Haus, a private wedding chapel right here in Iowa, was forced out of business because of the Christian owners’ religious convictions precluding them from hosting same-sex wedding ceremonies;

• Oregon fined Sweet Cakes by Melissa $135,000 for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding, then issued a gag order on the owners, arguing they needed to be “rehabilitated”;

• Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk of Court Kim Davis was sent to jail for acting on her religious convictions and refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses;

• The U.S. Department of Education released guidelines threatening to yank federal funding from schools unless they allow boys who “identify” as girls (and vice versa) to use opposite-sex bathrooms and showers, play on opposite-sex sports teams, and sleep in opposite-sex hotel rooms on school field trips;

• The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, has even sued Mississippi over a law that guarantees a same-sex couple’s ability to receive a marriage license, but allows individual county clerks to recuse themselves from issuing them. The ACLU is demanding all clerks be forced to issue same-sex licenses or lose their jobs.

Businesses, college students, kindergartens, adoption agencies, even church-run parochial schools have learned first-hand that Obergefell affects much more than just marriages.

Your religious liberty is truly under attack. But The FAMiLY LEADER is committed to defending freedom and speaking the truth in love about marriage. Would you consider making a donation today? Click here now.

How can it stand?

The Obergefell decision is an assault not just on marriage and morality, but on our constitutional form of government. “We the people” only gave the Supreme Court so much power, but the five judges who formed the majority in Obergefell took a great deal more.

“The majority … omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own ‘new insight,'” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent to the Obergefell decision. “As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia. … Just who do we think we are?”

The late Justice Antonin Scalia summarized the Court’s startling power grab this way: “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. … This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”

Scalia added, “To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.”

This reality is both sobering – that a U.S. Supreme Court would so blatantly violate its contract with the American people – and encouraging, as we have hope a future Court more faithful to the Constitution will have ample grounds to overturn Obergefell.

In the meantime, the fight to preserve religious liberty is the first, critical battle of the post-Obergefell era. And as time goes on, the need to reaffirm the value of mothers and fathers, indeed the very family itself, will be ever more important. This is why we insist Obergefell was not the end, but a beginning.

As our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom rightly state, “The cultural battle over marriage isn’t about two individuals looking to legally establish their love. It’s much bigger than that, and much more is at stake. As marriage is redefined, children face a world that is less likely to affirm their need for both a mom and a dad. The focus of marital relationships shifts from selfless love to the desires of the individual. And the religious freedom of those who stand for marriage is threatened.”

The FAMiLY LEADER intends to continue to support legislation that will strengthen marriage, protect our religious freedoms, and preserve the family as the foundation of a healthy society. And we’ll be working to make sure churches and religious organizations are free to minister without burden and individuals can live out their faith in every area of their lives.

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How should we respond?

As Christians, we affirm that anger, hatred, and violence have no place in our rhetoric or actions.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19-20).

We rightfully condemn violent attacks like the Orlando nightclub shooting and recognize same-sex couples and homosexual activists are not villains to be demonized, but people with inherent worth as made in the image of God and in need, as are we all, of God’s redeeming grace.

As we engage the culture in the ongoing discussion over Obergefell, we must remember Christians are commanded to first, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and second, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39) – and only then do we “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

If we are to have any hope of winning not just our laws, but our culture and individuals to God’s design for their lives and their blessing, we must seek to build bridges, not weapons, to build relationships and restore a civil discussion to the public square.

We must adopt an attitude akin to Christ, who in the very next sentence after the Bible’s most famous verse, proclaimed, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17).

In that respect, The FAMiLY LEADER’s president, Bob Vander Plaats, has been leading the way in exemplifying a civil and genuinely loving friendship with the director of Iowa’s most prominent LGBTQ organization, OneIowa. Let us encourage you take just 4 and a half minutes to watch the following video about Bob’s friendship with OneIowa’s Donna Red Wing:

One year after Obergefell, the discussion continues. The fight to defend our religious liberties and to uphold the value of God’s design for marriage and family is critical to our future. And the need to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1) by “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) is greater than ever.

And finally, the need for true cultural transformation, the kind that can only come from the reviving power of God, is paramount. We pray for hearts to turn back to God, beginning with our own, in humility and repentance. Because without God’s redeeming, reconciling grace, Obergefell may be just another step toward God’s judgment on a sinful world. But with His power and grace, Obergefell may just be the turning point in inspiring a revived America that honors God and blesses people again.

For more on how YOU can be part of revival and cultural transformation in America, visit today!