The Baptist Joint Committee’s General Counsel, K. Hollyn Hollman, has posted a new column responding to today’s decision by the Supreme Court recognizing the right to marry for same-sex couples. The opinion, Hollman emphasizes, speaks respectfully of religious opposition to same-sex marriage, and reminds us of the important distinction between marriage as a religious act and marriage as a civil institution.
Read the whole column. Here is an excerpt:
In anticipation of the Court’s decision, conversations about religious liberty conflicts have abounded. Some centered on legitimate concerns; others exaggerated unfounded fears. The conversations will continue and the real legal conflicts will not be worked out overnight. It is important, however, to make clear that the Court’s decision does not remove the separation of church and state. Churches will continue to make their own decisions about what kind of marriage ceremonies they conduct. Ministers will not be forced to perform same-sex weddings. Harder questions, particularly about religiously affiliated institutions and individual religious objectors, will depend on new fact scenarios and the interplay of a variety of laws.
While religious liberty rights were not the central subject of the case, the Obergefell majority respectfully acknowledged that some deeply held and long-standing religious beliefs oppose same-sex marriage. The Court stated: “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.” This kind of respectful treatment of dissenting views is important in continuing to protect religious liberty without harming the rights the Court affirmed today.