Religious Freedom Can’t Depend on a Whim

The U.S. Supreme Court will likely hand down a ruling in the coming days on whether state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. If, as expected, the court rules that there is a right to same-sex marriage, then this event will be rightly seen as a benchmark in the country’s legal and cultural history. The result will mark society’s full acceptance of gays rather than seeing them as a minority to be tolerated. Indeed, the culture has changed so much on this point that it is likely that a same-sex marriage decision will be seen as the court merely catching up with the times rather than it being a pacesetter. But the possible implications of such a decision reach beyond the question of allowing gay and lesbian couples to be married by the state. As the Court discussed during oral arguments in this case, a religious institution or school that was doctrinally opposed to same-sex marriage and forbade such living arrangements for their students and faculty, it might lose their tax-exempt status because of what would be seen as morally equivalent to racist codes. If so, and there is very good reason to think that it will be an issue, then what we are about to embark upon as a society is not just an era of acceptance for gays that the vast majority of Americans supports but also one of intolerance for religious conservatives.

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Religious Freedom Can’t Depend on a Whim

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