The Los Angeles Times today published an article by Marc D. Stern of the American Jewish Congress describing the impact that gay marriage might have on religious organizations. A link follows these excerpts:
In its controversial decision, the [California Supreme Court] insisted that these same-sex marriages would not “diminish any other person’s constitutional rights” or “impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official or any other person.” Religious liberty would be unaffected, the chief justice wrote, because no member of the clergy would be compelled to officiate at a same-sex ceremony and no church could be compelled to change its policies or practices.
And yet there is substantial reason to believe that these assurances about the safety of religious liberty are either wrong or reflect a cramped view of religion.
Stern then describes examples where religious rights and gay rights sometimes come into conflict, including the fertility clinic case. Stern concludes:
Given the array of church views on homosexuality, and the number of secular organizations offering social services to same-sex couples, allowing religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage to put that opposition into practice beyond the sanctuary is not likely to often seriously impede anyone.
Concurring in the May 15 California marriage judgment, Justice Joyce L. Kennard observed that the court’s most important role was to preserve constitutional rights “from obliteration by the majority.”
If past rulings are any guide, it is religious rights that are likely to be “obliterated” by an emerging popular majority supporting same-sex relationships — and it seems unlikely that the California courts will intervene. That’s a shame.
Read the full article at http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-stern17-2008jun17,0,6772243.story