Bill of Rights
In the News: Supreme Court to Take the Same-Sex Marriage Case
By Alex Stepp
In church last Sunday, my pastor mentioned that the congregation needed to pray for the decision that the Supreme Court will make in regards to the legality of state laws banning same-sex marriage.
I couldn’t help but wonder: should we be praying that the Supreme Court declares that these laws are legal or illegal? Clearly, my pastor wanted us to pray that the Supreme Court uphold laws that state that marriage is between a man and a woman. After all, the Bible explicitly states that homosexuality is not allowed. I can understand the need to follow all of God’s rules as a Christian. However, I also feel that the Constitution needs to be upheld at all times.
I live in the United States of America, in which the Constitution is the “Supreme Law.” Let’s look at what the Constitution says about same-sex marriage. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Consider the laws that declare same-sex marriage to be illegal in states. The support for these laws is that they violate biblical code that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that homosexual relationships are immoral. This, of course, is a religious opinion, and the First Amendment makes any law that is made on the basis of religion unconstitutional.
Also, the Supremacy Clause in Article VI says that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States, which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” The federal government summed up this clause with the conclusion of the case Altria Group v. Good. “Consistent with that command, we have long recognized that state laws that conflict with federal law are ‘without effect’,” Justice Stevens of the Supreme Court wrote. This idea is known as federal preemption.
This means that the states cannot make laws that are against either federal law or the Constitution. So, it appears to me that laws that deny same-sex couples the right to marry are illegal and null.
This country was founded on the principles of freedom and equality. The Declaration of Independence reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” All people have the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t matter that I as a Christian disagree with or am against homosexuality. It does not matter if anyone else does, either. The simple fact is that Americans do not have to have my religious beliefs. The simple fact is that Americans do have the freedom to choose their lifestyles. The simple fact is that all Americans have unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As long as this pursuit of happiness is not harming others, the government does not have the ability to take those rights away, nor do they have the power to force people to practice laws of any religion.
I understand that it might be hard for fellow Christians to understand why I choose to condone same-sex marriage. But, what I am supporting is not the act itself, but the freedom of all Americans.
The Bible says: “‘Love your neighbors as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment than these” (Mark 12:31 NIV). The Bible says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV). The Bible says: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV). The Bible says: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV). Though we might not agree with the actions or beliefs of some people, we are called to love them unconditionally, as Christ loves us. Even if you do not agree with my beliefs on same-sex marriage, fellow Christians, I call to you to accompany me in striving to love every person.
If you are struggling with homosexuality and your faith, I would say to you only this: God loves you. Always. Forever. Unconditionally. More than any of us can understand. That will never change. If you need someone to talk to, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading,
*Note: In no way do the beliefs of this post represent the beliefs of Courage for Tomorrow. This article does represent the purpose of Courage for Tomorrow, which is love and kindness and compassion for others. This post was not intended to harm anyone in any way.*