I remember quite distinctly the day in 2004 when my husband told me that Massachusetts legalized gay marriage. I said, “Why should I care? They should be able to live their lives however they want.” And I meant it. I had some friends in high school who were gay and a few more acquaintances since then. It made sense that they could live how they wanted and I could live how I wanted and none of us would be the worse off. It took a few years, but I soon learned just how wrong I was.
It was sometime in 2009 that I began reading news articles of how either gay marriage laws or non-discrimination laws were requiring Christian business owners, doctors, parents of elementary students, and psychological counselors to deny their religious beliefs in their work or schooling. I came to realize that gay marriage was not about people just living their lives how they wanted while letting others do the same. Rather it was more about forcibly making everyone agree with the lifestyle of a few. It soon became clear that the lobby fighting for gay marriage thought that if a religion said that the gay lifestyle was wrong, then that religion and anyone who believed in that religion were wrong.
That is when I decided that I must not be a part of the silent majority. I began to speak out against gay marriage and in favor of religious freedom. I knew that if the government decided that my religious beliefs were bigoted, then eventually that same government would try to remove my right to live according to my beliefs.
Today that is just what is happening. The gay lobby has successfully legalized gay marriage throughout the United States. In essence, current marriage laws, unless stated otherwise, no longer support the first amendment that extends the free exercise of religion. Instead gay marriage laws seem to protect the feelings of a few while condemning anyone who heeds their religious tenets, virtually labelling religious people as hateful, bigoted, and possibly engaging in discrimination akin to racial discrimination.
A prime example recently came in a ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct. The board ruled that a judge who performs civil marriage ceremonies cannot decline to perform them for same-sex couples no matter what the judge’s religious beliefs or moral convictions on the matter. This might not be so bad, if the board allowed judges to stay out of marriages all together. But the board went further demanding that if a judge “publicly states or implies a personal objection to performing same-sex marriages” and seeks recusal from performing all marriages, then that judge violates the state mandate against judicial “impropriety” and is unfit for judicial duties.
That alone denies the free exercise of religion, but as Roger Severeno of the Heritage Foundation explained, “It has come to this: citing the Bible is now viewed as evidence of bigotry. So what would stop the Board from dropping all pretenses and asking sitting or potential judges: ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of a church that publicly opposes same-sex marriage?’ According to the Board’s logic, nothing.”
This action, of course, makes it so all judges in Ohio must adhere to a single point of view. In Ohio, judges no longer have freedom of thought.
If state legislatures do not make laws that say otherwise, gay marriage laws will label religious people and by extension religion itself, as hateful, bigoted, and discriminating. There will be no room left for religion or religious people in America.