Michael Brown, a columnist for the Worldnetdaily, asks an ominous question: Will churches be forced to perform same-sex weddings? The answer is simple: No. Not in the United States, certainly. But he thinks people trying in other countries to force that applies here without grasping the rather obvious difference:
In light of all this, is it really so far-fetched to imagine that the day could come when churches in America would be required to perform same-sex “marriages” or face serious penalties, beginning with the loss of their tax-exempt status?
Last August, the Christian Institute in England announced that a millionaire homosexual couple “launched a legal challenge to the right of churches to opt out of gay weddings.”
As explained by Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, one of the two homosexual men, “We’ve launched a challenge to the government’s decision to allow some religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples.
“We feel we have the right as parishioners in our village to utilize the church we attend to get married.”
He added, “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.
“It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us.”
What is striking about their lawsuit is that in July 2013, England and Wales legalized same-sex “marriage,” and there were plenty of churches that would have gladly performed the ceremony for this couple.
But, as pointed out by Greg Campbell on the Tea Party News Network, “Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his partner Tony, rather than request a ceremony from a church that would recognize their union, have opted to take the church they regularly attend to court in order to force them to officiate the wedding.”
As Campbell noted, “As Western culture debates the recognition of same-sex marriages, religious groups who stand opposed to gay marriage are routinely steamrolled by governments who have decidedly picked a side in this debate.”
And so, in Denmark, a homosexual couple can go to any state church and demand that the clergy perform their “wedding” ceremony (the vast majority of Danes belong to the Lutheran Church, which is the state church, even though only a small percentage of Danes are actively involved in the church)…Things have gotten to the point that, throughout our country, Christian attorneys are working day and night to get laws passed that will exempt churches from having to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies. They can see the handwriting on the wall. In fact, that handwriting is practically shouting at us to get our attention.
Nonsense. No American attorney is “working day and night” to prevent churches from being forced to perform or host same-sex weddings. There is no possibility of this happening that is even remotely possible, nor is there anyone who thinks it should happen that I am aware of. He missed the rather obvious difference between the two countries he cites and the United States: They have established churches. They don’t have separation of church and state, as we do. If the state and the church are the same and the state cannot discriminate, the church can’t either.
In America, on the other hand, churches are exempted from all anti-discrimination legislation. Has any church ever been forced to perform an interracial or inter-religious marriage? Of course not. And yet, unlike sexual orientation, discrimination on the basis of race or religious is explicitly forbidden by federal law. And yet not a single church has ever had to comply with such restrictions because all churches are exempted from anti-discrimination laws.
There are, in fact, multiple layers of laws that would prevent this from happening, starting with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. And the ministerial exception, one of the most firmly established principles in American jurisprudence. And the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and state-level versions of it. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that any church in this country will ever be forced to perform a same-sex wedding. And anyone who says otherwise is either a rank ignoramus or a demagogue selling paranoia for profit.