Mollie Hemingway pulls together some reporting that frames the controversy over homosexuality in terms of Gay rights vs. religious freedom. Some major conflicts are breaking out already and will only get worse:
Hagerty [reporting about a gay couple that wanted to use a Methodist worship space for their wedding] explains that the couple filed a complaint with New Jersey’s Civil Rights office alleging unlawful discrimination. They made the case that religious beliefs are not a defense. The Methodists responded that their First Amendment rights protect them from such a case. The lesbians won and the state revoked the Methodist’s tax exemption for the worship space. The Methodists are appealing.
The third part of the story looks at the issue nationwide:Hagerty mentions other cases. Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its dormitory for married couples. A Lutheran school has been sued for expelling two lesbian students. Catholic Charities abandoned adoptions services in Massachusetts after it was told to place children with same-sex couples. A psychologist in Mississippi who refused to counsel a lesbian couple lost her case and a doctor who refused to provide in vitro fertilization to a lesbian in California is likely to lose his case before the California Supreme Court.
As states have legalized same-sex partnerships, the rights of gay couples have consistently trumped the rights of religious groups. Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress, says that does not mean that a pastor can be sued for preaching against same-sex marriage. But, he says, that may be just about the only religious activity that will be protected.
“What if a church offers marriage counseling? Will they be able to say ‘No, we’re not going to help gay couples get along because it violates our religious principles to do so? What about summer camps? Will they be able to insist that gay couples not serve as staff because they’re a bad example?” Stern asks.
I suspect that, given the current cultural climate, gay rights are going to trump religious rights every time. In a remarkable cultural and moral inversion, homosexuals now occupy the moral high ground, and religious people who oppose homosexuality are now perceived as the bad guys. So I suspect most churches will eventually go with the cultural flow. What do you think will happen to churches that resist?