Conservative Christians are in a panic after a federal judge in Virginia struck down the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage. Religious opponents of marriage equality condemned the decision as an infringement on their religious freedom and vowed to take the issue to the Supreme Court.
However, Christian conservatives are clearly losing the battle, and the Bible Belt is under siege. The New York Times reports:
If the Court of Appeals upholds Thursday’s decision, the repercussions in the South, where opposition to same-sex marriage has been strongest, could be wide. Restrictive state amendments would most likely be voided in other states of the Fourth Circuit, including North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. (Maryland, the fifth circuit member, approved same-sex marriage in 2012.)
And Slate reports “It’s Over, Gay Marriage Can’t Lose In The Courts”:
There have been 18 lower court cases addressing gay rights since (the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act), and equality has won them all unanimously; not one of the 32 judges who heard those cases has dissented. State attorneys general and governors have reached the same conclusion, and are increasingly declining to defend their bans.
The ruling has angered many of those on the religious right who hide their bigotry and hatred towards the LGBT community behind terms like “family values” and “religious liberty.” After the ruling, Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), co-author of the ban, immediately called for the judge’s impeachment in a speech on the House floor.
Marshall argued that same-sex marriage upends “thousands of years of societal disapproval of certain sexual behavior” and contradicts “moral teachings of major religions’ sanctions against homosexual activity.”
However, in striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, Federal District Court Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen opened her opinion with a lengthy quote from Mildred Loving, one of the plaintiffs in the 1967 Supreme Court decision striking down Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriage. The reference is an eloquent rebuttal to those who would use their religious superstitions to deny others the right to marriage. The following is an excerpt:
The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry. . . . Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others.