Reaction to the Supreme Court Ruling Requiring Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages

In the most anticipated decision of the term, the Supreme Court this morning ruled that

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

The decision is here.

Reaction was swift.

Russell Moore representing the Southern Baptists: Don’t panic, articulate a counter-cultural view of marriage. Watch:

GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker: “I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’”

Mark Woods writing for UK’s Christian Today asks readers not to worry. He writes:

So here’s a discussion starter.

It is entirely up to the state to declare what relationships it will recognise as marriage, and the Church should not have a problem with that.

It is entirely up to the Church to declare what relationships it will recognise as Christian marriage, and the State should not have a problem with that.

The state should jealously guard its prerogative from the Church, and ensure that it provides equality under the law for all its citizens.

The Church should jealousy guard its prerogative from the state, and ensure that it is never coerced into bringing its beliefs and practices into line with those of the majority if it doesn’t want to.

Evangelicals (and others) have got themselves into a knot because they think the state is trying to define Christian marriage. It isn’t; it can’t, and it never could. But the long history of Christendom has allowed Christians to think that the two are the same. Most Americans have always been keen on the separation of Church and state; well, now’s the chance to find out whether you mean it.

My reaction is more along the lines of Mark Woods’ and Jonathan Merritt’s.

I sat in a meeting in 2005 at Catholic University where lawyers, theologians, and social scientists were strategizing about how to prevent this day. I recall a couple of the lawyers who were there opposing gay marriage saying that today was probably inevitable. Anyone who was paying attention over the last decade should not be surprised by the decision today.

I’ll have more to say about the decision once I have read it completely, but my impression is that the five justices see same-sex attraction as an enduring aspect of existence. The state has no compelling interest in requiring people to change it to marry, so the law requires equal recognition of bonds formed by two people so constituted.

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