Saturday, May 02, 2015

Justice Scalia on same-sex marriage and ministers forced to comply ...

LifeSite and some Catholic bloggers are repeating something Justice Scalia said concerning same-sex marriage.

The thing is, Justice Scalia didn't directly mention Catholic priests being forced by the State to perform same-sex marriage, he was speaking of ministers from other denominations:
If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional right, one justice has said that the government could force clergy of all denominations to perform gay “weddings” or lose the ability to officiate any state-sanctioned marriage. 
Justice Scalia repeatedly suggested that once a constitutional right to marry by same-sex couples was enshrined by the court, a member of the clergy could not be given civil marriage powers by the state unless he agreed to perform any and all marriages that the nation legally recognizes. - Source
I don't see how that can happen - at least to Catholic priests and Catholic parishes.  Simply because the Catholic Church already discriminates when it comes to the Sacrament of Matrimony.  The Church will not marry divorced couples - men or women who were in a valid marriage, divorced and seek to remarry in the Church without an annulment.  Canon law also identifies certain impediments to contract marriage which prohibit witnessing/blessing the marriage in the Church: no wedding for you, you, and you - unless you meet certain canonical criteria.  A very long precedent seems to have already been well established in the Catholic Church.  As far as I know, the state has never forced Catholic priests to officiate at weddings of couples deemed canonically unsuitable to contract a valid marriage, whereas the same couple could easily be married in a state sanctioned civil marriage.

The Catholic Church doesn't marry just any one.

Therefore, it seems to me the other Justices had a valid point, when they argued, the "free exercise of religion" clause in the Bill of Rights would allow for such an exception.

I might be wrong though, and that's fine.

Just trying to quell the panic.

And just a reminder - I'm against it.  Same sex marriage - I'm against it.


  1. I think the difference is that divorce has been granted by statute while the case before the court deals with some kind of Constitutional recognition of gay marriage, either because there is a right to it, or denying gay marriage violates equal protection.

    Since The First Amendment and gay marriage would then both be Constitutional protections, it's easy to believe that a court would not grant primacy to religious freedom. But gay marriage is all very new and if the Supreme Court decides to make gay marriage the law of the land, courts in the future will just make up the law when challenges arise.

  2. There's also a difference between right enumerated in the constitution and those found in the ether. The ones enumerated take precedence. And the government attorney admitted they'd use a right to gay marriage to abrogate religious freedom. Which should mean it's less likely they'll find a right to redefine marriage.

  3. It is over my head to be sure. Thanks Timothy and Nan.


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