SCOTUSblog Is Live-Blogging Obergefell v. Hodges


Too bad they don't just eliminate ALL marriages from government laws entirely. Then let anyone who wants get an official contract incorporating whoever wants to be "married" into a legal union with NO religious hocus-pocus attached at all.

Leave the old "marriage" behind as an obsolete but emotional ritual, with no legal implications. All the official, legal stuff can be kept as government contracts.

Separate church and state. Please.

/not that this would ever happen.
No. No. No. Must... not... spend all day... obsessing over Scutusblog.

* tears eyes away *
But is Scalia going to ask whether Seattleblues will be oppressed into gay-marrying his sister's hamster in a mosque ceremony in the middle of a gun-free union rally at a rent-controlled building in Ferguson, MO?
Scalia's being pretty disingenuous with that question. As a practicing Catholic, he knows that priests commonly refuse to perform marriages between living-in-sin couples and couples where one is divorced without an annulment, despite constitutional protections against discrimination based on marital status. Priests even refuse to perform marriages unless the couple agrees to raise their kids Catholic.
Maybe he's just trying to protect his conservative image, but that question is totally bogus.
So society is never allowed to move forward on anything ever? Just because 'this is the way it's always been, why fix what ain't broke'? Seriously? This is the best that they can come up with?
@1 - But wait, you can't "eliminate all marriages from government laws." Even if marriage were only a private, contractual arrangement, the terms of that contract can only be enforceable through the court system - a government entity. There's no way to give marriage agreements any teeth or substance without involving the government somehow.

But the hocus-pocus - I'm with you there. Get rid of that stuff.
i kind of agree with @1. as a religious ceremony, i kind of feel a religion should have the right to choose who it does and does not marry. but because it's intertwined with government policy, it has to be equal somehow. because the state allowed what is recognized to be called marriages, and churches didn't have a problem with it in the past, the definition of marriage has to change in order to be just.
One of the reasons this is even being argued at all is that, in most countries the status of being married to another person confers a number of legal benefits that are granted directly by the government: the right to claim the property of a deceased spouse and the right to custody of children, the right to hospital visitation, the right to Power of Attorney, the right to enjoy certain tax benefits, etc., etc.. By preventing same-sex couples from achieving this status, states are in turn denying them access to these same benefits granted to het couples who have married status. Additionally, these benefits are completely separate from any religious considerations, so it's really impossible to "divorce" the role government plays in the "institution" of marriage, because these benefits can ONLY be conferred by governments and not by religious institutions.
@7: Religion co-opted marriage from the state, not the other way around. It has always been a way to join families for the purpose of inheritance and mutual socioeconomic benefit. The spiritual component came later, and the modern idea of marrying for love is a relatively recent one.

@1, @6: The hocus-pocus is already completely optional. Anyone can go down to the courthouse and get a full legal marriage from a justice with no religious component whatsoever. It just so happens that religious authorities are typically also granted (by the state) the power to act as agents of the state and effect the union as well.

Ironic isn't it, given the fact that in literally every wedding I've ever attended (including those held in a house of worship) the minister/pastor/priest/officiant always concluded the ceremony with the words "by the power vested in my by the State of ___________, I now pronounce you husband and wife." Yeah, usually "God" is mentioned in their somewhere, but it's significant that the statement above is both crucial and necessary in order for the marriage to be considered authentic and legally binding on the couple.
The interfaith example is valid: Priests and religious institutions should be the ones to decide which religious rituals to perform. However, it has no bearing on whether couples should be allowed to go to city hall and get their marriage license under the laws of man like everyone else.
My point is to get rid of the word "marriage" entirely. The word has too much religious baggage dumped on it.

Get rid of the word and the anti-gays can't use the "but marriage has always been man and woman for millenia... sanctity of marriage... etc" bullshit.
@11 - which is exactly what we do here in Canada. No church has ever been forced to perform a ceremony for a gay couple here (though some are happy to), and yet any LGBTQ couple who want to marry are free to do so. The system works just fine. By their very nature, churches discriminate. The government, hopefully, not so much.
@12: You think they won't complain even harder about the word "marriage" being erased entirely? The word is fine; it has a meaning, and people quibble about the meaning, and waste everyone's time with ridiculous semantic arguments that distract from the real issues, but all of that baggage is temporary. There are plenty of people for whom "marriage" means "lifelong union to the person you love", and those people are winning.
How'd our side do in the arguments, by the way? I haven't had time to listen. Any incisive points? Stirring rhetoric? Clever law-talking stuff?
Not only does Scalia know full well a priest can't be forced to conduct a marriage that is contrary to the teachings of the church, but he also intentionally ignores the real elephant in the room when talking about religious freedom and marriage.

And that is that just as it would be a denial of religious freedom to force a priest to perform a marriage his religion doesn't recognize under it teachings, it is equally a denial of religious freedom to tell a church that they can't marry someone who's marriage IS recognized as valid under the churches’ teaching.

You can't deny a church the right to marry a same sex couple if they want to and then say you are doing that out of concern for religious freedom. It is actually the exact opposite. It is religious oppression. The only outcome that actually does respect religious freedom is to allow churches to not perform weddings if they don't agree with (which they all already know is the case regardless of the outcome of this case) and to allow those that want to perform them to do so.

Anything short of that and all talk of religious freedom is nothing but hypocritical drivel.
There are two types of marriage being argued over here - religious and civil. The state recognizes only civil marriage. It is widespread in the United States for states to allow religious officiants to perform the civil and religious ceremonies simultaneously - hence a lot of confusion in people's minds. But you can separate the two. You can get a minister, rabbi, priest, what-have-you to perform a purely religious marriage ceremony, without the state-issued license, and the state will not recognize it as a legal marriage; the religious institution, on the other hand, will consider you married. You can get the state to provide a Justice of the Peace or other official to preside over a civil ceremony and the state will consider you legally married, whether or not you have a religious ceremony. Your church or synagogue or mosque will probably not consider you married without their ceremony, but the state does not care. In some other countries, the civil and religious ceremonies are kept separate.

What is at issue before the Court is the whether states can be forced to recognize and perform the civil marriages of same-sex couples. The state has no interest in whether a religious institution performs a religious marriage or not, since the state will not recognize it, so there is no reason to coerce a religious official to perform a marriage. The state will perform a civil ceremony - the only kind it recognizes - regardless of what religious institutions do. So the first amendment will not be violated if the Supreme Court upholds the right of same-sex couples to marry.

For a longer discussion of this issue, with more ammunition to use against the bigots among your family and friends, see comment #4, by Keith Johnson, in reply to Dan Savage's post re: Marco Rubio conceding that being gay is not a choice, April 20, 2015. It's long but I think worth reading. Here's the link:…

@16: An excellent point and an excellent comment. I've often wondered why no gay Christians have started a First Church of Jesus Christ, Homosexual. Seems to me it would kill the religious freedom objection dead.
Plus, you know, heads exploding. Early thirties, thin, single, not afraid to express his feelings, has a couple girls he hangs out with a lot but he refuses to marry or even date them... sure ticks a lot of boxes on the stereotype.
Oh yeah, and likes to go on long camping trips in the wilderness with a bunch of other men, who also don't seem very interested in women. Hmmmmm.
LGBTQ folks are more than welcome in the member congregations of the United Church of Christ ( ) and the Unitarian Universalist Association ( ). Besides being members, they can be staff, clergy, and get married in these congregations. Check them out.