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Freedom of Religion vs. Same-Sex Marriage

 New Jersey Evangelical Civic Outreach

BEWinship | December 12, 2013

 Whose rights will take precedent – LGBT rights or religious rights? Will the state require people to accommodate the homosexual lifestyle, or will the state protect freedom of religion and conscience? Federal and state laws are far from settled on this issue. In 1991, New Jersey added sexual orientation and gender identity to existing anti-discrimination laws.  With that law in hand, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America could not prohibit James Dale, a practicing homosexual, from being a scout master.  In the 2000 case of Boy Scouts of America et al v. Dale,  the United States Supreme Court reversed the  New Jersey decision by ruling that freedom of association trumps LGBT accommodation. In essense, anti-discrimination laws cannot be absolute if religious freedom is to exist. This conflict promises to be the next great legal battle of our times.

 In the recent case of Elane Photography v. Willock,  the New Mexico courts fined Elaine Huguenin $7,000 for refusing to photograph a gay wedding.  She stated that it would be a violation of her beliefs to use her talents to photograph a same-sex marriage. The lesbian couple easily found another photographer for their wedding. Nevertheless, the judge ruled against Huguenin, stating, “All of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others.” But notice that the judge ruled that compromise goes only one way.  Why wasn’t the lesbian couple compelled to accommodate the religious beliefs of the Christian? Whether consciously or unconsciously, the judge was by default putting the moral values of homosexuality above the moral values of Christianity.

 In 2007, David and Tonia Parker sued the Lexington, Massachusetts, school district for violating their civil rights in teaching their first grade son that homosexual behavior is normal and for failing to give parents the right to opt out of such lessons David Parker et al. v. William Hurley et al. The Parkers lost the case. The courts contended that since same-sex marriage is the law in Massachusetts, the state has the obligation to promote homosexual relationships to young children.  Federal Judge Mark Wolf wrote, “In essence, under the Constitution, public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy. Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation.” Here again the rights of the homosexuals to promote their values overruled the rights of the Christians to promote their heterosexual values. If we live in a truly equal society, at the very least, Christians should be given equal time to teach their view of morality to a classroom of first graders.

 In New York, America Eagle Outfitters dismissed a male employee who turned off customers by wearing women’s clothing on the job. The state of New York forced the clothing chain to accommodate cross-dressing employees because of the state’s new human rights laws. The irony is that rulings such as these amount to reverse discrimination and a net reduction in civil rights protection. For every right given to a cross-dresser to force others to accept his LGBT behavior, a right is taken away from someone who prefers not to embrace LGBT behavior.  People certainly have the right to cross-dress in their homes or on the streets, but what the state is now doing is forcing businesses to accept the homosexual view of gender identity. This is effectively the state favoring the morality of one group over the morality of another.  A society that promotes true equality would have to give each citizen the freedom to choose his own associations.

 The gay lobby’s main argument for LGBT preferential treatment is that sexual orientation is morally equivalent to racism. They argue, as non-discrimination laws needed to be passed to force Americans to accommodate to blacks in the 1950s, so also laws need to be passed regarding sexual orientation. The Christian response is that sexual behavior is in a separate class of metaphysical human morals. This is why societies have laws that “discriminate” when it comes to public nudity, sex clubs, movie ratings, etc.  Even the Bible itself, while it condemns racial segregation, requires segregation based on sexual behavior. Whether one accepts the divine origin of the Bible is irrelevant. Religious texts are merely explaining biological realities within the framework of the spiritual realm.

 Regardless of the arguments for sexual freedom coming from the LGBT lobby, there is no erasing the fact that there is a large class of people in America who hold to traditional Christian moral values.  For people of faith, freedom from accommodating to immorality is essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This year politicians saw what happened when they tried to take from the citizens their Second Amendment gun rights. Three anti-gun state senators from Colorado lost in a recall. This is nothing compared to what politicians will experience if they threaten the people’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion. Even with only the hint of approaching repression, concerned citizens have organized a rally in Trenton on December 16th for religious freedom. Freedom of religion and conscience must trump forced accommodation to LGBT behavior; otherwise, be prepared for a second revolution.