Gay marriage, civil rights, and freedom of conscience

Gay marriage, civil rights, and freedom of conscience

As I’ve been saying for some time, the fight over the ability for Boston Catholic Charities to perform adoptions is one of religious liberty. Likewise, gay activists see it as a matter of civil rights. Maggie Gallagher looks at both sides of the issue.

The question in Boston is not whether gays are going to be allowed legally to adopt. It is whether religious people who morally object to gay adoption will be allowed to help children find homes. ... It is a crime to run an adoption agency in Massachusetts without a license from the state. To get a license you have to agree to place children with same-sex couples. For the first time in America, Christians are being told by their government that they are not good citizens, not worthy enough to be permitted to help abandoned babies find good homes.

Actually, Christians—more specifically Catholics—have been discriminated against before by their government. One need only look at the Know Nothing era and the laws passed by them that are still on the books. In Massachusetts, one of those laws forbids any state money from going to Catholic schools, effectively killing any chance at school choice and tuition vouchers. Nevertheless, this is a type of sanctioned discrimination against Christians. It’s funny that gay activists say that this is about their civil rights, but they don’t mind trampling ours. And ours are actually enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution says nothing about the “right” to be gay.

Not a liberal agenda, but civil rights

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3 comments
  • True ‘nuff, Louis.  I can imagine that secular objectors to gay marriage must be looked at as nine kinds of crazy, instead of merely one like us religious nuts.

  • Tim Thomas said:
    “it is proscribing those Catholics who refuse to comply with duly enacted state laws from providing one type of limited activity.”

    Tim,
    You seem to be an expert on laws.  Why do we only enforce some laws here in Massachusetts?

    How about the marriage statute in Massachusetts?  Is that a duly enacted law? 

      Because the marriage law DOES NOT PERMIT same-sex marriage (read the Goodridge case).  The SJC did not order SSM, rather they gave the legislature 180 days to “change the laws.”  (By the way, the reason for this is a thing called the separation of powers.  The SJC cannot enact laws under our Constitution—only the legislature can make laws.).  Guess what Tim.  No laws have changed.  Then you are probably wondering how could gay couples be receiving marriage licenses without a duly enacted law to enable them to do so.  The answer:  Mitt Romney ordered town clerks and JP’s to sertify and solemnize SSM’s without any legal authority.  Is the oath to uphold the law under pains and penalties of perjury meaningful?  Are perjury laws “duly enacted?”  Romney’s conduct is unconstitutional, illegal, and impeachable.  So much for following duly enacted laws.

    How about the Massachusetts Constitution?  Is that a duly enacted law?
    If you are such an expert in law, then you would be well aware of the overwhelming case law from the SJC over the past 150 years or more that says that the words of the Constitution matter.  Not just some of them but EACH and EVERY word in the Constitution matters. This abundant case law says that the meaning to be given each word is the meaning that the framers of the Constitution understood it to be at the time that they signed the Constitution.  Then how could traditional marriage be “unconstitutional” when the framers of the Constitution protected that institution by carefully inserting that word into our Constitution and (ironically) attempting to limit any judicial power over marriage?  Doesn’t the word “marriage” have meaning in the Constitution?  Does that word matter?  How can the definition of a word in the Massachusetts Constitution be as the SJC has claimed “unconstitutional?”

    If you are such an expert in law, then maybe you could explain to me what the Massachusetts Constitution means when it says:  And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship. 

    and maybe you could explain what the Constitution means when it says (later in an amendment):
    Article XVIII.
    Section 1. No law shall be passed prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

    Isn’t that what has happened?  Our religious freedoms were suppressed by a regulation.  What you claim to be a duly enacted law . . . is
    a.  simply a regulation (not a law) and
    b.  one that actually VIOLATES OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO FREELY EXERCISE OUR RELIGION.  That means we have a constitutional right to not do grave violence to children (as Pope John Paull II declared) by being forced by the state to place a child with two homosexuals.

  • Of course, this would all be more easily understandable, if the Cardinal and Boston Catholic Charities actually asserted their Constitutional right to exercise their religion.  Exercising religion is not stopping the thing you are doing.  It is doing it, knowing that the Constitution protects that conduct from any attempts to suppress it.  What a shame that not only do our politicians fail to uphold our Constitutional rights, but our church leaders are too afraid to assert their rights.  Guess what, use it or lose it.  You don’t have a right you are too scared to use.

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