Capitol Hill Prayer Partners
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Supreme Court Rules on Marriage
Friday, June 26, 2015
Note: We are setting aside our regular edition of the Daily Brief today due to the breaking news at the Supreme Court. We will publish the last, regular Brief for this week tomorrow: Saturday, June 27. Thank you.
"We must obey God rather than man." (Acts 5:29)
Rogue Court Rejects Rule of Law
Justices Rule 5-4 in Favor of Legalizing Gay Marriage across the Nation
American Family Association Says SCOTUS Decision Abandons Rule of Law, Imperils Religious Liberty
In a decision that upends millennia of history and guts the rule of law, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on same-sex marriage this morning, voting to redefine marriage and strip states of their rights to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) says the ruling is a blatant rejection of the rule of law and a direct threat to religious freedom.
"This morning's ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation's highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people.
"There is no doubt that this morning's ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God's plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling."
In the years leading up to the landmark SCOTUS case, voters in 31 states had acted through the democratic process to uphold marriage and the family. Yet, same-sex marriage was legalized in 36 states, due in large part to overreaching judges who chose to disregard the will of the people and cater to those who advocate for homosexuality. Nationwide, according to the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg, just over 3.3 million individuals voted for same-sex marriage in three states-Maine, Maryland and Washington State-compared to more than 41 million who voted for marriage protection amendments or bans on same-sex marriage in 31 states-a ratio of more than 12 to 1.
(American Family Association) Read more.
- Justice Kennedy authored the decision, which was 5-4
- Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito each authored a dissent
- The opinion can be found here
Scalia: Supreme Court now a 'threat to American democracy'
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia savaged the Court's 5-4 decision on Friday that said same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states, by saying it makes the Supreme Court a threat to democracy in the country.
"I write separately to call attention to this Court's threat to American democracy," he wrote in a dissent, just a day after he dissented in a decision that upheld a key part of Obamacare.
Scalia said he didn't care about the substance of the ruling, but said the way the Court ruled means the nine justices are now essentially in charge of Americans.
"Today's decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court," he wrote.
"The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact - and the furthest extension one can even imagine - of the Court's claimed power to create 'liberties' that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention." (Washington Examiner) Read more.
Highlights from the Majority Opinion
The Supreme Court held that the Due Process and Establishment Clauses of the 14th Amendment require a state to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, stating, "Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right."
The Court provided 4 reasons for determining that same-sex couples have a right to be issued marriage licenses under the Due Process Clause:
1. "The right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy . . . it would be contradictory to recognize a right of privacy with respect to other matters of family life and not with respect to the decision to enter the relationship that is the foundation of the family in our society."
2. "The right to marry is fundamental because it supports a two-person union unlike any other in its importance to the committed individuals . . . it offers the hope of companionship."
3. "It safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation and education . . . marriage affords the permanency and stability important to children's best interests . . . Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples."
4. "Marriage is a keystone of our social order." Same-sex couples cannot be "denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage."
The opinion gave a cursory nod to religious freedom concerns:
1. "Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions."
2. Traditional marriage "has long been held-and continues to be held-in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world."
3. "[I]t must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex."
(Source: Congressional Prayer Caucus)
Cautionary Quotes from the Dissenting Opinions on Religious Freedom
Chief Justice Roberts:
"Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for religious practice. The majority's decision imposing same-sex marriage cannot, of course, create any such accommodations. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to "advocate" and "teach" their religious views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to "exercise" religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses."
"Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today."
"It is one thing for the majority to conclude that the Constitution protect a right to same-sex marriage; it is something else to portray everyone who does not share the majority's "better informed understanding" as bigoted."
"The majority's inversion of the original meaning of liberty will likely cause collateral damage to other aspects of our constitutional order that protect liberty."
"Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority's decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect. . . . The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability."
"[The majority] makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation's tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for "religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths." Religious liberty is about the freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlates to the civil restraints places upon religious practice."
"[The decision] will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent."
"I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools."
"By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas. Recalling the harsh treatment of gays and lesbians in the past, some may think that turnabout is fair play. But if that sentiment prevails, the National will experience bitter and lasting wounds.
(Source: Congressional Prayer Caucus)
Dissenting Opinions on Judicial Overreach
"[T]he public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue. But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even in a thin veneer of law."
"This is a naked judicial claim to legislative-indeed super-legislative-power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government."
"With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them-with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the "reasoned judgement" of a bare majority of this Court-we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence."
"The Court's decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built."
"The founding-era idea of civil liberty as natural liberty constrained by human law necessarily involved only those freedoms that existed outside of government."
"For millennia, marriage was inextricably linked to the one thing that only an opposite-sex couple can do: procreate. . . . If this traditional understating of the purpose of marriage does not ring true to all our ears today, that is probably because the tie between marriage and procreation has frayed. Today, for instance, more than 40% of all children in this country are born to unmarried women. This development is undoubtedly both a cause and a result of changes in our society's understanding of marriage."
"Most Americans-understandably-will cheer or lament today's decision because of their views on the issue of same-sex marriage. But all Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority's claim of power portends."
Chief Justice Roberts:
"[T]his Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. . . . The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgement."
"It can be tempting for judges to confuse our own preferences with the requirements of the law. But as this Court has been reminded throughout our history, the Constitution "is made for people of fundamentally differing views.""
"Marriage did not come about as a result of a political movement, discover, disease, war, religious doctrine, or any other moving force of word history-and certainly not as a result of a prehistoric decision to exclude gays and lesbians. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship."
"As the majority notes, some aspect of marriage have changed over time. . . . [These changes] did not, however, work any transformation in the core structure of marriage as the union between a man and a woman."
"The Court's accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it."
(Source: Congressional Prayer Caucus)
Forbes Statement on Supreme Court Marriage Ruling
Washington, D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court issued a 5 to 4 decision, authored by Justice Kennedy, holding that the Due Process and Establishment Clauses of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution require all 50 states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This ruling overturns democratically-elected laws in dozens of states. In response to the Court's decision, Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA04), issued the following statement:
"It is not the Court's job to redefine sound public policy that has been democratically enacted by millions of Americans - just as the government should never force people to choose between their faith and their livelihood. Every American should be free to affirm the truth about marriage without being punished by the government."
Background: The majority opinion acknowledged that traditional marriage is a view that, "has long been held-and continues to be held-in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world . . .The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.
However, the dissenting Justices took issue with what they saw as a weak and narrow understating of the First Amendment. Justice Thomas stated, "[The majority] makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation's tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for "religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths." Religious liberty is about the freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlates to the civil restraints places upon religious practice."
Chief Justice Roberts further highlighted the Court's improper imposition into the democratic process. "This Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us . . . The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment."
[Congressman Forbes is the Chairman of the Congressional Caucus Foundation]
Call to Action: We're still standing for marriage - stand with us.
Today, five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millenia of history and the reality of human nature. In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy. Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter. We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman.
On this historic day, we want to encourage you to raise your voice in support of marriage. Please join the conversation on twitter by following @TPerkins and @FRCdc and using the sample tweet below to help raise awareness about the importance of marriage and religious freedom.
Tweet this: #SCOTUS #marriage ruling is shocking abuse of power, and will never be accepted - @TPerkins
It's our belief that Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth and will never accept the legitimacy of this decision. Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein. "The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40:8)
Family Research Council
P.S. Please forward this email to at least one friend.
A Message for Those Who Live in or Near the Nation's Capital
Announcing a Candlelight Vigil at the Supreme Court on Sunday Night
1. MESSAGE FROM PIERRE BYNUM, FRC
Dear Christian Leader,
I'm sure you saddened by the Supreme Court's egregious ruling on marriage.
If you know anyone who lives within driving distance of the U.S. Capitol, Please send them a text, an email, or give them a call to let them know about this. See information below.
If you live in the region yourself, bring a group, some candles and matches, and take a stand for marriage on this sad weekend. Jesus is Lord!
Don't forget to take part in the Call2Fall. If you haven't already, visit the Website and click "I'm In"
Thanks & God bless!
Rev. Pierre Bynum
Chaplain & National Prayer Director
Family Research Council
2. MESSAGE FROM KASSIE DULIN, The Liberty Institute
Thank you for all you have done to stand for marriage and religious liberty. We had a good presence at the Supreme Court this morning and we appreciate you being a part.
After today's Supreme Court decision, we remain undeterred in our commitment to upholding our values of marriage and religious liberty. Moving forward, we recognize that, as the justices pointed out in both the opinion and the dissent, upholding religious liberty is more important now than ever.
Please join us for:
A Candlelight Prayer Vigil
Sunday, June 28 at 8:30 pm
In front of the Supreme Court Building
1 First St NE, Washington, DC 20543
This will be a short (30-60 minutes) event where supporters of marriage and religious liberty can gather to pray and be encouraged.
To help us plan for the event, we need a good headcount. Please register as soon as you can for yourself and anyone you can bring with you. You can also reply to this email to let us know if you will be able to attend.
Thank you for your work to defend marriage and religious liberty.
Director of Legal Communications
The Liberty Institute
"NOW, align with ME."
Today I received the news we are all hearing that our land had decided to break covenant agreement with the Father and order a law that redefined covenant marriage. Now, here is the exhortation from our Father. Do not be scattered in your soul!! Do not react to the enemy or to the flood of sounds that are fear-based. At the same time do not let your vision be so short that circumstances define your victory.
There are multiple times in the Word (1 Kings 11-12) where the Father Himself allows a polarization to provoke the righteous to respond to Him alone. Our times are very similar to the times of King Solomon as he fell and then the kingdom divided. In these times we keep our focus on the worship of our Father and get our marching orders from Him. Know that He has not taken His eyes off of you, His bride or our nation. Do not debate with your soul but submit your soul in worship. We will begin to see consequences but we are not moved by consequences. We are moved by the Lord and He will grant us wisdom for the hour.
I hear the Lord say, "Did I not form you for such a time as this? Am I taken by surprise? I AM the Ancient of Days! My Word has no beginning and no end. I AM not surprised nor taken off guard. I AM your guard. I AM your safety. Your safe place is to be where I AM. I AM the Covenant Keeper. NOW, align with ME. Align with those I put you with. Be led by My Spirit and go deep in worship. Now is the time you must know the difference between being led by your soul and being led by My Spirit. Your soul will align you with scattering if not submitted to ME in wholeness. Now, is the time I begin to give My People a WEAPON CALLED ONENESS. Your overflow and your testimony will bring your victory." (Source Unknown)
Our Prayer over Today's Decision
- O Lord, we feel undone, and we grieve with You concerning this predictable decision by the Supreme Court, which violates both Your Word, and our Constitution, as well as the consciences of a majority of the American people. We again repent on behalf of these 5 justices, who have violated the law as an act of conscience, and their attempts to force their will upon us. Lord, regardless of this ruling, You are our Lawgiver, and our King, our Judge and Intercessor. We choose to live according to Your laws, set forth in Your Word. We ask that You would give Your wisdom to Your people, as to how we should respond to this decision, and how, if possible, to reverse it. We ask this prayer in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, amen and amen.
- "Nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Leviticus 18:21,22)
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