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The End of Democracy Continues

Millions of Americans (or thousands of journalists, wonks, and wags) are sitting on pins and needles right now, waiting for the Court’s determination: Will the world’s only superpower decree that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right? Other decrees came down this week—ranging from . . . . Continue Reading »

Creation, Covenant, and Marriage

At its General Convention this summer, The Episcopal Church (TEC) will consider a resolution to amend the church’s canons to allow same-sex couples to marry. The denomination’s official Task Force on the Study of Marriage has proposed replacing language in its canons drawn from the famed “Dearly beloved” opening exhortation of the marriage service in The Book of Common Prayer, which asserts that “the union of husband and wife” is intended, when it is God’s will, “for the procreation of children.” By excising the requirement that Christian marriage be a “a lifelong union between a man and a woman,” along with the Augustinian tradition’s second good of marriage, offspring,from the list of “purposes for which it was instituted by God,” marriage would be defined as open to same-sex couples whose sexual unions are not biologically fruitful. Continue Reading »

Is Amending the Constitution Really So Difficult?

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard oral arguments on the gay marriage cases, and it now seems poised to impose a national marriage policy on America. This new national policy will likely restrict popular choice on a key cultural issue by preventing states from democratically preserving the traditional notion of marriage as being solely between one man one woman. Some will view this development as an illegitimate alteration of the Constitution through judicial fiat, while others will surely herald it as the proper understanding of the Constitution’s “aspirations.” The Supreme Court’s majority opinion will no doubt argue that the Constitution requires this decision, and it will do so in spite of overwhelming evidence that nobody who wrote or ratified one word of the Constitution ever contemplated a national gay marriage policy. Continue Reading »

Harboring Doubts

Like many social conservatives, especially Christian ones, I spend a lot of my time reading and writing about religious freedom, especially how it might be affected by the legalization of same-sex marriage and the campaign for “gay rights” more generally.Yet at the same time, I harbor doubts about the position we are staking out.You see, I sometimes think that Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith may have been correct.  Continue Reading »

Does Windsor Strengthen or Weaken Religious Pluralism? A Debate

Legal disputes over the definition of marriage, such as the recent case U.S. v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, raise urgent questions about religious liberty rights in a pluralistic society. Windsor relies implicitly upon the “public reason” philosophy of John Rawls when considering such questions.

Religion’s Social Goods

A growing number of legal scholars question whether a justification exists for protecting religion as its own category. Yes, the text of the First Amendment refers specifically to religion, they concede, but that’s an anachronism. As a matter of principle, religion as such doesn’t merit . . . . Continue Reading »

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