Congress Passes ‘Respect for Marriage’ Bill — Just One More Threat to Religious Liberty

Marriage is not a concept found in the U.S. Constitution. Religious liberty, however, is very much part of the founding document. So fundamental is the concept of liberty that the founders saw fit to enumerate the freedoms of religion, of speech, of the press, of peaceable  assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances in the first of the Bill of Rights.

With every passage of legislation that bestows protected class status on certain behaviors — as opposed to an immutable characteristic like race, over which we have no control — the more our right to exercise our faith is threatened.

Both houses of Congress voted to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The law defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman for federal purposes and allowed states to refuse to recognize “marriages” between two people of the same sex, even if recognized as marriage in other states.

Congress passed the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies same-sex “marriage.” The Senate version of the bill passed last week by a vote of 61 to 36.

The House of Representatives passed the measure this week by a vote of 258 to 169. All the Democrats voted for it, along with 39 Republicans. President Joe Biden will sign it into law.

Democrats disingenuously pushed this bill after Justice Clarence Thomas made a comment about reconsidering Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and contraceptive cases in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022), which overturned Roe v. Wade (1973). Leftists seized the political moment to claim that the high court might reconsider Loving v. Virginia (1967), which overturned state laws banning interracial marriage.

Unlike Obergefell, Loving did not redefine marriage. States had no right to regulate marriage in this way. Star Parker, founder and CEO of the Center of Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), wrote in a recent column (emphasis added):

In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled that African Americans were not human beings. In the Dred Scott decision, the court ruled that people of African descent “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges” accorded to citizens.

The meaning of “citizen” was reinvented to serve a political and ideological agenda.

With the passage of the 14th Amendment, the American people restored the truth and integrity of the word “citizen” — “All persons born and naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” — and obliterated a corrupt, ideological ruling of the Supreme Court.

The Obergefell decision did to the word “marriage” what the Dred Scott decision did to the word “citizen.”

“It’s disgusting that these progressives in Congress have convinced some Republicans that if they didn’t codify same sex marriage and trample on religious liberty, then interracial marriage was at risk,” CURE said on Twitter. “This is a politically contrived argument and Black clergy should be outraged that these horrible progressives keep using the struggles of Black history in America to further an agenda that is inconsistent with Biblical worldview.”

What do black pastors have to say?

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