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Religious Tolerance logo

The Obergefell v. Hodges case before the U.S. Supreme Court
involving appeals of 4 same-sex marriage cases, from Kentucky,
Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 24: 2015-APR:
More about the Pledge in Solidarity to Defend
Marriage,
including this web master's comments
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We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay which describes how
the U.S. Supreme Court might vote in this case, what might happen
if the court legalizes same-sex marriage across the country.

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same-sex marriage symbol 2015-APR-28: A group of religious conservatives issue a pledge promising civil disobedience (Cont'd):

The Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage can be viewed online. 7

Leading signers of the Pledge include (Cont'd):

  • Penny Nance, CEO & President of Concerned Women for America;

  • C. Preston Noell III, President Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.;

  • Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life;

  • Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R);

  • Rick Scarborough, President of Vision America;

  • Anita Staver, President of Liberty Counsel;

  • Don Wildmon, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of American Family Association;

  • Tim Wildmon, President of American Family Association;

  • and about 175 others. 8

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2015-MAY: Webmaster's comments (multiple bias alerts):

Timing of the Pledge: The introduction of this Pledge in late 2015-APR seems a bit late, by perhaps two years. Already, about 72% of the U.S. population lives in areas where same-sex couples can readily marry. IMHO, the Pledge should have been initiated in mid-2013 while the U.S. Supreme Court was considering the Windsor v. United States case. The high court issued its decision in that case during late 2013-JUN. The Justices then ruled that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. That ruling made many legally married same-sex couples eligible for 1,138 benefits, protections and programs for themselves and their children. It was this ruling, not the upcoming ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which was the real tipping point for same-sex marriage in the U.S. If the sponsors of the pledge -- whoever they are -- had acted in 2013, then it might have nipped in the bud the unprecedented progress towards marriage equality. They might have stalled marriage equality at ten states and the District of Columbia. They might have won their goal. Because they introduced it now, they may have lost.

Citing Rev. Martin Luther King Jr as an example: During his interview with Fox News, Mat Staver might have chosen a better example to illustrate his point of view. He invoked the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King advocated for the end of discrimination against the black minority in the United States. The group who initiated this pledge are advocating for the continuation of discrimination against the LGBT minority in the United States. This is not a good match. A closer parallel might have been to compare their cause to those individuals and groups who opposed:

  • the right of interracial couples to marry prior to the 1967 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Loving v. Virginia. That case is particularly applicable because this was the most recent occasion that the high court has redefined marriage;

  • the right of profoundly deaf couples to marry prior to the appeals of restrictive legislation in a few states during the early 20th century; and

  • the right of former slaves to marry freely at the end of the Civil War.

Of course, citing these cases would have been counterproductive to their clause, because all three involved a discriminated-against group attaining equality, Their Pledge is intended to do the opposite: to keep a minority group discriminated against. Actually, these three examples might not have been useful to cite, because the vast majority of people in the U.S. now recognize that all three of these times that marriage has been redefined are now regarded as beneficial to the culture.

How will the civil disobedience be expressed? I am wondering what form the proposed civil disobedience would take if the high court makes marriage available to same-sex couples in the relative few U.S. states and territories where such marriages are still banned. There is no obvious way for civil disobedience to stop same-sex marriages in their tracks if marriage equality is attained from sea onto sea.

When a same-sex couple decides to be married, they only have to go down to their local courthouse, prove their identity, shell out some money, obtain a marriage license, present it to a person authorized to solemnize marriage, be married, and return the signed marriage license to the courthouse for registration.

The clerks and judges who issue and register marriage licenses have all taken an oath of office to obey the U.S. Constitution. So, civil disobedience by them would probably only result in their temporary suspension or dismissal. Either way, their functions would simply be replaced by others who are willing to respect their oath of office and uphold the federal Constitution.

The pledge signers might try to picket marriage ceremonies by same-sex couples. However, marriages might be held anywhere at any time. Thus it might be difficult to arrange a protest to disrupt marriage ceremonies effectively.

They might try picketing courthouses. But to be effective, this would have to be done across the entire country simultaneously. Even if access to all of the courthouses in a given state were blocked, couples could simply go to an adjacent state, be married there, return to their home state, and have their marriages recognized.

I suspect that gay bashing will increase across the U.S. for a while if same-sex couples are able to marry. "Haters gotta hate." Attainment of equality by a sexual minority is always very distressing to those opposed to equal treatment. It is very doubtful that any of the signers of this pledge will deviate from the principles of civil disobedience by engaging in or promoting violence. However, their Pledge could influence millions of people, some of whom might become violent.

What does the Bible say about marriage? I have never been able to understand why so many individuals who want same-sex couples to be excluded from marriage quote the Bible as limiting marriage to one woman and one man. The Bible text actually shows that a man could marry (literally, in Hebrew, "become the master of the woman") as often as he desired and could afford. In Genesis 4:19, Lamech became the first known polygamist when he took two wives. Subsequent men who took multiple wives included: Esau with 3 wives; Jacob: 2; Ashur: 2; Gideon: many; Elkanah: 2; David: many; Solomon: 700 wives of royal birth! Rehaboam: 3; Abijah: 14. Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin and Belshazzar also had multiple wives. The only criticism of polygamists in the Bible involved Solomon. He was criticized for having married Pagan women. He was not condemned for the number of women that he married.

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What does the Bible say about Christians obeying the government? Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest authority in the Judicial Branch of the federal government which also includes the Legislative and Executive Branches. Paul had something to say about the responsibilities of individual to obey their government.

In Romans 13, chapters 1 to 6, he wrote:

"1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

6 For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." (King James Version)

In other words, obey the government or be damned.

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This topic continues in the next essay with more predictions of repercussions if
and when the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage across the U.S.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Pema Levy, "Even Anti-Gay Activists Predict Victory for Same-Sex Marriage at the Supreme Court," Mother Jones, 2015-APR-28, at: http://www.motherjones.com/
  2. Forrest Wilder, "He who casts the first stone," Texas Observer, 2010-FEB-24, at: http://www.texasobserver.org/
  3. Brian Tashman, "Rick Wiles Warns Of 'Fireball From Space' If Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Bans," Right Wing Watch, 2015-MAY-01, at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/
  4. Leah Klett, "Christian Leaders, Including Franklin Graham and Mike Huckabee, Say 'We Will Not Obey' if Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage, Gospel Herald Society, at: http://www.gospelherald.com/
  5. "Infertility: Definition," Mayo Clinic, 2014-JUL-02, at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/
  6. "Childfree," Wikipedia, as on 2015-MAY-16, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  7. "Pledge in solidarity to defend marriage," Defend Marriage, 2015, at: http://defendmarriage.org/
  8. "Key signer of the pledge," Defend Marriage, 2015, at: http://defendmarriage.org/

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-MAY-05
Latest update: 2015-MAY-11
Author: B.A. Robinson
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