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Religious Tolerance logo

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage (aka gay
marriage) across the U.S. in its ruling of The Obergefell v. Hodges
case from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 60:
2015-September:
A few problems with an email from Father
Anthony Mellace about "One nation under God."

Current status of gay marriages in U.S., including
resistance in 12 counties in Alabama & Kentucky.
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We use the term "gay marriage."to represent the marriage of two persons of
the same sex. We prefer "Same-sex marriage," a more inclusive term that
includes spouses with a bisexual sexual orientation, but it would make this web
site harder to find because most search engines cannot handle synonyms.
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals.
"LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2015-SEP-08: About an email concerning God, the U.S. Constitution, and marriage equality (Continued):

There are a few problems with Fr. Mellace's email: 1

  • The federal constitution does not actually contain the word "God."

  • The constitution does not actually contain the phrase "One nation under God."

  • The Bible does not seem to mention same-sex marriage.

  • The Bible does not mandate marriage between one woman and one man; various passages describe many such marriages, but others describe marriages between one man and multiple women. Solomon holds the record with 700 wives and 300 concubines.

  • The often cited six "clobber passages" that have been used to condemn same-gender sexual behavior appear to be ambiguous.
    • Intelligent, devoted, sincere, thoughtful Christians have interpreted all of these passages in ways that condemn such behavior.

    • Other intelligent, devoted, sincere, thoughtful Christians believe that the passages do not refer to such behavior by loving committed same-sex couples. Rather, passages in the Old Testament refer to men raping angels, men engaging in bestiality (inter-species sex), men having sex with male temple prostitutes, or two men having sex on a woman's bed. They interpret new testament pages as condemning heterosexuals having sex with members of the same sex during Pagan orgies, men having sex with boys, and men engaging in bestiality.

A simple Google search found many web sites that debunk the belief that the U.S. Constitution mentions God. One example is The U.S. Constitution Online which says:

"It has often been seen on the Internet that to find God in the Constitution, all one has to do is read it, and see how often the Framers used the words "God," or "Creator," "Jesus," or "Lord."

Except for one notable instance, however, none of these words ever appears in the Constitution, neither the original nor in any of the Amendments. The notable exception is found in the Signatory section, where the date is written thusly:

'Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.' [Emphasis by us]

The use of the word "Lord" here is not a religious reference, however. This was a common way of expressing the date, [at the time the document was signed] in both religious and secular contexts. This lack of any these words does not mean that the Framers were not spiritual people, any more than the use of the word Lord means that they were. What this lack of these words is expositive of is not a love for or disdain for religion, but the feeling that the new government should not involve itself in matters of religion. In fact, the original Constitution bars any religious test to hold any federal office in the United States." 2

Actually, the phrase "one nation, under God" comes from the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance. It wasn't in the original Pledge when it was written in 1892. "Under God" was only added added in 1954 over 6 decades later! 3

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2015-SEP-09: Current status of gay marriage licenses in U.S. states and territories:

It appears that in over 99.5% of the 3,144 counties and county equivalents in U.S. states, same-sex couples have not been rejected when applying for a marriage license.

However, there are about a dozen counties -- about 0.4% of the total -- where clerks are known to refuse to issue such licenses. They are either in Alabama or Kentucky:

  • Alabama:

Here, the wording of the state marriage legislation is unique. It states that county clerks "may" issue marriage licenses. Some clerks interpret this as implying that they can choose to refuse to issue licenses to any couples for any reason. However, this interpretation seems to conflict with a simple understanding of the 2015-JUN-26 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that same-sex couples are eligible to marry on the same bases as opposite-sex couples. That is, they only have to meet the same age and other requirements that are required of opposite-sex couples.

A commentator on CNN during 2015-SEP-08 casually mentioned in passing that there were two Alabama counties that were refusing to provide licenses to same-sex couples.

and , writing for NBC News on SEP-09, said that:

"... At least nine counties in Alabama have stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether. In Washington County, [located in south-west Alabama] Probate Judge Nick Williams said he stopped issuing licenses altogether so as not to discriminate against anyone." 4

Judge Williams said:

"I completely disagree with the authority the Supreme Court has. I'm quite sure they broke several constitutional amendments in that ruling." 4

Webmaster's notes: [bias alert]

I am at a complete loss trying to understand Judge Williams' reasoning that discriminating against all couples is equal to discriminating against none.

It may be worth noting that on 2015-JUN-26, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the 13 states that still banned such marriages, their majority opinion was based on the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Amendment requires that federal, state, and local governments treat people equally. This is exactly the same basis as the same court used when it issued its ruling in 1967. That was the previous time that the High Court changed the definition of marriage. That year, they legalizing interracial marriages in the 16 states in the American south-east that still banned such marriages. Yet during the half century since that 1967 ruling, that decision has never been challenged with a lawsuit. Perhaps we can expect no such challenges to the High Court's 2015 ruling for same-sex marriages either.

It appears that no engaged same-sex couples in Alabama have filed a lawsuit yet against any clerks in the state who are refusing to issue licenses. Couples are probably simply driving a short distance from their home to one of the 59 other Alabama counties where they can obtain licenses without difficulty.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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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. Fr. Anthony Mellace, "Good bye Kentucky home," email, received 015-SEP-07.
  2. Craig Walenta, "Things That Are Not In the U.S. Constitution," The U.S. Constitution Online, 1995-2010, at: http://www.usconstitution.net/
  3. Allen Clifton, "Our Pledge of Allegiance and the Myth of 'One Nation Under God'," Forward Progressives, 2013-APR-27, at: http://www.forwardprogressives.com/
  4. & Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis Isn't Kentucky's Only Gay Marriage Holdout," ABC News, 2015-SEP-09, at: http://www.nbcnews.com/

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How you may have arrived here:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-SEP-07
Latest update: 2015-SEP-07
Author: B.A. Robinson
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