The United Church of Christ (UCC) has been performing same-sex marriages since 2005. So they decided to pursue a legal challenge to North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriages. They are arguing that the state is violating their freedom of religion. That is too delicious not to talk about.
But I think the case is very clear. People’s rights to free expression do not trump laws. The Rastafarians believe very much that they should be allowed to ingest cannabis, but that has never stopped one of them from being imprisoned for that “crime.” So I don’t think that the UCC has a religious right that trumps North Carolina law. Of course, there may be details in the law that would push me in the UCC’s direction. But as it stands, it seems pretty simple.
I am just being consistent here. I also think all of these religious based attacks on Obamacare should have been thrown scornfully out of court at the very beginning. And there are lots of similar cases, like where a Christian pharmacist claims he has the right not to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. The Rastafarians have a far better claim to their drug rights than do hobby stores who want to micromanage their employees’ healthcare coverage.
But given all the time and efforts that conservative Christians have put into destroying Obamacare using such arguments, you would think that they would be in support of the UCC. After all, it is a matter of religious liberty. It shouldn’t matter that it is in the name of a specific policy that they don’t accept. But, of course, it does matter. North Carolina Values Coalition (NCVC) executive director Tami Fitzgerald said in a press release that because a majority of the voters in the state voted for the law, the UCC should have no rights. She then went on to talk about how she was the ultimate arbiter of what Christianity is and that the UCC is just wrong.
Of course, when Hobby Lobby was before the Supreme Court, Fitzgerald was firmly behind it, urging people to Pray for Hobby Lobby. But I’m sure that is not the only bit of hypocrisy that Fitzgerald and the NCVC have in store. Right now it is all about the fact that 61% of the electorate of North Carolina voted to ban same-sex marriage. As soon as the people become in favor of same-sex marriage, she will be using a different argument. And it won’t be long. Last year, the people of North Carolina were against same-sex marriage by a tiny 45%-44% margin.
We’ll see what happens to this case. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if conservative judges find that a same-sex marriage ban did not violate the UCC’s religious rights even while they find hitherto unknown religious rights of hobby stores. Luckily, the same-sex marriage issue will be resolved by the people very soon.