Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

August 27, 2013 - 9:42 am

Attorney Erik Stanley writes that churches are at risk from the redefinition of marriage.

[A]s an attorney who defends the constitutional freedoms of churches on a daily basis, all the assurances of those who have been actively seeking to redefine marriage that they will not target churches ring hollow in light of what is already happening. For example, Hawaii passed a civil-unions law that took effect last year. One of the provisions of the law specifies that if a church allows members of the public to use its facilities for weddings, then it cannot deny a same-sex couple the ability to use the church building for a same-sex ceremony. Just last year, the city of Hutchinson, Kansas, attempted to pass an ordinance mandating the same thing.  The FAQs for the ordinance specifically stated: “For example, if a church has a parish hall that they rent out to the general public, they could not discriminate against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party.”

Across the pond, a same-sex couple is planning to sue the Church of England to force the church to host its ceremony.

San Antonio, Texas — named for a Catholic saint — is considering an ordinance that some fear would effectively ban anyone who believes in the traditional definition of marriage from public service in the city. It’s called, in the finest Orwellian, a “non-discrimination” measure.

Those who imply that churches are silly or misguided in seeking to protect their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms by proactively adopting bylaw changes simply do not understand the coming threat – or even just simple prudence.

Nor do they understand the aggression of the other side. Many solid conservatives and libertarians have long argued that once same-sex marriage is allowed, and/or civil unions become the norm, that will be the end of the story.

They’re wrong. Everything is proceeding as I predicted back in March.

The most likely outcome at this point is that same-sex marriage is ratified. That’s not the end of the story, though. No issue of this magnitude can pass without having many unintended consequences. Roe v Wade really didn’t settle abortion as an issue; arguably that ruling made things worse. Ratifying same-sex marriage will likely lead to discrimination lawsuits against pastors and churches that resist performing ceremonies for same-sex couples, leading to bankruptcies, and eventually, to churches, not the state, vacating marriage. The risk of lawsuits and being bankrupted by court costs will be too great. So many churches that adhere to the current definition of marriage will simply no longer marry anyone, to avoid being taken to court and sued for discrimination.

I also predicted that unchurched America won’t care much what happens to churches. I still hope to be proven wrong about that one.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Most churches don't just rent out the basement, they rent the sanctuary to host what is considered a sacrament. Some consider holding a gay wedding ceremony, against their beliefs, as tantamount to desecrating their church.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why should churches be forced to open any of their property for use in what they consider blasphemous activity?

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
O how terrible flower shops will have to sell flowers to homos , photographers will have to take photos of homos , cake shops will need to make cakes for homos and church halls will have to be let to homosexuals , is the sky falling in or what . No were have I heard of any Preacher being forced to preform a same sex wedding .The U.K. case involves a local church, Priest and homosexual couple that want to have this wedding in there local church but can not because it is against the law for any Church of England Church = even the ones who want to (like the local Priest in this case ) . Please report the facts of the case .
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe I have already noted in some previous conversation that the churches might want to consider going underground and perform their services and ceremonies in secret.

Think that is overkill?

How about a person joins a church, pretends to abide by the teachings of that congregation - but then reveals they are gay and demand that the church perform a marriage ceremony....
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Progressives and Libertarians share many things in common but the most dangerous shared flaw is first order thinking. Gay marriage is a right so they say and the state should "get out of marriage." Now that we have taken a step in that direction you are seeing attacks on the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment. The gay lobby and their anti-Judeo-Christian allies wish transform churches into politically correct institutions serving their interests just as the KGB used the Russian Orthodox Church to serve the interests of the Soviet State.

The objective of the gay lobby is not marriage but its abolition. Anybody who is familiar with gay studies (see David Horowitz) knows that the gay lobby is attempting to make homosexuality the norm and heterosexuality the perversion. The gay lobby is like the PLO. The say one thing to the straight world and then another thing to their own group. To the straight world they say that people are born gay but to each other they say that if heterosexual institutions are destroyed then people will naturally gravitate toward the gay lifestyle. According to the theory sexual preferences and identification are merely social constructs. If that is what you believe then you really don't believe people are born that way.

Libertarians have become as much a threat to the social underpinnings of the Republic as the are Progressives.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let me say right off the bat, I'm not in favor of gay "marriage". Civil unions, the right to visit partner in the hospital, inherit, joint bank accts. & mortgage, etc.? Fine with me.

BUT: Where do you get your ... um, 'facts'?

Finally, it's absolute B.S. that Libertarians & Progs. share many things in common. I'd say it's the Progs. & Consrtvs. that share many things in common -- mostly that BOTH groups wanna shove stuff down Americans' throats; it's just a 180 deg. diff. in ideology. Libtrns just WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE. No more g.d. regulations (which NObama's admin. puts out, what, like 1100/day?) from EITHER side. Some common sense would be a pleasant change. The staunchest defenders of the Constitution have at least *some* libtrn leanings. Do the right thing, b/c it's the right thing, that ppl of common sense can agree on. Not b/c some idiot in DC has decreed ____ is so; nor b/c some alleged religion or practioner thereof decrees ____ is correct.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
We need Obama Church! If you don't belong to a church you can join the Obama Church. If you are Atheist or just a non-church goer you have to pay a tithe (It's not a tax unless the Supreme Court says so). And, you can't get turned away because of pre-existing faith. In the Obama Church you can marry whoever or whatever you want.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great idea for Bryan: just for grins PJM should have a contest to come up with the new bylaws of the "Church of Obama". It'll be like the best caption to the photo contest we see every now and then...
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
When MA adopted gay marriage and gay adoptions, Catholic Charities had to get out of adoptions there. This will be a state by state matter. CA has gay marriage now, because one gay Federal Judge so ruled, and the state officials refused to appeal his decision. Each state must draw its own lines.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I also predicted that unchurched America won’t care much what happens to churches. "

Why?

I'm agnostic, and this attack on the freedom of religion enrages me.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
You & me both! I don't claim to be part of any orgnzd religion, but am leary of ppl claiming atheism (really? you know that much about the billions of yrs. & the universe?) BUT I was very concerned w/the entire debate around Obamacare when the powers that be (for now) said they were gonna force Catholic inst. to pay for birth control. WTF?! Funny how when the libs/progs get control, they forget ALL about the "separation of church & state"!
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because you're an exception when you should be the rule.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Because most people know all about Miley Cyrus and other pop culture and sports but next to nothing about much else in any detail.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everything old is new again in the wonderful world of contemporary liberalism. We have a return to aristocracy for the wealthy and connected. Bills of attainder are once more in vogue with the IRS able to target groups and individuals for punishment based on opinion. Now, to top it off, we have San Antonio proposing a religious test for elected office. Perhaps we can top it off with an approved State Church--one that won't offend the delicate sensibilities of any designated victim groups. America--it was great while it lasted.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm confused about exactly why this is offensive to religious people.

Let's say that we have a nice little congregation of Baptists or Methodists or Catholics and a small hall that we sometimes rent out for community groups to help the church make a little money to help with expenses. A gay couple approaches us and asks to rent the hall for their marriage ceremony. Let's assume that we're not a particularly liberal congregation and don't think much of gay marriage. But we're in Hawaii or Hutchinson, Kansas and state or local law forces us to accomodate the ceremony.

As I interpret the article, laws are being used to force churches to let gays use their facilities for gay weddings but I'm not seeing anything that says our church's clergyman has to officiate at the wedding. I'm not seeing anything that says the formal part of the church has to be made available to the gay couple either unless that is the part of our building that is normally rented out. But if the only thing we normally rent out is the church basement, then that's all we'd have to rent to the gay couple, right? And if we don't have to provide the clergyman to perform the ceremony, then I'm not sure why this is particularly offensive to the congregation.

Those of us who find our stomachs turning at the prospect of gay weddings could simply stay away for the duration of the rental. The gay couple would not be able to say our clergyman officiated at the service, and thus legitimized the wedding, only that they'd been married in our building, which they had rented for a few hours. Am I making sense so far?

I have to say that I'm curious what the mosques would do if gays attempted to use their rental facilities for gay weddings. I assume they'd just stop offering rental space. Maybe that's what Christian and Jewish congregations would all have to do, as well as those of other religions that weren't gay-friendly.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I was the Grand Wizard of the local klavern, do you suppose that the city would let me rent out one of the pavilions in the public park for a KKK rally?

Who would we be offending?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
You remind me of the republicans in Congress who "go along to get along" with the democrats. Why should a church have to "go along to get along" with people who are out to destroy it?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most churches don't just rent out the basement, they rent the sanctuary to host what is considered a sacrament. Some consider holding a gay wedding ceremony, against their beliefs, as tantamount to desecrating their church.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Again, I'm not in favor of gay 'marriage'. However, I'd think 'renting' a *sanctuary* is tantamount to desecration to begin with. Either one is a member of that specific church's congregation or not. If not, you can rent whatever hall they have avlbe.; if so, you get the sanctuary for a sacrament free.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why should churches be forced to open any of their property for use in what they consider blasphemous activity?

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
What this means is that churches will have to be closed rather than open institutions. Which means, you as an individual has no interest walking into a church unless you have specific purpose there or are a member of the institution, just like any other place of business. Gone will be using churches as community centres or gathering places for general local festivals or events.....

Community will suffer and churches will still try to follow their mission, that's the end of it........
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Many solid conservatives and libertarians have long argued that once same-sex marriage is allowed, and/or civil unions become the norm, that will be the end of the story."

Because it should be. These people who are suing these churches are being absurd. They are taking the discrimination thing to an unreasonable level. This is like having protestants suing the Catholic Church because it doesn't marry people who are not Catholic. The whole thing is absurd; these ridiculous people shouldn't even be interested in marrying their partners in a church that doesn't want to marry them. Idiots.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ah, but consider Sandra Fluke, who chose to go to Georgetown University, a Catholic institution, solely so she could sue them over their refusal to cover birth control/abortion in their student health plan. There is nothing absurd about this. These people are out to destroy our churches.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not absurd or idiotic if the purpose is to destroy the Church.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
This. Precisely this.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All