A federal appeals court on Wednesday afternoon directed the district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to issue final orders ending enforcement of the states’ respective bans on same-sex couples’ marriages.

In the Texas case, in which the trial court had struck down the ban, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Judge Jerry E. Smith, wrote that “the injunction appealed from is correct in light of Obergefell, the preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED.”…

In all three cases, the appeals court ordered the trial courts to act on the final resolution of the cases “by July 17, 2015, and earlier if reasonably possible.”

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The damage to democracy is bad enough, but it is greatly compounded by the damage to American federalism. The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate marriage, nor does it have a roving license to promote “dignity,” “autonomy,” or any of the other amorphous phrases contained in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. If the Constitution granted anything like that kind of authority to the central government, the document would never have been ratified. In Federalist No. 45, James Madison assured readers that, under the proposed Constitution, the states would remain sovereign over “all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people” (emphasis added)…

Fundamental rights are blunt instruments because they leave lawmakers very little room to accommodate practices inconsistent with such rights. In the new regime, courts will likely hold that states are prohibited from placing any burden on the right to same-sex marriage unless it furthers a compelling state interest. Indeed, Justice Kennedy’s opinion makes numerous references to Loving v. Virginia, the case that struck down bans on interracial marriage. Never mind that the opposite-sex nature of marriage spans all eras and all cultures, whereas the anti-miscegenation laws struck down in Loving are a relic of the relatively brief Jim Crow era; for the Court, both are expressions of rank prejudice. If traditional marriage has the same moral status as Jim Crow, then how can one compromise with its adherents?

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Currently, the tax-exempt status of such religious institutions (and schools, from pre-schools through graduate schools and seminaries), is protected under law. But not for long if Oppenheimer has his way.

He acknowledges the social good that many churches do, and the risk that charitable giving would drop if tax exemptions and deductions were removed. But his idea — drive charity away from churches and give it to the government instead — would further concentrate power in the hand of the state, a concentration the Constitution never envisions and which history tells us is profoundly dangerous. Given the massive inefficiencies and waste of federal “compassion” programs, not to mention the profound intergenerational dependence it has created, this idea is embarrassing on its face. Yet it’s one advanced with dead seriousness by Oppenheimer and his compeers in the anti-religious Left…

For the government to assume such a role would be vastly expensive, and it would also consign millions of needy people into the hands of the federal bureaucracy. Perhaps most profoundly, by marginalizing churches and synagogues, our country would experience a moral impoverishment that in an era of family disintegration and cultural decay we cannot afford.

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In a review of Hood County Clerk Katie Lang’s emails obtained through an information request, her comments to staff were strident: “We are not issuing [marriage licenses to gay couples] because I am instilling my religious liberty in this office.”…

After Attorney General Ken Paxton — the state’s civil lawyer, not a primary legal authority on county matters — advised clerks to defend religious freedom but expect lawsuits, Ellis County Clerk Cindy Polley wrote: “Does it seem to anyone else the AG is putting it back on us?”

“HELP!” Brewster County Clerk Berta Rios Martinez wrote. “I just had my first gay couple come in for a marriage license and I ran them off!! … Did I do right? HELP!!!”

“Why didn’t [Abbott] say ‘The state of Texas WILL NOT ISSUE same sex marriage licenses. If you want to sue, sue the State.’ Instead, he hung us all out to dry, threw us under the bus.”

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Linda Barnette has issued marriage licenses in Grenada County, Mississippi for 24 years. On Tuesday, she resigned.

“I choose to obey God rather than man,” Mrs. Barnette wrote in her one paragraph resignation letter to the Grenada County Board of Supervisors.

“I am a follower of Christ and I believe strongly that the Bible is my final authority,” she wrote. ‘The Bible teaches that a marriage is to be between a man and a woman. Therefore, because of the recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, I can no longer fulfill my duties as Circuit Clerk and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.”…

“I told my supervisors a while back if it happened, I would tender my resignation,” she told me. “I had already decided in my heart that I could not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. It’s my Christian belief. As a follower of Christ, I could not do it. The Bible teaches it is contrary to His plan.”

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Even more than anti-discrimination employment laws, there is a significant philosophical divide between libertarians and many gay activists, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and state-level civil rights commissions over the responses to religious business owners not wanting to provide their goods and services for gay weddings. We’re now seeing additional suggestions that religious colleges could be punished for not accommodating gay couples, and even an early suggestion that churches should not have non-profit status any longer.

The freedom to choose with whom to associate is a fundamental human and Constitutionally protected right. The ability to engage freely in commerce another one. Anybody with any doubts about the importance of free commerce to human liberty is encouraged to ask a nearby Venezuelan about the alternatives. As such, libertarians have consistently been supporting the rights of religious businesses and individuals to say “No thanks” to potential customers…

A wedding cake is not a right. A wedding photographer is not a right. Everybody has the right to engage in commerce. We have the right to buy and sell our services and goods, but it must be voluntary on both ends of the exchange. Nobody has the right to force the baker, the photographer, or anybody else to work for them in a free country. The exchange of money doesn’t make it acceptable…

That’s obviously not the case here. Nobody has presented a credible argument that gay couples have been completely unable to buy wedding cakes or rent photographers. There is no actual “harm”—just inconvenience. The vast majority of businesses across the country are more than happy to serve gay citizens. A handful of holdouts in non-essential services is not a good reason to bring to bear the full force of government to fix. It is callous and selfish to use the state to go after small businesses and try to extract fines from them or shut them down over a problem that barely even exists anymore. It is very clearly an effort to punish people for holding disfavored opinions or positions, something that used to happen with great frequency to gay people and their allies. Flipping the switch on who is punished by the state is not justice. Turning the machine off entirely is what we should all be calling for. On this issue libertarians will likely continue to stand with the religious holdouts for the foreseeable future, even if it’s on “the wrong side of history.” It’s on the right side of liberty.

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[W]ith the SCOTUS decision the gay rights revolution is now nearly complete. The big question is: What’s next?

The gay rights revolution will continue to fine-tune laws related to inheritance, taxes, job discrimination, family rights (that of surrogate parents vs. same-sex parents) and—now—divorce and custody issues. Getting the right to marry was the easy part—now comes the reality of marriage itself with all its hearthstones and heartaches! Rights for transgendered people (think Caitlyn Jenner) will need to be considered, and it’s entirely possible that the state could get out of the marriage business altogether and leave it entirely up to individuals.

And then there’s atheists, agnostics and secular humanists—who have been following the strategy of the LGBT community in “coming out” campaigns to show that we are just as moral, just as worthy and just as good citizens as believers.

The animal rights revolution has been underway for as long as the gay rights revolution, but it’s a different animal (if you will), given the cross-species leap we have to make to expand our moral consideration, which is not easy to do. But the trends are in the right direction in terms of our sympathies with preventing harm and suffering to more and more species. Chimps are being retired from medical research, cattle farms are becoming more humane, the killing of marine mammals such as whales and dolphins is nearly universally taboo, along with cock fighting, dog fighting, and bull fighting, and hunting and meat eating are both in decline.

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The left will destroy the things you care about, because you care about them. It will destroy them because that gives them power over you. It will destroy them because these things stand in the way of its power. It will destroy them because a good deal of its militant activists need things to destroy and if they can’t attack you, they’ll turn on the left in a frenzy of ideologically incestuous purges.

The left’s social justice program is really a wave of these purges which force their own people to hurry up and conform to whatever the Party dictated this week. Examples are made out of laggards on social media to encourage the rest to stop thinking and start marching in line. As Orwell knew well, these shifts select for mindless ideological zombies while silencing critical thinkers…

The purpose of power is power. The left is not seeking to achieve a set of policy goals before kicking back and having a beer. The policy goals are means of destroying societies, nations and peoples before taking over. If you allow it a policy goal, it will ram that goal down your throat. It will implement it as abusively as it can possibly can before it moves on to the next battle.

It’s not about gay marriage. It’s not about cakes. It’s about power…

You can’t work out a truce with tyrants. You can give in or stand up to them. There’s nothing else.

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