From the moment the Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, opponents placed the decision in a very specific analytical frame. Here, they contended, was an egregious example of secular culture triumphing over religious values and religious freedom.
“Profoundly immoral and unjust,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement. The Orthodox Union, the national association of Orthodox Jewish congregations, declared its “emphatic” and “unalterable” religious opposition to same-sex marriage. The prominent evangelist Franklin Graham reiterated that God had created marriage between man and woman and “His decisions are not subject to review or revision by any man-made court.”
In the dissenting opinions in the 5-to-4 vote, justices seemed to anticipate the battles to come over adherence to the law by individuals and institutions that doctrinally oppose same-sex marriage. Justice Clarence Thomas noted the “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty,” while Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote, “Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”