How will the recent Supreme Court ruling affect religious freedom in America? Will churches be forced to perform sodomite (homosexual) marriages? On page 27 of the opinion (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf), we read:
Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.
Reading this, I see two things:
Preaching and teaching against sodomy and sodomite marriage is protected and not outlawed. Preaching against it and even reading certain passages against it has been criminalized in Canada and elsewhere. The court asserted the First Amendment rights that persons and organizations have the right to oppose it and to vocalize their opposition, whether it be under religious grounds or otherwise. It is indeed a relief that these religions freedoms are yet maintained.
There is no protection granted for religious expression or practice. The ruling does not touch on this. It only mentions that people and organizations have the right to “advocate” and “teach” against it. There is no right to put said beliefs into practice. Churches aren’t forced to preform sodomite “marriages,” nor are they protected from lawsuits for refusing to marry sodomites. Neither are Christian business owners protected. We will only see more lawsuits against those who refuse to service their weddings on religious beliefs. Eventually, the radical sodomites will sue to force churches to perform their ceremonies. This ruling gives the churches no protection.
In terms of religious liberty concerning sodomite marriage, this ruling only gives partial protection. While it looks like a compromise, on closer inspection, it is barely one. And future court cases will likely remove all protections.