Handwriting on the wall for gay marriage (ANALYSIS)

RNS-PROP8-DECISIONBy RICHARD WOLF
c. 2014 USA Today

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Supreme Court will decide whether to allow same-sex marriage nationwide later this year. But it’s leaving little doubt which way it’s leaning.

The latest evidence came Monday (Feb. 9) when the high court denied Alabama’s request to block gay marriages while the state appeals a federal judge’s ruling that allowed gays and lesbians to wed.

That was the same decision the justices reached in Florida two months ago, allowing the Sunshine State to become the 36th in the nation where same-sex marriage is legal. Alabama now becomes the 37th.

But things were different last year, when the Supreme Court temporarily blocked gay marriages in Utah in January, and in Virginia in August, while the legal issue played out. Why the change?

The turning point came in October, when the court allowed federal appeals court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage to go unchallenged in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Indiana. The justices could have intervened and scheduled one or more of those cases for argument. Instead, they stood aside.

Since then, all indications are that at least five justices are prepared to rule once and for all that the Constitution does not permit states to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.

When they agreed to hear cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee later this year, it was because the federal appeals court with jurisdiction over those four states had gone the other way and blocked same-sex marriages.

With more than 70 percent of the U.S. population now living in states where gay marriage is legal — including all of the nation’s most populous states but Texas, where a similar decision allowing same-sex marriage is on appeal — the high court appears to have turned the corner. It intervenes when gay marriages are blocked —  not when they are allowed.

Does that mean the court already has decided the Midwest states’ case? No. That would be “indecorous,” a phrase used by Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia to describe the court’s decision Monday.

And certainly, the vote count isn’t clear from the Alabama and Florida rulings allowing gay marriages to go forward, even though Thomas and Scalia were the only ones to write dissents. The court does not release its votes when it rules on so-called stay applications, so the votes of other justices remain unknown.

But make no mistake: If the justices thought there was a good chance they would rule against same-sex marriage in the upcoming cases involving Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, they likely would stop couples from marrying elsewhere.

In his dissent Monday, Thomas acknowledged as much. “In this case, the court refuses even to grant a temporary stay when it will resolve the issue at hand in several months,” he said.

“This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the court’s intended resolution of that question.”

Religion News Service

RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a non-profit, limited liability corporation based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Its mission is to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ideas.

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37 Comments on "Handwriting on the wall for gay marriage (ANALYSIS)"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Wes Andrews
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TD it is much more just for us to follow Scripture than to follow culture. The nature of culture is to exploit, control and oppress.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

My Dear Friend Gary, so now that you have gotten the last word, then the same fallacy you mentioned applies to you. I claim no shamanhood myself. I’m just a poor boy from a poor family who stands with the oppressed. I do not believe Jesus Christ, when he utters the last word of which you speak, approves of oppression.

ryan
Guest
George we should surely all agree that what sets people free is not marriage, or the lack of marriage. It is not food, nor shelter, nor liberal nor conservative government. What sets people free is Jesus! There is NO other name under heaven by which men and women must be saved! We surely should agree that we want people to come to faith in Jesus as He and He alone is the way, the life, and the truth! So lets focus on introducing people to Jesus and let us all attempt to stand on these matters of morality where Jesus… Read more »
Gary Bebop
Guest

The “chronological fallacy” (as C. S. Lewis described it) is to attribute authority to the latest novelty and regard as rubbish the wisdom of the past. It’s a little like “George” on this forum, who apparently tries to be the last word on every subject because that is his sole claim to speak as our shaman. George will eventually discover that Jesus Christ has the last word; in fact, he is the first and last word on any subject. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Mark
Guest
Exactly right, Gary. A close reading of the Bible does not lead one to necessarily conclude any of the things Sandy Wylie suggests. The idea that the Bible is an anachronistic relic of the past that must be radically reinterpreted or discarded is simply a straw man argument based in prejudice or ignorance. The same legal logic used to justify marriage redefinition will eventually be used to allow any set of consenting adults to enter in a legal arrangement and call it “marriage.” What’s so ironic is that many of the 60’s hippie types arguing so vehemently for same-sex “marriage”… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

The way our right-wing writers seem to zip to the conclusion that their opposition favors “anything goes” (whatever that is) seems like the proverbial Freudian slip.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

That would be a logical error of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Mark
Guest

No, George. You embarrass youself by throwing around terms you don’t understand.

The redefinition of marriage has ALREADY caused a clamoring for recognition by those who practice polygamy and incest. When something is already happening it is not a post hoc fallacy.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
That “clamoring” is hardly a trickle. I have no problem with polygamy between adults. So many heroes of the Religious Reich like Ronald Reagan and Karl Rove have practiced forms of serial polygamy. “Incest” involves multiple degrees of consanguinity. Whether marriage between relatives is legal or not it doesn’t stop those rare relationships like that among adults. Cousin-marrying was discouraged due to the inbreeding tendency to result in dominant traits which pass on disease or defects, but, cousin-coupling isn’t stopped by a prohibition on marriage between cousins. No, those examples are more about the silliness of the fearful than some… Read more »
Kevin
Guest

Exactly, TD. It is no more complicated than that.

Sandy Wylie
Guest
Heraclitus said that no person can ever step into the same river twice. Our world and our human understanding are continually evolving. (1) When it became accepted that Copernicus and Galileo were right, reasonable Christians conceded that our solar system is different from what the writers of the Bible had thought. (2) When modern medicine uncovered the mysteries of fertility, reasonable Christians conceded that women aren’t necessarily the cause of infertility and aren’t the objects of God’s disapproval as the writers of the Bible had thought. (3) When it finally dawned on people that slavery was wrong, reasonable Christians conceded… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
Sandy, you seem to know very little about the Scripture other than the misinformation that others have taught you. 1. The Bible does NOT claim that the Sun revolves around the earth. Scholars who trust in the authority of Scripture do NOT see any evidence that this is claimed in Scripture. This false accusation only comes from cynics who claim knowledge, but are more ruled by their cynicism. 2. & 4. The prescriptions in Scripture to respect women go against ancient (and modern) culture that treats women as objects. The Bible overwhelmingly lifts up the value of women. People who… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest
Wes says to Sandy, “Sandy, you seem to know very little about the Scripture other than the misinformation that others have taught you.” And the same could be said to him with equal validity. “1. The Bible does NOT claim that the Sun revolves around the earth. Scholars who trust in the authority of Scripture do NOT see any evidence that this is claimed in Scripture. This false accusation only comes from cynics who claim knowledge, but are more ruled by their cynicism.” Hmmm…the creationists are now endorsing a doctrine of “geocentrism” which postulates the earth is the center of… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest

hmmmm, not one quote of Scripture thoroughly presented within context of Scripture…… just more examples of the culture’s misinterpretation or misuse of Scripture…..

Wes Andrews
Guest

Kevin, another excellent and accurate observation.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

I’m not a fundamentalist. I don’t spit out bible verses devoid of context like hearing impaired persons use sign. As one writer said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls…”

Kevin
Guest

An analysis of scripture takes the progressives in a direction they do not want to go. Their arguments are based upon personal feelings or current culture. Very risky in my opinion. Why spend so much effort trying to convince people the Bible does not mean what it says? The answer might be that this way we do not have to change the way we live. We simply justify what we do to make ourselves feel better.

Wes Andrews
Guest

proving my point….

Paul W.
Guest
Thank you, Wes and Don. Well said. While I was reading through 1 Peter last night, I was struck by two key insights: First, by just how much theology and instruction is packed into such a short letter, and, second, by how utterly meaningless and trite Peter’s epistle must seem to those who believe only in a “pick-and-choose” “spiritualized” version of Christianity. For over a hundred years now, the mainline denominations have played this sad game where we pretend that orthodox Christians (those who trust the authority of the Scriptures and believe the Bible says what it means) and “modernist”… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest

Excellent and honest evaluation of what is happening primarily in all of the old human institutions: the church, government, the family, education, Paul W.. The progressives pretend to be brothers and sisters, but they don’t believe in the foundation that makes being family possible. They instead seek to destroy that foundation at all angles, and they accuse those who trust in that foundation of being ignorant, phobic, “right-wingers”, zealots, haters, etc. The crazy reality is their own accusations are much more a reflection of themselves, than of those who trust in the foundation that makes family possible.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

What I do not accept is your false assertion of authoriteh. You possess none. “Rookie mistake,” LOL! Kind of like the fellow who was told the slaves were happy on the plantations, the native Americans were happy on the rez, and the Jews were happy in Auschwitz. It has zero to do with deity and religion and everything to do with those who falsely assert their own importance.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

The authority supposed in this polemic is imaginary. Its writer is unqualified to judge who is a Christian and who is not. It is a most unfortunate exercise of his id. Hint: no one is impressed by a fourth rate Brian Fischer mimicking.

Paul W.
Guest
Not only are we qualified to judge what is and is not false teaching and who is and is not a false teacher, Scripture is replete with commands that we do so. George, you make a show of being erudite, but, in reality, you’ve shown that your knowledge is limited almost exclusively to left-wing propaganda which you seem to accept unquestioningly as gospel. (As an example, your claim of creationists supporting geocentrism is laughable although I’m sure you read it in an anti-creationist article somewhere and never thought to question it, since, to you, it “sounded” right.) As with many… Read more »
Don
Guest

Amen!

Don
Guest
Thanks for the rebuttal Wes I just did not want to argue it again. John speaks of these that claim Christ but hold to some other perverted doctrine. In 1 John 2 picking up in verse 19 18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

This can best be summarized as vitriol, cheerleading, and uninformed opinion mixed with hubris. speaking of “deviant dainties…” Oh, the self-satisfied smugness and false reach for an authoriteh unworthy of respect. Someday reality will smack you in the face, dear fellow. Perhaps you will learn something from it.

ryan
Guest

What is your view of the Scripture George? It seems to me that what Scripture is and what it accomplishes are at the heart of our disagreement here. Could you explain your beliefs/position about Scripture?

Wes Andrews
Guest

Don, those who God inspired wrote with great wisdom. The challenge to the church is NOT the evil that is obvious, but the people who claim to believe, but only seek to be the accusers of the brethren. We love, the progressives say we fear. We seek truth, the progressives proffer their lies. We desire to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ before whom every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess. The progressives desire to proclaim the news of culture, which is never good.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

Sandy, thanks for a billiant, well-written post.

When the atavists say “Marriage has always been between a man and a woman,” they argue in bad faith, because marriage of today is nothing like it was in Chrst’s time, Abraham’s time, or even Luther’s time. And if we go back before that to the ancient matriarchical tribes…well, the whole assertion is just a pretense. The same people get mad when we say Christians massacred First nations people and enslaved African-Americans, including AFTER the 15th Amendment in the form a chain gangs leased out to mines and such.

Scott Collier
Guest

The UMC is so full of hatred and bigotry it will be a wonderful day when we witness the breakup and the dividing of property and assets all over the issue of “love”.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest

We certainly do have a generous share of right-wing extremists who claim the title of United Methodists, don’t we?

ryan
Guest

how do you define ‘right-wing extremists’? It seems an unfair label for anyone I have seen post comments here, but maybe my definition does not correspond to yours.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
My friend, sorry to sink your boat, but as Inigo Montoya says “That does not mean what you think it means.” The Hebrew culture was one of storytelling and while not formally educated, like his fellows, Jesus did not believe the myth of Eve and the snake was literally true but instead referred to it for its mitzvah, He was simply using a marriage as a metaphor, not unlike how the movie director John Ford used a fey, draft-dodging thespian known for his fondness for wearing shorty-shorts, ascots, and sipping wine with his pinkie extended who went by the nom… Read more »
George Nixon Shuler
Guest

It’s no spin. You have no way of knowing what “God’s design” is other than your intense desire to be politically correct. You will never sink my faith in the real Jesus, the one in whose name the manipulators express their hatred and the manipulated execute it (and quite literally when one considers the fate of such as Billy Jack Gaither and Gwen Aruajo).

ryan
Guest

George, but we do have a way to know God’s design. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word. The Bible tells us of God’s design for our lives. Ultimately, and most completely God speaks of His design for our lives and this world in His Son Jesus.

George Nixon Shuler
Guest
The road to a culture where people are respected is always full of bumps and roadblocks, but once the states began to practice it with regard to marriage equality, it’s been a surprisingly flat landscape with only minor twists and turns. The premier political Huckster of The Heart of Dixie, the disgraced Judge Roy Moore, was already removed once from his bench for his misconduct was then unwisely returned to it by an uninformed electorate, and now his latest bout of showmanship [claiming to possess authoriteh to supercede federal judicial procedure based on his loudness, it seems] will most likely… Read more »
ryan
Guest
It would seem to me that there is a profound difference between respecting all persons and accepting their truth claims as equally valid. If you desire all persons in the US to be treated with respect, I would agree very vociferously with you upon that point. If you are saying that Americans should accept the truth claims that marriage is not an institution of God, but a civil contract that is defined not by the desires of the government (the people), but by the judiciary, then upon that point we do not find agreement. The theoretical difference here is that… Read more »
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