From the Lawrence v. Texas case in 2003 to the striking down of a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last year, the United States Supreme Court has reached a turning point on the issue of same sex marriage and homosexuality. Earlier this week, the court’s decision not to decide on same-sex marriage cases brought forward by five states effectively legalized the practice in 30 states. The Washington Post notes,
The justices’ decision not to intervene means that same-sex marriage is now legal in 24 states plus the District of Columbia. Six other states — North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming — must also heed the appeals courts whose rulings the justices allowed to stand.
Soon homosexuality and same-sex marriage will be the law of the land. The subject is so serious that some schools are facing accreditation questions and Christian campus ministries have lost their right to participate in school activities. The Boston Business Journal writes,
The regional body that accredits colleges and universities has given Gordon College a year to report back about a campus policy on homosexuality, one that may be in violation of accreditation standards.
The higher education commission of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges met last week and “considered whether Gordon College’s traditional inclusion of ‘homosexual practice’ as a forbidden activity” runs afoul of the commission’s standards for accreditation, according to a joint statement from NEASC and Gordon College.
What does this mean for churches like the Seventh-day Adventist Church? Mark A. Kellner writes,
Churches, synagogues, mosques and other congregations remain free to solemnize those marriages they wish to endorse, and can set their own standards for clergy and employees. But whether and how religious-affiliated schools, charities, fraternal organizations or individual believers in businesses must accommodate same-sex nuptials remains unknown, particularly in states without nondiscrimination laws that address sexual orientation.
Nicholas Miller, an attorney and Andrews University seminary professor, adds,
These kinds of organizations could face a threat to their tax exempt status should they seek to uphold their religious teachings in relation to employee or student sexual choices and conduct.
While the decision by the court was not a coast to coast decision, by deciding not to decide, the Supreme Court decided to tip the balance towards legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. As noted by Albert Mohler, the message from the nation’s highest court was clear for the lower courts:
The remaining federal courts were put on notice that same-sex marriage is now the expectation of the Supreme Court and that no appeal on the question is likely to be successful, or even heard. You can expect the lower courts to hear that message loudly and clearly — and fast.
The storm is coming. The storm is here. How shall we stand?