We’re fast approaching the one-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that had the effect of extending marriage equality nationwide.
Prior to that decision, which marks its first anniversary on Sunday, several right-wing pastors warned that they would go to prison rather than obey the ruling. These far-right clerics, joined by Religious Right leaders, insisted that America’s pastors would somehow be forced to preside at the weddings of same-sex couples. They boldly proclaimed their willingness to go behind bars rather than obey.
Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, who was recently named to Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory council, vowed to engage in civil disobedience.
“That may mean we experience jail time…but as the scripture says, we ought to obey God rather than man, and that’s our choice,” Jeffress told The Daily Caller website.
Appearing on a Texas radio station, Rick Scarborough, a Baptist pastor and Religious Right leader, urged members of the clergy to sign a petition pledging to “resist all government efforts to require them to accept gay marriage, and they will accept any fine and jail time to protect their religious freedom and the freedom of others.”
Richard Land, a former Southern Baptist Convention official, raised the specter of pastors in prison as well. Asked by Newsmax TV if the nation could come to the point where pastors end up behind bars for refusing to preside at marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Land replied, “It could.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee really went around the bend. He said marriage equality could lead to “the criminalization of Christianity.”
Huckabee also said, “If the courts rule that people have a civil right – not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage – then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor, who believes in Biblical marriage, who says, ‘I can’t perform that wedding,’ will now be breaking the law.”
According to the Religious Right, marriage equality was supposed to lead to this.
So here we are one year later. Has any of this come to pass? To answer that question, Americans United has created a new website to keep count of the number of pastors who have been forced under penalty of law to preside at a same-sex couple's wedding ceremony.
I believe you will find this site interesting and useful, so please visit it today – and help us spread the word by sharing it widely.