Tuesday’s marriage arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court hinted at coming battles over the right of religious business owners or organizations to discriminate against gays and lesbians in contexts outside of marriage itself. Indeed, several briefs to the high court—and a few justices at oral argument—suggested that if same-sex people have a constitutional right to get married, it will be more difficult for individuals and businesses to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex people in other settings. Read more
Seats inside the U.S. Supreme Court were at a premium today for the oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, the marriage equality case.
I was fortunate to get a spot in the press gallery. I was in the back row, and my view was obstructed by two large columns, but I’m not complaining; I would have been willing to hang from the rafters for this historic argument, a marathon session that featured five attorneys and lasted two and a half hours. Read more
“Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” has become a cliché, but opposition to marriage equality remains rooted in certain religious beliefs. The same-sex marriage bans of four states will be considered next week by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Proponents of these marriage bans framed their arguments in religious terms; legislators even quoted scripture and proclaimed that the ban was necessary “for the stability of society and for the greater glory of God.” Read more
Mat Staver, a Religious Right attorney and dean of Liberty University’s law school, isn’t very happy with the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the same-sex marriage cases.
As I’m sure you’ll recall, the high court’s Oct. 6 decision not to wade into this matter had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in a bunch of states, several of them in the Bible Belt. (Here are some shots of same-sex couples getting married in Oklahoma – Oklahoma! Pretty darned amazing.) Read more
Yesterday morning, the Supreme Court dealt a major blow to opponents of marriage equality. It refused to hear every one of the appeals filed by five states whose same-sex marriage bans have been struck down in lower courts; that means the bans remain off the books, and marriage equality is in effect in these states. Read more
The Supreme Court begins its 2014-15 term today. The 2013-14 session was a disaster for separation of church and state, and there’s a general sense among defenders of that principle that it would be best if the high court simply avoided such cases. Read more
The Town Board of Greece, N.Y., has issued its formal policy on pre-meeting prayers, leading to a combination of confusion and backlash.
Almost four months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that while communities are free to open their meetings with predominantly Christian prayers, they may not exclude other points of view. Read more
American writer Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel An American Tragedy deals with the story of a socially ambitious young man who, dismayed because he has impregnated his working-class girlfriend, engineers her death.
The book was banned in some cities – but not because of its depiction of murder. Rather, conservative religious leaders feared that a plot hinging on an unwanted pregnancy would spur young people to get curious about birth control. Read more
Editor’s Note: Today 's blog post is by James C. Nelson, a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Nelson was appointed to the court by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1993 and was reelected to the position three times, serving until his retirement in 2013. Read more
Today’s Washington Post has an interesting story about how the personal religious beliefs of members of the Supreme Court might affect their decisions.
The question is especially relevant now with the high court poised to hear oral arguments tomorrow in a pair of cases that could have far-reaching consequences for what religious freedom means. Read more