By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
August 4, 2022
A little more than two weeks ago, the Christian Action League reported on the “Respect for Marriage Act,” passing the U.S. House of Representatives to codify same-sex marriage into federal law. The bill was a response to concerns that since Roe v. Wade had been overturned by what is now a conservative U.S. Supreme Court, it’s possible Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which made same-sex marriage legal, could also be overturned.
Obergefell was a judicial injustice. At some point, it should be overturned by the High Court, and it may fall in the near future. It was a judicial overreach. The five justices who voted in favor of the ruling pulled a right to same-sex marriage out of thin air. No right to same-sex marriage is mentioned in the Constitution, which was noted in Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent. It was judicial activism at its worst.
Legislation is the responsibility of the people’s representatives and not the courts. Until now, the people’s representatives, the U.S. Congress, have never voted in favor of same-sex marriage. Although same-sex marriage is currently legal, the passage of the “Respect for Marriage Act” would codify it by the people’s representatives rather than unjustly imposed by five rogue justices. It would be a significant setback in the fight to save marriage as God defined it and societies for millennia have recognized it.
The future of the “Respect for Marriage Act” currently hangs in the balance. The bill already passed in the House by a margin of 267-157, with 47 Republicans voting for it (none of which were from North Carolina). Only 10 Republicans are needed in the Senate to break the filibuster and pass the bill.
North Carolina’s two Senators, Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis, both Republicans, are likely to vote for the legislation. If the way Senator Burr voted to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011 is any indication, he will vote in favor of the proposal. Tillis has made it abundantly clear in various statements to the media that he plans to vote for it given the opportunity.
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said that he contacted both Senators and urged them to vote against codifying same-sex marriage into federal law. He explained the legislation would unquestionably limit and inhibit the religious freedom of people who believe same-sex marriage is morally wrong. This has been demonstrated in numerous ways since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
Burr has never responded to Rev. Creech. Tillis responded in an email, saying he would support codifying the right of same-sex couples to marry.
However, he added:
“I also strongly oppose any effort to infringe on any American’s First Amendment rights to religious freedom. I will only support legislation that maintains the existing law in North Carolina and across the country regarding marriages between two people and does not include any restrictions on the religious liberty rights of individuals and religious institutions.”
Rev. Creech said he was disappointed that Senator Tillis doesn’t understand how important it is to reclaim marriage’s actual definition. Still, if he is serious about protecting religious freedom, he must vote against the legislation.
“I can think of a critical law in North Carolina that the federal legislation would negatively impact,” said Rev. Creech. “Liberty Counsel has noted its effect.”
Liberty Counsel, a leading national litigation organization that specializes in religious liberty issues, says the following:
“The intentionally misleading ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ (HR 8404) carries language that will have the effect of pushing people of faith out of public service. If this bill passes, and if there is a person of faith who declines to fully celebrate and participate in same-sex ‘marriages,’ not only will they be sued by the individual, but they will also face the full weight of the United States Department of Justice suing them personally as well as suing the government department, agency or locality where they serve.
“This bill sets up people of faith to fail. Then it will provide ammunition for radicals to attack and punish them. It will make people of faith a legal liability and a financial drain!
“This is not an exaggeration. It has already happened.
“When our chairman, Mat Staver, who is also founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, defended Kim Davis for not signing her name onto a same-sex marriage license, she was sued in her official and individual capacity. The case is still ongoing even though the subsequent governor and a unanimous legislature granted her and other clerks religious accommodation. HR 8404 would undo the Kentucky law and other laws that provide religious accommodation.”
Rev. Creech said HR 8404 would also undo a very important law in North Carolina that was championed by State Senator Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and passed in June 2015. The legislation not only passed but survived then-Governor Pat McCrory’s veto and court challenges.
This law says that if a magistrate feels it would violate their religious beliefs to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony, they can recuse themselves. If there isn’t a magistrate in a county willing to perform gay weddings, then the law calls for a willing magistrate to be brought in from another county to conduct the ceremony.
“If the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ passes, the magistrate’s law is seriously compromised, and magistrates can no longer be assured protection for their sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Rev. Creech. “If you haven’t contacted the office of our two United States Senators about this issue, you need to contact them. They need to hear from you immediately.”
URGENT ACTION: Contact Sens. Burr and Tillis and ask them to oppose the “Respect for Marriage Act.” Please don’t delay. Time is of the essence.
Senator Richard Burr: 202.224.3154
Senator Thom Tillis: 202.224.6342