Other Results of the Supreme Court Decision to Legalize Gay Marriage

Other Results of the Supreme Court Decision to Legalize Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court published their decision on Friday in the Obergfell v. Hodges case. It was a close vote, 5-4, with Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg coming down on the side of legalizing gay marriage. Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Thomas, Scalia and Alito were all in dissent.

You can read the decision here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

So, what does it mean? What happens now? What are some of the consequences of this decision?

No matter whether you agree or disagree with the Obergfell v. Hodges decision, it will usher in widespread changes throughout our society.

The estimated percentage of the overall Lesbian Gay Bixsexual Transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. is at 3.8% Thepercentages vary amongst the states and territories in North Dakota it’s as low as 1.7% and in Washington, D.C. its as high as 10%. Certain cities tend to run larger percentages: San Francisco tops the list with the highest percentage estimate to be 15.4%, followed by Seattle at 12.9% and Atlanta at 12.8%.

The Obama administration, a staunch supporter of LGBT issues, has released a copy of their record for the LGBT Community here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/lgbt_record.pdf

Spousal Benefits

Social Security and other family benefit programs will be stretched even further to accommodate the newly recognized relationships. As Kennedy wrote in the majority decision, “Yet by virtue of their exclusion from that institution, same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage… They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

On the Social Security website it reads,

“On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. As a result, Social Security is no longer prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages in determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

We can also recognize some non-marital legal same-sex relationships (such as civil unions and domestic partnerships) as marriages for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security and Medicare benefits.

We published instructions that allow us to process many benefit claims in which a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal relationship affects entitlement or eligibility. We continue to work closely with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. As we have additional information, we will update our website. If you have questions, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you are a spouse, divorced spouse, or surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage or non-marital legal same-sex relationship

We encourage you to apply right away for benefits. If you disagree with our decision about your entitlement to benefits, eligibility for benefits, or payment amount, you should appeal

Other legal benefits that may be changed:

Tax benefits, such as filing joint income tax returns, creating a ‘family partnership,’

Estate Taxes, such as portability, gift tax exemptions, life estate trusts

Veteran and Military benefits, such as health care, death pensions, educational assistance, home loan guarantees, vocational training, bereavement counseling, family separation pay, relocation assistance

Immigration status, such as nonimmigrant visas or permanent residence and later citizenship status when engaged or married to a US citizen.

Federal employee benefits such as health insurance, wages, worker’s compensation, health insurance and returement plan benefits for surviving spouse of a deceased federal worker.

Benefits will also change in the private work sector, in some cases encouraging even more same-sex marriages in order to access spousal coverages.

As explained in this Forbes article, “Gay Marriage Ruling Means More May Get Hitched or Lose Partner Benefits,” we likely will see a decrease in domestic partners, which will encourage more same-sex marriages for the sake of benefits.

“Already, some employers have already begun to eliminate same-sex domestic partner benefits in states where gay marriage is legal. The Wall Street Journal last month reported that Delta Airlines (DAL) and Verizon Communications VZ +0.38% (VZ) were among the employers to do so, giving employees a certain amount of time to get married to access spousal coverage before domestic partner coverage was discontinued.”

Foster care and adoption

Same-sex couples will now be allowed to offer foster care and adoption in all 50 states, which may expand foster care homes and adoptions.

According to the Williams Institute, Demographics of Married and Unmarried Same-sex Couples: Analyses of the 2013 American Community Survey, same-sex couples are much more likely to adopt or foster children. Author Gary J. Gates, who filed a Friend of the Court Brief in the latest Supreme Court decision, writes, “Even though same-sex couples are less likely to be raising children than are different-sex couples, they are much more likely to have adopted or foster children. Same-sex couples are nearly three times as likely as their different-sex counterparts to be raising an adopted or foster child. Married same-sex couples are five times more likely to have these children when compared to their married different-sex counterparts. Nearly 27,000 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 58,000 adopted and foster children in the United States.”

Read the press release here: http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/press/press-releases/married-same-sex-couples-more-likely-to-raise-adopted-foster-children-and-have-more-economic-resources-new-reports-show/

International Policies

The United States will likely increase their pressure on other countries to extend equal rights to homosexuals, especially those receiving foreign aid. In the two-year-old Huffington Post article, Obama Pushes African Leaders on Gay Rights, Rebuked by Sengalese President Macky Sall, author Julie Pace begins, “Laying bare a clash of cultures, President Barack Obama on Thursday urged African leaders to extend equal rights to gays and lesbians…”

Indeed, on December 6, 2011, a “Presidential Memorandum — International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons” was released from the White House for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies.

In this Memorandum, a variety of steps are detailed, including offering asylum to LGBT refugees and seekers, using foreign aid and assistance and development, “…in order to build respect for the human rights of LGBT persons.”

The website http://gliffaa.org celebrates lgbt+ pride in foreign affairs agencies. Their mission statement is, “Proudly advancing diversity and equity in U.S. Foreign affairs agencies and promoting LGBT human rights around the world.”

Now that the Supreme Court has established the right for same-sex marriages across the country, these policies will certainly continue and strengthen.

Churches and Education

Efforts to promote acceptance in the context of churches and Christianity are already underway, according to The Daily Beastquoting representatives from Believe Out Loud, an online community for LGBT Christians; GLSEN, an LGBT-focused education network; and PFLAG National, an organization for families and friends of LGBT people.

Many evangelical Christians are determined to stand their ground, however. The Gospel Coalition article, Same-sex Marriage and the Future calls for Christians to be ready. “The marriage revolution around us means we must do a better job articulating a theology of marriage to our people, as well as a theology of suffering and marginalization. It means we must do a better job articulating to those on the outside why children need both a Mom and a Dad, not just “parents,” and why marriage isn’t simply a matter of court decree. It means we must start teaching our children about marriage “from the beginning” as male and female when they’re in Sunday school. It means we may have to decide if and when the day will come in which we will refuse to sign the state’s marriage licenses.”

The Church of God organization is remaining firm to their definition of marriage, as described in the Bible. “Local Church of God churches and the local Church of God ministers who serve them shall only hold, provide facilities for, conduct or preside over weddings, wedding receptions, and anniversaries (and other gatherings related to weddings, receptions, and anniversaries) that celebrate a marriage or blessing between one man and one woman, as marriage is defined in the Bible.”

Church of God ministers that go against these standards will forfeit their ministerial credentials.

The Mormon Church responded to the ruling with the following statement:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The Court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the Church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.”

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Church President Ronnie Floyd issued 3 points before the decision was even rendered in a Religion News Service article,

1. The sheriff is not hovering at your doorstep.

2. Don’t shun your gay kids.

3. Individuals must be prepared to make sacrifices for their beliefs.

Two years ago, Russell Moore, the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC offered this article, “How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Church’s Witness?

“The gay and lesbian people in your community aren’t part of some global “Gay Agenda” conspiracy. They aren’t super-villains in some cartoon. They are, like all of us, seeking a way that seems right to them. If we believe marriage is as resilient as Jesus says it is (Mk. 10:6-9), it cannot be eradicated by a vote of justices or a vote of a state legislature. Some will be disappointed by what they thought would answer their quest for meaning. Will our churches be ready to answer?

“This also means we must change the way we preach. Those with same-sex attractions, who follow Christ, will be walking away from what their families and friends want for them: wedding cake and married life and the American Dream. Following Jesus will mean taking up a cross and following a hard narrow way. It always does.

“If we’re going to preach that sort of gospel, we must make it clear that this cross-bearing self-denial isn’t just for homosexually-tempted Christians. It is for all of us, because that’s what the gospel is. If your church has been preaching the American Dream, with eternal life at the end and Jesus as the means you use to get all that, you don’t have a gospel that can reach your gay and lesbian neighbors—or anyone else for that matter.

“Same-sex marriage is headed for your community. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. It’s a time for forgiven sinners, like us, to do what the people of Christ have always done. It’s time for us to point beyond our family values and our culture wars to the cross of Christ as we say: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

And that’s good news.”

Last week, Moore stood in front of the Supreme Court and made the following statement:

Franklin Graham, son of the Reverend Billy Graham, and a prominent evangelical leader in his own right, says that he believes Christians should prepare for persecution if they do not support the ruling, in an interview on Fox Nation.

Justice Kennedy appeared to allow for differences of opinion in his final decision, writing, “”Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations andpersons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to theirlives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”

But, what about colleges and universities that oppose the ruling? Can they lose their tax-exempt status or their accreditation? Michael Farris, Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Assocaition and Chancellor of Patrick Henry College thinks so, as he explains in a USA Today opinion piece, “Even if it takes the IRS years to begin the enforcement proceedings against such institutions, we can expect other fallout from this decision to begin shortly after the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Colleges and universities that receive federal funding will be coerced into immediate compliance. Accreditation agencies will ratchet up their bullying of Christian institutions, as has already been done against Gordon College in Massachusetts. Threats to accreditation are fatal. Colleges may not legally operate in several states without it.”

In his dissent to the majority opinion, Justice Roberts said, ““Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority—actually spelled out in the Constitution,” he writes. “Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for dissenting religious practice.” But the Supreme Court’s ruling is unable to do likewise. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to ‘advocate’ and ‘teach’ their views of marriage,” he writes. “The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to ‘exercise’ religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.”

Emma Green writes in The Atlantic, “The future of gay marriage has long been a question in the United States, and on Friday, the country got an answer. The questions and conversations surrounding gay marriage now will be of a different kind: what it means to oppose, rather than support, same-sex marriage.”

Read additional comments here: http://thelightnc.hellobeautiful.com/9545118/faith-leaders-and-legal-faith-squad-respond-to-supreme-court-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

Traditional Marriage

Those seeking a traditional marriage will encounter new difficulties. Want to get married in a lovely church with stained-glass windows, even if you’re not a member? It may be harder to find such a venue now.

Deseret News, in a 2013 article published after the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional, wrote, “Eric Rassbach is an attorney with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest legal group that defends the free expression rights of all faiths. He said it is unlikely the government would try to force a pastor to perform a same-sex marriage, but churches that rent out their facilities to the general public could face problems if they refuse to rent to gay couples.”

Rassbach recommends that churches get their beliefs in writing before a dispute arises.

Joseph Mattera agrees. He suggests 5 Things Churches Should Do ASAP Regarding Same Sex Marriage Law

And some pastors, like Pastor Joe Carr in Waynesville, Georgia, are concerned that if they refuse to perform same-sex marriage, they will face legal consequences. His church is changing their bylaws to prevent their facilities from being used for same-sex marriage and to protect their pastor, according to TownHall.

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, this issue has already come up, as reported in the Washington Times “Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, city officials have laid down the law to Christian pastors within their community, telling them bluntly via an ordiance that if they refuse to marry homosexuals, they will face jail time and fines.”

Ed Morrissey writes for HotAir.com, “Get ready for a massive legal assault on houses of worship that refuse to accommodate same-sex weddings. Even legislation on the federal and state level may not be able to undo the broad opening that Kennedy et al has forced on the religious institutions and people in the US. It’s clear that the Supreme Court has become unmoored from the Constitution, and in doing so has unmoored all of us as well.”

Allen West also expresses his concerns here: Why the Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Marriage Could Lead to Civil War

In a Religious News Service article, Jonathan Merritt writes, “What’s the surest way conservative pastors can avoid ever having to perform government-mandated gay marriages? According to one prominent religious journal and a growing number of ministers, the answer is not to perform any civil marriages at all.”

An online petition for Christian ministers summarizes this thought at First Things, “Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.”

Business owners performing such wedding services as chapel rentals, flower arrangements, photography and cake decorating may go out of business, or leave wedding-related services if they don’t want to participate in same-sex weddings.

Betty and Dick Odgaard, owners of Görtz Haus Gallery, are closing their flower shop, restaurant and wedding venue in Grimes, Iowa, according to The Blaze.

In New Mexico, Elane Huguenin was fined $6637.94 for refusing to photograph a same-sex wedding. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear her case. Other cases are listed here on the Alliance Defending Freedom website.

All of this will make it more difficult for different-sex couples to get married.

Doctors and Health Care Provider Mandates?

Dr. Paul Church, a urologist on the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for nearly 30 years, warned that homosexual activities are risky and destructive. Now he’s fighting for his job.

Therapists are not allowed legally to counsel gay and lesbian minors in changing their sexual orientation, due to a bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown. This law has been upheld by the 9th Circuit Federal Court. Governor Chris Christie signed a similar bill into law. See: http://www.msnbc.com/thomas-roberts/gay-conversion-therapy-ruled-illegal and http://www.frc.org/socetherapybanIn June, 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case challenging the law, reported Time Magazine.

On the other hand, insurance agencies that provide benefits for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program will need to cover Gender Transition Services as of January 1, 2016, according to this letter from the US Office of Personnel Management Healthcare and InsuranceOffice of Personnel Management Healthcare and Insurance.

The Final Word on Marriage?

This Supreme Court decision is not the final statement on the issue of marriage. It’s not even the final legal judgment. The military is being pushed to accept transgenders. Legislation has been introduced to make single person bathrooms gender-neutral in New York. Now advocates are pushing for legalization of polygamy and the North American Man Boy Lovers Association (NAMBLA) wants to legalize sex with minors. Does that seem far-fetched?

Legislation Introduced to Make Single-Person Bathrooms Gender Neutral in NYC

Momentum Grows to Scrap Pentagon’s Ban on Transgender Troops

Hours after Gay Marriage Ruling, Politico Op-Ed Calls for Legalized Polygamy

Fears Grow Over Academic Efforts to Normalize Pedophilia

Blog: The Sexual Revolution: The Last Domino Is Falling

“The legalization of same-sex marriage today might seem monumental—and it is—but it’s only the start of the social and legal reforms LGBT leaders hope to enact in the coming decades,” writes Samantha Allen in the article, LGBT Leaders: Gay Marriage is Not Enough.

Reprinted with permission from Prescott eNews

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