Public Policy Should Not Condemn Americans with Traditional View of Marriage
Marriage policy matters both for the well being of children and the preservation of religious liberty. At the federal level, legal recognition of same-sex marriage will increase the potential for conflicts with religious freedom.
This is not theoretical.
Think of the baker accused of violating the law in Colorado for declining a request to bake a cake for a same-sex union on the basis of his faith. An administrative law judge in Denver, Colorado declared Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop violated the law by refusing to bake a cake for the same-sex wedding.
Similarly, “a Christian-owned photography business in New Mexico faced legal proceedings because the owners objected on religious grounds to photographing a same-sex commitment ceremony.”
But the Heritage Foundation explains “not all conflicts with religious freedom will involve actual solemnizing or celebrating of a marriage or even marriage at all.”
Rather, these conflicts can extend to issues involving sex, marriage, and family. Apart from facing legal action, the Heritage Foundation lists several threats to religious freedom involving same-sex issues:
- Exemptions from taxation and tax deductions for charitable contributions;
- Adoption or foster care services receiving federal funds;
- Conditions attached to government contracts, programs, or approvals;
- Discrimination by public colleges and universities receiving federal funds; and
- The accreditation process for institutions and programs of higher education.
Federal policy should protect religious freedom and rights of conscience in these areas.
Maintaining federal protections for religious freedom is also closely connected with the well being of children. The issue of adoption is where this problem is brought into sharp focus.
For example, “in 2006, Catholic Charities leaders in Massachusetts explained Catholic adoption services would not place children with same-sex couples.” Catholic Charities in Massachusetts has since been forced to stop providing adoption services. The same has happened in Illinois and Washington, D.C.
The Heritage Foundation points out the absurdity here:
Forcing faith-based charities out of the social service sector because they will not provide services that contradict their faith produces the absurd result of decreasing services through a policy purportedly designed to increase them.
Restricting Catholic Charities in their efforts to place children in adoptive homes harms children.
For this and so many other reasons, it’s critical federal policy does not condemn “those who uphold the ideal of a mother and father for children.” Americans should not be forced to “compromise their belief that children deserve the opportunity to grow up in a stable, married household and experience the unique benefits provided by both a mother and a father.”