Anti-LGBT activists reacted predictably to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Friday that said states cannot deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. Most called for stronger “religious freedom” laws to make it legal to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Here’s a roundup of reactions from conservative Christian and anti-LGBT groups:
The Minnesota Family Council released a statement shortly after the ruling.
John Helmberger, Minnesota Family Council CEO, who today celebrates his 39th wedding anniversary with his wife Randa, said: “Now that five justices on the Supreme Court have forced a redefinition of marriage on tens of millions of Americans, will there be tolerance for those whose faith still teaches that marriage is the union of a man and a woman?”
Just as many thought wrongly that Roe v. Wade would end the debate over abortion, Obergefell v. Hodges will not end the debate over marriage in America. Similarly, just as many thought incorrectly that people of faith would “get over” their belief in the sanctity of human life beginning at conception, people of faith simply cannot “get over” their belief that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
Helmberger further explained the devastating consequences today’s ruling heaps upon children: “Rather than helping children as the Court suggested, today’s ruling further weakens the institution of marriage by making it about the desires of adults, rather than the good of children. The Court placed government’s stamp of approval on a romanticized version of “marriage,” which is incomplete at best and intentionally deprives children of either a mother or a father.”
The Minnesota Family Council called on its backers to support religious freedom bills allowing businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples: “The Court’s ruling today heightens the need for Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act at the federal level, and for the Minnesota Legislature to pass religious freedom protections like Senator Paul Gazelka’s Marriage & Conscience Protection Act at the state level, to ensure that people of faith aren’t forced by the government to violate their beliefs about marriage.”
In fact, Gazelka and the Family Council ran to WCCO’s Pat Kessler to lobby for a religious freedom bill in Minnesota:
The conservative Minnesota Family Council says it will now concentrate efforts on passing laws “to ensure that people of faith aren’t forced by the government to violate their beliefs about marriage.”
The group is urging its supporters to back a bill from state Sen. Paul Gazelka that would allow certain business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples.
“The government is coming in and punishing them,” said Gazelka, a Republican from Nisswa, who introduced his “Freedom of Conscience” bill in May.
He said then that many business owners of faith don’t want to be part of any activities around same-sex weddings.
“It comes to the place where it is the actual celebration of the wedding that they have a moral conflict that they don’t want to participate, because they believe it’s wrong,” he said.
Gazelka’s bill would allow marriage-related business owners “with a sincerely held religious belief” to refuseservices to gay couples such as cake-making, flower arranging, or renting out hotel and reception facilities.
On KARE 11, The Family Council’s Autumn Leva said the Supreme Court ruling means the debate over marriage equality has just begun:
“I think a lot of people think this ends the debate on marriage. It’s all said and done now, the Supreme Court has spoken. I think it’s really just begun,” said spokesperson Autumn Leva.
She worries about the rights of those who disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling, and that’s where she says the Minnesota Family Council will focus much of their attention moving forward.
“There has to be a way to protect people of faith who cannot accept this definition,” she said.
In a fundraising email, the Family Council continued the invective:
Americans of faith must prepare for the inevitable: the further erosion of our once precious, constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty. As sexual freedom increasingly trumps religious freedom, you and I and everyone who believes in God’s definition of marriage must expect to be targeted.
Those who oppose our biblical view of marriage will now try to silence us on this and other matters of religious conscience.
This ruling isn’t a surprise. You see, your Minnesota Family Council team has been preparing for this for some time. Along with our other state-based allies, called Family Policy Councils, and national allies, Minnesota Family Council has been working hard to advance now-necessary protections for religious freedom.
But so much more depends on all of us joining forces together.
And that’s why I’m asking you to once again stand with Minnesota Family Council, our national alliance and believers nationwide.
A friend of the Family council, Former Rep. Michele Bachmann told WorldNetDaily, “No matter what, the Court’s ruling does not upend millenia of truth. Many Americans will choose to follow God’s ways rather than this Court and they should suffer no penalty for doing so.”
Bachmann’s personal friend, Janet Boynes, a “former lesbian” and founder of the Maple Grove-based Janet Boynes Ministries, criticized the ruling:
We are living in times where our faith will be tested. These are times in which we will be ridiculed for our beliefs and perhaps even incarcerated for holding the word of God as our voice of truth.
As someone who has walked away from homosexuality and now has a ministry that helps men and women who desire to come out of this lifestyle, I have the responsibility to stay grounded in what I know is true. But it doesn’t stop there; you, also have the responsibility to remain steadfast without caving in to the pressures of this world.
The Supreme Court cannot redefine what they didn’t create. Marriage is a covenant, a sacred bond between a man and a woman instituted by and publicly entered into before God. Marriage is intended to be a lifetime commitment since it was established by God. Marriage represents a serious vow that should not be entered into lightly or unadvisedly. It involves a solemn promise or pledge, not merely to one’s marriage partner, but before God. Marriage is also a human agreement between a man and a woman; it is the most intimate of all human relationships resulting in a “one-flesh” union.
So, what happens now? We pray and we act. We pray that the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of the lost. Honestly, I cannot expect them to understand the truth if the truth has not been revealed to them. I was once lost in sin, I once wanted to get married to a woman, BUT I had an encounter with God. It changed everything. So, yes, we continue to pray. In the words of Billy Graham “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.”
We must act and continue to be a beacon of light in a dark world. We continue to stand for God’s word in spite of the backlash. We stand alongside those who will be unjustly targeted by the gay community and we fight for our religious freedoms. We must continue to be bold, strong, and uncompromising in our faith and walk as a true Christ followers. We must be as bold as lions and meek as lambs. And we must never forget that although we may lose a few battles, He has already won the war.
Carl Nelson, the President and CEO of Transform Minnesota, a network of evangelical churches throughout the state, released a statement that said in part:
We acknowledge that the beliefs we practice with our faith are in conflict with the majority of society around us, and now conflict even the rules of our country. But the Supreme Court ruling does not change what evangelicals believe about marriage. It just changes the context in which we practice our teachings.
We can no longer assume that most people believe the same as we do, or even understand why we believe what we do. And that may make us feel grief for the traditional view of marriage, confusion or even feel attacked by society at large. We may need some help navigating our feelings, but rather than getting antagonistic, defensive or upset when people outside of our faith don’t understand why we believe what we do, let us offer grace and a clarity of conscience.
As an evangelical network, Transform Minnesota holds to a Biblical understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman. While American culture – and now the courts – have changed their views and embraced same-sex marriage, as evangelicals we stand with nearly 2 billion Christians worldwide who continue to hold the historic, orthodox biblical view that God defines marriage to be a man and a woman…
We are prepared that the future will hold challenges as we teach and practice marriage according to our religious beliefs, within a society that has created a fundamentally new definition of marriage. But we forge ahead in hope based upon our nation’s constitutional commitment to religious freedom.
Religious freedom is going to be an increasingly important area of interest for evangelicals as we navigate life in a pluralistic society. We need to work to ensure that we have the proper religious freedoms protecting our rights to observe marriage according to our religious teachings. Understanding and defending religious freedom for everyone will become important now more than ever.
There will be confusion and challenges to the religious freedoms of faith-based organizations, but we remain committed to the beauty and promise that marriage flows out of God’s creation of a special bond between male and female, each reflecting unique gender characteristics of God’s image in ourselves.