by Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – Defenders of traditional marriage on Friday (June 26) lamented the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision extending marriage rights to same-sex unions in all 50 states. The 5-4 vote in the case of ‘Obergefell v. Hodges‘ drew sharp criticism from faith community leaders who defend traditional marriage, and from the state’s Republican attorney general.
Catholic Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City described the High Court’s announcement as “a moment of historic consequence for our nation. The Supreme Court has made a tragic error. This decision will have devastating consequences, especially for children today and for generations to come. No matter the court’s ruling, it cannot change what marriage really is. Marriage by its nature remains the union of one man and one woman.
Marriage is a natural institution that predates and precedes governments and government regulation.
“Marriage is about far more than love shared between adults. Society needs an institution that connects children to their mothers and fathers, and marriage is the only institution that by its nature is able to accomplish this. Children have a basic right, wherever possible, to know and be loved by their mother and father together in a stable union.
“The Church will steadfastly defend this right, and continue to affirm the sanctity of marriage as established by God, written into human nature, and recognized as such for millennia. Even as Roe v. Wade did not end the public debate over abortion, this decision will not end the debate over marriage.
“I encourage prayers for our nation, for families and children, and for those who disagree with us. Now more than ever we have to be vigilant in our defense of religious liberty due to the threats that are sure to ramp up as a result of this decision and its consequences in law and in public opinion.”
The Rev. Anthony L. Jordan of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma reflected, “Nothing has changed, and everything has changed. Our position on marriage remains the same because our God and His truth have not changed. Marriage is biblically defined as the union of one man and one woman.”
In comments reported in The Oklahoman, the state’s largest newspaper, Jordan said, “A Supreme Court ruling, vote of Congress, or poll of the people cannot change the truth of God’s Word. The landscape of law and our culture has changed. People of faith will face new challenges, and our religious freedom will likely come under asasult. We will will face those challenges with uncompromising faith and inclusive love for all.”
Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a Republican and former member of the state Senate, said in a statement he was “profoundly disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to remove from the democratic process the debate over same-sex marriage.”
Friday’s decision, he said, “was not grounded in our Constitution, but rather in five unelected judges’ view of what the law ought to be. That is not what our Founders had in mind.”
Further, the outcome “also threatens the ability of citizens to live out their faith in the public square. The Obama Administration’s lawyer warned that tax-exempt organizations – like churches – may soon see that status revoked by the Administration if those organizations don’t recognize same-sex marriage.
“This is unacceptable, and my office will fight at every turn to protect the religious liberties of Oklahomans.”
Timothy Tardibono, President of the Family Policy Institute of Oklahoma also commented on Obergefell v. Hodges in a statement to CapitolBeatOK. He said, “It is unfortunate that the U.S. Supreme Court morphed itself into a legislative body today to decide social policy for Oklahomans and the rest of the nation. Nothing in the Constitution allows the Court to reject the understanding of natural marriage that the people and the states have placed into their laws and constitutions.
“Despite Justice Kennedy’s desire to act like a Congressman, Senator or state legislator, this decision doesn’t end society’s discussion about the future of marriage and laws affecting the family.
“Because the opinion’s pronouncement on religious liberty is debatable, it is imperative that Oklahoma’s legislators and congressional representatives continue to actively protect the inalienable right to practice one’s religion. The 1st Amendment only recognizes that inalienable right, it does not create it.”
Tardibono said his group “will continue our positive and hopeful work” promoting “the truth that the loving and stable marriage union of a man and a woman is the best setting for child well-being. A society that affirms the right of every child to know and be raised by both their father and mother. A legal framework that values lifelong marriages and discourages unnecessary divorce. A clear protection for Oklahomans to live out their faith in their family, church, business and the public square.”