There have not yet been any lawsuits against churches that I’m aware of but there have been many, many lawsuits against wedding industry businesses. The lawsuits stem from business owners refusing to provide services in support of gay marriages or civil ceremonies. Just last week the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against a wedding photographer who refused to photograph a ‘commitment ceremony’ due to her Christian convictions that homosexuality is a sin. The business owner, Elaine Huguenin, was ordered by the court to pay $6,637 in attorney’s fees to the homosexual couple.
Judge Richard Bosson wrote in the court’s decision that, “…the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different.” Nothing was said about the homosexual plaintiffs channeling their conduct to leave space for the Huguenins’ beliefs.
In another case, a federal judge in Massachusetts is allowing a pastor in the state to be sued by a Ugandan homosexual group for “crimes against humanity.” The ‘crimes’ occurred in 2009 when the defendant, Scott Lively, was in Uganda in 2009 for a conference. At the conference he said the goal of the homosexual movement is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.” The lawsuit is based on the Alien Tort Statute, a federal law that allows U.S. courts to hear cases on violations of the law of nations or a U.S. treaty. The Supreme Court recently ruled the statute does not apply to conduct that occurred outside the U.S.
Judge Michael Ponsor is allowing the lawsuit, saying the allegations against Lively were substantive and needed to be adjudicated. Ponsor also wrote in his ruling that Lively “…has allegedly supported and actively participated in worldwide initiatives, with a substantial focus on Uganda, aimed at repressing free expression by LGBTI groups, destroying the organizations that support them, intimidating LGBTI individuals, and even criminalizing the very status of being lesbian or gay.”
Scott Lively runs the Holy Grounds coffee house in Springfield where coffee and Bibles are free and Sunday church services minister to the homeless, drug addicts and others. Ponsor wrote, “Indeed, defendant, according to the amended complaint, is alleged to have maintained what amounts to a kind of ‘Homophobia Central’ in Springfield.” Lively’s attorneys wrote in a court filing that the plaintiff is asking the United States to punish one of its citizens, Mr. Lively, for ‘crimes against humanity’ under an international treaty that the United States has expressly rejected. Judge Ponsor ruled against Lively and will let the case proceed. How is this man still on the bench?
In a case from the United Kingdom, two homosexual men have started a legal challenge to the government’s decision to allow religious groups to opt out of marrying same-sex couples. Their stated goal is to get the government to force churches to marry gay couples. One of the men, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, said, “It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us. It upsets me because I want it so much – a big lavish ceremony, the whole works.”
I do not believe it will be very long before this happens here in the United States. With more and more judges displaying blatant hostility toward Christian beliefs, the homosexual segment of our society will be able to achieve all of their goals by court decree. While the current Supreme Court might not rubber stamp a lower court ruling forcing churches to marry homosexuals, Justices can retire anytime and President Obama would be appointing the replacement. With Hillary Clinton poised to be the candidate to beat in 2016 I don’t believe Christians should count on getting any conservatives appointed to the Court in the next decade.
I have always believed it to be inevitable that gays would be allowed to marry and achieve the ‘normalcy’ they sought. Allowing something does not make it ‘normal’ but that is a post for another day. The recent court rulings are indicative of the trouble brewing on the horizon for churches. How will churches respond when courts order them to perform gay marriages? The church should take advice from Thomas Jefferson. He said, “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”