Michael Hiltzik, in the LA Times, rightly scolds some of the Supreme Court Justices for their ignorance of history. During the arguments about same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court last week, Chief Justice John Roberts declared, “Every definition that I looked up, prior to about a dozen years ago defined marriage as unity between a man and a woman as husband and wife.” As Hiltzik points out, “He must not have looked very far.” The historical record is very clear that marriage “[i]n definition and practice…has evolved and devolved to meet economic and political demands, shifting cultural norms and biological imperatives. The mandate of procreation to preserve the human race has always been part of the definition of marriage, certainly, but rarely the only goal or, in some cases, even the principal one.” Read the entire article here:
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that exempts closely held corporations (not publicly owned) from the Affordable Health Care Act’s mandate to pay for contraceptives, the supporters of Hobby Lobby are declaring it a victory for religious liberty. On the other hand, the Left has framed the issue in terms of women’s rights. Even the respected legal scholar, Douglas Laycock, has framed the issue as a choice between religious liberty on one side and women’s rights on the other (“A Flood of Suits”). While the Court framed it as a balancing act between religious liberty on one side and government interest on the other, per the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This framing falsely sets up the debate as one between religious liberty on the one hand (represented by Hobby Lobby and its supporters) and either women’s rights or government interest on the other. No one is questioning whether or not Hobby Lobby’s request really is about religious liberty. How can a decision that allows a particular individual’s (or a corporation’s) right to the free exercise of religion trump the right of other individuals to act according to the dictates of their own consciences be a victory for religious liberty?