With the first day of hearings taking place before the United States Supreme Court, an awkward happening occurred when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts found out that both religion and religious establishments have nothing to do with the legality of same-sex marriage.
The uncomfortable exchange began when Chief Justice Roberts asked famed gay rights lawyer Mary Bonauto why she believed that we should “force churches and religious leaders to preside over a homosexual wedding that, when taken as a whole, would offend their moral conscience.”
Although she seemed taken aback, Bonauto replied with little to no hesitation.
“Well, I’d cite the U.S. Constitution, previous Supreme Court decisions, and the Treaty of Tripoli.”
Chief Justice Roberts then asked Bonauto to elaborate on her answer.
Bonauto replied, “Thomas Jefferson clearly stated that the intent and function of the 1st Amendment was that the country could never establish any laws based on, or supporting, a specific religious view. He stated that ‘the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.'”
She then continued by stating that, “This court has ruled in this manner time after time, and even the Treaty of Tripoli, which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate way back in 1797, clearly stated that our government was not established on any specific religious tradition. Not to mention, priests and churches will not be forced to marry anyone.”
Bonauto concluded by accurately saying, “Indeed, it is a fact that all you need to get married would be another person, a trip to a courthouse, a witness, and a signed document. When people get married in a church, it isn’t recognized by the government without the legal documentation.”
It was at this point that those in the court witnessed Chief Justice Roberts begin to whisper to fellow conservative Justices Scalia and Alito. Justice Roberts then became visibly red in the face at this point and some reports even state that you could audibly hear Roberts say, “Really!?”
For anyone unfamiliar with the U.S. Treaty of Tripoli, the phrase that Bonauto was referring to reads as such:
“The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
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