Supreme Court Justice Didn't-Know-Marriage-Can't-Legally-Involve Churches or Religion

Supreme Court Justice Didn’t Know Marriage Can’t Legally Involve Churches or Religion

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!?”

Supreme Court Justice Didn't-Know-Marriage-Can't-Legally-Involve Churches or Religion

***Requested Update:

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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149 thoughts on “Supreme Court Justice Didn’t Know Marriage Can’t Legally Involve Churches or Religion

  1. It is very interesting that Bonauto said, “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.” Because it isn’t true. You must have your marriage solemnized. Not just anyone can solemnize it. At least this is true in the states I have resided in. I have also looked up Kentucky’s law on the subject:

    (1) Marriage shall be solemnized only by:
    (a) Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination in regular communion with any religious society;
    (b) Justices and judges of the Court of Justice, retired justices and judges of the Court of Justice except those removed for cause or convicted of a felony, county judges/executive, and such justices of the peace and fiscal court commissioners as the Governor or the county judge/executive authorizes; or
    (c) A religious society that has no officiating minister or priest and whose usage is to solemnize marriage at the usual place of worship and by consent given in the presence of the society, if either party belongs to the society.

    Marriage can and often does legally involve churches and religion. It doesn’t HAVE to, but it can. The state doesn’t solemnize the marriage at all. A justice or judge of the court can, but the court itself does not. The justice or judge could be retired, and not even part of the government anymore.

    1. I’m not sure what your point is. There is no requirement to have your marriage “solemnized,” although KY apparently choses that word to mean you must have your marriage presided over/witnessed/ recorded by EITHER a religious person OR a specified officer of the Court, which might include a Justice of the Peace, which in many places is a guy running a copy shop or sandwich place who holds a JP appointment. In Maine and other states any lawyer can preside over a marriage. As you say in the last paragraph, the point is marriage for purposes of the law is a CIVIL, not religious matter. If Church X doesn’t wish to give its blessing to the marriage at City Hall of Bob and Bill that’s fine, but it has zero impact on its legality.

  2. An interesting discussion is definitely worth
    comment. I believe that you should write more
    about this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people
    don’t speak about these subjects. To the next!

    Best wishes!!

  3. What level of government is Bonauto referring to? The state or the federal government? The treaty is a federal construct, but the state administers/defines marriages. How does one branch’s construct of a treaty affect a state power or its administration?

  4. well guys i am voiving my opipion and noone has the right to judge the othr person but in my eyes i c ant say to much for if i did i would be judging my own family and i cant.its each persons decision what they want to do be and so we shouldnt judge for we have our own beliefs.As for ministers and marrage its there decision in what they want to do marry or not marry.have a good day.

  5. A wonderful piece of deceit. The treaty had to do with negotiating with Muslims regarding the Barbary Coast pirates. The treaty is in no way enshrined in the constitution and its wording is, in a word, diplomatic. It’s purpose was to reassure the party with whom he was negotiating the long end of the Barbary Coast action which included the bombardment of Tripoli harbor for harboring the pirates.

  6. Until the couple get a license from the County Clerk and present the signed license back to the County Clerk, the actual ceremony is purely symbolic and carries no legal weight whatsoever. A marriage license is a legal contract and the marriage is granted by the State and can only be dissolved by a judge or magistrate. Churches have only the illusion of being able to grant the legal status of marriage when in fact they have no legal standing whatsoever to do so. They can perform the ceremony, but only the State can grant the marriage.

    1. Legal status of a marriage may be more or less important to some, but only a church can perform a marriage before God.

      So is a marriage a civil institution or an spiritual institution ? To the degree that it’s a former, the state can call anything it wants a marriage. To the degree that it’s an institution under God, only He can decide what is and is not a marriage.

  7. Hate is ignorance, absence of knowledge of who the person is beyond what you immediately see.. senseless.. and aren’t there more pressing matters on the American agenda than gay marriage, it is not the business of anyone other than the two consenting adults that are entering into the union.. Let us all grow up and mind our own damn business.

    1. Until it comes time to coerce people into vaccinating their kids anyway, right, Tori?

  8. I agree with the basis for the post, but you may want to preface it with this being satire / fictional, as I’ve seen it shared as legitimate on numerous platforms.

  9. Thomas Jefferson had nothing to do with the 1st Treaty of Tripoli, which was the one quoted. That was the Washington and Adams administrations. The second treaty of Tripoli did not contain the “in no sense” clause. This in no way invalidates the argument re: our govt being founded as secular, but if you’re going to snarky at a member of SCOTUS, you should put forth some minimal effort to get your facts straight.

  10. ah.. it makes so much more sense if it was Scalia. I dislike C.J. Roberts and don’t believe him to be completely honest, but he’s certainly not stupid. Scalia on the other hand…

  11. What happened to the pursuit of happiness? Guess it only applies to a select group of Americans. Also to the tax guy….the roads have potholes, the water has to be filtered, the current police situation is crazy in this country there are power outages etc etc clearly you can get married without a church. I believe in bringing all people closer to God not pushing them away. Besides this is about equality under the law for all Americans

  12. Religion was created as a way to control the masses. Higher powers established that without fear of consequence, people would do as they please and there would be utter chaos. Every part of the world has a religion and different beliefs. Saying one or the other is right, goes against what this country was founded on. The freedom to live as you want and to believe in what you want. I for one believe there is a god. We say he did different things, call him different names, but in the end you don’t know. Having good morals and loving the one you are with regardless of sex, race, or looks should be what we strive for anyway. Religion is as corrupt as wall street and a bigger industry than drugs. Why does a priest need donations for 67 million dollar jet. Come on people

  13. Shoot, I’ve been pointing that out to internet trolls for months now…
    Hey…wait…you don’t think?
    John Roberts, was that you?

  14. Hello, everyone. This was NEVER about storming the altars. It was about legal equality as Americans. Class dismissed. Sheesh. (The churches made it a religious issue, to their everlasting shame and discredit.)

  15. So what all you liberals that LOVE government and not the individual’s rights. How would you handle a Jewish deli being force to cater an neo-nazi party event. They would have to make all their pastries with little swastika’s and a cake with Hitler’s face on it. Now since the jews are a religious people and keep to themselves, and they use all the public services mention in the above comments. Do you secularists require this jewish business to provide this service to a bunch of nazis for their event?

    1. Nazis are all about hate. Gay people wanting to marry is about love. If you think the two groups are similar, you’re wrong. Nazis want to harm people, gay people just want to get married.

      1. Not the point. Love, hate, whatever. Discrimination is discrimination. You can’t pick and choose!

    2. There is a difference. It’s too bad you are so blinded, because it’s just stunningly obvious.
      A Jewish deli owner will not make swastika cakes for anyone. Never-mind that Nazis would be the only ones who would want them. If I asked for “hate cakes” (I’ll just call them that), the answer is no. If you, a Nazi, an atheist midget, and (for some unfathomable reason) another Jew asked for them… still no. See? The answer is the same (EQUAL!) no matter who is asking.
      Now if I (a straight woman) go into the bakery of a homophobe and ask for a wedding cake for my husband and myself, I’ll get one. If a gay man walks into the same bakery and asks for the EXACT SAME THING (a wedding cake for his husband and himself), he would be denied.
      It’s just. so. obvious.

      Two people go in and ask for the exact same item – they both receive the same answer (whether that answer is yes, no, or something else). That is NOT discrimination.
      Two people go in and ask for the exact same item – they receive different answers BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE. That IS discrimination.

      This is not about “forcing” business owners… it never was. Good try, though. Way over used… be original.

    3. You missed they entire article; no one is forcing churches to do something they don’t believe in…. no one needs a church to get married. Marriage is a legal term.

  16. This article is a flat-out lie, as anyone with access to the internets can confirm. I’ve supported gay marriage all my life and I disagree with 99.9% of what Roberts has to say, but I can’t support LIES in the media.

    Here are the transcripts of the Supreme Court hearings in this case–search ’em all you want, you will never see Roberts ask that question (and for that matter, you also won’t see anyone mention the Treaty of Tripoli):

    Question 1 arguments (is there a Constitutional right to gay marriage):…/argumen…/14-556q1_7l48.pdf

    Question 2 arguments (can states refuse to recognize gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions):…/argumen…/14-556q2_2dp3.pdf

    1. Are these the only arguments with Bonauto and Roberts?

  17. My education taught that when 2 capable adults make a life long commitment each to the other, that is a marriage. The civil marriage is the signing of the legal documents to enforce rights & responsibilities, and the religious ceremony is to ask God’s blessing on the union. Marriage itself is personal & private. All the rest is asking others to share in their joy.

  18. I am a Canadian. We have been doing this for almost 11 years. the sky did not fall, many church are still bigots,Take a look at the progressive world around you, stop pushing your religious morals on people who just want no part of Any religion, they are all mostly corrupt,Im Roman Catholic , dont get me started.There is no argument that can be debated without religion and the views of Zealots. give up ,listen to your lawyers and judges. The sky will not fall.

  19. Well, dear, there are a lot of people that disappointed in Justice Roberts. Of both main ideologies. So, yes this is a bit shocking; but not totally unexpected.

  20. “The state marries; the church blesses.” Not all countries allow “clergy” to preside at the civil marriage rite. What’s before the SCOTUS is CIVIL marriage. It has nothing to do with any religious values of any type. As a Christian clergy person, I would be much more comfortable if couples took care of the legal/civil stuff by civil authority; then my faith community can decide which relationships to bless.

  21. If this happened, I’m glad, If it didn’t, it should. I’ve heard a lot of arguments for/against gay marriage, but seldom do people bring up this one. I kept bringing it up and no one seemed to get the point. Maybe now they will. So I shared, real or not. Maybe the lawyers arguing this case will take a clue!

  22. “Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools”

  23. If i had a church i wouldn’t perform homosexual/lesbian marriages…because I’d rather be in trouble with man’s law than God himself…i fear what God would do to me for not keeping his word..than what a man has to say or do to me #realtalk

    1. Poor thing. Are you really so afraid of what your god would “do to you”? That’s really sad.

    2. Please point to any part of the Bible that GOD or JESUS authored PERSONALLY. To my knowledge, MEN wrote the Bible. Self-serving, violent, ever-corruptible men. We have several thousand years of history which illustrates Man’s sins. Do you think that the men who authored the Bible (or the ones who selected the books that were allowed in the Bible) were any less sinful or self-serving?? Since the church more or less ran things back then, the Bible is little more than political propaganda from that time.

    3. And by the same token, I’m sure you’ve never eaten any pork product or shellfish, since that is also forbidden by the bible. And you’ve surely never worn clothes made from more than one kind of fabric, specifically banned. Ever performed any kind of work on the sabbath? If so the bible says you should be put to death.
      As long as you are picking and choosing which of gods laws you want to follow, we ask that you choose love instead of hate.

  24. I could care less of some “religious institution” doesn’t want to perform a gay marriage. That is totally OK!!! Real “Christians” love and accept everyone and don’t judge others. There are other religions who WILL perform gay marriages. However, as pointed out, not everyone views marriage in the religious context. The thing is, certain religions want to outlaw gay marriage no matter WHO performs it. They don’t want ANYONE to be able to perform a gay wedding at all…..not even a justice in a court. This is where they FAIL. If they don’t want to perform these types of weddings….that’s totally ok. However, their religion is NOT law and they CANNOT stop others from doing it. End of story. It is well known that so called “Christians” like this also used their “beliefs” to justify trying to prevent heterosexual couples of different races from being able to marry years ago. “Religions” like this are the ones going around persecuting ANYONE who does not believe the same crap that they do. Then, when they don’t get their way, they cry and whine and say they are the ones being persecuted against. This is TOTALLY ridiculous. It’s time for religious tyranny like this to end.

    1. Dana instead of using quotation marks for these kinds of Christians, I use small letter c calling them christians (I know auto-correct keeps capitalizing it, so you have to go back and make it a small c again). So these christians are not real Christians because they do not follow the true teachings of love and respect that Jesus espoused.

    2. In Texas it is against the state constitution for the legislature to create a law that makes a parallel “civil union” available to gays. If that’s not against the US constitution I’ll eat my hat.

      1. The only parts of the US Constitution recognized in Texas are certain specifically limited applications of the First and Second amentments (as they apply to rich white straight Protestants) and the Tenth Amendment so long as the state is governed by the aforementioned Rich white straight Protestant members of the GOP. The rest is simply moot and hasn’t actually been read in over 150 years.

  25. Reblogged this on Blue Ball Skeptics and commented:
    The following story is almost completely made up, but is being passed around as if it really happened. Skeptics, be warned.

    1. So is the article above correct as written or not?
      If someone (justice, lawyer or otherwise) said the words quoted above, who said it and when? Can anyone provide a reference, please?
      I’m not taking sides — I just want to read the words for myself.

      1. I was at the argument and this exchange never occurred. Justice Scalia did ask why ministers wouldn’t be required to perform same-sex marriages if they declare it a constitutional right. Mary Bonauto pointed out that ministers aren’t required to do so now in marriage equality states and Justice Kagan stated that, for example, rabbis (and therefore all clergy) are not required to perform mixed marriages. No one mentioned the Treaty of Tripoli.

  26. I’ve listened to the entire Bonauto segments of the arguments and I can’t find the quotes above anywhere. Can you provide a more precise cite as to where they are in the transcripts? Page number and line number is the traditional format to cite to a deposition or transcript.

    1. I, too, would like to know from where these other claims are cited. Most of these claims are not in the transcript I read. I remember only what I listed above, that Bonauto did point out that the 1st Amendment protected clergy and that none have been forced to perform a marriage ceremony outside of their beliefs.

    2. OMG! Read the darn constitution man! It’s written in black ink. No matterifthis thread is fake or not. Read it for yourself. Any how what is the big deal? The churches have refused people since its inception because of race and religious beliefs, what’s new?

      1. But we must remember, Seperation of Church and State, means ANY religion, yours, mine and the fundies all over! Blessed be the wisdom of Melek-Taus!

    3. Think of this as the blog equivalent of The Onion. It’s all satire. As much as we may like the idea of Roberts not knowing that people don’t have to be married by religious authority, it’s impossible that he would have said and done the things that are reported in this article. So you can stop looking for documentation of this. It’s satire. But with a point. Why do governments think they need to support religious beliefs with restrictive laws about who can get married.?

    4. The exchange described was the writer’s fantasy. Roberts never asked that question. Besides, the answer supposedly given is utterly non-responsive to the question and hardly praiseworthy even if true.

      That said, I did read the transcript, and Scalia (not Roberts) did ask a similar question. (See transcript 23:3-18.) And Bonauto’s response was uninspiring at best. It basically amounted to “of course not.”

      Kagan’s response to the question was the best and most persuasive response offered. (See transcript 26:8-16.)

      As far as Roberts’s participation on this question, he chimed in at 36:4-8: “We have a concession from your friend that clergy will not be required to perform samesex marriage, but there are going to be harder questions. Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to samesex couples?”

      You can read the response and the rest of the transcript here:…/argumen…/14-556q1_7l48.pdf

  27. The Chief Justice did ask about a church being forced to perform a ceremony against their beliefs. Council Bonauto pointed out that that was covered by the 1st Amendment and, as such, was a separate issue.

    1. By taking this to the Supreme Court they are asking that it be applied to the 1st Admendment too. They won’t say that unless they are forced to admit it. They are attempting to mislead people to get their foot in the door. Then they can pry it open further in other cases. Once you open that door it can’t be closed! Government should get out of the marriage business except to record the event. No sanctioning or prohibiting.

  28. It was a real question – but SCALIA asked it. See page 23 of the transcript

    1. If you are polytheist, why subscribe to Dualism, that has played from the Christians and Muslims from their more parental figure Zoroasterism that it isn’t funny! Making duality is become a trend… I FAIL to see a good man anywhere… Who ever calls himself good needs to take a long look at himself and ask why he is good, and then see how he looks at the world in total…

      Therefore I ask, if a God/Goddess or a multitude of deities are good or evil, are they truly ALL good and evil? Or are we just whitewashing the whole situation to make things easier, therefore lazy?

  29. Why is it that people cannot distinguish between legal marriage which requires secular marriage licenses, etc., and religious belief? It seems like a simple concept to me. If gay marriage becomes law I’m sure some churches will not perform ceremonies and if so, who cares. People can go to the court house or I’m sure other religious organizations would spring up to service gay people.

      1. My apologies, Pastor, I misjudged how I felt, you are truly a noble soul, and I truly mean that…

  30. Marriage is NOT a religious institution, it is a civil contract between two consenting adults. A priest (or a judge) can’t marry you without a marriage license — issued by your local jurisdiction, not a church.

    1. Well, marriage IS a religious institution for many. Secular culture separates out the affairs of civil society (the public sphere), regulated by legal institutions (government), from the values of practices of voluntary organizations (church). So… marriage is a legal institution (public) and a religious institution (private) in the US. As a pastor I’ve married older people who don’t want to marry publicly (civilly) because it would be a financial disadvantage but don’t want to live together without a sacred pledge of faith mediated by the church. It seems secularization is poorly understood by the right and the left. The right forgets the secular was invented to keep religious groups from inflicting the violence of their consciences on the “unlike”. They want to force private views into the public sphere. The left forgets that opinions are like as*hol*s–everyone has the right to have one (and to be one)–but privately.

      1. And pastor, which group has the asshole opinion that gay people can’t get married sans religious weigh-in? I’m old. Refresh my mind?

      2. For many, but not for all. We do not live in a theocracy, where religion is imposed on the entire population.

      3. Marriage has been around longer then any Abrahamic who put a turban on his head, or stepped down on a mountain with his sandled feet from having a long conversation with a “burning bush…” Now it’s a institution for control since the Catholism came in, before then it was one of the few ways one would convert to be in Judiasm.

    2. The concept of “marriage” originated in the idea that a man “owned” his wife. (In the beginning, there was no restriction on a man to be faithful, only women.) The documentation for marriages began as a way to keep breeding records to avoid inbreeding of slaves. (Or to ensure inbreeding in the case of medieval “royal lineage”.) Since women are no longer legally viewed as chattel, there is no longer a need for the “title deed” called a marriage record. And the laws of incest between consenting adults have become so blurred, (in part because of all the birth control methods available today), there is no longer a need for breeding records. Therefore, there is strong argument in favor of the notion that marriage should be abolished as antiquated and obsolete. That said, I confess that these are not my feelings on the matter, but rather logical conclusions based on facts. As long as two people choose to share a life and want all the benefits and responsibilities that come with such a choice, there will always be marriage. I personally believe very deeply in the sanctity of such a union. I do NOT believe that government should have anything to do with it, though. Neither in the support or condemnation of “unconventional” marriage, nor in forcing people to go against their own life choices just because those choices offend someone else.

    3. Marriage was created by religious institutions. The only reason governments got involved was to restrict who was getting married and to be able to tax the process. Every bakery targeted by gay bullies have stated that they sell to every one that walks into their stores and buys something off the shelf. Purchasing a custom cake requires a contract between the baker and the purchaser. The baker is under no legal obligation to accept every contract presented to them, just like every businees does. They may turn it down because they don’t have the skills, the cake is too elaborate and would leave them with very little profit or it is offensive to them. Just like an artist that won’t paint nudes, or a photographer or book publisher that won’t do pornography, or a kosher butcher that won’t do non-kosher cuts of meat or a moslim butcher that won’t touch pork. Marriage also involves contracts between the preacher and the couple wanting to marry. if he won’t perform the seremony because you are already lilving together or have a child out of wedlock or are divorced, you always have the option to be married in a non-religious civil ceremony.

      1. or you can be married by another church. Your church isn’t the only game in town–thank the gods.

  31. How come this is the only place on the internet I can find these quotes? I am not seeing a report of this exact exchange anywhere else. What is the source? Was this an eyewitness transcription?

      1. I did a word search in both of the transcripts linked and can find no trace of these quotations. 🙁 I looked for “Tripoli”, “Jefferson” and “moral.”

      2. I’ve listened and read the transcript in its entirety. This exchange never happened, at least not on the record. Maybe this website is satirical?

      3. This didn’t happen. It’s not in either of the two transcripts from April 28th. This propaganda is just as despicable as Fox News!

      4. I have also done searches in the Transcripts and cannot find the alleged exchange.

      5. Look on page 21 of the First Question’s transcript. While the words are not the same, and it’s Scalia and not Roberts, the question gets asked:

        “for example, is it is it conceivable that a minister who is authorized by the State to conduct marriage can decline to marry two men if indeed this Court holds that they have a constitutional right to marry? Is it conceivable that that would be allowed?”

    1. I had the same question. I’m not familiar with the site and don’t know if it’s satire or not. I can’t find it anywhere else either. Let me know if you do.

      1. Treaty of Tripoli –
        ARTICLE 11.

        As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    2. read the Cnstitution and that should tell you, right? Not sure why you would write this unless you read it and did not see it

    3. Because this is not accurate. This exchange did not occur. There was an exchange about whether clergy would be forced to conduct such marriages, primarily between Justice Scalia and Ms. Bonauto, but it was not this specific exchange.

    4. How come you use how come instead of why? “How come “is improper grammar.

    5. Right, its becoming more difficult to access reliable information. No disrespect but the media, clergy, and politicians and other governing officials are all in the same business as the authir of this article. It is to pursuasively manipulate a point or points and to CONTROL or keep power over the audience or affected people. Someone of POWER can say to their following “piss will now be called water” and it would. The gay marriage ruling was important because it was an legal issue not a one of religion. Its sad, it has taken this long for a group of people to be acknowledged the rights that the CONSTITUTION had long given them. This is important because we’re going to continue to see cases like these where prejudices and abuses of power will deny people the rights of which this nation was formed and of its commandments.

      1. This entire website is satire with a point. So, hopefully your comment is too in regard to this article…

  32. Churches all over the country deny straight couples religious marriage in their church all the time. If the church doesn’t agree with the coupling of the two in marriage, they decline to perform the ceremony. Those straight couples who are denied marriage in the church, go to secular sources to obtain legal marriage. It would be no different with the LGBTQ community. No church is ever required to perform a marriage ceremony when they disagree due to religious convictions.

    1. Correct and in fact, many liberal churches that support marriage equality, have taken a stand not to marry (sign legal documents) heterosexual couples, until all who love can be married legally. This is the stance of many Unitarian Universalist ministers – who might perform a ceremony, but won’t sign the states legal papers. Some won’t even perform a ceremony in the church. This is made clear to couples, because these ministers can’t legally marry all who come to them for a religious wedding ceremony, so they chose not to legally marry any couple.

      1. UU churches are a joke. They only believe there is a God

      2. Funny when she used the treaty of tripoli that she didn’t use the rest of the sentence that proves her point wrong !!

      3. My husband and I were married by our chosen Universalist Unitarian minister. We were the first wedding ceremony she ever conducted, as she said that she would not perform any weddings until she could marry a same-sex couple first! That was 5 years ago in Washington, DC, just a few blocks from the White House and the Capitol! We had family and friends in attendance, from all over the USA, including West Coast, East Coast, Mid-West and the South. Three states in the Obergefell v. Hodges were represented in our clans!

        “When one of us is a bit free-er, we all are a bit free-er!” — Unknown author.

      4. Not entirely sure to what Fred Haslitt was referring but the entire Article 11 is one sentence and nothing in it subsequently negates the first clause quoted here.

      5. The second sentence basically says the government won’t be opposed to other religions or religious freedom. But the end says “No pretext, arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony…” meaning just what we’ve all been saying. You have the freedom to practice whatever religion you want, the government won’t oppose it. But you’re religious beliefs cannot interfere with law.

      6. My husband and I were lawfully married in the UNMC church just a few blocks from the White House. The minister there at the time, Rev. Lily said that we were her first wedding ceremony, because she would not marry any couple until she could marry all couples lawfully, and a same-sex couple. We were the first to show up on the doorstep. That was 2 months after all the court decisions there were settled in 2010, in the Washington DC, and Congress did not (could not!) object.

        We became lawfully married in January here in Florida. Thus we are precedent for the Full Faith and Credit Clause, crossing state lines.
        We are now lawfully married in all 57 US states and territories.

        Even the Congress cannot divorce us now.
        That takes our personal specific approval and permission!

      7. Uh, sorry Kim Everett, but the Unitarian Churches Support and Defend Same Sex Marriage – All LGBTQ&I marriages are welcome at the Unitarian Universalist Churches. And we will gladly perform the ceremony and sign the states’ legal papers. I don’t know where you got the information about UUs but we had a major press release about this, and all ministers there were asked if they would gladly perform and sign the marriages certificate. All said YES! Please, leave out the Unitarian Universalist Churches from your list….you are giving out misleading information.

      8. Note to Fred Haslitt, how does the following sentence in Art. 11 of the treaty “as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” prove your point?

      9. I believe traditional Christian churches will use the same practice. If a church chooses to NOT sign the legal documents recognized by the state for any marriage and only performs a religious ceremony for heterosexual couples there is no LEGAL discrimination. Same sex couples are only guaranteed a marriage recognized by the state, not a religious ceremony.

    2. Same with wedding cakes, if a bakery doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay marriage they just say no and the couple goes elsewhere with no fuss, right?

      1. Nope. Churches are exempt because of the 1st amendment separation of Church and States and their unique status in the United States (for example, they are exempt from paying taxes; they are also exempt from following anti discrimination laws). Businesses are regulated by the federal government under the interstate commerce clause. They are for profit organizations created to make money (unlike Churches which are created to serve religious needs). Just like a bakery cannot put up a sign that said they did not serve people of color, they should be able to refuse to serve homosexuals. It is discrimination. And before you counter back with religious beliefs, the KKK grounds their racism on religious beliefs as well – and we have rejected that in a public setting.

      2. Except that you’re forgetting one little pesky fact about the wedding cake defence: taxes. When a resident of a town or city pays civic taxes for things like roads, infrastructure, sewers, electrical grids, and water lines, that resident is entitled to enjoy the benefits of having paid for those things to be built and maintained. Any public company that opens its doors for business benefits from the tax dollars that keep the sidewalk out front clean, the roads beyond that paved, safe water running through the faucet, electricity to power the ovens and lights, and a police force to keep it all safe. Unless the person in your bakery is breaking the law, or engaging in an illegal activity in your store, having religious beliefs and ideals does not excuse denying a tax payer the right to use, buy, or access the commercial goods or services you are offering. If the thought of baking a cake for a gay wedding puts your morals and beliefs on the line, then you have the right and the option to not open a store that benefits from the utilities and services afforded by tax dollars. It is as simple as that.

      3. Of course the bakery owner has a choice – they can make the cake or they can close down their business. See everyone has a choice under capitalism.

      4. Only if the bakery does not make wedding cakes for ANYONE. The law is clear that if you have a license to do business with the PUBLIC, you have to serve everyone. BUT you can choose not to bake wedding cakes for ANYONE and then you are fine.

      5. You don’t need a license to buy a cake and once you have it, it goes down the toilet. Oh, I guess it really is the same thing. Wow Ruprect, you really are a smart person…lolol

      6. If all thr local banks refuse you a lone because of religioss convictions, you should just move and keep quiet. No fuss, right? Get u our head out of your ass!

        If one business can discriminate, then so can all of the rest of them. Where do you draw the line? Bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, doctors?

      7. Fred, I think you should work on your reading compression.

      8. a business is not a church. christians seemed to be confused over the simplest of things. a business is open to the public for profit. In this country, if you are open for business to the public, then you are in business to ALL of the public. Those are the rules. If you do not want to be open to all of the public, then make your business a private club open to members only, or by appointment. A church, on the other hand, isn’t supposed to be a business–tho the vast majority of them in the USA are a business–the entertainment business. But churches to not require a fee, just donations. Therefore, they are not bound by the same laws as businesses. It is amazing to me that this has to be explained to an adult.

      9. If a bakery doesn’t want to make a specialized cake that they normally wouldn’t make, then yes, you are correct. A bakery should have the right to NOT make a cake that has “a same sex couple having sex on it. A bakery should have the right to NOT make a cake that has a saying like, “To hell with Christianity” on it. A bakery SHOULD NOT have the right to deny a same sex couple a wedding cake that looks no different than any other wedding cake that they make. That is the difference. If a bakery is asked to do something different than they normally would do, they should be allowed to say no. A wedding cake for a same sex couple that looks exactly the same as the wedding cake for a hetero couple, then NO WAY. They should not be able to discriminate in that way.

      10. Not really. A bakery is a for-profit business, that serves “the public.” As such, they have to obey laws of discrimination. If they deny service based on established “groups,” but offer the same services to others, they are in breach of those laws.

        It’s not hard to understand the concept.

      11. Yeah no. If you want to run a business in this country you must give equality to all . If you don’t want to , you can hand in your business license.

      12. previous commenter is spot on. if no different than any other cake…then no problem…add figurines of same sex couple as you see fit after the fact. to force any proprietor to do what they are not in business to do is unconstitutional. look up your business law. each business is required to have its mission, policies, and charter established…and free to do so to their liking. To simplify for all you obvious simpletons:

        1) you can’t goto Walmart, look at a Jeep Power Wheels Car for your kid and claim age discrimination because they don’t provide the grown-up version (a real jeep) for you…youre not their target demographic regarding mobilized transportation…so go find a jeep dealership

        2) you who complain about a bakery citing religious reasons to not make same-sex wedding cake…ask yourself…would you stand equally as brave/tall behind the poor neo-nazi who was refused service by Jewish bakery for his schwastica cake? or the extremist white supremacist and his demand for rebel flag cake to a minoroty owned bakery.

        you’re all pathetically hypocritical and sadly try to claim a position of “higher ground” by being so “open minded” to such ignorance. so congrats…you made it…finally made your mark as one of the smarter idiots!

      13. NO…not right. A bakery is not a religious institution that is tax-exempt. A refusal from a for-profit organization is clearly discrimination and has severe consequences.

      14. No, that’s different. Businesses that hold themselves out to the public as secular, profit-making enterprises are not like churches. Churches can decline to offer their particular brand of ‘endorsement’ to a marriage (which as the article explains is only legal with the State’s approval). A business cannot refuse to supply a hotel room, a seat at a lunch counter, etc., to anyone based on a ‘religious’ objection to them. If they could the entire edifice of civil rights laws would collapse.

      15. This splitting hairs, but that’s what a comment section is all about. To the cake issue. As a baker if I provide a product or variation of a product to one customer, then I must provide the same to any other customer. If I make a plain white cake for a straight couple, then the same for a gay couple. If I choose to not offer orange frosting on any cake, then a customer cannot come in, order a cake with orange frosting and then declare discrimination if I don’t provide it.
        So then, what if I declare that I will not put vulgar language on a cake for either a straight or gay couple. Who then decides what is vulgar?

      16. Your bigot baker can choose to provide a cake to all or provide a cake to none. If your bigot baker chooses to single out a couple or class of people to deny service based on the bigot baker’s personal feelings about them, it is discrimination, plain and simple. You do not get to decide. They pay the same taxes to support the same infrastructure that allows your bigot baker to operate. Offering or declining to offer a product or service to everyone equally is your choice. To offer or decline to offer it to a singled-out class or individual is bigotry and discrimination.

        It’s the stupid old “Jewish deli wouldn’t get into trouble for declining to make a ham sandwich, why should a baker get in trouble for not serving a cake?” argument. Let me spell this out for you in case you are too stupid to get it: a Jewish deli would NOT OFFER a ham sandwich. It would NOT be on the menu for you to even request. THAT is religious freedom. However, if the ham sandwich WAS on the menu, and was served to everyone BUT YOU based on the business owner’s personal bias, this is unlawful discrimination and should be prosecuted.

    3. You would think that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would know the laws and constitution better than the rest of americans

      1. The Treaty of Tripoli was never mentioned in the oral arguments. I’ve listened to and read them twice. This article is misleading and places quotes that did not happen.

      2. Stephen, all law students who do become law professionals are like other people in various fields, you have the excellent and those who fall below, but may be brilliant or very well versed in certain areas of the law. After careers they are appointed to positions by politicians. I agree CJ should have known, but alas, people are people and. “we the people” don’t know it all.

    4. Whoah that is so far from the truth, you are clearly a space cadet! Ever heard of UNITARIAN CHURCHES? I live in a town where I attend one, and they held one not too long ago, they will always marry anyone who want to marry because Unitarians are more then a set religion, they are receptive of everyones needs due to the fact we are not going to be the same… Nor we will follow everyones religion, that is why I am the only Satanist there… And they love me to pieces as I do them! Hail Satan!

    5. and that is their right. I can’ t get married in a Catholic church if I am not Catholic. This is why it should be a civil union and you have the choice to get “married” at a church, or not at a church. You can get married anywhere you want by anyone legally qualified to marry you.

      1. unfortunately on this one – the term marriage has a governmental definition as well as a religious one. What they would need to do is ban the use of the word “marriage” and make that strictly a religious designation. However, because the word marriage is on almost over governmental form or application, it carries civil implications. Also, governmental benefits arise from the fact you’re married, not because you have children. I’m for gay marriage, but i’m also not for upending the apple cart for the folks who have issues with it. there will be a backlash. People need time to get used to this.

      2. The Catholic Church does not call this a marriage…they call it Holy Matrimony…a Sacrament. They are two different things entirely. Don’t use religion as a basis for your decision when you don’t even understand your own religion.

      3. Marriage ≠ Holy Matrimony.

        Marriage is the legal term for the civil union of two consenting adults, in the US. (Religion has no bearing here. You can be legally married without any church or religious ceremony.)

        Holy Matrimony is a Sacrament of the Church (which has no legal standing without your filing the Marriage License with your state Capitol, before it expires.)

        I would hope the Justices would understand at least the LEGALITY of Marriage, but I have my doubts.

    6. i think what people are missing here — it’s not about the treaty of tripoli – it’s not about a cake bakery…this is about a church. Can the federal government mandate that a church do something? a church will be treated differently, because it’s not a commercial enterpise, and separation of church and state goes both ways – not just one. All you folks responding here who are up in arms about christian churches – would you be just as willing to say the same holds true for a mosque, or a temple?

      1. YOU are missing the point. The federal government is NOT mandating that a church do ANYTHING. No law says that a Church must recognize or perform a marriage ceremony for anyone except under whatever terms the Church dictates.The ONLY question before the Supreme Court) or any other US court) is: what are the constitutional boundaries which a STATE (not a church) can place on who may be married? For example, may a State prohibit marriage of those under, say, 12 years of age? (Yes) May they prohibit marriage between first cousins? (Yes) Persons of different races? (Since Loving v. Virginia– No.) Between persons of different genders? (Since Obergefell — N0.)

    7. @Fred Haslitt Per Yale Law The treaty of Tripoli. How does this invalidate her statement….she legitimately used it to prove her point. The US Government in 1796 stated that the US Government was NOT founded on the Christian Religion.

      ARTICLE 11.

      As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

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