Marriage and religious freedom will stand or fall together.
In recent essays here at Public Discourse, Mark Regnerus argued that same-sex marriage would harm marriage for everyone, and John Smoot argued that it would be bad for children in particular. Today I want to show the damage that redefining marriage does to religious freedom. At bottom, even the defense of religious liberty is a struggle over what is true and false about the meaning of marriage.
Should the truth about marriage—that it unites men and women so that children will have fathers and mothers—be defied by the laws of the land, we cannot expect the religious freedom of those who believe in that ancient truth to be respected under the new dominion of falsehood.
After all, if redefining marriage to include same-sex couples accords with justice and moral truth, there is no good reason for the new legal order to make room for “conscientious” religious dissenters, for clearly their consciences are malformed and unworthy of respect. Thus the fate of religious freedom, for scores of millions of Americans, stands or falls with the fate of conjugal marriage itself.