Religion and law round-up – 28th June

As we continued to digest Laudato si’, there were landmark rulings on same-sex marriage in the US and on national CO2 reduction targets in the Netherlands

Same-sex marriage and SCOTUS

On Friday the US Supreme Court handed down judgment in Obergefell v Hodges 576 US ___ (2015).

By five votes to four (Kennedy, Bader Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan JJ: Roberts CJ, Scalia, Thomas and Alito JJ dissenting) the Court held that the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment oblige all states to provide for same-sex marriage and to recognise same-sex marriages granted in other states. Religion Clause has helpful short summaries of both the majority opinion delivered by Kennedy J and the dissents. The majority concludes:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.” Continue reading