On 26 June 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 578 U.S. ____ (2015) (full slip opinion, including dissents, available here), ruling 5-4 that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognise a same-sex marriage lawfully licensed and performed out-of state.
The decision does not have a direct impact upon Australia’s legal system. However, it is clear that Christians do frequently have difficulties responding in a Biblically principled and Christlike way to campaigns to recognise same-sex marriage in the law, in circumstances where the dominant view is that homosexual practices are prohibited in the Bible and that that prohibition is still to be observed.
It is agreed in Australian society at large that the state should not entrench or sanction one particular religion. However, Christians are permitted to be informed by their religious beliefs when making decisions about the legislative changes they want to support or oppose, in the same way that others are permitted to make decisions about political issues that are inevitably informed by their own cultural and/or religious values. The question is, how should our beliefs regarding the correct view of marriage shape our response?
The following is a short list of articles and reading materials on various aspects of the recent US Supreme Court decision, with a particular focus on legal issues that affect Christians and religious groups. We would also encourage readers who are interested in learning about the issue to read the slip opinion, which contains the majority decision and the dissents.