Religious leaders react to same-sex marriage ruling

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Equal protection under the law does not mean equal in the eyes of the church. Same-sex marriage is far from being recognized by many religions, including the Catholic Church.

Friday's landmark ruling by the Supreme Court means that state bans on same-sex marriage are illegal, but the ruling says that religious groups can continue to advocate their belief in traditional marriage. For some, that distinction is a slippery slope.

Ron Prentice is a pastor in Orange County and the chairman of ProtectMarriage.com, a broad-based coalition of California families, community and religious leaders, pro-family organizations and individuals from all walks of life who support the traditional definition of marriage as the unique union of a man and a woman.

"This is an absolute disregard for our Constitution, for the rule of law. This decision was pulled out of the proverbial hat," Prentice said.

On the streets of Los Angeles, many supporters of same-sex marriage are still in support of churches being able to make their own policies according to their doctrine.

Still, some worry that the ruling could lead to churches or synagogues someday being ordered to perform same-sex marriages.

"The greatest concern is churches or people who uphold this worldview, and what will happen to them because they believe that every child deserves a mommy and a daddy," said Pastor Jim Domen of the California Family Council.

"There's nothing in the current law, and there will be nothing in the law that will in any way threaten the religious freedom of churches," said Nomi Stolzenberg, a law professor at USC specializing in religion. "No minister of a church or synagogue or any other religious entity is going to be required to officiate at same-sex weddings."

Stolzenberg says the larger question is whether or not Friday's ruling will lead to legal challenges on whether or not private businesses will be able to refuse service to same-sex couples.

"In that case do they have a right to a religious exemption? That is the issue," Stolzenberg said.

"We're only one court decision away from the courts, in general, choosing to disregard the First Amendment rights of every individual in the country," Prentice said.

In a statement released Friday, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the ruling "a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us."

Related Topics:
religionsame sex marriagegay marriageu.s. & worldgay rightspoliticsLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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