June 26, 2015 is a momentous date for the United States. Same-sex marriage was finally recognized that day by the highest court in the land: the Supreme Court of the United States. Parades were held, bells were rung, and same-sex couples of inundating numbers rush to parishes intending to tie their vows.
But even with the SCOTUS’ ruling there are still states that resist the social change. Texas, Alabama, and Louisiana are among them. The question now is: is it unconstitutional for these states to reject SCOTUS’ decision?
Individuals Resisting SCOTUS
As a state, yes, it is. But individuals like Katie Lang, a clerk from the Hood County, Texas, voiced her objections and stated that she refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
However, she did point that while she will not grant the license, her office will, clarifying that what she’s doing is practicing her individual right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment.
And she’s just one of the many that are exercising this right.
Ken Paxton, Texas’ Attorney General, also has similar opinion over the ruling calling it “fabricated” and “newly-invented”, adding that the government has no right to force them to perform same-sex marriage wedding service against their religious beliefs.
So while individuals may refuse to perform such ceremony, the state will have to comply as SCOTUS’ decision is a precedent, meaning that law is authoritative.
The State and the Church
There is clear indication that the church has no influence over government concerns under the First Amendment and vice versa. But it also states that individuals have the right to practice their religion freely which also falls in the First Amendment.
This isn’t to say that there is an impasse between the two. Those who refuse to grant their services on a same-sex marriage couple have the right to do so, but the state will still have to find a way to grant the rights of the two. If not then therein lays the violation of SCOTUS’ ruling.
Brant Rios and Eos Parish is one such couple. Together for five years, the two experienced their state’s stubbornness when they decided to get wed after the decision came down. Being the first to arrive at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse they were also the first to be turned away.
They came back Monday with no luck as the clerk’s office inform them that it was awaiting word from Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana’s Attorney General, and one who’s also against same-sex marriage.
That night, however, a friend sent them a local newscast report that the Ouachita Parish is issuing the licenses. They decided to meet the next day to exchange vows in a “down-and-dirty civil ceremony.” At 12.15 p.m. they were pronounced husband and husband by a friend who’s a justice of the peace.
While this momentous social change is causing a lot of headache, tension, and debates the SCOTUS’ decision will stand and will remain standing. It’s high-time that America, a country that prides itself with freedom and equality, joins the rank of countries that have already legalized same-sex marriage.
And while there are those resisting the change – as is expected when change occurs – overtime people will eventually come around and realize that civil liberty extends to all people of different color, race, and gender orientation