2015 | Week of July 13 – #1106
The Fourth of July has come and gone with no terrorist attacks in the U.S. The highways are filled with families on vacation. The state’s two-year budget has been signed into law. Governor Walker has publicly declared he’s a candidate for US President. The state legislature, while technically still in session, is taking a summer break. The sun came up this morning and will set tonight. The grass is green, and the crops growing. “See,” those ecstatic about the redefinition and dismantling of marriage and family tell me with a smirk on their face. “See, Julaine, the sky hasn’t fallen, the moon didn’t turn purple and life is going on. You’ve just been trying to scare people.”
And to these folks I respond, “I agree. Nothing major has happened…yet. But I can guarantee you that there will be sizeable aftershocks and notable fallout from the high court’s ruling on marriage. Probably not today, and likely not tomorrow. But one day, the impact will be real and it will be significant.”
I believe every word of my response because we’ve already seen what part of the fallout from such a decision looks like. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to have same-sex marriage foisted on the people by judicial fiat. Shortly after the first marriage between persons of the same sex was licensed, the state forced Catholic Charities, an adoption agency, to either stop placing children for adoption altogether or start placing children with same-sex couples. Catholic Charities shut their door. Why? Because same-sex marriage was legal in that state. They had no option.
Elsewhere in the country, in both states where marriage had been redefined prior to the US Supreme Court’s wrong decision and states where it hadn’t been redefined, various individuals involved in wedding-related services have been sued for discrimination because they refused to perform certain services for same-sex couples—such as baking a wedding cake, or taking pictures at a ceremony, or doing flowers for a wedding. In some of these situations, the people have been steeply fined; some have been ordered to change their policies. Some have been run out of business by the leftist activists threatening them.
Back in Massachusetts the father of a first-grader in a public school was told that he and his wife would have no advance notice and no opt-out provision when the subject of same-sex-headed households came up in his son’s classroom even though the parents had specifically requested notification and an opt-out. What the school basically said was, “Sorry. We aren’t going to do that. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts now, and we’ll be treating it just like heterosexual relationships.”
I know the fallout is coming. I just don’t know when or where in Wisconsin. I also know churches, Christian schools and colleges, day cares and Christian ministries such as camps, adoption agencies, radio stations and mission agencies should be, at a minimum, taking a very close look at their governing documents and their operating policies. As long as we have a modicum of the rule of law, well-stated policies and faith and position statements will provide the best legal protection available.
Wisconsin Family Council has been urging churches, schools, and ministries to take these steps. Most recently we’ve been recommending Alliance Defending Freedom’s resource entitled, “Protecting Your Ministry,” which is available online at alliancedefendingfreedom.org. In addition, our friends at Liberty Institute also have an excellent online resource for churches and ministries. “Religious Liberty Audits” is available at libertyinstitute.org/church-audits.
Both of these resources give explanations for why certain protections are necessary—are critical—for churches, schools and organizations and supply sample language to cover areas such as statements of faith, church membership, statements on marriage, letters to parents, hiring policies, and much more. For more information on either of these resources we encourage you to call our office at 888-378-7395.
No, the sky hasn’t fallen since June 26 when the US Supreme Court acted foolishly and arrogantly regarding society’s foundational institution of marriage. However, at some point, life in Wisconsin and in all of America is going to start looking quite different. Of course all of these scary things can happen in Wisconsin at any time; there’s really nothing preventing it. For churches and faith-based schools and ministries, taking proactive, protective action sooner rather than later would seem to be a wise course of action. To be forewarned should be to be forearmed.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”