On April 28, 2015, the nine jurists of the United States Supreme Court first heard oral arguments concerning the legalization of same-sex “marriage” in the USA. The most important portion of the oral argument—no matter what else you heard reported—was not marriage but religious liberty.
At one point in the hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts addressed questions directly to one of the attorneys making the case for same-sex “marriage”—none other than the Solicitor General of the United States, Donald Verrilli, speaking on behalf of the Obama administration. Roberts asked Verrilli, “Would a religious school that has married housing be required to afford such housing to same-sex couples?”
That is exactly the kind of question that is coming to every religious institution that understands marriage to be the union of a man and a woman. Verrilli said that kind of question will be decided by the states based on the nondiscrimination laws they pass and the accommodations that are included in the laws.
Justice Samuel Alito also asked Verrilli another question, pointing to a previous decision by the Supreme Court having to do with the case of Bob Jones University. He said, “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”
Our undertanding of religous liberty is going to change.
Verrilli responded, “I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics. But it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. . . . It is going to be an issue.”
Verrilli conceded that these are real questions. He did not say anything that would support the religious liberty of an institution that limits marital housing to those the institution understands on the basis of Scripture to be legally and rightly married. Those who argue for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” repeatedly claim that nothing fundamental is going to change. But the Solicitor General admitted a lot is going to change—not only the definition of marriage but also our understanding of religious liberty.