How will Christians be affected by the new same-sex “marriage” laws creeping across the country? We may end up paying a high price, as the story of Laura Fotusky shows.
Fotusky was working as a town clerk in small-town Barker, New York, when New York’s legislature legalized “marriage” between partners of the same sex on June 24 of this year. Fotusky got in touch with New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and others to find out if there were any protections for town clerks who believed that helping facilitate “marriages” between homosexuals would violate their conscience. While protections existed for religious organizations that did not care to participate in the pretense that two men or two women could enter into a relationship designed by God for one man and one woman (something made obvious by the fact that the bodies of men and women sexually complement each other in a way that bodies of same-sex couples do not), Fotusky discovered there were no such protections for town clerks. As the Rev. Jason McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, dryly noted, “It’s unfortunate that when state senators were busy protecting liberal special interests and padding their campaign accounts, that they failed to protect good people of faith.”
So Fotusky resigned her position, and wrote a remarkable letter to the Town of Barker Board and Barker residents explaining why—a letter that echoes themes from a famous epistle written some fifty years ago from a Birmingham jail by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fotusky pointed out that in legalizing same sex “marriage,” New York refused to protect people of faith, “even though our US constitution supports religious freedom.” (Actually, the Constitution demands that religious freedom be protected). Fotusky further noted, “I believe that there is a higher law than the law of the land. It is the law of God in the Bible. In Acts 5:29, it states, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”
King, a Baptist minister, would have readily agreed. As he wrote from that Birmingham jail, “There are two types of laws; just and unjust. . . . One has a moral duty to disobey unjust laws, [because] an unjust law is no law at all.” How do we determine which laws are just or unjust? “A just law,” King wrote, “is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
Fotusky observed that her view of marriage does indeed square with God's law. The Bible “clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures.”
And then she threw down the gauntlet. “Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God,” Fotusky wrote, adding, for good measure, that “Deuteronomy 10:12 says . . . 'What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo brusquely blew off Fotusky’s carefully reasoned arguments, claiming, “When you enforce the laws of the state, you don’t get to pick and choose which laws. You don’t get to say I like this law, I’ll enforce this law, I don’t like this law, I won’t enforce this law. You can’t do that. So if you can’t enforce the law, then you shouldn’t be in that position.” (Unless, of course, you’re President Obama, who refuses to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and federal immigration laws because—well, because he doesn’t like them.)
Somebody ought to remind both Cuomo and the New York legislature that they don't get to pick and choose which constitutional rights they're going to protect: They have to protect them all, even if they don’t agree with them. In this case, all New York has to do is allow clerks like Fotusky to step away from the counter and let another clerk do the paperwork if a homosexual couple shows up.
Religious believers of all stripes ought to be paying attention to this conundrum. As gay activist groups successfully force their goals on state after state, their hostility toward people of faith is coming out of the closet with a vengeance. For instance, on at least one college campus, graduate students in the counseling program are told they must counsel homosexual couples on how to improve their relationship, even if the counselor has moral objections to doing so, and even when other counselors are available who have no such objections. In California, the state Supreme Court ruled that doctors must provide artificial insemination to lesbian couples in violation of their conscience, even if they refer clients to doctors without moral reservations. Wedding planners and photographers refuse, on moral grounds, to assist with the “weddings” of homosexual couples—and are sued, even though many other wedding planners and photographers will happily take their money.
In other words, it's not about marriage licenses, relationship counseling, artificial insemination, or wedding services; these things are readily available to same-sex couples. It's about forcing religious believers to knuckle under to the gay agenda. It is, frankly, about viciousness and malice towards those whose only offense is putting God's law above man's.
I wish Laura Fotusky had not resigned her position. I wish she had stayed on the job, refused to sign her name to the first same-sex marriage license that came her way—and then, after being fired, sued the state of New York for violating her First Amendment rights, with the help of religious religious liberty groups.
We DO have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws, and fight them in court if we must. And what could be more unjust than attempting to force a fellow citizen to violate his or her conscience?
Anne Morse is a writer for BreakPoint.
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