Why Is SCOTUS Hearing Religious Matters?


I’m trying hard to wrap my elderly brain around the current US Supreme Court case involving marriage and the benefits issue that married, heterosexual couples receive and gay/lesbian couples do not.  It’s troubling to me on several levels.

I’m Catholic and certainly don’t approve of same-sex marriage, but I’m also wise enough to know that not everyone is following my religious path and doctrines.  But, aside from my religious beliefs, I’m finding it more and more difficult to understand how the so-called separation of church and state can be applied to subject matter that directly involves one of the three components of American government.

Everyone agrees that we have three branches of Government – the President, the House and Senate (Legislature) and the Supreme Court.  The members of that Supreme Court are nominated by the President and voted upon by the Senate.  Clearly, those two branches of government play a special role with regard to the Court, and the Court goes about its business, dealing primarily in the constitutionality of various laws passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the President.  All three branches with direct involvement with one-another.

Marriage, in the context of two people joined together in holy matrimony, regardless of their gender, is – to me, at least –  more of a religious matter and, therefore, would be at or near the top of the list of things the government should NOT be involved in.  And that includes laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act.

If there’s supposed to be a separation of church and state, why is the state involved in marriage in any form or fashion?

Somewhere along the line, proponents of same-sex marriage have changed the definition of marriage to something more closely resembling a business-like, contractual “deal”, if you will, and removed the religious connotation from the mix.  That started several years ago when individual states authorized civil unions.  Most were reluctant to include the word “marriage” to that legislation because to do so would have invoked the very “benefits” they would derive; not to mention the ramifications of religious voters.

Based on my own personal feelings, marriage is holy matrimony – a religious Sacrament – and has nothing to do with any government, federal, state or local.  I’ve always been under the impression that any government that operates on the premise of separation of church and state can not involve itself in any matter involving a recognized religion.

And yet, here we are, reading the headlines telling us how the United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments for and against laws directly dealing with recognized religions.

Wouldn’t it be easier to simply remove the benefits afforded to all married couples and let religions decide what their definition of marriage is?

Yes, I realize that to do so would result in religions popping up that approved of marriage between a man and his horse, woman and a dog, and even incestuous marriages.  The word “bigamy” immediately comes to mind.  But doesn’t our Constitution guarantee the Right to the “pursuit of happiness”?

I guess that’s a topic for some other time, but today’s direct involvement in matters that affect the religions of our day and time seems, to me, to be unconstitutional.