As many people have probably already stated in their posts, religion is definitely playing a large role in the current Supreme Court case that is currently reviewing DOMA, as well as benefits for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is, of course, considered to be an issue that spans political, social, and religious controversy, never mind the fact that all three of these areas intersect each other and undoubtedly influence each other in the long run. The division among the justices over things such as repealing laws that withhold federal benefits from same-sex couples portrays how the nation itself is divided over the issue, and that’s really no surprise there. The way religion factors into how the nation views this issue makes it something far more than just a minority wanting rights; religion is used to question the morality of the people wanting these sort of rights, and I think that’s what makes the whole debate seem much more different and complicated to people right now.
Religious groups are, for the most part, one of the larger factions rallying against a “pro-queer” outcome from the Supreme Court. Again, the way religion factors into this issue can be seen as much more complicated than other equal rights issues in the past; though religion has always been used either for or against the status quo, the morality issue that centers itself around the union of two people of the same sex is unique in that the majority of the opposition comes from religious groups. Right now is one of those times, as I have discussed before, in which the Christian religion finds itself at a point where it must either adapt or stay stagnant; because at this point, it’s not just about whether the Bible says it’s wrong to be queer or not. The acceptance of same-sex marriage socially and politically would mean that there would be a push for the Church to adapt with the times, and by that I mean, many churches that read the Bible literally would be forced to reconsider how they interpret their text. Already, there have been several schisms made within denominations largely due to social issues such as these, including in the Episcopal Church and in the Lutheran Church. So really I think much of what is going on is not just a homophobic and heteronormative attitude towards marriage, though that is definitely a very large reason; I think much of it is rooted in the fear of change, of accepting something new. Think about it. If certain religious groups were to accept the legitimacy of same-sex unions (even if they themselves were not forced to perform wedding rites), there would be a definite urge for them to change their way of thinking in order to survive. And as many of us know, once a group is immersed in a certain kind of doctrine, it’s hard to let go.
This isn’t to mention that with the legalizing of same sex unions comes an acknowledgement that same sex couples are just as valid as heterosexual couples, which would pose a threat to the privilege that is heteronormativity; in this area, I feel as though religion is more of a tool than a reason. The threat of something considered for so long in Westernized culture as an “other” becoming normalized is enough to make many people hide behind religion.
So really, you have instances in which same-sex marriage poses a threat to a religious way of thinking and to a social norm, and when you add those two together, you get an interesting mix of backlash.