It is not surprising that those who often make the most noises about being patriotic are the ones who know the least about the guarantees written into the United States Constitution regarding freedom. They also seem to be the least capable of researching a story. In this case, it is Newt Gingrich who seems incapable of understanding either the First Amendment of the Constitution and who seems unable to do basic legwork regarding what went down in Massachusetts during the same-sex marriage debate.
To begin with, Gingrich believes that same-sex marriage in Massachusetts “outlawed” Catholic doctrine. This exchange occurred on Meet The Press:
Gingrich: What I’m struck with is the one-sidedness of the desire for rights. There are no rights for Catholics to have adoption services in Massachusetts. They’re outlawed. There are no rights in DC for Catholics to have adoption service. They’re outlawed. This passing reference to religion, we sort of respect religion, sure — as long as you don’t practice it. I mean I think it would be good to have a debate over, you know — beyond this question of, “Are you able to be gay in America?”What does it mean?
Does it mean that you have to actually affirmatively eliminate any institution which does not automatically accept that, and therefore, you’re now going to have a secular state say to a wide range of religious groups — Catholics, Protestants, orthodox Jews, Mormons, frankly, Muslims — “You cannot practice your religion the way you believe it, and we will outlaw your institutions.” … Let’s just start with adoption services. It is impossible for the Catholic Church to have an adoption service in Massachusetts that follows Catholic doctrine.
Joy-Ann Reid: But didn’t the Catholic Church, particularly Catholic Charities in Boston — they affirmatively decided to withdraw adoption services. No one said they are not allowed to provide adoption services.
Gingrich: No, they withdrew them because they were told, “You could not follow Catholic doctrine,” which is for marriage between a man and a woman.
Let us start out with the fact that the First Amendment actually forbids the imposition of any religion’s doctrine. The Second Amendment guarantees not only freedom of religion, but also freedom from religion. This means that the secular law trumps religious laws.
Then there are the other problems regarding the whole narrative that Gingrich spins. First of all, the law banning discrimination against lesbians and gays in Massachusetts dates back to before Clinton was President. Add to that, Catholic Charities had no problem placing children with same-sex couples prior to the legalization of marriage equality. From 1989 through to 2005, Catholic Charities placed thirteen children with same-sex couples.
Catholic Charities was fine with providing adoption services to same-sex couples, and were prepared to continue offering them until they were informed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that they were not allowed to do so any more. The USCCB decided to make the children of Massachusetts pawns in their game, so they chose to say flat out that either the marriage equality bill go away or the adoption services would go away.
Even though then-Governor Mitt Romney managed to get an exemption written into the law regarding Catholic and other faith-based adoption services being required to place children with same-sex couples. The USCCB did not accept that compromise and shut down the adoption services in Massachusetts. They have done the same in Illinois during the civil unions debate, and threatened to do so in Washington DC.
In fact, in their efforts to try and impose Catholic religious law in the United States, the USCCB has taken children hostage repeatedly. In Colorado, even though the 2012 civil unions bill specifically allowed Catholic Charities to not provide adoption services to same-sex couples, the USCCB deliberately threatened to shut down adoptions if the bill passed.
It has been noted time and time again that the Catholic Charities adoption services could easily operate as they see fit if they were to give up their government subsidies. If they operated only off of monies provided to them by the Vatican or by the local dioceses, they could offer adoptions only to those they deem fit.
The problem is that, rather than give up government funding, they want to dictate government policy, and that is a problem since the United States Constitution specifically forbids the imposition of one religion’s beliefs over another.