The marriage and contraceptive rulings split many Americans across religious lines, but I think that the long sweep of history will commend both of these cases as a step forward for traditional freedoms. The best way to think about these issues is to picture in your mind the specific acts and behaviors the courts are addressing and then asking yourself a simple question. Why are we letting government decide these sorts of things for us?
The federal ruling that ended Indiana's same sex marriage ban effectively allows any adult to apply a legal veneer to a lifestyle they are already free to choose. Gay couples can live and love together and marry in many churches. Like it or not, there is argument aplenty why religious groups might favor or object to these as models for their members. Freedom allows this. But, judging by the birth announcements in my local paper – only half of the babies were born to married couples – traditional marriage is in some trouble with or without this ruling. This case should leave us all asking ourselves: Why would we let any state government dictate the ways we organize our families?
Of all these rulings, the most painful to read was the dissent in the Hobby Lobby ruling, delving as it did into arguments about conception that clearly belong as matters of conscience, not public policy. It read more like a 12th century scholastic debate than a missive of modern public policy. The majority wisely ruled that our personal beliefs follow us into our commercial lives. My advice: If you need your employer to pay for your contraceptives, don't work at Hobby Lobby. If you don't like this, don't shop there.
The hypocrisy of traditionalists opposing marriage and progressives selectively applauding morality in corporations ultimately dooms the intellectual staying power of both camps. In the end, these three court rulings were all about less government involvement in the way we organize our households and our business affairs. This is important for a freely functioning economy. History will view the marriage, union and contraceptive rulings as fundamental movement towards greater freedom – the most traditional of all our values.