Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

July 6, 2014

MICHAEL HICKS: Court upholds freedom

Some issues should stay as matters of conscience

This past couple of weeks has offered a rare series of court rulings that have implications for both households and businesses, the two building blocks of our economy. I write, of course, about the rejection of Indiana’s marriage rules and the Supreme Court’s ruling on the forced collection of union dues and the Hobby Lobby case on inclusion of contraceptives in a company’s insurance plan.

To begin, I applaud vigorously all these rulings for a simple reason that each of them limits the power of the state and vested interests. The union case is easiest to explain. While in the midst of a five-decade free fall, the American union movement has resorted to such tactics as obliging politicians to force government contractors to pay union dues. Last week the Supreme Court ended that practice, which frees workers to make choices about union affiliation without the state of Illinois forcing them.

The marriage and contraceptive rulings split many Americans across religious lines, but I think 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 already are 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. This case should leave us all asking ourselves: Why would we let any state government dictate the ways we organize our families?

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