Glenn Beck falsely asserted that the Iowa Supreme Court's decision striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage "is actually about going into churches ... and saying you can't teach anything else." In fact, the ruling does not affect religious institutions' definitions of marriage.
Discussing the April 3 Iowa Supreme Court ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Glenn Beck falsely asserted on the April 13 broadcast of his Fox News program, "I believe this case is actually about going into churches and going in and attacking churches and saying you can't teach anything else." In fact, the unanimous court ruling explicitly states that constitutional principles "require that the state recognize both opposite-sex and same-sex civil marriage. Religious doctrine and views contrary to this principle of law are unaffected."
The Iowa Supreme Court further stated that the ruling does not affect religious institutions' definitions of marriage:
A religious denomination can still define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and a marriage ceremony performed by a minister, priest, rabbi, or other person ordained or designated as a leader of the person's religious faith does not lose its meaning as a sacrament or other religious institution. The sanctity of all religious marriages celebrated in the future will have the same meaning as those celebrated in the past. The only difference is civil marriage will now take on a new meaning that reflects a more complete understanding of equal protection of the law. This result is what our constitution requires.
As Media Matters for America noted, media figures advanced similar falsehoods about the 2008 decision by the California Supreme Court that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry. That ruling was reversed by Proposition 8, the ballot measure that amended California's constitution to ban same-sex marriage in that state.
From the April 13 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: We're back with attorney and co-host of America's Newsroom, Megyn Kelly -- and I want to talk about something that is happening. Do we have the footage from -- is it Iowa where people were marching today? Do we have that? There it is. This is in Iowa where people were standing up. The Supreme Court said, "Yeah, you gotta have same-sex marriage."
And look, I mean -- Megyn, I don't -- you know, if a state wants to do it like Vermont, they got together and they said, hey, this is what we're going to do. And they passed it, and you know, people vote on it or whatever.
KELLY: Or California --
BECK: Or --
KELLY: -- which has voted it the other way.
BECK: But that's the opposite. Yeah.
KELLY: But I was just saying, people -- the people's will prevailed.
BECK: Yes. Correct. But, now, we have this argument that, in California, that the state attorney general is trying to make that you don't have the right to change the Constitution.
KELLY: That the constitutional amendment is itself unconstitutional.
BECK: How can you do that?
KELLY: That's ridiculous. He's going to lose that argument. That's the worst argument I've heard so far in the entire gay marriage debate.
BECK: And this is where transnationalism comes in, because if you can't change the minds of the people, you can't change the mind of your state Supreme Court. Then if you can just get it to the Supreme Court and they can look to France or to Europe or anyplace else, then they say, "Well, now, wait a minute. We're evolving. The law is evolving in this direction."
KELLY: Well, two points. Two points: number one, that's exactly what they usually use transnationalism for.
KELLY: If they can't find a precedent they need domestically, so they say, "Hmm, where can I find the authority I need to make this decision?"
KELLY: Gay marriage -- not yet abortion, but that's possible. The death penalty -- those are the two biggies where they've looked abroad because they haven't found the support they need locally.
KELLY: And the liberal justices, and also Justice [Anthony M.] Kennedy who swings both ways, you know -- he's in the middle on the court --
KELLY: -- do what they want to do. So that's number one. But having said that, the court -- when it comes to gay marriage, doesn't need to look internationally because we have more and more states in this country that are now saying it's OK.
And this is what people who oppose gay marriage worry about. They think that, at some point, that the gay marriage advocates are going to say there's a trend --
KELLY: -- evolving standards of decency --
BECK: Exactly right.
KELLY: -- in this country now mandate gay marriage --
KELLY: -- the same way they mandated the homosexual sodomy be protected and so on.
BECK: OK. So help me out on this, because, look, I have Barack Obama's position on gay marriage. Civil unions, fine. I mean, who doesn't want somebody to have all the rights? Whose business is it? You have all the rights, of course.
Marriage, however, is different, because I believe this case is actually about going into churches and going in and attacking churches and saying you can't teach anything else. When you say marriage -- civil union is different -- when you say marriage must be defined as this, well, then you also have to go into the schools. This has already happened.
KELLY: Well, this is -- I mean, listen, if you had somebody who supported gay marriage here, they'd tell you you're dead wrong. They would tell you it's a matter of equal protection, and that they have just as much of a fundamental right to marry another gay person as a heterosexual person does --
KELLY: -- to marry a heterosexual person, and that they are a protected class, same way as African-Americans are or women or so on. So they get more protections under the law than straight people get.
BECK: If I didn't think -- if -- I would buy that if I hadn't lived in America for the last 30 years and seen that it's never about the issues. I'm not saying about gay marriage. It's about all of it.
KELLY: Well, what do you mean? You think the Iowa Supreme Court has some massive conspiracy to crack down on churches?
BECK: No, no, no. No, no, no. No, no, no. Oh, no, I think that there is the -- the gay marriage argument is a lot like the global warming argument. That it is -- there are those that have agenda. There are those who aren't that way. They're just like, "Hey, man, I want to be married" or I don't want -- I know a lot of gay people that are like, "I don't want to be married."
You know what I mean? That's an individual. But there is a movement to dismantle -- what was it that Chuck Schumer said over the weekend? That all these traditional values are gone. Well, it's not about gay marriage. That's about everything.