The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal across the nation brought great joy to many and dismayed many others.

Without analyzing the legal reasoning, we would like to make two points.

First, it is not an affront to democracy that the justices overturned state laws, even those approved by voters. Rights are not subject to the whims of the majority. Rights exist to protect people, either from the government or from one another, and they have no meaning if the majority can take them away.

Second, the Orthodox Union deserves praise for the statement it issued within minutes of the ruling.

The OU reiterated that no court could change Orthodox Judaism’s belief that Scripture bans homosexual relationships. The OU also acknowledged that no religion should be able to force its views on society and that secular law will not always align with the Orthodox view. The OU then emphasized the importance of allowing religious institutions the leeway to make their own choices about same-sex marriages.

A diverse society can respect the hard-won right of same-sex couples to marry without infringing on the fundamental right of religious groups and leaders not to participate in such weddings.