Monday, June 26, 2017

You call it 'religious liberty,' I call it another game of 'beating down the gays'

Editor's note - In my headline and throughout this post, the word 'gay' is mean to represent the entire LGBTQ community. 

I knew that the Family Research Council would get 'gloat-happy' at the news that SCOTUS will be hearing the case involving using 'religious liberty' as an excuse to discriminate. So allow me to post the organization's comments:

If anyone’s under the influence of the media and questioning President Trump’s results after six months, look no further than the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Neil Gorsuch. This morning, after waiting through a string of Monday court announcements, Americans concerned about the relentless assault on religious freedom finally got the word they’d been waiting for -- justices have agreed to hear the case of Christian baker Jack Phillips. For men and women of faith, who’ve been in the fight of their lives for their First Amendment rights since Obergefell, it’s a hopeful sign that the days of persecution against believers like Jack may be numbered.

Like so many Christian businesses, the war on religious freedom came to the Phillips’s front door when two men visited Masterpiece Cakes in 2012 and asked for a same-sex wedding cake. Jack was kind -- but firm -- in his conviction that he wouldn’t participate in a ceremony that violates his faith. Dave Mullin and Charlie Craig offered a choice gesture and stormed out. Later that day, they turned to social media, launching a campaign to force Phillips into submission. It didn’t work. “We would close down our bakery before we would compromise our beliefs,” Phillips told reporters.

Ironically, business only boomed. People flocked to the Colorado cake shop to show their support. They understood, as we do, that this was never about discriminating against anyone. Like Barronelle Stutzman in Washington State, Jack is happy to serve everyone. “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake -- not the people, not their lifestyle.” All Christians are asking for is the same tolerance that liberals already enjoy. Instead, the Left seems intent on punishing anyone who thinks like 53 percent of Americans on marriage. And in the process, they’ve done an incredibly effective job answering their own question -- how will my same-sex marriage affect you?

 . . . “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes,” his attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom pointed out, “he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice.” Tragically, it’s a choice more Christians are having to make. Finally, the Supreme Court has a chance to rule that the government has no authority to force Americans like Jack Philips to use their artistic talents to celebrate events they morally oppose. With Justice Gorsuch on the bench, we’re more optimistic than ever that the court will uphold our nation’s long tradition of respecting religious liberty. That wouldn’t just be a victory for Masterpiece Cakes but every Christian suffering under the government’s heavy hand.

Even when gloating, the Family Research Council won't stop deceiving.

'Two years ago today, we won the right to marry' & other Mon midday news briefs

Two years ago today:

And yet the fight continues. We won marriage, now we are in a fight to secure it against folks who feel that God gives them the right to disobey or get around the rules of our nation. Not to mention slandering the judges who rule against them. We are dealing with the worse kind of zealots - religious zealots with a huge amount of audacity and the purse strings and resources to match. But they won't win if we fight. We already have truth on our side.

 In other news: 

How Marriage Equality Strengthened Marriage And Changed Religion - You darn right it did! 

Neil Gorsuch reveals his true anti-LGBTQ self - Not surprising. At least for now. 

Here’s An Amazing Way To Explain Drag Culture To Kids - Now I like this. And there is nothing wrong with it, either. 

It’s Pride. It’s Ramadan. And It Still Isn’t Easy To Be An LGBT Muslim - The very epitome of brave as far as I'm concerned.

SCOTUS to decide if religion can be used as an excuse to discriminate

Folks, particularly the lgbtq community, are learning the hard lesson that elections matter and voting matters:

From Buzzfeed:

The Supreme Court on Monday announced it would hear the case of a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, teeing up the country's highest stakes legal showdown about whether laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination can violate religious people's constitutional rights. The justices granted certiorari to hear the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in its next term, which begins in October. Since same-sex couples won the right to marry, in states and later nationwide, conservative activists have doubled down on lawsuits and legislation that promote religious freedom. They argue that providing wedding-related services to same-sex couples amounts to participating in the ceremonies, thereby violating their rights to religious exercise and free speech.

 . . .While it remains legal in many parts of the US to turn away gay couples from businesses, 21 states ban discrimination in public settings on the basis of sexual orientation, including Colorado. If a business bakes wedding cakes for straight couples, the thinking goes, nondiscrimination laws require they must provide the same service to gay couples. In July of 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins attempted to order a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, but owner Jack Phillips declined, saying that it would violate his religious beliefs.

ThinkProgress adds:

The bakery at the heart of the dispute in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission claims it has a constitutional right to defy Colorado’s anti-discrimination law because its owner, in the words of a lower court that heard this case, believes that “he would displease God by creating cakes for same-sex marriages.” The bakery claims both that its owner’s religious belief gives it a special right to defy the law, and that requiring the bakery to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding amounts to a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment. Neither of these arguments holds water under longstanding legal doctrines.

ThinkProgess also speculates on the timing of the coincidental timing of this decision by SCOTUS to hear the case:

Yet, while the bakery does not have much law on its side, the timing of the Court’s announcement suggests that its most conservative members are eager to make some very significant changes to the law now that they have a new ally on the bench. Last year, during the period when the Court had only eight members, Justice Samuel Alito penned an angry dissent from the Court’s decision not to hear a case brought by a pharmacy which claimed a religious right to ignore a regulation requiring it to “deliver lawfully prescribed drugs or devices to patients.” In that dissent, Alito called for an expansive reading of religious objectors’ rights to defy the law. Notably, Alito’s dissent was joined by just two other justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas. It takes four votes for the Court to hear a case. After receiving the bakery’s request to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Court held the case over through five consecutive conferences of the justices without announcing whether or not they will hear the case. The most likely explanation for this behavior is that Roberts, Thomas, and Alito were biding their time until Neil Gorsuch would give them the fourth vote.

However, four votes to hear the case doesn't mean a win. ThinkProgress points out that  the decision may fall again on Justice Anthony Kennedy to be the deciding vote. And in cases with regards to the lgbtq community, specifically with marriage equality, Kennedy has ruled in favor of us.

Still, however, the repercussions of this case go way beyond simply the providing of services at same-sex weddings. If SCOTUS rules that secular entities can use religion as an excuse to discriminate, it opens the door to all sorts of negative possibilities, including gender and racial discrimination.