Tuesday, December 05, 2017

LGBTQ equality vs. 'Religious liberty' has its court date

The SCOTUS oral arguments about the Colorado baker attempting to use religion as an excuse to discriminate took place today and I have to tell you honestly:

Like they always do, people overemphasize  and underemphasize what the Justices said, what questions they asked, what points they made. People are looking for the smallest clue as to how they will rule. But I don't know what the ruling will be. Of course I also said that about marriage equality and probably have said that about every court case about LGBTQ equality even if I were sure. I do know that a lot of folks on our side freaked out - as they always do.

My advice is that we have a long time from now until the case is publicly decided - spring of 2018. Let's not flip out. That includes no constant insane speculation. But I will say that the best article I read on the case was from Chris Geidner and Dominic Holden of Buzzfeed.

I found it to be precised, not opinionated - which was very needed - and inclusive of many details other articles didn't contain, like the following:

Waggoner walked a fine line between saying she wanted a ruling for her client but not a decision that creates a slippery slope, thereby possibly eroding civil rights laws for other classes of people or protecting an endless type of service providers. And yet, she sought a decision open-ended enough that other creative businesses that sell wedding services could turn away same-sex couples. Waggoner drew this line by insisting she wasn't asking to protect tailors and chefs, for example, but rather the baker's cake, which is inherently a message. 
Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned why — even if there is a line to be drawn — the cake baker should be on the exempted side of the line. "The primary purpose of a food of any kind is to be eaten," she said. "There are sandwich artists," she said, but a sandwich-maker does't claim to create a First Amendment-protected lunch. 
Kagan synthesized the these scenarios into three "axes" of questioning, each one exploring how ruling for the baker opens further questions in a different direction. Many questions centered around which sort of business would be afforded the right to refuse service, and at what point their wares became a constitutionally protected form of expression. "A second axis is, well, why is this only about gay people?” she said, touching on questions about how a ruling could apply to racial discrimination, sex discrimination, or even, as raised at one point, disability discrimination. "Why isn't it about race?" Finally, she questioned how a decision could be confined solely to products for weddings. "What else counts?" Kagan asked — saying a funeral, bar mitzvah, or birthday could be affected. 
"So there are all three of these that suggest like, whoa, this doesn't seem like such a small thing," Kagan concluded.

Give it a read. It will calm your nerves. Also, remember that whatever the outcome, we will use it as an advantage. We will not give in to fear or despair if we lose or excessive giddiness if we win. Regardless of either outcome, this isn't over by a long shot. And when it is over, we will win because we will strive to win.