LGBT activists are worried that the US Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in the Hobby Lobby Case could open the door for anti-gay discrimination by corporations.
However, more to the point, Hobby Lobby sets a dangerous precedent in the gay rights universe. Gay equality laws — from marriage equality laws in New York to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the U.S. Senate — have religious exemptions. States that gained marriage equality by judicial decision still have vocal opponents whose arguments (perhaps pretextual) are based on religious freedom. They say they should not be forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding, or rent out their catering halls for gays, or provide any services to gay couples because they oppose gay marriage. If Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts company that has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, can exempt itself from a federal law aimed at providing equal access to all, then perhaps a baker or a florist or a limousine driver can do the same to us.
The decision was “limited” to privately held corporations. Does that include any small business owner who disagrees with marriage equality?