We’ve been on the winning side of things for so long, it’s hard to remember just how embattled the LGBT community once was just a few years ago. But we’re about to get a refresher course. Just one week after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, it’s clear that the legal and political landscape has totally changed. Instead of a rolling series of victories, we’re now faced with having to fight against the special right to homophobia accorded on the basis of religion minted by the conservative majority.
Two recent episodes illustrate just how different things have become. In Kansas, conservative legislators are taking the ruling as a green light to reintroduce a bill to protect “religious liberty,” by which they largely mean the right of homophobic bakers not to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. A similar measure died in the last session, one of a series of like-minded (or, more appropriately, empty-minded) bills that were floated around the nation, most notoriously in Arizona.
The fact that Kansas conservatives see the ruling as providing momentum underscores the fact that the Supreme Court decision will be used far and wide as a legal assault on LGBT rights. Strictly speaking, the ruling only applies to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but no one can now doubt that the majority justices — five Catholic men — unleashed a nightmare for us.