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If I Must Accept the Hobby Lobby Decision, You Must Accept Marriage Equality

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

US Supreme Court Color

June 2014: the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In a 5-4 vote, the court allows corporations to claim religious exemptions from federal laws. Opponents are angered but accept the court’s decision as the final word on the subject.

June 2015, the Supreme Court hands down its opinion in a controversial case, Obergefell v. Hodges. In a 5-4 vote, the court grants same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Opponents are angered and do not accept the court’s decision as the final word on the subject. With excessive pouting, they demand an end to the Supreme Court as we know it.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, self-appointed leader of the outraged, convened a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting titled, ‘With Prejudice: Supreme Court Activism and Possible Solutions.’ He spoke gravely with lots of heavy sighs and theatrical turns of phrase: “Much to my great disappointment, this past term, the court crossed a line. Continued its long descent into lawlessness. To a level that I believe demands action. [dramatic pause] The court today is not a body of jurists. It is not a body of judges following the law, but rather it has declared itself, in effect, a super-legislature.” A musical stab would have worked wonderfully here to punctuate his point. He continued in a supremely serious tone: “Five unelected judges declared that the marriage laws of all 50 states were now, somehow, transformed into being unconstitutional … That’s not law. That’s not judging. That’s policy-making.”

By Domenick Scudera – Full Story at the Huffington Post

The Most Dangerous Line in the Hobby Lobby Ruling

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Hobby LobbyThe most dangerous line in the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby doesn’t come until page 46. It reads as follows:

The principal dissent raises the possibility that discrimination in hiring, for example on the basis of race, might be cloaked as religious practice to escape legal sanction. Our decision today provides no such shield. The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.

That doesn’t sound too bad; indeed, it is probably one of the few statements in Justice Alito’s opinion that many of us would endorse.

Its danger, particularly to the LGBT community, rests in what is not said.

As we have discussed at length, Hobby Lobby allowed a family-run, for-profit arts and crafts company to deny its female employees access to certain contraception simply because that contraception violates the religious beliefs of the company owners.

GinsburgJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent cautioned that the Court was opening a door to allow anyone to use the pretext of religion to opt out of antidiscrimination or public accommodations laws. Justice Alito’s response was to deny the charge, arguing that where the government has a compelling interest in preventing discrimination, as it does in preventing discrimination on the basis of race, the Hobby Lobby exemption would not succeed.

But what happens when the government does not have that “compelling interest”?

Authored By Ari Ezra Waldman – See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

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“Religious Exemption” is Really “Religious Privilege”

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Sue O'ConnellWe have been oh so careful. How many times have we assured religious leaders that marriage equality will not mean that Catholic priests will have to start performing marriages between two lesbians? How many times have we bit our lip when a religious school has fired a gay person because he didn’t set the correct example? How many times have we crafted laws to clearly allow religious organizations an out — a way to circumvent the law because of their strongly held anti-gay religious beliefs?

We were careful because the LGBT community understood the tensions between religion and being LGB or T. Many of us are — or were — religious people. Many of us have been rejected by our faith leaders. Many of us have been rejected by our families because of their religious faith.

We grew a tolerance to the anti-gay parts of our religion, or we found a more accepting faith. We accepted our Catholic grandmother’s anti-gay sentiment as “religious conviction” even though she seemed supportive of our brother’s divorce.

Last week, the United States Supreme Court rewarded our thoughtfulness with a slap.

Authored By Sue O’Connell – See the Full Story at The Dallas Voice

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New Hurdles in the March to Equality

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Gay RightsWe’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.

Authored By John Gallagher – See the Full Story at Queerty

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Did Hobby Lobby Discriminate Against This Transgender Woman?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Meggan SommervilleAnd will the US Supreme Court let them use religion to get away with it?

The Advocate reports:

…one employee of the craft-store chain says she’s regularly experienced antitrans prejudice for the past three years. Meggan Sommerville, a transgender frame shop manager who has worked at Hobby Lobby’s Aurora, Ill., location for 16 years, first filed a complaint against the store in 2011 when, she says, management wrote her up for using the women’s restroom. Her complaint alleging discrimination in employment and public accomodations was initially dismissed and then reinstated, and is still pending with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, reports GLAAD.

Although the company recognizes Sommerville as a woman, she is still required to use the men’s bathroom until she has gender reassignment surgery. If the company can deny you birth control, can they also make you have a surgical procedure to suit their religious bias?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.

Five Nightmare Scenarios the Hobby Lobby Decision Could Bring About

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Hobby Lobby

When the Supreme Court hands the LGBT community a victory, it’s hard to hide it. After all, allowing states to legalize marriage is not something you can sneak by the nation. But when the Supreme Court unleashes a nightmare, it’s not easy spot. But that’s exactly what the court did this week in a ruling that has the potential to wreak havoc on everything from marriage equality to HIV treatments.

The case involved the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby. The store had sued the federal government because it did not want to provide contraceptives to employees, as mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Hobby Lobby objected on religious grounds, arguing that corporations have the same right to religious expression as individuals.

The Supreme Court agreed. In his majority decision, Justice Samuel Alito took pains to insist that the ruling applied only to “closely-held” corporations and even more specifically was “concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate.”

Don’t you believe it.

Authored By John Gallagher – See the Full Story at Queerty

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Could Hobby Lobby Ruling Open Door to Discrimination Against Same Sex Couples?

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Hobby Lobby

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.

Towleroad.com reports:

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?

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What The Christian Right Hopes To Gain From the Hobby Lobby Case

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Hobby Lobby2009 was a grim year for social conservatives. Barack Obama was an ambitious and popular new president. Republicans, and their conservative philosophy, were largely discredited in the public eye by a failed war and a massive recession. And the GOP’s effort to reshape its message was still in its awkward adolescence. If the conservative movement had a mascot, it would have been a white man dressed as Paul Revere and waving a misspelled sign.

Amidst this wreckage, more than two hundred of the nation’s leading Christian conservatives joined together in a statement expressing their dismay at the state of the nation. “Many in the present administration want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development,” their statement claimed, while “[m]ajorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views.” Meanwhile, they feared that the liberals who now controlled the country “are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The signatories to this statement, which they named the “Manhattan Declaration,” included many of America’s most prominent Catholic bishops and clergy of similar prominence in other Christian sects. It included leaders of top anti-gay organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, and of more broadly focused conservative advocacy shops such as the Family Research Council. It included university presidents and deans from Christian conservative colleges. And it included the top editors from many of the Christian right’s leading publications.

Authored By Ian Millhiser – See the Full Story at Think Progress

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USA: Christian Company Hobby Lobby Issues Statement Emphasizing Non-Discrimination

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Hobby LobbyHobby Lobby International, a company founded on Christian values, has issued a statement published August 5 regarding comments attributed to the owner of Chik-Fil-A regarding the topic of same sex marriage.

“After numerous calls asking for comment, we believe that we need to clarify our position, especially since we are known as a Christian-based company,” stated Debra Love, president of Hobby Lobby International. “Our core values call for respect for each other, our customers and our suppliers and for us to treat others as we would best like to be treated ourselves.”

See the Full Story at God Discussion

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