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Obama To Bar Discrimination Against Gays By Federal Contractors, With No Religious Exemption

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Later this morning, President Obama will sign an Executive Order barring companies doing business with the Federal Government from discriminating on the bases of sexual orientation in employment:

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to sign an executive order on Monday that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees from discrimination by companies that do federal government work, fulfilling a promise to a crucial Democratic constituency, White House officials said on Friday. But the directive will not exempt religious groups, as many of them had sought.

The order will also, for the first time, explicitly protect federal employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity, officials said. Federal workers are already protected based on their sexual orientation.

Gay groups stepped up their already intense campaign to persuade Mr. Obama to sign the order after the Supreme Court’s decision last month in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. In that ruling, the court said that family-run corporations with religious objections could be exempted from providing employees with insurance coverage for contraception, and there were fears that the case would have repercussions for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.

“With the strokes of a pen, the president will have a very real and immediate impact on the lives of millions of L.G.B.T. people across the country,” Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement on Friday. “These actions from the president have the potential to be a keystone in the arch of his administration’s progress, and they send a powerful message to future administrations and to Congress that anti-L.G.B.T. discrimination must not be tolerated.”

Religious groups had sought the exemption to ensure that they would not lose federal money or contracts if they could not meet the new guidelines because of their beliefs.

Galen Carey, the vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, said he expected the president’s executive order would lead to a lengthy and expensive legal fight.

“It would be better if the president could provide leadership that promotes tolerance all the way around,” Mr. Carey said, “rather than use the force of the state.”

He said the exemption would have protected the groups’ freedom and “social harmony as our nation is working through these issues, on which there’s a lot of disagreement.”

(…)

The issue of how to treat religious groups under any new order was a divisive one — among gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people and religious leaders.

Some gay rights groups were angry that the Obama administration had accepted the inclusion of a religious exemption in anti-bias legislation that passed the Senate — but not the House — last fall, but others saw it as the political price of securing the Republican votes necessary to enact it.

Religious groups that have contracts with the federal government already have a limited exemption from existing anti-bias rules, based on a 2002 executive order by President George W. Bush. That directive allows them to factor their religious beliefs in their employment decisions.

The directive will not change under the new rule. Michael Wear, who led the religious outreach during Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign and had joined calls for a religious exemption, said he was “encouraged” by that move.

Mr. Wear said the new order provided “a path for the administration to both advance protections for L.G.B.T. Americans and continue to respect the religious identity of organizations serving our nation in partnership with the federal government.”

But some groups wanted Mr. Obama to go further to protect religious groups in carving out an exception. One example of such protections would allow a Catholic charity that believes sex outside heterosexual marriage is a sin to keep its government financing if it declined to hire a gay man.

There’s no real question that the President has the legal authority to make these changes. Federal law relating to government contractors gives the Executive Branch broad authority to craft the rules by which the government will operate when it decides who it is going to deal with when contracting to purchase goods and services, including setting the terms by which these employers operate vis a vis their employees. In the past, this authority has been used to ban discrimination based on race and other facts and to mandate that employers abide by a minimum wage in paying their employees. Republicans may argue otherwise, but as a preliminary matter there is no real argument that the President does not have the legal authority to set these regulations. If they disagree with what he’s done, than the alternative open to them is to change the law to repeal the regulations, or reign in the Presidents authority to set these kinds of conditions for Federal Contractors.

As for the policy itself, as I’ve noted before — here and here — there are good arguments both for and against extending employment discrimination laws to cover gays and lesbians. Arguing in favor of such law is the fact that non-discrimination laws have become enshrined in our legal system over the past fifty years to such a great degree that its essentially impossible that they will ever be repealed. Conceding that point, the question then becomes one of whether to extend the protections provided by those laws to other groups, something that Andrew Sullivan has made a strong argument for. On the other side of the argument there’s the argument that, at some point, we have to consider just how far we are going to extend these laws, not the least because the further they are extended the more cumbersome they become and the more they tend to encourage litigation that often tends to be frivolous.  One’s opinion on this issue will depend largely on ideology, of course. For myself, my libertarian beliefs make me sympathetic to the argument that we shouldn’t extend anti-discrimination laws any more than we already have. However, the argument that not extending these laws to gays and lesbians despite clear evidence that they have experienced discrimination in the workplace doesn’t seem to make much sense once you concede the point that anti-discrimination laws are, basically, here to stay.

The real political battle over these new regulations, or the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which remains pending in Congress, isn’t going to be over the question of whether or not Federal Law should ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Instead, it is likely to focus on the issue of whether or not there should be exemptions from these laws based on religious beliefs. Related in some sense to the arguments that were made in the Hobby Lobby case, religious conservatives argue that employers should be exempt from non-discrimination laws if they have strong religious objections to homosexuality, much as they have argued that vendors should be exempt from similar laws if they have religious objections to same-sex marriage. In fact, it was discussions over a religious exemption for ENDA that caused several major gay rights groups to withdraw support for the bill in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision. For that reason alone, the Administration’s decision to not include a religious exemption in the upcoming Executive Order is likely to prove to be a point of controversy.

Anticipating that controversy, Rod Dreher unloads on the President:

Today, the president signaled his intention to refuse. And so Christian and other religious groups that receive federal money to do things like feed the poor will have to decide between Christ and Caesar. The march to progress continues. Traditional religious believers are pushed ever more fully out of the public square. Your president, speaking on behalf of your government, thinks you are too tainted by bigotry to be trusted with government contracts.

I’ve been telling y’all for years now that the advance of gay rights will come at the expense of religious liberty. This is a prime example. Note that the pro-Obama religious leaders weren’t asking Obama not to issue the executive order banning discrimination against gays in federal contracting; they were only asking for tolerance for religious organizations that serve the public good, but cannot for reasons of religious principle obey the new dictate. There will be no toleration. Error has no rights.

As a start, of course, Dreher engages in some extreme question begging here, because one has to wonder exactly how refusing to hire someone solely because they are gay, lesbian, or transgendered, or discriminating against them in salary or work conditions based on those facts, has suddenly become “religious liberty.” In some circumstances, such as a purely religious organization that is hiring someone for a job that is largely religious in nature, there is obviously an argument that religious employers should be free to hire and fire based on their religious beliefs. However, there is already an exemption for these types of employees under general anti-discrimination laws and that exemption was affirmed by a unanimous Supreme Court in a decision handed down two years ago. That exemption would apply to religious organizations that contract with the Federal Government even under these new regulations in all likelihood, so any concerns in that regard are entirely exaggerated. As for the broader issue, what people like Dreher seem to be arguing is that employers with strongly held religious beliefs should be able to discriminate based on sexual orientation notwithstanding a generally applicable law such as the regulations discussed here. If that’s the case, though, then does that mean that an employer who claims to have a religious objection to women working outside the home should be able to refuse to hire married women, or that someone who claims to have a religious objection to racial equality should be able to refuse to hire blacks? Where, exactly, should the line on what a valid “religious belief” is be drawn, and who gets to draw it? The fact that it would be virtually impossible to draw such a line suggests strongly that the idea of a religious exemption to laws against employment discrimination, outside of the exemption for purely religious organizations noted above, is utterly absurd. Dreher and those who support this idea aren’t asking for the protection of religious liberty, they are asking for a special exemption for people who don’t like gays and lesbians from a law that would otherwise apply to everyone else. That’s a privilege, not a right.

Even without an exemption, it is likely that someone will try to challenge these regulations under the same provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that were relied upon in the Hobby Lobby case; however, the fact that they will make the argument doesn’t mean that it has much legal merit. As I noted in my initial post on the decision in that case, the Court dealt tangentially with the possibility of a religious-based challenge to non-discrimination laws in responding to Justice Ginsburg vigorous dissent when it said:

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. See post, at 32-33. 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.

Obviously, this part of the Court’s opinion is not binding law because these issues were not before the Justices in the Hobby Lobby case. However, as I noted at the time, it does suggest that there is a limit to how far the majority sees the rights that the RFRA in general, and Hobby Lobby in particular, extending. At the core of the RFRA analysis in the opinion is a balancing test between the religious rights asserted by the Plaintiffs in the case and the interest being asserted by the government. In the particular cases before the Court, the majority found that the government had not used the least restrictive means to achieve its goal of broadening access to contraceptives. Accordingly, pursuant to the RFRA, the regulation could not be applied against these employers. As the Court notes in the text quoted above, the government has a compelling interest in promoting equal opportunity in the workplace, a compelling interest that has been recognized in numerous cases over the past five decades. Given that, it seems highly likely that an employer claiming a “religious” exemption to laws against employment discrimination under the RFRA would have a far more difficult argument to make than the Green family did in Hobby Lobby. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that such a case would be likely to fail on the merits.

On a broader point, this entire idea that there should be a religious exemption to generally applicable employment discrimination laws strikes me as the entire problem with the RFRA to begin with. As I said when I wrote about that issue earlier this month, though, it’s unlikely that we’re going to see that law repealed any time soon.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    And so Christian and other religious groups that receive federal money to do things like feed the poor will have to decide between Christ and Caesar.

    Well, if they choose Christ there is one group they would clearly need to discriminate against, but it’s not gay people, about whom Jesus had nothing to say. It’s rich people. They’re the worst.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 4

  2. humanoid.panda says:

    This is exactly the right thing to do. If anyone engaging in commericial, secular activity can argue religious exceptions based on the fact that they are provided for explicity religious organizations, the logic Alito used in Hobby Loby case, then providing anything but the narrowest,ministerial, exceptions is an avenue to nullifying anti-discrimination statutes. The religious cooked this porridge, now let them eat it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    This should be a relief for religious conservatives. Religious Freedom is a highly flawed term that purposely lumps in people who are religious and then because of religion have beliefs that clash with government, and people who have beliefs that are discriminatory and prejudiced and then become religious. It’s the latter who dominate, and it’s the latter who are going to probably, in five to ten years, destroy most of what is left of the religious right in this country, simply by the stupid obviousness of their behavior.

    Giving the type of person who clings to religion as a shield the power to screw gay people while taking federal money would have made the upcoming disaster even worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  4. Senyordave says:

    There’s no splitting hares here. IF you are against Obama on this one you are pro-discrimination. The hardship for groups is they can’t fire a bookeeper for being gay and still get federal funds. I’m Jewish, but I’m sure if Jesus were around he would side with Obama on this one. Oh, and Rod Dreher, you are one sorry excuse for a human being.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    These jerk offs are perfectly free to do business with entities other than the federal gov’t. This regulation in no way infringes upon their religious freedoms any more than the contraception mandate infringed upon Hobby Lobby’s supposed religious freedoms. The principle owners of Hobby Lobby, if they were so sincere about their religion, were perfectly free to dis-incorporate if they so desired (don’t think that would have fixed the problem but it sure as hell would have saved the SC from issuing a ruling on corporate governance they can not stand behind), or sell off all their assets if it were such an onerous a regulation.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  6. Peacewood says:

    The religious right has picked some really strange hills to die on. Young earth creationism and the ability to discriminate against gays? You’d think Christians would prefer to martyr themselves over, say, witnessing against greed and pride.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

  7. KM says:

    I’ve been telling y’all for years now that the advance of gay rights will come at the expense of religious liberty. This is a prime example.

    No, “religious liberty” is dying because you keep trying to change what it means to suit your agenda. “Religious liberty” used to mean the right to practice your religion in peace, not inflict it upon your neighbors since they had the same damn liberties as you did. Nowadays, it means “do what I want because those pesky laws mean I can’t be a %#&# at the drop of a hat”.

    Nutcases like this are stealing our First Amendment rights, condemning them to the slow death of a thousand cuts. By pushing the envelope of what “liberty” means, more and more it is being explicitly spelled out and detailed to prevent abuse. Much like the bloated abomination that is the Tax Code, the complications arise because some yahoo decided to do something stupid and now there’s rules against it – so many the red tape starts to strangle the simple user. Muddying the waters with all these exceptions, regulations and loopholes just makes it harder for your average person of faith to function in relation to the secular government and legal society as a whole. They’re not helping with all these cases – they’re actively killing the rights they profess to love.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  8. gVOR08 says:

    I think Dreher’s headline is exactly right

    Obama To Religious ‘Bigots’: Drop Dead

    - if you drop the scare quotes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  9. C. Clavin says:

    The Koch funded majority, with their Hobby Lobby decision, opened the door so that the SCOTUS can kick the door down when cases like this come before them. Mark my word on this….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  10. Neil Hudelson says:

    If that’s the case, though, then does that mean that an employer who claims to have a religious objection to women working outside the home should be able to refuse to hire married women, or that someone who claims to have a religious objection to racial equality should be able to refuse to hire blacks? Where, exactly, should the line on what a valid “religious belief” is be drawn, and who gets to draw it?

    I wonder how many rightist Christians would freak out if a Muslim owned company refused to hire Christians based on religious preference.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 2

  11. anjin-san says:

    And so Christian and other religious groups that receive federal money to do things like feed the poor will have to decide between Christ and Caesar.

    Where did Christ instruct anyone to hate gays?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    Many religious scholars think that the Apostle Paul himself was gay – did Jesus hate him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  13. stonetools says:

    Given that, it seems highly likely that an employer claiming a “religious” exemption to laws against employment discrimination under the RFRA would have a far more difficult argument to make than the Green family did in Hobby Lobby. In fact, I’d be willing to guess that such a case would be likely to fail on the merits.

    I’m not sure Doug. Alito speaks specifically about race-based discrimination, leaving out mention of discrimination based on sexual orientation or indeed sex. Gay rights groups took note of all that, as well as the broadening of the Hobby Lobby decision in the court’s orders after the decision, and concluded (correctly, IMO) that it was leaving open the possibility of allowing discrimination against gays on religious grounds.
    Gay rights and women’s rights see Hobby Lobby, not as you do, a narrowly tailored exemption but as the thin edge of the wedge. That’s the pernicious effect of Hobby Lobby. The court should just have held that there was no substantial burden of religious liberty,and that would have ended any possibility that people would worry about the religious exemption would be used as a pretext for widespread discrimination against gays and women. Unfortunately, once they opened the door , gays and women’s rights groups now have to face that possibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  14. @stonetools:

    Alito speaks about race-based discrimination because that is the argument that was being raised in the dissent to which he was responding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. C. Clavin says:

    Traditional religious believers are pushed ever more fully out of the public square.

    Can anyone explain to me what “traditional religious believers” means?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  16. pylon says:

    Nowhere in the Bible is there a mandate to refuse employment to gay people. Christians often make a big deal out of “hating the sin, not the sinner”. So, while, in the tenets of some sects, gays are committing a sin, it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t hire a “sinner”.

    There isn’t even a tie in to the Hobby Lobby case, where there was some twisted interpretation that compensation for work via partial or complete payment of insurance premiums meant participating in providing abortions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  17. Mikey says:

    one has to wonder exactly how refusing to hire someone solely because they are gay, lesbian, or transgendered, or discriminating against them in salary or work conditions based on those facts, has suddenly become “religious liberty.”

    Because in today’s America “religious liberty” has been made synonymous with “we don’t want to have anything to do with those icky gay people.”

    No individual or company has a right to a federal contract, and assertion of a violation of liberty in refusing to award a federal contract is ridiculous on its face. This is an entirely legitimate exercise of a proper Presidential authority.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  18. grumpy realist says:

    Doug, have you been following the legal catfight down in Louisiana over what should be considered privileged communication in confession?

    I have to say that most of Dreher’s readers don’t seem to understand law and the rules of evidence, period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. Jim R says:

    What, these groups thought they could take federal money and there wouldn’t be strings attached?

    Awesome argument for total separation of church and state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  20. Rick DeMent says:

    I know of no Christian doctrine, creed, or theology that makes it a sin to hire a sinner. I mean we are all sinners according tot he new testament. I know of no Christian doctrine, creed, or theology that puts one sin over another. So frankly all of these people who claim that hiring a gay person violates their religious principals are engaging in some egregious false witness bearing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  21. george says:

    @anjin-san:

    Where did Christ instruct anyone to hate gays?

    Couldn’t find that in my copy of the Bible either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  22. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Even without an exemption, it is likely that someone will try to challenge these regulations under the same provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that were relied upon in the Hobby Lobby case; however, the fact that they will make the argument doesn’t mean that it has much legal merit.

    Why couldn’t this very conservative Court approve of a corporation’s claim (where owner/management has conservative Christian religious views similar to those of Hobby Lobby management) that hiring gay and lesbian people is contrary to the mainstream Christian beliefs held by corporate owner/management?

    Ii seems to me that such an interpretation is very far from the realm of possibility for this Court’s majority, only Kennedy might stand in the way of such an interpretation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. argon says:

    Rod’s hands must either be raw and bleeding or callused as a cowboy’s from all the hand wringing he’s done over this issue. Get the man some smelling salts! He’s fainted again!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  24. James Pearce says:

    As a start, of course, Dreher engages in some extreme question begging here, because one has to wonder exactly how refusing to hire someone solely because they are gay, lesbian, or transgendered, or discriminating against them in salary or work conditions based on those facts, has suddenly become “religious liberty.”

    Yeah, well….that’s what happens when you conflate “sincerely held beliefs” with “religious liberty.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  25. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Now that everyone’s got their hysteria out of the way (and Cliffy’s had his required daily pants-wetting over the Koch brothers), I’ll bring up one concrete example of how this may play out.

    Catholic Charities and adoption.

    Catholic Charities has already announced that it will not facilitate adoption by gay couples, and has already shut down its adoptions in several states when those states ordered them to do so, or cease doing adoptions entirely.

    They don’t demand that gays not be allowed to adopt, just that they will not assist in it. But that isn’t to be allowed. They aren’t allowed to do their good works and keep their own religious principles.

    And as we’ve seen in the gay marriage fights, simply saying you don’t want to participate is not an option.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 25

  26. Rick DeMent says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And as we’ve seen in the gay marriage fights, simply saying you don’t want to participate is not an option.

    What are you talking about, Catholic priests aren’t even forced to marry Protestants let alone Gays.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  27. @al-Ameda:

    Because the issue of “corporations” is really not the important one. The issue is the balancing test required by the RFRA, and the fact that there is a far more compelling government interest when it comes to non-discrimination laws than there is in contraceptive coverage. Along with the fact, as the court notes, that there is a less restrictive means for the government to achieve its interest in the case of contraceptive coverage; that less restrictive means doesn’t really exist in the case of employment discrimination laws.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  28. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The better decision would have been to say that mandating a business to offer contraceptive coverage wasn’t a substantial burden on the Hobby Lobby owner’s exercise of religious liberty, creating a nice, bright line rule that was easy to enforce. But no, Alito wanted to carve out an exception that would accord with his Catholic beliefs, so he created this abomination of a rule where we have to guess how far this religious exemption goes.
    The result is no religious exemtion in the federal contractor rule and most likely none in ENDA. Alito and the court has really stepped in it, and the country will pay the price.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  29. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    They don’t demand that gays not be allowed to adopt, just that they will not assist in it. But that isn’t to be allowed. They aren’t allowed to do their good works and keep their own religious principles.

    They are still *allowed* to continue to operate. They just lose their access to public money because they are choosing to discriminate against a specific population.

    BTW, it should be noted that in the case of Massachusetts, in 2005 the Board of Catholic Charities of Boston voted to allow gay couples to adopt their children only to have the decision overturned by Archbishop O’Malley.
    http://www.glad.org/uploads/docs/cases/gill-v-office-of-personnel-management/2011-congress-doma-hearing/catholic-charities-adoption-press-coverage.pdf

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  30. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    They aren’t allowed to do their good works and keep their own religious principles.

    If this does not apply to Muslims as well, then you’re just asking for special pleading for Christians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Catholic Charities has already announced that it will not facilitate adoption by gay couples, and has already shut down its adoptions in several states when those states ordered them to do so, or cease doing adoptions entirely.

    Well it sounds like they made their choice. It’s a really stupid and sh*tty choice, but it’s the one they made.

    What was your point again?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  32. Modulo Myself says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, Hobby Lobby was a 5-4 decision. Had there been one more Dem on the court, it would have been the other way around. The idea that it’s all clear in reality what is more of a burden or what a corporation is and can have is crazy. The law does not describe a Platonic reality. It’s not even close to science or math. It’s just the law.

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  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rick DeMent: Have you already forgotten the bakers, photographers, etc. who have been sued for simply and politely saying “we’d rather not serve your wedding?”

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 17

  34. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The issue is the balancing test required by the RFRA, and the fact that there is a far more compelling government interest when it comes to non-discrimination laws than there is in contraceptive coverage

    Yeah, well all three women on the court disagree. Apparently, becoming pregnant and having to raise an unwanted child is a problem for women. Who knew?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    They are still allowed to operate…they just aren’t allowed public funding to discriminate.
    If you have to lie to make your point…then you don’t have a point to begin with.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  36. humanoid.panda says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Due to the injunction in Harris, the less restrictive means to provide contraception pointed out by Alito doesn’t exist anymore, at least for now, does it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  37. @Jenos Idanian #13: I must have missed the constitutional right for a “charity” to receive government money without preconditions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  38. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Have you already forgotten the bakers, photographers, etc. who have been sued for simply and politely saying “we’d rather not serve your wedding?”

    That may be simple but “We’d rather not server your wedding because you’re a disgusting homo” is most definitely not polite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You keep talking about religious liberty. Certainly the Green family are entitled to it. And maybe legally you’re correct and the liberty of the owners is entwined with the corporation. I wouldn’t pretend to be qualified to have a legal opinion. But to the rest of us, it looks like the case was about the religious liberty of the corporation owned by the Greens. And to many of us, talking about the religious liberty of a corporation is an oxymoron. It’s like saying my cat can’t be forced to testify against herself. It’s just silly.

    It really sounds like Roberts and the boys are saying, “These people are special. They don’t have to do this if they don’t want to.” I’ve paid for too many dumb wars to have any sympathy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  40. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Are you in favor of photographers being able to refuse to participate in interracial weddings? If so, good for you for consistency, and good luck in trying to overturn the entire structure of civil rights legislation of the last 50 years.
    If not, why are gay marriages any different? Also, since the suits are under civil rights statutes passed by states that chose to expand protections afforded to minorities, women, religions and others, to gay people, why do you hate states’ rights?

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  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Because the issue of “corporations” is really not the important one. The issue is the balancing test required by the RFRA, and the fact that there is a far more compelling government interest when it comes to non-discrimination laws than there is in contraceptive coverage.

    Well, if “Corporations” are to be considered “persons” in with respect to strongly held religious beliefs why couldn’t the Court extend this interpretation to employment and contracting status? This Court has gone the extra mile in establishing corporations as people, so, to me it does not seem to be much of a radical reach to go in that direction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  42. anjin-san says:

    They just lose their access to public money because they are choosing to discriminate against a specific population.

    We keep hearing from the right that governments should not be in the charity business, why is this even a problem? And why is my sincerely held belief that public monies should not be used to support discrimination not important?

    The faithful can simply tithe more money to make up the difference.

    “The faithful” – now that is an interesting phrase. Are they being faithful to Jesus message of love, tolerance, brotherhood, and forgiveness by discriminating against gays & lesbians?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  43. pylon says:

    I find it interesting that when JFK ran for president, conservatives worried aloud (perhaps deceptively) that he’d be beholden to the tenets of the Catholic church and the direction of the Pope. Now we have a SCOTUS majority that seems to do exactly that (on select issues – the death penalty seems to escape notice as does the thoughts of the present Pope).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  44. anjin-san says:

    simply saying you don’t want to participate is not an option.

    Hey, I’m an ER doctor, and I sincerely hate black people. I don’t want to participate in the treatment of this black kid who was just hit by a car and needs care this second to save his life. So buzz off, I have my rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  45. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    They aren’t allowed to do their good works and keep their own religious principles.

    I must disagree: they willingly choose to forgo assisting the innocent because of an OT belief they believe God has superseded with the NT. They have willingly made the choice to allow children to grow up alone without a loving home because of their interpretation of unclear scripture (the word involved doesn’t mean what they think it means). They ignore an explicit command from Christ the Savior (“Suffer unto me the little children”) in favor of the personal writings of a lesser man who never met Christ in his life.

    They made their choice. Allow them the dignity of it and its consequences, in this world and whatever comes after (I can’t help but feel this isn’t the way through those pearly gates…). Free will, they haz it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @humanoid.panda: Are you in favor of photographers being able to refuse to participate in interracial weddings?

    You’re damned right I support that right.

    It makes life simpler when the a-holes self-identify that easily. It makes it very easy to then shun them.

    I support the right of people to make stupid decisions. For one, it gives them the chance to learn how to not be stupid. For another, it lets others know that they’re stupid, and they can act accordingly.

    Why don’t you support that right?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 14

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: That may be simple but “We’d rather not server your wedding because you’re a disgusting homo” is most definitely not polite.

    Since you put that in quotes, may I assume that you have an actual example of someone using those precise words? Or, at least, something that offensive?

    If not, then let me proffer an alternate phrasing, more likely to be uttered by someone used to dealing with the public: “Thank you, but our faith doesn’t support your choice. We appreciate your considering us, but we must decline. Here is a list of some of our fellow professionals who, we believe, would welcome your interest.”

    And while it might be a foreign concept here, but apply a little common sense: would you want your wedding served by someone who had to be browbeaten into serving? Unless you’re looking to sue them if they don’t do every single thing to perfection, and will look for the slightest sign of imperfection as sabotage, in which case the wedding is taking a back seat to your political grandstanding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

  48. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It makes life simpler when the a-holes self-identify that easily. It makes it very easy to then shun them.

    Given your well documented complaints about people being “unfairly” shunned and business being boycotted for their positions opposing gay marriage, I find this position strangely internally inconsistent.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  49. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    I support the right of people to make stupid decisions. For one, it gives them the chance to learn how to not be stupid. For another, it lets others know that they’re stupid, and they can act accordingly.

    Why don’t you support that right?

    If the only person they are harming is themselves, then you are absolutely correct – let the stupid take themselves out. In an ideal world, this is how it would go and the universe would self-correct.

    However, I don’t believe in letting them take out others in their blaze of glory – no “friendly” fire or collateral damage. I believe one’s rights end when another’s begins. You don’t have the right to harm/inflict negative actions on someone else in your stupidity. Why should I have to suffer because of that moron over there decides to take himself out of the gene pool?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  50. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Except that New Mexico had passed a law saying that sexual orientation was one of the protected classes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt Bernius: Given your well documented complaints about people being “unfairly” shunned and business being boycotted for their positions opposing gay marriage, I find this position strangely internally inconsistent.

    That’s because you’re being too simplistic.

    The boycotts I objected to were directed at people who donated money to a political campaign. And, if you need to be reminded, won, 52-48.

    I don’t like punishing people for taking legal, peaceful political action. I encourage that, even when I disagree with the cause, because it encourages participation in the process, instead of other, less acceptable means of expressing political opinion.

    Punishing people for working within the system to push their beliefs? That’s stupid. The most likely results will be malcontents who think that “the system” doesn’t work, and then look for other ways to get their way. Far less pleasant ways than donating money to petition drives.

    Alternately, practicing discrimination on an individual basis, up close and personal, is a somewhat different thing. See above for the attitudes shown towards people who have a personal faith, and actually act like their faith is important to them. I’d hate to be a devout believer and work for any of them. Just imagine how Cliffy would handle an employee who showed up with an ashen cross on their forehead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  52. anjin-san says:

    You know, Arab money actually owns a decent chunk of our country now. Can they demand that Sharia be enforced in all the businesses and real estate they own?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  53. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @KM: However, I don’t believe in letting them take out others in their blaze of glory – no “friendly” fire or collateral damage. I believe one’s rights end when another’s begins. You don’t have the right to harm/inflict negative actions on someone else in your stupidity. Why should I have to suffer because of that moron over there decides to take himself out of the gene pool?

    The question is where you draw the line in defining how one “harms” another. I support the right to commit suicide, but I’m disgusted by those that do so in certain ways. “Suicide by cop,” those who drive into a bridge abutment or head-on into a truck — they all inflict harm or potential harm on others.

    Then we get to things like ObamaCare. Does the potential “ham to society” mean that you get to demand that everyone else buy a commercial product, because their failure to do so might, some day, in some slight way, affect your wallet?

    Or smoking tobacco. It’s almost a certainty that smoking will kill you (other things might get to you first), and will cause a cost to “society” if the smoker lives long enough for the tobacco to make them ill. So why don’t we outlaw tobacco?

    It’s a huge gray area. There’s no clear line where our “responsibility to society” trumps our rights to make choices in our own lives. I prefer to err on the side of letting people make their own choices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  54. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt Bernius: A further point: at no point did I say that those boycotts should be made illegal. I said they were stupid, but I consider them a splendid example of “letting a-holes self-identify.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  55. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I don’t like punishing people for taking legal, peaceful political action [to prevent a certain group of citizens from gaining equal rights under the law].

    Left out that important part there. How is that different than taking a position that they don’t want to serve X group?

    And the fact that the proposition passed means absolutely nothing. Are people who held support and prop up Jim Crow laws — which were legal for quite some time — not to be held to account for helping institutionalize racism.

    BTW, this also doesn’t square with your long record of also reminding us about all those “racist” southern democrats who voted against the civil rights acts. Clearly you found them to be repugnant and worthy of shunning — and all they were doing was expressing political speech.

    So again, not particularly consistent there.

    The fact is that if you are putting forth the notion that public shunning is a critical tool, then you can’t turn around and say that “it shouldn’t be done in XYZ cases.”

    It’s kinda like how you keep saying that the gay movement should make its progress through legislation and then every time legislation is actually passed to protect gays and other individuals you find a problem with it.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were just looking for a way to keep delegitimizing any attempts by gays from having equal rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  56. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I never said you said boycotts should be illegal. I simply am reminding you that you thought it wasn’t right for gay rights groups to picket different companies.

    Again, you’re all for shunning — up until its against a particular cause that you seem to support (i.e. stopping marriage equality or gay adoption).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  57. anjin-san says:

    Alternately, practicing discrimination on an individual basis, up close and personal, is a somewhat different thing. See above for the attitudes shown towards people who have a personal faith, and actually act like their faith is important to them. I’d hate to be a devout believer and work for any of them. Just imagine how Cliffy would handle an employee who showed up with an ashen cross on their forehead.

    Interesting. So we need to be certain that the faith of Christians is respected in all cases, but a black person that is hungry and wants to have lunch at the Wollworth’s counter need not be respected as they go about the rather fundamental human task of getting something to eat?

    And I note that you do not do C. Clavin the rather basic courtesy of addressing him as he chooses to be addressed. So then, respect is important when you say it is, and only when you say it is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Tina Korbe of Hot Air had a rather thoughtful take on Catholic Charities and gay adoption, one that I find myself agreeing with overall.

    And as a future potential flashpoint, consider Catholic hospitals. They are currently not required to provide abortions. There has been talk about requiring that, and the Church has said that should such a requirement be imposed, for any reason, they will shut down every hospital they own. And they will not simply sell them off; they will level the buildings. They say that they will not allow their buildings to be used to perform abortions.

    And the Catholic Church owns about 1 in 8 hospitals in the United States, and is responsible for almost one in six admissions.

    That is their position, stated firmly and repeatedly.

    I anticipate a pretty good likelihood that, at some point, the pro-choice factions will demand that all hospitals provide abortions, on demand, and try to get the federal government to enforce that through regulations, laws, or executive orders.

    (And yes, I am aware that Catholic hospitals do occasionally provide abortions — when the mother’s life is at stake. I’m referring to optional abortions, where it is a matter of the woman’s choice, not medical necessity.)

    The price of imposing that demand will be the loss of almost 600 hospitals in the United States. Are we ready for that?

    No, it’s not happening now. But the seeds are already planted, and growing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  59. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    who have been sued for simply and politely saying “we don’t serve ni**ers here.’d rather not serve your wedding?

    Sounds a bit different when you consider what those “polite” business owners are really saying. We’ve been down this road before. The good side won. You lost.

    It makes life simpler when the a-holes self-identify that easily. It makes it very easy to then shun them.

    I support the right of people to make stupid decisions. For one, it gives them the chance to learn how to not be stupid. For another, it lets others know that they’re stupid, and they can act accordingly.

    Why don’t you support that right?

    Because as we learned in the Civil Rights era, when you’re in a community the majority of which is composed of knuckle-draggers, the discriminating assholes will not be shunned, the “good” people will not run them out of town on a rail, and justice will not be done. We, as a nation, will no longer allow such things to pass. Anyone is free to hate black folk, or LGBT, or whomever they please, religiously-motivated or otherwise. But you cannot run a discriminatory business that’s open to the public. You cannot get federal funds to aid you in your discrimination. If you can’t handle it, GFY and move to Russia. Give up the many freedoms of the USA and go where you are free to discrimate all you want. Good riddance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  60. Matt Bernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Except that New Mexico had passed a law saying that sexual orientation was one of the protected classes.

    Grumpy, haven’t you kept up with Jenos’ “logic” on this issue. Here’s a review:

    1. Jenos believes that issues of gender/race/sexual equality should be decided by elected representatives, not the courts — unless or until Jenos disagrees with what the legislature decides.

    2. If Jenos disagrees with the legislature, it should be left up to the “market” to enforce social values — unless or until Jenos objects to what the market decides.

    3. If Jenos disagrees with the courts, the legislature, and the market, then he feels that a strongly worded letter should be sent to the people involved — and that we should probably still support them because it far more important to protect the overall concept of free speech than basic human rights or the rule of law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  61. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No, it’s not happening now. But the seeds are already planted, and growing.

    No… they’re really not.

    It’s worth nothing that your current scenario — especially based on 30+ years of abortion law AND recent trends in supreme court ruling — is akin to the people who are sure that allowing gay marriage is going to lead to polygamy, legalizing child brides, and marrying inanimate objects.

    Just for the record, you’ve also predicted that in the future you also think the government is going to force churches to gay marry people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  62. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I don’t recall Cliffy ever showing anything resembling basic courtesy, so I don’t feel overly obliged to show him any. Besides, he’d most likely see any courtesy as a sign of weakness.

    Besides, his name is derived from a fictional character; the term I use was the character’s accepted nickname. Or are you unfamiliar with John Ratzenberger’s most famous role?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  63. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No, it’s not happening now. But the seeds are already planted, and growing.

    In the fevered imaginations of wingnuts, far removed from reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  64. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt Bernius: Several years ago, there were arguments that legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t affect people who opposed it in the slightest — that no one would be forced to participate or sanction or in any way act to support gay marriage.

    Now people are being punished by the law because they were stupid enough to believe those arguments.

    I’m not saying it WILL happen, but that it COULD. And only idiots don’t think about things until they’re sure they will happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  65. MBunge says:

    As anyone who’s spent any time at Dreher’s blog knows, he’s really lost his mind over this stuff. Which is odd for a guy who never really strove to be a culture warrior on the Right. He was the “Crunchy Con” guy. But he decided to make this gay stuff his Thermopylae and is now freakin’ out that the Persians have gotten to his rear.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  66. anjin-san says:

    Tina Korbe of Hot Air had a rather thoughtful take on Catholic Charities and gay adoption,

    Let’s have a look:

    After the Illinois state legislature passed a requirement that says adoption and foster-care agencies — to be eligible for state money — must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care or adoptive parents, the Roman Catholic bishops in Illinois decided to shut down most of the Catholic Charities affiliates in the state.

    I am not seeing the right of these non-public charitable organizations to demand public monies if they are to continue operation, then deny the public a say in their operations. Why don’t they simply say “We will no longer take public monies because doing so interferes with our ability to conduct operations as we see fit?” After all, the church has vast wealth.

    If you want to do things your way, pay your own way. Don’t demand that the taxpayers support you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  67. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: mantis! I missed you! I thought you’d vanished on the Vargas thread. You disappeared right after you accused me of “making shit up,” and I responded by using Vargas’ own words to show that you were wrong.

    What happened, mantis? Everything OK? I was so worried…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  68. mantis says:

    Several years ago, there were arguments that legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t affect people who opposed it in the slightest — that no one would be forced to participate or sanction or in any way act to support gay marriage.

    Please provide a reference to any gay marriage supporter claiming that bigoted public business owners would be free to discriminate should gay marriage become legal.

    While you’re looking, consider why those business owners feel compelled to be vocal about their bigotry, rather than just saying, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you on that date. Can I recommend another (baker, photographer, etc.) who can?” Why do they need to say “I won’t work for no homos,” or similar? That’s what gets them sued. Blatant, illegal discrimination. That’s what you support.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  69. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Here’s a challenge: who here is willing to go the record and say that they will oppose any future attempt to require churches to perform, host, recognize, or in any way sanction gay marriage? And that means “any” attempt, such as threatening to strip them of their tax-exempt status if they don’t, or in any way attempting to coerce them through government power.

    If it’s so ridiculous and inconceivable, who would be shy about declaring that it’s so absurd that they would oppose it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  70. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Was busy, but nice cowardly deflection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  71. pylon says:

    I would oppose it. I would also oppose any measure to outlaw pigs flying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  72. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    I don’t recall Cliffy ever showing anything resembling basic courtesy

    Ah, so you let someone you clearly have utter contempt for set your own standards of behavior and decorum for you? I suppose that is easier that actually having your own standards of what is acceptable and sticking to them.

    Besides, his name is derived from a fictional character

    As is yours. So what? He chooses to be addressed that way. Now you can act like an adult, and do him that simple courtesy whether or not you think he deserves it, or, you can continue to act like a 13 year old. I know when I was 13 we thought calling people silly names that were designed to annoy them was really bitchin’.

    Then we started high school and realized it was simply immature and childish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  73. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    Several years ago, there were arguments that legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t affect people who opposed it in the slightest — that no one would be forced to participate or sanction or in any way act to support gay marriage.

    See, I don’t understand this meme – if your job is marriage-related, your job is to help people in the process of getting married. Gays can now marry legally, therefore you have gay customers in need of assistance. QED. So now something happened that made a formally good job be untenable for you. Easy solution – get a new job! Why in the hell would you want to work where you’d be miserable all day for customers you don’t want to serve?

    After all, if they don’t like their work environment, they are free to seek employment or start a different type of business elsewhere. Perhaps start a franchise? Capitalism – the job market awaits!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  74. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Here’s a challenge: who here is willing to go the record and say that they will oppose any future attempt to require churches to perform, host, recognize, or in any way sanction gay marriage?

    I am going on the record to say that I oppose and will continue to oppose future attempts to require churches to *perform*, *recognize*, or *sanction* gay marriages. Period. Any effort is in fundamental conflict with the First Amendment. Period. End of story. And even if anyone was foolish enough to pass a law, it will and should be, struck down by the courts.

    *Hosting* is a tricky issue — only in that part of the way that many Churches make part of their income is through facilities rental and those facility rentals are often to non-religous groups. As you’ll hear at most AA and Alanon meetings, the reason they meet in Churches is because the rent is very cheap.

    Without a doubt, a Religious group should not ever be forced to rent the Chapel or any of the religiously consecrated spaces of the facilities to any group. As for the non-consecrated areas, I’m going to defer to local legislation on those issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  75. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Here’s a challenge: who here is willing to go the record and say that they will oppose any future attempt to require churches to perform, host, recognize, or in any way sanction gay marriage? And that means “any” attempt, such as threatening to strip them of their tax-exempt status if they don’t, or in any way attempting to coerce them through government power.

    Sure I would oppose it. Separation of church and state is important.

    Here’s a challenge: stop deflecting and respond to the counter arguments presented. Or can you? If you oppose public accommodation laws, why don’t you explain why we shouldn’t have used the power of the state to fight discrimination. Imagine you are explaining it to a child who must drink from the “colored” fountain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  76. dennis says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Doug, have you been following the legal catfight down in Louisiana over what should be considered privileged communication in confession?

    I have to say that most of Dreher’s readers don’t seem to understand law and the rules of evidence, period.

    Careful, grumpy; you don’t want some muttonhead accusing you of hijacking the threat on unrelated topics …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  77. anjin-san says:

    I am willing to go on the record and say that I will oppose future attempts to require churches to preform, recognize, or sanction gay marriages. Period. In fundamental conflict with the First Amendment. Period. End of story. And even if anyone was foolish enough to pass a law, it will and should be, struck down by the courts.

    I am certainly willing to go on record in agreement with this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  78. Matt Bernius says:

    @anjin-san:

    Why don’t they simply say “We will no longer take public monies because doing so interferes with our ability to conduct operations as we see fit?” After all, the church has vast wealth.

    Fun fact — Approximately 62% of Catholic Charities funding is from public institutions at the state and Federal level.

    All that said, in the case of Illinois, I have read some reports that suggest that without a contract from the State an organization cannot conduct *any* adoptions or fostering. If that’s the case (where’s PD when you need him?) then it is the case that the law prevented Catholic Charities from continuing to offer adoptions services because their beliefs were in conflict with the law. That is a different case than we didn’t want to fund adoptions out of our own pocket.

    BTW, on a slightly different note, the fact that 62% of Catholic Charities funding comes from the government also points out the problems with the meme that the Government should get out of the charity business. As these adoption cases demonstrate, that funding was critical to the non-profits maintaining their services.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  79. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    such as threatening to strip them of their tax-exempt status if they don’t

    As a person of faith, I feel we should never have had this in the first place. What my church does and what my state does are two separate things but that doesn’t change the fact that my church takes up real estate, uses public services and roads, borrow the police for funerals and fetes, etc. It feels fundamentally unfair to have the church take and not give back. I see no reason why my parish cannot contribute back to the country that has protected and nurtured it. The faithful are still Americans first and foremost – we should render unto Caesar what is his as commanded.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  80. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:
    It would be an impressive show of maturity if he simply admitted to being a bald-faced liar.
    Given the track record of unrepentant mendaciousness there is slim chance of that, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  81. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Since you put that in quotes, may I assume that you have an actual example of someone using those precise words? Or, at least, something that offensive?

    Don’t be ridiculous.

    Let me put it in a language you can understand. The baker who won’t bake a cake for someone who is gay is kind of like the IRS agent who won’t give a Tea Party group tax-free status because they’re a bunch of right wing nutbags.

    Smile, say your pleases and thank yous, it don’t matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  82. C. Clavin says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Fun fact — Approximately 62% of Catholic Charities funding is from public institutions at the state and Federal level.

    And how much is in the form of tax expenditures?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. KM says:

    who here is willing to go the record and say that they will oppose any future attempt to require churches to perform, host, recognize, or in any way sanction gay marriage?

    A distinction must be made: is the church acting in its own religious stead alone or as an agent of the state?

    I will go on record as vehemently opposing forcing religious institutions to preform a sacred ceremony against their will. Clergy, acting as clergy, performing the sacrament of Holy Matrimony – the state has no right to force them whatsoever. Clergy, acting as a Justice of the Peace, performing a legal ceremony for state purposes? You bet your ass I’d approve hauling them up to the altar for playing false! They are acting with a civil purpose, not a sacred one, and thus are bound to any and all laws that apply. You can’t play both sides of the fence on this – if the faith in question cannot abide by the laws that allow them to serve as legal binders, they cannot officiate a wedding that has secular weight and should in good faith decline the honorable duty.

    They should be separate functions. Be legally married by the state and then married before God if your faith lets you. Problem solved and the First Amendment preserved. That’s a complete no-brainer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  84. Matt Bernius says:

    @KM:

    They should be separate functions. Be legally married by the state and then married before God if your faith lets you. Problem solved and the First Amendment preserved. That’s a complete no-brainer.

    Completely agree with this position.

    But not so much with:

    Clergy, acting as clergy, performing the sacrament of Holy Matrimony – the state has no right to force them whatsoever. Clergy, acting as a Justice of the Peace, performing a legal ceremony for state purposes? You bet your ass I’d approve hauling them up to the alter for playing false!

    Philosophically I get your position. But I don’t think it’s particularly workable. Laws and tradition have been shaped to provide Clergy with specialized authority to legally marry (both religiously and civilly) couples. Perhaps I’m crazy but I don’t see why its necessary to change this at this point.

    That said, If a clergy member was *also* performing civil marriage ceremonies outside of the religious ones, I think this would have more of a leg to stand on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  85. KM says:

    @matt:

    Philosophically I get your position. But I don’t think it’s particularly workable. Laws and tradition have been shaped to provide Clergy with specialized authority to legally marry (both religiously and civilly) couples. Perhaps I’m crazy but I don’t see why its necessary to change this at this point.

    If we don’t, we keep running the risk of more lawsuits and Supreme Court cases. It’s convenience, nothing more, to have one person do both jobs – a leftover from times when spare populations and distances meant the pastor had to do both (like a ship’s captain). That you have to make two stops (not even on the same day!) is a kind of petty reason for not eliminating a massive Constitutional headache-in-waiting.

    Convenience is no reason to endanger First Amendment rights. It puts clergy in a difficult position they don’t have to be in legally. No one says clergy can’t be both but if they choose to have Justice of the Peace status, they must be willing to wed whomever the law says. A choice for each clergyman to personally make and something to be aware of when choosing your venue. Everyone wins.

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  86. Tyrell says:

    I used to work summers in the construction field.. Pay wasn’t bad, for just a helper. Some of our work was federal jobs. Once we had to work some overtime: got double time and a half. I thought I was dreaming when I got that check. The owner finally quit bidding on federal projects: too many picky, ridiculous rules, regulations, and stipulations crept in. This increased the cost by 2-3 times. So these federal jobs are costing the tax payers a lot more: same materials, quality, and workmanship as private construction. All of those regulations and rules add to the costs. And I am not talking about safety rules. Many of the regulations are so ridiculous that it is absurd.
    Opposing this action by Obama is not equal to favoring discrimination. That kind of charge is weird, bizarre. How about de-facto segregation ? The company I worked for did not have any women in the field except for a few years. Hispanics? None around here back then. So, since it was an all white employee operation, is that discriminatory? You can’t go out and just make certain groups come in and work in order to meet some arbitrary and artificial guideline. (The women were good construction workers. What they lacked in muscular strength, they made up with planning, organizing, and logistics.)
    What I wonder about that is this opening up the possibility of the federal government coming down on a company that allows employees to wear religious symbols, pray before lunch, and gives them days off at Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.
    And a person can be against this type of action without being some sort of racist, segregationist, or misguided. Some people just want less government . I am not in favor of discrimination.

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  87. Matt Bernius says:

    @KM: Thanks for the response. That gives me a lot to think about.

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  88. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I support the right of people to make stupid decisions. For one, it gives them the chance to learn how to not be stupid. For another, it lets others know that they’re stupid, and they can act accordingly.

    Your preferred method fails utterly when the local population supports bigotry. You couldn’t shame stores, hotels, and restaurants in the Jim Crowe South into fair treatment of African Americans and you cannot shame a lot of businesses in many areas in this country into fair treatment of homosexuals or transgendered people. Your preferred method leaves homosexuals and trans people as second class citizens through large swaths of this country. Your preferred method would do the same to African Americans, Arab Americans, Muslims, etc through large swaths of this country. Are you really ok with that or are you just trying to score a theoretical point?

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  89. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:

    Your preferred method leaves homosexuals and trans people as second class citizens through large swaths of this country.

    That’s a feature…not a bug.

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  90. KM says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    You’re welcome! I look forward to seeing the results of your pondering. I understand my position may upset the current legal status quo but am unsure of what kind of outside impact it would have other then logistics. Always good to see other points of view.

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  91. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I don’t support that right for 2 simple reasons, and a complex one:
    1. That historically, banning discrimination in commercial interactions was the only way to make headway against discrimination.
    2. More importantly for current conditions, if I support that right, I also should support the right of, say, Muslim cab drivers not to carry passengers who carry alcohol (real case from Minneapolis), hassids whose religion forbids them to even look at women who are not their wives, and myriad other groups for similar accommodations. This is no way to run a modern society.
    3. Philosophically, I believe in the old common law principle that while one’s house of private club are their own business, public accommodations are just that. If one derives benefits from serving the public, and in fact enjoys the benefits produced by public (try being a baker without the federal subsidies that allow farmers to provide cheap wheat and sugar and roads that get these things to market and so forth), then one should serve the public. If said baker wants to limit herself to people in her Church group or photographer to take pictures of their claven, or taxi driver to drive his buddies around, they are most welcome to do so. This is not some new doctrine: that was the law in English speaking lands for hundreds of years before race thinking overthrew it.

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  92. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills:

    You couldn’t shame stores, hotels, and restaurants in the Jim Crowe South

    That’s not really accurate. The segregation laws were put in place in order to force businesses to segregate – many of them would have been fine chasing the dollar or acting on their own anti-segregation beliefs. Ditto South Africa, Nazi Germany, pretty much anywhere there has been official discrimination, it’s been done in order to keep people from violating it.

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  93. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:

    Pretty much anywhere there has been official discrimination, it’s been done in order to keep people from violating it.

    Good point. However, to some degree this is a chicken/egg issue. Its entirely correct that these laws were put on the books to standardized discrimination or oppression. But at the same time, such an institutionalization arises out of already accepted social practices.

    In other words, in each of those locations — the Jim Crowe South, Nazi Germany, Pre-Apartheid South Africa — it wasn’t simply the case that the powers that be decided one day to institutionalize discrimination and everyone begrudgingly fell into place.

    I’d also suggest that such legislation is done to also “send a message” to the target of the discrimination. Such laws become a very visible reminder of their second class (or lower) citizenship.

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  94. TheColourfield says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: It’s that kind of attitude that allowed white people to shun those bigoted lunch counters in the 60s.

    FREEDOM FOR ALL (well maybe not all)

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  95. Rick DeMent says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Have you already forgotten the bakers, photographers, etc. who have been sued for simply and politely saying “we’d rather not serve your wedding?”

    No … do you have a point?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  96. KansasMom says:

    @Tyrell:

    What I wonder about that is this opening up the possibility of the federal government coming down on a company that allows employees to wear religious symbols, pray before lunch, and gives them days off at Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

    The first amendment protects the employee’s right to freely exercise their beliefs by wearing religious garb and to praying before meals. There is no danger of government infringement there. Thanksgiving has been a federal (secular) holiday since Lincoln was president and Christmas since Grant. I think they are pretty safe as well. Easter is different since it is still a truly religious holiday but I’ve worked places that paid holiday pay and places that don’t, entirely up to the business. In short, you’ve got nothing to fear Tyrell!

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  97. Pinky says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    it wasn’t simply the case that the powers that be decided one day to institutionalize discrimination and everyone begrudgingly fell into place

    Yes and no. Such laws aren’t passed in isolation, but they typically meet with a lot of resistance. The bus segregation laws in the South, if I recall correctly, were passed because drivers and passengers typically ignored the stated policy.

    I’d say that those laws are more a cause than an effect, given what we know of human nature when it’s given the opportunity to exploit someone.

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  98. mantis says:

    @Pinky:

    The bus segregation laws in the South, if I recall correctly, were passed because drivers and passengers typically ignored the stated policy.

    You do not remember correctly.

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  99. superdestroyer says:

    The days of churches being tax exempt and being outside the regulatory realm of many federal agencies are now numbers. It is just a matter of time until the LBGTQ community goes after organized religion that they do not approve of.

    I wonder if all of the “moderate” Republicans who claims that the conservatives should support gay marriage because it will “put the issue behind us” will admit to how wrong they are going to be.

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  100. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    If 10-20% of businesses are willing to serve you as an equal you are still in effect a second class citizen. That laws were put in place to enforce those few who might have gone against the strong social approbation to be more egalitarian doesn’t negate that the majority didn’t need the force of law to enforce separate and unequal treatment. The current situation with homosexuals and transgendered people is a good example of this type of behavior. There isn’t anywhere in the US (that I know of) that has laws demanding that homosexuals or transgender people not be served as heterosexual cis gendered people, yet it is easy to find places where people will not knowingly serve them. In much of small town and southern America there will be no appreciable social approbation for refusal to serve homosexual or trans people. Social approbation to enforce non discriminatory behavior only works when the majority is on board.

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  101. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “Can anyone explain to me what “traditional religious believers” means?”

    I think it has something to do with sacrificing a cow to Zeus…

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  102. wr says:

    @Matt Bernius: ” I find this position strangely internally inconsistent.”

    Really? Given the source, why would you find the internal inconsistency “strange”?

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  103. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    The bus segregation laws in the South, if I recall correctly, were passed because drivers and passengers typically ignored the stated policy.

    You remember incorrectly. If you replace typically with occasionally then perhaps in part. There were desegrationists in the South, though a minority, and the laws were about forcing them to keep in line with the majority. There is a reason that George Wallace was seen as a hero for standing on the U of AL steps.

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  104. wr says:

    @MBunge: “But he decided to make this gay stuff his Thermopylae and is now freakin’ out that the Persians have gotten to his rear.”

    Which seems to be the biggest fear — or most fervent fantasy — of many right-wingers. That and having things rammed or crammed or jammed down their throats. It’s like they just can’t stop thinking about gay sex…

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  105. Dave D says:

    A bit off topic but highly insightful to the Jim Crow era, this NPR story about blacks wearing turbans in the south to be treated as equals.

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  106. bill says:

    so how will this affect the average company, aside from having an extra bathroom with a “?” on it?

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  107. Grewgills says:

    @bill:
    Why would an extra bathroom be necessary?

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  108. BobN says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No state has forced Catholic Charities to close. In Boston, the archbishop ordered the organization to stop (despite having adopted kids out to dozens of gay couples over more than a decade) over the objections of nearly 100% of the staff and board. Other offices of CC in the state continue to operate because they chose not to make a publicity-generating spectacle of themselves and quietly abide by the rules while, shockingly, not actually placing any kids with gay couples. Or maybe they quietly do one from time to time… I don’t know.

    In Illinois, the CC made a huge blunder and told the state they wouldn’t apply for a renewal of their contract to manage adoptions (adoptions are BY THE STATE in all state), so the state didn’t send them the forms. Big surprise, the contract went elsewhere.

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  109. BobN says:

    @Matt Bernius: They are still *allowed* to continue to operate. They just lose their access to public money because they are choosing to discriminate against a specific population.

    Actually, that’s not true. A state-licensed adoption AGENCY must abide by state rules. Other religions choose to operate offices that facilitate private adoptions which can involve restrictions on prospective parents that would be illegal in publicly controlled adoption services.

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  110. Tyrell says:

    @C. Clavin: This would apply to people who believe in Christian doctrines as expressed in the creeds of the church, mainly the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. If you are interested and want more information about what Christians believe, I would suggest finding a church that teaches and preaches the Bible, God’s holy word. They would welcome you and be glad to answer any questions. Read the Bible daily.

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  111. anjin-san says:

    The bus segregation laws in the South, if I recall correctly, were passed because drivers and passengers typically ignored the stated policy.

    It’s funny how conservatives in the 21st century always seem to remember that life for black folks in the Jim Crow south and the Confederate south was not THAT bad.

    I know black folks who grew up in the Jim Crow south. They say it was that bad. I will take their word for it.

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  112. BobN says:

    I think quite a few of you took a position you don’t really hold.

    Here’s a challenge: who here is willing to go the record and say that they will oppose any future attempt to require churches to perform, host, recognize, or in any way sanction gay marriage?

    Several said OK. But what about recognize? That one is a problem, a big one, and I doubt many of you really agree. I certainly don’t, though I’m fully on board with the first two parts of the challenge.

    The Church recognizes divorce. It recognizes remarriage. If an employee of, say, Notre Dame University, gets a divorce, does anyone imagine that the HR dept would refuse to recognize it and would insist on continuing to provide spousal coverage?

    When it comes to gay issues, the RCC and some other denominations seek special privileges at the expense of millions of citizens and hundreds of thousands of their own employees. And that’s where the reason lies: the thousands and thousands of gay people who work for Catholic Charities and Catholic hospitals and schools. It’s so embarrassing!!

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  113. Mikey says:

    @KM: Your position is common elsewhere. Germany for example, where a member of the clergy can officiate a marriage, but that marriage is non-existent in legal terms until the couple goes to the Standesamt and gets married by an officer of the state, who is an entirely different person. The two weddings are, and have been for many years, entirely separate affairs.

    I see no reason why we couldn’t do the same thing here. It would certainly solve far more problems than it might create.

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  114. An Interested Party says:

    Pity those poor unfortunate souls who aren’t allowed to practice their bigotry when it comes to public accommodations…Jesus must be weeping…

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  115. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Ironically enough, you have inadvertently stumbled upon the truth.

    1. States DO have the right to determine the rules under which adoption services will be offered in their states… and

    2 Catholic Charities SHOULD drop out of adoption services in states where they object to the state’s requirements.

    It’s called freedom of choice and will show the state’s regulations as wrong if adoptions become slower to proceed because of the absence of adoption provider participation.

    A market based solution and you don’t want it. Hmmmmmmmmmm……

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  116. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    This would apply to people who believe in Christian doctrines

    Oh…I see. So only those who believe in Christian doctrines are traditional religious believers.
    Not Jews. Or Muslims. Or Buddhists. Or Native Americans.
    Just Christians.
    The arrogance is astounding…and over whose myths and superstitions are the traditional myths and superstitions.

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  117. Tillman says:

    @An Interested Party: You know Jesus, always on the side of those trying to make money.

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  118. Tillman says:

    @Tyrell: Taking as postulate that traditional religious believers are Christians and setting that clusterf*** aside, how precisely are we being forced out of the public square? I mean, you’re here, I’m here, this is something close to a digital public square? The only thing really different from the ’50s is there are people wandering around claiming we believe in bullhockey and–well, nevermind, there were outspoken atheists then too. I suppose the only difference is there are movements and–wait, American Atheists has been around since 1963?

    So what has changed, other than all the pretty spinning colors and flashing lights on the TV while some old dude talks about the death of our traditions?

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  119. Tillman says:

    @downvoter: Haha. Read the Gospels sometime. Jesus has words to say about rich people, and none of them are complimentary.

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