1. As we now know, Governor Brewer vetoed AZ SB1062, the so-called “religious freedom” bill that was widely (and accurately) interpreted as support for discrimination against gays. In the previous post, I suggested that her delay in doing so sent a message that was as hostile to gays as the law itself: if she felt the law was ethically wrong, then she should have and would have announced that she would not sign the bill long ago. Instead, she waited to see how much economic damage the law would do to the state, and then vetoed it, not because this was the right ting to do, but because it was the pragmatic thing to do. (As the satiric Borowitz Report put it, “The state of Arizona found itself in the middle of a conundrum today as it awoke to the awkward realization that gay people have money and buy stuff.”) USA Today noted that, to the contrary,”Some political insiders believe Brewer has allowed furor over the legislation to build to thwart social conservatives’ attempts to push a similar bill later.” I doubt it, but if so, Brewer allowed her state and her fellow Republicans to be represented nationally as homophobic for as long as possible to spare herself the inconvenience of vetoing a second bill.
2. Despite the extravagant debate over the bill, almost no commentators actually published the bill’s text in the commentary. The reason appears to be that since the bill is really an amendment of an existing law, it takes a modicum of intelligence to figure out what’s going on. Here it is (the original law is in black; the new text is in blue; what has been removed in the amended version is struck through): Continue reading
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[The quote that follows is from the concurring opinion in the just-decided case of Elaine Photography v. Willock, which challenged the proposition, discussed and endorsed on Ethics Alarms in several posts, that a business could not and ethically should not refuse service to same-sex couples.]
“On a larger scale, this case provokes reflection on what this nation is all about, its promise of fairness, liberty, equality of opportunity, and justice. At its heart, this case teaches that at some point in our lives all of us must compromise, if only a little, to accommodate the contrasting values of others. A multicultural, pluralistic society, one of our nation’s strengths, demands no less. The Huguenins are free to think, to say, to believe, as they wish; they may pray to the God of their choice and follow those commandments in their personal lives wherever they lead. The Constitution protects the Huguenins in that respect and much more. But there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.
“In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world.”
——- New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Bossun, concurring with opinion in Elaine Photography v. Willock, which rejected the claim that legally requiring a photography shop to take photographs of a same-sex marriage was a violation of the First Amendment.
You can read the Volokh Conspiracy take on the case here, and here; Ken White has his usual trenchant observations at Popehat.
From an ethics perspective, however, Justice Bossuns’s words need no enhancement. I could not agree more, nor say it better.
Graphic: Illinois Family
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No, nobody’s saying you can’t advocate your beliefs, archaic and destructive though they may be. Just make sure they don’t stop people from buying flowers and cakes like everyone else…
I’ll spare you much commentary on this one, but it’s eye-opening in tone and content: an indignant, angry appeal to protest on the theory that legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota constitutes an attack on the freedom of religion.
“Now over 1.4 Million Minnesotans are considered the legal equivalent of “bigots” and have NO protection to live out their beliefs in the public square. The gay “marriage” law allows churches and SOME religious organizations to define marriage as only between 1 man and 1 woman. But, people of faith know that living out your beliefs means living what you believe OUTSIDE the walls of your church.
“Gay “marriage” supporters and their allies in the MN Legislature seem to think that Minnesotans with deeply held religious beliefs about Marriage will be content to believe that marriage is the union of 1 man and 1 woman in the walls of their church and then stay SILENT about those beliefs outside those walls. So, the MN Legislature passed the gay “marriage” bill with no protections for people outside the walls of their church. The MN Senate had the chance—and refused—to protect the religious liberty rights of Minnesotans outside their church walls….Now Minnesotans with the deeply held belief that marriage is the union of 1 man and 1 woman cannot act on this belief in the way they do their business or the way they practice their profession.
“The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has already confirmed our worst fears: There is NO religious liberty protection for people of faith in the public square. The Department states specifically that nonreligious organizations are NOT exempt from the law and that nondiscrimination laws can (and will) be used as a weapon to punish people of faith. For example, if a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim florist refused to provide flowers for a same-sex “wedding” based on his religious beliefs, the same-sex couple can “file a claim with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights against the entity that discriminated against them.”
“Bottom Line? The gay “marriage” lobby and their allies in the MN Legislature view Minnesotans of faith as “bigots” and will punish them accordingly using MN Human Rights laws—forcing men and women of faith to choose between their livelihood and their convictions.
“That is not acceptable.” Continue reading
Filed under Citizenship, Etiquette and manners, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Love, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, Romance and Relationships, The Internet, Unethical Websites
Jennifer Keeton was expelled from the graduate program at Georgia’s Augusta State University in 2010 because her Christian religious convictions dictate that homosexuality is sinful and voluntary conduct, rather than an innate sexual orientation. A court upheld the school’s right to expel her on the basis that her beliefs made it impossible for her to meet their counseling standards, which the court ruled were neutral, and did not discriminate against her speech or religion.
The case may raise legitimate constitutional issues. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a conservative legal group, and Constitutional Law professor Eugene Volokh (of Volokh Conspiracy fame) are assisting Keaton as she attempts to get reinstated. Ethically, however, I don’t think she has a leg to stand on.
In fact, I think her position resembles the old Dudley Moore-Peter Cook comedy routine where Moore is one-legged amputee who cries foul at being “discriminated against” by a film director who refuses to consider him for the role of Tarzan:
Similarly, how can a counselor claim to be able to provide full and competent services when her attitude toward gays dictates an unsympathetic, hostile and scientifically discredited point of view? Continue reading
The offensive T-shirt design. Honest.
Hands On Originals is a T-shirt company in Lexington, Kentucky that is now under fire for refusing the business of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, which organizes Lexington’s annual gay pride festival every June. The organization wanted to print up some T-shirts, and the company told them to take their business somewhere else. The reason: the T-shirt company is a “Christian organization”, and the owners don’t want to assist in promoting a message that goes against their religious beliefs.
The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization filed a complaint, and now there will be an investigation to decide whether this violates Lexington’s Fairness Act, which protects people and organizations from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Lexington’s mayor has weighed in against Hands On, and boycotts against the company and the closely related company Wildcat Wearhouse have been threatened. Meanwhile the attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the T-shirt company, argues that “No business owner should be forced to violate his conscience simply because someone demands it. The Constitution absolutely supports the rights of business owners to decline a request to support a message that conflicts with their deeply held convictions.”
I am not going to comment on the legal and constitutional issues, but the ethical issue is clear. Should society respect the choice of a business to refuse to provide products or services to groups, individuals or causes it opposes or objects to on moral or religious grounds? Continue reading
I'd rather celebrate Ganesh's birthday than L. Ron Hubbard's, but that's just me.
South Brunswick, New Jersey schools have announced that they will henceforth close for two days every year in honor of…Diwali. Quick—what religion celebrates Diwali? The answer is the Hindu faith.
That does it, I think. The canary has officially croaked, and there is no way to sugar-coat it, not that anyone wants a sugar-coated dead canary anyway. State, local and national governments need to cut all ties with religious holidays now, before Americans who observe Gantan-sai, Dia de los Reyes, Maghi, Timkat, Imbolc, L. Ron Hubbard birthday, Ostara, Khordad Sal, Ramayana, Visakha Puja, Declaration of the Bab, Ascension of Baha’u’llah and somebody’s god somewhere knows what else start suing every city council in sight, Bill O’Reilly starts screaming about the war on Christianity, and Michele Bachmann gives speeches about how everyone knows America is a Christian nation, because the Founders, you know, like Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln and Jerry Falwell, wanted it that way. Continue reading
George Washington continues to be a source of wonder, wisdom, and ethical clarity.
Every year in August, Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island hosts a reading of President George Washington’s 1790 letter to “the Hebrew congregation in Newport, Rhode Island.” Before this month, I was unaware of either the celebration or the letter, I am ashamed to say. In it, the first President laid out clearly the ideals of religious freedom to be embraced by our fledgling nation, to a group that had reason to do doubt whether they would be welcome to worship as they pleased.
For generations, the Hebrew community that ultimately settled in Newport had been fleeing religious persecution. The same year Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World, in 1492, Spain enacted a policy forcing Jews to convert to Christianity or leave the country. Thousands sought refuge in the Netherlands, the Caribbean Islands and South America, only to be pursued by the Spanish Inquisition. Continue reading