Friday, February 28, 2014

Why the Arizona bill still matters

Fortunately, there was public outcry against the "legal to discriminate" bill that they attempted to pass in AZ--enough that several clones have been put aside in other states.  But it's not over.  And it's not limited to the states.  From Think Progress:
it’s the exact same issue behind two of the most high profile Supreme Court cases being hear this term — Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Storesand Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. In both of those cases, for-profit businesses object, on religious liberty grounds, to complying with Obama Administration rules increasing access to birth control. One of the most important questions presented by both cases is whether a for-profit corporation can have religious faith at all, and if so, whether it can use that supposed faith as the basis for a legal claim.... 
Denying birth control to your workers because of your own religious objections to it superimposes your own personal beliefs about conscience and faith onto your employees. So does refusing to serve a gay person due to a religious objection to their sexual orientation. If the Supreme Court winds up holding that one person’s faith can impose itself on another, which is exactly what the plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood want them to do, then all the nightmare scenarios imagined in the debate over the Arizona bill could become very real — at least at the federal level. Indeed, it is even possible that business owners who object to serving African Americans on religious grounds couldchallenge a 1983 Supreme Court decision holding that religious beliefs cannot justify racist discrimination
If the Supreme Court is willing to overrule Lee, and to embrace the almost oxymoronic notion that corporations can be people of faith, then there could be little end to business owners’ ability to immunize themselves from the law — so long as they cover their objections to those laws in a religious wrapper.


dr.primrose said...

Not to mention refusing Christians refusing to serve or deal with Jews as a matter of "religious principle." Do we really want the resurrection of restrictive housing covenants?

This could eventually, as the cliche is, bite these people in the ass. Does this give me the right as an Episcopalian to refuse to deal with Baptists and Mormons as a matter of religious principle?

John CLIFFORD said...

No, since tht is not an Episcopal principle. But Baptists (some) could refuse Episcopalians.

Kevin K said...

Generally speaking, state laws would not circumvent federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on race or religion. So a restrictive housing covenant based on religion would not be validated by the state law.

I do recall some gay bars prohibiting bachelorette parties to protest laws against same sex marriage. I had not considered whether the persons denied service would have a claim for discrimination.