Sunday, January 08, 2017


When you open a business one of the important points to remember is that the business is a public accommodation, you cannot discriminate against any protective class.* No matter who owns the business you cannot discriminate, the only exception is if it is a private club. This has been reinforced by numerous U. S. Supreme Court decisions.

In the case of Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. v. United States in 1964 the court ruled that a business could not discriminate based on race. In New Jersey the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association regularly offered the pavilion to the broader public and when a lesbian couple wanted to use the pavilion for their wedding and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association said they don’t rent to lesbians or gays. According to the Religious Freedom website,
2007-AUG: The Association filed a federal suit to stop the state's investigation on the grounds that the Association's first amendment rights were being infringed upon. It was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Joel Pisano.
The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (DCR) ruled that,
2008-DEC: Frank Vespa-Papaleo, New Jersey director of the DCR found that there was probable cause to credit the lesbian couple's complaint. (A finding of "probable cause" is similar to an indictment in a criminal case.) He found that:
"... at the time of the complaint and continuing to date, the Boardwalk Pavilion is used by the general public in a variety of ways, including as a place to sit, congregate, picnic, play and to seek shade and shelter from the weather. Signs posted in and on the Boardwalk Pavilion state that smoking, bicycling and skateboarding are prohibited. Other than those restrictions, there are no signs, postings or other visible indications that public use of the structure is prohibited in any way. Based on witness interviews and direct observation, the investigation concludes that, when Respondent was not using the Boardwalk Pavilion for scheduled programs, the casual passerby or user of the Ocean Grove beach or boardwalk would have no reason to conclude that the Boardwalk Pavilion is not open for the same general public use as the boardwalk itself or the uncovered benches situated along that boardwalk.
In addition, the investigation disclosed that Respondent affirmatively represented to the public and to State government that the Boardwalk Pavilion was open to the public. The investigation disclosed that in July 1989, Respondent applied to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for a Green Acres real property tax exemption for a number of its properties, including Lot 1, Block 1.01, on which the Boardwalk Pavilion is located. Its initial application stated that the Pavilion was “used for religious services and band concerts.”
The investigation disclosed that, at a September 7, 1989 public hearing, Neptune Township opposed Respondent’s application for a Green Acres tax exemption. The Township argued that the property would not benefit the general public, but instead would benefit only Respondent because its uses were restricted. In response, Respondent’s representative argued that the Pavilion was generally open and accessible to the public through numerous boardwalk entrances, was used regularly for musical events, band practices and performances and other events including weddings, baptisms and memorial services, as well as religious services."
That brings me up to what I want to write about today.
Transgender Man Takes to Court Catholic Hospital That Refused Him Care
Jionni Conforti claims in a federal lawsuit that the hospital refused to perform his hysterectomy because of religious beliefs.
By Michael Lambert
January 7, 2017

A Catholic hospital that denied a transgender man a hysterectomy because of “religious beliefs” will have to defend itself in court.

Jionni Conforti, a 33-year-old transgender man from New Jersey, scheduled the surgery in 2015 at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson. However, he claims in his federal discrimination lawsuit that a hospital administrator told him that the hospital could not do the procedure because it was “Catholic.”

"I felt completely disrespected as a person," Conforti told the AP. "That's not how any hospital should treat any person regardless of who they are. A hospital is a place where you should feel safe and taken care of. Instead I felt like I was rejected and humiliated."
Of course the Catholic hospital has other thoughts,
Catholic Hospital Sued for Refusing to Remove Transgender Man's Uterus
Christian Post
By Anugrah Kumar
January 7, 2017

A transgender man who was born female has filed a federal lawsuit against a Catholic hospital in New Jersey for refusing to allow a surgeon to perform a hysterectomy as part of a gender transition due to the facility's religious beliefs.

Jionni Conforti, 33, from Totowa, alleged in the suit that staff at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center initially gave the go-ahead for the surgery, and a surgeon was prepared to perform the procedure in 2015 when a hospital administrator said that "as a Catholic Hospital we would not be able to allow your surgeon to schedule this surgery," reports.
In an email sent to Conforti, the Rev. Martin Rooney, director of mission services at St. Joseph, wrote, "This is to follow up to your email inquiring about scheduling a total hysterectomy here at St. Joseph's to remove all female parts based on the medical necessity for Gender Reassignment. This is to inform you that as a Catholic Hospital we would not be able to allow your surgeon to schedule this surgery here at St. Joseph's."
Bill Donohue, president of Catholic League, believes Conforti is an "activist" who's targeting a Catholic hospital for political reasons.

"St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center is a leading Catholic healthcare institution serving one of the most diverse and underserved populations in New Jersey. The Medical Center follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services in making decisions about care and treatment," the hospital said in a statement.
1. The hospital is licensed to treat the general public.
2. The hospital is receiving public funding.
3. The hospital is not a place of worship, it might have a chapel but that is not the main function of the hospital.
4. New Jersey law bans discrimination by public accommodations because of gender identity or expression.  Under New Jersey law places of worship are exempt from the law, the hospital is not a place of worship, it is a place where you get medical treatment.

Therefore, just like the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association they cannot discriminate against trans people.

Obey the law.

* In Connecticut the protected classes are race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, mental retardation, mental disability and physical disability.

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