Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Opposition

One thing that I learned is that you have to track your opposition. I am on some conservative email list here in Connecticut (I make sure I take my blood pressure meds first) to understand their tactics and what they are saying about us. So when I saw this I had to take three deep breathes to calm down.
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Laws Threaten Freedom
The Heritage Foundation
By Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.
November 30, 2015

All citizens should oppose unjust discrimination, but sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws are not the way to achieve that goal. SOGI laws are neither necessary nor cost-free. They threaten fundamental First Amendment rights. They create new, subjective protected classes that will expose citizens to unwarranted liability. Furthermore, SOGI laws would increase government interference in labor, housing, and commercial markets in ways that could harm the economy. Yet SOGI’s damage is not only economic: It would further weaken the marriage culture and the freedom of citizens and their associations to affirm their religious or moral convictions, such as that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human. SOGI laws would treat expressing these widely held beliefs in certain contexts as unlawful discrimination.
Where to begin?

This is so wrapped that I don’t know where to start. First off the non-discrimination laws do not block anyone’s Free Speech! It is behavior that is regulated; a bakery can have all the homophobic signs up that they want, quote any Bible passage to their heart content and tell a gay couple that they are going to hell. They just cannot refuse to serve them.

As for “Religious Freedom” it was for religious institutions not individuals to go around discriminating. It was meant to prevent laws such as requiring all Muslims to register or be put into concentration camps. The courts have upheld the right of government outlaw discrimination, the Fourteenth Amendment requires the government to treat everyone equal. That means that a religious homeless shelter that is receiving government assistance must allow trans people to shelter in a shelter matching to their gender identity. The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a Methodist organization that owns a boardwalk pavilion signed an agreement to not discriminate in exchange to tax exemption for the pavilion, they had a complaint filed against them because they would not let a lesbian couple get married in the pavilion. The state commissioner of environmental protection ruled against the church in that they had discriminated against the lesbian couple.

The Heritage Foundation goes on to say,
How do these laws come about? The Washington Post reported on one of the driving forces behind the decision: new policy created by federal agencies: “In April 2014, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released updated guidelines to the 1972 Title IX civil rights law highlighting that the nondiscrimination clause ‘extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.’” Because a federal agency unilaterally reinterpreted a 1972 law, local school boards were coming under fire. Indeed, the Post reports that “where schools are found to have failed to comply with Title IX, the Education Department may terminate federal funding. The Fairfax school system receives $42 million…[annually] from the federal government.”
You know the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights didn’t just sit down one and pull these guideline out of a hat, they are based on a long history of court rulings that goes back to 1989 and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins where the court established that gender stereotyping is actionable as sex discrimination. There also have been numerous federal court rulings that have said that discrimination based on gender identity is sex discrimination because it is a form of gender stereotyping. So when they say “Because a federal agency unilaterally reinterpreted a 1972 law, local school boards were coming under fire.” Is not true, they based their decision on case law.

Following their thinking, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would be illegal and anyone could discriminate against anyone just by claiming it was against their religion.

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