“There are no cases pending at the Supreme Court claiming that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violates someone’s civil rights, complaining that they are unable to discriminate against Jews or Muslims in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Brian S. Brown
via YouTube/Fox News

Wednesday’s message yells: Send These Senators A Message. One need not be a prophet to see what is happening here:

  1. This email is a donation bait.
  2. Brian S. Brown is trying to give National Organization for Marriage some relevance — a raison d’être.
  3. If McConnell fails to allow the Equality Act to come to the floor of the Senate or if the measure fails to get enough votes for passage, then Brown will take all the credit for its demise.

The reality, of course, is that NOM and its supporters will have no impact at all on the destiny of the Equality Act. National petitions are functionally pointless. In addition to McConnell, they are “targeting” Senators Thune, Barrasso, Murkowski, Portman, Collins, Tillis and Manchin (the sole Democrat). The only thing that these senators ordinarily care about is opinions from their constituents. None of these senators represent me or my alter that is on NOM’s email list.

Here are some of the specifics why this legislation must be defeated: It makes demonstrating support for traditional marriage illegal discrimination against gays and lesbians. It imposes a radical gender ideology on the nation whereby gender is no longer based on biology but on an individual’s feelings of “identity.” It risks the privacy and safety of girls and women by allowing biological men into intimate areas reserved for females – such as showers, bathrooms and changing areas. It allows men to compete against women in athletics simply by declaring that they identify as a female. And worst of all, the bill strips Americans of their religious liberty rights to refuse participation in LGBT ceremonies and celebrations that violate their religious beliefs.

The above starts with a lie, diverts to unfounded transphobia and then ends with a lie. I don’t know what “demonstrating support for traditional marriage” means. Whatever it is, it is probably speech protected by the First Amendment. The notion that transgender females post a risk to cisgender females cannot be supported with any evidence. Then there is the lie about “religious liberty rights.”

People have a First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. Bear with me. Neither the Religious Freedom Restoration Act nor the ruling in Hobby Lobby have any legal effect on states or municipalities. The holding in Masterpiece Cakeshop can be distilled down to prohibiting religious hostility in adjudicating violations of nondiscrimination laws leaving those laws in full force in effect. If local law can prohibit the conduct entailed in discrimination then that conduct is not a constitutional right.

Mr. Brown goes further. He is claiming that selling flowers to be used at a same-sex wedding entails participation in a ceremony or celebration that violates the florists religious beliefs. To call this participation is just a regurgitation of some other group’s talking points (possibly those of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) and it is a lie.

Providing lawfully required service does not violate religious beliefs. People are free to believe that same-sex marriage and gay sex are sins but that is not a reasonable cause to withhold service. Every time they provide goods or services to a Jewish or Muslim wedding they are violating their religious beliefs. They cannot refuse service because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which the Equality Act seeks to amend).

There are no cases pending at the Supreme Court claiming that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 violates someone’s civil rights. Such a case would have to claim that someone is unable to discriminate against Jews or Muslims in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs. We need to understand that this is not because of law but because of what polite society considers acceptable. There is a belief among some people that it is permissible — even necessary — to discriminate against LGBT people.

The Southern Poverty Law Center seeks to change that. The SPLC’s list of anti-LGBT hate groups makes the statement that discrimination against LGBT people is no more permissible than racism or antisemitism. We often hear from these hate groups something to the effect: “This puts us in the same category as the Ku Klux Klan.” That is correct. The solution is not found in list editing. The preference would be for these groups to modify their behavior.

NOM is not designated by the SPLC as a hate group. Nevertheless, it most certainly is a hate group. Brian S. Brown is arguing that it is necessary to have the right to discriminate against a minority group because he does not approve of their sexuality due to his religious beliefs. That is no less odious than the spew from David Duke.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.