Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Religious Freedom and LGBT Rights

Tal Kopan at politico.com characterized the 2014 AZ SB 1062 as "a controversial measure allowing businesses to refuse service to gay customers." ("Mitt Romney to Jan Brewer: Veto Arizona bill" Feb 25, 2014)

These are the reasons Governor Jan Brewer gave for vetoing it.

Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated. 
The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences. 
After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago. 
To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. 

Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.  
It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.
Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination. 
Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans. ("SB 1062 – Press Conference", Gov. Jan Brewer, Feb 26, 2014)
It seems that the debate about the Indiana law has turned ugly. Like Jan Brewer also said. There are probably more important issues that should demand our attention, such as balancing the federal budget or how will we fund local education in the most efficient and effective way.

It seems that the real reason that the Indiana law is so controversial is that
Now that gay marriage is increasingly popular, this RFRA has become a signals contest in the culture war. Obviously nobody is obligated to engage in any form of discrimination in Indiana, and I would wager that 99.9 percent of Indiana's businesses will not turn away a single person for being gay.
It doesn't actually matter that the RFRA won't really lead to some sort of new dark ages against the gays because culture simply has no interest in going there. The important thing is that people position themselves properly to be seen as good people by their peers. ("Indiana’s RFRA—and the Response—Is All About the Signaling", Scott Shackford, Mar 30, 2015)
Here is another article with a pretty good balance in it.
From a libertarian perspective, there’s an easy enough way to resolve the current conflict between demands for religious freedom and equality. It doesn’t fully satisfy either side but it has the virtue of preserving a pluralistic society and minimizing intervention into everyday life.
Nobody should be forced to do something they don’t want to do, whether it’s bake cakes for gay weddings or decorate cakes with anti-gay slurs. To me, whether a person’s or a business’s decision is based in religion is immaterial. ( "Everybody's Lost Their...", Nick Gillespie, Apr 1, 2015, thedailybeast.com)
This is my favorite
Both sides are partly right. And they are both annoying and self-aggrandizing in their righteousness. Given the paucity of actual cases in play—virtually all news accounts recycle a handful of incidents in a few states—it’s clear that the main function of the current controversy is to make religious conservatives feel even more persecuted than usual and to make secular liberals feel as if they are making a last stand for human decency. As my Reason colleague Scott Shackford puts it, “Indiana’s RFRA—and the response—is all about the signaling.”( "Everybody's Lost Their...", Nick Gillespie, Apr 1, 2015, thedailybeast.com) 

Here is an info-graphic that explains the process of the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA)

I do think that balancing the right not to be wrongfully discriminated against with religious rights is an important goal. I like the recent explanation by the LDS church and their recent success in passing legislation that meets at least some of the goals of both sides.

We need to figure out how to act like sisters and brothers with each other. We need to figure out how not to be on sides. But to be on both sides.

Someone is on your side
Jack, LRRH:
OUR side
Baker, Cinderella:
Our side--
Someone else is not
While we're seeing our side
Jack, LRRH:
Our side..
Baker, Cinderella:
Our side--
Maybe we forgot: they are not alone.
No one is alone.
Hard to see the light now.
Just don't let it go
Things will come out right now.
We can make it so.
Someone is on your side
No one is alone.

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.
--Abraham Lincoln, April 6, 1859 Letter to Henry Pierce et al

Here is a ridiculously long FB thread endlessly debating the Indiana Law. There are some kernels of value there.

Some examples of the erosion of Religious Liberty

"If there are instances of religious schools being denied accreditation because of the religion"

Trinity Western University of Canada was initially denied accreditation.
Clayton Ruby said, "It is just wrong to have a law school approve discrimination in its own structure. That kind of discrimination, which denies some people the right to equality, is fundamentally inconsistent with law and democracy. This alone makes it incompetent to deliver legal education in the public interest."

It, thankfully has been overturned by the courts

Another example is that "Judges in California can no longer be members of the Boy Scouts of America because of the organization’s stance on gay leaders."

Here is the reasoning the LDS church gave for filing an amicus brief in the Obergefell v. Hodges case coming before the Supreme Court.

How has the meaning of marriage eroded?

Contraception has increased the disconnect between sex and conception. We now only have children if we want them and it is separate from the joy and pleasure of sex. Contraception has given us new power. It can be used by a wife and husband to carefully consider how many and when to have children. Marriage used to be an agreement to create and raise a new generation. It is less so because of birth control.

No-Fault divorce has increased the amount of divorces. There are many cases where divorce is necessary. I would always want there to be an escape from dangerous marriages. It has been abused by many, though, to sever the marriage because they are no longer in love or are fulfilled.

Gay marriage is another contributor to this erosion of the meaning of conjugal marriage.

No comments: