Face Off

The Conflict of Discrimination

It is commonly being said today, “Religious people are complaining that it’s discrimination to take away their right to discriminate against LGBT people.” If something just doesn’t seem right about this statement, your’re right.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So religious people have the right to free exercise and speech regarding their religion. This does not mean their rights can override other U.S. laws. For example, if your religion tells you to kill all the infidels, you are not going to get by this murder because of the First Amendment. The focus here is  primarily in regard to government infringement of rights, not so much the private sector.

Civil Rights Law

Another important piece of law in regard to discrimination is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its Title II and VII bar public accommodation and employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Sometimes there are religious exemptions from this law – sometimes not.

State and Local Discrimination Law

States and local governments are increasingly adding their own discrimination laws or expounding upon their existing laws to include both sexual orientation and gender identity. Many states and municipalities have civil rights commissions to receive complaints, investigate, fine, require sensitivity training, and file criminal lawsuits.

Defining Terms

What is discrimination? In the broadest sense of the term it is to distinguish between to things. Every time you have a choice, you are discriminating. If you choose chocolate instead of vanilla, you’ve discriminated for chocolate and against vanilla. The problem is when people discriminate for invalid reasons and it harms others. But what is a valid discrimination to one person is invalid to another. This is why the government has enacted laws to help regulate these differences of opinion. But another problem occurs when the government includes different groups of people into discrimination law because conflicts arise.

For example, consider an African-American civil rights organization that needs to hire a new director. Latino and Asian applicants apply but are not considered because the organization deems it important to hire an African-American person. Is this discrimination? Yes. Is it invalid discrimination? It depends who you ask. Most Latino and Asian people, if putting themselves in the shoes of the African-American organization, see the point of hiring an African-American director. But some will not see anyone elses view but their own and see it as unjust discrimination. What if the organization hires a contractor for landscaping services and only considers African-American companies? Is this unjust discrimination? It depends on who you ask. Some will say because African-American companies loose business to bigoted decision makers that they deserve some type of affirmative action to help level the playing field. Others will claim this is technically unjust discrimination and is wrong. So even within the same class, in this case race, conflicts arise. Discrimination law cannot eliminate the charge of unjust discrimination but hopefully it can minimize it.

Conclusion

The same conflicts are arising with LGBT rights which are now being included with race, color, religion, sex,  and national origin in many states/municipalities. Many on both sides can understand the others perspective and not wish to force others to do what they find objectionable. In Kentucky a Christian owned print shop refused to print T-shirts for a gay pride event and was penalized for violating a local civil rights ordinance. A local lesbian printer publicly supported the Christian printers decision because she realizes that if someone wants her to print an anti-gay T-shirt, she doesn’t want to be penalized. For those who cannot or will not understand others perspective, the courts will decide for them. But rest assured, where inevitable conflict exist in discrimination law, one side will feel justice has been served and and the other will feel unjustly discriminated against.

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The Irony of Patricia Todd’s Anger Over Others Hypocrisy

Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker is threatening to expose state politicians who have extramarital affairs but say gay marriage is immoral or bad for children.

State Rep. Patricia Todd, a Birmingham Democrat, says she was furious over some of the comments made by some colleagues after they learned gay couples might soon be able to get married in Alabama.

Todd says they’re being hypocrites. She says will “out” politicians who cheat on their spouses or have other ethical lapses, but cite family values to oppose gay marriage.[1]

Of course she is right to charge adulterers touting ‘family values’ as hypocrites, but if she’s so concerned about hypocrisy maybe she should start with her own:

  1. If someone was cheating on her, wouldn’t she want someone to tell her?
  2. If someone were to tell her, would she want it done publicly or privately?
  3. She’s been helping these people get by with adultery all along by staying silent.
  4. She’s somewhat responsible if people get HIV from these cheating spouses.  Adultery is a matter of live and death these days.
  5. She’s committing blackmail and she’s a lawmaker.
  6. Does she want her fellow representatives to be making political decisions out of revenge and anger towards her?
  7. Gays use of the term “marriage equality” is hypocritical. Gays are not the only people in AL who want legal marriage but don’t have it. What about the polygamous and even bi-sexuals who may want multiple spouses?

[1] http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GAY_MARRIAGE_ALABAMA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-27-12-50-33

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LGBT Rights/Same-Sex Marriage/Acceptance Hurts No One – Except…

We were told that LGBT rights/acceptance would hurt no-one. The follow is a running list showing the opposite.

13. In January 2015 the California Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics prohibited judges from affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America because it does not allow gay and lesbian adults to serve as leaders.

12. Ms. Gillian John-Charles was kicked out of a doctoral program in education at Roosevelt University for expressing in class her belief that homosexuals aren’t born gay.

11. Jennifer Keeton was dismissed from the counseling program at Augusta State University for her religious reservations about the homosexuality.

10. Craig James was fired by Fox Sports Southwest after expressing his support for natural marriage while he was a candidate for the United States Senate.

9.  Vermont’s Wildflower Inn no longer hosts weddings after being fined $30,000 for turning away a same-sex couple.

8. Baker Melissa Klein was fined by the government for refusing to do a wedding. Along with a boycott effort she went out of business.

7. Florist Barronelle Stutzman was sued by the government because she would not serve a gay wedding for a customer she had been serving for the past nine years.

6. University of California Hastings College of Law in 2004 strips the campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society of recognition because it required officers and voting members to share and abide by the group’s core beliefs which violated “sexual orientation” provisions.

5. Colin Collette, a gay man, worked as the music director of Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness, Illinois for 17 years. Legal SSM gave him the idea to come out as gay and it got him fired. He is now suing his church (1 Corinthians 6). (He claims the church knew he was in a gay relationship. The church should have acts at that time – 1 Corinthians 5).

4. Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran who was fired for writing a book which made his biblical views concerning homosexuality public.

3. Co-founder and CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, was pressured to resign from his own company because he gave a donation in favor of Prop 8 which supported marriage in California as only between one man and one woman

2. New Mexico’s Elane Photography was sued and forced to pay compensation to a gay couple for refusing to photograph their wedding.

1. Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho had to file a lawsuit (which they prevailed) to challenge their cities new discrimination ordinance. They also had to restructure their corporation and policies. Besides their legal costs their business can no longer perform any civil ceremonies.

 

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