If the Supreme Court followed the basic rules of ethics applicable to every other court, Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh would have to recuse themselves from the Bostock, Altitude Express, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes cases — the ones which seek to reinterpret Title VII to allow for bigotry against the LGBT community. Alito and Kavanaugh took some sort of meeting and even posed for a picture with the leader of a virulent anti-LGBT group, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
It’s really bad enough that conservative justices are so willing to give public aid and comfort to right-wing groups like the Federalist Society. But this meeting with the NOM is is outrageous. NOM has filed an amicus brief with the Court in the Bostock/Altitude/Funeral Homes cases. The Court has heard arguments and the justices are ostensibly working on their opinions in those cases RIGHT NOW. Taking meeting and a picture with people who have a case and argument pending in front of you would be unacceptable for any other court in the land.
Brian Brown has a long history of anti-gay activism is working to get the Supreme Court to overturn its 2015 Obergefell decision. He also has publically denounced presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s marriage as illegitimate.
SCOTUS unfortunately is not subject to the same ethics rules that all other judges in the country are.
When Donald Trump assumed the presidency, conservative religious leaders drew up “wish lists’ of steps they hoped he’d take to oppose abortion and rein in the LGBTQ-rights movement. With a flurry of recent actions, Trump’s administration is now winning their praise for aggressively fulfilling many of their goals.
“In the first two years of his administration, he’s achieved more than all of the presidents combined since Ronald Reagan,” Staver said. “He’s been the most pro-religious freedom and pro-life president in modern history.”
The Log Cabin Republicans were unavailable for comment.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by Congress in 1993 after a controversial Supreme Court decision in 1990 about two American Indians who worked as private drug rehab counselors and ingested peyote as part of religious ceremonies conducted by the Native American Church, and they were subsequently fired.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the firing.
Because of this case a near unanimous Congress passed RFRA in 1993 and President Bill Clinton signed the law saying that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification” and “the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.”
Reps. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) in the House and Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA) in the Senate have introduced the “Do No Harm Act.” If passed, RFRA could still be used to protect religious freedoms, but it couldn’t be used as a weapon against others:
The Do No Harm Act would clarify that no one can seek religious exemption from laws guaranteeing fundamental civil and legal rights. Originally introduced in response to the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores decision that made it possible for corporations to deny health care to female employees, the legislation would also overturn the Trump Administration’s recent waiver allowing child welfare agencies in South Carolina to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals and different religions.
“We cannot be equal or free if our government grants select Americans a license to discriminate against their neighbors under the guise of religious freedom,” said Congressman Kennedy. “By passing the Do No Harm Act, we can reestablish the sacred balance between religious liberty and the personal liberties of those who have too often had their civil rights bargained away. I’m proud to stand with Congressman Scott, Senator Harris, and civil rights activists from around the country as we continue on our march towards a more perfect union.”
In addition to protecting civil rights on an individual basis, the Do No Harm Act would also overturn the Trump Administration’s recent waiver allowing faith-based foster agencies in South Carolina to deny services to same-sex and non-Christian couples.
Jennifer Holliday, longtime LGBT icon and ally, as canceled her appearance at Donald Trump’s inauguration event next week, calling her decision to perform a “lapse of judgement.”
In an open letter, obtained by TheWrap, Holiday apologized to the LGBT community, saying she was “uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.”
“My only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!”
Holliday ends her letter telling her gay fans: “Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.”
Read Holliday’s full letter below:
TO MY BELOVED LGBT COMMUNITY:
Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having sung for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush.
I was asked to sing a song for what was presented to me as the “Welcome Concert For The People”– in my mind I was reflecting on the past times of being asked to sing for presidents and I only focused on the phrase “For The People”… I thought, For America!
I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country… Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!
I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.
Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.
Thank you for communicating with me, I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.
Thank you for your posted comments both the good supportive ones as well as the ugly hurtful ones.