Tag Archives: religious liberty

Judge Rules Indiana Hate Groups Cannot Challenge LGBT Rights Laws

Judge Rules Indiana Hate Groups Cannot Challenge LGBT Rights Laws

In 2015 Mike Pence, signed a “religious freedom” bill into law in Indiana that caused a  national uproar because it could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Days later, legislators made revisions blocking its use as a legal defense for refusing to provide services, goods, facilities or accommodations on the basis of race, religion, gender, military service or sexual orientation. Pence fearing boycotts of the state then signed those revisions into law.

Various Indiana anti-lgbt hate groups including the The Indiana Family Institute, Indiana Family Action and the American Family Association of Indiana then filed a lawsuit against the newly revised law claiming that the changes threatened to “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. (Their definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations) And would also hinder their ability to speak out against same-sex marriages and would expose them to claims of discrimination in hiring.

The lawsuit also challenged local civil rights ordinances that include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington and Columbus, which is Pence’s hometown.

On Wednesday Hamilton County Judge Michael Casati canceled the trial finding that the “conservative groups” failed to prove they were harmed by the changes or by the civil rights ordinances. Casatit did not elaborate on how he reached the decision.

At the time of this posting 21 Indiana cities or counties — representing about 38% of the state’s population — now have local LGBT protection ordinances.

Arizona Supreme Court Rules Business Can Refuse to Make Invitations for Same-Sex Couples

Arizona Supreme Court Rules Business Can Refuse to Make Invitations for Same-Sex Couples

In a 4-3 vote the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Phoenix-based Brush & Nib Studio, a small business that refused to produce wedding invitations for a lesbian couple.

Justice Andrew Gould for the majority wrote:

“The rights of free speech and free exercise, so precious to this nation since its founding, are not limited to soft murmurings behind the doors of a person’s home or church, or private conversations with like-minded friends and family. These guarantees protect the right of every American to express their beliefs in public. This includes the right to create and sell words, paintings, and art that express a person’s sincere religious beliefs. With these fundamental principles in mind, today we hold that the City of Phoenix … cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance … to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, LC (“Brush & Nib”), to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Adopted in 2013, City Code 18-4(B)(1)-(3) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability. It applies to businesses offering services to the general public. But the state of Arizona itself has no such protections on it’s books as law.  And as we all know there are currently no federal protections against LGBT discrimination.

Alliance Defending Freedom which is designated as hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center represented the printers.

Koski and Duka spoke at Alliance Defending Freedom’s Scottsdale office in a press conference with lawyer Jonathan Scruggs.

“This is a win not just for Breanna Koski and me; it is a win for everyone,” calligrapher Joanna Duka said at a press conference in the Scottsdale office of Alliance Defending Freedom. “Everyone should be free to live and work according to their beliefs.”

The city of Arizona issued the following statement:  “The city of Phoenix’s anti-discrimination ordinance is still a legal, valid law and remains in effect,” the city said in a statement after the ruling. “It currently affirms that everyone should be treated fairly and equally regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, sex, gender or disability.  The Arizona Supreme Court made a very narrow ruling that one local business has the right to refuse to make custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples’ weddings that are similar to the designer’s previous products. This ruling does not apply to any other business in Phoenix. The city of Phoenix has had an anti-discrimination ordinance since 1964 to protect all residents and believes that everyone should be treated equally

Trump Administration's Dept. of Health and Human Services To Drop LGBT Protections

Donald Trump Opposes the LGBT Equality Act

Via the Washington Blade:

With a vote on the Equality Act in the U.S. House expected on Friday, a senior administration official indicated exclusively to the Washington Blade that President Trump opposes the bill.

“The Trump administration absolutely opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all; however, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights,” the senior administration official said via email.

More details about Trump’s position on the Equality Act may come soon from the White House, which traditionally issues a Statement of Administration Policy when legislation comes to the floor of either chamber of Congress.

Is anyone really shocked by this?

So it looks like no matter even if the Republican controlled Senate were able to pass it trump would never sign it.

This is just one more reason why the 2020 election and taking the Senate and kicking Trump out of the White House is so very important.

Georgia Republicans Introduce ANOTHER 'Religious Freedom' Right to Discriminate Against LGBT Bill

Georgia Republicans Introduce ANOTHER ‘Religious Freedom’ Right to Discriminate Against LGBT Bill

Georgia Senate Republicans have introduced the 2019 version of a bill they’ve entitled “The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.” 
Republicans say the bill is necessary to protect people whose religious beliefs come into conflict with other viewpoints. 

Republican state Sen. Marty Harbin of Tyrone said Thursday his proposal was drafted to mirror the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress in 1993 . But of course it doesn’t.

Georgia Equality, said in a news release that Harbin’s legislation “would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers, among others, and would grant taxpayer-funded agencies a broad license to discriminate against LGBT youth, families, and other Georgians.”

House Speaker and fellow Republican David Ralston in January said he was concerned a Georgia version of the federal law “has a real potential to divide us as a state.”

“It’s a much different world than it was in 1993,” Ralston said. He also said he believed the proposals were a “solution in search of a problem.”

“I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” Deal said at the time.

In 2016 when Georgia introduced a similar LGBT discrimination bill companies like Coca-Cola, The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios, Salesforce.com and the NFL all came out against it and threatened to boycott the state.

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the motion picture and television industry is responsible for more than 92,100 jobs and nearly $4.6 billion in total wages in Georgia, including indirect jobs and wages alon

FRC Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins: The Equality Act Will Destroy The 1st. Amendment

FRC’s Tony Perkins: California’s Ex-Gay Torture Bill Could Ban The Bible!

Sent via e-mail from Family Research Council hate group president and suspected white supremacist Tony Perkins:

Dear XXXXX,

There have been many recent attacks on religious liberty, but this latest one may be the most aggressive and a harbinger of what is coming to the rest of America.

On August 16, the California Senate passed an extremely anti-religious freedom bill. And if egregious attacks on religious liberty like this are not opposed by all Americans, we will increasingly slide towards a state of oppressive government nationwide.

AB 2943 is Round Two of the California legislature’s attack upon counseling for those with unwanted same-sex attraction. AB 2943 would greatly expand current restrictions, applying them to clients of any age and to any counselor who advertises or provides sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE for short), regardless of whether they are state-licensed (including religious or pastoral counselors), if there is any kind of remuneration.

In fact, since the “consumer fraud” law being amended for this purpose applies to “the sale or lease of goods or services,” opponents have pointed out the bill could apply to speeches and conferences, and even ban the sale of certain books (“goods”) — including the Bible, which has passages intended “to change behaviors” by homosexuals. (An amendment intended to alleviate the “book-banning” concern remained inadequate.)

Alarm over the possibility that this bill might — even theoretically — “ban Bible sales” has awakened many people to the threat that such therapy bans pose to core freedoms of speech and religion. The implications of these attacks extend well beyond the limited population of people with unwanted same-sex attractions and the compassionate therapists who seek to help them achieve their client-driven goals. Yet California legislators went ahead and voted for a bill that they know is likely unconstitutional.

There is irony in the fact that the California Senate’s vote came in the same week that a new peer-reviewed medical journal article began circulating that debunks the key claims made in support of counseling bans. The new article in The Linacre Quarterly, authored by Paul L. Santero, Neil E. Whitehead, and Dolores Ballesteros, was a careful study of 125 men who underwent SOCE, and found that “most . . . had heterosexual shifts in sexual attraction, sexual identity and behavior,” as well as “decreases in suicidality, depression, [and] substance abuse . . .” [emphasis added]. These findings mirror those of a similar study by Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse a decade ago, which were reported to the American Psychological Association convention and exhaustively documented in a 400-page book.

AB 2943 amounts to an attack upon the teachings of faith regarding counseling over unwanted sexual conduct. It’s an attack upon the religious liberty of all Americans, and silence on threats like this could end with others being silenced as well Standing (Eph. 6:13),

 

Labor Department Grants Federal Contractors “Religious Exemptions” To Discriminate Against LGBTs

Labor Department Grants Federal Contractors “Religious Exemptions” To Discriminate Against LGBTs

Via Buzzfeed News:

President Donald Trump offered skeptical LGBT Americans an olive branch when he took office in January 2017. The White House promised to safeguard a 2014 executive order that protects workers, announcing former President Obama’s ban on anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors “will remain intact.”

But on Aug. 10 of this year, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) quietly issued Directive 2018-03, which broadly expanded the rights of businesses with federal contracts to raise a “religious exemption” if they’re accused of discrimination.

Sharon McGowan, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and now the legal director of the LGBT group Lambda Legal, said the new directive attempts to “immunize” federal contractors who discriminate. “This Administration apparently recognizes — correctly, in our view — that rescinding [Obama’s 2014] executive order outright would cause a huge public outcry,” she told BuzzFeed News. “So instead, this Administration is trying to accomplish the same end through different means.”

EEOC lacks the ability to revoke multimillion-dollar federal contracts.

“President Trump and his Administration are working diligently to improve the lives of all Americans, including faith-based and LGBT communities,” said Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters when reached for comment.

 

 

Mormons Try To Block Marijuana Vote By Using SCOTUS Anti-Gay "Religious Liberty" Cake Case

Mormons Try To Block Marijuana Vote By Using SCOTUS Anti-Gay “Religious Liberty” Cake Case

It is their second lawsuit intending to block voters from weighing in on on the use of medical marijuana in Utah a group of Mormon opponents of Proposition 2 filed a lawsuit in state court Wednesday, said the ballot initiative would tread on their “freedom of religion”.

Walter J. Plumb, an attorney and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is the primary financier of the opposition campaign’s lawsuit takes issue with a provision of the ballot measure that would prevent landlords from not renting to a medical marijuana cardholder, saying that could create an issue of Mormon property owners being forced into renting to people who use cannabis.

Plumb’s “religious beliefs include a strict adherence to a code of health which precludes the consumption and possession of mind-altering drugs, substances and chemicals, which includes cannabis and its various derivatives,” the complaint states.

The group cites a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving a Colorado bakery owner who declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, saying it would go against his religious beliefs. 

“In the United States of America, members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have a constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs,” the complaint reads. “This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant.”

“The State of Utah is attempting to compel the speech of Utah landowners by suppressing their ability to speak out against cannabis use and consumption by only renting to tenants who do not possess or consume cannabis,” the complaint reads, “and who support their viewpoints in opposition against cannabis possession and consumption.”

The measure’s proponents seemed gleeful with the latest filing calling it a “wacky attempt” to stop Utahns from voting on it.

SCOTUS Anti-Gay Baker Jack Philips Denies Service To Trans Customer, Sues Colorado Officials

SCOTUS Anti-Gay Baker Jack Philips Denies Service To Trans Customer, Sues Colorado Officials

Months after winning a Supreme Court case over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple Jack  Phillips, in concert with designated hate group Alliance Defending Freedom once again is trying to push anti-LGBT discrimination under the guise of so-called religious freedom,”

Autumn Scardina tried to order a cake from Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in June 2017 with a pink interior and blue exterior to celebrate the anniversary of her coming out as a transgender woman. Phillips refused to make the cake, saying “it would have celebrated messages contrary to his religious belief that sex ― the status of being male or female ― is given by God, is biologically determined.”

Phillips, was then ordered by the state Civil Rights Commission into mediation with the trans customer for whom he had refused to bake a cake, and is now suing Colorado officials in federal court claiming they violated his rights to freedom of speech and religion. 

“Colorado has renewed its war against him by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him,” the lawsuit alleges.

Phillips lawsuit argues, that the Supreme Court ruling allows him to decline customers for religious reasons. The court, however, did not address whether religious objectors to same-sex relationships can avoid anti-discrimination laws under the guise of “religious freedom” to refuse to serve to LGBT customers.

“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” said Kristen Waggoner, an attorney of the anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Phillips.

A representative for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission said that the commission could not comment on pending or active litigation and, by law, could not verify or disclose the existence of charges detailed by Phillips.

 

Southern Poverty Law Center Trashes Jeff Sessions Over Praising Praising ADF Hate Group

Jeff Sessions Announces “Religious Liberty Task Force” To “Protect And Promote” LGBT Hate Groups

The Washington Examiner reports:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has created a religious liberty task force to “protect and promote religious liberty.” Speaking from the Justice Department in Washington, Sessions said the task force, which he will chair, is to help implementation of the religious liberty memo he signed in October.

That 25-page memo outlines 20 guiding principles that federal agencies can use to protect religious liberty in employment, contracting and programming. The task force will facilitate compliance with the October memo, address new or recurring issues with implication of the memo and facilitate interagency coordination regarding the memo.

Exceprts from Sessions remarks include:

A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated. This election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends. Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, but by intellectual victories.

We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs. (SNIP)

President Trump heard this concern. I believe this unease is one reason that he was elected. In substance, he said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith. He declared we would say “Merry Christmas” again.

The Democratic National Committee LGBTQ media director Lucas Acosta issued the following statement:

From supporting the right to refuse service to same-sex couples to banning military service by transgender individuals to removing mentions of LGBTQ issues from the White House website, Attorney General Sessions’ creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force is just the latest assault in this administration’s continued campaign against LGBTQ people and our civil rights.

“By creating this task force, Sessions is establishing a unit dedicated to undermining LGBTQ rights and giving anti-LGBTQ far-right extremists like task force head Jesse Panuccio a taxpayer-funded platform to push their anti-equality agenda. Rather than ensuring every person has equal protections and opportunities, Sessions is shamefully doubling down on bigotry.

“This action is further proof that Republicans continue to push forward an agenda completely out of step with the American people and our values. Democrats will continue to focus on how to improve opportunity for all Americans regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or income.”

 

Kentucky House Waters Down Religious Liberty/Freedom To Discriminate Bill Over Fear of Backlash

Kentucky House Waters Down Religious Liberty/Freedom To Discriminate Bill Over Fear of Backlash

Kentucky lawmakers rewrote a bill Wednesday that scaled-back an egregious  “Religious Liberty” and “Freedom to Discriminate” law with a substitute wording that simply clarifies that only churches and ministers do not have to provide wedding services for same-sex couples if they have religious objections.

State Rep. Jason Nemes, who offered the substitute, said he didn’t want the legislation to go too far. Other states, including North Carolina, have suffered economic boycotts by wading into controversial battles over sexual orientation and civil-rights protection in the three years since the Supreme Court’s marriage same-sex marriage decision in 2015 which already established that clergy have a First Amendment right to not participate in same-sex weddings if they object.

“I wanted to make sure that the (legislation) that passed out of the House of Representatives protected churches and ministers and didn’t go further than that,” said Nemes,

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. also stood against the original version of the bill that would have allowed churches and religious organizations the right to ignore civil-rights protections offered by Lexington, Covington, and several other Kentucky cities to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

“We do business in a number of other states, and had concerns, frankly, about how it would appear to those outside Kentucky if we seemed to be discriminating against any one particular group,” said Dave Adkisson, the chamber’s president.

Several Republicans on the committee said they were disappointed because they supported the bill as originally written, but they preferred getting something to nothing.

“The religious liberty and religious freedom of our country are under constant attack,” state Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, told the committee as he testified for the bill.

Democrats said the original bill promoted intolerance added that they had no problem with Nemes’ version, because clergy already are not required to marry anyone under the law.

“Honestly, I haven’t heard any outrage from any of the churches in my district about having to participate in anyone’s weddings, so I don’t know what problem this is supposed to be solving,” State Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Louisville, said adding that she thinks this might just be an easy pass for the Republican controlled state that so far has nothing to show for getting anything done. “Pension reform isn’t happening. They’re struggling to get any kind of a budget passed. So now it’s ‘Hey, let’s do another religious liberty bill.’”

The new re-written watered down bill will  proceed to the full House for a vote