The Equality Act Targets Service Providers


“And while the Equality Act doesn’t alter the exceptions in the Civil Rights Act for religious organizations, it specifically notes that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 cannot be invoked as a defense for discriminating under these laws.”

In other words, courts can consider the “discrimination” of a LGBT activist being told “Sorry, I don’t want to decorate a cake with a same-sex couple because it’s against my religion but they’d be happy to bake you one next store,” but won’t be able to consider the religious freedom rights of the service provider with regard to the protections provided under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

RFRA requires that the authorities meet the high standard of showing that the government has a compelling interest to justify infringing on religious freedom when enforcing federal law. If stripping defendants of RFRA protections in these cases wasn’t a big deal—that is, if it were obvious that compelling service providers to craft messages in support of same-sex marriage or gender transitions clearly trumped any rights to religious protection—why would progressives be insisting on a RFRA exclusion?

More. In the comments to an earlier post, reader “Sebastian” wrote a response to the argument that conservative Christians have had a long record of working to deny LGBTQ people their legal rights, replying that:

Your identity is so bound up with being “the victim” that you’re unable to see that, in this situation, you’re now the oppressor. It reminds me of the communists who were persecuted and then took power and persecuted those who were of the class that had persecuted them. They couldn’t see that they were now the oppressor — they had no mental picture in which it was conceivable to them that good communists, who had been targeted and persecuted all of their adult lives, could now be the oppressor.

I think that’s spot on. When I hear the argument that we must force bakers to craft same-sex wedding cakes in order to “stop their hate”—as, for instance, a recent episode of Will & Grace reiterated the “need to struggle” against the “haters” who won’t bake same-sex cakes—it seems clear that LGBTQ activists (and those who go to court to force religious conservatives to craft supportive messages are by definition “activists”) have no mental template in which it’s possible to consider that they themselves have become the persecutors.

In Defense of Western Civilization

Bo Winegard:

“But, whatever its flaws, [the West] has raised more people out of indigence, misery, superstition, and intolerance than any other civilization in history. Today, it is laudably cosmopolitan and largely free from grotesque forms of discrimination and bigotry. An ideology which fails to recognize this, which insists that racism and sexism are woven into the fabric of everyday life, will probably alienate more people than it convinces and will unfairly malign and misrepresent the state of Western society.”

More below:

A Win for Freedom

More. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission was headed for another probable 7-2 loss before the Supreme Court, given that some of its members had shown the same religious animus against baker Jack Phillips that they had the first time around.

As The Federalist reports, Phillips’ attorneys:

found current commissioners publicly agreeing with 2015 comments from commissioner Dianne Rice that compared Jack’s Christianity to the ideologies motivating slavery and the Holocaust. Rice’s comments were specifically singled out by the Supreme Court as evidence of the commission’s bias.

That bias aimed to jettison Jack’s constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of association, and free expression of religion, all over a cake that could be had from any number of nearby shops. Yet when the commission discussed the Supreme Court ruling in summer 2018, two commissioners openly supported Rice’s comparison of Christianity to Nazism and racism. …

Faced with this evidence of their persistent animus against Christians, the commission folded its second case against Jack. But it still maintains the power to do this to anyone at any time, even still based on anti-religious bigotry so long as they keep that to themselves.

Related: Washington Post, The Senate just confirmed a judge who interned at an anti-LGBTQ group. She’ll serve for life.


A Movement Unmoored

As Andrew Sullivan wrote recently (second item):

It is even transphobic, I am now informed, for a gay man not to want to sleep with a trans man who has a vagina. In response to my recent column on the subject, I was told by Sue Hyde, a woman who is at the very heart of the LGBTQIA++ movement, to, yes, give it a try: “Maybe Sullivan … would give [a handsome trans man with a vagina who uses a dildo as a penis] a toss in the hay and next day, be singing a different tune about category woman/girl >>> category man/boy persons’ capacities to uphold and expand the experiences and meanings of homosex.” Maybe. Or maybe I’ll sleep with whomever I want — you know, something we used to call sexual freedom.

But this is how deep the ideology runs. It wants to control not only the public discourse, and language, and rig sports contests, but also insinuate itself into the most intimate areas of an individual’s sex life. Once upon a time, the religious right would tell me that I should sleep with women because I might find the right one and finally be happy. Now the intersectional left is telling me something almost exactly the same. What has happened to this movement? Where on earth has it gone?

Where, indeed. Having achieved the decriminalization of homosexual relations and, shortly thereafter, legal equality for marriage and LGB military service—the two areas where discrimination was government enforced—the LGBTQIA++ movement has become unhinged from any kind of objective reality. Witness GLAAD’s declaration, noted earlier, that to even question Jusse Smollett’s deeply suspicious (and now unraveled) hate-crime story was evidence of racism and homophobia. Or HRC’s near-total dismissal of the Trump administration’s initiative to seek the worldwide decriminalization of homosexual relations.

Other than the mean-spirited misuse of state power to force religiously conservative service providers to craft messages in support of same-sex marriage, and promoting the false narrative that biological sex is irrelevant in light of self-professed gender identity, there’s not much left of a movement that was once devoted to extending the promise of liberty and legal equality to gay people.

Lesson Learned? Don’t Bet on It

GLAAD, Feb. 14:

“Jussie Smollett was victimized first in a hate-motivated and violent attack in Chicago and has since been doubly victimized as the subject of speculation by the media industry and broader culture,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement. … “GLAAD joined with Color of Change to condemn the racism and homophobia that fueled the physical violence against Jussie and today we double down on that stance, while also calling out a culture where LGBTQ people of color are too often the last to be believed.”

Jonah Goldberg, Feb. 22:

A host of liberals are bleating about conservative “gloating” over the Smollett debunking. What they seem to sincerely not understand is that their instant acceptance of the story and their instant condemnation of anyone who voiced skepticism over it was an act of oppression. “You must care!” “You must believe!” There is no safe harbor. No right to skepticism or even reflection.

Related: A list of hoax hate crimes in the Trump era.


P.C. vs. Art

Bret Easton Ellis writes:

“Homosexuality and disease and the closet isn’t the point, suffering and victimhood is not at their center, and ideology is pushed back in favor of simple storytelling. These are films in which a character’s sexuality doesn’t become the whole pathetic reason for the movie to exist. This is, remarkably, in American movies, a new thing.”