A Small Victory for Freedom

I agree with Walter—the ruling should have been broader. Laws violate the First Amendment when they force people to print or utter words in which they disbelieve.

That’s Not Funny!

LGBTQ hypersensitivities have played a major role, after race and gender, in the intersectional hysteria that has gripped college campuses and, indeed, much of the left. Does growing mockery signal that sanity may be returning? If so, is there a path toward equality and supportive community that doesn’t invoke authoritarian-like thought control and the demonizing of white, heterosexual, cisgender males?

Really not so funny:

Assaults on Free Speech Continue

This says so much:

Kirchick [was] expected to address the ways in which oppressive regimes endanger gay rights. The event has generated controversy on campus, with DePaul officials censoring a poster promoting the talk due to its statement: “Gay Lives Matter.”

More. It’s not just Jamie Kirchick. Leftist Protesters Shout Down Gay Journalist at Portland State University, referencing Chadwick Moore’s attempt to share his views. Writes Tom Knighton:

College campuses aren’t welcoming places for any speaker who isn’t a Leftist—the Left’s dirty little secret is that identity doesn’t really matter to them at all. …

The student group that put on the event, Freethinkers of PSU, is reportedly a non-partisan student group. They reported that they attempted to place flyers for the event with PSU’s Queer Resource Center, but were denied.

From the comments:

Kosh III: The true danger to the First Amendment is from Trump and his cult followers such as Miller and other quislings. But maybe Miller hopes for a sinecure in the Fourth Reich?

Jason replies: Only in the Alice-in Wonderland delusions of the left would opposing mob tactics to keep invited speakers from expressing views that the mob dislikes be seen as the Nazi side.

‘Religious Freedom’ Is a Core Value, Not a Scare Phrase

The executive order is significantly reduced in scope from earlier drafts promoted by the Heritage Foundation and other social conservatives. In its final form, it:
1. Declares that it is the policy of the administration to protect and vigorously promote religious liberty;
2. Directs the IRS to exercise maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits religious leaders from speaking about politics and candidates from the pulpit (and which mostly goes unenforced, especially against black churches supporting Democratic candidates);
3. Provides regulatory relief for religious objectors to Obamacare’s preventive services mandate, a position supported by the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby.

The ACLU is threatening to sue. Update: No, now they’re not.

Social conservatives, rightly, see a defeat—Trump (and Ivanka/Jared) are not, and have never been, on the anti-gay bandwagon.

But the Human Rights campaign isn’t changing its narrative:

Furthermore. From the comments: To the charge “Isn’t it more accurate to say that [the Johnson Amendment] mostly goes unenforced against ‘any’ churches? There has been exactly one (1) prosecution of a church under the Johnson Amendment in the 63 years it’s been around. Why single out black churches in particular?,” reader Jason replies:

Short of actual prosecution is the threat of prosecution. White evangelical churches have been warned, from time to time, about supporting socially conservative politicians and “crossing the line” from the pulpit, and liberal groups have threatened to make this an issue. But Stephen is correct; African-American churches sermonizing to vote for Democrats are under much less pressure, owing to the history of the civil rights movement. To raise the issue (and some on the right do) is to invite the charge of racism. So black churches feel much less constrained than do white churches.

More on the Anti-Trump March

Washington Blade columnist Mark Lee comments on Facebook that “people are starting to ask on social media if the event will actually happen or if they should cancel their travel plans and reservations.”

As the Blade reports:

The National LGBTQIA+ “Equality March for Unity and Pride” in DC takes place in only 7 weeks – but there’s been little preparation or organizing for the event. No permits yet, no route finalized, no website launched, no details disclosed, and no money raised to cover the major expenses for an event of this type.

Yes, it will happen. Yes, it will be a mess. And yes, it will amount to little and lead to nothing.

But hey, the co-chairs are diverse, complete with a listing of their preferred pronouns including “They, Them, Theirs,” “They/Them She/Hers,” and “She, Her, Hers, Trans Goddess.”

More. When it’s finally announced, expect that platform to embrace the full bag of left-progressive political demands. On the LGBTQIA+ front, expect calls to roll back the extremely limited protections for small businesses under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by passing the Human Rights Campaign-backed Equality Act, and demands that the federal government mandate what are essentially gender-neutral restrooms and changing facilities.

Some activists might even say having ‘genital preferences’ in dating is transphobic, at which point sexual orientation itself may become a thought crime.

A GOP Bill to Ban Anti-LGBT Employment Discrimination Won’t Happen (IMHO)

Via the Washington Blade, a look at the chances of Republicans moving an LGBT anti-discrimination bill.

I agree that Donald Trump might sign a reasonable workplace anti-discrimination bill, and I had forgotten that House Speaker Paul Ryan was a co-sponsor of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which the Democrats failed to move forward when during the first two years of the Obama presidency they controlled the White House and had supermajorities in Congress.

But I don’t think a Log Cabin-backed measure will go anywhere in the current political climate. For one thing, the establishment (i.e., Democratic) LGBT lobbies won’t support a bill that’s limited to employment discrimination and which includes reasonable religious exemptions. Without the support of the Human Rights Campaign, no Democrats will be on board.

The column’s author, Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Equality Forum and LGBT History Month, says he would back such as measure. But he’s nevertheless dismissive of efforts to balance the competing rights of employment nondiscrimination and religious freedom, as if the latter was nothing but a right-wing ploy—a popular assertion by secular progressive who assign no value to constitutional protections against being forced by the state to violate deeply held religious convictions because, after all, only our rights matter.

Circuit Split

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that anti-gay workplace bias is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, reversing an earlier decision from a three-judge panel. As the Washington Blade reports, in a 8-3 decision the court found “discrimination based on sexual orientation constitutes discrimination based on one’s perception of gender stereotypes, which the U.S. Supreme Court has determined is unlawful under Title VII.”

As I blogged last month, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled 2-1 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors including sex, doesn’t protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Unless the full 11th Circuit Court follows the 7th Circuit’s lead and reverses last month’s panel ruling, it Looks like this will be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice Kennedy may again be the swing vote.

As I said before, Title VII has already been stretched so far beyond its original intent, to say it can be stretched no further seems arbitrary.

More. An interesting observation from The Volokh Conspiracy site:

The interesting opinion here is not the majority…. It’s Judge Flaum’s. He makes a novel and extremely clever argument (at least to me) to explain why discrimination against homosexuals is sex discrimination using mixed motive theory.

Title VII prohibits me from firing someone for a mix of good and bad reasons (“mixed motives”). So if I fire you because you’re a woman who is bad at your job, but don’t fire men who are equally bad at their jobs, I have violated the law–even though part of the reason for the firing is that you are bad at your job, a lawful (indeed, laudable) reason to fire someone.

Flaum’s innovative observation is to point out that firing someone for homosexuality means that I am firing them based upon TWO facts, not one: the person is 1. a woman who 2. is attracted to women. (Or 1. a man who 2. is attracted to men.) Voila– whether fact number 2 is a prohibited characteristic or not under the law is irrelevant, because firing someone based on fact number 1 is most definitely illegal, and firing someone for a mix of legal and illegal motives is also illegal.

Flaum’s a conservative’s conservative. When he is going out of his way to explain to conservatives the obvious errors of the “sexual-orientation-isn’t-sex” line of argument, it’s time to pack it in.

A Compromise in the Bathroom War

Walter Olson writes:

The new compromise is being met with peals of outrage from some of the predictable ultras on both sides. But it looks to me like a more careful attempt to respect the legitimate rights of both sides than we’ve seen in this controversy up to now.

One problem with ordinances that require restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all regardless of gender, in an effort to end discrimination against transgender men and women, is that you get situations like this: Large Burly Man’ Lurking in Disney Ladies’ Room Should Make Everyone Stop and Think:

If this had been 5 years ago, you bet your ass every woman in there would’ve been like, “Ummm what are you doing in here?”, but in 2017? The mood has shifted. We had been culturally bullied into silenced. Women were mid-changing their baby’s diapers on the changing tables and I could see them shifting to block his view. But they remained silent. I stayed silent. We all did. Every woman who exited a stall and immediately zeroed right in on him…said nothing. And why? B/c I and I’m sure all the others were scared of that “what if”. What if I say something and he says he “identifies as a woman” and then I come off as the intolerant asshole at the happiest place on earth? So we all stood there, shifting in our uncomfortableness…trading looks. I saw two women leave the line with their children. Still nothing was said. An older lady said to me out loud, “What is he doing in here?” I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged and mouthed, “I don’t know.” She immediately walked out, from a bathroom she had every right to use without fear.

Double Standards All Round

Gay fashion guru Carson Kressley, formerly of TV’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” was asked by Washington, D.C.’s Metro Weekly about designers who have publicly refused to dress the First Lady Melania Trump in protest against her husband. Kressley’s response:

“Designers are artists and many of them have very strong political views. That’s the beauty of our country. If you don’t want to work with somebody, you don’t have to. I think it’s well within their rights to say no. I don’t think it’s disrespectful. It’s just a personal choice.”

Hmmm. If only LGBT progressives would recognize that same right for photographers, bakers and other creative types.

The New York Post reports that Guy wearing Trump hat sues bar for refusing to serve him. I don’t think the bar did the right thing as a matter of fairness and civility, but I also think suing for service is a bad idea.

The Post further reports that:

A manager said he spoke to the bar owner, and was told, “Anyone who supports Trump or believes what you believe is not welcome here. And you need to leave right now because we won’t serve you!,” according to the suit.

I’d argue this is murkier than cases where business owners are operating out of religious belief and not political pique, but I still think the Trump supporter shouldn’t go running to the state to punish the bar owner.

Yet how many on the left who think the bar did the right thing, or at least had the right to do so, also believe that government should force caterers and wedding planners to provide their services to same-sex weddings?