Persecuting Baronelle Stutzman Shows Lack of Decency

Washington state’s highest court ruled that Barronelle Stutzman discriminated against longtime customers Rob Ingersoll and Curt Freed when she refused to do the flowers for their 2013 wedding because of her religious opposition to participating in a same-sex marriage. Instead, Stutzman suggested several other florists in the area who would help them.

Her lawyers will attempt to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where A Colorado case involving a baker who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding is pending.

“I knew Rob was gay for all those years, and it made no difference to me,” Ms. Stutzman said. “I chose not to participate in one event, and that’s what this is all about. If Rob walked into my shop tomorrow, I’d wait on him for another 10 years.”

Ingersoll and Freed should have respected her right to decline and found another Seattle-area florist. That would have been the decent thing to do. Decency, however, is an increasingly rare commodity.

When nonprogresives support LGBT rights, it’s insidious

The Trump administration will keep the position of special U.S. envoy to promote LGBT rights abroad at State Department, the Washington Blade reports.

Pete Buttigieg, gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., with higher political aspirations (he’s an extremely long-shock candidate for Democratic National Committee Chair), in a separate Washington Blade interview, lambasted “the level of ‘pinkwashing’ of the Trump campaign.”

Reminder: The term “pinkwashing” was concocted by leftists to dismiss Israel’s support for gay legal equality and inclusion. As described by Mark Joseph Stern, it’s the presumption that “the Israeli government has no interest in promoting LGBTQ rights except to help mask its oppression of other groups.” That Buttigieg would use such a term is, well, disgraceful.

Challenging the Narrative

Two tweets:

(Compare the above with the hyperbolic Washington Blade headline ‘Scalia on Steroids’, quoting NYC Rep. Jerry Nadler’s characterization of the judge.)

When Liberalism Became Progressivism

Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report used to be a progressive. Now he’s not. Here’s why he left the left.

An excerpt:

I’m a married gay man, so you might think that I appreciate the government forcing a Christian baker or photographer or florist to act against their religion in order to cater, photograph or decorate my wedding. But you’d be wrong. A government that can force Christians to violate their conscience can force me to violate mine.

If a baker won’t bake you a cake, find another baker, don’t demand the state tell him what to do with his private business.

I’m pro-choice. But a government that can force a group of Catholic nuns—literally called the Little Sisters of the Poor—to violate their faith and pay for abortion-inducing birth control can force anyone to do anything.

Fake News Revealed

James Kirchick has penned a thoughtful look at the proliferation of fake news. He’s no fan of Donald Trump, as he makes very clear. But neither can he abide the cascade of, shall we say untruths, from Trump’s critics on the left. For instance, he writes:

I cannot recall the number of times I’ve read or been told that Mike Pence supports “conversion therapy” for homosexuals, the inhumane, pseudoscientific practice whereby gay men and women are made to believe that their nature is unnatural and they, therefore, must work to “change” it through psychologically abusive tactics. Pence is by no means friendly to the cause of gay equality, but as the journalist Carl Cannon recently wrote, nowhere has he ever come out in favor of conversion therapy—not once, ever.

And elsewhere:

The tendency to hyperbolize about Trump is partly influenced by an identity-politics-driven myopia which can’t see the unprecedentedly threatened societal forest because it’s so obsessed with each and every single one of the supposedly endangered trees. In the days after the presidential election, I came across countless social media posts in which the author recited some variation of the following lament: “Trump’s victory will most hurt women, African-Americans, undocumented immigrants, LGBT people, etc.” the list of potential victim groups extending sometimes for an entire paragraph or more. It was as if the authors of these posts were completely oblivious to the joke about the apocryphal New York Times headline, “WORLD ENDS: BLACKS AND WOMEN HARDEST HIT.” The bizarre inclusion of “LGBT” in this litany of victimhood notwithstanding (Trump ran as the most pro-gay Republican presidential candidate in history and made a point of addressing transgender concerns)….

Kirchick has many scathing criticisms of Trump, but he’s not going to let the left’s deluge of fake news go unexposed.

[Added: When “resistance” is premised on false assertions used to advance bogus narratives, it undermines the ability to counter actual bad policies with reasoned and convincing arguments. Remember reasoned and convincing arguments? It’s how people debated policy points before everything devolved into pure emotion.]

More. The Hill columnist John Feehery writes:

The Democrats, and more than a few Never Trump Republicans, imagine themselves to be brave, solitary figures standing against the rise of a brutal dictator.

That’s ridiculous. We not only have plenty of institutional checks and balances arrayed against any potential dictator. We also are, as a people, a nation that takes its liberties pretty seriously. We are not the Weimar Republic. We don’t have inflation hitting 300 percent. Unemployment is not at 30 percent but at 4.8 percent. We might have our fair share of disagreements, but we have a constitutional process to resolve them amicably, without bloodshed.

The Democratic resistance is taking on a form of fanaticism. Its adherents are redoubling their efforts to stop Trump but forgetting what their aim is. They are supposed to be working to make this country a better and more prosperous place for their constituents.

I’d add that LGBT activists (at least those that don’t have a political party’s name as part of their moniker) are supposed to be working to advance LGBT legal equality and social inclusion, not to further the fortunes of the Democratic party.

LGBT Activists Take Aim at Religious Liberty

Rights are for me, but not for thee, says just about the entirety of LGBT activists groups.

Attacking religious liberty rights will be the singular issue of the LGBT left (which is to say, the LGBT political movement) going forward. The bogus “license to discriminate” meme will be ubiquitous.

As I’ve said before, balancing competing rights—civil rights (public accommodations nondiscrimination) and religious liberty (the right not to be forced by the state, on threat of punishment, to take action that violates religious convictions)—is what America should be about.

Religious exemptions have a traditional and purposeful place in our civil rights laws, but that’s now under attack. Shameful and sad.

More. Proving my point: Swift LGBT opposition to Gorsuch over ‘religious freedom’ rulings:

Gorsuch also sided with “religious freedom” arguments over the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide contraception coverage in the 10th Circuit ruling in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell.

Rachel Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, declared opposition to the nominee based on Gorsuch’s “religious freedom” rulings, which she said marks the first time her organization opposed a Supreme Court nominee without any confirmation hearing.

Lambda Legal is going to show those nuns who’s boss.

Progressives explain it all to you

Trump supports gay rights, which is code for being anti-Islam, thereby proving he’s a fascist, writes Amanda Erickson at the Washington Post.

More. This is all reminiscent of the left’s attacks on Israel’s support for gay legal equality and inclusion, which progressives call “pinkwashiing,” described by Mark Joseph Stern as the presumption that “the Israeli government has no interest in promoting LGBTQ rights except to help mask its oppression of other groups.”

[Added: Pete Buttigieg, gay mayor of South Bend, Ind., with higher political aspirations, in a Washington Blade interview, lambasts “the level of ‘pinkwashing’ of the Trump campaign.” When nonprogresives support LGBT rights, it’s insidious.]

Furthermore. Vice President Mike Pence tells ABC News: “I think throughout the campaign, President Donald J. Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration. He was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him.”

The Gorsuch Nomination

Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, probably would not have joined the ruling in favor of marriage equality, although he is a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the Obergefell decision.

In 2005, LGBTQ Nation reports, Gorsuch wrote an article for National Review in which he argued that liberals are using the courts too much to advance their agenda, and he cited same-sex marriage:

American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide to the use of vouchers for private-school education… .

…too much reliance on constitutional litigation is also bad for the Left itself. The Left’s alliance with trial lawyers and its dependence on constitutional litigation to achieve its social goals risks political atrophy. Liberals may win a victory on gay marriage when preaching to the choir before like-minded judges in Massachusetts. But in failing to reach out and persuade the public generally, they invite exactly the sort of backlash we saw in November when gay marriage was rejected in all eleven states where it was on the ballot.

Marriage equality was eventually achieve through the courts, and—unlike the abortion-ruling aftermath—without an escalation of the initial backlash the Gorsuch noted. But his arguments aren’t those of the fire-breathing LGBT-rights opponent of progressive fear-mongering.

Gorsuch does support religious liberty rights, which will drive the LGBT left berserk. He ruled against the government in a case involving the Obamacare mandate that employer health plans provide no-cost contraceptive coverage to female workers, including drugs some consider to be abortifacients. As LGBTQ Nation notes:

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the corporation argued that its religious beliefs were being violated by the ACA. Gorsuch sided with Hobby Lobby, holding that a for-profit business could have religious beliefs, with which the Supreme Court later agreed.

I agreed, too.

Gorsuch is a conservative, but he’s not a social conservative activist. I don’t expect that liberal media will pay much attention to the distinction.

More. An email just received from Zeke Stokes at GLAAD:

Gorsuch’s record on the federal bench means his appointment to the court could put LGBTQ people at risk, from workplace protections to even marriage equality. Coming on the heels of rumors of a sweeping Trump executive order attacking the LGBTQ community, this appointment could spell danger for LGBTQ people, women, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities — many of whom are already targets of Trump’s actions.

A follow-up from GLAAD explains:

We just got some devastating news. According to breaking media reports, a leaked copy of a draft executive order reveals plans by the Trump Administration to allow for widespread discrimination against LGBTQ people across the country– much like the law Vice President Mike Pence signed as governor of Indiana.

Attacking religious liberty rights will be the singular issue of the LGBT left (which is to say, the LGBT political movement) going forward.

LGBT Nondiscrimination Executive Order Remains in Place

White House says LGBT protections for federal workers will remain.

Score one for the Log Cabin Republicans. Guess the fear-mongers were wrong.

I fully support LGBT nondiscrimination policies within the federal workforce. But when extended to federal contractors, I’d favor a reasonable religious exemption so that, for instance, Catholic charities could choose not to participate in adoptions by same-sex couples.

But any change to Obama’s order by Trump would have been demagogued mercilessly as a “license to discriminate.”

The Human Rights Campaign never misses an opportunity to remain irrelevant. Via The Advocate, HRC’s head Chad Griffin tweeted: “Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar.”

More. Walter Olson at the Cato Institute addresses this issue: An Executive Order On LGBT Issues? Religious Exemptions? Both? He clarifies that while the White House said the president would keep in place Obama’s LGBT order applying to the federal workforce:

The White House did not rule out revisiting other decisions by its predecessor administration on gay rights, such as an order requiring federal contractors to adopt nondiscrimination policies, which pointedly did not provide conscience exemptions for private religious agencies.

Let the outrage begin!

Olson continues:

The effect of a contractor ban without religious objector provisions, I argued, would be to kick various religious agencies out of social service work in public settings in adoptions and foster care, as well as some prison, drug rehab, and various other settings. Ousting conservative religious groups from participation in social service adoption is likely to cut down on the number of successful placements made of children in public care, which would hurt the taxpayer, hurt adoptive parents, and, not least, hurt kids. The more genuinely pluralist approach, I argued, would be to acknowledge conscience exemptions while fully opening these systems to participation by contractors that gladly serve gays, persons of no given sect, religious unbelievers, and so forth.

Sounds good to me.

Furthermore. To clarify, it’s specifically the 2014 executive order that applies to employees of federal contractors that the White House said would continue in place.

“President Donald J. Trump is determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community,” the [White House] statement says. “President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election. The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression. The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump.”

The New York Times relates:

Leaving those protections, of course, does not preclude another executive order that would roll back gay rights in other areas. Mr. Trump could, for example, still enshrine a religious freedom provision in federal policy.

I hope so, as balancing competing rights—civil rights (public accommodations nondiscrimination) and religious liberty (the right not to be forced by the state, on threat of punishment, to take action that violates religious convictions)—is what America is about.

Transgender Scouts

Via the Washington Post, the Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children who identify as boys to join:

…the organization will now accept boys based on the gender a parent puts on a child’s scouting application, ending a policy of accepting boys based on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate.

Hope the new policy proves helpful and isn’t misused. We’ll see.

New York magazine, no rightwing rag, on why the issue of what’s best for transgender kids is not always so simple:

A lot of people don’t realize that there is a genuine scientific debate over how to best help out children with gender dysphoria, or those who feel discomfort — sometimes extremely intense discomfort — with the body they were born into….

A concern is that young “effeminate” boys and “masculine” girls, many of whom would otherwise grow into either healthy and happy gay men and lesbian women (or, sometimes, somewhat “effeminate” heterosexual men and “masculine” heterosexual women), are told they’re transgender, perhaps by well-meaning parents, and put on that course.

More. Alternate facts, via an op-ed by Debra W. Soh, a sexual neuroscientist at York University in Toronto, in the Los Angeles Times:

[T]ransgender activists firmly believe that gender is a biological, rather than social, reality—but of course they don’t believe that it’s necessarily tied to sex at birth. They also believe that gender identity is quite stable early on, warranting a transition not only for transgender adults, but also young children who say they were born in the wrong body.

From a scientific perspective, they’re partially right: Gender identity is fixed, but only in adults; the same can’t be said for children, whose gender identity is flexible and doesn’t become stable until puberty.

Currently available research literature—including four studies published in the last nine years—suggests that 61% to 88% of gender dysphoric children will desist and grow up to be gay adults. … They won’t continue to identify as the opposite sex in adulthood. In one study of 139 gender dysphoric boys, 122 (88%) of the boys desisted.

While transitioning can be beneficial for transgender adults, it therefore doesn’t make sense to treat trans children in the same way. Nevertheless, transgender activists and their allies have branded desistance as a “myth,” and those who suggest otherwise are called bigots or, dismissively, trolls.