Alex Blaze

The Hobby Lobby Decision Is Bad for LGBTQ People

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 11, 2014 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Media
Tags: contraception, gay, Hobby Lobby, law, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court, women

facepalm.jpgI didn't think this needed to be said, but apparently it does: the Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to claim a religious exemption from health care regulations is not going to be good for LGBTQ people.

It seems obvious enough to me that if the highest court in the U.S. allows corporations to impose their (conservative Christian) religious beliefs and anti-sex views on their employees that this wouldn't end well for the gays, but apparently there are some incredibly naive people who think the decision is just peachy because Justice Alito included a paragraph saying that this decision shouldn't be interpreted to allow racial discrimination.

Of course, it's unclear how the logic behind the opinion draws a line at anti-gay discrimination, and sexual orientation and gender identity don't have anywhere near the protections under the law that race or color do (one appellate court decision finding that sexual orientation is a quasi-suspect class status vs. multiple Supreme Court decisions affirming that race is a suspect class), but Alito would never put a paragraph in a decision if he wasn't 100% sure it was true, right? Oh, wait...

Anyway, with religious employers getting government money already demanding that the Obama administration allow them to discriminate against queer people, it's obvious that the Overton window has moved. No longer is it a completely ridiculous idea that a corporation can have religious beliefs. It's no longer the province of right-wing cranks to argue that religious business owners have more rights than their employees or their customers. It's now codified in a Supreme Court decision, and not any state supreme court, but the one that gets capital letters.

Getting the employers who aren't receiving checks from the White House to follow antidiscrimination law just became that much harder.

Besides the political discussion that this decision has already changed, it's not too hard to imagine some district or appellate Fox News-watching judge deciding that, yes, corporations are religious organizations that should be exempt from state and local anti-discrimination law. Why, prohibiting Chick-fil-A from firing all its gay employees is akin to the Inquisition. The employee might use their wages to donate to an LGBT organization or pay for hormones or go to a bathhouse, and now Chick-fil-A is almost directly being forced by law to sponsor views it religiously opposes. You can be gay all you want, but you shouldn't expect an employer to subsidize that lifestyle, amirite?

There really is no end to this silly logic, which is why Ginsberg appropriately called it a "minefield."

Oh, and there are also queer people who are women and who use contraception (for many reasons), so you can't say the decision is "Surprisingly Good for Gays" when it takes away rights from some gays and gives none to any other gay person. At most, one can claim that a portion of the horrible-ness of the decision has been delayed and can still be fought in lower courts. It's not exactly Lawrence v Texas.

Anti-sex anxiety is not a friend of the LGBTQ population. Nor is sexism. Or employers getting more power over their employees' private lives. Or conservative Christians imposing their beliefs on others.

It's really that simple.

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