In a chilling statement, Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and thoughtful gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, said that when push comes to shove and religious- and sexual-liberty conflict, "I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win."Lorri L. Jean, chief executive of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, responds:
The actual evidence is overwhelming that this conflict is not imagined but very real. Unfortunately, religious freedom and free speech are increasingly on the losing end of the equation. In 2005, Swedish minister Ake Green was sentenced to jail for preaching about homosexuality from the New Testament book of Romans (the conviction was eventually overturned). New Jersey's Ocean Grove Campground, a religious nonprofit, lost its tax-exempt status in 2007 because the organization refused to rent its facility to a lesbian couple for a civil commitment ceremony. In 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston stopped doing adoption work rather than be coerced by the Massachusetts to place children with same-sex couples. A Massachusetts father was arrested in 2007 when he would not leave the school because the administration stubbornly refused to acknowledge his legal right to opt his child out of ongoing homosexual indoctrination occurring in a kindergarten class.
This year, two Christian doctors here in California were successfully sued for violating state civil rights law because they asserted their right of religious conscience by refusing to perform artificial insemination for a lesbian couple. And famously, just this month, a first-grade class went on a "field trip" to watch its lesbian teacher's wedding in San Francisco.
While legal protections for free speech and religious liberty have been a critical component of our nation's core civil rights protections for more than 200 years, laws granting special rights to those engaged in homosexual conduct are the legal "new kid on the block" -- and this new kid is proving to be an 800-pound gorilla.
Come on, Dean: Do you really think that people will believe your incredible claim that there is "ongoing homosexual indoctrination" in any kindergarten class, let alone that such indoctrination would be required if Proposition 8 fails? That's ridiculous. Proposition 8 has nothing to do with education, and you know it. All the voters have to do is read the language of the measure itself. Proposition 8 is about one thing and one thing only: eliminating rights and treating one group of people differently under the law. That's just wrong.Jean doesn't really want to understand Broyles's point, and, frankly, Broyles doesn't want to make his point clearly. They are locked in the end stage of a political battle, where wringing out votes is crucial. So they argue strenuously and obtusely.
Let me see if I can make Broyles's point. I think he means to say that if same-sex marriage remains a legal right, enshrined in state constitutional law, then homosexual relationships will come to be regarded normal and good, and, consequently, anyone who objects to them will start to look like a bigot who should not be permitted to have his way. Thus, in order to preserve the right to discriminate against gay people and to keep schools from teaching children that gay couples are perfectly nice and so forth -- all things Broyles wants -- it's important to outlaw gay marriage, because it will be a powerful force in changing perceptions about gay people and those who think gay people are doing something terribly wrong.
Now, with Broyles's argument clarified, what do you think of it?
IN THE COMMENTS: Bissage says:
The problem with this fight is it has been framed in all-or-nothing terms.
But there’s a middle-ground for compromise.
Same sex marriage should become the law of the land but only if it’s interracial.
That’ll buy us some time.