Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Replies to Anti-Gay Fearmongering






















April 14, 2009 - Posted by | GLBT issues, humor


  1. thanks for the nice cartoon collection

    Comment by Davis | April 14, 2009

  2. You’re welcome, Davis, and stop by anytime.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 14, 2009

  3. Next thing you know the fascists in Iowa will want to let the people decide if they want gay marriage instead of the courts.

    Comment by Jerry | April 14, 2009



    Find out more at the National Organization for Marriage.


    [Since “Billy the Kid” has given links to these op-eds, I have deleted his reproduction of the whole article. That may violate copyright laws, but it is also unnecessary when a simple link will do. MLW-W]

    Comment by BILLY the Kid | April 14, 2009

  5. I am very concerned about the violations of religious liberty that will happen with gay marriage. this is not a joke. I looked at the NOM website and this interesting–not scare tactics, but the truth:

    “Gathering Storm” Background Facts

    The following offers additional background information for those interested in more detail on the religious liberty threats described in the “Gathering Storm” ad:

    “I’m a California doctor who must choose between my faith and my job.”
    This statement is based on the holding of the court in North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group v. San Diego Superior Court, 44 Cal. 4th 1145 (2008). Shortly after the California Supreme Court redefined marriage in California law, a California Court of Appeals heard a case involving a doctor who had referred a woman in a same-sex couple to another doctor for artificial insemination because of his religiously based conscientious objection to participating in the procedure. The court held that the doctor could claim no religious exemption to the civil rights law under which she was sued because of the State’s compelling interest in ending sexual orientation discrimination, a policy one judge identified as emanating from the court’s marriage decision. Id. at 1159. See also, Ashley Surdin, Calif. Court Considers Medical Rights, Wash. Post, June 19, 2008, at A2; and Paul Elias, Calif. Top Court: Docs Can’t Withhold Care to Gays, USA Today, Aug. 18, 2008.

    “I’m part of a New Jersey church group punished by the government because we can’t support same-sex marriage.”
    This statement is based on the news report by Jill P. Capuzzo, Group Loses Tax Break Over Gay Union Issue, NY Times, Sept. 18, 2007, at B2; and OGCMA v. Vespa-Papaleo, Case No. 3:07-CV-03802 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.J. pending). A N.J. Methodist Camp Association was denied part of its tax exemption when it declined to allow a portion of its property to be used for a civil union ceremony. The same-sex couples who wanted to use the property are also pursuing a discrimination complaint against the Association, and the Division of Civil Rights in the Attorney General’s Office has found “probable cause” for continuing the action against the Association. Bernstein v. OGCMA, N.J. Office of the Attorney General, Division on Civil Rights, DCR Docket no. PN34XB-03008 (Dec. 29, 2008) (finding probable cause for a complaint charging the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association with unlawful public accommodation discrimination based on civil union status). See also, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Gay Rights, Religious Liberties: A Three-Act Story, NPR Morning Edition, June 16, 2008, at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340.

    “I am a Massachusetts parent helplessly watching public schools teach my son that gay marriage is OK.”
    This statement is based on the case of Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008). In this case, parents of young elementary school students objected to curriculum and class room discussion meant to inculcate in the children the idea that there are no differences between the marriages of men and women and those involving same-sex couples. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that public schools “have an interest in promoting tolerance, including for the children (and parents) of gay marriages.” Id. at 95. “Given that Massachusetts has recognized gay marriage under its state constitution, it is entirely rational for its schools to educate their students regarding that recognition.” Id. See also, Jonathan Satlzman, Same-Sex Teaching Upheld, Boston Globe, Feb. 24, 2007; Ian B. Murphy, Public School Lawsuit Runs Out of Federal Appeals, Tauton Daily Gazette, Oct. 7, 2008.

    “But some who advocate for same-sex marriage have not been content with same-sex couples living as they wish. Those advocates want to change the way I live. I will have no choice.”

    This statement is based on several articles discussing religious liberty issues in the same-sex marriage context. See Jonathan Rauch & David Blankenhorn, A Reconciliation on Gay Marriage, NY Times, Feb. 22, 2009, at WK 11 (“Cases of this sort are already arising in the courts, and religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage are alarmed.”); Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Gay Rights, Religious Liberties: A Three Act Story, supra, (“As states have legalized same-sex partnerships, the rights of gay couples have consistently trumped the rights of religious groups.”); Peter Steinfels, Will Same-Sex Marriage Collide with Religious Liberty? NY Times, June 10, 2006 (“Chai R. Feldblum, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and a proponent of same-sex marriage agrees that permitting gay couples equal access to civil marriage will inevitably burden the religious liberty of those religiously opposed.”); and Maggie Gallgher, Banned in Boston: The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty, The Weekly Standard, May 16, 2006 (“‘The coming conflicts over religious liberty stemming from gay marriage [will] affect every aspect of church-state relations.’” (quoting Anthony Picarello, General Counsel for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)).

    Comment by James L. | April 14, 2009

  6. This is completely false. Every church-state legal expert says that churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. would be exempt from recognizing same-sex marriages. As it is many already perform them (as does mine), but the gay or lesbian couples’ marriages are not recognized by the state like the hetero couples’ marriages. So, it is actually the religious liberty of those who accept gay marriage that is violated.

    One solution? For the government to get out of the marriage business entirely. For marriage (straight or gay) to be a religious matter only–with zero civil rights attached. Thus, there would be no tax breaks for marriage that singles would not enjoy.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 14, 2009

  7. Would you mind supporting your comment that “that is completely false?”

    Comment by K Gray | April 15, 2009

  8. The people involved in the NOM ad were actors who had to audition to play people supposedly hurt by same -sex marriage. These are the same arguments that were used against mixed race marriages in the run-up to Loving v. Virginia (1967), the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down laws against mixed race marriages. (At the time, such laws existed in 2/3 of the states and it was widely claimed that if these laws were struck down, churches would be forced to perform such marriages (they weren’t–most just came gradually to accept them), that public schools would force students to accept them (they didn’t, just taught that it was the law of the land, like Mass. does with gay marriages), etc.

    This is just fearmongering and bigotry.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 15, 2009

  9. I understand your arguments. I was wondering if you are denying that the underlying incidents and court cases have occurred, and that there are actual people involved in them.

    Also, have you read any of Professor Douglas Laycock’s work? I believe he makes proposals similar to yours, but he directly addresses religious liberty concerns rather than dismissing them.

    It just seems simplistic to say “don’t worry about your religious liberty concerns because Congress will take care of them for you, all the experts say this.”

    Comment by K Gray | April 15, 2009

  10. From a review of Prof. Laycock’s recent book, “Same Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts” –

    “As Douglas Laycock notes in his afterword chapter, ‘This is a depressing book’ from a civil libertarian perspective, because all of the other contributors, whatever their religious or political perspectives, ‘agree that same-sex marriage is a threat to religious liberty’ (p.189).”

    These are constitutional scholars, not bigots and fearmongers.

    Comment by K Gray | April 15, 2009

  11. Westmoreland White doesn’t know what he is talking about. Even the Washington Post–supporters of gay marriage acknowledge the problem gay marriage creates for religious liberty: check this out

    [Once again, Jack lists a link, so I am removing the article. The rules of this blog are for BRIEF comments. MLW-W]

    Comment by Jack | April 15, 2009

  12. I guess Turley is a bigot and a fearmonger, too. But that’s OK for Westmoreland-White, I suppose. If the choice is between “gay marriage” and religious liberty, he will go with gay marriage.

    Comment by Jack | April 15, 2009

  13. There are church-state concerns that will need to be worked out. The Vermont law, passed by the state legislature over the governor’s veto, specifically addressed those concerns–perhaps because VT had worked with the difficulties of “civil unions” for a decade. VT exempted churches, synagogues, etc. that rent out their facilities for weddings of non-members from having to rent for same-sex weddings if the church objects. It had other “conscience” loopholes, too.

    But some conflicts will always arise. If an Amish person objects to driving more than a horse and buggy, that’s her right. But then, she doesn’t have the right to be employed as a bus driver. Likewise, if a judge objects to the death penalty in a state which has one, he doesn’t get to refuse to pass death sentences from the bench–he can resign and run for office and try to repeal the law.

    Similarly, if a doctor supplies in vitro fertilization for couples (we could debate the morality of in vitro fertilization and I would be opposed to it, but that’s a different topic), she should not get to refuse to do this for a lesbian couple just because she doesn’t approve of lesbian couples.

    But anytime a group that has long been discriminated against wins equal treatment, there will be conflicts with religious groups whose beliefs still mandate discrimination. Religious liberty means that one tries to accomodate those groups within reason, but no rights are absolute. If my religion tells me to commit human sacrifice, the courts will still prevent me from practicing that aspect of my faith.

    As of right now, those faiths, such as my own, which favor equal treatment of glbt folk lose out.

    But the NOM ad is still fearmongering. It takes the inevitable bumps in the road in adjusting to equal treatment and turns them into a giant conspiracy against straight people. It’s nonsense.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 15, 2009

  14. Congress and the courts as we work these out. I am familiar with both Laycock and Turley as constitutional scholars, but not specifically relating to this matter.
    It doesn’t change my view of the bigotry of “NOM: the National Organization for [Straight] Marriage.” That ad is just typical fearmongering.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 16, 2009

  15. you have just proved my point. you don’t know what you are talking about. When we point out that ssm will inevitably introduce these very bad effects on religious liberty the first reaction is that it is “fearmongering” When you then point out what the implications actually have been, and even cite prominent legal scholars on BOTH sides of the SSM issue on how this will effect religious freedom you then say, well, don’t worry we will work it all out. Trust me!

    sorry pal, I don’t trust you.

    Comment by Jack | April 16, 2009

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