Today's Mighty Oak

Wherein I talk about the current legal climate



It’s bad.  Really bad.

After the election, I knew four couples who quickly got married, afraid that we would lose the right.  And that’s a fear that straight people don’t understand.  The few civil rights we have are new, and are still fragile.  And as it turns out, they might have been right to be so worried:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.

This is certainly just the beginning, and Sue over at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents sums it up:

Limiting same-sex marriage is the objective here – benefits, adoption, tax deductions, legal rights, etc. Restricting LGBTQ people across the board is the goal.

That decision was followed up with the arguments in Masterpiece Cake Shop which looks to use the bullshit idea of ‘religious freedom’ to hide bigotry and legal discrimination.  There are a lot of lines being drawn between this case and the racial discrimination case Piggie Park Barbecue from the sixties.

If a business is open to the public, what they sell should be available to all of the public.  The baker would be just as wrong if he declined to make a wedding cake for a black couple, citing his religious beliefs.  If you sell a product (in this case, wedding cakes), you should not be able to put restrictions as to who you will sell it to, that would take us back to the times of delis with signs saying they would not serve Irish and lunch counter sit-ins.

Although, to no one’s surprise, the white house would be all for bakeries (and other businesses) hanging up “no gays” signs.

Slate has a great article going through the myriad of reasons why this is insanity, give it a read.  It rips apart most of the arguments I’ve heard, including this quote:

Telling minorities who have suffered a history of discrimination that it’s unneighborly, unseemly, or discourteous to fight for rights that they’re being denied but you’re enjoying is shameless—ultimately just another mechanism for denying those rights in the first place. Do you actually think the minority members love always having to be the loudmouths reminding the world that they deserve the same rights as you already have? And to the extent that some activists become almost permanently wedded to the “angry activist” position, can you really blame them?

Sadly though, legal scholars (and myself, not a legal scholar) are not optimistic about the outcome, which will open a floodgate of further discrimination where literally any business could turn me away at a moment’s notice.  Not exactly a world I want to have to navigate.

We’ll find out over the summer when the ruling comes down, until then, I’ll be a ball of nerves over this hugely important case.

All my best,

Mike

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