Anti-gay bait and switch

Evan Wolfson points out in this Huff Post piece that the anti-gay-marriage crowd is now not just targeting gays, they’re trying to undermine all civil rights laws affecting blacks, Latinos, and every other person covered by civil rights law in this country.

[B]eware: the NOM campaign is bait-and-switch. The real agenda here is not just resistance to marriage rights, it’s undermining the broader civil rights laws that ensure that we can all participate equally in society, even if other people don’t like us. Though they wrap it in marriage, the opposition is actually about gay – and they are attacking the idea that civil rights laws should protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation at all.

Evan’s larger point is that the anti-gay groups are challenging the entire underpinning of civil rights law. If we permit far-right bigots to be exempt from civil rights laws that they find morally, or “religiously,” offensive, then that carves an exemption for any extremist religious group, and worse, any member of that group working in the private sector, and even the public sector, to discriminate against anyone he or she wants.

For example, if a Mormon working at a pharmacy doesn’t have to sell condoms to a gay couple, what’s stopping that same Mormon from refusing to sell condoms to an inter-racial couple? After all, the Mormons discriminated against blacks up until the 1970s, and the church teaches that African-Americans have black skin because God is punishing them for being evil. If a Mormon doesn’t want to serve an African-American, he can easily just quote his religion.

And what about EMTs? The religious right wants EMTs to have the right to refuse to help you – they want to give ambulance drivers the right to refuse to save your life – if they find you religiously objectionable. That means Southern Baptist EMTs can let gays die. It happened in Washington, DC to a transgender person who was left to die by an ambulance team who found the victim objectionable. But if Baptists can let gays die, why can’t they let Catholics – who, after all, according to the Baptists, worship Satan – die, all in the name of religious freedom of course? And if Baptists think Catholics worship Satan, imagine what a Baptist EMT would think of a Jew?

Listen to the words of the religious right and their Republican defenders. They no longer talk about stopping individual gay civil rights legislation. They now are trying to establish a “civil right” by which any American worker can refuse to serve any other American, simply by offering the excuse that their bigotry is justified by their freedom of religion. That’s not only patently absurd, it’s incredibly dangerous. It undercuts – no, guts – all existing civil rights law, for everyone.

Not to mention, what the religious right is proposing is that they be given the right to kill people. In the name of God. Still don’t think they’re America’s Taliban?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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43 Responses to “Anti-gay bait and switch”

  1. ChrisSF says:

    All of this is part of a long-running campaign by the religious right and conservatives in general to create broad First Amendment exceptions to all sorts of antidiscrimination laws when they conflict with their own interpretation of Biblical teaching. They fought against Bob Jones University losing its government subsidies because it did not permit interracial dating by students. (They lost.) They fought for the Boy Scouts’ right to violate antidiscrimination laws by firing gay scoutmasters. (They won.) They fought for the Rotary Club to be able to exclude women. (They lost that one too.) What is really scary is that there is no way to limit these arguments to beliefs that are based on religion. If a Christian doctor has a First Amendment right to withhold treatment from a gay patient, then a Klansman doctor has a First Amendment right to withhold treatment from an African-American patient. This is the society they are trying to create, people. And unfortunately, the current Supreme Court is likely to back them up much of the time.

  2. Zoe_Brain says:

    Coming from someone who wrote “How did the T get into GLBT” that’s a bit rich.

    “What [do] I as a gay man have in common with a man who wants to cut off his penis, surgically construct a vagina, and become a woman. I’m not passing judgment, I respect transgendered people and sympathize with their cause, but I simply don’t get how I am just as closely related to a transsexual (who is often not gay) as I am to a lesbian (who is). Is it wrong for me to simply ask why?”

    Using one of OUR dead to “wave the bloody flag” after arguing so strongly as to why WE should be excluded from efforts to gain YOU human rights is pretty appalling. But par for the course.

    Unless this means that you’ve changed your mind, John? That you “get it” now about “an attack on one is an attack on all” despite our genuine differences?

  3. Janjanjan says:

    Whether a given individual is a minority isn’t the issue–the issue is that all individuals, whatever their ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, or gender status, have equal rights under our constitution. When some individual says that he/she chooses not to provide services to a certain class of person, that individual is taking away those rights. When a business says that they should be allowed to hire only men, or only blacks, or only heterosexuals, they are violating those rights.

  4. Cecil says:

    John, you stated: “But if Baptists can let gays die, why can’t they let Catholics – who, after all, according to the Baptists, worship Satan.”
    You have made this statement before and it is false. Why do you keep saying this when it is not true? I was raised in the Baptist Church, graduated from a Baptist college and studied at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I can assure you that all Baptist do not believe that Catholics worship Satan. I have yet to meet a Baptist that believes that. But I do know that most Baptist are bigots, so there are probably some who do believe that. So you may say that “some Baptists believe that Catholics worship Satan” but to say Baptist, as a group, believe that is not correct. I have called you on this before. If you keep saying that you only discredit yourself, and that is sad. For on most things you are correct and the whole point of your post is definitely correct. Love you John, love your blog, and have long been a supporter of yours, but I hate to see you seem to be what you so correctly condemn in others …a bigot.

  5. jessica says:

    This is absolutely absurd. I’m glad that socialism has begun to set its roots into our government and society, and all any of you seem to be worried about is some absolutely ridiculous and outlandish idea that the ultra-religious are going to strip the so-called “minorities” of their rights.
    How, precisely are latinos a minority- in say… Los Angeles County- where I live? A Minority? And how does this crooked, evil “religious right” take away Manuel or Justina’s rights when they basically run the rudimentary services of the entire country?
    Are you really worried about their rights being taken away? Or is this just some stupid smear to push gay rights? Cause if you honestly think the religious right has that power, you’re all idiots.

  6. flug32 says:

    I’ll go a step further and say it’s about using this as a wedge issue and a codeword to activate racism and all the other “isms” that fear and hat bring out in people in order to energize their ‘base’.

    It’s sad and a bit pathetic, but that’s all the base they have left and they are desparately trying to make something of it.

  7. i420 says:

    They already had success here in Florida. Unless you and your’s are a married heterosexual couple, not only do you not count, the state and its fuktards in Tallahassee can feel free to be hostile to your non-legitimate status and tell couples seeking legal remedies/benefits to take a long walk off a short pier.

    “This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

    http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Florida_Marriage_Amendment_(2008)

  8. Ken Clark says:

    Jesus was neither white or christian! Think about it!

  9. Bronx2216 says:

    These people overlook the basic foundation for America – it was pluralistic from the beginning: from the First Americans to the Europeans, the Africans and all those that came with or after them. They are pluralistic, anti-heterogeniety and religion is the cop-out. I don’t recall who said “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” but perhaps they weren’t quite correct; it’s religion. Tolerance has no place in such a society so why should the Xtianists bother? They’ve made the philosophies of groups like the KKK and other societies socially and morally acceptable, how sad for all of us.

  10. AdmNaismith says:

    My religion says that next Sunday, after services have begun, I should lock all the exits and burn down the church on the corner. Why wouldn’t I get a pass? It’s just my religion telling me that. My god tells me these things and it’s important that I do them just like He says.

    Anyone want to answer that? Anyone? Beuller?

  11. wmforr says:

    It is not the Jewish religion that Hitler objected to so much as the Jewish ethnicity (he would call it a race, of course). The Germans were racially superior, and I’m sure Adolph would have preferred the worship of Wotan and Frigge to that namby-pamby bleeding-heart Hebrew carpenter.

  12. Yankee says:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

    Sounds pretty clear to me, but then apparently we are a “chrisian” nation.

  13. Yankee says:

    It was all about power. We should take a lesson and realize that some “religious” leaders may not be in the biz for God, but for themselves.

  14. JackDallasQueer says:

    Hey Lee Atwater (burning in Hell)…are ya happy now with what you sewed? Hey Nixon? Same for you…how’s that Southern Strategy working out? Karl Rove? You’re here to see it unfolding. You’ve got some really fucked up folks who liked your ideas and are now gathering guns and organizing. What a nice country you left behind! Helluva job, well done! Keep up the good work Rush!

    Uh oh…I bet you didn’t know about us Pink Pistols!!!

  15. wmforr says:

    The most important part of the wish is Not Have a Health Care Plan. It’s called Poetic Justice.

    But they are probably wouldn’t accept health care if it came at the price of raising billionairs’ taxes another 3%.

  16. Yankee says:

    Law? It undercuts common decency, respect and tolerance. Basically you can be a jerk to anyone who is not of your religious tribe because your pastor/priest said you could.

  17. wmforr says:

    And here is where originalists are sooo logical:

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    Did you see any exceptions listed? No. Neither did I. And if the Founding Fathers had intended to exclude nuclear–I’m sorry, nuke-u-lur arms, they would have said so, wouldn’t they?

    I want my bomb, and I want it now.

  18. wmforr says:

    But you are so wrong.

    I caught a bit of Rick Warren’s Easter Sunday sermon on that religious channel called Fox News yesterday. And he explicitly stated:

    “God created all of this, all the billions of stars and planets and galaxies, of which this little planet is only a small part–all of this He created, JUST FOR YOU!”

    btw I looked for the sermon just now to quote it exactly, and I came upon some freepers on their home territory complaining that Warren had deserted God and become a apologist for homosexuality. These people turn on their friends at the slightest provocation, don’t they? I mean, it’s not as though he had denied the divinity of Ronald Reagan or something.

  19. slideguy says:

    It’s really pretty simple. If you’re licensed by the state, you follow the regulations. If that bothers you, you can always find other work.

  20. Wesinoregon says:

    One underpinning of these groups is to make money off of hot button issues.

  21. Gridlock says:

    If Jebus ever came back, if he was ever real to begin with, I think he would be absolutely horrified at what his name had wrought.

    He’d be going around saying “Wtf? No. NO! WHAT!? seriously? You have to be kidding me. I am SO not involved with that!”

  22. Gridlock says:

    Having just recovered from a bout of it, no. Frankly, as bad as it is, it’s not bad enough for them.

    I’m thinking Ebola.

  23. katiec says:

    These people are not Christians. They are bigoted, hypocritical dictators who believe in their way or no way, trying to cripple America.
    Hopefully these R.R.R’s will self destruct, along with the
    republican party.

  24. cowboyneok says:

    Talibangelicals in every sense of the word!

  25. morcat says:

    I am delighted to see someone writing about this expanded goal of the radical religious right. They’ve been seething in the south about desegregation since I was a child, and they wouldn’t hesitate to tamper with the civil rights of African Americans and women, in addition to GLBT citizens. They scream “Fascist” at others, but they only want to cover their fascist leanings — a classic case of projection!

  26. Anonymous says:

    You know of course that Hitler did try to destroy Christianity. Some Christians who resisted his regime, such as Dietrich Bonnhoffer, were killed, but the main tactic of the Nazis was to co-opt Christianity and replace it with a blood-and-race creed with some Christian trappings. They made considerable progress on this project. In any event, it is well-known that the Nazi leadership despised Christianity, or as one top Nazi described the religion: “Bolshevism with a tinsel of metaphysics.” (See The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for details.)

  27. bunntjump says:

    I curse the rethug party for allowing these inbred idiots to crawl out from under their rocks…keep your hands off my body, stop trying to legislate morality, get out of politics and get back in your church where all your moronic rantings belong…LEAVE US SANE, RATIONAL FOLKS ALONE!

  28. Annie says:

    If there is a God in Heaven, they will all get pnemonia and not have a health care plan.

  29. Annie says:

    Remember the quote that goes like this…
    They came for the homosexuals, but since I was not, I did nothing.
    Then they came for the Catholics, but since I was not, I did nothing.
    Then they came for the Jews, but since I was not, I did nothing.
    etc.. etc…
    Then they came for me, but there was no one left to help me.

  30. not to mention, any legislation they try and pass to protect their “religious freedoms” will be spun to make anyone protesting look like a heretic.

  31. probably not actually… the tendancy in the US it to bitch about the issue AFTER legislation passes, pro or anti legislation.

    think about it, we were complacent in California because the legislature was pro gay marriage… and we were winning in the polls until a month before the elections. we lost.

    NOW people are making all sorts of noise about it.

    sorta closing the barn doors after the horses have escaped.

  32. Annie says:

    Dam n Straight !!
    Let’s stop these F**Kers NOW !

  33. Hannah says:

    The NOM folks and their ilk are not followers of Christ, who preached that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Who are our neighbors, he was asked. Everyone, was the answer.

    That’s the short and only answer.

  34. timncguy says:

    this was completely obvious when you looked at their “storm clouds are a comin” commercial. the examples they cited didn’t have anything to do with marriage. Two of the examples were from NJ and CA where same-sex marriage isn’t LEGAL, so those examples were not caused by same-sex marriage. They had nothing to do with marriage. It’s all about protecting religious based bigotry.

  35. shell says:

    I don’t get it. If the religious wackoes are targeting all “minority” groups, they (the religious right) are in the minority. Well, we know they are already, but most Americans don’t pay attention. BUT if they keep this up, all gays, all women, all Hispanics, all blacks, etc etc etc will go after them. Won’t they?

  36. Richindm says:

    Another religious bigot rally at the Iowa Capitol today. Several hundred stood in rain for a firing-up by local preachers, then marched into the Capitol to harass the legislature.

  37. Houndentenor says:

    Privately almost every conservative I know believes that employers should be able to hire and fire whomever they wish without justifying that decision to anyone. They never dared put that in the platform because it would scare off the moderates and they would lose. But I think now that the moderates have already jumped ship, there’s no one to keep a lid on the uglier aspects of right-wing philosophy.

  38. anastasjoy says:

    Well, duh. These are people who support “originalist” Supreme Court judges, who believe the Constitution, like (allegedly) the Bible, is set in stone and unchanging. Therefore, only white male property owners should be allowed to have full rights and decide for the rest of us what rights we might be allowed to have.

  39. leathersmith says:

    the christian god and his cohort the devil probably couldn’t find their way back to this solar system from anywhere else in the local group, not to mention trying to find Earth if you are all the way on the other end of the galaxy

    not to mention trying to find this galaxy amongst the other 200,000,000,000+ that string across the universe like pearls

    these are very local deities, holding no rank outside the Sol System

    and to all those sheeple who flock to that heaven held forth by their faith I say Go For It, but I’ll Have None Of It Thank You Very Much

    I see this as capitulating to the mystery of the universe and deciding to take a prepared path to ultimately become little more than an observer’s role in the unfolding and blossoming of this universe bubble, whereas I choose to be a bit more free-agentish. I also figure everyone, in their versions of heaven they created for themselves while breathing, eyes are opened and they see each other for the vile creatures they were in life, and are repulsed from each other. For example, MY heaven doesn’t have televangelists or priests who preyed on the most innocent. Thus vast regions of currently unexplained dark matter are stretching apart from each other, flinging galaxies further from each other.

  40. Older_Wiser says:

    That means all of us “non-believers”, if we’re sick or injured, should yell, “oh god, it hurts, oh god, it hurts,” just to be on the safe side. ; }

  41. Tysalpha says:

    As a former and recovering Baptist, I wouldn’t say that they think Catholics worship satan. Generally we dismissed Catholics as Mary-worshipers, Pope-worshipers, Saint-worshipers, or even statue-worshipers, depending on the context. Of course worshiping anyone or anything other than God is idolatry. So yeah, Catholics are going to hell.

  42. nicho says:

    This is why I have always called bullshit on those who say we need to back off om same-sex marriage or settle for civil unions instead of marriage or “get over” Rick “it’s just a two-minute speech” Warren or some other crap.

    It’s not about marriage. It’s about making gays and lesbians permanent second class citizens. If we back off on one thing, we are screwing ourselves.

  43. sue says:

    Absolutely right!They have never accepted the concept of civil-that is, legal-rights because they are human(e), not “god-given”. Our theocrats are stuck in the second century bce!

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