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?

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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