Saturday, July 04, 2015

Virginia GOP Pledges to Pass License to Discriminate Laws

Anti-gay Virginia Republicans
Ever since the Supreme Court issued its same sex marriage ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, most Republicans have been falling all over themselves to not only condemn the ruling but to prostitute themselves to the Christofascist by promising to "protect religious freedom."  Even Southern Baptist Convention windbag Albert Molher has conceded that no threat exists that any church or denomination will be forced to perform same sex marriages or to cease preaching anti-gay rants from the pulpit.  Likewise, no one will be forced to cease worship in anti-gay churches.  There is, in short, NO THREAT to religious freedom notwithstanding Mike Fuckabee Huckabee's calls for the enforcement of public accommodation laws to be prosecuted as hate crimes.   All of this is, of course, a total distortion of the Founding Father's concept of religious freedom.  Compliments of a reader, her are excerpts from George Washington's address to the Jewish Community of Newport, Rhode Island (emphasis added):
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past, is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Pretty clear stuff: no special rights, no government sponsored discrimination. Yet the Virginia GOP has pledged that it will enact laws that will fly in the face of Washington's words and the concepts advanced by Founding Fathers from Virginia.  The Richmond Times Dispatch reports on the matter.  Note how hate group leader, Victoria Cobb of The Family Foundation is once again playing puppet master.  Here are highlights:

After the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly are preparing to push back in what they call a culture war aimed at destroying religious freedoms.
Del. C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said protections of religious liberties are going to be the primary focus for House Republicans in the 2016 General Assembly session, which begins in January.
“My concern is that the ultimate goal of the far left is not to secure rights for gay individuals but to tear down religious institutions and the belief systems that support them,” Gilbert said this week.

A.E. Dick Howard, a constitutional law professor at the University of Virginia and author of the modern Virginia Constitution, said lawmakers who will not accept same-sex marriage as a proposition must be gathering their forces now and thinking of ways to craft legislation aimed at preserving, and even expanding, religious liberties.

“If you can’t defeat same-sex marriage as such at this point, then I think the next obvious step is to see how much protection can you give religious people,” Howard said.

In a year when all 140 seats in the assembly are up for election, some lawmakers in safe GOP districts remain loyal to opponents of same-sex marriage and advocates of religious freedom, believing that the Supreme Court ruling opens the door to discrimination against Christians who refuse to embrace marriages between same-sex couples.

“Given that the majority on the court refused to acknowledge that Americans have a constitutionally protected right to exercise our faith in the public square that’s not limited to ‘teaching’ or ‘believing’ as Justice (Anthony) Kennedy implied, we are concerned that at the very least religiously based organizations that provide a host of services from health care to homeless shelters will be forced to give up their tax-exempt status,” said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia.

Cobb also said she is concerned that businesses that don’t want to participate in same-sex unions will be punished, “like they have been in other states, even though they will provide their services to any individual, gay or straight.”

James Parrish, executive director of the gay rights group Equality Virginia, said his organization will continue to work toward protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination by business owners who deny them service for religious reasons.

“We truly believe when you open your doors to the business to the public, you are serving the entire public,” Parrish said. “We believe there is a social contract out there: When you open a public business, you are opening your business to the public.”

But efforts to push anti-discrimination legislation ends at the church door, Parrish said. “Any faith leader can refuse to marry anyone for any reason. That is all protected,” he said.
Rebecca Glenberg, legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which supports same-sex marriage, said the federal gay marriage ruling will not affect how churches conduct marriages.
As is always the case, the lies and distortions come from the godly folk.  As for the organizations that Cobb whines about, the choice is simple: either stop taking state and federal funds or obey non-discrimination laws and public accommodation laws.  Once again, the Christofascists want special rights and to have their cake and eat it too.  

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