Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Can LGBT Rights and Freedom of Association Rights Live In Peace ?

I am getting more invested all the time in finding a sweet spot that reconcile LGBT rights, freedom of association , religious liberty , and other crucial First amendment speech protections. However I fear finding it is going to be some time off.

In the socially conservative leaning town of Shreveport Louisiana there was recently a significant victory for folks with varying degrees of same sex attraction and unjust discrimination. I had no huge problems with the law thought I would added a few amendments if I was in a position to do so .I also got a sense that many in Shreveport were quite fine with the law , as shown by the City Council vote , and these included people across the political and religious spectrum.

In the State of Louisiana Legislature  though a package of bills that deal with LGBT discrimination are going nowhere fast. For instance see here and here .

Now there are many reason for this I suppose. There are those that for various legal reasons do not think we should be extending another suspect classification to another group of people. There is no doubt some of this pressed by people that have a real problem with gay folks. Also I suspect there are great number of business people that while not holding any animus as to gays fear being dragged into Court if they happen to fire someone that is LGBT or fails to hire them for various valid reasons.

However I am wondering if we are seeing something else. That is a push back and  a concern by many because of what they read in the media each day. In other words people that might be open to various pro LGBT bills are worried about being taken for fools five or ten years down the road.

There is no doubt in my mind that one reason for success of gay marriage has been a somewhat Libertarian outlook by many. What does gay marriage have to do with you , or  the people have the right to be left alone to live their lives argument . In other words you  morality police stay out of people's private lives. I have to admit as someone that has some Libertarians leanings this argument has had some appeal to me at times .

However as we are quickly learning  one side did not have a monopoly on being the morality police and they in certain states are attacking with a vengeance.

In California this morning we hear this news that Judges may be prohibited from being involved with the Boy Scouts . This comes right after Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich had to step down following uproar over his apparent opposition to gay marriage. Despite the fact there is no evidence that Mr Eich every discriminated against anyone LGBT !

Then we have news that a politico in New York wants to starts Chick-fil-A war part II .On that issue I think the Anchoress uses that story as a perfect vehicle of what is so so  very wrong about this state of affairs. See her must read post Chick-fil-A! Lay Thyself Toward the Idol or Be Damned!

None of these and   many more incidents that we are seeing don't have a sense of a " right to be left alone " ethos that partly led to the adoption of gay marriage in many states . What does Gay marriage have to do with you was the old question. Well it appears a good bit in certain jurisdictions .

Add to that the whole debate over various efforts to put Freedom of Religion Restoration Acts in various states. Some of these statutes were flawed however others have been unfairly called out as Jim Crow. This is part due to a coalition of LGBT and reproductive right activists that I think were unfair in the criticisms.

All these are of course tough issues and its going to require some leadership on both sides to resolve. However people in all these factions are going to have to finds a way that gives real legal protection to everyone's views and not just give lip service to them . Perhaps I am deluded and there can be no living together and so we shall  endure the battles of all battles over what some call the culture war. However if that is the case there are going to be some real casualties .



2 comments:

Mark Pommier said...

From this opinionated atheist to you: You sound like you're nearly depressed in learning that the LGBT people are actually catching up to the rest of us in their civil rights. A marriage is a marriage, and that's all there is to it. Christians have coined the term "gay marriage", because it conflicts with their sense of bigotry.

James H said...

Well being that through most of history marriage has involved two sexes I am not sure Christians have made this term up.

Still the issue I make here really is not a theological one but one of conflicting rights we have as citizens here that are in conflict.

In some of these instances I really do wonder if its place of a liberal democracy to use the power of the State to correct every evil of the moment people thinks its paramount to address. In this case the the issue of gay weeding cakes comes to mind.

Which is also lends to the point that none of this operates in space all its own and could affect matters on the relationship between State and Citizen that have nothing to do LGBT rights