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Lawmakers Embraced Religion to Allow Discrimination

What are “sincerely held religious beliefs?” Nobody really knows.

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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In its professed zeal to protect religious Texans, the state Legislature has included within an increasing number of laws exemptions for those with “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Social conservatives believe the phrase will protect lawyers who refuse to represent gay clients or pharmacists who refuse to issue certain types of contraceptives, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community believe the phrase will become a license to discriminate. Unfortunately, lawyers remain uncertain about the scope of “religious liberty” that it seemingly protects.

One might begin with some practical examples of conduct that are not protected under almost all current readings of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which is the basis of almost all current litigation involving national law.

Consider Jehovah’s Witnesses who might demand that their children not receive blood transfusions because of their undoubtedly sincere belief that it is the “drinking of blood” that is prohibited by the Bible. There are now multiple cases that reject this claim of parental authority, however sincerely religious it might be, because of the obvious threat to the life of the child. Courts have therefore ordered that transfusions be given.

So one should wonder whether a religious parent could invoke a “spare the rod and spoil the child” defense if charged with child abuse; could an abusive husband quote the Bible to defend “chastisement” of his wife for disobedience? One would hope not.

In a notable case arising in the 1960s, a religious conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, whose reading of the relevant materials required only “selective” conscientious objection — to “unjust wars” — rather than to all wars, received no support from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had protected pacifists who did not distinguish between “just” and “unjust” wars, but picking and choosing between the two was left unprotected.

Courts have also been notably inhospitable to individuals claiming that their idiosyncratic religions require the smoking of marijuana. Quite often, the judges reveal their obvious skepticism about the “sincerity” of the religious beliefs. But an especially important Supreme Court decision in 1990 upheld the law against illegal drug use for participants in well-established Native American religious ceremonies that involved peyote. No one doubted the sincerity of the beliefs, but the “war on drugs” took precedence, according to six of the justices. It was this decision that triggered the almost unanimous passage of RFRA, which ultimately led the court in the 2015 Hobby Lobby case to adopt the catchphrase “sincerely held religious beliefs” that was seized by the Texas Legislature.

Even if one has doubts about the “religious” status of the new Church of the Holy Weed, committed to sacramental use of marijuana, that is not the case with most of the examples above. Throughout its history, the U.S. has been a breeding ground for new religions. The most important example is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), who were subjected to relentless persecution in the 19th century until the Church announced that polygamy was no longer part of its religious doctrine. The Supreme Court upheld jailing some of its polygamous leaders (and seizing the Church’s assets) because polygamy was an “action” and not merely a “belief.” But, of course, this is true of almost all the contemporary “liberties” that the Legislature wants to protect.

It cannot be the case that all actions are exempted from potential punishment if one can justify them on the basis of a “sincerely held religious belief.” Inevitably, we must pick and choose, with precious little genuine guidance from lawmakers or the Supreme Court. Ultimately, we rely far more on general cultural norms as to what we wish to tolerate at a given time. Those who support a baker’s refusal to sell a cake to be used in a same-sex marriage are unlikely to be sympathetic if the same baker, quoting another passage of Scripture, refuses to sell a cake to an interracial couple.

So it is not the case that all “religious” defenses will necessarily be accepted. An additional problem, though, is that we have trouble distinguishing “religious” and “nonreligious” beliefs.  One might immediately think of belief in a supernatural (single) God (or god) who issues behavioral commands, perhaps with eternal damnation as the threatened cost of disobedience. But there are a lot of “religions” that have no such beliefs. The most prominent example is Buddhism. Indeed, the Texas Almanac suggests that there are more Buddhists in Texas than there are Jews.

It is tempting to think that proponents of “religious liberty” are all politically conservative. That is a mistake. Consider, for example, the contemporary issue of providing “sanctuary” to undocumented aliens being threatened by state and national policies. Even if one can scarcely ascribe religious sensibilities to the cities that are refusing to collaborate with the national government, that is clearly not the case with regard to members of various churches who might decide that the biblical command to “remember that you were strangers in the land of Egypt” requires standing in solidarity with their threatened neighbors. Will would-be devotees of religious liberty who are obsessed with issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage be equally sympathetic to claims made by those giving sanctuary to people that some consider to be mere criminals instead of vulnerable fellow human beings deserving of our help? At the very least, it should be clear that the four words selected by the Texas Legislature generate an almost endless set of issues and, undoubtedly, future cases to be litigated. 

Sanford Levinson is the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at The University of Texas at Austin.

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  • donuthin2

    Unfortunately religion is the underlying cause of much of what is wrong with society.

    • WUSRPH

      I am not so sure that the problem is “religion” but more “the religious”…..as Gandhi explained it:

      “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
      ― Mahatma Gandhi

      • donuthin2

        Agree. It is the self righteous religious that I detest so much.

        • dave in texas

          This being Texas, I occasionally get asked (and usually by one of those self-righteous types) “How on earth did you ever become a liberal?” I always say “I paid attention in Sunday School as a child.” While it has the benefit of being true, it also tends to cause great confusion to those asking.

          • José

            Some folks don’t read the fine print. Especially the stuff in red letters.

          • WUSRPH

            I respect the rights of believers, what I do not respect is any claim that that right gives them extra rights to discriminate in normal business life.. It is too easy to hide hate and prejudice behind a façade of religion……and too many allegedly religious people have done just that and will take advantage of the legislature’s new attempt to curry political favor to do just that.

          • José

            And I hope you understand that a good many of us, people who take our faith seriously and attend church regularly, are just as dismayed at religiously based bigotry. Probably more so since it hurts our image.

          • WUSRPH

            I think Benjamin Franklin expressed my views best:

            “When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for
            help of the civil power, ‘tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.”

          • José

            I’m a big advocate of keeping church and state separate. It’s fine to work together on matters of common interest but essential that they remain independent. It’s dangerous for government but worse it profanes the religious institutions. Governments are expected to be competent. People of faith are called to be better than that.

          • WUSRPH

            Or at least make a sincere effort at being better than that….

          • WestTexan70

            I’m stealing that from you if that’s OK. I grew up in the Church of Christ in the 60’s and 70’s. I’m now an atheist, but the majority of what Jesus said ain’t a bad way to live.

          • dave in texas

            Help yourself; use it any time. I’m kind of a lapsed Baptist myself, but the statement has the benefit of being completely true

          • Jed

            oh,. i guess i misread DIT’s comment. now i see.

            yes, i agree with this, too.

          • Jed

            ditto. raised presbyterian in texas, now a godless humanist in texas.

            q: “how did you become an atheist”?
            a: i read the bible in college.

          • BCinBCS

            I’m with you WestTexan and Jed.

    • Carmandmcconnell

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  • WestTexan70

    “Religion” of all stripes is going to be the death of us.

  • John Bernard Books

    1st democrat arrested….many more to follow.
    “She was charged with removing and mailing classified materials to a news outlet, DOJ officials said.
    “Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein explained in a statement. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”
    http://nypost.com/2017/06/05/top-secret-nsa-doc-details-russian-election-hacking-effort-report/

    I can’t wait to watch the less than bright on the left defend her….

    • WestTexan70

      Johnny-Boy — ain’t you got something better to do than bring in a completely off-topic semi-coherent rambling into a discussion about you “religious” folks?

      Wait … you’re a trumpanista — of course you don’t.

      • John Bernard Books

        Don’t you know how to MYOB?

        • WestTexan70

          I certainly do. It’s you “conservatives” who want to be in other peoples’ bedrooms and who want to look at peoples’ genitals when they walk into a bathroom. Y’all are positively icky.

          • John Bernard Books

            Nah don’t want to see your stuff or you

      • WUSRPH

        Actually he said very bad things about Trump while fist telling us how Perry and then Cruz were surging to victory. He blamed Trump’s nomination of Democrats crossing over to vote in the GOP primaries…..But he is so desperate to be a winner, for once, that he grabbed the railing on the Trump bandwagon as it rolled by an has been hanging on ever since.

        • John Bernard Books

          WASSUP was she your kid? the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

        • WUSRPH

          PS. Troll, don’t bother replying……All I will see is those sweet words: This user is blocked.

    • John Bernard Books

      She is being called an ethnomasochist …..why do white democrats hate other whites?
      correct answer they are mentally ill….

  • SpiritofPearl
  • WUSRPH

    I had removed the block since the Troll seemed to have been gone, but I see now that he’s back. So the block is back on, too.

    • José

      I had noticed that there weren’t nearly as many Charlie droppings as before. Did JJ give up too?

      • WUSRPH

        JJ said he was swearing off of BB…..funny, however, the Troll disappeared at the same time he did. Does this mean we can expect his return shortly?

        • BCinBCS

          Or…maybe they are the same multiple-personality person. 😉

      • John Bernard Books

        You wetbacks are so funny

  • Randomutation

    “Those who support a baker’s refusal to sell a cake to be used in a same-sex marriage are unlikely to be sympathetic if the same baker, quoting another passage of Scripture, refuses to sell a cake to an interracial couple.”
    There are at least three things wrong with this comparison:
    1. The comparison is backward – comparing SAME sex marriage to OPPOSITE race marriage. If the author really wants to go down this road, the more accurate comparison would be a baker who would ONLY service interracial marriage and refuses to service same race marriages. Not a great business model, but not illegal as far as I know.
    2. The author tries to compare WHAT the cake is to be used for (in the same sex case) to WHO wants to buy the cake (in the interracial case). Apples and oranges.
    3. Even if one overlooks these logical errors in the comparison, opposition to same sex marriage and opposition to interracial marriage are not on equal judicial footing. The Supreme Court has stated: ” Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.” (Obergefell) Although written by Justice Kennedy, all four liberal justices were in concurrence with this statement. There is no similar statement by SCOTUS about opposition to interracial marriage.

    • WUSRPH

      But the rulings in the same-sex and interracial marriage were both based on the 14th Amendment. Neither dealt with religious freedom. The question facing us today is just how far does religious freedom extend….does it outweigh all the other protections provided by the Constitution including the rest of the First Amendment and/or the 14th? How far can we expect some “religious” to extend their newly found “right” to discriminate against anyone and anything they object to on “sincerely held religious belief”…..That could be quite a long list…..especially if you were a graduate of such a distinguished Christian “university” (SIC) as Bob Jones University where—-until very recently—all the current claims were religious dogma as where that, if you did not believe in segregation, you did not believe in God and that Catholics and Mormons (not bothering with Jews) were “cultists” who should be shunned by all.

      Many of our “Founders” must be stirring in their graves, especially George Washington who expressed so eloquently what America stood for in his letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport:

      “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 were 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.”

      • Randomutation

        “But the rulings in the same-sex and interracial marriage were both based on the 14th Amendment.”

        Those rulings were about the right to get married, and hence have nothing to do with the role of the baker. His refusal to make a cake does not restrict anyone’s right to get married.

        “How far can we expect some “religious” to extend their newly found “right” to discriminate against anyone and anything they object to on “sincerely held religious belief””

        A Christian baker refusing to make cakes for celebrations of same sex marriage is not discriminating against gays any more than an African American would be discriminating against whites by refusing to make cakes for celebrations of the Confederacy.

        • WUSRPH

          So you would gut all the public occupancy and similar civil rights laws and go back to the days when I as merchant could refuse to serve blacks, browns, yellows, Jews, Catholics, Mormons and anyone else in the long-long list of people and groups against whom some have had (and still do) “sincere religious beliefs”?

          • Randomutation

            How does the right of an African American to refuse to make cakes for celebrations of the Confederacy suddenly become “I as merchant could refuse to serve blacks, browns, yellows, Jews, Catholics, Mormons and anyone else in the long-long list of people and groups against whom some have had (and still do) “sincere religious beliefs” ?

          • WUSRPH

            It doesn’t. He could well be subject to civil penalties for discrimination… But you–and the Texas Legislature—are saying that the your christian (sic) baker should have that right to discriminate and are, as I have said, using the First Amendment to sanction it.

          • Randomutation

            “The Black baker could, in some cases, be subject to fines for violating various civil rights laws and ordinances. The question would be whether his discrimination is unconstitutional in being based on race, color, creed, sex, national origin or, under more recent interpretations, sexual orientation.”

            The prosecutor (in a criminal trial) or plaintiff (in a civil trial) would need to PROVE that his decision was based on “race, color, creed, sex, national origin or. . . sexual orientation” and not just on his objection to ANY celebration of the Confederacy, no matter who it is that wants to do the celebrating.

            “In the case of the christian (sic) baker, there is no question that his discrimination would because of sex/sexual orientation”

            Idle speculation. How do you know that his decision is not just based on his objection to celebrating same sex marriage, regardless of the sexual orientation of the requesters, the people doing the celebrating, or the same sex couple (if any) getting married?

          • WUSRPH

            So the prosecutor would have to prove his case…..What’s new about that? That is the way the system works….or hadn’t you heard?

          • Randomutation

            Yet when it comes to a baker declining a celebration of SSM, you are more than willing to declare guilt without proof:
            “In the case of the christian (sic) baker, there is no question that his discrimination would because of sex/sexual orientation”.
            Despite your claim of “no question”, I showed in fact that there is a question. And you have failed to answer it. So here it is again:
            How do you know that his decision is not just based on his objection to celebrating same sex marriage, regardless of the sexual orientation of the requesters, the sexual orientation of the people doing the celebrating, or the sexual orientation of the same sex couple (if any) getting married?

          • WUSRPH

            I cannot answer a question that makes absolutely no sense…..Nor will I drag this out any longer…..You clearly favor granting some people legal permission to discriminate against others. I don’t…..

          • Randomutation

            Then thank you for demonstrating the witch-hunter mentality behind this whole LGBT-sponsored witch hunt against bakers, florists, and photographers who exercise their free speech rights. If you want to know the reason for the overkill in the various religious freedom protection laws, you need look no further than yourself and your whole guilt without proof witch-hunter mentality.

        • BCinBCS

          Those rulings were about the right to get married, and hence have nothing to do with the role of the baker.

          IANAL but to me, the law is designed to make discrimination illegal and the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination.

          • Randomutation

            Please cite proof that “. . . the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination”. How do you know that he would make a cake for the celebration of same sex marriage if the requesters were not gay?

          • BCinBCS

            Do you know what it means to have a >u>same sex marriage? Please explain to me how that is possible unless the couple is homosexual.

          • Randomutation

            Easy. Could for example be two straight single moms in a joint household who want the legal benefits of marriage for their joint family.
            Now, Please cite proof that “. . . the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination”. How do you know that he would make a cake for the celebration of same sex marriage if the requesters were not gay?

          • BCinBCS

            How do you know that he would make a cake for the celebration of same sex marriage if the requesters were not gay?

            That has to be one of the strangest questions I have ever read concerning discrimination.

            You are implying that this hypothetical baker would not bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding but would bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding if the person ordering it is not gay? Are you implying that the baker discriminates but only when the cake is for a gay couple and is ordered by a gay person?

          • Randomutation

            I don’t know why asking you to back up your claim is “one of the strangest questions [you] have ever read concerning discrimination.” You’re the one who claimed that “. . . the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination”. So it’s up to you to show that gay people celebrating same sex marriage are being treated differently than straight people (such as the two straight single moms in my example) celebrating same sex marriage. If you can’t back up your claim, don’t feel bad, because no one else who has made that kind of a claim has been able to back it up either.

          • Jed

            “I don’t know why asking you to back up your claim”

            this is a disappointing trend i’ve noticed from the right nutters lately.

            making up some weird random statement that has nothing to do with the point being made, attributing that weird, unrelated statement to the guy you are arguing with – who didn’t actually make the statement or anything even suggesting the statement (this is called a “strawman”), demanding that the other person defend this absurd, logically unrelated statement, and then criticizing them for not doing so … is not arguing.

            it is just being a sophomoric jerk. no one is convinced by this technique except for other sophomoric jerks.

          • BCinBCS

            Thanks Jed.

            When someone, such as a baker, declines to perform a public service because they disagree with the sexual orientation of their customer, it’s discrimination. Randomutation throws in a straw argument about two straight women when the discussion was about same-sex couples. For the life of me, I cannot understand how he doesn’t see that.

          • Randomutation

            The two straight single moms is not a strawman, but was a direct answer to your very own question:

            “Do you know what it means to have a same sex marriage? Please explain to me how that is possible unless the couple is homosexual.”

            You asked how it is possible and I showed you how it is possible – two straight single moms. Too bad that you had no rebuttal to that possibility. Too bad it that it destroyed your whole argument. But being stumped and confused is no excuse for falsely labeling it a straw man.

            And you still have failed to back up your claim that “… the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination.”

          • BCinBCS

            Two straight moms who are ordering a wedding cake for themselves are not strictly straight; they would be bi-sexual. The whole discussion is predicated on the baker not wanting to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage because they are a bi- or homosexual couple. That’s discrimination.

            Beyond that, I don’t see your point.

          • Randomutation

            No, they are not bi-sexual. They do not have sex with each other or with any other women, and have no desire to. They are marrying strictly for the legal benefits for their joint family. Same sex marriage does not equal homosexual or bi-sexual marriage. It is open to anyone of any sexual orientation. Your claim that “… the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination.” is baseless.

          • BCinBCS

            You win Random because you found the one case in millions that, according to you, disproves all of the other millions of cases. Congratulations.

            I’ll bet that you never go to the doctor or have surgery because the one case in ten thousand where someone had an adverse result proves to you the ineffectiveness and danger of medicine. I would imagine that you don’t drive, fly or take a train for the same reason.

          • Randomutation

            Some theories are dis-proven by one counter-example, some are not. The efficacy of medical care is not falsified by one bad result. But one counterexample is all it would take to refute the theory that a baker uses sexual orientation in deciding who to serve and not serve. If he would refuse to help celebrate same sex marriage for the straight single moms as well as for lesbian couples, then the theory that his decision is based on sexual orientation is falsified, regardless of whether the example is one in a thousand, one in a million, or one in a billion.
            The same sex couples (gay or straight) should be happy that they have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. And they should respect the right of bakers, florists, and photographers to live their lives as they see fit.

          • BCinBCS

            they should respect the right of bakers, florists, and photographers to live their lives as they see fit.

            By that logic, blacks, women, gays, Jews, Muslims, etc. should be happy to live their lives but anyone who wants to discriminate against them should be able to live their lives by discriminating against them.

            If you want to operate a business, you cannot discriminate – it’s the law. If you want to personally discriminate in your life, it’s your privilege, just don’t do it at work.

          • Randomutation

            When “blacks, women, gays, Jews, Muslims, etc. “ are denied jobs, housing, education, lodging, and restaurant service because they are “blacks, women, gays, Jews, Muslims, etc.” , then their freedom to live their lives as they see fit is severely damaged, in which case no there is nothing to be happy about. But if a baker simply declines to help them celebrate an idea with which the baker does not agree, then his refusal has no impact on their freedom to have the celebration anyway. And if the baker would not help anyone else celebrate that same idea, then there is no discrimination.

          • BCinBCS

            Essentially what you are saying is that it’s O.K. to discriminate as long as it is not major discrimination. As a same-sex couple, you can get married but you can’t have a wedding cake (or photographs or flowers or a venue or a honeymoon hotel room or…).

            The fact that the baker is adamant in his beliefs does not make them any less discriminatory – any lawyer or judge would define it as such.

          • Randomutation

            Your “OK to discriminate . . . ” analysis of my position completely ignores my last sentence: “And if the baker would not help anyone else celebrate that same idea, then there is no discrimination.”
            If a baker refuses to be instrumental in the celebration of an idea he objects to, no matter who requests it and no matter who is celebrating it, how does that constitute “discrimination”?
            Until you can establish this alleged discrimination, the question of whether “it’s O.K. to discriminate as long as it is not major discrimination” is completely tangential.

          • BCinBCS

            It’s the same as the “one drop” rule of racial discrimination. If a person discriminates against someone no matter how little “black blood” a person possesses, that person is a racist. It doesn’t matter that the racism is strongly held against all those that appear to be white yet have “black blood”.

            The same for homophobia. If a person discriminates against a same sex couple whether they are straight or gay, it’s discrimination and discrimination is illegal.

            Quit trying to justify discrimination by pointing out the extremely rare circumstances where homosexuality is not present. A same-sex couple, even though not homosexual, is equivalent to that one drop of blood.

          • Randomutation

            No it has absolutely nothing to do with any “one drop rule”. The only thing it has to do with is the idea being celebrated. The baker would turn down any request for a celebration of the same idea. It makes no difference who is making the request or who is doing the celebrating. It’s the idea being celebrated, not the people involved with the celebration that dictates the decision.
            Try this by way of illustration:
            Suppose a same sex couple tells the baker that they are getting married, that they are gay, that one of them is having a birthday, and that they want the baker to make the cake to celebrate the birthday. The baker agrees to make the cake. He has no objection to birthday celebrations.
            Next the couple tells the baker they also want him to make the cake for the celebration of their marriage. He declines because he does object to celebrations of same sex marriage.
            The one and only difference between these two requests is the idea being celebrated. The baker declined the second request ONLY because of the idea being celebrated. The fact that the couple was gay has absolutely nothing to do with it. Discrimination has nothing to do with it. Your “one drop” rule has nothing to do with it.

          • BCinBCS

            No Random, it is not the idea that makes it discrimination, it is the action. You cannot discriminate against same-sex couples. The law says so, the courts say so and the overwhelming majority of citizens in this country say so. End of story.

          • Randomutation

            You’re keep begging the question. You insist on labeling it as “discrimination”, even though you failed to show how it can be discrimination if the baker will not be instrumental in the celebration of sex marriage FOR ANYONE. So one more time; discrimination means that you do something for one group of people that you do not do for another group. If the baker won’t service celebrations of same sex marriage FOR ANYONE, then there is NO GROUP that he does it for, hence no discrimination. His only crime is political incorrectness.

          • BCinBCS

            You cannot discriminate against blacks just because you also discriminate against Hispanics. You cannot discriminate against homosexual same-sex couples just because you also discriminate against non-homosexual same-sex couples.

            You wrote: “discrimination means that you do something for one
            group of people that you do not do for another group.

            You have a failure of logic in your argument. The group that makes the discrimination of homosexual same-sex couples against the law is not heterosexual same-sex couples but heterosexual opposite-sex couples. You must treat homosexual same-sex couples, heterosexual same-sex couples and heterosexual opposite-sex couples the same. Either serve them all or serve none of them i.e. do not bake wedding cakes for anyone.

            Besides, IT’S THE LAW!!!

          • Randomutation

            Same sex couples aren’t the only people who celebrate same sex marriage. It could for example be the parents of a same sex couple. Or other family members. Or friends. Or co-workers. All kinds of people and all kinds of couples celebrate same sex marriage. It’s a very diverse group – not a protected class. There is no discrimination as long as the baker declines any of the people requesting service for a celebration of same sex marriage.

          • BCinBCS

            There is no discrimination as long as the baker declines any of the
            people requesting service for a celebration of same sex marriage.

            Random, I can explain it to you but I cannot understand it for you. A baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple is discriminating and discrimination is illegal. There is a law on the books that makes it illegal. Discrimination is against the law and apparently everyone except you knows that.

            I have wasted enough time on this. If you wish to believe that the moon is made of cheese, I will not try any longer to dissuade you from your folly.

          • Randomutation

            Your analogy fails instantly. African Americans are a protected class. The set of people who have celebrations for same sex marriage is not a protected class.

          • BCinBCS

            The set of people who have celebrations for same sex marriage is not a protected class.

            You are wrong. Same-sex couples ARE a protected class.

            Since June 26, 2003, sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex as well as same-sex adolescents of a close age has been legal nationwide, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. As of June 26, 2015, all states license and recognize marriage between same-sex couples on account of the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

          • Randomutation

            Jed, you need to pay attention. BCinBCS specifically stated in his post of 6/6:
            “IANAL but to me, the law is designed to make discrimination illegal and the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination.”
            I merely asked him to back up the part of that statement that says “… the action of not baking a cake for a same-sex couple flows from discrimination.”
            He can’t back it up. Can you?

  • WUSRPH

    As you may have seen, Gov. Abbott has totally sold out to the crazies and proposes to have a Regular Session II to pass anything and everything Danny Patrick could not pass during the past two regular sessions…It could be a L O N G summer. A major part of his “19” extras involves putting severe limits on what local governments can do to represent the wishes of their residents. Apparently, “local control” has taken on a meaning similar to the “right to vote” where you have a right to vote only when you vote RIGHT.

    • WUSRPH

      But it could be a short one…if the House followed my earlier suggestion to:
      Pass the Sunset bill; send it to the Senate; SINE DIE.

      • WUSRPH

        Patrick says he does not plan to run against Abbott—and there are two good reasons for that.

        First, the Lt. Governor has more power over he making of laws and budgets than the governor;

        Second, there is no need for him to run against Abbott when Abbott is apparently so afraid of him that he will do anything to keep Danny happy.

        Or, could it be that Texas has two people at crazed as Danny Patrick in office at the same time?

        • WUSRPH

          Another suggestion to the Texas House in the upcoming “screw the locals” special session:

          DO NOT FORGET

          Baldwin v. State, 21 Tex. 591, 3 S.W. 109 (1886); Deveraux v City of Brownsville, 29 Fed. Rep. 742 (1887).

          You have the full power to determine what to do on any issue the governor submits to you…..E.G. If he says something about limiting local power to do something, you are perfectly free to increase the power of local governments no matter what the governor intends.

          There are a number of items in his list of 19 bad policies that you could take that approach to….Please DO!

          Remember, you represent the people of those towns and counties and special districts he wants to rule from Austin.

          • WUSRPH

            One thing we may learn from this special session is just how able the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas Association of School Boards and all the other local government representatives in Austin are at getting local ELECTED representatives of the people to stand up and defend the rights of those people to choose how they want to be governed. It will be interesting to see how many city council and school board members and county commissioners and board members of all the other elected local governments are willing to stand up and say: NO to the Abbott/Patrick effort to gut local government in Texas.

            To perryphrase:

            “First they came for the Austins…..and I did not …..

          • John Bernard Books

            Now I remember why I stopped coming here…the crazies on the left.

          • BRISCOE

            Good. Don’t come back.

          • WestTexan70

            HEAR! HEAR!

          • John Bernard Books

            Here Here

          • John Bernard Books

            hahaha….did I mention the stoopids?

  • WUSRPH

    Come on now. Admit it….You are ALMOST feeling sorry for Jeff Sessions………….Who could have ever imagined it…….Here he gives up his powerful seat in the US Senate to fight crime, terrorism and rollback civil rights….and this is what he gets—backstabbing from that twerp Spicer and insulted by Trump for doing his job of trying to pull Trump’s rear end out the ditch he dug for himself… Oh, it is good to be alive some days.

    • Jed

      “doing his job of trying to pull Trump’s rear end out the ditch he dug for himself”

      pretty sure that is NOT the job description of the AG. in this case, it may even be the *opposite* of what the AG should have been doing.

      you can feel sorry for this racist asshat cracker, but i won’t be joining you.

      • WUSRPH

        I did say “ALMOST” in all caps.,BYW. but, with a Jeff Sessions, that is about the best you can expect of him. An Elliot Richardson, he ain’t.

  • BRISCOE

    “Christian” republicans: Pray in church on Sunday and prey on people the rest of the week.

  • The right wing never did much to ensure the rights of religious minorities, but now that they’ve learned to weaponize the free exercise clause, they are all over that principle. …simply disgusting.