This time, the Minnesota Marriage Twinkie, Kalley Yanta, tells us that the Constitution guarantees people the right to "live their beliefs." Moreover, she claims that religious liberty is obviously very important because it is in the first amendment to the Constitution.
With respect to the order of things, the very first clause of the First Amendment is the Establishment Clause;
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religionFurthermore, the "free exercise" of religion does not give us the right to "live [our] beliefs." We cannot, for example, go around stoning people for working on the Sabbath. In more practical terms, we allow interracial couples to marry regardless of the insistence by some, at the time, that "God intended the races to be separated." Indeed, I was reminded today, by a Senate hearing on ENDA, that people opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the basis that it would take away religious liberty.
That notion is as stupid today as it was in 1964.
Since 1964 our laws and public policy have clearly determined that public accommodations (most businesses or buildings that are open to or offer services to the general public) must be free of discrimination. Since then, many states and locales have incorporated sexual orientation into their nondiscrimination ordinances. Ms. Yanta reads that same tedious list of grievances that we have been hearing about since NOM first aired the comical "Gathering Storm" video. What these half-dozen or so things have in common?
- They are all public accommodations and;
- They are all instances where local nondiscrimination ordinances were violated and;
- They all have nothing to do with marriage equality and;
- They have all resulted in courts upholding the local ordinance involved.