Friday, October 26, 2012

ADF: "The homosexual agenda clashes with religious freedom"

I keep posting this crap simply to demonstrate that the anti-gay Christian right keep citing the same debunked nonsense over, and over, and over again. In all the years that they have been fighting against equality, the best that they can cite are a handful of cases which fall apart on closer scrutiny. ADF engages in three bits of hyperbole:
  1. The "homosexual agenda."
  2. A quote from Chai Feldblum that is taken out of context and;
  3. The very tired Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association story.
These poor Christians are so persecuted!

I am going to take these in reverse. According to ADF:
Earlier this week, the director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights told a New Jersey Christian ministry that it engaged in “wrongdoing” for abiding by its faith when it declined to host a same-sex civil-union ceremony in its worship pavilion.
Aside from the fact that New Jersey doesn't recognize same-sex marriages, this is one of those controversies that has been mischaracterized for almost five years. They keep flogging this old horse. This week's "decision" has already been rendered moot. Ironically, while the facts of this case are often misstated by the religious right, the parties to the case mutually submitted the matter to a summary decision. That means that the facts were undisputed and the parties sought a determination of applicable law. The written decision is here.

These are the (condensed) facts:
  • The "Pavilion" was owned by the church but was not on church grounds.
  • The facility was used primarily for church programming but was made available for private weddings for a fee based solely on availability.
  • The facility advertised itself as a wedding venue without disclosing any views on marriage.
  • In 1989, the church applied for a not-for-profit real estate tax exemption.
  • The exemption was actually opposed  by the township on the grounds that the applicant was a religious organization. At a public hearing, in September of 1989, the church represented that the facility would be available for public use without reservation.
  • Thereafter, the tax exemption was approved explicitly conditioned on "equal access" and compliance with applicable non-discrimination laws.
  • In 2007, the church would not permit a lesbian couple to use the facility for a commitment ceremony.
The administrative law judge found that the facility violated the law against discrimination by a public accommodation when they refused to allow a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony. The fact that the facility was owned by a church is irrelevant     it was still a public accommodation. they lost their real estate tax exemption. The church closed the facility to the public, using it solely for religious events and the tax exemption was restored.


Regarding that quote which ADF attributes to "Chai Feldblum, law professor, prominent advocate of the homosexual legal agenda, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner (EEOC)." I didn't know that there is a homosexual legal agenda. I need to update my subscriptions. But I digress.
There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.
I believe that this dates back to 1994 when Ms. Feldblum was the legal director for the Campaign for Military Service which was dedicated to allowing gays to serve openly in the military. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of links to this post     all to right wing sites, making it very hard to find the original quote and its context.


Finally, The Homosexual Agenda? Please. Need I say more?
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil and do NOT link to anti-gay sites!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.