Thursday, February 16, 2017

Perkins is "stunned" by Washington Supreme Court

Tony Perkins
“Apparently the Washington AG and the ACLU
conspired to chloroform Stutzman.”

As I was reading the opinion of Washington's Supreme Court in the Barronelle Stutzman matter and then writing about it, Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council hate group, sent out an email titled: “FRC Stunned By Washington State Court Ruling that Puts Florist's Own Home at Risk of Seizure.” I don't now how real the risk of home seizure is nor do I know if Washington provides homestead protection — nor do I care. Barronelle Stutzman is a bigot who ruined the wedding of a gay couple.

I will jump to Perkins' conclusion first and then go back:
The Supreme Court must correct this gross injustice and we urge President Trump to sign an executive order protecting religious freedom to ensure the federal government does not engage in the same discriminatory behavior as rogue states like Washington. Americans of all backgrounds have suffered the loss of their religious freedoms because of Obama-era policies. The time to protect religious freedom is now
If you removed the hyperbole, Perkins would have nothing to say. The United States Supreme Court has already declined to hear a nearly identical case, Elane Photography v. Willock and that was when Scalia was still alive. Another case, Materpiece Cakeshop, is still pending before the Court (it was rescheduled for consideration yesterday). I doubt that the Court will hear the matter because of the uniformity of lower courts in rejecting challenges to nondiscrimination laws.

Earlier on in the statement:
The Washington State Supreme Court's ruling tramples on our nation's long held tradition of respecting the freedom of Americans to follow their deeply held beliefs, especially when it comes to participating in activities and ceremonies that so many Americans consider sacred.
This is the equivalent of an ad hominem argument, attacking the Court rather than the specifics of the ruling. Justice Scalia pretty much settled this matter in 1990 with his opinion in Employment Division v. Smith. There simply are no religious exemptions to otherwise valid laws. The Washington Supreme Court also cited the 1879 ruling in Reynolds v. United States. The court held that the state could regulate conduct and, in doing so, was not regulating religious belief.

Later on Perkins is in rare form:
The government has no authority to force Americans like Barronelle Stutzman to engage in speech and events with which they morally disagree.
Actually the government does have that authority because of a compelling need to deter discrimination.

Then there is this gem:
Americans were told repeatedly that redefining marriage would have little impact on their lives. Yet now courts are seeking to drive families from their businesses -- and now today even their homes as the result of crippling government imposed fines designed to force them to deny their faith. Barronelle knew her customer and friend identified as gay, yet happily served him for years; she just didn't want to be involved in his wedding. But the ACLU and the Washington State government couldn't stand this, and decided to make an example out of her.
The first part of that argument is not only false but irrelevant. Marriage Equality came to Washington State with the consent of the electorate in 2012, more than four years subsequent to the state adding sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination law affecting public accommodations.

Marriage equality has had limited effect on the lives of others. Over the last ten years, the religious right has trotted out the same handful of cases, first in an attempt to prevent marriage equality and more recently to justify discrimination. These few individuals made a conscious decision to disobey laws forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations. The cause and effect relationship is of arrogant, self-righteous and bigoted lawbreaking to the consequences of violating the laws that were defied.

Perkins is attempting to shift the blame from the guilty party (Stutzman) to the victims (the gay couple). Marriage equality did not force anyone to violate the law. Had any of these folks obtained competent secular counsel (instead of the hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom) they might have settled and entered into consent decrees. But ADF believes in Christian privilege and Christian supremacy which are concepts not found in our body of laws.

Then Perkins shifts the blame to the state and the ACLU. Apparently the Washington AG and the ACLU conspired to chloroform Stutzman. While employing advanced bio-robotic technology, they forced her to refuse service in violation of Washington law. But wait, there are others to blame:
Cultural elites may succeed in convincing judges to strip away the livelihoods of people but the elites continue to face a losing battle at the ballot box and in the court of public opinion.
I honestly do not know what a cultural elite is. Nor, for that matter, do I have a fucking clue what Perkins is implying. About 70% of our citizens support LGBT nondiscrimination laws. If Mr. Perkins thinks that the Washington State law is unjust then he is free to try to change it. However that would be only slightly more futile than his bombast over a unanimous ruling by that state's highest court.

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