Friday, June 8, 2018

Post-Masterpiece here they come

Aaron and Melissa Klein (Sweet Cakes by Melissa) are hoping to thwart Oregon's nondiscrimination law.
In  the aftermath of the Supreme Court's ruling  in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado, other discriminatory public accommodations are queuing up in hopes of sustaining their bigotry regardless of local law. Barronelle Stuzman's Arlene's Flowers and Gifts is already in the Supreme Court pipeline waiting to see if the Court will hear the case.

Hoping to join Stutzman are Aaron and Melissa Klein who own Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They are represented by Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute, a law firm reflecting the personality disorder of Kelly Shackelford.

Commenting on the Masterpiece ruling for the blog of hate group American Family Association:
"It's not a far-reaching opinion, [and] some might even describe it as a narrowly decided opinion, but that doesn't mean it is not an important decision," says attorney Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute. "It certainly means a great deal to [Phillips] – and it also means a great deal to First Liberty Institute clients, such as Aaron and Melissa Klein."
Uh, probably not. The ruling seems to mean that enforcers of nondiscrimination laws cannot be openly hostile to religion. Have the Oregon courts demonstrated that hostility? As far as I can tell, they have only been hostile to bigotry.
The Kleins owned a bakery in Oregon – until, that is, they declined to design a cake for a same-sex "wedding," citing religious objections. A decision by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries against the Christian couple, upheld by a state appeals court, led to a $135,000 penalty, which forced them out of business.
That is medium-rare chicken-fried bullshit. They raised far more than the fine through crowd-funding. What put them out of business was their bigotry. According to the results of a recent poll conducted by Reuters, nearly three-quarters of adult Americans do not think that businesses should be able to discriminate against gay people because of religion.
Berry is optimistic that the language from the Masterpiece decision will be favorable to the Klein's case. First Liberty Institute and Boyden Gray (former White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush) represent the Kleins as they appeal the State of Oregon's actions to the Oregon Supreme Court.
We shall see.

Then there is Brush and Nib. The home-based business designs invitations. This is one of those cases that really pisses me off. Owners Joana Duka and Breana Koski apparently wanted some attention so they consulted Alliance Defending Freedom (another hate group). No gay couple has ever asked these two imbeciles for their services. Now, none ever will.

Nevertheless, Jesus has commanded them to discriminate so they have been seeking permission — in advance — to do so. Talk about arrogant self-absorption. It's just a fucking invitation and they have plenty of competition.

Most businesses expend considerable energy and resources snaring every bit of business that they can get. Not these two. They have spent time and resources in an attempt to turn patronage away. It is mind boggling.

Thursday, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled against Brush and Nib. Again we go to American Family Association's blog:
"Artists shouldn't be forced under threat of fines and jail time to create artwork contrary to their core convictions," says attorney Jonathan Scruggs of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing the artists. "The court's decision allows the government to compel two artists who happily serve everyone to convey a message about marriage they disagree with. This contradicts basic freedoms our nation has always cherished."
Did I mention that this case pisses me off? Mr. Scruggs pisses me off too. They do not “happily serve everyone” if they are seeking to discriminate against gay people. It was Justice Scalia who wrote that a tax on yarmulkes is a tax on Jews. Discriminating against same-sex marriage is discrimination against gay people. Whether or not they would sell a gay person something else is irrelevant. What is “cherished” by our nation is the idea of equality and being able to discriminate is not a “basic freedom” enshrined in American law or custom.

The fact that Arizonans' tax dollars have gone to satisfy the whims of two religious zealots and their religiously zealous attorneys should anger many people.
Pointing to Monday's Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, Scruggs says the Supreme Court reaffirmed that "religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression."
A more complete quote from the ruling:
The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.
Kennedy goes on to explain:
That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.
Elie Mystal at Above the Law described it this way:
Today, the Supreme Court affirmed the cry of white fragility. It ruled, 7-2, that the state’s contempt for religious zealotry was such an affront to the free exercise of religion that it was the bigger problem than a bigot’s contempt for same-sex couples. Hold your tiki torches high, Anthony Kennedy thinks it’s unconstitutional for the state to hurt your feelings.
To be fair, Justice Kennedy mentioned the need to preserve the “dignity” of gay people seeking goods and services in the open market six times. Other courts, I think, are going to assert that Masterpiece means whatever those lower court judges and justices want it to mean. We won't really know what the Supreme Court's precedent is until the next case because Masterpiece resolved nothing.

Courts aside, we have people in this country who believe that they have a religious duty to discriminate. The reasonableness of that claim has not had a fair hearing. Nor has it been subjected to evaluation against long-held precedent. No one has asked any of these people to participate, in any meaningful way, in a ritual that they do not approve of. The simple fact is that, at its core, this is about the disapproval of gay people.

It seems that an advanced society should move past this just as it did with discrimination against other disfavored minorities. Within walking distance of my home are developments that originally opened as “restricted” — No Jews allowed. That, too, was based upon religious disapproval. If someone still felt that they needed to discriminate against Jews, the case would never make it to the Supreme Court. Society would not permit it. It hasn't always been that way but it is today. Hopefully for LGBT people it will be that way tomorrow.

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