Law - Gay, LGBT Hub




The Supreme Court Made Hobby Lobby Worse, for Women and for the LGBT Community

Hobbylobby

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

The end of a Supreme Court term usually brings a flurry of action on big cases. Last year, we got Justice Kennedy's decision in United States v. Windsor that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and ushered in an unbroken marriage equality winning streak in the courts. This Supreme Court docket did not include any similar LGBT law cases. Nor did it end as heroically. This year, the Court's conservative majority allowed for profit companies to discriminate against women in the provision of health care in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

But sometimes, it's the less heralded maneuvers that make all the difference: a silent nemesis that creeps up behind you can do a lot more damage than a screaming Visigoth charging head on.

SupremesThat's what happened at the end of the Court's term last month. Justice Alito's Hobby Lobby majority opinion explicitly limited the decision to closely-held (family-run) corporations and explicitly limited it to the particular forms of contraception that were at issue in the case. The justices in the majority went out of their way to say that the decision leaves antidiscrimination laws intact, that it does not apply to publicly-traded corporations, that the decision should be confined to its facts. What's more, the Court also stated that one of the main reasons the government could not compel for-profit companies to provide objectionable health care was because there already was a viable work around aimed at religious nonprofits. Those organizations fill out a form attesting to their religious objection and the contraception would be provided directly from the health care company and not through the employer.

Not 24 hours later, the Court proved to us that all those words meant nothing. After issuing a decision, the Court also ordered lower courts to rehear related cases that could be changed by the decision. If Justice Alito and the majority could be taken at their word, the only cases that would need rehearing were those cases within the explicit narrow confines of Hobby Lobby. But the order went further. To the great consternation of Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan (notably, the three female justices on the Court), the majority ordered lower courts to rehear all pending cases involved religious exemptions to the contraception requirement, not just cases involving companies like Hobby Lobby and not just cases involving the particular forms of contraception involved in the case. And, as if that were not enough, the Court enjoined the very workaround meant for nonprofits that it appeared to endorse in Hobby Lobby as a viable alternative.

Left-leaning bloggers and writers -- not to mention the three female justices on the Court -- were apoplectic. The Court seems to have gone back on its word. Perhaps worse, the Court has broadened an already dangerous decision.

I summarize what the Court did, why Justice Sotomayor seemed so irate in her dissent, and why this matters for the LGBT community, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Supreme Court Made Hobby Lobby Worse, for Women and for the LGBT Community" »


Oklahoma Lesbian Student Expelled For Marrying Her Girlfriend

Minard

Southwestern Christian University student Christian Minard has been expelled from the Oklahoma college for marrying her girlfriend, reports Religion News Service.

The university is affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Bethany, Oklahoma, which has consistently opposed homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

ASouthwestern christian university oklahomas part of her admission requirements, 22-year-old Minard, who is one semester from completing her sports management degree, signed a lifestyle covenant that prohibits “homosexual behavior,” harassment, sexual misconduct, pornography, alcohol, tobacco and other “sins.”

Minard and Kadyn Parks were married on March 17. On July 9, a letter from the university’s vice president Brad Davis, arrived at Minard’s parents’ home, telling her she was being expelled.

The letter read in part:

“I was informed that you recently married someone of the same sex and saw a few pictures from Facebook. Of course, this is opposing to our view as an International Pentecostal Holiness denominational university as well as the Lifestyle Covenant that all students must agree and sign.”

Speaking to The Washington Post, Minard said “other students violate parts of the covenant all the time, but they don’t get expelled.”

Although university provost Connie Sjoberg declined to comment, she cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, which prohibits colleges from disclosing information about students, even to parents.

(image facebook)


Teacher Fired For Being Gay in 1972 Receives Apology 42 Years Later: VIDEO

Gaylord

Washington-based Jim Gaylord, fired for being gay in 1972, will finally receive an apology from the Tacoma School District, reports The Olympian.

When confronted by the the vice principal at Wilson High School, Gaylord decided that he couldn’t live a lie any longer and confirmed rumors that he was gay.

The termination of his contract came after a Wilson student approached Gaylord to discuss the student’s same-sex attractions.  After a later suicide attempt, the student related to police that he had spoken to Gaylord.  The police visited the school and the vice principal then paid a visit to Gaylord.

A letter received by the former teacher informing him that he was fired read in part:

“The specific probable cause for your discharge is that you have admitted occupying a public status that is incompatible with the conduct required of teachers in this district. Specifically, that you have admitted being a publicly known homosexual.”

Gaylord never returned to teaching and a long court battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court was unsuccessful.

Although Gaylord did not seek the apology, he said that it will help to “put a relatively pleasant end on an unpleasant situation.”

Last week, Flint Dollar, a teacher in Macon, Georgia, filed a sex discrimination lawsuit against a school after his contract was not renewed when the school found out he plans to marry a man.

 Watch KIRO7's report on the apology, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Teacher Fired For Being Gay in 1972 Receives Apology 42 Years Later: VIDEO" »


Dominica Says It Will Never Accept Same-Sex Marriage

Dominica

The Dominica Government has insisted that the island will not follow other countries in accepting same-sex marriage, reports the Jamaica Observer.

Sentences for sex between men can include ten years’ imprisonment. The penalty for attempted buggery between men is four years’ imprisonment.

SkerritIn a statement, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said:

"I will make it clear that there are some things that this Government will not accept and we will never allow for the state to recognise same-sex marriage in our country.”

Claiming that the Sexual Offence Act of Dominica discriminates against homosexuals, activist group Minority Rights Dominica (MiriDom) has called on the Government to re-examine the law as it relates to buggery.

However, Skerrit said that while he is willing to meet with MiriDom, he does not believe that “any one group should impose any views on any other group.”  Skerrit has also dismissed reports that police have threatened to arrest people engaged in same-sex sexual activity.

In 2012, retired police officer Dennis Jay Mayer and his partner, John Robert Hart were arrested on the Atlantis Cruise ship in Dominica and charged with nudity.


Gay Teacher Files Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Against Georgia Catholic School

Macon georgia

Flint Dollar, a music teacher at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, Georgia, has filed a suit against the school after his contract was not renewed when the school found out he plans to marry a man.

DollarSpeaking to NPR, Dollar said that he was honest about his sexual orientation with administrators at the Catholic school.  However, at the end of the school year he was told that “the bishop of the Diocese of Savannah called and expressed his concern that if I was to return it would be against the teachings of the Catholic Church."

The school has released a statement saying they have to consider an employee's ability to teach Catholic doctrine when making staff decisions.

Dollar’s lawyer Charles Cox says that although there is nothing to be done under employment discrimination legislation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

According to Cox:

“When you fire somebody because they are engaging in a same-sex marriage, I think that pretty clearly fits with gender discrimination. You're being fired because you're not complying with traditional gender stereotypes, and that's wrong, and we believe it's unlawful."

Although Dollar has since filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging sex discrimination, Matthew Franck, a constitutional scholar at Princeton says that even though it might work, it shouldn’t because “it's fairly clear that Title VII's reference to sex as a category of discrimination, that the people who wrote that had nothing like sexual orientation in their minds.”


Six Men Convicted Of Homosexual Acts in Morocco

Morocco

On July 2nd, a Moroccan court of appeals upheld the convictions of at least four of six men accused of homosexual acts, reports Human Rights Watch.

The country’s constitution states that Morocco “commits to banning and combatting all discrimination toward anyone, because of gender, color, beliefs, culture, social or regional origin, language, handicap, or whatever personal circumstance.”

The men were convicted on charges that included “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”

On May 12th, the court of first instance convicted the men of homosexual acts. At that time, sentences included one of three years in prison, one of two and a half years in prison, and four shorter periods in prison. The court is thought to also have banished possibly all six defendants from Fqih Bensalah, the city in which the offences took place.

According to defense lawyer Hadda Maidar, the convictions were upheld on the basis of statements made in police custody. All six men have since repudiated their statements which they say were made under duress.

In its July 2 ruling, the appeals court shortened the two prison terms for two defendants, converted the others to suspended sentences, and cancelled the banishment orders. 


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged