Posts Tagged ‘SCOTUS’


This news made me smile because I knew that World Net Daily commenters were going to have a hissy fit: 379 different corporations that do business within America filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) stating that the bans on marriage equality should be voided as unconstitutional. WND reported it in a 3-paragraph snippet from Huffington Post entitled, “379 Companies Urge Supremes to Support ‘Gay Marriage.'” I can guarantee you that the “Gay Marriage” in scary quotes was not in the original. Actually, they reworded the original title, which was “Here Are The 379 Companies Urging The Supreme Court To Support Same-Sex Marriage.”

Just for fun, let’s list them:

  • A.L. Nella & Company, LLP, CPAs
  • A.T. Kearney
  • Aardema Whitelaw, PLLC
  • Acacia Home LLC
  • Accenture
  • Aetna Inc.
  • Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
  • AJ Leo Electric and Solar
  • Akamai Technologies, Inc.
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alcoa Inc.
  • Amazon Services Inc.
  • Amazon.com, Inc.
  • American Airlines Group Inc.
  • American Apparel
  • American Express Company
  • American International Group, Inc.
  • Aparicio-Mercado Law, L.C.
  • Apple Inc.
  • AppNexus Inc.
  • Aramark
  • Arbor Brewing Company, LLC
  • Arnold & Porter LLP
  • Aspen Skiing Company
  • Assemble Sound LLC
  • AT&T Inc.
  • Atlas Cut Stone
  • Atticus Circle
  • The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Avanade Inc.
  • Bain & Company, Inc.
  • Bakehouse Art Complex
  • Baker & McKenzie LLP
  • Bank of America
  • The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
  • Barclays
  • Barnes & Noble, Inc.
  • bebe stores, inc.
  • Becton, Dickinson and Company
  • Belcampo Inc.
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Big Duck Studio, Inc.
  • Bigelow Villa LLC
  • Billy’s Farm
  • BlackRock, Inc.
  • Bloomberg L.P.
  • Blue Apron, Inc.
  • Blue Heron Ventures
  • Blue Moon Hotel / Winter Haven Hotel
  • Blume, Faulkner & Skeen, PLLC
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Boston Community Capital, Inc.
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • The Boston Foundation
  • Boston Medical Center Corporation
  • Boston Scientific Corporation
  • Brady Mills LLC
  • BrandQuery LLC
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
  • Broadcom Corporation
  • Brocade
  • Cablevision Systems Corporation
  • Capital One Financial Corporation
  • Captain Wendell’s Marine Services LLC
  • Cardinal Health, Inc.
  • Care Resource
  • CBS Corporation
  • CEB
  • Central Physical Therapy and Fitness, PSC
  • CGI
  • Charlotte Business Guild
  • The Chubb Corporation
  • CIGNA Corporation
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • City Catering Company
  • City Lites Neon, Inc.
  • The City of Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Civitas Public Affairs Group
  • Clean Yield Asset Management
  • CloudFlare, Inc.
  • CMIT Solutions of Seattle Downtown
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Cohen & Associates
  • Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Columbia FunMap, Inc.
  • Comcast Corporation
  • The Computer Butler
  • ConAgra Foods, Inc.
  • The Corcoran Group
  • Corner Brewery, LLC
  • Corning Incorporated
  • Cox Enterprises, Inc.
  • Crazy Misfits Pet Services
  • Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC
  • Cummins Inc.
  • Cupcake Royale
  • CVS Health Corporation
  • Dallas Voice
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc.
  • Danaher Corporation
  • David J. Jarrett, P.C.
  • David Kosar Insurance Agency
  • David Mack Henderson Income Tax Preparation
  • DCI Group AZ, L.L.C.
  • Deloitte LLP
  • Delta Air Lines, Inc.
  • Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation
  • The Desert Business Association
  • Deutsche Bank AG
  • Diageo North America, Inc.
  • DIRECTV
  • DocuSign
  • Domini Social Investments LLC
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • Dreamcatcher Arts and Publishing Ltd.
  • Dropbox, Inc.
  • DuPont
  • eBay Inc.
  • Edelman
  • Eldercare Consulting
  • Electronic Arts Inc.
  • EnduringHydro, LLC
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
  • Event Rents
  • Everything Real Estate LLC
  • Express Movers Inc.
  • Facebook, Inc.
  • Farella Braun + Martel, LLP
  • Fastsigns
  • Fenwick & West LLP
  • First Data Corporation
  • 1st Security Bank
  • 1stdibs.Com, Inc.
  • FIT Technologies
  • Flanery CPA
  • Full Court Press Communications
  • G.A.W., Inc.
  • The Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada
  • General Electric Company
  • General Mills, Inc.
  • Gensler
  • Gilt Groupe Holdings, Inc.
  • GlaxoSmithKline LLC
  • Gleason & Associates Claims Services
  • Go Factory, Inc.
  • Goethel Engelhardt, PLLC
  • The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
  • Google Inc.
  • Goulston & Storrs, P.C.
  • Great Officiants LLC
  • The Greater Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater San Diego Business Association
  • Greater Seattle Business Association
  • Greensulate
  • Grossman Marketing Group
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • Groupon
  • Growing Hope
  • Harrell Remodeling
  • The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.
  • Healthline
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.
  • Holdredge Wines
  • Homeward Pet Adoption Center
  • Horizon Air Industries, Inc.
  • House Packard LLC
  • HSBC
  • Ikard Wynne LLP
  • The Independence Business Alliance
  • The Inland Northwest Business Alliance
  • Insala, Ltd
  • Inspirato, LLC
  • Integrated Archive Systems, Inc.
  • Integrity Law Group
  • Intel Corporation
  • Intuit Inc.
  • INUS Group, LLC
  • Jackson Hole Group LLC
  • Jagod Designs
  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Jenn T. Grace International LLC
  • Jennifer Brown Consulting
  • JetBlue Airways Corporation
  • The Jim Henson Company
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Johnston, Kinney and Zulaica LLP
  • Jonathan L. Bowman, Attorney at Law, PS
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Julian Chang Consulting, Inc.
  • kapchur.us photography
  • The Kathy A. Janssen Foundation
  • Kazan, McClain, Satterley, & Greenwood, PLC
  • Keir Jones Agency – State Farm
  • Keker & Van Nest LLP
  • KEO Marketing Inc.
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, LLC
  • Kollmar Sheet Metal Works, Inc.
  • Kotzan Chiropractic
  • KPMG LLP
  • Lambda Business Association
  • Laparoscopic Institute for Gynecologic Oncology
  • Larson Marketing & Communications LLC
  • Laughton Properties
  • Law Offices of Joel L. Sogol
  • Law Office of Lisa E. Schuchman
  • Law Office of Lorie L. Burch, PC
  • Law Offices of Robin L. Bodiford, P.A.
  • The Law Office of Susan K. Fuller, PLLC
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Liberty Burger
  • Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
  • Life & Love Celebrations
  • Link in the Chain Foundation, Inc.
  • Littler Mendelson, P.C.
  • LNT, Inc.
  • The Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Lori Karbal et al
  • Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge Trust, LLC
  • The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Main Street Hair Shoppe Ltd.
  • Marriott International, Inc.
  • Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
  • McGraw Hill Financial, Inc.
  • McKesson Corporation
  • McKinsey & Company, Inc.
  • Merca Property Management
  • The Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Miller & Olson, LLP
  • Miller Shelton Group, LLC
  • MillerCoors LLC
  • Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
  • Mona Smith PLLC
  • Moody’s Corporation
  • Morgan Miller Plumbing
  • Morgan Stanley
  • MWW Public Relations
  • NAMI Dallas, Inc.
  • The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Neumann Capital Management, LLC
  • The New England Patriots
  • New Leaf Columbus
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Nifty Hoops, LLC
  • NIKE, Inc.
  • Nixon Peabody LLP
  • North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • OBOX Solutions
  • Office Depot, Inc.
  • The Ogilvy Group, Inc.
  • Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
  • ONE Community Media, LLC
  • 1 Source Consulting Solutions
  • Oracle America, Inc.
  • Orbitz Worldwide, Inc.
  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
  • Outerwall Inc.
  • Pakmode Publications, LLC
  • d/b/a Pakmode Media + Marketing
  • Pandora Media, Inc.
  • PATH
  • Peabody & Arnold LLP
  • Pepper Hamilton LLP
  • PepsiCo
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Pixelligent Technologies LLC
  • Plexus Education Foundation
  • Plexus LGBT and Allied Chamber of Commerce
  • Portland Area Business Association
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • PrideFest
  • The PrintingWorks
  • Pro-Tec Data, Inc.
  • Procter & Gamble
  • ProTrials Research, Inc.
  • Prudential Financial, Inc.
  • Puma Spring Vineyards
  • Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Quorum
  • RAFI Architecture and Design
  • Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley
  • Ralph’s Regal Weddings
  • Ray Holley Communications
  • RBC Capital Markets, LLC
  • Replacements, Ltd.
  • Restaurant Management Concepts
  • Reverberate! Marketing Communications, Inc.
  • Rising Tide Brewing Company
  • RJR Photography
  • Robert H Stutz Jr CPA
  • Rockwell Automation, Inc.
  • Rotella & Hernandez, LLC
  • The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce
  • Sadek Bonahoom PLC
  • The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • The San Francisco Giants
  • The Seattle Lesbian, LLC
  • Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Sempra Energy
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • Shingles Roofing LLC
  • Sidetrack, Inc.
  • Simon, Schindler & Sandberg LLP
  • Skellenger Bender, P.S.
  • Skyworks Solutions, Inc.
  • Sleeves Up Productions, LLC
  • Sōw
  • Spectra Law PS
  • Spry Vision, Inc.
  • St. Jude Medical, Inc.
  • Staples, Inc.
  • Starbucks Corporation
  • Starrtek LLC
  • State Street Corporation
  • Steven Graves Insurance Agency
  • Stonewall Behavioral Health
  • Stonewall Columbus
  • Stuffed Cakes, LLC
  • Sun Life Financial (U.S.) Services Company, Inc.
  • SunDaily
  • Support.com, Inc.
  • Sweet Dixie Kitchen
  • Symantec Corporation
  • Taber Food Services, Inc.
  • dba Hobee’s California Restaurants
  • The Tampa Bay Rays
  • Target Corporation
  • TD Bank, N.A.
  • TD Securities (USA) LLC
  • Tech Data Corporation
  • TestTracks
  • Thinking Cap Communications & Design
  • Third Point LLC
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Tiwary Entertainment Group LLC
  • TNT Promotions, LLC
  • TOCA Events, LLC
  • TravelOut, Inc.
  • Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
  • Twitter, Inc.
  • 206 Inc.
  • UBS AG
  • The Ultimate Software Group, Inc.
  • United Air Lines, Inc.
  • United Therapeutics Corporation
  • Uptown Physicians Group
  • VCB Consulting & Accounting Services
  • Verizon Communications Inc.
  • Viacom Inc.
  • Visa Inc.
  • VitaPerk
  • VMware, Inc.
  • W. M. Martin Advertising
  • W.W. Grainger, Inc.
  • W/S Development Associates LLC
  • Walsh Wellness Center
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Wasserman Media Group
  • Wells Fargo & Company
  • Whey Natural! USA LLC
  • Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • Witeck Communications, Inc.
  • The Workplace Equality Index
  • Wyndham Worldwide Corporation
  • Xerox Corporation
  • Xfund
  • YES DESIGN GROUP
  • Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority
  • Zausmer, Kaufman, August & Caldwell, P.C.
  • Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
  • ZoomSystems
  • Zynga Inc.

It’s a lot. And the story has garnered 255 comments. The top-rated comments are all about how they now have a list of 379 companies they will be boycotting, such as “Just Me” who wrote quite literally that: “I have a list of 379 companies I will be boycotting.” Others are perhaps more peripheral, just generally ranting about The Gays getting married.

But what’s funny about this is that you cannot possibly live in modern society and boycott all these companies.

Do you own a computer? Well, you cannot run Windows or Mac operating systems or even Chrome. I guess you’re stuck with Linux or Unix. And that’s ignoring the hardware. Obviously Apple is still out, but so is Intel (which makes most CPUs) and Hewlett-Packard. (Make sure your printer isn’t an HP!) Social networking is also out, for both Facebook and Twitter are on the list.

What about a smart phone? If it’s an iPhone, throw it away, you’re stuck with something like Samsung, but make sure it doesn’t have an Intel CPU.

Does your job use any sort of computer security? Chances are it’s Cicsco-based, so you have to stop working because Cisco is on the list. They also make much of the equipment that runs the internet.

Television? The biggest television providers are on the list, including Comcast and Direct TV.

What about air travel? Delta, United, American, Alaska Air, JetBlue … they’re on the list.

What about a credit card? Visa and American Express are both on the list, so you’re stuck with MasterCard, Discover, or some less recognized company, but be careful about the bank it’s through because Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley are both on the list, as is even the Deutsche Bank.

If you’ve managed to convince yourself you can still use a computer and the internet, well, you won’t be able to use the largest internet stores: Amazon and eBay are both on the list.

Office supplies needed? Well, Office Depot, Staples, and Target are on the list.

You may even be forced to throw out some of your clothes, for companies like American Apparel and Levi are on the list.

So, that’s what you’re faced with if you want to be a bigot today and boycott all the companies that support allowing gays to be married. And I just barely touched the list, but I tried to think of things that most people do. In general, though, you’re screwed.

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“Corporations are people, my friend.”  –former Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney

The Roberts Supreme Court may be known for many things when looking back on it in a century, but I expect that one of them will be taking broad steps to give the same rights to corporations that are enjoyed by individuals. Yesterday (Monday, June 30), the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling that many of us more progressive folks, and almost certainly non-religious folks, had been watching closely, and dreaded: In Burwell et al. v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. et al., SCOTUS in a 5-4 decision ruled for Hobby Lobby.

At issue, to the layperson like myself, was whether the federal government could force a publicly owned corporation to provide a service to its employees just as all other corporations, but against this corporation’s religious beliefs. SCOTUS ruled “no.”

I opened over two dozen stories about this yesterday and today, and it’s actually not quite as bad as I thought. The “real” issue, or at least the legal justification of this much narrower decision than it could have been, is that the mandate to provide contraception as part of the health care plan offered to employees actually conflicts with a 1993 religious freedom law (“Religious Freedom Restoration Act”):

The legislation said that “governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification.” It went on to say that the measure’s purpose was “to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.” –NY Times

SCOTUS decided that requiring Hobby Lobby to provide contraception under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, against those in charge’s religious feelings, violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They did not issue a blanket ruling saying that the ACA was unconstitutional, that the 1993 law is constitutional, or anything like that.

Which means that there are two very clear ways around this. First, the government could subsidize birth control for women who do not have it covered by their employer. Second, Congress could repeal the 1993 Act. I think that the former via Executive Order is much more likely to happen in this political environment than the latter. Though they may be trying for the latter at the moment.

So now that you’ve suffered through my legal opinions, let’s go for some linky-dinks (the “dinks” because we’re talking WND here):

You can get a good idea from the headlines where they’re headed with this, and among the hundreds of comments (435 alone on Bob’s), most are quite pleased.

Most liberals are not. There are many implications, and perhaps the most scathing dissent from the majority was by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But before I get to that, the LGBT community is particularly worried about the implications.

Top-rated comment by “GeorgiaPeachie” on Bob Unruh’s article tells you why: “WOOHOO!!! This ruling can be used by Christians when sued by HOMOSEXUALS. The Wedding Cake, Wedding Photography and others related small businesses now have a ruling in their favor!!! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY DAY!!!”

Yeah … now, I’m no “law-talkin’ guy” (lawyer), but it seems to me that if the justification for the mandate being illegal (not unconstitutional) is that employers can impose their religious beliefs on the kinds of services offered their employees, then what’s to stop a Christian-bent company owner from refusing to honor the marriage (and therefore spousal plans for health insurance) to a same-sex couple that is legally married in that state? Or innumerable other things. RightWing Watch has already pointed to many of the leaders of the anti-gay movement saying as much.

With that taste in mind, here are several other articles that have a more liberal feeling on the ruling, generally in temporal order from when I found them:

There are many things in these other writings that I like, and I’m going to quote several of them. From Hemant (first link):

Congratulations, conservative Christian business owners. You win. You can finally legally discriminate against women by denying them access to certain kinds of birth control normally available through their insurance.

Just remember this, Green family: While you’re reveling in victory, millions of young people are fully aware of what you’re really celebrating. It’s not about “religious liberty” because your rights were never up for debate. We know you’re happy because, once again, Christianity has been used as a weapon of discrimination. Enjoy your Supreme Court victory while it lasts because, in exchange, you’re about to lose even more of your social power.

This is just a continuation of all those other times you used your power to make others’ lives worse. Every time you stood in the way of marriage equality, more people left their churches, vowing never to return. For years now, we’ve known that the reputation of Christians is that they’re anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-women. You’ve only solidified those stereotypes and churches will pay for that as they lose members fed up with being associated with an organization that takes joy in denying others freedom and happiness.

The Center for Inquiry:

“This is not a decision that advances religious freedom — it is a decision that enshrines religious privilege over and above employee well-being,” added Lindsay. “This decision defies common sense, lacks compassion, and has the potential to harm us all.”

From RightWing Watch:

Writing for the majority in the Hobby Lobby case, Justice Alito emphasized [PDF] that the ruling, which partly overturned the Obama administration’s rules on birth control coverage, does not apply to other cases involving religious objections to government regulations.

… While Alito stresses that only closely-held corporations are involved in this case, what about a company board dominated by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, or evangelicals like David Barton who believe “that the Bible opposes the minimum wage, unions and collective bargaining, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and progressive taxation in general”?

With Congress currently debating the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, what if Hobby Lobby’s owners cited their religion as a reason to discriminate against LGBT employees? Or refuse to cover HIV/AIDS treatments?

The Washington Post, who showed a lot of different poll results:

It suggests that Americans’ opinions on the topic are quite malleable and — by extension — pretty soft. If Americans can offer such different responses based on just a few words being changed in the question, they probably don’t feel all that strongly about the issue or haven’t really paid attention.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who feel very strongly. It just means they they are probably in the minority.

Which means today’s Supreme Court ruling is probably a lot more about precedent and legal wrangling than about the 2014 election.

The Washington Post’s Q&A article:

Does this mean I will no longer get free birth control through my company insurance plan?

It probably does not mean that — unless you work for Hobby Lobby or Conestoga Wood Specialties, or one of the more than 40 other companies that have filed similar complaints. Other companies might jump on the bandwagon, but a deluge is unlikely.

For one thing, the justices were specific that a company dropping this coverage had to be motivated by sincerely held religious convictions. Most companies, even if their owners are religious, are secular in their day-to-day operations.

Also, even before the law, most employers covered contraception, suggesting they do not have to be compelled to offer the benefit.

George Takei:

“In this case, the owners happen to be deeply Christian; one wonders whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees. As many have pointed out, Hobby Lobby is the same company that invests in Pfizer and Teva Pharmaceuticals, makers of abortion inducing-drugs and the morning after pill. It also buys most of its inventory from China, where forced abortions are common. The hypocrisy is galling.

“Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a business — and a big one at that. Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability. Your boss should not have a say over your healthcare. Once the law starts permitting exceptions based on ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ there’s no end to the mischief and discrimination that will ensue. Indeed, this is the same logic that certain restaurants and hotels have been trying to deploy to allow proprietors to refuse service to gay couples.”

Finally, from Justice Ginsburg’s dissent (copied from TFA):

Persuaded that Congress enacted RFRA to serve a far less radical purpose, and mindful of the havoc the Court’s judgment can introduce, I dissent.

… The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.

… the Court’s reasoning appears to permit commercial enterprises like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga to exclude from their group health plans all forms of contraceptives.

… Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)? According to counsel for Hobby Lobby, “each one of these cases… would have to be evaluated on its own… apply[ing] the compelling interest-least restrictive alternative test.”… Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.


The Supreme Court (of the United States) handed down several rulings last week, many of them truly significant in their reach. These included limits and capabilities of what the EPA can regulate, limits on Executive Orders, limits on Recess Appointments, a unanimous decision for civil liberties in that police now need a warrant to search the contents of your cell phone (which SCOTUS pointed out was now a “mini computer” with your life stored on it), and they eliminated the buffer around abortion clinics on First Amendment grounds (another unanimous decision, and one that I’m less happy with).

World Net Daily was ecstatic about the last one, posting no fewer than four stories about it. My view is perhaps best characterized by their snippet from The Guardian, which they included under their “Out of Left Field” section: “Supremes’ Ruling Protects Gauntlet of Horror.” Basically, a woman is going to have an abortion, making a very difficult decision, and she is harassed in the last few feet trying to get in the doors of the clinic. Harassed by people showing photos of bloody infant corpses, saying she’ll burn in hell, being screamed at through a megaphone, etc. What many states (16, I think, including Massachusetts which was the subject of the SCOTUS decision) have tried to do – to strike a balance between right to free speech and right to access to the abortion clinic – is to establish a buffer zone. You can scream and rant outside that zone, but those last few feet are off-limits. So at least you can get to the door without needing to fight through people.

Now, SCOTUS has ruled that buffer zone unconstitutional. Though I don’t think the decision invalidates the “bubble zones” that they upheld as constitutional, that are 8 ft from the clinic’s door. Personally, I don’t see how 35 ft is that much different from 8 ft — you can still see all the signs, hear all the protests, etc. It seems like more of a free-access and anti-violence thing to me, which was the whole point of the Massachusetts law (enacted in the wake of violence at a Boston clinic).

WND did a three-paragraph snippet from NBC News when it first came out (“Supremes Hand Huge Victory to Pro-Lifers”), and then Bob Unruh published his column on it (“Pro-Life Forces Consider Next Step in Free-Speech Fight”), and later in the day, Greg Corombos did his (“‘Huge’ Supreme Court Ruling ‘Boggles the Mind'”).

Sigh.

Interestingly, Unruh’s column only has nine comments, which is very surprising to me. His stuff about The Gay typically gets 20 times that. Corombos’ column got many more comments, with 164 when I wrote this post. I’m not going to get into the comments, they are what you would expect from WND.

What I’ll end with is what some of the more liberal bloggers (and Rachael Maddow) have somewhat ironically pointed out: SCOTUS’ hypocricy in this issue. The Supreme Court itself forbids all protests on the plaza to their building, roughly 252 feet wide. To quote Boston Magazine:

The court’s rules about protests on their grounds don’t apply to the sidewalks surrounding the building, but those areas are roughly 252 feet from the court’s doors. The buffer zone separating the plaza from the sidewalks is meant to keep the area clean and safe, and maintain “suitable order and decorum” on the property, according to the regulations.


On March 7, World Net Daily became one of many conservative outlets to lament that a New Mexico couple, who had stated they would not photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony because it violated their religious beliefs, had lost their appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. SCOTUS wouldn’t take their appeal after they had lost at every level in the court system. So, Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, and their lawyer Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defending Freedom, are SOL. WND’s Greg Corombos wrote the article, “Supremes ‘Serious’ About ‘Gay’ Suits vs. Christians.”

As usual, missing the point. The point is that states have public accommodation laws. If you open your business to the public, you must abide by them. The states include in those laws non-discrimination rules, such as against gender, nationality, or religion. Over half the states also include sexual orientation, including New Mexico. So, since this was clearly a refusal of service based on sexual orientation, they were violating the law by refusing service.

Whether or not those laws are Constitutional in light of the First Amendment I think remains to be seen / tested, though this rejection by SCOTUS would seem to indicate they think the laws are okay. And, as usual, I must ask the question if we’d even be talking about this if Elaine Photography had refused an interracial couple.

The reason I’m writing about this on the blog is that it has garnered 1421 comments. And, for the first time ever that I’ve seen, WND’s comment moderators actually wrote in someone’s comment.

The comment is by “moms4patriots,” and she wrote:

I saw one suggestion on another thread that I thought was brilliant. It may have some hidden flaws that I haven’t thought through yet, but at frist glance I don’t see any. These religious buisness owners could say to the same sex couple, “Look, the courts have ruled that I must serve you even if it violates my conscience, so I will do the job (whatever it happens to be) for you. However, because it does violate my conscience, I will not be able to keep any of the money that you pay me. Therefore I have decided to donate the profits from this job to the Family Research Council to fight for traditional marriage at the national level. If you still want me to photograph your wedding knowing this, then I will do the job for you, to the best of my ability.”

It got 52 up-votes. The moderators appended this to her comment: “Exceptionally rare Moderator’s note: We all agree this is brilliant! One thought: Make sure you tell the unhappy “couple” that you’ll be making the donation in their name.”

So, this is where I depart from perhaps my more liberal compatriots. Do I think people should be able to discriminate? No. You get into the slippery slope of letting them discriminate for “non-essential” services (wedding photography?) but not for “essential” services (hospital care?) but then needing to legally define whether every single service out there is essential or non-essential. It is much easier to just blankly say that public accommodations of any type can’t discriminate.

That said, I kinda like “moms4patriots”‘s suggestion. The reason is that I don’t understand why, if you know someone is only giving you a service like this (such as wedding photography, or baking a cake) because they legally must, and there are dozens of other businesses out there that provide the exact same service that don’t hate you because they think their invisible sky fairy says they should, why go to them? Go somewhere else.

I recognize that’s not always a possibility, especially in smaller towns and rural areas. But, for many of us, it is. Let bigots be bigots. Leave bad ratings for them on websites like Yelp, and tell your friends and rant about it on Facebook. But if the baker down the street does just as good a job and is flying a rainbow flag, why insist on the baker with the Jesus fish making your anniversary cake?