Thursday, August 21, 2008

California vs. the First Amendment

California vs. the First Amendment

I do hope that this gets challenged to the U.S. Supreme Court--there is a real issue here. From the Pacific Justice Institute's press release:
In a major decision likely to re-draw the battle lines of the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court today ruled against two doctors who declined to artificially inseminate a lesbian.

The doctors, who are Christians, strongly believe that children should be raised whenever possible by a mother and father. To that end, they did not want to participate in the deliberate exclusion of a father as sought by Guadalupe Benitez and her partner, Joanne Clark. Instead, the doctors paid for a referral of Ms. Benitez to other fertility specialists who did not have any moral objections to administering the treatment, and she now has three children. Nevertheless, Ms. Benitez was so offended by the doctors' stance that she sued them under California's sweeping civil rights laws.

Today, California's highest court unanimously ruled that the state's civil rights laws offer virtually no exceptions for people of faith. Unless the ruling is eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court - which only hears about one percent of all the cases appealed to it - or is modified by the gay-friendly California legislature, its implications appear to be far-reaching. For instance, the ruling probably means that, regardless of their beliefs, everyone in the state's wedding industry must service gay weddings, California family law attorneys must handle gay adoptions and same-sex divorces, and so on.
There has been a long tradition in the U.S. of governments, when passing laws, making some accommodation for legitimate religious beliefs. For example, during World War II, our laws provided for conscientious objectors to refuse military service. Many of them were put to work in hospitals instead. Many of the laws prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals exclude religious entities. The argument that liberals use for this naked use of power is that the doctors are providing a service. If they don't want to be subject to the law, they can stop being doctors, or they can leave California. And I rather suspect that this is the goal: to force every Christian in California to either smile stupidly and pretend that there's no problem, or to leave. Unfortunately, there's no chance that liberals will decide that individuals have a right of conscience.

Can you imagine how differently the world would be if 1960s America had been as intolerant of gay rights activists as gay rights activists are of Christians?

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