In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and religious freedom, some homosexual advocates claim the decision was also a victory for the “gay rights” movement.
As previously reported, the Supreme Court decided last week that the federal government cannot force closely-held companies to obey regulations which violate the owners’ religious beliefs. The ruling was seen as a historic victory for religious rights, and many Christians praised the court’s decision.
“Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green in a statement. “… The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey.”
However, in the wake of the Hobby Lobby ruling, a few commentators have suggested that the decision might also be a victory for “gay rights” activists. Allegedly, with her dissent, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg forced the writers of the majority opinion to protect homosexual workers from any discrimination in the workplace.
“The Hobby Lobby ruling is, no doubt, bad news for women and for anybody who cares about women’s health care,” claimed Mark Joseph Stern, a columnist for the liberal website Slate. “But in an attempt to narrow the ruling’s effect, the conservative majority makes a surprising concession—one that could be good news for gay people.”
“In its ruling for Hobby Lobby,” Stern continued, “the court—in an opinion authored by arch-conservative Justice Samuel Alito—explicitly stated that [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act] could not be used as a ‘shield’ to ‘cloak … discrimination in hiring’ as a ‘religious practice to escape legal sanction.’”
Therefore, Stern argued, the decision was actually a victory for supporters of homosexuality.
“On an otherwise dark day for progressives, that’s a revelation worth celebrating,” he noted.
Over the past couple years, several Christian business owners have been forced to violate their religious beliefs or else face legal consequences. As previously reported, a florist in Washington was sued last year because she refused to supply flowers for a homosexual “wedding.” Similarly, a Christian baker was recently forced to make cakes for homosexual “weddings,” even though it violated his biblical beliefs.
If Stern’s argument is valid, other Christian business owners may soon be required to act against their religious convictions. However, others are not convinced that the Hobby Lobby decision is in fact a victory for homosexuals.
“Wow, that’s a stretch in reading the decision,” one commenter wrote in response to the Slate column.” The LGBT community was not mentioned [in the ruling].”
“I’m not sure that this ruling is a good sign for LGBTQ rights outside employment,” another chimed in. “It’s not the bad news some imagined, but there’s nothing in the ruling that would prevent the court from making a similar ruling saying that the owners of closely held companies in the wedding industry do not need to support weddings that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has vowed to soon issue an executive order which would ban any so-called discrimination against homosexual employees of federal employers. Dozens of concerned religious leaders mailed a letter to Obama on June 25, urging him to protect the freedoms of religious business owners.
“Any executive order that does not fully protect religious freedom will face widespread opposition and will further fragment our nation,” the letter warned, noting that religious organizations are often “the best-qualified applicants for federal contracts.”
“As you seek to promote the rights of LGBT persons,” the letter states, “please also protect the rights of faith-based organizations that simply desire to utilize staffing practices consistent with their deep religious convictions as they partner with the federal government via contracting or subcontracting.”