Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mississippi case illustrates what's wrong with Arkansas anti-gay 'conscience' law

Posted By on Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 8:10 AM

click to enlarge WRITING MORE LAW: Roberta Kaplan, whose work to legalize same sex marriage is recounted in this book, is continuing her fight for equality with a groundbreaking victory for gay rights in Mississippi.
  • WRITING MORE LAW: Roberta Kaplan, whose work to legalize same sex marriage is recounted in this book, is continuing her fight for equality with a groundbreaking victory for gay rights in Mississippi.
Here's a good followup from Slate on the important ruling by Mississippi federal Judge Carlton Reeves that struck down that state's so-called religious conscience law. Mississippi, as the Arkansas law did earlier, passed a law nominally said to protect religious beliefs.

The laws were meant — as legislative debate and contemporaneous events illustrated — to provide a ground for people to discriminate against LGBT people in hiring, housing and public services. Everyone knew that.

But in Mississippi, the plaintiffs turned the religious freedom argument against the bigots.

 
The genius of the lawsuit against HB 1523, which was brought by Windsor mastermind Roberta Kaplan, is its fusion of fundamental yet typically distinct constitutional principles: “the guarantee of religious neutrality and the promise of equal protection of the laws.”

Mississippi argued that its law promoted religious liberty. Quite the opposite, Reeves explains: In reality, HB 1523 “establishes an official preference for certain religious beliefs over others,” a quintessential violation of the Establishment Clause. Anti-LGBTQ religious beliefs are explicitly favored; adherents to those beliefs receive a special right to discriminate that is unavailable to all others. “Persons who hold contrary religious beliefs are unprotected,” Reeves explains; “the State has put its thumb on the scale to favor some religious beliefs over others

.”This favoring of certain religious sects is especially problematic because it “comes at the expense of other citizens,” namely LGBTQ people. The Supreme Court has found that laws that advance religious beliefs in a way that burdens those who don’t share those beliefs violate the Establishment Clause. HB 1523 is guilty of this sin, because it gives anti-LGBTQ Mississippians “an absolute right to refuse service to LGBT citizens without regard for the impact on their employer, coworkers, or those being denied service.

”By uniquely burdening the LGBTQ community, Reeves notes, HB 1523 also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Romer v. Evans, laws motivated by “animus” toward sexual minorities are unconstitutional. And as Reeves demonstrates in his decision, it is beyond rational belief that HB 1523 was motivated by anything but “a bare desire to harm” LGBTQ people. 
You may replace HB 1523 in every reference with the law Arkansas's legislature and governor approved and you have a directly analogous situation with the Arkansas effort to preserve legal discrimination against LGBT people. Hurry the lawsuits.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas conservatives react to same-sex marriage decision

    Jason Rapert, Mike Huckabee, the Meeks bros, Jerry Cox — beyond these extremists, it's hard to find statements from other Arkansas conservatives. That tell you something?
    • Jun 26, 2015
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Monticello preparing for KKK rally

    Drew County authorities are taking precautions, but also watching their words, about apparent plans for a Ku Klux Klan meeting Saturday.
    • Jul 22, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

  • LRPD: Robbery suspect dead after victim wrestles away gun

    Little Rock Police say a robbery suspect died early this morning after one of the victims he allegedly tried to rob during a bank deposit wrestled away his handgun and shot him with it.
  • What's next for Hillary Clinton?

    Politico's Gabriel Debenedetti, filing from Little Rock, reports on the future plans of Hillary Clinton in the wake of her loss in the presidential election
  • Earned-income tax credit plan fails in House

    Rep. Warwick Sabin's bill to enact an earned-income tax aimed at low-income workers in the state was rejected today in the House. The measure failed 66-28 on a mostly party-line vote, although a scattering of Republicans backed it.
  • Collins files campus carry bill

    As expected, Rep. Charlie Collins yesterday filed a bill to force public universities and colleges to allow staff members to carry concealed handguns.
  • Bill filed to exempt certain police body-cam and dash-cam recordings from FOI

    Rep. Jeff Williams (R-Springdale) filed a bill yesterday to exempt any recordings from police body-worn cameras or dash cameras that is deemed "relevant to an investigation conducted by a law enforcement agency" from disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation