My mail today had the usual charity appeals and advertising, but one envelope caught my eye. It was bright pink and covered with attention-grabbing statements.
“Notice – Termination of Employment” followed by boxes that you could check as they might apply: gender identity, marrying your partner, gender transition, gender expression.”
Take your pick.
The back of the envelope was stamped with bold, black lettering that said this was YOUR LAST PAYCHECK.
For someone not paying attention, it might cause some nervousness. Of course, that was the intent.
Checking it further, I saw it was from an outfit calling itself “The National LGBTQ Task Force” and, of course, was a pitch for money.
It also was a full-court press for further judicial support for gay rights.
Not just equal rights but for all rights for gays that they perceive non-gays have under current law.
They also included a common ploy of such fundraisers these days, a petition to my two U.S. senators, Feinstein and Boxer, urging their support of further rights and discrimination protection for LGBTQ people.
Not only do they want federal protection in employment, housing, health care and other areas, but they’re also pushing for elimination of any religious exemptions by any businesses or organizations.
As it stands now, some states have some legal protection, some don’t.
The Task Force says we need federal laws outlawing all kinds of what they define as discrimination against gays on any level, by anyone, for any reason.
As they put it, they want “comprehensive and broad federal LGBTQ non-discrimination protections.”
In case you’re wondering, LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.
It all adds up to the fact that, since the gay marriage ruling by the Supreme Court, gay-rights groups have gotten more and more demanding and more open in their demands to have what they describe as full equality with the force of law behind it.
In what promises to be a major test case in this area of gay rights is the result of a court decision in Massachusetts.
Back in 2013, Matthew Barrett was offered a job as a food services director at a Catholic girls school, The Fontbonne Academy, in Milton, Massachusetts.
After the school saw on his application that he was married to another man (he had listed him as an emergency contact), they withdrew the job offer.
The school said it based its decision on the established teaching of the Church that homosexual activity is immoral. The school argues that all staff must model Church values. It also claimed a “ministerial” exemption for religious organizations stemming from a Supreme Court decision on a similar case.
Barrett sued, and the ruling by Associate Justice Douglas H. Wilkins was in his favor. In other words, the judge ruled that the private Catholic girls school violated Barrett’s rights; the school must hire a gay man, openly married to another gay man.
According to Judge Wilkins, the school has no right to say no because Barrett is “a protected class.”
According to Barrett’s lawyers, this is the first ruling of its kind.
I have no doubt it won’t be the last case to hit the courts, in Massachusetts or any other state.
Interestingly, in 2004, Massachusetts was the first state to recognize gay marriage. It wasn’t made legal nationwide until the ruling last June by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The issue has enormous national ramifications if, as is likely, other similar cases will arise, whether set up or not.
The easiest targets in such issues are religious – namely the Roman Catholic Church and its religious orders, schools, medical institutions, orphanages and others of its operations.
In addition, all similar Christian organizations and business are also easy targets for accusations and lawsuits – with visions of deep-pocket decisions.
There is little doubt they’ll all be targeted with so-called victims screaming “discrimination!”
But what about discrimination against the business owners and those who run religious organizations? How did we get to the point where they’ll have virtually no control over the people they hire to work for and with them and who will represent their operations to the public?
Given the mindset of social mores today, the liberal tendencies of the courts on virtually all levels and the almost total gutlessness of politicians to take controversial positions dealing with sexuality, it appears that those in the LGBTQ camp are cheering.
They’re certain their enemies are people in government who are opposed to gay equality plus anyone on the far right. They’re convinced those people want to be able to legally discriminate against gays. Using that as their argument, and given the mentality of the courts today, it seems likely they are on a winning trajectory.
The federal government tried to legally force the Little Sisters of the Poor, Catholic nuns, to provide contraception coverage for their employees in their 30 nursing homes nationwide, under Obamacare. That’s headed to the Supreme Court.
The Fontbonne Academy case involving Matthew Barrett might wind up there as well. The school has not decided. He’s also suing for lost wages and damages, and those haven’t been determined.
But Barrett is doing OK. According to the Boston Globe, he returned to the job he’d had in the Milton public schools, where he is now a head cook.
According to him, “They were thrilled to have me back. I love it!”
But the case isn’t closed.
Media wishing to interview Barbara Simpson, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.