Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cases --- July 12th through 18th

Workers Compensation/Occupational Safety and Disease

Discrimination and Retaliation


Contract/Noncompete/Trade Secret/Wrongful Termination

Sunday, July 5, 2015

An Aside from Employment Law: Why the Same Sex Marriage Cases Trouble Me

As a lawyer and a religious person, I was deeply concerned about the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding same-sex marriage. The decision reflects attitudes and beliefs that give me great concern about the continuing protection of my right to exercise my religion.

I hope to respectfully explain why I am so concerned.

The Decision Affects My Religious Exercise

I do not agree with the underlying premise held by many who support same-sex marriage. The premise is that same-sex attraction is an immutable characteristic of an individual. At its core, homosexuality is defined by a feeling—sexual attraction to people of the same sex. A feeling of attraction is no more an immutable characteristic than a feeling of reverence for religion.

In saying this, I do not discount the fact that people may be predisposed to being attracted to people of the same sex. Assuming that a person may be predisposed to same-sex attractions, however, does not lead inevitably to the conclusion that such people are entitled to protection by the law. To conclude that such individuals are entitled to protection, one must assume that such predispositions are entitled to greater protections than other types of predispositions. For instance, why should the law protect those who act on their same-sex attraction, while the law does not protect those who act on their predisposition to attraction to multiple sexual partners?

Inevitably, the gay rights movement requires our nation to specially protect the predisposition to same-sex attraction.

What is most troubling to me as a religious person is that God has spoken on this issue. God has declared that any type of unholy sexual practice is a sin. This includes adultery, fornication, and homosexual practices. Thus, by giving special protection to the same-sex attraction predisposition by requiring the federal and state governments to recognize and perform same-sex marriages, the law is requiring governments to enforce and recognize a practice that God has explicitly prohibited.

I understand that those in the gay rights movement contend that my religious beliefs are subjective—that the law should not enforce my religious sensibilities on others. This contention is often cloaked in the garb of the First Amendment prohibition against establishment of religion. However, in making this argument, the gay rights advocates seem to ignore the fact that they are, in fact, doing the thing that they are so vehemently opposed to—they are forcing me to accept their religious—or nonreligious as the case may be—beliefs on me. I am forced as a citizen of a nation to support and uphold a practice that I believe that God has forbidden.

 Also, I believe, as many religious people do, that “as [our] laws and [our] governments [are] established by the voice of the people,” when those who choose “evil [become] more numerous than those who [choose] good”—specifically, when “the laws [have] become corrupted”—the nation is “ripening for destruction.” Thus, it is especially troubling to me as a religious person that a decision has been made to have the state sanction what I believe is an unholy and sinful practice.

The Decision Presumes Falsely That Religious People Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage are Motivated to Harm

Most alarming and disappointing to me, however, is the Court’s declaration in both the most recent case and the DOMA case decided two terms ago that the “the purpose [in prohibiting same-sex marriages] is to disparage and injure” same-sex couples. In other words, the Court has accepted the presumption that people who oppose same-sex marriage are doing so to hurt gays and lesbians.

Not only is this statement patently false with respect to most religious people, but it serves to embolden the most virulent hatred against religious people held by some. I, like most of my religious brothers and sisters, do not want to and never have intentionally harmed or injured a person because of their same sex attraction. The greatest commandments my God tells me are (1) to love my God and (2) to love my neighbor, because, I am instructed, all of the laws and the prophets hinge on these two commandments. I am commanded to love everyone, including those who disagree with me. I am told to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, to mourn with those who mourn, to visit the orphan, the homeless, and the widow. I am told to judge not, lest I be judged.

As a lawyer, I have represented those who are openly and secretly attracted to others of the same-sex. I care for them and feel a duty to zealously represent them. Whether I believe that their choices are sinful or not, I love them, care for them, and want them to succeed.

It is both insulting and deeply troubling that many in the gay rights community claim that I am hateful and motivated by a desire to injure and harm them. It is even more insulting and troubling that our Supreme Court has sanctioned this untrue sentiment by declaring the claim that my purpose is to disparage and injure.

This is the reason the decision troubles me most. While I am deeply concerned with a law that forces my government to sanction what I believe to be sinful, I am more concerned about what the Supreme Court has said about the motivations of religious people. This attitude does not bode well for religious people or their freedom to exercise their religion free from governmental interference.

Maybe I am wrong, but what this case says to me and other religious people is this: The Supreme Court has decided—religious people are hateful and their concerns are motivated to harm; those with same-sex attraction are dignified and only motivated by love. As such, the concerns of gays and lesbians are legitimate; the concerns of religious people are petty and mean.