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08/30/2013

Focus on the Family president misses point, makes ours

by Jeremy Hooper

First read this argument from Focus on the Family president Jim Daly. I'll meet you on the other side:

By ruling that the couple in this case was guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination,” the New Mexico Supreme Court is asking Christians to violate their deepest-held convictions. New Mexico doesn’t even have same-sex marriage, so the court ruled that this young couple should have recognized and forced to participate in something the state’s own laws don’t even recognize.

This case is the writing on the wall for what will happen should current trends continue.
FULL:
New Mexico, the Media, Religious Liberty – and You [Focus]

Okay, so a couple of things here. First is Mr. Daly's hinging this case on marriage, as if its legalization is the variable. This is a product of the far-right's deliberate obfuscation of this situation, one that they desperately want supporters to buy into so that marriage equality seems like some sort of frightening change agent.

In truth, it is New Mexico's Human Rights Act that is at the center of the equation. That policy prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In this case, it happened to be a commitment ceremony, but it wouldn't have mattered. If the lesbian couple sought a cake for a birthday, anniversary, coming out party, Homosexual Agenda™ meeting, or anything else, and the couple was denied because of who they are, the situation would be the same. The very same. The point is that Elane Photography wanted to deny a service to a same-sex couple precisely (and pointedly) because they were two women, and New Mexico nondiscrimination policy says that is a not okay thing to do.

In fact, Mr. Daly's attempt to make this about marriage argues our point, not his. For years, groups like the National Organization For Marriage have been warning America about the supposed dangers of same-sex marriage, complete with ridiculous projects like "The Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance," which attempt to create false victims out of twisted scenarios. For these same years, I have been saying that most of the things to which they point (e.g. inclusive schools, nondiscrimination laws, company vendor policies, adoption practices) are either largely or fully detached from the issue of civil marriage equality. Whether it's the Massachusetts schools that were encouraging LGBT inclusion well before marriage came to the Bay State or the wedding pavilions that were told they must comply with nondiscrimination laws if they want to receive special tax breaks, the situations play out whether or not the surrounding jurisdiction has full marriage equality. If anything, the Elane Photography case, which began playing out long before New Mexico's current conversation about marriage equality, proves that the far-right's attempt to turn our marriages into a catalyst is, in fact, the bunkety-bunk bucket of fear-mongering that I've always said it is!

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