I am pretty much a live and let live guy, until one side thinks it’s in their interest to damage some one elses interests in the pursuance of their own. And then peoples rights must be balanced.
And asserting that your religious right is superior to anothers is insane to me. We must all get along here in the United States.
Or if you can’t get along, move to the furthest reach of Alaska or something where I don’t have to see you.
So we have Mississippi and Senate Bill 2681 which was recently passed by the Mississippi Upper House.
The bill is a one page document, and here is the full text:
2014 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges; Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Gandy, Hudson, Jolly, Smith, Tindell, Chassaniol, Parker, Polk, Watson, Burton, Carmichael, Fillingane, Hale, Harkins, Jackson (15th), Lee, Longwitz, Ward, Collins
Senate Bill 2681
AN ACT TO ENACT THE MISSISSIPPI RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT; TO PROVIDE THAT STATE ACTION OR AN ACTION BY ANY PERSON BASED ON STATE ACTION SHALL NOT BURDEN A PERSON’S RIGHT TO THE EXERCISE OF RELIGION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) This act shall be known and may be cited as the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
(2) As used in this act:
(a) “Burden” means any action that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails or denies the exercise of religion by any person or compels any action contrary to a person’s exercise of religion. “Burden” includes, but is not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties or exclusion from governmental programs or access to governmental facilities.
(b) “Compelling governmental interest” means a government interest of the highest magnitude that cannot otherwise be achieved without burdening the exerciser of religion.
(c) “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion. “Exercise of religion” includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
(d) “State action” means the implementation or application of any law, including, but not limited to, state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, or any other action by the state, a political subdivision of the state, an instrumentality of the state or political subdivision of the state, or a public official that is authorized by law in the state.
(3) (a) State action or an action by any person based on state action shall not burden a person’s right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to that person’s exercise of religion in that particular instance is both of the following:
(i) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest;
(ii) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(b) A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened or is likely to be burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting that claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or a political subdivision of the state. Appropriate relief includes, but is not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and the recovery of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2014.
Now Mississipi is a state where gay marriage is expressly forbidden in code 93-1-1, according to my Lexis-Nexis search on Mississippi Code:
(2) Any marriage between persons of the same gender is prohibited and null and void from the beginning. Any marriage between persons of the same gender that is valid in another jurisdiction does not constitute a legal or valid marriage in Mississippi.
So according to DefyTheNarrative, this Senate Bill is only aimed at preventing gays from buying wedding cakes, in a state where marriage between gays is already illegal.
This is a ridiculous de minimis argument if I have ever heard one. Nowhere in the bill is there any reference to wedding cakes.
The bill reads that the state cannot enforce any action against anyone claiming their religious freedom unless it’s a compelling state interest, in plain language.
So basically one cannot sue in State Court in Mississippi and expect a verdict in your favor if the party you are suing is claiming their religious freedom, unless you can prove that it’s a “compelling state interest” to protect your rights.
Now I believe that the overriding concern of the state, and it’s “compelling interest” is in the health and welfare of their citizens. So I believe that ultimately it would be found that certain goods and services are a base necessity, and those business establishments would have no right to not engage in commerce.
However, I do not believe one should have to sue to buy goods commonly available. And I can easily see some old redneck down in Mississippi trying to deny service to a homosexual in his establishment.
And as GeneO confirms (he lives in Mississippi) there are many small towns with only one grocery for 30-50 miles.
So in context, in a state with a massive history of discrimination, denying anyone who happens to be gay anything they decide is against their religion would be a-ok. And the state would just shrug and go on their way. That seems to be the Mississippi Senates intent.
And anyone suing for discimination in state court could find themselves being ordered to pay costs to the discriminating party.
That’s a plain reading and interpretation in English, without getting into extensive legalise. We can quibble over what is a “compelling state interest” I suppose, but in a state where gay couples cannot get married by law, I assume Mississippi finds discrimination against homosexuals in their interests.
The state governments intent is to have legalized discrimination, with gay marriage being restricted, etc.
This is the logical conclusion in a state with an extensive history of discrimination, hanging onto their last vestiges of their discriminatory past.
That cake can’t or won’t be sold to gay people is a de minimis and absurd argument.
And I believe it is discrimination by dictionary definition, and more narrowly “legalized discrimination.”
And I am happy to extend Federal Law to Mississippi and send in the National Guard if necessary.
I believe that the bucks stops with the Federal government.
Now if the state of Mississippi would be ok, and not institutionalize their religion in their laws with active discrimination I’d be happy to let them exist over there in Mississippi.
But they want to be all “Large Government” and control who can get married, as the particular statute denying marriage to homosexuals was passed by Mississippi in 1997.
And since not everyone is actually a Christian, I cannot abide by that particular statute.
I am happy to review the record for legislative intent, debate and whatever else occurred, but you can’t sell me on the fact that the law isn’t expressive the State of Mississippi’s Christian beliefs. I believe that is plain on it’s face, and is in face de jure discrimination.
Now, the dollar is a means of transmitting wealth from one party to another. The dollar doesn’t carry the stank of homosexuality on it. And so we can all get along happily in a public space, the free flow of commerce is necessary. And that is absolutely held to be in the states interest.
So I don’t understand a poor state trying to impede the free flow of goods, unless religion, that being the Christian religion, is involved.
And I sincerely doubt anyone not wanting a homosexuals dollar screens every dollar for cocaine taint, or the smell of the devil. Just homosexuality, apparently.
I thought according to the bible that money is the root of all evil, anyhow. It is according to Timothy 6:10.
And I defy any Christian to stand before me and assert that he is not a sinner.
We are all sinners, so how come those Christians in Mississippi somehow assert that homosexuality is a greater sin than a murderers? And do they screen every customer to determine their sins, anyway?
Can you imagine the complete anarchy and destruction of the free flow of commerce and goods if every person had to interview every other person about their sins? Chaos.
Anyone could happily discriminate based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs”, and seek redress, in the form of court costs, etc. Including compensatory damages.
So, if you wish to sue for discrimination happening to you in Mississippi, please do it in Federal Court.
And make the argument that the Bill of Rights has been incorporated to the states, and that your Freedom of Religion, that includes the right to not hold a Christian religion is being stepped on by the State of Mississippi! And that the State of Mississippi cannot pass a law establishing a religion. Which I firmly believe the Senate of Mississippi is doing, de jure.
Otherwise why prohibit gay marriage in the first place? To enforce their Christian beliefs, surely.
Let the lawsuits begin! I predict injunctive relief being sought the very second that bill is signed by the Governor! Anyone want to bet on that?
OR, the cake baker can just sell you a damned cake. Whichever.
Personally, I’m for the cake being sold. But will bring the Hammer if necessary. And there are some rusty old nails down there in Mississippi, let me tell you.
Ohh, I shall touch on “Public Accomodations”. Basically I believe that we all share common space. In your house, you are lord of the manner, in your business or other public places you are open to business to all reasonable people, and should happily engage in commerce.
Seems simple to me. And the law is expanding as far as “Public Accomodations” are concerned. That’s fine with me, cause there’s idiots out there trying to deny others the equal right to be married and/or buy a cake.
Oh, I am not gay. I am just somewhat libertarian. And happy to have the free flow of goods and services flowing!
Viva la Commerce.
And I’d hate for the National Guard to have to head South…. again… For God’s sake, stop discriminating down there. Jesus…
Oh I don’t hate anyone either. I’d just like for us all to co-exist peacably. If not possible, I will happily use legal methods to enforce same.
And I am a redneck and okie. And am descendant of dust bowlers from Missouri and Kansas. So I don’t hate southerners, as I am descendant from same.