Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Supreme Court: Another month of 'major moments'
Legal activists brace for religious ruling
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
2014-06-08

This article shared 2558 times since Sun Jun 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


June is the final month of the U.S. Supreme Court's current session and, while anticipation is not nearly so great this year for the LGBT community as it was last year, there is some concern in the air.

Last year, the wait was about marriage: whether the Supreme Court would declare the Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on same-sex couples marrying to be unconstitutional. It declared DOMA unconstitutional and, on a legal technicality, it allowed a lower court decision striking California's Proposition 8 to stand.

This year, anxiety surrounds two consolidated cases in which employers are seeking the right to discriminate against employees in the provision of health benefits based on the company owner's personal religious beliefs. It is the type of conflict —religious beliefs versus non-discrimination laws— that has arisen time and again in recent years by employers seeking to discriminate against LGBT people.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood v. HHS are lawsuits brought by the owners of for-profit commercial enterprises —a furniture maker, an arts and craft store, and a bookstore ( the latter selling Christian-oriented books ). The owners of the company object to a requirement by the Affordable Care Act that employers' health plans include coverage for contraception. They say they're not trying to stop the use of contraception; they just don't want to be involved in funding it.

The Family Research Council submitted a brief in support of the Hobby Lobby employers, arguing that "commercial activity does not preclude or excuse religious observance and often can be a means of exercising religion."

But an article on salon.com reported the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga owners are involved in political efforts to stop the use of contraception, as well as marriage for same-sex couples, through its donations to the National Christian Charitable Foundation, which funnels millions of dollars into organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom which has defended many state bans on same-sex marriage.

LGBT legal activists seek two major concerns with a ruling in favor of the employers in these cases. One is that it could open the door for employers to seek exemptions from providing coverage for other health benefits, such as coverage for the same-sex spouses or partners of employees, reproductive services for lesbian couples, testing and treatment for men at risk of HIV infection, transgender treatment for people with gender dysphoria. And the other is that employers and individuals might seek exemptions to other laws, such as laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

"Given these implications, the Hobby Lobby case is indeed another major moment for the LGBT community," wrote National Center for Lesbian Rights Policy Counsel Ashland Johnson, in an article for NCLR's website. "The Supreme Court's resolution of the case will directly affect our reproductive rights and other health care needs. Equally concerning, it could result in devastating exceptions to protections for LGBT people at the state and local level, jeopardizing literally decades of advocacy and progress."

Following oral argument in March, Lambda Legal's director of Law and Public Policy, Jenny Pizer, expressed concern that the court may give certain for-profit companies —those closely held by families or small groups of people ( also known as S-corporations )— the ability to claim the same sort of religious exemption to ACA that is currently afforded to religious institutions.

"If they say any for-profit can claim religious [exemptions], obviously, that's very bad," said Pizer in March. "If they say only S-corporations can have a religious exemption, that's less bad, but it's still bad. There are an awful lot of family-owned businesses."

Adding to that worry: On May 5, the Supreme Court surprised some when it ruled in favor of allowing a town board in Greece, New York, open its meetings with a prayer that is specific to a particular religion, usually Christianity.

"To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures that sponsor prayers and the courts that are asked to decide these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, a rule that would involve government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town's current practice of neither editing or approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for a 5 to 4 majority in Town of Greece v. Galloway.

Other decisions LGBT legal activists will likely be watching for in the next few weeks include:

ï National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning. The case involves the president's right to make appointments during Congresssional recess — a tool President Obama has used to get a number of openly gay people into positions. He used it to get lesbian legal activist Chai Feldblum cleared onto the Equal Emloyment Opportunity Commission and to install gay nominee Richard Sorian as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

ï McCullen v. Coakley. The Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights both signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a Massachusetts that attempts to protect the safety of women seeking abortions by creating a 35-foot setback for any protest outside such facilities.

ï Riley v. California. No LGBT group filed a brief in this case, but the gay friendly American Library Association did, arguing that police should not have a right to search a person's smartphone contents without a warrant, incident to an arrest. Noting that smartphone users store sensitive personal data about themselves and their interests on their smartphones, the ALA brief said, "Smartphones are personal computers in every sense of the word: if every arrest of a person with a smartphone … allows police officers to rummage painstakingly and intrusively through the contents of personal libraries, the loss of constitutionally protected privacy will be great indeed."

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


This article shared 2558 times since Sun Jun 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

N.Y. attorney general hosts Drag Story Hour
2023-03-21
On March 19, New York Attorney General Letitia James—along with a coalition of advocacy organizations and elected leaders—hosted a first-of-its-kind Drag Story Hour Read-A-Thon for families in New York City, per a press release from her ...


Gay News

Kentucky lawmakers pass anti-trans youth bill; governor plans to veto measure
2023-03-20
In Kentucky, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care, lets educators refuse to refer to trans students by their preferred pronouns and would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or ...


Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event
2023-03-18
Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Ritchie Torres, N.J. towns, Karine Jean-Pierre, Tennessee items
2023-03-18
New York Congressman Ritchie Torres has talked about his own struggle with depression and the importance of mental health in the wake of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.)'s recent hospitalization for clinical depression, The Washington Blade ...


Gay News

Johnson and Vallas to take part in LGBTQ+-focused candidate forum March 22
2023-03-17
Affinity Community Services (Affinity), Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago, Brave Space Alliance, Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, Life is Work and Task Force Chicago are co-hosting a virtual ...


Gay News

Major national LGBTQ+ groups condemn Oklahoma House censure motion against Rep. Mauree Turner
2023-03-16
--From a press release - Last week, Oklahoma Representative Mauree Turner was the target of a censure motion by Republican leaders — a blatant attempt to silence the first openly non-binary U.S. state legislator. The motion passed on a party line ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023: 48th Ward candidate Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth speaks about her run-off race
2023-03-15
Note: The following interview is part of Windy City Times' ongoing coverage of LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 Chicago municipal elections. The run-off election takes place Tuesday, April 4. Following the Feb. 28 primary election—where 10 ...


Gay News

Arkansas governor signs anti-trans medical malpractice bill
2023-03-15
Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law a measure that makes it easier to sue providers of gender-affirming care for children, ABC News reported. This move, involving a law that will take effect this ...


Gay News

Mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson endorses 48th Ward alderperson candidate Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth
2023-03-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, community organizer and progressive advocate, earned the endorsement of Chicago Mayoral Candidate Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson. Since the February 28th runoff election, Manaa-Hoppenworth has ...


Gay News

Personal PAC to endorse Brandon Johnson for mayor
2023-03-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Personal PAC, one of Illinois' leading organizations dedicated to protecting reproductive rights, announces today an endorsement for Brandon Johnson for mayor: From the organization: "Personal PAC is proud to stand with Brandon Johnson ...


Gay News

Mayoral candidate Johnson appears at monthly LGBTQ+ event
2023-03-13
On the evening of March 11, mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson made a surprise appearance in front of a packed room at the monthly LGBTQ+ event Slo Mo Jam, which was held at Sleeping Village, 3734 W. ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Folx Health, gay mayor arrested, powerlifter's suit, Versace visit
2023-03-10
Boston-based Folx Health—which provides primary healthcare services and gender-affirming healthcare to LGBTQIA people—made Fast Company's list of the world's 50 most innovative businesses. A few of the other healthcare companies ...


Gay News

Black & Brown LGBTQ+ Mayoral Forum Wednesday, March 22 [UPDATED]
2023-03-14
--From a press release - The Chicago Mayoral Forum, hosted by leading Black and Brown LGBTQ+ organizations, will provide candidates with an opportunity to discuss with LGBTQ+ communities how they will ensure equity and improve the lives of Black and Brown LGBTQ+ Chicagoans. ...


Gay News

LPAC expands board of directors, building on successful 2023 midterms
2023-03-08
--From a press release - Washington, DC — LPAC, the national political organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ women and nonbinary people to public office, announced today that Liz Culley and Janelle Perez have joined its Board of Directors. LPAC is the ...


Gay News

Non-binary Okla. state rep censured after incident; LGBTQ+ groups respond
2023-03-08
On March 7, the Oklahoma House voted to censure (or publicly express strong disapproval of) Democratic non-binary state Rep. Mauree Turner for allegedly harboring a fugitive following a recent confrontation ...


 




Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.