Thomas Gallatin / June 22, 2020

Senate Dems Target Religious Liberty

Congressional Democrats demand a vote on the dubious Equality Act.

It will take time to unravel the implications of the Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling/legislation in Bostock v. Clayton County, though it will almost certainly significantly erode protections for religious liberty. Indeed, the assertion made by Justice Neil Gorsuch in his majority opinion claiming that religious folks have little to fear because the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is a “super statute” bulwark protecting their First Amendment rights is quickly proving to be far from prescient. The very fears expressed by conservative Christians — that the ruling opens the door for the government to force Christian organizations to bow to the Rainbow Mafia’s demands on gender identity and sexual orientation — appears to be a coming reality.

In fact, the day after SCOTUS’s ruling, all 47 Senate Democrats (and one Republican) demanded that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell hold a vote on the dubious Equality Act. That would effectively “stamp out religious exemptions,” warns University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock. “It regulates religious non-profits. And then it says that [the RFRA] does not apply to any claim under the Equality Act. This would be the first time Congress has limited the reach of RFRA.” Laycock added, “This is not a good-faith attempt to reconcile competing interests. It is an attempt by one side to grab all the disputed territory and to crush the other side.”

Indeed, Democrats are attacking the very “super statute” Gorsuch appears to believe will withstand the test of time and increasing leftist hostility. The Washington Examiner’s Nicole Russell says she “spoke to some attorneys who thought it was highly plausible this ruling would allow for a bevy of lawsuits to be filed against religious organizations.” And if Democrats get their way and limit RFRA protections, then there will be little left for religious organizations to use in defending themselves. Russell further noted, “Going forward, expect to see targeted lawsuits in important areas where an appellate court is likely to rule on these religious liberty issues. In time, we will see how the lower courts interpret this ruling and how this Supreme Court decision shakes out in the real world.” And when some of these cases wind up before SCOTUS, do conservatives have any reason to believe Gorsuch won’t kneel before the Rainbow Mafia?

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