Focus on the Family is taking the position that those who work for the government can engage in discrimination to the point of refusing to serve those they disapprove of, as long as they say they’re doing so for religious reasons. After People for the American Way sent a letter to the town where the city clerk has refused to issue marriage licenses to couples who meet all of the requirements of state law threatening a lawsuit if they don’t force the clerk to do so, FOTF expressed their outrage at the notion of the government having to treat people equally. They’ve also started a legal defense fund for the clerks.
They have this exactly backwards. When someone acts as an agent of the government, they are required to comply with the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment. If gay or lesbian couple that meets all of the legal requirements for marriage and is refused a marriage license, that amendment is clearly violated. And so is their own religious freedom. The clerk is demanding that only those who meet her own personal religious test get the benefit of the government’s service; that is a clear violation of that citizen’s right not to be subject to the religious whims of someone else — especially when that someone else is representing the government.
People for the American Way Foundation (PFAW) is threatening legal action against a New York town unless its clerk starts issuing same-sex marriage licenses — or resigns…
The board has yet to announce the results from its Sept. 12 meeting about the letter.
Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director for New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, was disappointed, but not surprised with the latest turn of events.
“I would hope that the People for the American Way would realize that it’s the American way,” he said, “to recognize the religious freedoms of every American.”
Let’s also recognize the absurdity of the notion that merely because one has religion-based disapproval of someone they can be refused service by a government employee. Imagine for a moment — just imagine — that a Muslim town clerk refused to give a marriage license to a Jewish couple. The same people now blathering on about religious freedom would be screaming “Terrorist!” and demanding that they be sent to Gitmo. This has nothing to do with religious freedom, it has to do with Christian supremacy and anti-gay bigotry.