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The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

The news site of UNC Wilmington

The Seahawk

OPINION: Religious beliefs should not overrule LGBTQ+ rights

Lorie Smith, a Christian graphic artist and website designer in Colorado, addresses supporters outside the Supreme Court on Dec. 5, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Imagine moving to or traveling to another state where a core part of your identity is not legally recognized because of religion led politics. This is the road that the Supreme Court and Congress are following after their decision regarding the illegitimate case of the wedding designer and the election of Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House.

In 2015, a Kentucky county clerk named Kim Davis denied a gay couple their wedding license due to her religious objections. The case made national headlines, and just in September, that couple was awarded $100,000 in damages. The controversy was sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision affirming gay marriage, which Justice Clarence Thomas cited as a case that should be reviewed in his opinion on the Colorado wedding website design case.

In Colorado there is a law requiring public businesses to provide service to people regardless of their gender, race or sexual orientation. Lorie Smith brought the web design case to the Supreme Court by fabricating the notion that she was asked to design a website for a gay couple, which would have conflicted with her Christian beliefs. She was asking for exemption from servicing LGBTQ+ couples who were asking for her service as web designer. It took a journalist to discover that this whole case was imaginary, after it went to the Supreme Court. The fact that the Supreme Court did not immediately dismiss the case upon learning it was fabricated says a lot about the Court’s collective strategy is concerning to LGBTQ+ rights. They are laying the groundwork for the reversal of the Court’s ruling in 2015, which federally legalized same-sex marriage nationally. In addition, they have set a dangerous precedent regardless of party by ruling on a fabricated case which is criminal and unethical. Now, anyone who wants to use their personal beliefs as the basis for a fabricated court case can do so without fear of being thrown out due to having no merits.

Those who support Davis and Smith will argue that they were honoring their religious values. However, Davis took on a public servant role for all the citizens of Rowan County, Ky. She does not serve only those who align with her beliefs. The Supreme Court should have applied this logic to the web design case since Smith was open to the public for business. It is not about forcing people to defy their beliefs; It is about gay couples not having to worry if they will be turned away from a public service solely because of somebody’s personal bias.

As a gay individual living in the South, I can attest that being alert to others’ beliefs in personal relationships regarding the LGBTQ+ community is stressful and exhausting. I should not have to worry about whether my future fiancé and I will be served by a public official solely because of our sexuality, which is a protected class.  If the roles were reversed, this would not even be up for debate. However, since it is in regard to gay rights, people cite their religious beliefs when doing and saying things that can cause harm to others.

If Thomas has his way, the 2015 ruling on gay marriages would be overturned and left to the states to decide whether they want to legalize gay marriage. Just as we see today with the debate over abortion, some states will allow gay marriage while others will not. Gay couples who live in those states would be forced to dissolve their marriages and families if they are not able to move to states where they would be recognized due to financial limitations. For the states not allowing gay marriage, they would quote Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” Although the point can be made that gay relations are fruitful and beneficial to the parties involved, if states want to cite that verse then they must ensure that every single time a straight couple has sexual relations it is to procreate. If they argue that is too much government oversight, then we can agree that the government should not be concerned with what people do behind closed doors.

For those thinking that this has become irrelevant, let’s consider the newly elected Speaker of the House Representative Johnson of Louisiana. Johnson once called homosexuality a “inherently unnatural” and “dangerous lifestyle” that would lead to legalized pedophilia and possibly even destroy “the entire democratic system.” These comments were in favor of a bill which would prohibit homosexual marriage in Louisiana in the early 2000s. Johnson is third in line to the President of the United States, the most powerful legislator in the country with the ability to sign executive orders into law.

“Your race, creed, and sex are what you are, while homosexuality and cross-dressing are things you do,” Johnson wrote in another article. “This is a free country, but we don’t give special protections for every person’s bizarre choices.”

We see what is happening in the country currently regarding to the plethora of anti LGBTQ+ bills, especially against the transgender community. Just imagine what would happen if Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House with Johnson as the Speaker of the House come Jan. 2025.

I want to live in a country where my fundamental rights are respected by my government and not dependent upon one official’s fabrications and religious bias. We live in a nation founded because of religious persecution. So, let us live in unity in a secular society for once and stop this white Christian colonization. I will not deny myself one of the most intimate biologically wired experiences a man can have with another man for a God I do not believe in or a book that has not been authenticated by an outsider source.

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    Kate O’HanlanNov 8, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    This is a beautifully written article. It should be added that the Colorado fake web designer also had to obtain a license to do business in her state, and must comply with state laws. She is trying to obtain an exclusion for herself from serving all of the people in her state, as her business license requires her to do.

    Additionally, one day, our laws will actually reflect the scientific truths about sexual orientation and gender identity. The entirety of scientific evidence is unified in proving that orientation and identity are both biologically conferred during the first trimester of pregnancy, and they are not a choice. Same with skin color and handedness. These features are all innate, immutable and innocent—-except for the inane mythology of some people who don’t know their facts and need to feel that they are somehow better than others.

    And one nice point of personal information for Mr. Johnson: the 80,000 male complainants who experienced sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts were abused by straight men. (Recall gay men were excluded from being Boy Scout leaders!)

    And one more point while I’m at it: the Girl Scouts never had this problem. Sorry, straight men are the problem, Mr. Johnson. Do your homework before you form your opinions.