Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Why Can't Religion Mind It's Own Business?

So, I'm feeling a tad better than I have for the past week and a half... But if one more person comes up to me and asks, "What's wrong?" I'm going to kill them.

Is the constant blowing of my nose not a tip as to what could possibly be wrong? Is the hacking of my body as my lungs attempt to evacuate my body via my esophagus not even a tiny clue as to what could be wrong? Use your brains people! You claim god gave them to you, fuckin' use them!!
So, since I was feeling better, I began trolling the web for something to bitch about (cause you always feel better when you have something to bitch about, am I right?) And being the continuous glutton for punishment that I am, I was perusing the Christian Web sites, reading some articles, and I came across this one: Denied infertility treatment on religious grounds: California high court to hear lesbians case. Denied fertility because she was a lesbian? It reminds one of a post I wrote a while back about how pharmacists deny birth control on religious grounds, doesn't it?

But it gets better! Not only did they refuse because she was a lesbian, but to make themselves sound less "judgmental," the lawyers for the right-wing group of doctors at the fertility clinic stated that they didn't deny her because of her lesbianism, but because, and I quote, "they were motivated solely by her unmarried status." Oh, that's sooo much better, isn't it? I wonder if a married lesbian from Massachusetts would have had better luck? I doubt it.

Here is a nutshell: Lesbian wants to have baby. She takes fertility and hormone treatment in August 1999 but was refused intrauterine insemination in July 2000 by the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group. She then went to another clinic and gave birth to a healthy baby boy the next year. Her lawsuit simply asks for expenses at the other clinic and damages for violation of her civil rights. The article also states:

The law is clearly on her side as stated in California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which applies to business dealings with customers. Whether the law equally bans discrimination based on marital status is less clear; last year's ruling on the country club discount said marital discrimination is forbidden in some cases, at least for registered domestic partners. But the ruling came after Benitez was denied treatment.
Either way, as a California court judge once ruled, if "[...] business proprietors who can't comply with a law for personal reasons should change their practices or go into a different business."

Can I get an Amen on that?

So if a woman can't get pregnant because you don't like her marital status or who she goes to bed with, who's next? Anyone who drinks alcohol can't be parents? Anyone who plays cards? Anyone not at church on Sunday? Perhaps people who wear socks inside out?

I will fight till my dying day for you to have the right to say anything you want about me and my so-called "lifestyle," but don't you dare try to infringe on my rights as a human being in the United States under the guise of morality.

Life. Liberty. Pursuit of Happiness.

Right to Religious Expression.

Not the right to make everyone live by your set of mores and values. The system our founding fathers put in place was to allow for a variety of ideas, thoughts, and lifestyles, even if they never even considered how many varieties we would end up with. But any way you slice it, individual rights and freedoms are a guarantee.

Church-legislated morality is not.

8 comments:

Darkmind said...
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Steve said...

Well, here's something I thought would never happen...I've actually agreed (in general principle anyway) with Darkmind. The miracles never cease!!
You said it very well, Darkmind. It is just a matter of poor customer service. Turning away business, money if you will, is just not good business sense. But, a private business does have the right to decide who it does business with...even in liberal California.

PS
Jason, as I’m sure you know, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is a phrase from the United States Declaration of Independence, which is not the law of the land.
“…or prohibiting the free exercise (of religion) thereof", which is found in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, is the law of the land.
“Exercising” religion is a different concept then just “expressing” religion. “Expressing” religion is a part of “exercising” religion. Other aspects of “exercising” religion can be refusing to endorse or support, in deed as well as in words, something which goes against the values espoused by that religion.
God Bless!!

Jason Hughes said...

If it was simply a matter of "poor customer service," the fertility clinic would refund her money. If you had already paid for your potato pancake (which are freakin' yummy!) at Mort's, and then he refused to give you the pancake which you paid for, that is more than bad customer service.

Likewise, while it is illegal to prohibit the free exercise of religion, it is also illegal to refuse to serve based on gender orientation or even perceived gender orientation in the state of California. Therefore, by law, they have violated, according to California law, her civil rights. It is not a free exercise of religion to discriminate. It is a free exercise of religion to say you don't like such-and-such, and even to want to have no parts of this voluntary procedure, but to accept her money and provide the service up until the point of fertilization, and then also not refund the money, that crosses from a free exercise of your religious beliefs to violation of laws on several levels...

I agree in principle as well with the basis of the argument set forth by you, Darkmind, but it goes beyond that premise of just ordering your pancake and being refused (and, I believe under California law, Mort would be in violation of your rights regardless of whether you followed that up or not in a court of law), this is a woman's life and the life she expects (and paid for) to bring forth, a service which they provided up until that crucial point of insemination or implantation or whatever...

I know, at least in my case, had the clinic been up front at the beginning and said "We refuse to provide our service to such-and-such and for such-and-such," I simply would have taken my business elsewhere right from the start... and maybe there was some deception on the woman's part by not stating it up front because she knew she would be turned away, who knows?

Regardless, however, it does come back to the larger point. They used religious basis for discrimination, and while, they are allowed to discriminate personally, in their private non-customer-serving lives, they cannot in providing a service, and, as the one California judge pointed out, if they cannot follow the law of the land due to religious beliefs, they should find a new job or service for which there is no conflict of ideals...

I know when Canada legalized same0sex marriage, a lot of clerks of courts walked off their jobs because they felt they could not hand out licenses as it went against their religious beliefs, and I applaud them for not jeapordizing their personal beliefs for the sake of making money or their jobs or whatever, and these doctors should do the same. If they cannot follow the law of the land and not allow their personal beliefs to affect their business practices, they should find a new line of work...

Now about the whole "is this actually a violation of civil rights" question: According to California law, of course, it is, but the greater question is begged regardless of the law if this is actually a violation...

Perhaps not. It'll take some getting down to root issues...

Does it violate the doctors rights to say he cannot exercise his religion in his business practices? Also, perhaps....

In a perfect world, of course, neither would be an issue...

It is, of course, in the constitution, that individuals have the rights to these things, but as for corporations and businesses?... When you are a business entity providing a service for paying customers and not acting as an individual, but as the business, I don't doubt that it may very well indeed be a civil rights issue... But is the ability to have children, bear children, and such a "civil right" or not? I think you would be hard pressed to argue that it's not a civil, human right and freedom...

But then again, I'm no lawyer...

Thanks for the points though, they are well received and taken, although I have to respectfully disagree in this instance...

And Steve, yes, those words are from the Declaration of Independence, the basis of our mindset and the framework and basis for many of the rights and freedoms ennumerated in our Constitution and Bill of Rights... And actually, in Amendment Fourteen, you will find the following phrase: "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. [Italics mine].

Which pretty much covers the whole "Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" thing...

Thanks for stopping by, guys

Darkmind said...
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Darkmind said...
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Ergo said...

Hmmm... I've never had potato pancakes. But they do sound yummy! Like, i guess I can imagine what they might be like....

I doubt I'll get to eat that anywhere here in god-forsaken India.

The_Gay_Dude said...

Unrelated, Jason :)
I've enjoyed your blog and the time we've shared getting to know one another. I'm slowly making my rounds with all the peeps I've connected with to thank them. I don't think I'll ever be blogging again....and am not sure if I'll get around to visiting people....anytime soon :)

Thanks for everything!

Love,
Marc

FCSuper said...

Yeah, the clinic won't get far in the courts with that policy in CA, whether or not the woman in question already paid or later sought service elsewhere.

These are civil liberty violations because there might not be another viable alternative choice. If all clinics took up this policy, then where would she go, and who would be held accountable? Discrimition at any level allows it at all levels. This is why we are stuck with affirmative action until our society gets it thru its head that discrimination is wrong. Once that happens, maybe we can get rid of affirmative action. Mind you, I'm against affirmative action. But I understand it was implementated to correct social injustice, the same kind of injustice that this women experienced. Remember when a help wanted sign posted in the store front window would read "Help Wanted. Blacks, Jews and Irish need not apply"? Well, of course you don't unless you are like 90, but that was the mindset in the USA through much of the early 20th Century. We are in the process of correcting that. Of course, this is a direct retort to the ridiculous Pototo[e] Pancakes analogy.