USA: Free Association imperative for LGBT Rights and Religious Liberty to coexist
Washington D.C., 15.06.2016 (The Federalist) – The deplorable state of religious freedom in America is due to a fundamental shift in how our country views First Amendment freedoms, speakers at the Cato Institute’s “Protecting Religious Freedom” conference declared yesterday.
Moreover, they argued, today’s increasing numbers of private businesses prosecuted for failing to service same-sex weddings or provide contraception drugs cannot be remedied through public accommodations and exceptions, such as Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, but only by returning to a lost understanding of liberty and First Amendment rights.
“We at Cato have long supported both religious liberty and gay rights, insofar as the agenda of each is consistent with the liberty of unlimited constitutional government,” Roger Pilon, founding director of the Cato Center for Constitutional Studies, said. “But we draw the line when same-sex couples turn around and use government to force venues against their religious beliefs to participate in same-sex ceremonies, as happens too often today.”
Dialogue at the conference between Pilon and Louise Melling of the American Civil Liberties Union confirmed that the issue at stake is whether the harm of violating First Amendment rights is greater than the harm to a person’s dignity when he is refused service due to sexual orientation or lifestyle choices.
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