Trans

Religious Freedom Invoked (Successfully) in Federal Transgender Discrimination Case

Judge smacks down EEOC attempt to apply federal civil rights law against funeral home.

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Funeral planning
Lisa F. Young / Dreamstime.com

A new federal ruling may add to some confusion on how existing civil rights laws address discrimination claims in situations involving transgender people.

A federal judge with the United States District Court of east Michigan has ruled that a Detroit area funeral home did not engage in illegal discrimination when it fired an employee who was transitioning from male to female.

It's a complicated case (the ruling is 56 pages long) and, of course, far from the last word. In this situation, the federal Religion Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case play a role in Judge Sean F. Cox's decision.

The owner of the funeral home, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, said that, due to his religion, he believed that a person's sex was a "God-given gift" that could not be changed. When Aimee Stephens, formerly Anthony Stephens, declared that she was going to make her transition, the funeral home would not accommodate her desire to dress as a woman at the workplace. The company had gender-based dress codes and would not accept her switching outfits. So she was fired.

It was the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who challenged the termination as a violation of federal civil rights laws. This may come as a surprise to those who know that there are no federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination against people who are transgender. As we've previously noted about these cases, federal agencies and activists have been trying to expand the scope of a previous Supreme Court precedent that ruled civil rights protections on the basis of sex also prohibit discrimination on the basis of whether a person exhibits stereotypical traits associated with a particular sex.

The EEOC is arguing that such a precedent means that discrimination on the basis of somebody being transgender is discrimination on the basis of sex, because judging somebody for switching their gender expression is the same as judging somebody on the basis of not conforming to gender stereotypes. The funeral home has said that Stephens can express her gender however she chooses on her own time but not in the workplace.

The judge sided with the funeral home, but for some complicated reasons that will certainly keep the case alive. The judge accepted the invocation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) here. It's important to understand that the RFRA isn't just blanket permission for somebody to use religion to exempt themselves from the law. When the RFRA is invoked, the government then must prove that it has a "compelling government interest" in regulating certain behaviors, but also that their method of doing so is the "least restrictive means" available. The court "assumes" the first part of this claim is true (libertarians may disagree), but when we get to the "least restrictive means" test, here's what Cox had to say:

Nevertheless, the EEOC has failed to show that application of the burden on the Funeral Home, under these facts, is the least restrictive means of protecting employees from gender stereotyping. If a least restrictive means is available to achieve the goal, the government must use it. This requires the government to show a degree of situational flexibility, creativity, and accommodation when putative interests clash with religious exercise. It has failed to do so here. The EEOC's briefs do not contain any indication that the EEOC has explored the possibility of any accommodations or less restrictive means that might work under these facts. Perhaps that is because it has been proceeding as if gender identity or transgender status are protected classes under Title VII, taking the approach that the only acceptable solution would be for the Funeral Home to allow Stephens to wear a skirt-suit at work, in order to express Stephens's female gender identity. …

The EEOC claims the Funeral Home fired Stephens for failing to conform to the masculine gender stereotypes expected as to work clothing and that Stephens has a Title VII right not to be subject to gender stereotypes in the workplace. Yet the EEOC has not challenged the Funeral Home's sex-specific dress code, that requires female employees to wear a skirt-suit and requires males to wear a pants-suit with a neck tie. Rather, the EEOC takes the position that Stephens has a Title VII right to "dress as a woman" (ie., dress in a stereotypical feminine manner) while working at the Funeral Home, in order to express Stephens's gender identity. If the compelling interest is truly in eliminating gender stereotypes, the Court fails to see why the EEOC couldn't propose a gender-neutral dress code as a reasonable accommodation that would be a less restrictive means of furthering that goal under the facts presented here. But the EEOC has not even discussed such an option, maintaining that Stephens must be allowed to wear a skirt-suit in order to express Stephens's gender identity. If the compelling governmental interest is truly in removing or eliminating gender stereotypes in the workplace in terms of clothing (i.e., making gender "irrelevant"), the EEOC's chosen manner of enforcement in this action does not accomplish that goal.

This Court finds that the EEOC has not met its demanding burden. As a result, the Funeral Home is entitled to a RFRA exemption from Title VII, and the body of sex-stereotyping case law that has developed under it, under the facts and circumstances of this unique case

The TL;DR version: If the EEOC wants to eliminate gender stereotypes in the workplace, then why didn't it propose the funeral home adopt a gender-neutral dress code? That would be less intrusive than requiring the funeral home owner compromise his religious beliefs. Mind you, the owner might have refused that compromise as well, and from a libertarian perspective, a federal agency overseeing a funeral home's uniform choices is hardly an appropriate solution. But the point here is that the EEOC didn't even try other solutions, and that's where they run afoul of the RFRA.

This nuance—the idea that there may be solutions other than the government telling people what to do—is of course lost in the responses. From the Detroit Free Press:

ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan, who initially interceded on her behalf, believes it was discrimination disguised as a religious view. And Cox's decision, he said, will only allow more such workplace discrimination to take place.

"This case represents the dangerous slippery slope. Any individual employer can cite their own religious beliefs to discriminate," Kaplan said, noting the funeral home is not a religious organization, but strictly a business. "It's not a religious funeral home. It serves all denominations, and yet because the owner professed a particular viewpoint toward transgender people, he can willfully violate civil rights laws? … It's a highly flawed decision. … This is now open season to justify discrimination by individuals and businesses against various groups of people."

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, issued a response to the decision.

"This is a reckless ruling against a woman who was fired simply because she is transgender," said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. "Judge Cox's deeply disappointing decision has the possibility of setting an incredibly dangerous precedent that purported religious beliefs can be used as an excuse to violate non-discrimination laws. It has the potential of opening a Pandora's box of discrimination against a wide range of vulnerable communities. We are incredibly concerned about the implications."

Note that these responses completely ignore what Cox actually said in the ruling.

Read the ruling yourself here.

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123 responses to “Religious Freedom Invoked (Successfully) in Federal Transgender Discrimination Case

  1. That would be less intrusive than requiring the funeral home owner compromise his religious briefs.

    It always comes back to the Mormons, doesn’t it?

    1. I will neither confirm nor deny a friend sending me a picture of an attractive gentleman wearing only a particular piece of clothing while I was writing this up.

      1. Go on…

        1. Probably shouldn’t have done that Bing Image Search with safe search turned off at work. C’est la vie.

          1. Oh my god you two, get a room.

    2. Damn it, Scott, you can’t fix these things that quickly. Stop doing your job well.

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  2. “If the EEOC wants to eliminate gender stereotypes in the workplace, then why didn’t it propose the funeral home adopt a gender-neutral dress code?”

    Maybe it’s not within the EEOC’s purview to seek out and eliminate gendered dress codes, but to protect people from being discriminated against for their gender and gender identity.

    1. Maybe gender identity isn’t a protected class under federal law.

        1. Oh, no, it isn’t!

          This is fun.

          1. The EEOC holds that discriminating against transgender people is equivalent to sex discrimination under Title VII of the CRA.

            1. And they’re right because…

              1. Right in what sense? Morally?

                1. Nope, not morally. Odd that a completely amoral, soulless, unclean thing, such as your progtarded self would invoke morality

            2. Re: Tony,

              The EEOC holds that discriminating against transgender people is equivalent to sex discrimination under Title VII of the CRA.

              The issue is that what they hold as true is not supported by Title VII of the CRA because there’s no mention in it of gender, and however you may want to stretch the meaning of the word, “gender” is not the same as “sex” especially now that transgender wackos muddled the definition of it. Sex is what your sexual organs say. Period.

              Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin

              https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

              1. Okay, and this person was fired because her “sex” was male. If she were born female and wore a skirt, she wouldn’t have been fired, right?

                1. Re: Tony,

                  Okay, and this person was fired because her “sex” was male. If she were born female and wore a skirt, she wouldn’t have been fired, right?

                  That’s not the issue. It mattes not why the person was fired. The EEOC cannot simply say that it is protecting the right of that person because Title VII protects gender identity. YOU say they EEOC THINKS this is valid. I am contesting that. Don’t switch the goalposts and argue a different thing all of a sudden.

                  1. It would be stereotypically progtarded of Tony to do so, nest-ce pas?

                2. If she were born a female and tried to dress the way the men at her work dressed, she would have been in violation of the businesses dress code and fired as well.

                  If you’re going to set up an equivalence, at least compare apples to fucking apples.

                  1. Would you be happy if I said the EEOC under Obama has found a plausible, if not perfect, way to protect trans people when a Republican Congress would never do such a thing on its own?

                    Why aren’t we bitching about Republicans not including trans people in the protections everyone else has?

                    1. Because they already have the same protections everyone else has. What they are demanding is that everybody stop pointing out that, no Anthony, just because you’re dressing like a woman and had your penis removed, you’re still not a woman.

                    2. By Tony’s logic, punishing a 40 year old pedophile for fucking a 14 year old is ageism because if someone who was 14 had done the same thing they wouldn’t be punished.

                      Thinking is hard.

                  2. nooooo…not fucking apples, regular apples

                3. “…her “sex” was male.”

                  Also an ungodly bubble ridiculously has a change of heart about the dissident. Most people believe that a pocket confesses the alchemist, but they need to remember how accurately the widow for the maestro daydreams.

                4. Why does “she” need a skirt to promote “her” “gender identity”?

                  1. I don’t know, I guess I’m just for more freedom than you are.

            3. So, your line of reasoning is that because the government says something, everyone must accept its judgement as true.

              I guess you owe George W. Bush an apology for dismissing his claim that the U.S. invading Iraq made the world a better place.

              1. Bill, Bill……. W. wasn’t a good progtard. Only progtard actions count as good government force. Republican use of government authority is oppression.

      1. I am getting a real feeling of impending dread that I will be made to comply with other people’s mental illness.

        It is libertarian to allow people to think they are another gender.

        When they compel me to call someone by the “right” pronoun or be fined, or modify my business to cater to them, that is the farthest from libertarian you can get…

        1. Thus the race of the slippery slope to Ontario-esque non gender ID cards.

    2. Maybe it’s not within the EEOC’s purview to seek out and eliminate gendered dress codes, but to protect people from being discriminated against for their gender and gender identity.

      Can you kindly point out what law gives them that authority?

        1. ^Fails

    3. Re: Tony,

      Maybe it’s not within the EEOC’s purview to seek out and eliminate gendered dress codes, but to protect people from being discriminated against for their gender and gender identity.

      Leaving aside for a while the fact that the EEOC has no purview at all since its stated purpose is contrary to basic human rights – life, liberty and property; let’s assume that the intention of the EEOC is to protect workers from discrimination due to circumstances out of their control, like race, sex or physical disability. Why would the EEOC think their purpose is to protect people who decide one day they’re people of a different gender? How can you legislate a thing (legislation being something which would presumably be based on objective and rational items) that changes at the merest of whims?

      Just explain it to me. Because the actions taken by the EEOC would mean the bureaucratic organization is operating under the premise that a job (i.e. someone paying YOU) is a right and not a mutually-advantageous exchange. Is that the case?

      1. I for one am glad that law is not whatever you say it is but is instead what legislative and judicial processes determine it is.

        The EEOC, whose job by law is to enforce the portion of the Civil Rights Act dealing with workplace discrimination, decided that discriminating based on gender identity was equivalent to discriminating based on gender, because it is.

        I am not aware of any provision in the CRA that discusses “circumstances out of their control,” and indeed since it protects people from discrimination based on religion, this characterization is simply false.

        It is not enforcing a right to a job. It is enforcing a right to be free from being fired for being transgender. Something your extremely selective definition of “liberty” apparently doesn’t cover.

        1. “I for one am glad that law is not whatever you say it is but is instead what legislative and judicial processes determine it is.”

          Of course you are Tony. Of course you are.

        2. Re: Tony,

          I for one am glad that law is not whatever you say it is

          Why would you be glad that laws are not based on objective, rational items? I don’t understand your logic.

          but is instead what legislative and judicial processes determine it is.

          This proposition is absurd. It would mean “law” is whatever the legislative and judicial system wishes it is rather than rules based on universal truths. How would you even start to obey such rules if these change on people’s whims? I don’t think you’re that clever.

          The EEOC, […] decided that discriminating based on gender identity was equivalent to discriminating based on gender, because it is.

          But it is not. The law does not mention gender; it mentions sex. You’re making things up.

          I am not aware of any provision in the CRA that discusses “circumstances out of their control,”

          It’s implied based on the enumerated items it purports to protect: race, color, sex, and national origin. The only item that is a choice is religions inclinations but that is because religion is protected by the 1st Amendment.

          1. Re Tony,

            It is not enforcing a right to a job.

            Of course it is. The fundamental principle from whence the protection derives its validity is that a person has a right to a job.

            It is enforcing a right to be free from being fired for being transgender.

            Now you’re engaging in equivocation. You’re using the word “free” in one context which is not related to “freedom” but with removing a risk, a burden.

        3. Tony, do I have a right to only shop at stores owned by gay people? Or white people? Should the state force me to abide by racial, gender, and orientation consumption quotas to make sure certain businesses don’t get unfairly shunned?

          Of course not. It’s my money, I can by whatever from whomever for whatever reason I please. Why should it be any different for selling or hiring? If it’s your money, and you only want to hire midgets, why do you think the state has a right to make you do otherwise?

          Also, how do you not see that some day this same principle is going to be employed to prevent people from firing employees who wear clown costumes or go to work naked? You think this identity bullshit is going to stop with gendered clothing? You’d have to be pretty naive to think so.

          1. Where you shop is your business. It’s a free country. Andtiscrimination law does not exist to promote diversity, it exists to prevent abuses of members of persecuted groups that can lead to the major social ills that come with having minority underclasses–a problem we’ve far from solved.

            The people (via the state) have an interest in regulating businesses so that they do not harm society. This is no different from when the law tells restaurants they can’t poison people. I get the belief that people should be under no restrictions in society, but that’s called anarchy, and it’s dumb.

            Your third paragraph is all absurd slippery slope nonsense.

            1. Nice corpse-fucking, asshole. You and Hihn should form a club.

            2. 1) Not selling someone a good or service is no more an abuse than not buying a good or service from someone. The fact that you can’t tell the difference between someone choosing not to do business to with someone and trying to murder them is pretty disturbing. It’s the kind of absurd analogy that leads people like you to equate political dissent with hate speech and criticism with ‘verbal abuse’ to justify sending people to prison for saying things you don’t want to hear.

              2) In fact the problem of discrimination appears to have been almost entirely solved. You have no evidence whatsoever that their would be widespread discrimination against any of these groups absent public accommodation laws, and the problems afflicting ‘minority underclasses’ have little to nothing to do with discrimination.

              3) Actually, it’s called taking ideas to their logical conclusions. 20 years ago you would’ve said complaints about gay marriage leading to Christian bakers being made to bake cakes for gay wedding was just a ‘slippery slope’ trotted out against gay marriage. And yet here we are.

    4. Gender identity = horseshit

      In fact, this entire case looks like a truckload of horseshit.

      1. It’s part and parcel of progressive SJW doctrine. So of course it’s horseshit.

    5. Except that gender identity is entirely subjective to the law (that is, you can;t prove that someone does or doesn’t identify as something, you just have to take their word for it) meaning if the courts ruled otherwise here, it would effectively render illegal all dress codes that take gender-associated clothing into account. A company, a school, or any other organization can no longer reprimand male employees/students for wearing dresses. Or for having different dress codes or uniforms for men and women, for that matter.

      This is what I don’t get about you’re assessment of anti-discrimination laws as applied to trans-gendered people: there are no two ways about it, if you outlaw ‘bathroom discrimination’ against trans people, for all intents and purposes, you outlaw sex-specific restrooms. The same goes for any law that purports to outlaw differential treatment of people based on ‘identity’, which, unlike race, sex, etc. is purely subjective.

    6. The entire dress code discriminates on the basis of gender and gender identity. That the plaintiff in the particular case was transgender is almost beside the point.

  3. Gary Johnson hardest hit.

  4. A federal judge with the United States District Court of east Michigan has ruled that a Detroit area funeral home did not engage in illegal discrimination when it fired an employee who was transitioning from male to female.

    “This case represents the dangerous slippery slope. Any individual employer can cite their own religious beliefs to discriminate,” Kaplan said, noting the funeral home is not a religious organization, but strictly a business.

    Does a person have a right to a job?

    I DIDN”T THINK SO.

    Case closed.

    1. Nope but they also do have a right not to be discriminated against in the workplace because of their gender.

      1. Re: Tony,

        Nope but they also do have a right not to be discriminated against in the workplace because of their gender.

        Same old Tony, with your penchant for logical contradictions. If you accept a person does not have a right to a job, then ipso facto that person has no right not to be discriminated out of a job. Period.

        Don’t try to be accommodating. Either a person has a right to a thing or he (or she) has not. If that person does not have a right to a job, then it matters nothing that person is fired for dressing like a weirdo when the job calls for not that.

        1. It’s not my fault you can’t hold two concepts in your head at once.

          People don’t have a right to a job.

          People do have a right, once they have a job, not to be fired for being transgender (or black, or white, etc.).

          These do not contradict. If they did, the judicial branch would have figured that out by now.

          1. Re: Tony,

            It’s not my fault you can’t hold two concepts in your head at once.

            That’s not what’s happening. You’re engaging in contradictory arguments.

            People don’t have a right to a job.

            The implication above is that they do.

            People do have a right, once they have a job, not to be fired for being transgender (or black, or white, etc.).

            ERGO, they have a right to a job provided they’re black, white, or transgender, etc.

            These do not contradict.

            They do. You can’t say “no one has a right to a job” and at the same time say “people have a right not to be fired because of A, B or C.” That implies a person HAS a right to a job. That’s the fundamental principle, except the government will only enforce said principle selectively. That’s all.

            If they did, the judicial branch would have figured that out by now.

            That’s an appeal to authority.

            1. Remember, not only does Tony think people have a right not to be fired if they’re some protected class, they also have a right to not be denied being hired based on those characteristics. Ergo, Tony thinks people, certain people, do have a right to a job.

          2. The judicial branch still hasn’t figured out that wheat grown on my property for my own personal consumption is not interstate commerce.

          3. The fact that you didn’t realize just how stupid the legal principles underlying this framework when you said that is pretty amusing. First, it is in fact illegal to not hire a person for a job on the basis of their belonging to protected class, right? (Let’s cut the bullshit about ‘race, gender,’, etc. It’s clear by know racial and gender discrimination are effectively legal as long as directed against ‘perpetrator’ classes).

            And as I understand it, the law effectively puts the burden of proof on the employer to demonstrate that they didn’t discriminate, which is stupid and far too low a bar for a conclusion of discrimination, effectively imposing a risk premium on employers for either refusing to hire or fire an employee belonging to a protected class *even if the reason for refusing to hire or fire this hypothetical person has nothing to do with their membership to a protected class and instead to do with their qualifications.

            Say nothing of the fact that, no, people do not have a right not to be discriminated against. Bernie can yell that people have a right to free college, free apple pie, free lifetime coupons to Applebees, none of that makes it so.What next, are we going to start arresting people who refuse to shop at businesses owned by gay people for ‘consumer discrimination?” May as well according to your way of thinking.

            1. Again, law isn’t whatever you dream up in your head. Employers can’t discriminate against people for being white and male either, whatever you think is going on. And there isn’t a very high burden. Just don’t make it obvious that discriminating is what you’re doing. Find a real excuse to fire someone.

              Rights exist when the law says they exist, and currently it says people have a right not to be discriminated against in the workplace for certain reasons. Thus, it’s a right.

              1. Employers discriminate against males all the time. There’s a taxi company in New York that only hires female drivers (because male drivers are assumed to be threatening to women), domestic violence shelters routinely refuse to hire males, daycares and kindergartens also discriminate against males in hiring out of some irrational paranoia about the frequency of pedophilia among men. It just so happens that there isn’t such a concerted political effort among men to combat discrimination against them as there is against women. A law that is knowingly enforced in a discriminatory manner is effectively a discriminatory law. I thought you progs understood that fact with your complaints about black people being searched on the street?

                And you’re just movingthe goal posts because you don’t want to defend your argument. We say people have rights, and the state may or may not enforce them or violate them. You say people *should* have rights, and the state may grant or deny them to people. Fine, it’s a semantic difference. But stop falling back on your authoritarian instinct to say “the law is the law, end of story”; clearly you believe there have been or are laws that are unjust, no? Well, when we say a law is violating someone’s right or failing to acknowledge their rights, make the intellectual effort for Christ’s sake to translate that into your bizarre worldview as meaning “they are denying a right that they should grant, or are granting a right that they should deny.”

                1. I give you credit for being able to distinguish between is and ought with respect to rights. It’s like pulling teeth getting libertarians to stop pretending they don’t understand the point.

              2. “Rights exist when the law says they exist,”. Negative. Rights exist prior to laws which acknowledge and protect said rights. I think now is the time for my first “fuck off slaver.”

                1. Where do they exist and who gets to determine what they are?

                  1. From the same place your “ought” comes from, Tony.

                    You’re not one iota less mystical in your outlook, despite what you imagine. A libertarian says people have this right, which the state should respect, you say “according to whom?” Then you say, people *should* have this right, and the government should give it to them, and I say “according to whom?” Crickets. Both appeal to an extraneous standard outside the state. That you don’t realize this is really astounding.

                    Again, you’re bogging yourself down in a semantic difference over the definition of what a ‘right’ is, apparently to avoid actually having to defend a position.

      2. Unless they’re a man. Then it’s ok to discriminate against them because of their gender. Because principles are for losers.

      3. His gender is male. Their is no ‘transitioning’ you moron. The only thing trannies can do is skew their hormones and mutilate their genitals. Their is no chromosomal resquencing to actually alter their gender.

        I know you’re really fucking stupid, but goddamn, this is a pretty basic scientific fact.

        Oh, and fuck off.

        1. ‘There’, not ‘their’. Fucking autocorrect.

          1. There’s no autocorrect here, but that’s the least of your stupidities.

            1. You mean all this Tim I’ve Ben PO sting from my iPad, autocorrect’s Ben off? We’ll I’ll be damone d. WH o knew?

              1. We’ll I’ll be damone d.

                Are you Jennifer Jason Leigh?

                /”Fast Times at Ridgemont High”…

        2. Before you get too flippant about science, you might try not mixing social science (gender) with biology (sex).

          Gender is constructed of biological sex plus social norms. No biologist with any research background would argue that gender is a biological thing. Gender is a social thing influenced by biology.

  5. FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Now, as for a coffin, allow me to recommend…”

    GRIEVING WIDOW: “Sir, are…are you wearing a *dress*?”

    FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Yeah, sure I am, it’s my civil right.”

    GRIEVING WIDOW: “*Sob*…I don’t think you’re taking my husband’s death seriously, I’m going to another funeral home.”

    [LATER THAT DAY]

    BOSS: “Well, Earl, did you make final arrangements for the Jones funeral while I was out?”

    EARL: “Nah, boss, Mrs. Jones turned out to be just another bigot.”

    1. “And stop calling me Earl, my name is Loretta.”

    2. FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Now, as for a coffin, allow me to recommend…”
      GRIEVING WIDOW: “Sir, are…are you a *negro*? You didn’t sound like one on the phone!”
      FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Yeah, sure I am, it’s my civil right.”
      GRIEVING WIDOW: “*Sob*…I don’t think you’re taking my husband’s death seriously, I’m going to another funeral home.”
      [LATER THAT DAY]
      BOSS: “Well, Earl, did you make final arrangements for the Jones funeral while I was out?”
      EARL: “Nah, boss, Mrs. Jones turned out to be just another bigot.”

    3. FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Now, as for a coffin, allow me to recommend…”
      GRIEVING WIDOW: “Wait, they assigned me a WOMAN as a funeral home employee?”
      FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Yeah, sure I am, it’s my civil right.”
      GRIEVING WIDOW: “*Sob*…I don’t think you’re taking my husband’s death seriously, I’m going to another funeral home.”
      [LATER THAT DAY]
      BOSS: “Well, Emma, did you make final arrangements for the Jones funeral while I was out?”
      EMMA: “Nah, boss, Mrs. Jones turned out to be just another bigot.”

    4. FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Now, as for a coffin, allow me to recommend…”
      GRIEVING WIDOW: “Sir, is.. is that a Ron Paul sticker I saw on your car outside?”
      FUNERAL HOME EMPLOYEE: “Yeah, sure it is, it’s my civil right.”
      GRIEVING WIDOW: “*Sob*…I don’t think you’re taking my husband’s death seriously, I’m going to another funeral home. He wouldn’t want a right wing racist extremist arranging his funeral.”
      [LATER THAT DAY]
      BOSS: “Well, Earl, did you make final arrangements for the Jones funeral while I was out?”
      EARL: “Nah, boss, Mrs. Jones turned out to be just another bigot.”

    5. Point being, all the same logic you’re using in this case has been used all throughout history… including against yourself and people who are important to you.

      By perpetuating it in the cultural dialogue, you’re just setting yourself up as the next person to be targeted.

      1. And I’m sure Eddie would be fine with that. Despite my personal objections to his personal faith I do appreciate his consistency on the subject of valuing free association over public accommodation.

        1. I can’t speak for Eddie, but I do have to call bullshit on the concept that “we all support free association equally.”

          I’ve never seen outraged hyperventilating commentary when the usual lawsuits around race, religion, gender, etc. are launched. I only ever see it when the person in question is “strange.”

          1. “I do have to call bullshit on the concept that “we all support free association equally.” “.

            I never made that claim. Some libertarians, including myself, can have at times views that conflict with the overall philosophy. In fact, I’ve never encountered a fellow passenger whos’ overall political veiws pefectly align with my own. We all place a higher value on subjects that will in all likelihood invole us personally, regardless the political slant. It’s human nature.

            That being said, your argument was directed at Eddie himself, not to the commentariate as a whole, and do to everything I’ve read about his views on the subject matter he would have no issue with your hypothetical. If he wishes to comment and refute my assertion he’s free to do so.

  6. This nuance?the idea that there may be solutions other than the government telling people what to do?is of course lost in the responses.

    “The avalanche has already started, it is too late for pebbles to vote.”

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  8. whether a person exhibits stereotypical traits associated with a particular sex.

    Like having a penis?

  9. Why aren’t you making $89 an hour working from a funeral home dressed as a ring tailed lemur in a chiaquita banana suit ?

  10. Any individual employer can cite their own religious beliefs to discriminate,

    And? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d be a little disinclined to work for somebody I knew had nothing but disgust and contempt for me.

    Sure the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home might be run by complete assholes. But, assholes are supposed to still have rights. And the people demanding otherwise better pray to their personal God that they never get their way and power winds up accruing to the other side.

    1. This. Part of having principles is sometimes having to agree with people whom you find disagreeable. As for your last point, we’ve already seen what happens when people call upon government to impose the majority’s views on everyone, only to see the majority do an about face.

    2. People like Tony don’t think about that. And yet they are terrified of a Trump presidency for some reason.

      For the intelligence impaired (I’m looking at you Tony), there’s plenty to be worried about with a Trump presidency.

      1. But… But… But Trump’s rumpus-room LOVES us, and just wants more Government Almighty powers, so as to “Love us Long Time…”

        Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

        Government loves me, This I know,
        For the Government tells me so,
        Little ones to GAWD belong,
        We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        My Nannies tell me so!

        GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
        Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
        Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
        And gives me all that I might need!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        My Nannies tell me so!

        DEA, CIA, KGB,
        Our protectors, they will be,
        FBI, TSA, and FDA,
        With us, astride us, in every way!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        My Nannies tell me so!

        1. Do you have a newsletter? I wish to subscribe.

    3. And? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d be a little disinclined to work for somebody I knew had nothing but disgust and contempt for me.

      True. And that’s why non-discrimination laws are bad. But what is even worse is if members of certain religions (including Christianity) can hit others over the head with anti-discrimination lawsuits while being able to discriminate with impunity themselves.

      1. I don’t purport to know for certain, but don’t the same laws protect non-religious groups? Isn’t it just as illegal to discriminate against atheists or nonrelgious people because of their beliefs?

        1. No, they don’t. It’s legal to fire someone under federal law for being an atheist. Not for being a Catholic, Muslim or Scientologist though.

          1. Cite.

    4. As Tony will explain to you, no right is more important that the right to punish people who don’t like you. A right which, obviously, only you and the people you like should have.

  11. ACLU attorney Jay Kaplan, who initially interceded on her behalf, believes it was discrimination disguised as a religious view.

    Mmmno, it was discrimination based on a religious view. Has the word “discrimination” changed meaning? If I don’t like bacon and refuse to eat it, I’m discriminating.

    1. They need the tortured logic to avoid addressing the unreasonable privileged status that religion is accorded under the law.

      1. Yes, the unreasonable privileged status of not being forced to do something that directly conflicts with your religious beliefs. The horror…the horror.

        Fuck off slaver.

        1. It is unreasonable because why should people who claim that they receive guidance on political or economic issues from supernatural beings get privileged treatment relative to people who claim to have reached the same conclusions by studying philosophy, politics, economics, etc. and applying their own capacity for rational thought? RFRA basically rewards people for claiming that they disagree with a law because God told them to, which isn’t really consistent with most forms of libertarianism, which usually stress the importance of rational thought in decision-making process.

  12. The whole “gender” idea is based on the very concept that those who oppose sex stereotyping & hence sex discrimination oppose, isn’t it? That there are certain things about persons besides their plumbing that makes them fit as males or females?

    Would it be race discrimination if employees of a certain non-white race were forbidden to “act white”? Or made to “act white”? Or made to act in a way that they thought didn’t reflect the race they identified with?

    1. Don’t give the progtards ideas.

    2. Like watching Will Rogers and Stepan Fetchit movies?

  13. Wait a minute, what? Since when did the government get to decide that “gender stereotypes” are enforced in the workplace? Does this mean if I want to run a cafe staffed by men in maid outfits I can be sued if my employees would rather wear slacks and polo shirts? Wouldn’t that defeat the entire point?

    I just don’t see how religious freedom falls into this at all. Shouldn’t employers be empowered to say “I don’t care if you think you’re a woman, actually are a woman, or have five vaginas and ten boobs, you are going to wear a men’s suit or find another job.”?

    1. Cmon noob, we don’t live in should land, we live in the land of special snowflakes wielding state power to further their psychopathic authoritarian agenda. Didn’t you get the Mein Kamphlet?

  14. Reality is what reality is. The world isnt what people wish it was. Attempting to have the govt protect the muddled bullshit that is in people’s heads rather than objective reality is a certain path to disaster. It really isnt any more complicated than that.

    This is a ‘complicated’ case because one has to hold reality and fantasy simultaneously and pretend that they are of equal weight.

    1. Muddled bullshit in people’s heads, such a belief that an all powerful invisible man in the sky cares about what surgery a single organism on one of hundreds of trillions of trillions of planets has?

      1. I’m an atheist- and just think thet’re delusional assholes.

        As a boss or business owner- I fire delusional assholes…

  15. The owner of the funeral home, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, said that, due to his religion, he believed that a person’s sex was a “God-given gift” that could not be changed.

    So if I believe that Catholics are worshiping the Antichrist, I can fire them?

    1. Go right ahead, perhaps they’d manage to survive without you.

    2. This is getting to the heart of the matter.

      Conservatives demanding RUHHHHLIHJUS LIBURTEEE would condemn you and demand you be censured under nondiscrimination law.

      Purist faux-libertarians who have raving meltdowns against wedding cake customers would be suddenly very hard to find. You might get a token minimal reply like “sure” or “you have the right” at most. No raving for your rights.

      Because it never was about rights. It was about punishing people who are different. Both the transgender employee, as well as the eccentric business owner with unconventional religious views on Catholics.

      1. You do not have a right to force someone to labor on your behalf, nor do you have a right to a job which is just a service being performed for someone willing to pay you for it. This is not complicated; granted it doesn’t always get you your pony.

  16. Wait until the man with a phone and a pen hears about this!

    1. Should i wait with popcorn?

  17. Court decisions containing many words are generally the ones containing many lies.

  18. My then boyfriend applied to work at a funeral home years ago. They required that he shave his beard. Funeral homes have very strict dress and conduct codes so that the staff blends into the background and the grieving families arent distracted from why they are there.

    It seems entirely reasonable the funeral home should be able to fire this guy once he became a distraction, regardless of religious freedom.

  19. Classic double standard embedded in these laws.

    Trans people aren’t generally accepted by the mainstream, so a tortured rationale is created around “religious freedom.”

    But what if the new owner of said funeral home owner is a devout Muslim who believes that women should not be in the workplace? Would a judge uphold his “religious liberties” and say it’s cool to fire all women employees?

    Of course not. And even raving purist libertarians are quiet on this topic. Ditto for situations where discrimination against religion is invoked — suddenly, the free association rights of the business owner are again irrelevant.

    Why?

    Because this entire argument is about social sanctions against “weird people,” with libertarian and constitutional rhetoric used as a fig leaf.

    1. Not sure why you’re ranting at libertarians here.

      I, for one, would contend the Muslim businessman should be able to hire &/or fire whomever he wants & for whatever reason. It’s *his* fucking business. If his hire of a woman offputs his existing customers (who have every right to their mysoginy) & severely threatens his financial livelihood, he should be able to get rid of her.

      Your argument is basically, “Fuck you, dude. You hired her & now you’re stuck with her. If you go outta business (& she loses her job anyway), tough shit”. Well, ok. No winners, but plenty of losers in that scenario. I guess maybe that’s the whole point, now that I think about it.

      1. You can always count on libertarians to remove any bigoted implications as they strip away all the complexities of the situation.

      2. Thanks for completely mischaracterizing my argument, but you’re full of baloney.

        These cases undermining free association happen EVERY DAY.

        The only time they get “libertarian outrage” is when the plaintiff is on the other side of the culture wars from conservatism.

        The usual subjects don’t lose their shit or even write articles about the more mundane religious/gender/race cases, only the transgender wedding cake ones.

        And that’s because, for many of them, the “libertarian” thing is just a cover for wanting to punish people who are different. Same thing happens in the progressive and conservative communities too.

        1. And that’s because, for many of them, the “libertarian” thing is just a cover for wanting to punish people who are different.

          You should really try to gain an understanding of libertarianism before you comment and appear the fool.

    2. But what if the new owner of said funeral home owner is a devout Muslim who believes that women should not be in the workplace? Would a judge uphold his “religious liberties” and say it’s cool to fire all women employees?

      Yes.

      Take note of how many Islamic owned bakeries have been attacked for not making cakes for gay weddings.

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