The Mero Moment: The Samuel Principle and Same-sex Marriage. July 16, 2015

In the short aftermath of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision there has emerged three schools of thought about where we go from here. My dear pro-marriage colleagues are reluctant to change anything. They see the Court’s decision as they did the decades-earlier abortion decision. They see the marriage debate as a protracted legal conflict with much left for which to fight. Libertarian ideologues, as they always have, Court or no Court, want government out of marriage – the Court’s decision is just one more opportunity to display their incoherent…

Are church walls meant to confine?

By William C. Duncan The current complexion of the debate about religious liberty has been shaped by three converging cultural streams: an increase in the size of government that has subjected increasing areas of public life to legal regulation, shrinking legal protections for religious liberty and acceptance of open hostility to religion. One obvious manifestation of this latter trend is the ongoing battle over public displays of religious belief. Over the past few decades, prayers at graduation and football games, crèche displays, invocations in public meetings, religious memorials, etc. have…

We’ve Already Balanced Equal Protection and Religious Freedom

It’s a bit frustrating that anyone feels like we’re in uncharted territory, or like we have some tough task ahead to balance religious freedom with equal protection rights for LGBT people. While there are some distinctions between the gay rights movement and the racial civil rights movement, those are, for the purposes of equal protection, distinctions without a difference. They don’t need to complicate our legal framework or the balance we’ve struck in the past between religious freedom and equal protection. As it relates to racial equal protection, the compromise…

HB 322: Religious Freedom Protection is Common Sense

It is often said that one should never discuss religion or politics in good company. However, with HB 322 up for discussion in the Utah Legislature both topics come hand-in-hand these days. This bill, sponsored in the house by Rep. LaVar Christensen (R-Draper) expands religious freedom protection for individuals and organizations that operate according to a specific set of religious guidelines. It also reaffirms guidelines to prevent discrimination in employment and housing. Main provisions of HB 322 include: “adds religious liberty provisions to the Utah Antidiscrimination Act and the Utah…

Towards a Brighter Future Without Discrimination

As a nation and as a state, we find ourselves at an interesting crossroads regarding both same-sex marriage / non-discrimination for the LGBT community, and religious rights. Fear and feelings run deep on both sides. Having sought opinions on both sides I have noticed some interesting things. There really aren’t two sides to this issue, but more of a spectrum of opinions. From what I have observed the spectrum goes all the way from legal consequences from one side to legal consequences for the other. But I believe most people…

Libertas Opposes Anti-Discrimination Laws Supported by LDS Church

Libertas Institute, the libertarian think-tank run by Connor Boyack, responded to the LDS church’s exceedingly rare press conference held earlier today, addressing non-discrimination and religious freedom. Libertas said that the think-tank agrees with the LDS Church’s statements and because they agree, they therefore oppose the anti-discrimination bill being proposed. Libertas further disagreed with Sister Neill F Marriott when she said that “basic rights such as securing a job or a place to live should not depend on someone’s sexual orientation.”   Said Libertas: “It is incorrect to say that person X has…

Sutherland Institute endorses LDS Church’s principles on religious freedom and nondiscrimination

Sutherland Institute welcomes the helpful comments from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tuesday morning on religious liberty and nondiscrimination. We endorse the principles outlined in the press conference and look forward to continuing a constructive role in ensuring respect for these principles as the Utah Legislature considers these issues. Sutherland Institute has long called for protection of religious freedom for individuals and organizations. This principle must be reflected in any proposed legislation. Residents of Utah and citizens everywhere are entitled not just to belief, but…

The Buck Stops Religious Freedom Here [Hub Debate]

Religious freedom is under attack, but in a way so insidious that it threatens all other rights. Just as then-Senator Lyndon Johnson used the power of the IRS to silence religious institutions on many matters of politics in the ’50s, his ideological descendants are now using the power of the dollar to curtail any and all exercise of religion that conflicts with their preferred public policy. This is a dangerous road to take that limits the freedom of the many to the benefit of a politically select few. The groundwork for…

The Attack on Religious Expression [Hub Debate]

Some would have us believe that war is peace, ignorance is strength, and the best way to protect religious liberty is by chasing religious expression out of the public square entirely. Which is obviously complete balderdash. And yet, that’s the argument being made. Religious values have a long and positive role in Western society. John Adams famously said, [W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a…

Same-Sex Marriage and the Attack on Religious Freedom [Hub Debate]

Could religious organizations be forced to perform same-sex weddings? The hysterical panic surrounding an Idaho wedding chapel certainly seems to suggest so. But as always, if you’ll forgive the pun, the devil is the details and the story is little more exaggerated hype. Conservatives have long used the fear of religious liberty being violated as a weapon against LGBTQ civil liberties. In Utah, that’s included claims that if same-sex couples were granted their constitutional right to civil weddings, the LDS church would be forced to perform same-sex weddings in temples…