Friday, July 17, 2015

Last Call For Exceptionally Stupid

Republicans want to codify into law the ability to claim religious exceptions to marrying same-sex couples, but as usual they're so awful at legislating that the bill would allow people to claim religious exceptions to break a multitude of laws, including existing protections for pregnant women in the workplace.

In wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, Republicans are pushing legislation that aims to protect Americans who oppose these unions on religious grounds. But critics say the language is so broad, the bill creates a license to discriminate that would let employers fire women for getting pregnant outside of wedlock.

The First Amendment Defense Act prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person -- which is defined to include for-profit corporations -- acting in accordance with a religious belief that favors so-called traditional marriage. This means the feds can't revoke a nonprofit's tax-exempt status or end a company's federal contract over this issue.

The bill specifically protects those who believe that marriage is between "one man and one woman" or that "sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage." Ian Thompson, a legislative representative at the American Civil Liberties Union, said that in addition to targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the bill "clearly encompasses discrimination against single mothers" and would hobble the ability of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal body that protects women from sex-based discrimination, to act.

This scenario isn't merely hypothetical. There are a number of recent cases where religious schools have fired unwed teachers for becoming pregnant. A Montana Catholic school teacher who was fired for having a baby out of wedlock, for example, filed a discrimination charge last year with the EEOC. While the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized a ministerial exception to employment discrimination laws, that exception is somewhat limited, not necessarily covering educators employed by Catholic schools who teach about exclusively secular subjects.

James Ryan, a spokesman for the EEOC, said the commission could not comment on pending legislation in Congress.

Nice folks, the party of  "we want you to have the ability to fire people because they had sex without being married."

Keep it up, GOP.


Horace Boothroyd III said...

they're so awful at legislating that the bill would allow people to claim religious exceptions to break a multitude of laws

Boy howdy, are they awful at legislating. Not only is it hard God damned work on general principles, beset on all sides by whiners and complainer who will never be satisfied by any conceivable piece of written legislation, but you have to set aside the comforting lies that you can tell yourself when you are the opposition or when you are the junior partner in the coalition. When you are in charge, when you have to make the rain, there is no room for self deception based on a rickety framework built of gossip and fairy tales.

This may be, it seems to me, how the Republicans keep winning elections despite their hideous failures of governance. They have made a strategy of constantly appealing to their constituency, despite the costly screwups that hurt both friend and foe, because this enables them to keep the core ideology untainted.

Which, again it seems to me, has become a growing issue for the Sanderistas. It's one thing for Bubble Boy to float on the fringes of a few activist websites: the kossacks can believe any moronic nonsense they like without dropping a single roach. Should the Bern Coalition ever make any real electoral inroads, should they ever get their hands on any real power, they will have to choose which it will be: the power to demand what they want, or continued blessed purity. I don't care which they take, but it has to be one or the other and we would be well advised to guard against the fallout when their own internal factions turn on one another.

RepubAnon said...

Proposed headline: "Republicans Propose Implementing Sharia-Based Law."

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