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10th April
2009
written by Sean Noble

The Washington Post has a story with the headline “Faith Groups Increasingly Lose Gay Rights Fights” that points out that there have been a number of legal cases which have ruled in favor of gay rights.

It is in many ways a re-tread of an NPR story entitled “When Gay Rights and Religious Liberty Clash” which reported on a number of cases in which people or organizations were found to have discriminated for refusing particular services.

Fundamentally, it is not only an issue of religious liberty, it is about property rights as well.  I know, you are thinking, “What? Property rights?”  Yes, property rights.

First, here is one of the examples in the NPR story:

A Christian gynecologist at North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship, and he claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. (The doctor referred the patient to his partner, who agreed to do the treatment.) The woman sued under the state’s civil rights act. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May 2008, and legal experts believe that the woman’s right to medical treatment will trump the doctor’s religious beliefs. One justice suggested that the doctors take up a different line of business.

 This case is unbelievable.  Someone goes to the doctor, wants a procedure, the doctor says no, but here is a doctor who will do it, offense is taken, doctor gets sued, a justice says the doctor should take up a different line of work. Are you kidding me?

On the issue of a different line of work, that is just outrageous.  That doctor has major “capital” expense in his current line of work in the form of the cost of his education, his practice, etc.  Getting sued for not running your business a certain way and then being told to do something different is an infringement of property rights.  It’s like going to a farmer and saying he has to walk away from his farm and go do something different.

But let’s go back a step.  A doctor gets sued because he won’t do something he doesn’t believe is appropriate, even though he refers the patient to someone who will do the procedure.  This is like a hardcore left-wing organization coming to me and asking me to help them on a campaign to promote Communism in America.  I would obviously say no.  But now I might be sued? 

That’s insane.

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10 Comments

  1. Frankie
    10/04/2009

    what’s insane is your crooked logic. you take one example that makes sense and then toss out some examples that make no sense and call them the same. the doctor issue is completely legitimate. would it be any different if a latino walked into a dentist for a filling but that dentist refused service because according his religion he can’t work with latinos, but hey, my partner would gladly give you a filling. no, it wouldn’t. doctors are not the same as political operatives, they have a responsibility to treat all patients fairly and equally.

    furthermore, i think you missed the fact that the justice suggesting he take up a different line of work was sarcasm. i highly doubt they actually thought he should go from doing invitro to being an accountant. i think the justice was pointing out the fact that if he wants to be a doctor, he has to treat everyone, not just who his religion deems fit to raise a child.

  2. Kenny Jacobs
    10/04/2009

    A gyno who performs invitro procedures refuses his services based on his religious beliefs? Are you kidding me? What a hypocrite! He has threaded quite the needle to perform the procedure on straight couples to begin with but he draws the line with a lesbian. That’s too convenient. Perhaps he refuses this service for all non-married persons? What does he do with the non-implanted embryos? Seriously, this Doctor is a champ at picking and choosing his morality.

    Sean, I don’t think this example serves your needs. However, let me ask this question based on your example:

    This Doctor practices medicine in California because he satisfied the requirements for a medical license. What state issued licenses should be denied to gay people based on someone else’s religious beliefs?

  3. Zach
    10/04/2009

    First, the example is right on target. Invitro fertilization is an optional procedure, not a life threatening procedure. There was nothing standing int he woman’s way of having the procedure done–nothing. She took offense and went to the court system which ignored property laws to promote their own agenda. Would the same happen if it were botox?

    Second, Kenny the state issued liscense denied to gay people in California is the marriage liscense. Why? Because they do not qualify under California law. Marriage has always been state regulated according to the will of the people (I think they call it democracy). If the system used by those people to make a decision is religious, so be it. If you have a different standard of correct social behavior you have every right to promote it as wel, but don’t start to claim it is better becaus of your pretensions to “objective truth.” Because your “objective truth” can probably be shown to be just as subjective as religious claims (possibly more so).

    Third, I think posing this as an infringement on personal property is a good start. But even more incidious, the only ones at risk are those who have actually made a choice to live a certain way. Especially when considering the socioeconomic system of the United States, should we encourage people to abandon values of truth, honesty, respect and family? Why do people who make a choice automatically lose the right to that choice?

  4. Mr. Conservative
    11/04/2009

    Welcome to the Liberal Fascism way of legislating “tolerance”…

  5. 11/04/2009

    Sean,
    This case is not about gay rights. Its about discrimination. I previously sent you the entire opinion on the case from the California Supreme court, but based on this post I am not sure you read it. Also, I could find no statement (across the web – disregarding right wing rogue sites – and the NPR reference is another op-ed contributor) in which any justice made the comment about “finding a new profession”. Maybe he (she) said it under his (her) breath — but I can find no documentation to support this claim.


    It should also be noted in California legislation that doctors can deny any electoral procedure satisfying one of two situations: 1. They refer the patient to another physician or 2. They do not offer the medical service being requested. The court documentation also made a distinction between private business and government supported occupations (doctor takes madicaid/medicare paid by taxpayers) which I thought was interesting.


    (Below excerpt taken from Morris Thurston’s response to Prop 8 — Morris received his poli-sci degree from BYU, and law degree from Harvard. He is an adjunct prof at BYU, and works as one of the Church’s lawyers. I have the full paper if you would like to read — very interesting perspective on Prop 8 claims like the one above.)


    “California’s broad anti‐discrimination laws expressly ban discrimination by any business establishment that offers to the public ‘accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services.’ This statute bans discrimination against individual heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, as well as married people and domestic partners. Therefore, the clinic had the option of either having a doctor on staff who would perform IUI services on a non‐discriminatory basis, or cease performing the services at all.”

  6. Sean Noble
    11/04/2009

    I did read it. This case is repeatedly used in stories by the MSM about gay rights, so you’ll have to take it up with NPR and Washington Post. Also, NPR reported on what the judge said, I didn’t make that up.

  7. 11/04/2009

    No. I know you didn’t make it up. I found the article on NPR, but the op ed author doesn’t site her source and I have no way to verify. The shock value of this quote (“doctors take up a different line of business”) makes me believe the Justice’s remarks were taken out of context or misconstrued. The columnist at NPR where this quote originated is in charge of religion commentary. I am also well aware that the case is used in context of Gay rights (hence your post), however the legislative content is more about discrimination.

  8. EVRep
    15/04/2009

    When I was in grad school, the school had a written non discrimination policy that included “sexual orientation” (they also gave a scholarship each year to “an outstanding gay student”).

    The school’s gay student organization (there are now several, then there was one) detailed a gay ex-Mormon to come to our worship service on Sunday, get himself thrown out and file a discrimination complaint. They didn’t dare go after the Catholics, but they figured we weren’t that popular (kind of like the fallout after Prop. 8).

    First two Sundays he addressed the congregation during the testimony meeting, said incredibly inappropriate things, every one politely sat on their hands (I walked out and was criticized). Third Sunday, he went way over the top and the leader of the congregation (“the bishop”) told him he was still welcome, but would need to cut that out.

    He went back to campus, filed his complaint, school banned LDS student organization from all school sponsored activities. General counsel for LDS church (Kirton Poelman, I think they still are) called school, school backed down.
    I thought issue was forgotten until a professor brought it up and confronted me in front of the class, making my religion an issue.

    That was 16 years ago. I have no doubt that if this occurred today, the school would stick to their guns and litigate. Sad state of affairs.

  9. RonB
    17/04/2009

    The California judge, like so many of his/her ilk, is a dumbass, and they should find another line of work. Additionally, every judge in the country should read (note: I did not say re-read) the United States Constitution, and supplement that reading with some time spend reading The Federalist Papers.

  10. swimordie
    29/04/2009

    It is ironic that the use of religious freedom as a defense for discriminating was used by this doctor and defended by all these commentators.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    It is religious freedom that banned prayer from schools, the ten commandments from public places, nativity scenes from school plays, “Merry Christmas” from Wal-Mart greeters, etc.

    On the flip side, the tradition of religious freedom was used to uphold laws in support of slavery, miscegenation, racial discrimination, etc.

    Btw, the Federalist Papers are filled with discussions on protecting minority rights against the will of the majority. The United States is not a majority rules democracy. It is, in fact, the genius of the founders to have created the representative and republican system of government with appropriate checks and balances so as to include a defense of the rights of the minority.

    The final irony is that it is that ability to protect the minority that allowed true religious freedom AND property rights for the individual.

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