March 21, 2017 at 10:18 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gorsuch calls same-sex marriage ‘settled law’
Neil Gorsuch, gay news, Washington Blade

Judge Neil Gorsuch (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Amid opposition from LGBT rights supporters to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump’s nominee referred to same-sex marriage as “settled law,” but was otherwise relatively tight-lipped about his views during his confirmation hearings.

Grilled by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about his judicial philosophy, U.S. Circuit Judge Gorsuch on Tuesday maintained “equal justice under the law” — words enshrined at the top of the Supreme Court building — was a “radical” idea, but one he’d uphold, when asked about application of the law to LGBT people.

Pressed by Sen. Al Franken about marriage equality specifically, Gorsuch replied, “It is absolutely settled law,” but added, “there’s ongoing litigation about its impact and its application right now.”

When Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) asked the nominee about his views on LGBT people, Gorsuch seemed irritated and responded, “What about them?” and as Durbin sought to clarify, the nominee retorted, “They’re people.”

Asked by Durbin to point to a statement or decision favorable to LGBT people, Gorsuch offered his judicial philosophy that all individuals are entitled to equal treatment under the law.

“I’ve tried to treat each case and each person as a person, not a this kind of person, not a that kind of person — a person,” Gorsuch said. “Equal justice under law is a radical promise in the history of mankind.”

Durbin pressed Gorsuch to clarify whether that applies to sexual orientation, prompting Gorsuch to invoke the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision in favor of same-sex marriage.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has held that single-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution,” Gorsuch said, using “single-sex marriage” terminology commonly cited in Europe, but rarely in the United States, to refer to marriage equality.

Durbin brought up LGBT people in the context of questioning of John Finnis, whom Gorsuch identified as a mentor during his time at Oxford University. A conservative one-time law professor, Finnis delivered a deposition in the early ’90s in favor of Colorado’s anti-gay Amendment 2, a law that prohibited cities from enacting non-discrimination ordinances based on sexual orientation. The Supreme Court struck down the law in the 1996 Romer v. Evans decision.

Referencing a passage in which Finnis compared same-sex relationships to bestiality and said antipathy toward LGBT people is based not just on religious reasons, but societal views, Durbin asked Gorsuch whether he was aware of his mentor’s statements.

“I know he testified in the Romer case,” Gorsuch said. “I can’t specifically recall the specifics of his testimony or that he gave a deposition.”

When Durbin sought more information from Gorsuch on the impact Finnis had on his views, Gorsuch referred to rulings he made on the bench as a member of the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I think the best evidence is what I’ve written,” Gorsuch said. “I’ve written or joined over 6 million words as a federal appellate judge. I’ve written a couple of books. I’ve been a lawyer and a judge for 25 or 30 years, and I guess I’d ask you, respectfully, to look at my credentials and my record.”

In another exchange with Franken, Gorsuch conceded the issue of same-sex marriage is “settled” law, but acknowledged subsequent litigation is ongoing on its impact and kept his cards close to his vest on his personal views.

Referencing Gorsuch’s help with former President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign in Ohio as a member of “Lawyers for Bush,” Franken noted that was the year the state had an anti-gay amendment on the ballot and asked the nominee whether same-sex marriage should be subjected to popular vote.

“Senator, I don’t recall any involvement in that issue during that campaign,” Gorsuch said. “I remember going to Ohio.”

When Franken asked the nominee if he was aware of the marriage issue in 2004, Gorusch replied, “Certainly, I was aware about it.”

Pressed further by Franken for his views, Gorsuch added, “Any revelation about my personal views about this matter would indicate to people how I might rule as a judge. Mistakenly, but it might, and I have to be concerned about that.”

When Franken pointed out the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide and asked Gorsuch how his views have changed since 2004, the nominee remain tight-lipped.

“My personal views, if were to begin speaking about my personal views on this subject, which every American has views on, would send a misleading signal to the American people,” Gorsuch said.

The Minnesota Democrat sought to move on to another topic as Gorsuch said he wanted to finish his thought about not being able to disclose personal view, but Franken said, “You’ve given a version of this answer before. I understand.”

The issue of marriage equality came up later in the hearing when Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) brought it up when asking Gorsuch about his views on whether the Constitution protects intimate and personal choices. Gorsuch again declined to express his personal views, but underscored the importance of the Obergefell decision as precedent.

“Obergefell is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch said. “It entitles persons to engage in single-sex marriage. That’s a right that the Supreme Court has recognized. It is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court entitled to all the deference to precedence of the United States Supreme Court, and that’s quite a lot.”

Much of the concern over Gorsuch concerns his subscription to the judicial philosophy of originalism in which jurists seek to determine lawmakers’ original intent of enacting statutes before ruling on them, a practice criticized as a means to deny justice to minority groups, including LGBT people. The late U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia advocated that judicial viewpoint in his dissents to major gay rights cases, such as the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sought clarification from Gorsuch on originalism, referencing, among other rulings, the 1996 Virginia Military Institute decision, which determined the state’s exclusion of women from the school violated the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Scalia, in his dissent, wrote the decision was creating a new Constitution, not keeping to the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution.

Asked by Klobuchar whether the ruling was based on the original meaning of the Constitution, Gorsuch kept his views to himself and said, “The majority in that case argued that it was.” Gorsuch repeated his view the concept of equal protection under the law “is quite significant.”

When the Minnesota Democrat asked Gorsuch whether he’d apply that approach to minority groups, such as women, LGBT people and racial minorities, Gorsuch replied, “A good judge applies the law without respect to persons. That’s part of my judicial oath.”

Seemingly unsatisfied with the response, Klobuchar pressed Gorsuch further, prompting him to reply, “I don’t take account of the person before me. Everyone is equal under the eyes of the law.”

The reluctance of Gorsuch to offer his views during the confirmation process is typical of nominees seeking confirmation to the Supreme Court. As other nominees have done in the past, Gorsuch said disclosure of personal views or the appropriateness of a particular decision would suggest a bias on those issues if they came to him after winning confirmation.

Other decisions on which Gorsuch had no comment included the Roe v. Wade decision, the Heller decision affirming the Second Amendment right to own a firearm in D.C. and the Citizens United case allowing unlimited contributions from corporations and unions to political campaigns.

On rare occasions during the hearing, Gorsuch was more direct. Referencing Trump’s pledge to appoint only justices who’d overturn a woman’s right to have an abortion, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) asked Gorsuch if he made any private commitments to Trump to overturn Roe v. Wade, but the nominee replied he didn’t and was not asked to do so.

“I would have walked out the door,” Gorsuch said. “That’s not what judges do.”

A group of 21 LGBT organizations led by Lamdba Legal signed a joint letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week declaring their opposition to the nominee and urging rigorous questioning during the confirmation process.

Although Gorsuch has never ruled on the issue of same-sex marriage, the nominee wrote a scathing piece in 2005 for the National Review titled “Liberals & Lawsuits” excoriating the progressive movement for seeking advancements in the courts. Two years after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, the article identifies marriage equality as an issue that should be settled outside the judicial system.

When asked by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to respond to criticism over the op-ed, the nominee said he believes the courts, in fact, are a “very important place for the vindication of civil rights,” but in many cases they aren’t appropriate for change.

“I can report to you, having lived longer, as I did report to you in 2005 that the problem lies on both sides of the aisle, that I see lots of people who resort to the court more quickly than perhaps they should,” Gorsuch said.

Much of the discontent over Gorsuch is also related to his 11th Circuit decision in the Hobby Lobby case, when he ruled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act affords “religious freedom” protections to not just people, but corporations, and the business chain could refuse health insurance to female employees that covered contraception. Gorsuch joined a similar decision against the Obamacare contraception mandate in the Little Sisters of the Poor case.

At a time when many businesses and individuals are asserting civil rights laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination unfairly penalize their religious beliefs, some LGBT rights supporters fear Gorsuch could apply that “religious freedom” reasoning in those cases to institute carve-outs for anti-LGBT discrimination.

Under questioning from Durbin, Gorsuch walked through his reasoning in the Hobby Lobby case, maintaining his ruling is based on the belief the U.S. government could make other accommodations for employees seeking contraception other than employer-based health coverage.

“Does the government have a compelling interest in the ACA in providing contraceptive care? The Supreme Court of the United States said, ‘We assume yes. We take that as given,” Gorsuch said. “The question becomes is it narrow tailored to require the Green family to provide it. The answer there the Supreme Court reached in precedent binding on us now, and we reached in anticipation, is no, that wasn’t as strictly tailored as it could be because the government had provided different accommodations to churches and to other religious entities.”

Other LGBT criticism over Gorsuch relates to his decisions on transgender rights. In 2015, Gorsuch joined an 11th Circuit decision against a transgender inmate who alleged she was denied transition-related hormone therapy and unfairly housed in an all-male facility. In 2009, Gorsuch also joined an unpublished opinion finding the provision against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t apply to transgender people.

Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case that brought same-sex marriage nationwide, wrote in an op-ed for Time magazine on the second day of the Gorsuch hearings he opposes the nominee on the basis that he could undermine LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage, at the Supreme Court.

Noting the narrow 5-4 marriage decision was written by U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was only confirmed to the Supreme Court after the Senate rejected President Reagan’s nomination of anti-LGBT judge Robert Bork, Obergefell wrote, “we must be as cautious as we were in 1987.”

“As during the Bork hearings, we must again demand that the next justice appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States continue to uphold our Constitution — including equal protections for LGBTQ people under the law,” Obergell wrote. “Donald Trump, in nominating Neil Gorsuch, noted his desire to pick a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia. That should send chills down the spine of everyone who cares about equality and civil rights.”

Eric Lesh, fair courts director for Lambda Legal, said Gorsuch’s hearing did nothing to allay concerns about the his potential confirmation to the Supreme Court because he “refused to answer very fundamental questions.”

“He kept dodging and weaving and running away from his record, which is clearly hostile to the rights of LGBT people and people living with HIV,” Lesh said. “So, we need answers, and that doesn’t change Lambda Legal’s conclusion that based on a comprehensive review of his record, his views on civil rights issues, on LGBT equality are fundamentally at odds with the notion that our community is entitled to equal dignity, justice, liberty under the law.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Same-sex marriage was built on a house of cards.

  • These democrats in congress perverted and insane.

  • The facts are that to afford some more rights than others, which is what Obamacare has done by subverting religious liberty, and making those whose conscience precludes them from supporting abortion, single-sex relationships, or outwardly altering one’s gender is nowhere to be found in our Constitution. Gorsuch is correct, the Constitution, and more importantly, the Biblical laws this nation is steeped in do not differentiate between persons…all are the same. However, these decisions that are being cited in this article clearly give rights to some by trampling on the rights of others.

    • All citizens in this nation are equally subject to civil law. One’s religion (Christian or otherwise) does not entitle one to some sort of special dispensation from following civil law. Religious belief does not and should not allow individuals to be immune from abiding by local, state or federal open public accommodations and anti-discrimination laws, for example. The United States is not a theocracy and your religion should not be the basis to elevate you above other citizens of differing beliefs. The United States is not a Christian theocracy.

      • I am not saying that Christians should be elevated to a higher standard than other citizens. But, the fact is, not only is that NOT happening, but the opposite is by the government and the justices they have ensconced giving rights that clearly do not exist within the framework of our Constitution to factions of the populace, which violate the rights that Christians hold within their belief system to operate in our culture in religious freedom. Jefferson quite succinctly stated and I quote, “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” The First Amendment clearly states we have freedom of religion, NOT freedom from religion. We ALL have the right to express our opinions, and those, who are within earshot have the right NOT to listen, but not to silence us.

        • You are entirely free to hold and express your religious views and engage in your religious practices. You are not entitled to be exempt from civil law by hiding behind your faith. If you are operating a public accommodation or other business you, like all other citizens, are subject to anti-discrimination laws.

          BTW- Freedom of religion does not just apply to those with a religious view point. Freedom of religion also means the right to adopt a non-religious world view as well.

          • Quakers are not compelled to enter the military against their conscience. However, they benefit from the protection of our military, and it is one of the things actually enumerated in the Constitution that the Federal Government should be doing. Paying for abortions, supporting people in any way with their lifestyle choices, as well, for that matter as paying for anyone’s healthcare, education, home, car, food, cell phones, etc… are not rights that I have been able to find anywhere in our Constitution. Of course, I realize that courts have made rulings to advance their ideology, but that does not make it Constitutional. The general welfare clause does not encompass the above either; so that argument falls flat. I do not benefit one iota by having to pay taxes to anything I mentioned above beyond the military. In that regard, I would do some serious budgetary analysis with respect to how that money is spent, as well. Taxes were Constitutionally designed to be used for the benefit of the whole. Those days are so far behind us, and certainly not spoken about in our public education. As to your comment about my holding and expressing my religious views, I would debate even the generally, anymore. If it is my toil and sweat that started a business of any nature, I should be able to determine how to run said business. All this businesses that have been targeted, had no compunction about serving homosexuals. The issue came when they wanted them to participate in something that was against their beliefs. No one should have to participate in something that goes against their conscience.

          • The few Quakers I know would argue that a large military does not benefit them. In fact they might argue that the larger the military (which they are forced to support with their tax dollars in violation of their religious convictions) the less safe they are. I’m not a Quaker so this doesn’t necessarily reflect my beliefs. I am however an atheist and gay so I guess I should feel more resentful that I’m being forced to support certain Christian lifestyles. Perhaps I should demand my right to decline to serve members of religious faiths that actively tried to forcibly divorce me against my will via Proposition 8 here in California back in 2008. Despite this, I have no legal right whatsoever to decline service to members of say, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints based upon religious affiliation. I don’t have that right and have never had that right during my lifetime. The passage of the Civil Rights Acts back in the 1960s prohibits this. Perhaps I should resent the fact I can not legally refuse to sell building supplies from my business to Mormons for them to construct a Mormon temple which I believe, like all religions, promotes and promulgates a harmful superstition. Nevertheless I don’t have that right and don’t seek to change that legal reality since I recognize I live in a diverse and pluralistic society and not everyone shares my views. Unfortunately where I can be fired and discriminated against because of my sexual orientation in approximately half the states of the union, you on the other hand are protected against religious discrimination throughout the country and have been for more than 50 plus years.

            I’m not sure where you live but I live in 21st century America, a pluralistic, diverse, interdependent, modern society that requires a myriad of government services and benefits which make civilization possible. This is accomplished by taxation which generally speaking is perfectly constitutional. Maybe you live in splendid isolation somewhere engaged in subsistence agriculture with no need for public utilities, public roads, or the other things that make up civilized society. Or perhaps you’re simply just another self entitled Christian with a persecution complex who feels that others in this country who are unlike you should be denied the rights, benefits, protections and privileges that you enjoy. Which ever it is just remember the next time you need to call for police, fire or emergency medical services or even use the internet, these are all being paid for or subsidized by taxes collected from a wide range of citizens who also have equal claims in this society. 1776 has come and gone and thank goodness won’t be coming back any time soon.

          • First of all, I want to extend my appreciation to you for being able to have a civil conversation on these very sensitive subjects. We are obviously going to disagree on most, if not all of these issues. My study of our American history, and my spiritual convictions, which are based in a myriad of personal experiences have led me on a totally different path than you are on. I have chosen not to live on the difference that the Bible is not true. Although, our history has been revised to exclude many of the facts, one of which is that our laws were steeped in Biblical doctrine, I still hold to those truths. The Word of God has not changed, and the original intent of our Founders was that the Constitution is timeless, save for the very slow and deliberative amendment process. I believe, as the Bible states that we are to individually help our fellow man/women, not the leviathan government. That is what our Constitution was founded in as well…personal responsibility; without it, we do not have freedom. Although, in my belief system, we can be redeemed from our sinful choices, we will still pay the consequences in this life. I will also give you credit for being consistent in your chosen lifestyle. There are those, who I know personally, and by the way, consider to be very close friends, who are engaging in homosexuality, and calling themselves Christians. Clearly, this is in conflict with the teachings of the Bible. No, I do not live off the grid at all. In fact, I had a career in law enforcement, and very much appreciate the taxpayer, who paid that bill. I went to work everyday, and did my job to the best of my ability. When you talk about Christian persecution, as though it is not happening, I point you to the Middle East, where they are having their heads lopped off for their faith. As I read Revelation, the last book in the Bible, it is amazing at how accurate it is as to what will happen in the final days before Christ returns, and it speaks of the persecution that will come against Christians, as it did Jesus. The world hated Him and it will hate us for our beliefs. But, we are to actually find joy in it, according to the Word of God, praying for strength to endure it. The trend has clearly been to eradicate God from the public square, even though, no one is forced to even listen to, much less accept our beliefs, that again, this nation was based on. To your point of thinking that I live in some “splendid Isolation,” it is not so. I am paying dearly in taxes in this out of control tax, spend and regulatory monster of a state called California. I have properties here that I pay exorbitant taxes on, as well as the taxes I pay on my retirement, which I concede comes from the taxpayers. Not to mention, ever increasing consumption taxes, taxes on gasoline, and the other thousands of taxes that our legislature ingeniously comes up with, as well as the local municipalities with all their fees (taxes in disguise). I might ask you the same question with regard to not living in reality with respect to just the fiscal red ink spiral we are in, with government taking more and more and the economy becoming weaker and weaker. I pray you understand that government has zero, except what they take out of the fiscal economy. We as a nation will collapse, if we continue on this path. Hence my angst with the government being everyone’s fiscal nanny, or god, if you will; both citizens and illegals asking the rest of us to pay for all the things I mentioned originally in this dialogue, housing, food, medical care, education, and frankly, now, we even pay for their fun and games. Yes, in this state, there is talk of giving them vacations on our dime, even though, those taking advantage of the rest of us, already take that unearned money to buy alcohol, drugs, gamble, etc… This is why I am for going back to the original intent of our Founders, and following what government on every level was designed to do, and that was extremely limited. I do not mind paying for those things taxes were intended to be for, roads infrastructure, and public safety. Look at the situation with the Oroville Dam (where I actually live). They (the government and layers of NGO’s), who take our taxes, didn’t want to spend them on what they are collected for and they put our lives and properties in peril. Government has become so extremely corrupted and self serving, it is frightening. So too, have people in general. We are the ones that have put these type of people into power. I see this corruption on both sides of the aisle.
            Again, I thank you for your perspectives and sharing them in this forum.

          • It also say that we have a separation of church and state…YET churches are exempt from taxes…yet my business is NOT. I believe that is “respecting the establishment of religion”

          • The Constitution says nothing about separation of church and state. The First Amendment states that we have freedom OF religion, and the free exercise thereof. Where the separation of church and state came in was some letters written by T. Jefferson to the Baptist Churches. If you read the Federalist Papers, which give the intent of our Founders to all that they included in the Constitution, you will find that the intent was only that the government not set up a state religion. Most non profits enjoy tax exempt status, not just churches. I might add here, it is all churches that are exempt.

          • Although the constitution doesn’t expressly contain the words “separation of church and state”, the first amendment as written with the principle of it is called the separations clause. Does it mean religious people cannot participate in government? NO! It means that all laws must be secular in nature. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. If a law has a secular purpose it doe NOT matter if it is against your religion because it effects everyone equally. So essentially NO HUMAN SACRIFICES even if it’s a religious rite.

          • “The separations clause” was not what the Founders inserted, it is what activist judges extrapolated from the First Amendment to fit their personal agendas. Business owners being persecuted for their religious beliefs, because they stand on those convictions in situations involving sin does not equate to the Federal government establishing a religion. What it is in fact, are those particular businesses owned by American citizens exercising their right to practice their faith. They are not denying an individual person, but rather a lifestyle choice that falls under the umbrella of sin that God has judged as so in His Word.
            The fact is, our laws were steeped in Biblical precepts, so the idea that all laws must be secular is a more recent ideology promoted by progressives. A study of history will clearly reveal how our laws have changed since the inception of this nation and not for the better, I would add. I would submit that the laws today do not apply equally. I am penalized through my insurance premiums across the board for those that fail to buy auto insurance and provide for their own healthcare. that does not even touch on the theft in taxes to pay for the higher education, abortion, research for self inflicted diseases, not to mention their daily food, housing, vehicles, phones, and soon, the state of CA is wanting to give folks vacations that are not otherwise able to take them. Illegal aliens are being given a pass for breaking our laws in entering our country illegally, and we are paying for it, as they too are allowed to take advantage of all the hand outs via the American taxpayer. How is all that equal??
            As to human sacrifice…pretty strong words, unless you are leveling them at those that practice satanism, or those in the Muslim world, who are lopping off heads, tossing homosexuals off buildings, caging and burning people to death, as well as other horrific acts of barbarism. Quite the stretch to say the least that denying service through a business that you put your own capital and sweat into based on religious conviction is human sacrifice; especially when those folks have myriad other businesses that would provide their services for those events.

          • Unless you business is a church….all businesses are secular and licensed by the government. A person can have religious beliefs BUT a business is NOT a human, it is a financial enterprise.

          • Humans run businesses, and it is their own capital and sweat that runs them. If a business doesn’t serve you, because their faith prohibits them, then you are free to go somewhere else. There are many places that folks can go to have cakes made, venues to hold events, etc…Obviously, the desire is to force those that do not share an ideology or lifestyle choice to succumb, accept and embrace what others have chosen to believe or do with their lives.

          • I live in a rural area. There is only 1 bakery for almost 50 miles. There is only 1 venue (town hall). Discrimination is discrimination. Your “faith” prohibits YOU form entering a gay marriage…it does not give you the right to force others to follow your religion.

            You used your sweat and capital to start a business (great), BUT your sweat and capital didn’t pay for the schools/teachers to educate your employees to take orders and make change. Your sweat and capital didn’t pay for the roads/bridges so that customers can get to you and your goods can be delivered. Your sweat and capital didn’t pay for the police/fire/ambulance so that your business and employees/customers stay safe. Your sweat and capital didn’t pay for the water/sewer so disease are not spread to you and others. The COMMUNITY of taxpayers paid it and that includes gay people. You don’t get to pick and chose who your business is serving based on their physical characteristics, that’s discrimination.

          • We could turn that coin upside down, and say that it is the lifestyle choice of others that is discriminating against all those of us who hold to God’s Biblical commands, although, I have my own sin struggles I have had to admit and repent of before God. Having followed this issue, I know that those businesses, who refused to specifically bake/decorate for a homosexual marriage, were serving those same customers as individual clients. I would ask why a homosexual wouldn’t order an un-decorated cake, then, put the decorations that you want on it, when you got it to the event?? Why is it that the Christians must acquiesce to your choices against their convictions. It is the same with abortion; why are Christians forced to pay for abortion? We did not get to be part of the decision to get in that condition. It does not in any way correlate with the race issue, either, since race is not something we control. To not serve a person because of their ethnicity does discriminate against that individual person for something they do not control. Businesses that do not embrace homosexual marriage are not discriminating against anyone based on a physical characteristic. To say that is to ignore biological science. By not embracing something that God has clearly listed as a sin, does not force those living in that sin to accept our faith. However, it is quite clear that there is a movement to force Christians to tolerate and embrace homosexuality, as well as a host of other sins. However, we are called to spread the gospel, but you are free to accept or reject it. But, we are no longer free to accept or reject your choice, in public, anyway, which is our Constitutional First Amendment right.
            I wholeheartedly beg your pardon. You sound like Obama…in fact, I have indeed paid for education, roads, infrastructure, all the social programs, water, sewer, etc…with my property, sales, income, and the myriad other taxes that get strong armed from me by every level of government, just like you and the others that pay taxes. Although, I do not know how that proves your point about Christians being forced to accept sin. So, we have all paid for all the things that we all use daily, even those, who do not pay for them; and, so….

          • Speaking of biological science….please explain people who are inter-sexed. Those people who are born with both male and female genitals in various degrees and occurs in about 1 in 200 births. How about the fact that over 1500 species of animals have homosexual members that form pair bonds. It occurs in nature, making it a part of biology just like heterosexuality. Only 1 species believes in a higher power however.

            Tolerate YES….embrace NO….because your religion is your religion and freedom of religion REQUIRES others to be able to practice or NOT practice their chosen religion separate from what your believe. Not all religions believe the same things are sins.

            Somehow you believe that your religion (not a physical characteristic) gives you the right to dictate to others how to live their life because it doesn’t agree with your chosen lifestyle. No one is forcing you into a homosexual lifestyle or to have an abortion…but we all must treat each other with dignity and respect. Me selling you a product or service is not an endorsement of your lifestyle anymore than you selling me your product or service. It is a commercial financial transaction.

            How are Christians forced to pay for abortions? Is there a Christian tax I don’t know about? BTW…I want my money to go to abortion services for POOR people. Poor people breed more poor people. So why must we acquiesce to your choices against our convictions? Our country is full of people and ideas I don’t agree with (likewise I’m sure you think the same)…BUT freedom is freedom for all…not just for those who someone else deems worthy of freedom.

          • Here is another example of the assault on Christians:

            AB 569 by Assembly member Gonzales-Fletcher (D-San Diego) claims that
            reproductive choices—such as abortion—should be no concern of religious
            employers. The sweeping legislation would therefore require
            employers—with no listed exceptions—to drop all expectations that
            employees respect the sanctity of life in their own lives. Thus, a
            Christian school that teaches life begins at conception or a pro-life
            advocacy organization would be expected under the new rules to ignore
            employee conduct that contradicts those stated beliefs.

            The Pacific Justice Institute – Center for Public Policy (PJI-CPP) is sending a detailed opposition letter
            to legislators today. The next key hearing for AB 569 is scheduled
            for Tuesday, April 25, in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. PJI has
            also prepared an analysis of the bill in question-and-answer format and contact information
            for all committee members who are expected to consider and vote on the
            bill. PJI-CPP strongly encourages citizens, church leaders, schools,
            and pro-life advocates to begin making phone calls to legislative
            offices in advance of next week’s hearing.

            Brad Dacus, the president of PJI-CPP, commented, “This latest attempt by
            our Legislature to strangle voices of conscience is unjust and
            unconstitutional. There is no true religious freedom without the
            freedom to put faith into practice, both as an individual and as a
            religious community.”

          • If you can’t get people to willingly follow your religion….force them to. Your freedom of religion does not give you the force of law to make others obey it as well. Even if they work for you. That is a prime example of authoritarianism. Be careful what you wish for. Others can claim the same “religious” authoritarianism over you as well. Freedom of religion only exist with freedom FROM religion.

          • By not embracing sin, or being a part of or contributor to sin, as God has judged it, does not equate to me forcing my religion on anyone. You, or anyone are not forced to obey my religion by me not participating in someone’s sin. If a business owner does not use their business to be a part of what they believe to be sin, does not force that person, engaged in what God has judged as sin to participate in their religion. I would also caution you to not seek to have government so involved in our everyday affairs, forcing Christians to abdicate their convictions for small factions of the populace, as like you said, the tables could turn on all of us. Indeed, I believe we are headed that way, which is also prophesied in the Bible. There is no “freedom from religion” in the Constitution, but we were and are suppose to be able to practice our religion privately and publicly. I would agree, we are to leave each other alone to practice their faith or chosen lifestyle. That doesn’t mean we have to participate in the faiths or lifestyle choices others make.

          • Churches have become a con artists. Ministers take million dollar salaries and then call “business” payments as charity with tax deductible donations.

          • On this, I would absolutely agree, however, not in all cases. There are still churches that preach and honor the Word of God. They are fiscally responsible with God’s money and are using it to help those in need, including their own congregants, which is what we are called to do. I belong to such a church. Our pastor is a man of integrity, living out his faith. I would suggest that much of the problem with the pastors that do this have fallen away from the truth of Scripture; falling back into their sinful lives. Man’s heart is inherently wicked, who can know it. Without the saving grace from the shed blood of Christ, we are but filthy rags in our sinful states. Only by repenting of the sins (all enumerated in the Bible), seeking God’s forgiveness, accepting Christ as our Savior and submitting to His perfect will are we able to escape the wages of our sins, which is eternal death, in order to have eternal life with Him.

        • Somehow allowing other to do the exact same thing as you is now harming your religious freedom?

          No wonder sane people are fleeing religion in droves.

    • Those that want to use “religious liberty” are just wanting to ostracize those that do not practice their religion. Our laws are not based on biblical anything. It is based on the Magna Carta.

  • Gorsuch is as full of crap as the person now holding the oval office.
    They are mean, caring little for anyone not of their ilk – and need to be put in their place.

  • Gorsuch’s continued obfuscation as to his level of commitment in upholding constitutional principles of equal protection for LGBT people should warrant a ‘no’ vote by every Senator. Gorsuch is ill suited to a position on SCOTUS based on his own testimony.

  • There is an error in this piece. Gorsuch is repeatedly referred to as sitting on the 11th Circuit bench. He sits on the 10th.

  • I have great faith that the decisions made by the Supreme Court are not decisions easily overturned. The Supreme Court went against the ignorant fundamentalists’ thinking, back in the 50s and made it legal for blacks and whites to marry. That decision did not sit well with many states, but, as you see, that decision still stands. I believe it will be the same for same-sex marriage. I do believe that tons of taxpayer money will be wasted in many states, due to lawsuits brought before the courts, because of these ignorant and bigoted pieces of legislation, being instituted by some states. I also believe, eventually, all those pieces of legislation will be found to be unconstitutional. But…..we shall see, won’t we?

  • In your business, do you ask if they have been divorced or have a criminal record before they purchase your product or service? Do you ask if they are having an affair? Eat pork? Are they wearing cloth made of 2 different fibers? If not that makes you a hypocrite because you are discriminating. The BIGGEST sin is hypocrisy. Jesus hated hypocrisy.

    • As I would not ask individuals any of the questions above, neither would I ask if someone was homosexual or lesbian. The line is drawn when they come and ask me to participate in the sin with them. For instance, I would not rent a room to an unmarried couple, just that same as I would not rent a room to a homosexual or lesbian couple. No hypocrisy there. There is no sin in eating pork or wearing cloth of two different fibers, unless, what we eat or wear causes another to stumble (sin). Jesus hates sin too, and His Word clearly states what is sin.

      • Polygamy is illegal. SO no one is asking you to participate in the sin with them. A commercial transaction is not “participating”.

        FYI…Jesus never said a single word about homosexuality…in fact he was in his 30’s, he never married and never dated. He hung around 12 other single men…one of which he called “my beloved”. His BFF was a prostitute. He through a fabulous dinner party and at the end was kissed by a male guest and told everyone to “eat me”. JC was had much more in common with the gay community than the church community.

        • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11


          Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the
          kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor
          idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor
          thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will
          inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were
          washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord
          Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

          Leviticus 18:22


          You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

          Jesus did not have a best friend, although, He was closest to His disciples, and especially close to some of them in particular. Beloved was used in the sense of brotherly love, and to your comment about Jesus using the metaphor to drink His blood and eat His flesh, refers to us accepting His death, resurrection, as atonement for our sins, receiving Him as our Savior, and committing our lives to Him in obedience to all God’s commands, statutes, laws, and judgments. It specifically refers to communion, which is described in I Corinthians. It gives admonishments to us on the importance of it, as well as when and when not to take it. Jesus told the prostitute to go and sin no more. She was not His BFF.
          Again, it is quite apparent that you have not read the Bible. I would encourage you to do so.

  • FYI Jesus was a socialist. This is definitely NOT a Christian nation.

    • You either have not read the Bible, or you have failed to understand what Jesus taught. There was nothing Socialistic about Jesus. Although, the majority of Americans profess to be Christians, I would have to agree with you, the nation has not been following the Biblical precepts it was steeped in for quite some time. We surely have turned our collective backs on the one true living God, and many Christians do not live in obedience to His Word, but rather have conformed to the ways of the world.

  • Whether you believe that gays are born gay like blacks are born black OR you believe gays chose to be gay like Catholics chose to be Catholic is irrelevant. Gay people have every right to form relationships and have legal protections the same as heterosexual couples do. Your religious views govern your life not everyone elses.

    • Precisely what I have been saying. Let my faith govern my life, and all that God has given me. I am not telling you what to do or with whom to have a relationship. That is your choice, just as the choices I have made in my life were mine to make. Although, we will both stand before God and answer for those choices. I have chosen to put my trust in Him, repent of the sins in my life, and commit that life to Him. I have no issue with you or anyone as an individual having all the same rights as anyone else. My issue is when rights are made out of whole cloth and not those specifically enumerated in our Constitution. When factions of peoples are given rights beyond the rest of us, then, the rights of others are trampled as a consequence.
      God did not create any of different, we are all created in His image, either male or female. All of us were born into sin, and we have a choice to remain in our sins, or repent of them.

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