Matt Barrett applied for the job food services director at an all-girls Catholic prep school in Massachusetts. He was offered the position, but had it rescinded when he listed a man as his emergency contact.
WCVB reports that Barrett wrote “husband” when asked what his relationship was to the man. He was then told, “We can’t hire you.”
Barrett then filed a discrimination suit against Fontbonne Academy.
In court, the lawyer for Fontbonne, John Bagley, made the case that law in Massachusetts exempt the school from those employment laws as the school is a religious institution.
Barrent’s lawyer, Ben Klein of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said that exemption didn’t apply to Fontbonne, because they only apply to institutions “that restrict their employment and the population they serve to members of that same religion.”
Superior Court Associate Justice Douglas Wilkins agreed with the defense, ruling the school couldn’t deny employment to Barrett based on his sexual orientation, even though it goes against the religious beliefs of the Catholic church.
“As an educational institution, Fontbonne retains control over its mission and message. It is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister or spokesman for Fontbonne and has not engaged in public advocacy of same-sex marriage,” the Catholic website Crux reports Wilkins wrote in his ruling.
“Marriage equality has been the law of Massachusetts for over a decade, and it is now the law of the land. But you can’t have equality if you can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday,” Klein reportedly said.
That’s always in interesting statement. “X has been the law of the land for this number of years. Blah, blah, blah.”
Well, wasn’t the ban on same sex marriage the law of the land for a couple centuries? Should that not have been challenged?
By the above logic, no, it shouldn’t be.
You know what else is was the law of the land for a really long time?
Does the First Amendment protect the freedom of association?
The First Amendment reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The answer is: technically, no; legally, yes; but practically, it doesn’t matter.
The freedom of association simply means that a person has the right to associate, not with whomever he chooses, but with whoever is willing to associate with him. Inherent in the right to associate is the right not to associate. Any person has the right not to associate with whomever he chooses.
In a free society, any person or group of persons has the right to associate with any other person or group of persons willing to associate with him or it on the basis of any standard and for any reason. And likewise, any person or group of persons has the right not to associate with any other person or group of persons on the basis of any standard and for any reason.
It doesn’t matter whether a government bureaucrat or a person who was refused association believes that the actions of the refusing person or group are illogical, unreasonable, irrational, hateful, discriminatory, bigoted, or racist. What matters is freedom.
What we are looking at here, in the most basic terms, is government using force to tell private organizations that they must employ someone who they don’t want to.
So while some find the practice of refusing to hire gays offensive and wrong, we have to ask which is worse — that, or using force to violate the rights of individuals to decide who they associate with?
Freedom isn’t always pretty. It can be ugly.
The use of force is ugly also.
We need to remember the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”
What he means is, while there are ugly aspects to freedom, the ugly aspects of tyranny are worse.
Some will say this is taking the position that discrimination is ok. That’s shallow thinking. This isn’t a defense of discrimination, but a defense of freedom.
In all its unattractive forms.
Read more at Brainy Quotes – Thomas Jefferson
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