Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2011

Keywords

Religious exemption, Same-sex marriage, Gay and lesbian rights, Discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, Discrimination on basis of transgender status

Disciplines

Civil Rights and Discrimination | First Amendment | Sexuality and the Law

Abstract

Recently, claims have been asserted that religious exemptions should be afforded to individuals who object to providing public and commercial services to gay and lesbian individuals, as otherwise mandated by law (e.g., municipal clerks who must grant same-sex marriage licenses, or commercial vendors who are asked to serve at same-sex weddings). This article argues that just as religious exemptions of this sort are not granted for discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or gender, they should not be granted for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. Discrimination on the basis of an individual's identity, biology, or other immutable characteristics has been labeled odious by our laws, whether motivated by religious beliefs or not. There is no reason why odious discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status should be singled out for exemptions that no other civil rights permit.

Publication Citation

Published in: Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 5 (May 2011).