In an upcoming decision, the U.S. Supreme Court could either open the floodgates for a new outpouring of anti-gay discrimination laws -- or constrict the "religious freedom" movement just as it's getting started.
Whether Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will veto Senate Bill 1062 has dominated headlines for the last week, and similar legislation has been introduced this year in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas, South Dakota, and Idaho. The proposed laws would greenlight the refusal by businesses and individuals to provide services to LGBT people by requiring the government to have a compelling reason to interfere with someone's religious belief.
A closely watched case currently before the Supreme Court, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., has nothing to do with LGBT rights, but everything to do with religious freedom. At issue is whether the federal government can require private businesses to cover birth control for their employees under Obamacare if the employer objects to contraception on religious grounds.
That's why advocates and legal experts say that if the justices rule that the health care reform law doesn't apply to those individuals and businesses, their legal reasoning could open the door for more discriminatory legislation. Or if they rule that it does, that could establish a new judicial foundation for striking down those anti-gay laws.
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