the imaginative conservative logo

sexual orientation lawsLegislation pertaining to sexual orientation is often justified by the claim that it protects citizens’ liberty. Advocates of this type of legislation do so with the intent of using the state to enforce the belief that homosexuality and other sexual choices are natural moral acts. Groups that support laws such as the “Fair Education Act” (in California), which uses the schools to teach that homosexuals were crucial to the development of California and the United States, or the legalizing of same-sex marriage, claim these maximize freedom. Specifically, the enforcement of sexual orientation legislation violates the religious rights of some while creating advantages for others.

One principle that guides the interaction of religion, law, and politics maintains that governments should not use their coercive power in matters of one’s religious conscience. That is to say, governments should not compel citizens to affirm or deny religious beliefs through word or deed. Moreover, the state should not create an environment in which religious citizens have to withhold or violate their beliefs to act as free and equal citizens. Yet, this is exactly what sexual orientation legislation does.

Nowhere has this become more apparent than in the academy. Schools have become a battleground for the minds of young students. Many secularist groups work hard to keep all religious claims out of the curriculum while same-sex marriage advocates work hard to use the schools to teach students a new sexual morality. California recently passed into law the Fair Education Act (FEA), which requires history teachers to instruct their students about the contributions of gay, lesbian, and transgendered people to the development of California and the United States. This law forbids the use of textbooks that exclude homosexual contributions. Further, it also prohibits instructional material that reflects adversely on people due to their sexual orientation. With this law, the state of California infringes on the religious rights of at least five groups of citizens: publishers, history writers, teachers, parents, and students.

The FEA mandates what must be contained in history books. Some publishing companies are run by people who disagree with the morality of homosexuality based on their religious convictions. Yet, even though they produce secular textbooks, they are either required by law to put in writing words that affirm the homosexual lifestyle or else they will be excluded from consideration for purchase. On the other hand, publishers who support sexual orientation laws stand in a favored position by the state, gaining a competitive advantage in business and in the spreading of their ideology.

This FEA also shuts certain religious historians out of the conversation. The requirement to include contributions from homosexuals creates a litmus test. Many religious citizens perceive the fulfillment of the law as an affirmation of the homosexual lifestyle. To affirm the homosexual lifestyle violates their religious convictions. The religious citizen cannot merely abstain from commenting on contributions to the improvement or detriment of society. She is either required to place a stamp of approval on the lifestyle as a whole or not be in the business of writing history for education purposes. Even still, those whose religious worldview approves of homosexuality will find themselves at home within the new curriculum. This type of legislation creates a situation where one type of citizen is either being forced to endorse a lifestyle she does not agree with or be unemployed, and another type of citizen is granted a license by the state to endorse her form of ethics.

flagTeachers who are religious are especially vulnerable to legislation pertaining to sexual orientation. Public school teachers are required to teach the curriculum that is determined by state officials. The state predetermines the content to be examined, the questions asked, as well as the appropriate answers to be considered correct. The curriculum is enforced through teacher evaluations and standardized testing. Teachers that disagree with the new curriculum are placed in a position to obey either their religious conscience or the state law. Teachers that speak out become vulnerable to legalized retaliation. After all, the law states that teachers must comply with the curriculum. If they refuse to teach that which has been prescribed by the law, then they can legally be dismissed. With the enactment of these types of laws, the state creates an environment that is unwelcoming at best to religious citizens and a hostile workplace at worst. Sexuality orientation laws create job descriptions that implicitly state “citizens whose religious commitments do not allow for the endorsement of homosexuality need not apply.”

Sexual orientation laws also create enmity between many citizens and the state-run schools. The legalization of same-sex marriage in many states causes many parents concern. While on the one hand, the schools can help support the ethical training of those who support same-sex marriage, the schools can also undermine the ethical training of those who oppose it on the other. This places children in the position of making a choice of who to trust, their teacher or their parent? This can cause strife in the home, since children often perceive their teachers to be experts on that which they teach. Because of disagreement with the brand of morality public schools endorse, many parents have taken on the extra financial burden of sending their children to private religious schools. Thus, while citizens who believe that homosexuality is not immoral have public school systems that are more closely tailored to their religious and ethical views, other religious citizens must pay an added expense to protect their children from indoctrination.

Most of all, laws concerning sexual orientation affect students’ religious rights. Compulsory education creates a captive audience. While some parents may choose to send their children to private schools, others will not or cannot. Religious students that believe homosexuality is immoral are taught from kindergarten to twelfth grade that the homosexual lifestyle is morally acceptable. Moreover, they are taught that those who think otherwise are factually wrong, bigoted, or both. Worst of all, lessons that comport with legislation such as the “Fair Education Act” coerce students, with the power of the gradebook, to violate their religious beliefs in writing.

College students and professionals are also prone to unfair treatment due to sexual orientation laws. Recent legislation has been passed to ban conversion therapy. Because of this, psychologists are prohibited from treating homosexuality as a disorder that can be treated. This puts counselors and counseling students in a risky situation. Counselors who treat homosexuals are at risk of being sued by homosexuals that perceive them as trying to “convert” them. On the other hand, if the counselor refuses to treat a homosexual client, she risks being sued for discrimination. Moreover, schools can serve to weed out potential counselors who hold religious views that are morally opposed to homosexuality. Two court cases come to mind with this, Ward v. Wilbanks and Keeton v. Wiley. These two cases were brought to the courts by two different students that were in two different graduate programs. In both cases, the students were faced with dismissal from their programs unless they were willing to counsel homosexual students, which meant affirming the homosexual lifestyle. In Jennifer Keeton’s case, she was subject to dismissal unless she fulfilled a lengthy remedial plan than compelled her to affirm the morality of the homosexual lifestyle. In both cases, the schools appealed to the American Counseling Association’s code of ethics, which requires counselors to put aside their personal religious beliefs when counseling.

same-sex-wedding-cake-apSexual orientation legislation has also affected the religious freedoms of business owners, which has placed some in the position of violating their faith or going to jail. The last few years have been replete with examples of religious business owners having to fight for their religious rights in court. In Craig and Mullins v. Masterpiece Cake Shop, a Colorado judge ruled that the baker Jack Philips had violated a Colorado anti-discrimination law by refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs. The judge ordered Philips to bake the cake or go to jail. The case Elane Photography v. Willcock produced a similar situation when the court ordered Elane Photography to photograph a same-sex wedding ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs. Education and businesses are not the only targets of sexual orientation legislation, those who perform marriage ceremonies and religious leaders themselves are at risk.

Civil marriage commissioners in Canada have faced religious discrimination as a result of sexual orientation legislation. Those who refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies have been required to resign. Thus, those who whose religious beliefs get in the way need not apply for this job. Also in Canada, clergy have had their sermons scrutinized by human rights commissions. Moreover, churches have become vulnerable to litigation for refusing to rent out their spaces for same-sex ceremonies. Back in the United States, Catholic Charities in Massachusetts was given the choice to start adopting children into same-sex households or to cease adoption all together. Catholic Charities chose to cease adoption all together rather than violate their religious beliefs.

Sexual orientation legislation affects religious citizens’ rights from the time they enter kindergarten to the time they enter the job market and beyond. As has been shown, depending on the country, this type of legislation currently impacts those in the professional ministry. Yet, the limit of this type of legislation’s reach is only temporary. Moreover, it is by design that sexual orientation legislation will soon reach into all areas of the culture. The former legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense, Paula Ettelbrick wrote:

Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and… …transforming the very fabric of society…. We must keep our eyes on the goals of providing true alternatives to marriage and of radically reordering society’s view of reality.

Sexual orientation legislation creates an antagonistic culture towards those who religiously disagree with the morality of the homosexual lifestyle.

Hate speech laws further foster this antagonistic atmosphere. Homosexual advocacy groups use the threat of hate speech charges to bully dissenters into silence. Because these laws are so vague, one runs the risk of being charged with the hate crime of hate speech by merely suggesting that homosexuality is immoral. In this environment, those who believe homosexuality is immoral are unable to voice their beliefs; whereas, those who endorse the behavior enjoy their full right to the freedom of speech.

Because same-sex legislation is becoming more common, religious citizens will come into contact with it more and more. Because of this, those who religiously dissent will become more and more marginalized. This type of legislation will cause religious citizens to have to shrink farther away from the culture in which they live. These citizens will be legally mandated to remain silent over issues of sexual morality, and thus, they will take on the status of second class citizens. Perhaps it is time for religious citizens to stand up and speak now while they can, or be forced to forever hold their peace.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
"All comments are subject to moderation. We welcome the comments of those who disagree, but not those who are disagreeable."
9 replies to this post
  1. The writer of this article seems to forget the other issue that is that we can’t use our religious convictions as an excuse to discriminate against those we disapprove of. In addition, our religious convictions have nothing to do with history regarding the contributions homosexuals have made. If, because we believe homosexuality is wrong, we exclude significant contributions by gays because of their sexual orientation, we are not teaching history correctly.

    In addition, it is the APA that has stated that homosexuality is not a disorder. One can believe that homosexuality is sin without believing it is a disorder. And the conversion therapy that was banned really included the abuse of the client.

    Overall, the problem I have with articles like this one is that it goes beyond pronouncing the Biblical truth that homosexuality is sin and against what God designed for us to that of justifying the stigmatizing and persecution of gays. And that insistence on persecuting and looking down on gays just might indicate something else is wrong with the person who has Biblical views of sex.

    • “Persecuting?” I don’t believe that believing gay marriage is a sin an denouncing it as such is “persecution.” I don’t look down on gays, I just get really annoyed with their screeds and their blatant and vitriolic hate of anyone who dares to disagree with them in the slightest. Take Tony Dungy for example: he said that he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam not because he was gay but because of the media circus that surrounded him and would have caused issues with the team he gets drafted to. In response, hundreds of hateful and bigoted messages assaulted Dungy and even dared to compare Dungy’s analysis of a draft situation to the suicide of Dungy’s son. That’s not just hateful, that’s downright evil. I’m sorry, but this “persecution” charge falls on deaf ears. If you want persecution of gays in the mainstream, I suggest you take a vacation to Tehran.

      • But we have done more than that from criminalizing homosexuality to enabling job loss for sexual orientation to denying marriage to supporting Jim Crow laws targeting gays.

        If we want to be able to denounce it as sin, then we leave it at that don’t associate the above persecution with calling it sin. If we did that, that would not be persecution. But let’s pretend that there is no history between the conservative christian church and the gay community.

    • Honestly, I don’t know where this idea of “persecution” comes from. One can have conservative views about sexuality–without religion even being a factor in that view–and not necessarily turn those views into unkindness or hatred. I know no one of conservative social values who would treat a man or woman of that orientation in a cruel way, respecting the overall person, the human.


      A conservative man or woman has every right under the sun to “discriminate” against a homosexual if he or she views that person’s behavior–and it comes down to behavior–as too provocative or unsettling for their taste. I am very sorry, but many of the gays today have an “in your face” attitude, flaunting politics and lifestyle that can be jarring to those more traditional in outlook.

      And as for teaching about the contributions of homosexuals to history–I mean, please. Why is this so important? What does a sexual behavior have to do with the achievement? Why would anyone want to be identified in this manner? This is where “minorities” make the head spin. Blacks get upset if you refer to “so and so, the great black pianist”. They just want to be known as, “so and so, the great pianist”. So, which is it?

      And who is to determine who was gay in history or not? Who? If some teacher tells the kiddies, “Shakespeare, the great gay playwright”, and a student wonders or asks how is this known, what then happens–the kid is flunked?

      Interestingly, I was far more tolerant on this whole issue when society was still overall more skeptical about homosexuality. Where I grew up, there was the occasional homosexual teacher but because of the general conservatism of the neighborhood, things were kept under wraps and honestly, these teachers were beloved and trusted on school trips abroad with the students and so on.

      Finally, to your comment about the American psychological asserting that homosexuality is not a disorder–that is their view and these associations are just as politically motivated as anyone. It is hard to say if that is true, isn’ it? For, there are young men traumatized at a young age who later “discover” or believe they might be gay, just as there are women, one sees, who become embittered about men and they masculinize and do the same. Look around you,keep your eyes open. This whole issue is HARDLY one about “persecution”. It is blatant campaigning and subversion.

      • Karen,
        Depends what you mean by discriminate. Those who are offended by homosexuality have every right not to participate in it. But if you are a business owner in a Capitalist economy, you don’t have the right to discriminate against customers whose lifestyles are legal. That goes back to Jim Crow days.

        And why shouldn’t we teach about the contributions gays have made? Why is it that their sexual orientation either bans them from our history books or bans mentioning their sexual orientation? Why is that information so offensive that we should not know it? We are communicating through a device whose creation was significantly contributed to by a gay person. We’ve had gays serve in the military. If we go through history we will find a number of significant contributions made by gays. So what are we trying to hide by not mentioning it? We certainly don’t want to hide our disapproval of homosexuality but what should that cause us to cover up how gays have contributed to society? Doesn’t such a hiding help foster the idea that gays are not our equals? Are you scared of gays being looked at as equals?

        Finally, can you prove you assertion about the APA?

        • Actually, that you don’t have a right to discriminate against people in your private business dealings is not self-evident. It is simply that contemporary law in many Western nations denies you that right.

          Jim Crow laws were about not allowing business owners choice in who they serve and how.

  2. It seems the author would prefer that gays remain the population vulnerable to unfair treatment, hostile work environments, and legalized retaliation/victimization. Does the author realize the arguments he makes against the alleged homosexual agenda are the same arguments gay rights activists make for why gays desire equal and fair protection under the law.

  3. The author is spot on about the domestic dangers of this law – he only forgot to mention the danger to American foreign policy and America’s capacity to deal effectively with foreign threats to security.

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that the reason the State Department and the DOD have such lousy intelligence which keeps getting Americans killed overseas is because of laws like these and because of the whole LGBTQ movement’s effect on education and hiring practices?

    I mean – if teachers have to waste their time looking for flaming homosexual activists who “impacted” history – then what do you think students are learning when they study – oh, I don’t know – let’s say the history of the Middle East?

    Really folks – teaching “politically correct history” stops being fun and games when you have to educate your nation’s best and brightest about the MIddle East or other regions of the world where matters of war and peace are being decided. If you waste student’s time reading about LGBTQ activists in Iran rather than reading about the actual history of Iran, or about some obscure homosexual Muslims instead of about the actual complex history of Islam – you are breeding future intelligence agents who will set new standards in Benghazi-like incompetence when they send Americans to dangerous parts of the world where knowing about the latest political trends in California’s Queer community is not going to mean anything.

    No wonder American foreign policy has been reduced to insisting that other countries adhere to LGTBQ ideology and being shocked, shocked, when American military and diplomatic personel die on the ground when it turns out that knowing the local LGTBQ activist committee in Libya or Iraq didn’t help in grasping the geopolitical issues at stake.

    This is a terrible law and a very sad time for America. President Obama’s embrace of this sexual stupidity is not just a violation of freedom of religion, not just an encroachment of states’ or parents rights – it’s going to get Americans killed because Americans will no longer study serious history and the quality of America’s inteligence community will fall.

    And no – I am not saying that homosexuals cannot be serious historians or good intelligence officers; I am simply saying that a good historian and good intelligence officer knows full well that what someone does in the bedroom and with whom has nothing to do with serious history. What’s next, having your sexual orientation stamped on your diploma so as to make it easier for teachers to find you in order to fulfill their quota for teaching “important homosexuals”? John Doe, Historian, Homosexual PhD?

    It’s like saying that we need to focus on the orgies in Nero’s Courts rather than read Cicero to learn about Rome. I can only imagine that while our Intelligence community has no clue abut what is happening in Iraq and Syria now; everyone knows where the best gay clubs in Damascus are/were/used to be.

    I can also assure you that the Russian Federation is not wasting time educating its’ future experts about the Queer community in Damascus.

  4. Homosexuals are not influenced by whether acts are natural and moral. That suggests an objective standard. The only instance in which they say they believe in such a standard is in their opposition to conversion. Obviously, this contradiction doesn’t bother them. More likely they are not even aware of it. The article quotes from the former legal director of Lambda Legal Defense what on the real goal, the transvaluation of values, that is the total inversion of good and evil of all of society but particularly on marriage and raising children, based not on the natural law, which Nietzsche rejected but on the struggle for domination.

    It would be useful to the reader to look into two books by Peter Hitchens which shows by example how the state going back to the French Revolution intends ultimately to make it a crime for parents to indoctrinate their children in any religious belief. The books I recommend are “The Rage Against God” and “The Abolition of Britain”. California is just catching up.

    “Several authors have been critical of religious indoctrination of children, such as Nicolas Humphrey,[6] Daniel Dennett[7] and Richard Dawkins.[8] Christopher Hitchens (Peter Hitchens brother) and Dawkins use the term child abuse to describe the harm that some religious upbringings inflict on children.” Wikipedia on Nicolas Humphrey.

    I predict it will not be long before states will require religious schools to teach that homosexuality is a normal state. The next step will be to use the judicial system to take children away from parents who “indoctrinate” their children in religious beliefs based on “child abuse”. It already is a common practice in both the United States and Britain in divorce proceeding for mothers to gain custody by accusing fathers of such “child abuse”. Judges fear the consequences of not taking such charges seriously although in most cases the charges are without any substantiation.

    Finally, it about time the Pope realized the gravity of the assault on religion by homosexual groups and the politicians who support them. Many of these politicians are nominally Catholic. The only effective weapon the Church has is widespread excommunication, although such a policy will inevitably bring persecution on the Church.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: