Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Anti-Gay Law Group's Losing Argument

As the Delaware Senate debated a marriage equality bill earlier this month, opponents brought ADF [Alliance Defense Fund] senior counsel Jordan Lorence to the floor to offer testimony. Lorence noted a case in New Mexico (a state which don’t even allow same-sex marriage), in which an anti-gay vendor had faced legal action after violating state civil rights laws, and suggested that he believes such public accommodations laws are unconstitutional. “It’s the business owners that deal with weddings. It’s licensed professionals having their licenses threatened because they believe the wrong things about marriage,” he told the Senators
Delaware state Sen. Dave Sokola (D), lead Senate sponsor of the bill, told ThinkProgress that Lorence’s right-to-discriminate arguments actually helped solidify support for the bill:
We had recently added “sexual orientation” to our non-discrimination statute in 2009, and debated and passed Civil Unions just 2 years ago. Even with a large turn-over in both the House and Senate, this issue was very fresh in many of our minds. Equality Delaware did a tremendous outreach to all, with a special emphasis on our newer legislators, so there was sufficient understanding of the matter, and I do think he just firmed up the positions of all on the prevailing side. We also now have a 4-year track record of how Delaware businesses are doing with respect to this, and the predictions of our opponents have not come true since we enacted either of the previous bills. The facts have significantly diminished their credibility.
Lorence also made this argument to the Delaware House of Representatives. Sokola’s House counterpart, Rep. Melanie Smith (D), told ThinkProgress: “I believe he was mistaken in much of what he said and misrepresented the bill significantly.” She added that as far as she knew, “no votes were swayed by his testimony.” The bill passed both chambers and was signed into law by Gov. Jack Markell (D).
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. It is way past time for ADF to get their heads checked.

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