Cakes Aside, Gay Rights Groups See Employment Discrimination as Next Big Battle

The Alliance Defending Freedom has published a 44-page guide for churches, Christian schools and ministries intended to help them protect themselves from LGBT legal action.

Small-business owners might also want to read the free, curbside legal advice.

“A new concept – that ‘sexual liberty’ trumps religious freedom – has begun to impact churches, ministries, and individual Christians across this nation,” the Alliance Defending Freedom warns in the introduction of the guide, which is titled "Protecting Your Ministry from Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Lawsuits."

The pamphlet also warns that the idea that sexual liberty is more important than religious freedom has spawned a wave of new “sexual orientation, gender identity ordinances (SOGI)” which “elevate special interests over our cherished fundamental freedoms.”

“They (SOGIs) are not designed for the innocent purpose of ensuring all people receive basic services. Rather, their practical effect is to legally compel Christians to accept, endorse, and even promote messages, ideas, and events that violate their faith.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom maintains that the battle over workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is going to place more of a burden on Christians who run schools, churches and ministries.

Along with step-by-step practical advice for churches, schools, and ministries, the Alliance Defending Freedom includes case studies of businesses that ran afoul of same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws.

But this fight is about more than bakers, florists and photographers refusing to serve gay customers or work at same-sex weddings. This fight, as far as gay rights groups are concerned, will determine how private-sector and faith-based organizations hire and fire, and is as important as the nation’s laws regarding racial prejudice.

It would be a mistake to believe this is not going to be a multi-front battle, involving more than the federal government.

The pamphlet points out that more state and local governments are enacting laws and regulations that “prohibit discrimination in employment based on unbiblical behavior related to sexual orientation and gender identity.”

But the pamphlet’s authors, who are attorneys, also believe most state laws and municipal ordinances will provide some level of exemptions for religious organizations, but these exemptions vary widely.

“Regardless, the First Amendment, which trumps state and local law to the contrary, should provide great protection for employment decisions made by religious entities.”

They hope.