In a homophobic political stunt poorly veiled in "religious beliefs," Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis denied marriage licenses to LGBT couples despite a federal court order instructing her that the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, and she must comply. She claimed that issuing the licenses would be a violation of her "religious beliefs," continued to defy the law, and is now in jail for contempt of court. However, when Hobby Lobby had contempt for the reproductive health rights of its female employees, the US Supreme Court ruled Hobby Lobby did not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate because doing so would violate the "religious beliefs" of Hobby Lobby, a "person."
One person can dress up their homophobia in "religious belief" and be sent to jail, while another "person" can dress up misogyny in "religious belief" and receive the support of the highest court in the country. I know this is an oversimplification. There are probably many who will rush to the comments section trying to put me in my place with talk about how Hobby Lobby is a closely held corporate "person" in the private sector and Kim Davis is a public figure. Please know that I understand the legal reasoning involved. The reason I am making this argument on an editorial page and not in front of a judge is because I am appealing to my fellow Americans for whatever decency may exist in our court of public opinion. The legal distinctions of a public authority versus a private authority are easy to make when you are not the subject of either authority's homophobia, misogyny, or other discriminatory behavior. For these behaviors to be upheld in the case of Hobby Lobby and punished in the case of Kim Davis worsens discrimination by making it feel arbitrary: getting bullied by someone's Bible is okay, but only sometimes?
Women have a right to contraception under their basic human right to health care, and LGBT couples have a right to marriage under basic civil rights. None of these rights should be denied due to the whims of public or private authority's "religious freedoms." As Kim Davis sits in jail and Hobby Lobby enjoys "personhood," both need to learn that disagreeing with someone's rights does not entitle you to oppressing them.