Back in 2011 when I was the first to highlight the extraordinary position against religious liberty that the Obama administration adopted in the Hosanna-Tabor case, I elicited a tizzy on the Left when I raised the possibility that the administration’s hostility to the ministerial exception to federal antidiscrimination laws was part and parcel of a broader ideological agenda that would have gay causes trump religious liberty. The particular case of Hosanna-Tabor had nothing to do with issues of homosexuality, the critics observed, so they claimed not to see the connection.
Another particular issue that gays and lesbians presumably wouldn’t have much direct interest in is whether the Hahn family that owns and operates Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation and that has religious objections to providing insurance coverage for abortifacients has a religious-liberty right not to comply with the HHS mandate. But that hasn’t stopped the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund from filing an amicus brief against the Hahns in their Third Circuit appeal. (I haven’t found an online link to the brief, but will add it in if I do.)
In its statement of interest, Lambda Legal explains that it believes that the Hahns’ arguments “undermine equality guarantees and other religiously neutral regulations of the public marketplace to the detriment of our society generally and, in particular, the vulnerable constituencies Lambda Legal serves.” In other words, Lambda Legal sees a sharp conflict between gay causes and a robust conception of religious liberty, and it believes that gay causes should trump religious liberty. That, of course, is exactly the broader ideological agenda that I raised in discussing Hosanna-Tabor.
Anyone who doesn’t perceive the strong clash between gay causes and religious liberty isn’t paying attention.