Guest Jennifer C. Pizer and OutCasters Lucas and Isha — Jennifer C. Pizer image courtesy of Lambda Legal
OutCasting #76 — Part 1 — September 1, 2020
OutCasting #77 — Part 2 — October 1, 2020
OutCasting #78 — Part 3 — November 1, 2020
OutCasting #79 — Part 4 — December 1, 2020
OutCasting #80 — Part 5 — January 1, 2021
OutCasting #81 — Part 6 — February 1, 2021
OutCasting #82 — Part 7 — March 1, 2021
OutCasting #83 — Part 8 — April 1, 2021
OutCasting #84 — Part 9 — May 1, 2021
OutCasting #85 — Part 10 — June 1, 2021
OutCasting #86 — Part 11 — July 1, 2021
Starting September 2020 — There are some religious people, congregations, and religions that support LGBTQ people. In the Episcopal Church, Bishop Gene Robinson was the first openly gay Bishop — but his consecration led to a worldwide split in the church over the issue of homosexuality. In New York City, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah is an LGBTQ-welcoming synagogue with an openly gay leader, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum. Both Bishop Gene and Rabbi Kleinbaum were guests on earlier editions of OutCasting; you can listen to their interviews: here for Rabbi Kleinbaum; here for Bishop Gene.
But historically, many religions have condemned LGBTQ people. The Catholic church has described homosexuality as an “intrinsic disorder” and encouraged people to “condemn the sin, not the sinner” — as if people can just rip sexuality out of their lives without inflicting great harm on themselves. Any number of religious counselors continue to practice conversion or reparative therapy to “cure” people of being gay even as a growing number of states, and even some other countries, recognize that this “treatment” is ineffective and potentially dangerous. We produced a series in early 2020 on conversion therapy; it’s also available here at OutCastingMedia.org.
As the law is catching up with growing public acceptance of LGBTQ people and as we have secured a number of important civil rights, there’s a movement determined to put us firmly back in our place, as they would have it. Cakeshops and florists claim that they’re entitled to deny their services to us because they say that providing services to LGBTQ people would violate their religious liberty. This discrimination would never be seen as legitimate if it were directed at other minority groups. Just imagine it — a shop owner says: “My religious liberty prevents me from serving Black people, or Jewish people, so go away.” It’s unthinkable that that would be seen as acceptable in today’s world. And of course, there are businesses where the stakes would be much higher if it becomes the law that businesses can just turn away LGBTQ people based on a religious objection.
So is there any legitimacy when a business owner cites religious liberty to justify denying service to LGBTQ people? What are the contours of religious liberty? What’s supposed to happen when someone, citing religious liberty, discriminates against LGBTQ people, thus denying their equality? What does “equality” mean in the United States? Does one take precedence over the other when equality and religious liberty come into conflict?
Joining OutCaster Lucas to delve into this issue is Jennifer C. Pizer. Jenny is the Senior Counsel and Director of Law and Policy for Lambda Legal, the country's oldest and largest legal organization seeking full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and everyone living with HIV.
Part 4 of the series also includes a commentary by OutCaster Chris about recent developments on religious freedom and LGBTQ equality at the Supreme Court. This includes an excerpt from a commentary, originally heard on OutCasting Overtime, on the October statement by Supreme Court Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Alito, attacking the Court’s marriage equality decision in the Obergefell case and complaining about how that case has led to what they see as unjustified criticism of people who hold religious beliefs against same sex marriage.
Part 10 (June 2021) — The initial interviews for this series with Jenny and Lucas were recorded in August and September 2020. Starting with Part 10 (June 2021), OutCaster Isha interviews Jenny to provide updates on what's happened since the summer of 2020, including the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her replacement on the Court by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Part 11 (July 2021) — In June, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, in which a Catholic adoption agency pressed a religious freedom claim to "opt out" of the city's nondiscrimination rules. We'll dive into a discussion of Fulton in an upcoming edition of OutCasting.
In preparation for that discussion, in this month's edition, Jenny and Isha discuss:
LGBTQ issues seen from the rarely heard perspectives of LGBTQ youth and straight allies — not by and for LGBTQ youth, but by LGBTQ youth and straight allies and for anyone who wants to better understand LGBTQ issues — parents, grandparents, kids, relatives, straight, LGBTQ, everyone!
... in-depth coverage of LGBTQ issues, featuring discussions with highly authoritative experts and people with compelling stories
... working extra hard to bring you commentaries, discussions, and perspectives from our youth participants
... having fun with the Ga[y]me Show, extra commentaries, and other behind-the scenes stuff
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