J.D. Ford, Mike Delph and the Social Contract

By Sheila Kennedy

[Originally published at SheilaKennedy.net on October 30, 2014]

J.D. Ford, Mike Delph and the Social Contract
At a recent candidate forum, J.D. Ford–who is running against Mike Delph–made what should have been one of those “duh, yeah, we learned that in high school civics” observations: when businesses open their doors to the public, that constitutes an obligation to serve all members of that public.
 
There is a reciprocal relationship–a social contract– between business and government. The government (which collects taxes from everyone in its jurisdiction, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation) uses those tax dollars to provide services. Those services are an essential infrastructure for the American businesses that must ship goods over publicly-financed roads, depend upon police and fire departments for safety, and (in some cities, at least) public transportation to bring workers and customers to their premises.
 
As Ford noted, business that want to discriminate– who want to pick and choose which members of the public they will serve–are violating that social contract. They want the services that are supported by the tax dollars of all segments of the public, but they don’t want to live up to their end of the bargain.
 
Where Ford (and I) see fundamental fairness, Mike Delph (surprise, surprise!) sees religious intolerance.
“I was saddened to hear him express such intolerance for those of us that hold deep religious conviction,” Delph told The Star. “Religious liberty is a fundamental American ideal.”
Let’s call this the bull*** that it is.
 
If your religious beliefs preclude you from doing business with gays, or Jews, or blacks, then don’t open a retail establishment. Don’t enter into a contract knowing that you will not honor its terms.
 
Religious liberty allows you to hold any beliefs you want. It allows you to preach those beliefs in the streets, and to refuse to socialize with people of whom you disapprove. You have the right to observe the rules of your particular religion in your home and church, and the government cannot interfere. But when you use religious beliefs–no matter how sincere–to disadvantage people who are entitled to expect equal treatment, when you use those beliefs as an excuse not to uphold your end of the social contract, that’s a bridge too far.
 
Mike Delph wants a government that favors (certain) religious beliefs, and gives adherents of (certain) religions a “pass” when they don’t follow the rules that apply to all of us.
 
I want Mike Delph out of Indiana government.




Sheila Kennedy is a former high school English teacher, former lawyer, former Republican, former Executive Director of Indiana's ACLU, former columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and former young person. She is currently an (increasingly cranky) old person, a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and Director of IUPUI's Center for Civic Literacy. She writes for the Indianapolis Business Journal, PA Times, and the Indiana Word, and blogs at www.sheilakennedy.net. For those who are interested in more detail, links to an abbreviated CV and academic publications can be found on her blog, along with links to her books..

VIDEO: Why I'm a Democrat-Indiana Federation of Democratic Women


 
 
This new video produced and distributed by the Indiana Federation of Democratic Women comes courtesy of contributor Annette Gross, who brought it to my attention. It's message is simple - get out and vote next week. Here's the video:


About Tim Peacock:

For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he's dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging - he's been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

You can find Tim online at his personal website. He additionally guest contributes at Blue Nation Review. You can find him on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter as @timsimms


South Carolina DMV Denies Woman License Update Due To Same Sex Marriage


In yet another instance of a state government denying someone legal identification because of her sexual orientation, a woman in South Carolina filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, October 24, 2014 against the state of South Carolina claiming they not once but twice denied her a legal identification name change.
 
After marrying in Washington, D.C. earlier this year, Julie McEldowney of Lexington County, South Carolina changed her name with the Social Security Administration. Armed with the federal name change paperwork and her legally-valid marriage license, McEldowney attempted to obtain a new license through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
 
The SC DMV denied that request – twice – despite McEldowney meeting all legal requirements for the identification change.
 
In her lawsuit against the state, McEldowney’s attorneys allege that the denial of an updated official state identification with her married legal name constitutes a violation of her constitutional rights based on sexual orientation based discrimination. The suit names both Gov. Nikki Haley and DMV director Kevin Schwedo as defendants.
 
McEldowney’s suit comes on the heels of another similar lawsuit filed by a Charleston couple seeking a license to marry in the wake of the Supreme Court punt on seven marriage equality cases recently. Adding to that, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (in which South Carolina lies) already stuck down a same sex marriage ban in Virginia. That precedent applies similarly to all other states in the Fourth Circuit (though lawsuits filed individually in those states citing that precedent will probably be required to strike down other marriage bans). The Fourth Circuit decision was one of the seven cases rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court – meaning the prior court’s ruling stands.

The denial of legal documentation and processes appears to be the newest tactic of the anti-gay rights movement in an ever-changing legal environment, as we move quickly toward 50-state marriage equality. Mere weeks ago in Texas another woman was denied a license for similar reasons. Additionally, just last week, Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s daughter experienced similar discrimination in attempting to get a license.
 
Why? Because she lives in Texas and has two mothers.
 
Previously:

About Tim Peacock:

For virtually his entire life, Tim has been writing. Over the years he's dabbled in mainstream fiction, science fiction, dystopian fiction, and personal essays. The one consistent thread through his entire writing career has been blogging - he's been doing it since 1997 in one form or another. In addition to writing Tim has frequently worked and volunteered as a civil rights advocate including on campus LGBT advocacy as well as interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

You can find Tim online at his personal website. He additionally guest contributes at Blue Nation Review. You can find him on LinkedIn as well as on Twitter as @timsimms