A liberal legislator in Massachusetts is pushing an anti-discrimination bill that openly pushes back against a landmark religious rights ruling.
House Bill 767, introduced by Rep. Michael Day, is attempting to strip businesses and corporations, and thus their owners, from First Amendment protection.
"Some Democratic lawmakers in Massachusetts are taking a stand to stop corporations from using religious objections to discriminate," begins a celebratory story about the bill at the website lgbtqnation.com.
Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, says Americans don't lose their religious freedom when they open a family business.
"Like the Green family in the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court case," says Beckwith, referring to the 2014 landmark ruling. "That court ruling affirmed that all Americans, including business owners, must be free to live and work consistently with their beliefs without fear of punishment by the government."
The landmark Hobby Lobby ruling, in fact, is one motivation behind House Bill 767, Day, an attorney, told the homosexual-rights web site.
“This bill is not a symbolic filing,” Day told the website. “H.767 takes a targeted and narrow approach to this problem by simply preventing for-profit business corporations from claiming moral convictions or religious beliefs to abuse a corporate exemption and violate our civil-rights laws.”
Day, meanwhile, claims in his legislative biography that he is a leading advocate of "civil rights and civil liberties issues."
Beckwith points out that the U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide the case of Jack Phillips (pictured below), the Colorado baker who ran afoul of his state's anti-discrimination law when he refused to take a wedding cake order for a homosexual wedding.
Day, in fact, mentions that coming decision, too, and says his legislation "shuts the door" to "discriminatory acts" in the state of Massachusetts.
"What Rep. Day's bill would say is that if Jack Phillips were in Massachusetts and this law were passed, he wouldn't even have his day in court, (because) it says that people of faith always lose," Beckwith warns.
"And not only do they lose if they try and use their faith as a defense against discrimination claims," Beckwith continues, "this law would pierce the corporate veil. So not only would they possibly lose their business, they could lose their homes in the lawsuits and the penalties and fines that come with them."
The LGBT-friendly story goes on to insist that Day's bill applies only to for-profit corporations, not non-profits that would presumably include churches.
Yet OneNewsNow reported in a 2016 story that four Massachusetts churches filed a federal lawsuit after the state said a "public accomodations" law includes churches. The same law barred churches from making any statements - presumably including sermons - that are considered discrimination by the state.
The then-new law spawned a commentary by Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio, who warned at the time that the state's attorney general confirmed "houses of worship" are considered public accomodations.
Starnes also pointed out that the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination issued a document on transgenders' rights that also stated a church is open to the public and must allow "full accomodation" of transgenders.
Editor's Note: Op-ed comments from Todd Starnes, writing about the 2016 non-discrimination law, have been added.