Update on Illinois Anti-Discrimination Law

A few days ago, I wrote about the new Illinois bill that added sexual orientation to their already existing anti-discrimination laws. That bill, signed by the governor last week, did not specifically include an exemption for churches. That lack of exemption has caused what can only be described as a full scale freakout in the right wing media. As I said the other day, being opposed to such a law is entirely reasonable, as a law prohibiting churches from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or religion is quite clearly unconstitutional. But that is exactly why I wasn't too concerned about it, because I knew it wouldn't stand a chance of surviving a court challenge. Turns out, it won't have to because the exemption is already there. The religious right legal group Alliance Defense Fund (the folks behind the absurd Steven Williams lawsuit) has taken a closer look and figured out that the new bill only amends an already existing law which does have such an exemption, so there was no need to put another one into the bill. Despite the claim of the bill's author, it does not apply to churches and never did.

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Shortly after the Massachusetts anti-discrimination law was amended to add "sexual orientation," some anti-gay bigots tried to get an initiative petition going to put the issue on the ballot, to try to repeal the amendment. The state courts denied the initiative because the law (I don't recall whether it was the entire anti-discrimination law or just the addition "sexual orientation") exempted "establishments of religion," and the state constitution forbids initiatives directed to "establishments of religion."

Don't expect the freak-out to stop, though. Good for the income stream, which must be down now since Kerry lost.