Religious-rightists on Monday lost one phase of their campaign to give California doctors a blank check to practice bigotry against any class of patient for supposed religious reasons.
While anti-family activists explicitly sought to deny medical care to same-sex-attracted Californians and unmarried women, an unlimited religious “right” to discriminate against entire classes of patients could give bigoted doctors the right to discriminate against Jews, Asian-Americans — anyone whose existence was contrary to a medical group’s choice of supposed religious beliefs.
According to The Washington Post, the California Supreme Court ruled that physicians’ constitutional right to the free exercise of religion does not exempt businesses that serve the public from following state law that prohibit discrimination.
Jennifer C. Pizer, a lawyer with the gay rights group Lambda Legal who is representing [Guadalupe] Ben??tez, said that while the law protects doctors who refuse certain treatments on religious grounds, it does not allow them to do so on a discriminatory or selective basis.
In other words, a doctor may refuse to provide fertility services for religious reasons, but may not cherry-pick patients for whom to provide those services.
Despite the legal setback, right-wing political activists continue to maintain that the U.S. Constitution gives them a blank check to violate any law that they deem to be in conflict with their religious whims — and to use their own religion to infringe upon the freedom of others.
According to the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow propaganda service:
Attorney Mailee Smith of Americans United for Life (AUL), spokeswoman for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and several other faith-based groups who presented amicus briefs in the case, said the ruling takes away a federally protected Constitutional right of physicians to freely exercise religion.
The case of Guadalupe Benitez will revert back to trial court where it will be determined whether Benitez was denied medical care due to her marital status or her sexual orientation.