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Family Law: Indiana, Arkansas and Georgia Legislation, Part II

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2015 | Family Law

Tonight, I write about the law of unintended consequences in family law. Last week, I wrote about the intentionally discriminatory law passed by Indiana and Arkansas which had been considered by Georgia.

Indiana, Arkansas sought and passed legislation intended to permit discrimination against homosexuals. It seems that pizza makers were terrified that gay couples would demand pizza at their catered nuptials. As if!

So the legislatures went about protecting these homophobic (and paranoid) pizza makers, photographers, flower designers and fundamentalist preachers that they wouldn’t have to work gay weddings no matter how much the couple threw a hissy fit.

As I wrote, this not only harkens back to but resurrects days of anti-miscegenation and even lunch counter discrimination just a few decades ago.  Of course, that was the biggots’ purpose, to keep a specific group of people down, to discriminate under the color of law.

But there are two, huge unintended consequences stemming from Indiana and Arkansas foray into permissive discrimination.

The first: establishing Sharia law on U.S. soil. In those astute states, you cannot require someone to do something if it runs afoul of their self proclaimed religious beliefs.  For example, you cannot prohibit them from applying Sharia law, if that’s what they feel their religion requires them to do.

Wasn’t it just last year that the same zenophobes were up in arms that Sharia law was being forced upon us?  Wasn’t it just last year that state legislatures were considering bills that banned Sharia law? Now they’ve given it carte blanche.  Life will be a little different in those two states now.

I don’t think that’s what these state legislatures had in mind.  Do you?

The next unintended consequence is that, while they desperately desired to discriminate against homosexuals, they actually made it much more certain that the Supreme Court will find that homosexuals should become a protected class and therefore receive special protection under the U.S. Constitution. In other words, these legislatures made it much more likely that it will become illegal to discriminate against homosexuals in any way.

“A protected class is one that has experienced a significant degree of persecution or discrimination, both legal and de facto, and which, all other factors being equal, can demonstrate ongoing discrimination.”  Thank you Indiana.  Thank you Arkansas.  You just put a railroad spike sized nail in the coffin of arguing against homosexuals receiving a significant degree of persecution and discrimination. 

I don’t think the state legislatures intended that, either. (Chuckle)

As the saying goes, “The tighter your grasp, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”  Even in family law. 

Michael Manely