Obama’s EEOC pick, Chai Feldblum: Sexual liberty wins in conflict with religious liberty

This post may be updated.

Washington Post: “President Obama announced Monday his intent to nominate Chai R. Feldblum for Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” According to the hunter for justice blog, Feldman will become the “first openly gay Commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.”

White House Press Release: President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Weekly Standard (May 15, 2006): “Georgetown law professor Chai Feldblum believes this sincerely and with passion, and clearly (as she reminds me) against the vast majority of opinion of her own [lesbian] community. And yet when push comes to shove, when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, she admits, ‘I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.’” (emphasis added) See also Dean Broyles, A gay-marriage Pandor’s Box, LA Times (Oct. 27, 2008); Maggie Gallagher, Banned in Boston: The coming conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty,  The Weekly Standard (May 15, 2006).

Georgetown Law Center Biographical Entry

Related:

Various related ADF Alliance Alert posts

Answering tough questions raised by Calif. ruling

The Washington Blade carries this article discussing the ramification of the Cal. marriage ruling and its impact on religious freedom. It indicates:

. . . Could churches in time risk their tax-exempt status by refusing to marry gays?

That remains to be seen and will likely result in a steady stream of court battles.

Chai Feldblum, a lesbian and professor of law at Georgetown University, said lawsuits in this area are inevitable but that she’s confident the courts will exercise “common sense.”

“The state will have trouble with some of these things,” she said. “Let’s say it’s a Christian daycare center. I think it will depend. If your daycare looks like any other daycare except the owners happen to be Christians and they don’t want to take the kid with the gay parents, that’s quite a different thing from a place where it’s a very religions setting with religious instruction. What it comes down to is a clash of constitutional rights. The law is developing in this area and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.” . . .

Redefining Marriage by Redefining Good and Evil

Prof. Chai R. Feldblum of the Georgetown Law Center has prepared this paper (43 pages, pdf) as part of the Moral Values Project. A few excerpts:

Moreover, to the extent that the struggle for marriage equality focuses solely on achieving the right to marry because that is what a pure equality discourse calls for, the movement will also miss the chance to make a moral case for supporting the range of other creative ways in which we currently construct our intimate relations outside of marriage. And that would be as much of a missed opportunity as would be the lost opportunity of convincing the general public of the moral equivalence of gay and heterosexual sex . . .

Direct engagement with the issues of morality surrounding either gay sex or gender identity is thus not at the forefront of either our political or legal advocacy for LGBT people. Nor is it highlighted in our theoretical understandings of LGBT rights. This is both unfortunate and short-sighted. As a practical matter, changing the public’s perception of the morality of gay sex and of changing one’s gender may ultimately be necessary to achieve true equality for LGBT people . . .

There is a conversation that is happening regarding visions of normative good in the struggle for marriage equality—but it is largely an “internal movement” debate about whether marriage is a good institution and whether it is one into which gay couples should seek entry. Radical feminists, queer theorists, and others argue that marriage, as historically and currently constructed, constitutes a normative harm that should be dismantled by society overall rather than embraced by gay couples. On the opposite end of the spectrum, socially conservative gay rights advocates argue that extending a traditional expectation of marriage to gay couples will help solidify an appropriate social norm of sexual restraint and care-giving within the family. In these discussions, the moral merits of fitting (or condensing) gay coupling into the marital institution are interrogated, while the moral good of gay sexual coupling is at least implicitly uncontested or assumed by all discussants.