It’s amazing that, in 2014, Americans are still fighting over birth control. As in: whether or not contraception makes Jesus cry, and whether health insurance policies should be beholden to His tears. It’s also amazing that in 2014 gay and lesbian couples still don’t have the legal right to marry across the country. But, hey, at least same-sex couples don’t have to worry about birth control, right? Wrong.
Granted, same-sex couples can’t make each other pregnant by accident. But there is a clear link between the anti-contraception and the anti-gay movements. In fact, there always has been. It’s an argument I’ve been making for years—and I’m not the only one. The anti-gay movement has always been an anti-sex movement. And to those of us who’ve followed it closely, it was never hard to see that the anti-gay right wouldn’t be satisfied until they were able to legislate all sex, gay or straight, and that heterosexual women were especially high-value targets. Now it’s 2014, and Christian conservatives and major Republican Party players have enthusiastically taken up the anti-contraception rallying cry.
The U.S. Supreme Court just heard a case brought by Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores owned by Christian conservatives. They sell glue guns and puffy paint. The retailer claims that they shouldn’t have to provide health insurance that includes contraceptive coverage to their employees. Because of Jesus. The best part? Just like so many homophobic arguments are based on completely inaccurate distortions about LGBT people, Hobby Lobby’s legal temper tantrum is based on completely inaccurate distortions about how IUDs and morning-after pills work. In Hobby Lobby’s world, these types of birth control kill babies. In the real world, they do not. Still, Hobby Lobby has argued that being forced to offer IUDs and emergency contraception is against their religious beliefs. And that they, a corporation, should have their religious beliefs trump their employees’ healthcare. Even though what they believe about these methods of contraception is wrong.
In 2010, the Supreme Court gave corporations free speech rights in the Citizens United case, a decision that has already had disastrous consequences for democracy in America. After all, if money is speech, as the court ruled, then whoever has the most money (corporations) gets the most speech. And whoever has the least money (the vast majority of Americans) gets little or no voice at all. Granting corporations freedom of religion would give corporations even more power based on whatever they claim to believe—so long as they claim they believe it for God.
According to Salon, Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green’s money has been tied to anti-gay marriage initiatives, as well as the odious “religious freedom” bill in Arizona that would have made it OK to discriminate against LGBT people, as long as you claimed that you did it for God. This should surprise no one.
In the meantime, while we await the Supreme Court’s ruling, there are plenty of other craft stores to buy foam board, rainbow patterned duct tape and yard sticks (which could be used to make some fabulous protest signs!) And, so, as they say in the crafting business, fuck Hobby Lobby. Seriously.