Oh, can we start with the California Supreme Court and their decision to overrule the right of two San Diego county doctors to raise at trial as an affirmative defense their relgious beliefs?
Monday's case began in 2001 when Oceanside, Calif., lesbian Guadalupe Benitez sued Drs. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton, who claimed their Christian faith prevented them from providing intrauterine insemination in some circumstances. The doctors, who worked at the North Coast Women's Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., argued that they couldn't provide fertility treatments to Benitez because she wasn't married, but Benitez said they refused because of her sexual orientation.Monday's ruling reversed San Diego's 4th District Court of Appeal, which held in 2006 that Brody and Fenton should have been able to use their religious objections as an affirmative defense at trial.The Supreme Court's opinion, authored by Justice Joyce Kennard, said the doctors' actions violated the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from discriminating based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition or sexual orientation.
But all is not lost!
The opinion, however, wasn't all bad news for the doctors. While denying them an affirmative defense, the ruling held that the physicians are still free to voice their religious beliefs, including any objections they have to the Unruh Act's prohibition against sexual orientation discrimination. The doctors are also free to rebut the allegation that their treatment qualms had anything to do with the patient's sexual orientation.
Okay, maybe I made my last statement with a slight edge of sarcasm. Sure, after saying that the doctros ' religious beliefs do not exempt them from the Unruh Act, how far do you think they will get with their religion as an objection to the Act?
Karen, what do you think, oh ye San Diegan? Think the doctors could pull a conservative jury at the trial level who might agree with their contention that no unmarried woman gets inseminated?