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Landmark LGBT ruling: What it means for religious exemptions and the 2020 election

Leading religion journalists analyze the U.S. Supreme Court's surprising decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Monday barring workplace discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender workers certainly seemed to catch some by surprise.

Take USA Today, for example.

The URL on the national newspaper’s story indicates that the court denied protection to LGBT workers. Oops!


Kelsey Dallas, national religion reporter for the Salt Lake City-based Deseret News, closely follows high court cases with faith-based ramifications.

“Genuinely shocked,” she tweeted concerning the 6-3 decision. “I had prewritten only one version of this story and predicted a ruling against gay and transgender workers based on debate during oral arguments.”

Why was Dallas so surprised?

I asked her that in a Zoom discussion that also included Elana Schor, national religion and politics reporter for The Associated Press; Daniel Silliman, news editor for Christianity Today; and Bob Smietana, editor-in-chief of Religion News Service.

Watch the video to hear Dallas’ reasoning. (Hint: It’s not just that Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion.)

Learn, too, what all the panelists think the decision means for religious hiring practices, the court’s 5-4 conservative split and the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Among related must-read coverage: Schor’s AP story on why the religious right laments the ruling but sees opportunities, Yonat Shimron’s RNS story on conservatives looking to the next cases on religious liberty and Elizabeth Dias’ New York Times story on the “seismic implications.”

Why did the decision rattle Christian conservatives? The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey explains.

At the Deseret News, Dallas asks, “Are we headed toward a federal version of the Utah Compromise on LGBTQ rights?” And Religion Unplugged’s Timothy Nerozzi talks to legal experts worried about what the ruling means for religious institutions and employers.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal’s Catherine Lucey delves into how the ruling complicates President Donald Trump’s effort to hold evangelical voters.

Read the rest of the column.

BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].

“Weekend Plug-in,”  featuring analysis, insights and top headlines from the world of faith, is produced in partnership with Religion Unplugged.

Filed under: Inside Story LGBTQ National religious exemptions same-sex marriage Top Stories U.S. Supreme Court Weekend Plug-In

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