Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Carmel, IN: 1st Amendment free zone?


Something stinks in Carmel.

It's not the perfectly manicured lawns. It's not even the water treatment plant.

The origin of the putrid smell emanating from Carmel is the slow death of the 1st Amendment at the hands of Mayor Jim Brainard and the majority of the Carmel City Council.

On Monday, the Mayor's office posted this press release which contains the actual language and the reasoning behind a proposed Carmel ordinance (to be voted on by the City Council Monday, August 17) that would make "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" specially protected legal classes within the City of Carmel.  

In other words, it would allow activists to drag Carmel business owners into court if their consciences will not allow them to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies.  Activists bent on shutting down small businesses whose owners disagree with their definition of marriage will literally be empowered to call the police and report a violation of the law that could result in businesses being fined $500 per day!

Please call and email Mayor Brainard and the Carmel City Council and respectfully urge them to defeat the Carmel Anti-1st Amendment ordinance.

Contact information for Mayor Brainard is here.

Contact information for the Carmel City Council is here.

So far only Carmel City Council member Eric Seidensticker has voiced opposition to the Carmel Anti-1st Amendment ordinance.  Please contact him and thank him for his brave stand.


Laws like this proposed Carmel Anti-1st Amendment ordinance have led to:

  • The government in Washington State threatening to take the business, home and bank account of florist Baronnelle Stutzman simply because her conscience would not allow her to participate in a same-sex wedding.   The fact that she has gay employees and has regularly and faithfully served gay and lesbian clients did not sway the government from attacking her.  



  • Bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein were forced to shut down their business and are being fined $135,000 because their conscience would not allow them to participate in a same-sex wedding, even though they faithfully served gay and lesbian clients who did not demand they violate their conscience.



  • T-shirt shop owner Blaine Adamson was mired in years of litigation by the City of Lexington, KY because he declined to participate in the Lexington Gay Pride Festival.  Once again, he serves gay and lesbian customers, but had to draw the line at participating in an event that violated his conscience.



In the dissents to the Majority opinion in ObergefellJustices Roberts, Thomas and Alito discussed the threats to religious freedom that would come as a result of 5 justices imposing same-sex marriage upon the entire country.  Unfortunately, Mayor Brainard and the Carmel City Council are fulfilling these ominous prophesies.  


Justice Alito: 

[The Majority Opinion]...will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion,the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent. Perhaps recognizing how its reasoning may be used, the majority attempts, toward the end of its opinion, to reassure those who oppose same-sex marriage that their rights of conscience will be protected. We will soon see whether this proves to be true. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.


Justice Roberts:

Today’s decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty. ...The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses. Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. ...Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.


Justice Thomas:

Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice. Although our Constitution provides some protection against such governmental restrictions on religious practices, the People have long elected to afford broader protections than this Court’s constitutional precedents mandate. Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.

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