Our First Fight

“April is the cruellest month,” wrote T.S. Eliot, whose words have been echoing in my head of late, with the recent passage of Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and the ensuing debate about whether wedding professionals should have the right to claim a religious exemption when it comes to baking cakes or selling dresses to same-sex couples. The brouhaha engendered by RFRA alongside end-of-semester stresses have put me in mind of mine and Steve’s first fight.

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We don’t fight much, and “fight” is relative—our fights are probably more accurately described as “intense disagreements” or maybe, once or twice, “arguments.” We rarely argue about elements of our relationship, but sometimes we disagree about ideas or politics or some happening in the world. The first time it happened was back in July 2014, when the Supreme Court issued the Hobby Lobby decision.

I still remember sitting on my sofa, talking to Steve on the phone, expressing my frustration with the decision. I’d posted a question on Facebook: “Hobby Lobby purports to believe it is wrong for the government to ‘impose’ their ‘moral standards’ on the company at cost to the company. How then do they justify imposing their moral standards on their employees, at additional cost to the employees? (Who, by the way, are likely LESS financially able to bear the burden.) So it’s okay to impose a set of beliefs and morés on others, so long as they’re YOUR beliefs and morés?”

I was dismayed when Steve, though he didn’t exactly side with the Supreme Court’s decision, expressed empathy with their reasoning. He was (not unjustifiably, in a general sense) concerned about the over-reach of government. While he favored some regulation, he felt, on principle, there was inherent danger in the government dictating the policies of a privately held company, especially if they had moral objections to the mandate. If an employee didn’t like the specifics of a company’s insurance plan, he argued, she or he didn’t have to keep working there. Continue reading