Trump Nominee Defends His Argument Against Catholic Farmer Who Would Not Host Same-Sex Weddings

Sen. Josh Hawley: So, you think those things are equivalent. You think that the Catholic family’s pointing to the teachings of their church is equivalent to a KKK member invoking Christianity? That’s your view?

Michael S. Bogren: From a legal perspective—

Hawley: You can just give me a yes or no answer on that.

Bogren: From a legal perspective—

Hawley: Can you say, no?

Bogren: –there is no distinction.

Hawley: So, okay, so the answer is yes. Let me remind you of a case in the United States Supreme Court that you would be obliged to uphold, the Masterpiece Cake Shop case. In that case, Justice Kennedy wrote for a majority of the court that a government official who compared the petitioner’s invocation of a sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust—and I am quoting now—‘demonstrated impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious belief that motivated his objection.’

Your language comparing a Catholic family’s beliefs to the KKK and to the teachings of radical Islam seems to me to be exactly on point with what Justice Kennedy is saying here. Don’t you think that’s a problem.

Bogren: Well, senator, respectfully, I represent clients, not causes. This is not ideological.

Hawley: Oh, but you made personal statements. You made statements outside of your brief, where you said these are discriminators. These kind of people should not be allowed to participate in the market in question. Right?

Bogren: I made those statements in court.

Hawley: So are you saying that this is not your view? You now renounce these views. I tell you what, you can clear this up here today. Why don’t you go on the record right now and say that this kind of rhetoric, this kind of rhetoric that demonstrates anti-religious animus is wrong and you disagree with it?

Bogren: Senator, I don’t believe that that’s what that is. I believe that’s is vigorous advocacy.

Hawley: So, you stand by those comments?

Bogren: I believe it’s vigorous advocacy.

Hawley: I tell you what, let’s make this real simple. Let’s go back to my first question: Do you stand by those comments that you wrote in your brief and that you reiterated multiple times. Do you stand by those comparisons, yes or no?

Bogren: I stand by those comparisons.

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