Religion No Excuse for Not Treating Gays: Calif. Court

Doctors cannot avoid homosexual patients
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2008 4:29 PM CDT
Protesters hold signs outside of San Francisco's city hall during a gay wedding ceremony in June.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – California doctors must provide services to gays and lesbians in line with all other patients, even if it conflicts with their religious beliefs, the state’s supreme court ruled today. The justices unanimously shot down an effort by a San Diego County fertility clinic's physicians to use religion as grounds for refusing artificial insemination to a lesbian couple, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The decision comes three months after the court struck down the same-sex marriage ban in California, and also fortifies a law that prohibits businesses from discriminating against customers because of sexual orientation, race, gender or religion. "Anyone could be the next target if doctors are allowed to pick and choose their patients based on religious views about other groups of people," said plaintiff Guadalupe Benitez.