"The Church's teaching on sexuality and the human person is and always has been motivated by love," he said. "Those who feel they have the wrong body, or are attracted to persons of the same sex, are not cast out by the Church. The Church embraces them, seeks to understand their pain and suffering, and offers them a way to self-understanding, healing, and peace. This is not offered by the bodily autonomy movement that has gained so much purchase in the last several decades. Regardless of any Supreme Court decision, that will continue to be a mission of the Church-institutionally and individually, at Mass and in our conversations, in public and in private."
The Supreme Court case could have consequences for Christian employees.
Employees with traditional Christian views on marriage and gender identity could "absolutely" be perceived by their employers as a liability risk for creating a hostile work environment that is sexually discriminatory, Bursch said.
"If you had a Catholic employee who in a lunchroom conversation was asked what their views on gender identity were, and they explained John Paul II's beautiful theology of the body, and the Church's understanding about what it means to be created male and female and embracing your identity in Christ, not any identity you want to express in yourself, they could be deemed to have created a hostile environment to an employee who feels threatened by that language and disagrees with it. Now all of a sudden that Catholic employee is now on the chopping block".
"There too we are going to have conflict and religious liberty differences that will have to be litigated in the courts," Bursch said. "Far from solving any problems, this opens up Pandora's Box, the next 20 years of court cases."
Burch cited the case of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, who, in a long firefighting career, was appointed US Fire Administrator by President Barack Obama before working as Atlanta's fire chief. He was fired after writing a book in his personal capacity that defended Christian views on sex.
Bursch said the Cochran case was "particularly scary to me because it involves non-work conduct."
According to Bursch, the city of Atlanta considered Cochran's views bigoted and unwelcome in the workplace and fired him. Though Cochran's lawsuit ended in a settlement, the city's approach will likely be used by others, Bursch said.
Some companies circulate surveys asking employees whether they are LGBT "allies." This can prompt an employee to wonder if this means endorsing same-sex marriage and gender ideology in ways that conflict with his or her religious belief, and to respond "no."
"You're being set up then because you could be punished in the future for not getting on board with the program and creating a hostile environment," Bursch warned.
"This isn't hypothetical, this isn't the boogeyman, we're going to see more of those cases moving forward," Bursch said. "The goal of those who are pushing this agenda is nothing less than to destroy the church and stop everyone from talking publicly about those issues.
Venzor suggested that business owners will suffer from high uncertainty in the wake of the decision, given that jurisprudence is rapidly changing.
"Business owners must be able to expect predictability from the law and the courts, and not radical, overnight shifts in what the law expects of them as participants in the free market," he said.
"Bostock already has and will violate the religious freedom of business owners, despite Justice Gorsuch's claims that the case was not addressing those particular issues. Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Obergefell v. Hodges, underscored the fact that 'reasonable and sincere people' have held for millennia and continue to hold onto traditional views of marriage and human sexuality."
"Yesterday, in Bostock, Justice Gorsuch told those same religious business owners that their religious values have no place in a 21st century 'woke' marketplace," Veznor told CNA.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the Court's majority, acknowledged religious freedom concerns for employers in the Court's decision. Religious organizations and employers do have certain protections from discrimination lawsuits under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the decision noted.
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However, the religious freedom question would be a matter of future consideration since "none of the employers before us today represent in this Court that compliance with Title VII will infringe their own religious liberties in any way," Gorsuch wrote.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.