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Poll: 85% say Christian photographer has the right to turn down a gay-marriage job

Consider the source, but it's amusing all the same...

This is no idle hypothetical from Rasmussen. A photography studio in New Mexico was fined years ago under the state’s Human Rights Act for refusing to accept a lesbian couple’s request to photograph their commitment ceremony because it was contrary to the owners’ Christian beliefs. The studio lost several rounds of appeals because the state’s antidiscrimination law forbids “public accommodations” from discriminating on the basis of orientation. As Gabe Malor said a few weeks ago after the big SCOTUS DOMA decision, this is the next flashpoint in political skirmishing over gay rights. Does free exercise of religion extend to how you run your business?

A heavy, heavy majority says yep, sure does:

If a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, 85% of American Adults believe he has the right to say no. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only eight percent (8%) disagree even as the courts are hearing such challenges.

You can, if you like, agree with the majority here without bringing free exercise into it. A strong-form libertarian would say that the photographer has a right to refuse for whatever reason he chooses, religious or not. It’s a matter of private property, not free exercise. That hasn’t been the law in America for 50 years, though; “public accommodations” are statutorily barred from discriminating on the basis of race and certain other categories. And needless to say, you’re not going to see national Republicans rally behind the idea that businesses should have a general right to discriminate restored. (Even Rand Paul’s unlikely to take that position at this point.) Stick with the religious justification and you’re on firmer ground in an overwhelmingly religious country, even one that increasingly supports gay marriage. The big stumbling block here for gay-rights activists is that their most compelling argument to opponents no longer applies: “It doesn’t affect you” is a good, solid, libertarian justification for legalized marriage, not so good when it means business owners will be forced to work with you whether they want to or not. I haven’t seen many polls on this particular question, but if Ras is right that we’re looking at a spread of upwards of 80 points, then national Democrats will stay far away from this topic. Critics of SSM argue that the slippery slope has no stopping point but 85/8 would seem to have plenty of stopping power — enough so that I wonder if a constitutional amendment would be in the offing if the Supreme Court sided with gay-rights supporters on the free exercise question.

The New Mexico case isn’t the only instance of this sort of thing happening, by the way. Erick Erickson has collected other incidents at the state level. The issue hasn’t broken out significantly among the population, though, I think, because people have been too consumed with the gay-marriage debate. As that recedes, that’ll change.

by Anonymousreply 8909/09/2013

Of course the photographer has the right to refuse, just as civilized people of all persuasions have the right to not patronize him.

by Anonymousreply 107/13/2013

Agreed, R1.

by Anonymousreply 207/13/2013

Imagine you were a photog and the Westboro Church (sic) asked you to photograph one of their rallies, would it be right for the government to force you to take the job?

by Anonymousreply 307/13/2013

Nonsense R1. It's the same as refusing a black couple. Of course, most New Mexicans would also agree with that.

by Anonymousreply 407/13/2013

Technically, couldn't anyone make up a 'religion' and defend any crazy view? As in, all gay businesses could decide not to serve people who are openly religious or morbidly obese, based on a 'religious view'?

by Anonymousreply 507/13/2013

Absolutely R3, and it has been the law since 1964. If people are free to pick and choose their customers, then the value of money is lower for everyone. When gay rights ordinances first started passing in the 1980s there was an avalanche of landlords unwilling to rent to gay people. There were hundreds of cases brought in court. And the landlords lost almost all of them. If you are in business for the general public, you are in business and you do not discriminate. You can't charge some people a different price for your service, you can't discriminate in selling your services, and anyone who refuses to say, rent a hotel room to Westboro Church gets sued immediately. It's how they make their living and have for twenty years. Do you really have no brain?

by Anonymousreply 607/13/2013

Just a few years ago, a lesbian couple sued E-Harmony and forced them to change their antigay policies under the same law.

by Anonymousreply 707/13/2013

Back in 1990, a survey of professionals found 40% of American doctors and nurses felt they had no moral or ethical obligation to treat people with HIV. That wasn't tolerated, but it would be under libertarian knuckleheads like R1 and R2. People died because of bigotry then, but it would have been FAR FAR worse without the laws against public accommodation discrimination.

by Anonymousreply 807/13/2013

R4 is woefully ignorant about New Mexicans.

by Anonymousreply 907/13/2013

[quote] It's the same as refusing a black couple.

Analogous but not the same. Like it or not, our society respects people's religious beliefs and elevates them above mere prejudice.

by Anonymousreply 1007/13/2013

I'm a musician and I have turned down a wedding gig where I didn't want to play in an evangelical church for that particular weekend, I never complained, I never explained I just said no.

by Anonymousreply 1107/13/2013

But our religious belief is that being gay is not wrong R10, and we have a right to it. They couldn't refuse to photograph Jews, and if they did and got sued, nobody would feel sorry for them, would they?

by Anonymousreply 1207/13/2013

[quote]would it be right for the government to force you to take the job

It is unlikely that anyone would be forced to take a job as you describe. A personal services contract -- the kind that you would enter into when hiring a photographer -- is a bit different from something like running a hotel or restaurant. Nevertheless, if a person is found to have violated the civil rights of another individual, then that person may very well face monetary penalties. If they want to continue violating the applicable civil rights laws, then they may wind up going out of business as a result of paying those fines.

by Anonymousreply 1307/13/2013

Rasmussen's poll may be inflated, but I think most Americans don't think a person should be forced to render services to a same-sex wedding if it contravenes their religious beliefs. I think people see it as different from refusing other services to gay people because it makes the server have to participate in the activity they think is morally wrong or sinful, whereas providing services like dry cleaning, restauranting, and cabbing would not make the person participate in activities that violate their faith.

by Anonymousreply 1407/13/2013

"Libertarian knucklehead" is redundant.

by Anonymousreply 1507/13/2013


by Anonymousreply 1607/13/2013

Nonsense R14. A photographer is not "involved" in someone's wedding. How stupid can you be?

by Anonymousreply 1707/13/2013

Police used to use the same kind of logic in refusing to tackle gay domestic violence cases, that it skeeved them out. More bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 1807/13/2013

A photographer or baker is not a business of public accommodation like a hotel.

If he doesn't want to take my picture, I'll go to someone who will.

by Anonymousreply 1907/13/2013

Yes they are public accommodations. You either offer your services to the public or you don't.

by Anonymousreply 2007/13/2013

BTW by official legal designation, neither a bakery nor a photography studio are "personal services."

by Anonymousreply 2107/13/2013

To be a "personal service" you have to be unique and irreplaceable, and neither a bakery nor a photography studio are. There are individual photographers who may qualify, but certainly not WEDDING photographers and it is rare for people to know the names of the people who prepared their wedding photos or cakes.

by Anonymousreply 2207/13/2013

This is thinly disguised anti-Gay BS.

If someone wants to operate a faith-based photography business - then they need to find a church which has the same standards they have, and get a job there.

If someone wants to operate a business in the public arena and take full advantage of that they can't pick and choose which parts of the public contract they wish to follow.

It's a very clear indicator about what behavior libertarians will tolerate. And the lengths they will go to explain this behavior.

by Anonymousreply 2307/13/2013

I think they should start holding law firms accountable too.

by Anonymousreply 2407/13/2013

Well,r21, if I make a cake as a professional service for a couple how is that not a personal service?

If the photographer or baker has a problem with gays, then they should do something else for a living or just man up and change policy. The service they are offering is offered to the public. They couldn't put a sign up that said Service not extended to Irish, Polish, Blacks as was done not too long ago. We could all see the idiocy of that. Ditto for refusing service to Gays.

What you believe in your personal life is your own biz. I have strong beliefs about certain groups and religions, but when at work I leave them at the door.

Furthermore, if we left it up to popular opinion about who should have civil rights and who shouldn't, blacks would still be slaves and women probably wouldn't be voting. We'd still see signs such as Irish need not apply or No Italians. That is why laws for equal treatment need to be created and implemented.

If and when white Christians become a minority (could happen), life won't be so nice for them, will it. Will they demand fair treatment laws for all then? Should be interesting.

by Anonymousreply 2507/13/2013

Irish and Theatricals Need Not Apply

by Anonymousreply 2607/13/2013

Thank-you, R14. You stated what I actually meant when I agreed @ R2.

by Anonymousreply 2707/13/2013

I dunno, I think that I'd want to know beforehand if my potential wedding photographer was a homophobe, and thus NOT hire him.

Who wants wedding photos taken by someone who loathes you? You really think the pics would be flattering or professional?

by Anonymousreply 2807/13/2013

You said what I was thinking, R28. I wouldn't use a photographer who doesn't want to take my wedding photos.

I certainly wouldn't use a baker who didn't want to bake my wedding cake. Hard to tell what special ingredients might be added.

by Anonymousreply 2907/13/2013

[quote]To be a "personal service" you have to be unique and irreplaceable, and neither a bakery nor a photography studio are. There are individual photographers who may qualify, but certainly not WEDDING photographers and it is rare for people to know the names of the people who prepared their wedding photos or cakes.

You are reading personal services too narrowly as applied to the photographer and possibly the cake baker. No court is going to force someone to take wedding pictures he or she doesn't want to take. The remedy -- as I mentioned -- is to levy a penalty against that person until he or she stops discriminating.

And, the assertion that couples getting married don't know the name of their photographers is quite erroneous. I've known a number of people who have been wedding photographers and all were selected by couples specifically because of their talents. Brides/grooms usually ask for particular photographers because they know and like the person's work.

For some, the same would apply to cake bakers. If it some grocery store cake, then it hardly matters who makes it. But if it some specialized cake baker, such as the Ace of Cakes, then that would probably be a personal services contract situation. You may not be able to force him to make a cake, but the state can make him pay a penalty for discriminating.

by Anonymousreply 3007/13/2013

Lots of businesses want our business! I would not support a freeper/repug business anyways.

by Anonymousreply 3107/13/2013

R28 and R29 - your absolutely correct. You have every right not to use their services.

They however - do have the right to refuse you.

Probably the best wedding gift a photographer could give a same-sex couple is do a lousy job at their wedding. I'm guessing the civil settlement will buy the couple a new house.

by Anonymousreply 3207/13/2013

r16, perhaps you think so, but I think most people feel that the photographer is being made to participate and celebrate something they think is morally wrong. For instance, would a photographer who is Jewish photograph a Nazi event? Would a black photographer photograph a KKK meeting if asked? Yeah, those are offensive analogies, but to people who think homosexuality is a sin and against their religion, they feel the same way about being at a same-sex wedding or fixing a cake to celebrate it.

by Anonymousreply 3307/13/2013

That's pretty subjective, R32. I'm not sure it could be proved. All he would need to do is not use the best light or angles. It could be quite subtle, not a very good job opposed to a botched job.

The other part of that is maybe they wanted to use him because he is cheaper than anyone else. Cheap means he's probably not very good.

It would be easy for a photographer to say he doesn't want to work that day or that he's already scheduled. I'm guessing he didn't want to pass up the opportunity to tell them he disapproves of them.

by Anonymousreply 3407/13/2013

R30 is trying to confuse the fact that the original defendant was a photography studio, not a photographer, and that they typically have the right to send whomever is available to a wedding.

R34 is right. This was all about asserting a right the studio didn't have in an effort to cause hurt to the gays.

by Anonymousreply 3507/13/2013

R34 - Follow the thread. The point being made was they would intentionally take bad pictures.

It's not that complicated or subjective actually.

I guess it could be a problem if there was no one else in attendance at the wedding and the photographer in question had never taken wedding pictures before - your case would be hard to make.

The last time I hired a professional photographer, although not for a wedding - he did do weddings, we looked through albums of his work.

It's almost like your saying don't insist on sitting in the front of the bus - they will just make the seats uncomfortable.

by Anonymousreply 3607/13/2013

No, I'm saying don't go to the cheapest photographer in town who happens to be a fundy because his work undoubtedly sucks.

by Anonymousreply 3707/13/2013

A few years ago a friend opened a small diner in his Alabama hometown. He is black, and as soon as he opened the vast majority of his clientele were white men who sent food back, complained about service, called the waitstaff (his mom and sister) n****r and made life hell. When he tried to stop them from coming in they sued him for civil rights violations and bankrupted him.

He lost the business because he couldn't refuse to serve them.

by Anonymousreply 3807/13/2013

A business license is issued by the state. You agree to quite a few things when you accept the business license. One of them, in general terms, is that you won't discriminate against people. There are exceptions - "no shirt no shoes no service" for example. But for the most part, you don't get to turn away customers you'd otherwise serve were it not that they're the wrong skin color or religion or gender or whatever.

There are solutions to the dilemma. You can always go the "private club" route. Or you can just not be an asshole.

by Anonymousreply 3907/13/2013

[quote]But our religious belief is that being gay is not wrong [R10], and we have a right to it. They couldn't refuse to photograph Jews, and if they did and got sued, nobody would feel sorry for them, would they?

You're not terribly bright, huh? It is the religious views of the person that refuses to provide service that is relevant. The religious opinions of the couple or bystanders have nothing to do with it. If a service provider were acting in accordance with legitimate religious beliefs, he would have the right to refuse to photograph Jews.

Of course, the photographer could have just said "no" without grandstanding, and no one would question why. Also, his business may not be covered under any civil rights statute since it is small and is not a public accommodation.

by Anonymousreply 4007/13/2013

I think R39 is correct, but let's go one step farther. If the business is a corporation or LLC, then how can it have religious views? It is an artificial person. If it is sole proprietorship or partnership, then the owners may have religious beliefs. So if you want to discriminate on religious grounds, disincorporate, but if you want the advantages of being a corporation or LLC, then shut up and serve the customer. This is an issue in the Hobby Lobby case where the corporation says that providing birth control to its employees violates its religious beliefs.

by Anonymousreply 4107/13/2013

I would love for a Catholic photographer to refuse service to a Baptist couple getting married because he/she doesn't recognize their marriage as legitimate.

by Anonymousreply 4207/13/2013

These so-called Christians are not having their beliefs "compromised". They can still practice their religion, what they CANNOT do, is impede public access to their services. Guess they missed that tenet of their religion that states, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." This is one giant smokescreen that is being generated, and because it worked somewhere, many are climbing onto the bandwagon. Other proprietors of businesses can see what's happening, and will go out of their way to let gay people know that their money is welcome in their establishments. I'm not letting these fundies off the hook by any means, the law should be enforced. But as was said above, would YOU want a cake from a guy who has already told you he loathes you and what you represent?

by Anonymousreply 4307/13/2013

R40 is wrong and probably a graduate of Pat Robertson's law school.

Religious beliefs do not pre-empt the law. Ever. That's why the Amish aren't allowed to beat their kids and Muslims are not allowed to murder their adulterous wives.

Anyone refusing to serve someone due to religious beliefs would be fired or sued. Yes, the fundies have tried to get around this - mainly due to pharmacists and doctors who don't want to prescribe morning after pills, but the way they have tried to do this is through the legislature passing special laws because these rights do not exist under existing law.

Nor should they. Religion is a separate sphere from government, but in no sense a greater one from the perspective of government.

And in any case, the religious beliefs of the customers are just as important as the religious beliefs of the provider.

by Anonymousreply 4407/13/2013

If someone's religious beliefs preclude them from providing services to segments of the public, they should get the fuck out of the providing services business.

It's not that complicated.

by Anonymousreply 4507/14/2013

[quote]I would love for a Catholic photographer to refuse service to a Baptist couple getting married because he/she doesn't recognize their marriage as legitimate.

I have never heard of one faith's considering marriages performed by another faith invalid let alone contrary to God's will. So your scenario is fanciful. But if a photographer thought that way, his choice of profession would be odd. He would, however, have the right to say no.

by Anonymousreply 4607/14/2013

[quote][R40] is wrong and probably a graduate of Pat Robertson's law school.

What exactly did I write that is wrong?

[quote] Religious beliefs do not pre-empt the law. Ever

No one is forced to act against his religious beliefs unless those beliefs would harm others. For example, Quakers can opt out of a military draft. Only Mormon's can enter their temples.

One cannot simply claim that a desire or belief is religious in order to avoid the law. The law will look behind the claim to establish that it is the doctrine of the person's faith and that the action is directly related to that belief. This would be especially true if the action taken is discriminatory.

In this case the photographer is being asked to PARTICIPATE in a wedding that he genuinely believes is forbidden. We might think his belief is unfounded, but no one would doubt that their are churches that teach that gay marriage is a violation of God's plan.

It would be different if he owned a portrait studio and refused to photograph gay people. Their is no religious justification for that discrimination.

by Anonymousreply 4707/14/2013

In the early days, some Christians would have claimed that interracial marriages went agains the bible.

So I have to ask:

Do these same people who defend Christian photographers right to refuse same-sex weddings, also defend their right to refused mixed-race weddings?

by Anonymousreply 4807/14/2013

[quote]I have never heard of one faith's considering marriages performed by another faith invalid let alone contrary to God's will. So your scenario is fanciful.

Do you actually think that Catholics respect Hindu weddings at the level of Christian sacrament?

If they weren't civilly recognized, there would be no reason to recognize them at all.

by Anonymousreply 4907/14/2013

[quote]Do these same people who defend Christian photographers right to refuse same-sex weddings, also defend their right to refused mixed-race weddings?

If their claims were backed by the doctrine of their faith at the time, certainly they would have had the right to refuse. Today, I doubt a claim of religious motivation would hold up to scrutiny.

by Anonymousreply 5007/14/2013

That's untrue R47 and R50. Lots of religions today accept polygamy but it is illegal. Quakers cannot get out of a mililtary draft. They make them conscientious objectors and put them into non-combat roles, but they do have to serve. Anyway, you are implying that if you are part of an accepted religion with a body of doctrine you win, but otherwise lose, and that's unconstitutional attempt to privilege some religions at the expense of others. In other words, you're no lawyer at all, but some dumbass freeper who has been misled by their propaganda.

by Anonymousreply 5107/14/2013

[quote]In other words, you're no lawyer at all, but some dumbass freeper who has been misled by their propaganda.

People who feel the need to attack the character of others who disagree with them in order to dismiss their views are rarely a good source of information.

[quote]Anyway, you are implying that if you are part of an accepted religion with a body of doctrine you win, but otherwise lose, and that's unconstitutional attempt to privilege some religions at the expense of others.

The claim that someone has a religious basis for a belief must be demonstrable. The law cannot rely simply on an individual or small group's claims of religious justification. That would lead to an opt out for all kinds of laws. To demonstrate a legitimate religious basis for a belief, there must be an organized, recognized group that teaches the belief as part of their religion. An organization like that is what separates religion from a cult or an individual belief. It may be an imperfect line, but a line must be drawn.

[quote] Quakers cannot get out of a military draft. They make them conscientious objectors and put them into non-combat roles, but they do have to serve.

They have the right to refuse combat roles because combat violates their religious beliefs.

There are Native American tribes that are allowed to use peyote for religious reasons.

[quote]Lots of religions today accept polygamy but it is illegal

The 19th century Supreme Court case saying religious beliefs cannot justify polygamy is based on the same "reasoning" as Bowers v Hardwick: Only two-person marriage has been allowed for centuries so a law limiting a marriage to two must be valid.

Would a law banning polygamy stand up to current law? I think it would not, though an argument that the practice is harmful to women might preserve it. I think polygamy that requires the consent of all parties should be legal for all.

by Anonymousreply 5207/14/2013

"The claim that someone has a religious basis for a belief must be demonstrable. The law cannot rely simply on an individual or small group's claims of religious justification."

Absolutely they can and do. Pacifists with no religious affiliation have been able to claim conscientious objector status for hundreds of years based on this exact circumstance.

"To demonstrate a legitimate religious basis for a belief, there must be an organized, recognized group that teaches the belief as part of their religion. An organization like that is what separates religion from a cult or an individual belief. It may be an imperfect line, but a line must be drawn."

Untrue and un-American. The United States does not and NEVER HAS required anyone to establish membership in any religious organization to establish bona fides of belief. You believe what you say you believe, and no other standard has ever been required.

by Anonymousreply 5307/14/2013

[quote]I have never heard of one faith's considering marriages performed by another faith invalid let alone contrary to God's will.

My church sanctions same-gender marriage. Guess what? Most religions don't recognize those marriages.

by Anonymousreply 5407/14/2013

[quote]Untrue and un-American. The United States does not and NEVER HAS required anyone to establish membership in any religious organization to establish bona fides of belief. You believe what you say you believe, and no other standard has ever been required.

They do when you are asserting a religious exemption from the law. Do you really think it's as simple as declaring "I am a Quaker" when seeking to avoid combat?

From Wikipedia:

During World War II, all registrants were sent a questionnaire covering basic facts about their identification, physical condition, history and also provided a checkoff to indicate opposition to military service because of religious training or belief.

Men marking the latter option received a DSS 47 form with ten questions:

Describe the nature of your belief which is the basis of your claim.

Explain how, when, and from whom or from what source you received the training and acquired the belief which is the basis of your claim.

Give the name and present address of the individual upon whom you rely most for religious guidance.

Under what circumstances, if any, do you believe in the use of force? Describe the actions and behavior in your life which in your opinion most conspicuously demonstrate the consistency and depth of your religious convictions.

Have you ever given public expression, written or oral, to the views herein expressed as the basis for your claim made above? If so, specify when and where.

Have you ever been a member of any military organization or establishment? If so, state the name and address of same and give reasons why you became a member.

Are you a member of a religious sect or organization?

Describe carefully the creed or official statements of said religious sect or organization as it relates to participation in war.

Describe your relationships with and activities in all organizations with which you are or have been affiliated other than religious or military.

[quote]Absolutely they can and do. Pacifists with no religious affiliation have been able to claim conscientious objector status for hundreds of years based on this exact circumstance.

I was describing verifying a claim of religious belief, not saying only religious beliefs are respected.

by Anonymousreply 5507/14/2013

None of the questions require you belong to an organization of any kind. They are trying to investigate the sincerity of belief to discourge shirking and cowardice (Why? Who wants cowards in their military?) but ultimately you don't have to have any background or affiliation at all. And there are any number of people excused on this basis.

by Anonymousreply 5607/14/2013

[quote]My church sanctions same-gender marriage. Guess what? Most religions don't recognize those marriages.

Obviously. I was talking about a traditional marriage in another faith.

by Anonymousreply 5707/14/2013

None of the questions require anything at all. They seek information, including information about the basis for your beliefs. If you are asserting a religious basis they ask for details. Why would they seek such information if a declaration of belief was all that was required?

by Anonymousreply 5807/14/2013

Slavery, bondage, servitude refer to involuntary subjection to another or others.

[bold]Slavery emphasizes the idea of complete ownership and control by a master: to be sold into slavery. Bondage indicates a state of subjugation or captivity often involving burdensome and degrading labor: in bondage to a cruel master. Servitude is compulsory service, often such as is required by a legal penalty: penal servitude.

I thought this shit was illegal.

by Anonymousreply 5907/14/2013

Can Gay Couples, Too, Live and Let Live?

By Barton Hinkle - July 21, 2013

It was a great day when the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and threw out a California case that could have undermined gay marriage in the Golden State. On that day, gay and lesbian citizens won something profoundly important: acknowledgment of the right to live as they choose, without interference from others who think they know better.

Now the question is: Will gay and lesbian citizens acknowledge that everybody else has the same right? Some certainly will. But others are challenging the notion – and thereby undermining the case for their own hard-won victory.

David Mullins and Charlie Craig, for instance. The gay Colorado couple have filed a discrimination complaint against the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who declined for religious reasons to make them a wedding cake. The Colorado attorney general’s office has taken their side. So, regrettably, has the ACLU.

And they have company: Similar complaints have been brought against bakeries in Oregon, Indianapolis, and Iowa; a Hawaiian bed-and-breakfast; a Vermont inn; a Washington florist; a Kentucky T-shirt company; and more. As gay marriage gains ground, cases such as these likely will flourish.

As they do, they will lend credence to the otherwise ludicrous assertion by social conservatives that there is a “homosexual agenda.” It will remain absurd to suggest gay people are trying to turn straight people gay. Changing other people’s sexual orientation has always been a conservative project, not a liberal one. But it will cease being absurd to suggest that requests for tolerance are actually demands for approval – and that those who claim to celebrate diversity actually insist upon ideological uniformity.

Wedding-cake cases also may help resolve one of the buried tensions over homosexuality and gay marriage – support for which flows from two different kinds of arguments.

The first is thee argument from freedom – in particular the freedom to associate with whom we wish. Its goal is to make sure everyone is treated right. It says individuals should enjoy the liberty to do whatever they like, with whomever they like, so long as their activity is consensual and does not harm anyone else. As Jefferson wrote: “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” By the same token, what Adam and Steve do in the bedroom or at the altar also neither picks a pocket nor breaks a leg. So leave them in peace.

The other argument – the argument from equality – wants to make sure everyone is treated the same. So if straight people get to marry, then gay people should, too. One problem with this argument: It leaves the door open for the infringement of individual rights, so long as everybody’s rights are equally transgressed.

You could see that flaw in stark relief during the era of South African apartheid: U.S. liberals objected vehemently to apartheid, and rightly so. But some seemed almost blasé about the similarly savage cruelty of communism in Cuba or the Soviet Union. This raised the question of whether it was oppression per se that they objected to, or simply the uneven application of it.

These two arguments are not mutually exclusive. You can support gay rights and gay marriage both because they harm nobody and because people should be treated the same. And because the government should treat everyone equally before the law, which is a different and narrower sort of equality.

But there is another, stronger sort of equality: the equality of authority – which suggests social interactions should be consensual because nobody has the right to impose his will on somebody else. This is the sort of equality most compatible with liberty (including the liberty to marry whom one wishes), and the sort of equality gay-rights advocates should embrace.

They should embrace it not only because it is right, but also because it offers the surest defense against depredations by foes such as Pat Robertson – who said last week he wished Facebook had a “vomit” button he could click for pictures of gay couples kissing. Robertson’s hostility is terrible; but without any authority for him to impose his own will on others, it is also toothless.

Yet if we are to respect the best arguments for gay rights, then we also have to recognize that those arguments also apply to people like Robertson – and to the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop, and to others like them. They should not have the power to impose their will on gay couples. But gay couples should not have the power to impose their own will on them, either. “Live and let live” cannot be a one-way street. //

by Anonymousreply 6007/21/2013


by Anonymousreply 6107/21/2013

I love the fact that some posters are telling the guy that he should be able to turn down STRAIGHT parties.

by Anonymousreply 6207/21/2013

If straight people aren't allowed to discriminate against gays, and whites aren't allowed to discriminate against blacks, then gays and blacks shouldn't be able to discriminate either.

I think disabled black Muslim lesbians should be forced to work Bar Mitzvahs with X-Games themes.

Isn't that what you mean by equality?

If you disagree you are a homophobic racist thug and should be banned.

by Anonymousreply 6307/21/2013


by Anonymousreply 6407/22/2013

Why was this junk thread bolded. Liberals, not conservatives, were the ones to speak out against human rights abuses in Cuba and the Soviet Union. Conservatives would mention them as debating points but they never tried to change them.

by Anonymousreply 6507/22/2013

Anyway, the bolded argument is exactly wrong. You can have equality at a low level where everyone is treated like shit; or at a high level. The former way is the Republican way - the corporate way - the way of tolerance not acceptance. But the public accommodation laws that force people to serve cakes to gays are unquestionably good for everyone: if people are free to discriminate in operating a business, it lowers the value of money for everyone in everything. Public accommodation laws were adopted to protect people from business owners who might not agree with their religion: they weren't allowed to not serve Catholics or Jews for religious reasons. And it benefited everyone, even the bigots running the businesses.

by Anonymousreply 6607/22/2013


So, if a gay business is approached by the KKK, or Westboro Church, they should be forced by the government to serve them?

If they refuse to pay due to some technical slight- the cake is too small, or the waiters were too slow- then the courts should force the owners to work for free and find in favor of the KKK?

by Anonymousreply 6707/22/2013

Using one's perception of religion as the excuse really is sleazy.

by Anonymousreply 6807/22/2013

No, R68-

I just want an answer- should gay black men be forced to work a KKK themed party.

Simple question.

by Anonymousreply 6907/23/2013

Is being gay a hate group?

by Anonymousreply 7007/23/2013


That's immaterial. The Catholic Church is a "hate group". Michfesters are a hate group. MENSA is a hate group.

If gay men can be forced to work straight parties, and straight people can be forced to work a gay wedding, then black gay lesbians cannot turn down a KKK rally.

by Anonymousreply 7107/23/2013

I totally agree, a private photographer gets to turn down any job he or she wishes, where's the disagreement in that??

by Anonymousreply 7207/23/2013

Where does that end? Does a hotel get to turn away gay guests?

And there's false equivalence here. The Westboro Baptist Church are not the same thing as a gay couple getting married. That's bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 7307/23/2013


It's only discrimination if socialists say so.

A black man refusing to serve a white man is okay.

A gay owned business refusing to cater a Mormon wedding is okay.

An atheist refusing to work a church sponsored function is okay.

Reverse these, and the State worshipping socialist victims will try to destroy you. Can you imagine the wailing we would hear if a white man declined to serve a black event?

by Anonymousreply 7407/23/2013


Would you stay at a hotel that prohibited gay guests?

Would you tell all your friends to boycott?

Would you WANT TO STAY at a homophobic hotel and give them your money so they could stay in biz?

Please think about this before you say that forcing them to take your business is good.

If you owned a hotel, and the government forced you to accept KKK group meetings, would you still agree?

by Anonymousreply 7507/23/2013


I don't know if your story is true or not. Based on your continuous trolling, I am inclined to doubt it.

Civil rights legislation had nothing to do with the restaurant owner's problems. Prior to civil rights legislation, the Alabama white trash could have burned down his restaurant and killed him with no consequences, rather than simply bankrupting him. So some progress has been made. You are smart enough to understand that, aren't you?

by Anonymousreply 7607/23/2013

R75...get lost, breeder.

The feelings' of a hotel's owner are fairly irrelevant to me. My money is as green as anyone else's.

You're raising a straw man argument, anyway. But I'll address it. YES, I would want to stay in a hotel where the owner was homophobic. I'd fight for that right. Because if I allow one asshole to discriminate against me, then where does that end?

by Anonymousreply 7707/23/2013

I would fight for the right to patronize these places but I wouldn't. I'm not interested in enriching someone like that unless I had no other option.

by Anonymousreply 7807/24/2013

Whatever the merits of the religious liberty versus gay rights debate, we must acknowledge that gay rights have been stymied in most states and even Congress because of concerns that gay rights impede on religious liberties. Most of the objectors are not sincere, but there are some more moderate people who are deeply and sincerely concerned that gay rights will lead to the persecution of people of faith. We have been stuck at only 21 states with gay rights laws for quite a well, and the prospects for more states adopting such laws are shockingly dim right now. The same can be said for ENDA. In order to move beyond this stalemate wherein most of the country does not have any gay rights laws, we will need to consider whether being dogmatic is in our best national interests.

by Anonymousreply 7907/24/2013

R79= no clue.

You're a complete moron. Equal rights are EQUAL rights, dear. You don't compromise on your Constitutional rights. Frankly, we are in a stalemate because of accommodating creeps like you who think that playing ball with bigots 'wins them over'.

People in this country like GUTS. If they see that people are willing to fight for their rights; THAT'S how people are won over.

by Anonymousreply 8007/24/2013

Religion should have NOTHING to do with our laws, Therein lies the problem. Religion is an excuse and a crutch for oppression of 'other' people. The shocking thing is how the USA elevates these hate groups to a sickening level of respect, which makes absolutely no sense.

by Anonymousreply 8107/24/2013

r81, do you have a problem with the First Amendment, which gives special protection to religious beliefs and practices?

by Anonymousreply 8207/24/2013

R82..."special protection"? It also grants all of us the freedom FROM religion, cunt.

by Anonymousreply 8307/24/2013

r80, you erroneously assume that religious liberty is not a right, and that the public does not cherish religious rights at least as much as gay rights, if not more. The recent aforementioned poll reflects that Americans have deep respect for religious liberty and rights.

by Anonymousreply 8407/24/2013


by Anonymousreply 8508/02/2013

I didn't think beyond not wanting someone that disapproved of me working for me.

by Anonymousreply 8608/02/2013

NEW YORK (RNS) The rights of religious groups or individuals that object to same-sex marriage continue to clash with those pursued by gay rights advocates. Now, the fight that started at state ballot boxes and in courtrooms has moved to floral shops, bakeries and photo studios.

As churches are concerned about the potential of facing lawsuits, some are changing their bylaws to explicitly reflect their views on traditional man-woman marriage.

A bakery in Gresham, Ore., owned by a Christian family, under investigation by state officials for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, decided to close its doors. “This fight is not over,” they wrote on a sign in the shop window. “We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore.”

Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that photographers could not refuse to shoot gay wedding ceremonies even though the state does not officially recognize gay marriage. The court ruled that declining to photograph a gay wedding was similar to declining to work at an interracial wedding, with Justice Richard Bosson saying, “There is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.”

Many of the legal skirmishes are not directly tied to federal recognition of gay marriages after the Supreme Court’s decision striking down most of the Defense of Marriage Act. Instead, the fights largely revolve around state and local anti-discrimination ordinances that include protections for gays and lesbians.

Upcoming battles include whether religious opposition to same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender and/or marital status; and what happens when a discrimination claim bumps up against an individual’s or institution’s religious freedom.

Many cases are still being resolved:

* The lawyer who represents the owners of a Colorado bakery say they could face a year in prison for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. * A Kentucky county commission sided with a gay rights group in a discrimination complaint last year after a Christian printer declined to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival. * A florist in Richland, Wash., who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding launched a countersuit against the state attorney general, who sued her for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

The Supreme Court’s decision against the Defense of Marriage Act applies to federal benefits, but many have been watching to see whether it holds further implications for religious groups or individuals. For instance, employers in states where gay marriage is legal will be required to provide Family and Medical Leave Act leave to employers with same-sex spouses, even if their state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington-based religious freedom law firm, notes that since DOMA was enacted in 1996, six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted same-sex marriage through the legislative process with conscience protections for those with objections to same-sex marriage.

Ahead of the court’s decision, the Becket Fund issued a brief on areas where religious freedom could be impacted by the DOMA ruling, outlining seven areas to watch:

Public accommodation laws

Many religious institutions provide services beyond their congregations that are considered “public accommodation,” such as health care, counseling, child care, education, wedding facilities and adoption services.

For instance, New Jersey’s Supreme Court held that the Boy Scouts organization, which does not permit gay leaders, is a place of “public accommodation.” Some fear that a lack of explicit conscience protections could open the doors to lawsuits.

Housing discrimination laws

Courts in some states have required landlords to allow unmarried cohabitating couples as tenants despite the landlords’ religious objections. A federal recognition of marriage would give same-sex couples a strong standing to access housing under anti-discrimination laws.

In a 2001 case, a New York court sided with two lesbians, saying they had a valid claim of discrimination after Yeshiva University declined to provide housing benefits to unmarried couples. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in New York, a similar case could be considered marital discrimination.

Employment discrimination laws

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; most state laws include an exemption for religious organizations. A federal law to make anti-gay discrimination illegal nationwide has lagged in Congress for 20 years.

Now the question is: If a gay man or lesbian is fired for being gay, and that person’s marriage is now recognized by the federal government, does anything change? Does a federally recognized marriage offer greater protection in discrimination claims?

After the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington stopped offering spousal benefits to any new employees.

Government facilities access

Access to government facilities, such as schools, parks and other spaces, could become challenging for some who oppose same-sex marriage. For instance, the Boy Scouts have lost leases to campgrounds, parks and a government building headquarters and lost the right to participate in a charitable payroll deduction program. Public university student groups could face scrutiny. The University at Buffalo suspended an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group after it asked a gay member to step down as treasurer.

Maintaining licenses or accreditation

As many governments would require all state marriages to be treated equally, some worry about loss of licenses or accreditation. Many cite the case where Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco shut down adoption services because the agencies refused to comply with anti-discrimination laws and place children with same-sex couples.

Religious colleges and universities also fear loss of accreditation if they oppose same-sex marriage. The American Psychological Association threatened in 2001 to revoke the accreditation of some religious colleges, partly for “codes of conduct that prohibit sex outside of marriage.” It later decided to keep a religious exemption.

Government grants and contracts qualifications and tax exemptions

As many religious institutions seek grants and contracts for services, some see a tension between providing services and receiving government funding. Illinois Catholic Charities shut down rather than comply with a requirement that they can no longer receive state money if they turn away same-sex couples for foster care or adoption.

Some are also concerned about the possibility of state or local tax exemption challenges, or the ability to apply for government funding. If discrimination standards apply to sexual orientation, religious school leaders fear they could be denied government programs, such as scholarships and grants.

Educational and employment opportunities

The decision could continue to impact government workers and students at public universities.

Julea Ward, a master’s in counseling student at Eastern Michigan University, told her professors that she could not help gay and lesbian clients with their same-sex relationships. She was expelled for violating the school’s anti-discrimination policy and given $75,000 in a settlement.

At least 12 Massachusetts justices of the peace have resigned because they declined to facilitate same-sex marriage

by Anonymousreply 8709/08/2013

I don't see religious groups being denied the practice of their RELIGION. Religion means rites and services and other practices germane to their faith.Jesus did not say single out your fellow man for condemnation. They're grasping at straws to keep the gay question foremost in people's minds. How is not baking a cake intrinsic to one's beliefs? This is all part of the Religious Right's tactics of "toss anything against the wall, and see what sticks." Whatever happened to the Biblical tenet of "Judge not, lest ye be judged"? Do they know what that means? Here's the deal:Conduct your life in a loving, safe and responsible manner, and leave others to THEIR lives. How dare these so-called Christians single out gay people for such insufferable and mean-spirited "service." Why aren't they refusing services to drunks and adulterers and abusers? Guess they're OK with THOSE lifestyles? Hypoctitical assbags.

by Anonymousreply 8809/09/2013

r88, actually many people view religion much more broadly and significantly. To many, religion is the most important aspect of their life, not merely rites, services, something you do at church. To them, religion permeates all of their lives, and God determines everything they do, including the operations of their businesses. Eventually, the Supreme Court will have to settle this issue of how broadly religious liberty extends once and for all.

by Anonymousreply 8909/09/2013
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