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A response from four more law professors

to my questions about their proposal to provide broad religious-liberty exemptions in state statutes that recognize same-sex marriages. (I posted a separate response from Doug Laycock yesterday.) The four authors of this reply, all experts on religious freedom, are Robin Wilson, Carl Esbeck, Rick Garnett, and Tom Berg. Here is their reply, which has also been posted at Mirror of Justice:

Thanks very much for noting our proposal for a religious-liberty exemption to same-sex marriage laws in the context of the Connecticut debate and elsewhere, and thanks too for your questions about the proposal.

At the outset, just a few words about the necessity for religious-liberty protections. We agree with most of what Doug Laycock says on that score. The memo accompanying our proposal details the range of conflicts that have arisen or may arise. You're right that in some such cases, sexual-orientation nondiscrimination laws might already conflict with the religious objection. Nevertheless we believe that same-sex marriage increases the risks to religious liberty. Some of the effects are direct. It's partially, but only partially, that SSM increases the number of occurrences in which traditionalist religions or believers might be asked or pressured to facilitate same-sex ceremonies as organizations or business owners. Beyond that, SSM eliminates the argument, which has sometimes been successful, that a traditionalist organization does not engage in sexual-orientation discrimination as such, but acts against all extramarital sexual conduct. See, e.g., Christian Legal Society v. Walker (7th Cir. 2006) (accepting this argument for CLS's limits on holding leadership positions). Therefore traditionalists in some places will be newly subject to the claim that they are committing sexual-orientation discrimination — or committing marital-status discrimination, if they act based on an objection to an individual's having entering into a same-sex marriage.

In addition to the direct effects in the marriage-related contexts, there are spillover effects in other contexts such as employment or adoption. SSM with weak religious-liberty exemptions increases traditionalists' exposure to already-existing sexual-orientation nondiscrimination laws in those other contexts. This is in part because it might (as you suggest) weaken the public regard in general for religious liberty. But more specifically, it would likely weaken defenses under state religious-freedom provisions, constitutional or statutory (state "RFRAs"), that require a compelling interest to override religious freedom. Without religious exemptions, SSM may well be perceived by courts as strengthening the assertion that the government has a compelling interest in eliminating sexual-orientation discrimination in all contexts, not just marriage-related ones, with no religious exemptions. This was precisely the Supreme Court's logic in the Bob Jones University case: the government had prohibited race discrimination in multiple contexts without exceptions for religiously based discrimination, therefore no exception should be made for a tiny college to keep its tax-exempt status. Thus, in contrast with you, we think that passage of SSM with weak or nonexistent exemptions might very well have a significant negative effect on Catholic Charities' argument — a meritorious argument, as you've said — that forcing it out of special-needs adoption work serves no sufficient purpose when many other agencies are available to assist gay couples.

Including a significant religious exemption in a SSM bill, on the other hand, sends the message that the state's policy in general is to value religious liberty as well as nondiscrimination norms. It bolsters this more balanced resolution of the gay-rights / religious-freedom conflict not only in the marriage context but elsewhere. And it's in the interest of SSM supporters to back generous exemptions, which address an objection to SSM that you and the four of us all seem to agree is real, but which in most cases (the four of us think) will not erect significant barriers to gay couples.

On your questions about interpretation of our proposal:

1. Religious exemptions should include individuals, not just nonprofit religious organizations, as all of us seem to agree with the wedding photographer case (unfortunately, VT and CT haven't protected them). We are open to hardship exceptions from exemptions in cases where the exemption would, as you put it, impose "substantive (as opposed to symbolic) hardship on married gay couples and families." But we doubt that this substantive-symbolic distinction can be squared with your suggestion that individual state employees should be categorically excluded from exemption. If one wedding registrar objects to memorializing the marriage but another is immediately available, is there any measurable harm that's not merely symbolic? We think that putting a state employee to a choice between her faith and her job should require something more.

We also think that a hardship exception to a religious exemption should mean real "hardship" as opposed to mere inconvenience. To take some of the examples in our letter: If a marriage counselor is dismissed or sanctioned for refusing to counsel same-sex couples, or a small landlord is subject to fines or injunctions for refusal to rent, or a religious college is forced to provide housing for same-sex intimate couples, these objectors suffer loss of livelihood or other real hardships that should only be imposed, if at all, in cases of greater hardship on the other side. So we agree with you that the devil is in the textual details here, and we'd be interested in hearing your proposed standard.

2. We agree that a religious exemption should not protect harassment, provided that the definition of "harassment" is cabined to respect rights of free speech and non-coercive criticism along the lines Doug Laycock sketches. We don't think the language "refusing to provide services, refusing to solemnize, or refusing to treat [a marriage] as valid" can plausibly be read to protect active harassment as opposed to, in Doug's words, the right to be left alone.

3. We wouldn't expect language in this proposal to broaden exemptions in other nondiscrimination laws beyond how courts have reasonably interpreted them. Our concern regarding other laws, as mentioned above, was the opposite: that recognition of SSM with minimal religious-liberty protections would weaken or undermine religious-liberty arguments that objectors in other contexts were previously able to make.

4. Our proposal covers all religiously based objections to marriages so as to respect the principle of neutrality among religious beliefs. Like Doug Laycock, we think that other religious objections to marriages will be extremely infrequent. For example, we searched on Westlaw for cases after Loving v. Virginia in which individuals refused to solemnize an interracial marriage and could find only 1 news story, and that dispute settled. We think that conflicts of this sort are no more likely today.

I appreciate the great thought, care, and time that went into this reply. Along with Professor Laycock's response, it has been very helpful in clarifying my own thinking about this. It deserves a more thorough and considered reply than I can give it right now, but I do hope to address in a few days both the underlying religious-liberty concerns and some of the potential ways to address those concerns. In the meantime, however, I wanted to share this response with readers and get their reactions.

Public_Defender (mail):
If a landlord refuses to rent to a same sex couple on religious grounds, maybe we should let the couple get money damages if they have to pay more elsewhere instead of an injunction. That way, if the landlord did not actually harm the gay people financially, no harm no foul. But if the landlord's religious beliefs conflict inflict actual harm on innocent gay people, the landlord pays the price.

On another level, why do anti-gay people get a special pass from following the general laws of society? Why not just allow them to avail themselves of whatever religious freedom provisions already exist? Why are the claims of anti-gay people more important than the conservative Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf? Or the Orthodox Jew who doesn't want to work on Saturday? Or the member of a religion that bans alcohol who doesn't want to serve anyone purchasing wine? Or the anti-death penalty lawyer who wants a job with a prosecutor but doesn't want to do anything to help with death penalty cases? Should a secretary in a prosecutor's office be allowed to refuse to help on death penalty cases? What if it's a small office with no substitute except a paid temp? Etc., etc., etc.

Basically, why are anti-gay people so special as to deserve special legal protections unavailable to other religious dissenters? And why are gay people so bad as to merit special provisions expressly permitting private and public discrimination?
4.24.2009 2:10pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
This bit raises more questions for me:

See, e.g., Christian Legal Society v. Walker (7th Cir. 2006) (accepting this argument for CLS's limits on holding leadership positions). Therefore traditionalists in some places will be newly subject to the claim that they are committing sexual-orientation discrimination — or committing marital-status discrimination, if they act based on an objection to an individual's having entering into a same-sex marriage.


It seems to me that this is somewhat troubling. Here we are seeking a specific exemption from antidiscrimination laws on the basis that the old rationale is unsustainable due to new legal developments.

If it is truly a religious corp, and thus would REQUIRE all folks in leadership positions to be from their religion, and also would require that all folks in those positions refrain from sexual activity outside a marriage sanctioned BY THEIR RELIGIOUS SECT, then I would have no problem with it. But the exception here seems substantially broader than that.
4.24.2009 2:19pm
Gilbert (mail):
I look forward to your further discussion of this topic. When you do, please address Romer v. Evans because I think it poses an enormous limit on how far you can take this.
4.24.2009 2:23pm
Colin Adkins (mail):
Faith = belief without proof = irrationality. Why do we care what anyone who is deliberately irrational says? By definition, they have abdicated their brains.
4.24.2009 2:24pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
I'm pleased just to see polite interaction and concern for the thoughts of others on the matter. There is a lot of accusation/counter-accusation on SSM that becomes self-fulfilling, because at that point, your opposition is hateful and bigoted - just like yourself.

Most SSM opponents are worried about forced expansion, in which disinterested tolerance becomes a requirement to celebrate over time (cf Earth Day at schools). While we are certainly overblown in our warnings about that at times, that does not make the concern illegitimate: it does happen. Celebrations at schools and workplaces rapidly become socially mandatory even if they are not in anyone's official job description. To refrain is considered a statement of contempt rather than neutrality.

I will also note that the comparison with interracial marriage is flawed, as interracial marriages have been recognised in most societies over human history, while SSM has not been recognised anywhere until quite recently. Formal prohibition of interracial marriage was not universal even in the American south - or for most of its history. SSM advocates use that equivalence for its considerable conjuring power, but it's not an exact match.
4.24.2009 2:24pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
For example, I think if a Catholic charity refuses to allow folks with same-sex marriages into leadership positions but allows a Catholic man who has a secular but not sacramental marriage to a woman into similar positions, then that is a problem.
4.24.2009 2:27pm
dave h:

Why are the claims of anti-gay people more important than the conservative Muslim woman who wants to wear a headscarf? Or the Orthodox Jew who doesn't want to work on Saturday? Or the member of a religion that bans alcohol who doesn't want to serve anyone purchasing wine? Or the anti-death penalty lawyer who wants a job with a prosecutor but doesn't want to do anything to help with death penalty cases? Should a secretary in a prosecutor's office be allowed to refuse to help on death penalty cases? What if it's a small office with no substitute except a paid temp? Etc., etc., etc.


Who is saying a Muslim woman can't wear a headscarf? That a Jew has to work on Saturday? The remaining examples seem to imply that someone has the right to keep their job even if they refuse to do part of it. The analogous situation would be if someone worked for a photographer who told them to work a same-sex wedding, and they refused. If an exception prevents that person from being fired, I'd be against it. But if the owner of the business doesn't want to work on Saturdays or sell wine they are certainly not required, and it would be analogous to not require them to work a same-sex wedding.
4.24.2009 2:28pm
Assistant Village Idiot (mail) (www):
Public_Defender: Here's a thought - as long as you characterise those who disagree with you as anti-gay, I'm going to bet you aren't going to understand their arguments, always mind-reading they are saying something they aren't.
4.24.2009 2:31pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
I think that the best way to test this reasoning is to substitute language denoting "race" for that denoting "sexual orientation", e.g.


It's partially, but only partially, that SSM interracial marriage increases the number of occurrences in which traditionalist religions or believers might be asked or pressured to facilitate same-sex interracial ceremonies as organizations or business owners. Beyond that, SSMinterracial marriage eliminates the argument, which has sometimes been successful, that a traditionalist organization does not engage in sexual-orientation racial discrimination as such, but acts against all extramarital interracial sexual conduct. See, e.g., Christian Legal Society v. Walker (7th Cir. 2006) (accepting this argument for CLS's limits on holding leadership positions). Therefore traditionalists in some places will be newly subject to the claim that they are committing sexual-orientation racial discrimination — or committing marital-status discrimination, if they act based on an objection to an individual's having entering into a same-sex interracial marriage.


Ultimately, the question is whether the advocates for "religious exemptions" would be as comfortable with their claims if the Knights of Columbus wanted to deny access to their facilities to mixed race couple, rather than same sex couples.
4.24.2009 2:38pm
gerard (mail):
AVI: here's a thought - as long as you continue to put forth arguments which are substantively anti-gay, you can expect people to call those arguments anti-gay.

I, and other gay people, don't particularly care about people's motivations. If the outcome is that you're denying me some basic human rights, that is anti-gay, even if you believe you came to that conclusion for some other reason.
4.24.2009 2:39pm
gerard (mail):

But if the owner of the business doesn't want to work on Saturdays or sell wine they are certainly not required, and it would be analogous to not require them to work a same-sex wedding.


I think a more appropriate analogy is a shopowner refusing to serve people of a certain race.

I'm all about reasonable accomodation. But it seems ridiculous to carve out a religious liberty exemption for this, but not for other forms of discrimination. If the argument is that it makes the bitter pill go down more easily, that's fair enough, but that argument is political, not legal.
4.24.2009 2:47pm
Crackmonkeyjr (www):
This seems to be much ado about nothing. There is plenty of case law out there about when the 1st Amendment allows an exception to a law or employment obligation. Just apply the existing case law. If, and I think this is a big "if," there appears to be a problem, then we can deal with adding extra protections for religious groups.
4.24.2009 2:47pm
Tern (mail):
Given the clear differences between race and sexual orientation, and the fact that many religions traditionally consider homosexual behavior sinful, it is highly unlikely that the same lack of challenges as post-Loving will occur n this case. (Do you really expect the LDS Church to roll over and allow - or recognize SSM? The Catholics?)

In addition, there is the apparent desire of some homosexuals to force acceptance of their behavior; confrontions will be sought.
4.24.2009 2:49pm
Randy R. (mail):
Asst village idiot: "I will also note that the comparison with interracial marriage is flawed, as interracial marriages have been recognised in most societies over human history, while SSM has not been recognised anywhere until quite recently. Formal prohibition of interracial marriage was not universal even in the American south - or for most of its history. SSM advocates use that equivalence for its considerable conjuring power, but it's not an exact match"

Then how about divorce? Divorce wasn't legal in most countries until the 20th century. And even today,many Christian religions do not permit divorce, or if they do, they don't permit remarriage. Therefore, according to you, we should never allow divorced people to remarry, as they would be contra tradition.

BTW, interracial marriage was prohibited in almost all states until the early 50s.
4.24.2009 2:52pm
dave h:

I think a more appropriate analogy is a shopowner refusing to serve people of a certain race.


I think it's an appropriate analogy, though not moreso than the others. I'm generally against anti-discirmination law. I wouldn't be the shopowner refusing to serve (either an interracial or same-sex marriage) but I think one should have that right. Better to convince them they're making the wrong choice than to just force them to do what I think is right. Personally I wouldn't want to be photographed at my wedding by someone who thought I was going to hell (and that may very well eliminate a lot of photographers in my case) - whether the law required them to or not.
4.24.2009 2:55pm
Brett Bellmore:
You know what? Some of us have just never accepted the notion that anyone has a right to demand that somebody else conduct business with them. Turn it around: You don't like it if somebody won't serve food to you in their restaurant? Guess what: The restaurant doesn't much like it if you refuse to buy their food, either.

Why should you have the right to refuse them YOUR business? If you can answer that, you'll understand why they've got the right to refuse you their's.

People shouldn't irrationally discriminate, but freedom is the space between what you should do, and are compelled to do, what you shouldn't do, and are compelled to refrain from.
4.24.2009 2:57pm
Simon P:
Dale, I appreciate the work you do in this area, but I believe you are far too accommodating of these kinds of religious exemptions. Why should gay people have to endure "symbolic" harms just so that someone can make a show of their religious beliefs by denying them services?

This is not about "religious liberty." This is about creating a class of special exemptions from the general application of the laws. These exemptions stretch far beyond anything the Constitution requires or could even be said to have contemplated, protecting a wide class of behaviors that have nothing to do with religious belief or observation. How can it be "against your religion" to rent an apartment to a married same-sex couple? Why do I, as a gay person, just have to take your word for it?

I can recognize that these religious-objection provisions may be part of what makes SSM statutes politically palatable. So long as they don't cut back on anti-discrimination protections, I suppose that seems like a reasonable, transitional step towards true equality. But that it is an imperfect compromise, I think, has to be acknowledged. This is, in essence, a concession to intransigent anti-gay sentiment, and it's a blight on our democracy.
4.24.2009 2:59pm
gerard (mail):


Personally I wouldn't want to be photographed at my wedding by someone who thought I was going to hell (and that may very well eliminate a lot of photographers in my case) - whether the law required them to or not.



I agree, and this much is obvious.

However, while gay couples in New York City can easily find dozens if not hundreds of businesses that will happily serve them, that might not be the case in some rural or out-of-the-way areas.
4.24.2009 3:03pm
Brett Bellmore:
We had our marriage photographed by a non-professional relative. Not only good work, but none of that nonsense of not owning the copyright to photos you paid to have taken.
4.24.2009 3:06pm
Randy R. (mail):
I could take people's religious objections to recognizing SSM more seriously if they actually had some real religious objections. But they don't.

Most religions have all sorts of prohibitions -- against premarital sex, divorce, eating meat on Friday, abortion, graven images, eating certain foods like pork, and so on. And yes, some religions, like that at Bob Jones University, view interracial marriage as a sin.

Somehow, not one of those prohibitions is important enough to warrant a general exception. I have yet to see any employer refuse to hire someone because they are divorced, or had sex before marriage. Why is it that only gay people singled out?

This isn't about religious exeptions at all. It's about wanting to discriminate against a group of people that you don't like.
4.24.2009 3:09pm
Paul Barnes (mail):
In for a penny, in for a pound.

I really appreciate these posts, however, it seems that reading the comments that these deals seem like a bad deal for religious believers, especially those who dissent from the official state policy. Which reminds me of precisely why Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue is such an important book.

What is happening with the development of the technocratic state is that it is becoming all encompassing, intolerant of any dissent from the party line. Furthermore, we are allowing the state to determine what is or is not religious doctrine.

As John Courtney Murray (who was one of the co-writers of the UN's human rights declaration) the state cannot determine the truth validity of religious claims because its outside of its competency. However, commentators seem to think that the state should stand in judgment over individual conscience and trample right over it.
4.24.2009 3:13pm
Brett Bellmore:
Ideally, religion shouldn't give you the right to do anything you couldn't do from a secular motive. But that should be how expansive secular rights are, not how limited religious liberty is.

Yes, it's about wanting to discriminate against people you don't like, <i>and you should be entitled to do that</i>, so long as you're not doing something to them you wouldn't otherwise be entitled to do for more reputable motives.
4.24.2009 3:15pm
trad and anon (mail):
The treatment here should be exactly the same as the treatment given to people with a sincere religious belief that black people are inferior, or that interracial marriage is an abomination, that interfaith marriages are wrongful, or that Jews are children of Satan. Overtly racist religion was quite common in the South before the Second Reconstruction, and the LDS church was overtly racist as well. Eventually most of the overtly racist religious "reinterpreted" the Bible due to social pressure, or received new "revelations" from God, or declined into near-nonexistence. Put people who believe these things still exist.

Should there be a religious conscience exemption for photographers who do not wish to photograph interracial weddings between blacks and whites because black people bear the mark of Cain, or who do not wish to photograph Jewish weddings because Jews are children of Satan?

These sorts of religious beliefs are less common than religiously-based opposition to same-sex marriages, but that makes the case for a religious conscience exemption stronger, not weaker. Small groups of people, especially those with widely despised views, need the most legal protections.

Given that we have gay marriage, there are four consistent lines of thought you can take here:

1) Oppose antidiscrimination laws for sexual orientation, but support antidiscrimination laws for race.
2) Oppose all antidiscrimination laws.
3) Support religious conscience exemptions for both religiously-based racism and religiously-based opposition to gay rights.
4) Oppose religious conscience exemptions for both religiously-based racism and religiously-based opposition to gay rights.

What you cannot (consistently) do is support religious conscience exemptions for religiously-based opposition to gay rights, but not religious conscience exemptions for religiously-based racism. I'm a liberal, so I oppose repealing the '64 Act, and I oppose carving out new exceptions to protect religiously-based racism. Do you?
4.24.2009 3:19pm
Seamus (mail):
For example, I think if a Catholic charity refuses to allow folks with same-sex marriages into leadership positions but allows a Catholic man who has a secular but not sacramental marriage to a woman into similar positions, then that is a problem.

Somehow, not one of those prohibitions is important enough to warrant a general exception. I have yet to see any employer refuse to hire someone because they are divorced, or had sex before marriage. Why is it that only gay people singled out?

IIRC, a few years back the Catholic Diocese of Arlington fired a secretary who worked in the Chancery and who attempted remarriage after divorce.
4.24.2009 3:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Suppose I'm a photographer who is asked to do a SSM.
I think SSM is a bad idea, but not for religious reasons, and there isn't enough money forthcoming to get me to overcome my scruples.
Do I get a break because my position is not religious in origin? Do I get a different break? Do I get no break at all?

One of the victories of the pro-choice folks is to make it axiomatic that pro-life is always and inescapably a matter of religious doctrine. What if, for a given individual--me--it isn't?

So, I dislike the idea of SSM but not for religious reasons. Where do I fit in to this debate?
4.24.2009 3:28pm
trad and anon (mail):
You know what? Some of us have just never accepted the notion that anyone has a right to demand that somebody else conduct business with them. Turn it around: You don't like it if somebody won't serve food to you in their restaurant? Guess what: The restaurant doesn't much like it if you refuse to buy their food, either.

So you'll stand on principle, and say the '64 and '68 Acts should never have been passed, and should be repealed? That Southern restaurants should have had (and should have today) the right to say, "no Negroes," and if you're black, sucks to be you? That Southern businesses should have had (and should continue to have) the right to post employment ads for "whites only," and if you're not white, sucks to be you?

If you'll say that, I'll give you credit for consistency. Any other conclusions are left as an exercise for the reader.
4.24.2009 3:28pm
Seamus (mail):

Asst village idiot: "I will also note that the comparison with interracial marriage is flawed, as interracial marriages have been recognised in most societies over human history, while SSM has not been recognised anywhere until quite recently. Formal prohibition of interracial marriage was not universal even in the American south - or for most of its history. SSM advocates use that equivalence for its considerable conjuring power, but it's not an exact match"

Then how about divorce? Divorce wasn't legal in most countries until the 20th century. And even today,many Christian religions do not permit divorce, or if they do, they don't permit remarriage. Therefore, according to you, we should never allow divorced people to remarry, as they would be contra tradition.



Until the last few years, it was universally believed that it was of the essence of marriage that it be between people of different sexes; it took positive action by the state to change that and make same sex marriage legal, or even possible. In contrast, it was never generally believed that it was of the essence of marriage that it be between people of the same race; it took positive action by the state to make such marriage illegal or invalid.

Oh, yes, and until Christianity came along, it was universally believed that marriages were dissoluble for appropriate cause. Christianity was unique in holding that marriage was by its very nature indissoluble. Laws permitting divorce are not so much "contra tradition" as merely restorative of the older tradition that prevailed before Europe became Christian, and that has always prevailed in the non-Christian world.
4.24.2009 3:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
"What is happening with the development of the technocratic state is that it is becoming all encompassing, intolerant of any dissent from the party line. Furthermore, we are allowing the state to determine what is or is not religious doctrine. "

To a certain extent, that's true. But as a society we have decided that people's prejudices cannot trump other's people's right to participate in society. I know restaurants that don't serve on Saturday or serve pork, due to their religious beliefs. No problems there, right? But if they were to refuse service to a person based on their personal beliefs, that is prohibited.
4.24.2009 3:33pm
Tern (mail):
I am continually amazed by those opposing what they see as discrimination by advocating discrimination.
4.24.2009 3:35pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I really think these exceptions should be for religious organizations only. If discrimination is a big enough issue to warrant a law against it then we shouldn't allow everyone to ignore that law on the mere basis of religious opposition to the law. And even there when it comes to hiring and firing, these ought to be interpreted as narrowly as is reasonable.
4.24.2009 3:39pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Seamus:

Oh, yes, and until Christianity came along, it was universally believed that marriages were dissoluble for appropriate cause.


Among some groups (Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, etc.) not all property was community property either and women could ask for divorce almost as easily as her husband could divorce her.
4.24.2009 3:42pm
dave h:

So you'll stand on principle, and say the '64 and '68 Acts should never have been passed, and should be repealed? That Southern restaurants should have had (and should have today) the right to say, "no Negroes," and if you're black, sucks to be you? That Southern businesses should have had (and should continue to have) the right to post employment ads for "whites only," and if you're not white, sucks to be you?

If you'll say that, I'll give you credit for consistency. Any other conclusions are left as an exercise for the reader.


There's a space between "pass a law forcing everyone to behave as you think they ought" and "sucks to be you". How about you work as hard as you would to pass the law, trying to either a) convince another person of their error, or b) finding that impossible, do whatever you can (legally) to put them out of business so they can be replaced.

There's no question that good came out of the accomodation aspects of the civil rights laws. I would have preferred it come about in another way that was more respectful of individual freedom and had fewer long-lasting negative consquences.

Oh, and it's quite possible to have the view that people should be allowed to be racist, while still finding it repugnant that people actually are. Some people believe in freedom, even the freedom to be a horrible person. Implicitly calling such a person racist, stupid, or whatever else you were trying to imply, not only isn't productive, but is itself quite offensive.
4.24.2009 3:43pm
byomtov (mail):
we think that other religious objections to marriages will be extremely infrequent. For example, we searched on Westlaw for cases after Loving v. Virginia in which individuals refused to solemnize an interracial marriage and could find only 1 news story, and that dispute settled. We think that conflicts of this sort are no more likely today.

Huh? You mean there are no objections because no lawsuits showed up in Westlaw? Of course there are all sorts of religious objections to solemnizing certain marriages. Just go ask a Roman Catholic priest or an Orthodox rabbi about it.

Mirabile dictu, there are no lawsuits about this. This much-cited fact ought to dispel the fears that clergy will be forced to solemnize marriages of which they disapprove on religous grounds. Of course it won't. The conclusion to be drawn is left as an exercise.
4.24.2009 3:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
Seamus: "Until the last few years, it was universally believed that it was of the essence of marriage that it be between people of different sexes;"

Yes, I know. The 'essense' of marriage. It's always defined as excluding gays, but it can incorporate anything else -- interracial marriage, marriages of convenience, sham marriages, marriage for money, shotgun marriages, 14 hour Britney Spears marriages. Then of course divorce is okay. These are all perfectly fine, legal and valid in God's eyes and the eyes of law.

But when two gay people want to get married, the answer is no, because it's not 'right.' So two straight people can abuse the notion of marriage all they like, but that's okay. That's 'tradition.' But when two gay people want to get married because they love each other? Oh, suddenly the marriage police are all over it.

And there are always lots of excuses, mainly along the lines of 'its never been done before, so we can't start now.'

Well, we now have SSM in Canada, Belgium, S. Africa, Spain, Denmark, and Holland, as well as four states within the US. Some have had SSM for several years.

So, Seamus, how long before SSM is considered traditional in those jurisdictions? Five years? Ten? A generation? What yardstick do you use, and why? Let me guess -- you are going to choose the longest period of time possible, right?

Let's assume the worst, and that SSM totally upends traditional marriage. So what? Please describe any harm that has come in the those places that allow SSM because of it. Traditions DO change, often for the better. Unless you have an actual reason to not change the tradition of marriage, then there is no good reason to follow it merely because that's the way it's always been.
4.24.2009 3:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
dave H:"How about you work as hard as you would to pass the law, trying to either a) convince another person of their error, or b) finding that impossible, do whatever you can (legally) to put them out of business so they can be replaced. "

We do that. But the religious right fights us, claiming that we are 'promoting homosexuality,' and for some reason, we aren't supposed to do that. Or you have a beauty queen say that she is against gay marriage, and she loses and blames it on her unpopular views. If we try to put a company out of business, we are radical homosexual activists who are harassing honest people trying to make a living.

But nonetheless, we are succeeding. Indeed, it is precisely because we are succeeding that people are realzing that gays are people too, and there is no need to discriminate against us. Twenty years ago, that was much more difficult. And we use all the tools available to us -- personal stories, the courts, the legislature and so on.

If you were in our shoes, wouldn't you do the same thing?
4.24.2009 3:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I am continually amazed by those opposing what they see as discrimination by advocating discrimination."

Or, put another way, I am continually amazed that there are people out there who want to discriminate against people, and when told that they cannot, claim that they have a right to discriminate!
4.24.2009 4:00pm
Putting Two and Two...:
I suggest that before we go too far down this path of accommodation, we seek to ascertain the sincerity of the position of some of these organizations regarding marriage validity. For example, many Catholic organizations hire both Catholics and non-. Does the Church provide spousal benefits for non-sacramental married couples? With new "religious liberty" exemptions, will it continue to do so? And how about divorced employees? Are Catholic employees fired and non- not?

And, here's the real test. Catholic organization and divorced employee: does the Church continue to cover the ex-spouse's health insurance? Anyone want to bet on that one?
4.24.2009 4:00pm
Brett Bellmore:
Yes, Trad, I'd say something like that. I think it's a tragedy that we went straight from mandating discrimination, to mandating non-discrimination, without pausing to try out freedom. It was the first of many steps towards the "All that's not manditory is forbidden" nightmare that lies in our future.
4.24.2009 4:01pm
Tern (mail):
Much of religious prohibitions against sin are discrimination. Good discrimination for the most part (IMO) but discrimination nonetheless. And the First Amendment does allow such discrimination in most cases.

There is a fundamental conflict here - and attempts to force religion to condone homosexuality often take the form of discrimination against religion. I.e., when one requires my religion to acknowledge SSM (immoral) one is discriminating against our right to practice our beliefs. Some might think that is a good thing. Fine. But don't pretend that you aren't guilty of discrimination. The only difference is, you think yours is okay. And we think ours is.
4.24.2009 4:14pm
trad and anon (mail):
dave h and Brett:

As I said, points for consistency. Will Profs. Volokh and Carpenter, who have been oh-so-concerned about the rights of religious homophobes, have the courage of their convictions and say the same thing? Or will they say nothing about why religious racism is different from religious homophobia? My money is on the latter.
4.24.2009 4:14pm
Tern (mail):
Ah, "homophobes". Nothing says respectful debate like name-calling. Because, of course, religious people only oppose homosexual behavior because they are afraid of it - nobody genuinely believes that it is morally wrong.
4.24.2009 4:21pm
Seamus (mail):
Randy R:

You completely miss my point, which is that same-sex marriage is not like mixed-race marriage so much as it's like *bans* on mixed-race marriage; both are relatively recent innovations that have little to do with the traditional understanding of marriage. (Even though the Christian ban on divorce was also a relatively recent innovation, it was defended, not as a jettisoning of irrational tradition, but as something required by the essential nature of, and original divine plan for, marriage ("Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so").) I said nothing about the value of tradition; I was merely trying to properly identify what should be characterized as traditional.
4.24.2009 4:31pm
Paul Barnes (mail):
What place is it of government to determine if a religious organization is sincere?
4.24.2009 4:33pm
Seamus (mail):

Does the Church provide spousal benefits for non-sacramental married couples? With new "religious liberty" exemptions, will it continue to do so? And how about divorced employees? Are Catholic employees fired and non- not?



Every valid marriage between Christians, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, is considered by the Catholic Church to be a sacramental marriage. So what are you talking about? Are you talking about valid, non-sacramental marriages between non-Christians (or in which only one spouse is Christian), or are you talking about "marriages" between Christians that the Church regards as invalid (and therefore as non-sacramental) because, e.g., it is an attempted re-marriage after divorce? If the former, then of course the Church provides spousal benefits, because there is a real marriage. If the latter, then the Church is within its rights not to hire the person at all, or to fire the person, (see the case I referred to earlier, of the divorced/remarried employee who was fired by the diocese of Arlington).
4.24.2009 4:38pm
DangerMouse:
I could take people's religious objections to recognizing SSM more seriously if they actually had some real religious objections. But they don't.

Most religions have all sorts of prohibitions -- against premarital sex, divorce, eating meat on Friday, abortion, graven images, eating certain foods like pork, and so on. And yes, some religions, like that at Bob Jones University, view interracial marriage as a sin.

Somehow, not one of those prohibitions is important enough to warrant a general exception. I have yet to see any employer refuse to hire someone because they are divorced, or had sex before marriage. Why is it that only gay people singled out?

This isn't about religious exeptions at all. It's about wanting to discriminate against a group of people that you don't like.


On the contrary, Randy, I think that the religious exceptions are extremely important, and am worried that the weakening of those exceptions via the homosexual agenda will set terrible precedents for the future.

A lot of people have made the argument that perhaps priests who are against gay marriage won't be forced to officiate at one, but that Christians operating in the marketplace would have no exception from a general law against discrimination. Thus, New Mexican photographers would be forced to do business with homosexuals who want to take wedding pictures, etc.

People think that being in the market means religious freedoms no longer apply. People also say that having a state license to engage in some activity, like child adoption or being a pharmacist, means you have to abide by general state rules meaning you can't treat people differently because of religious beliefs. I also think that's a very worrysome development. (I reiterate again for the record that Catholic Charities was under threat to lose its license to engage in adoptions in Massachusetts because it refused to adopt to gay people, not because it received any money from the state.)

All of those arguments are precedents to force religious people out of the public sphere. In particular, I am extremely concerned that the left is gearing up to force Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services, under threat of losing licenses, on the basis that being a market actor doesn't give them a right to deny services because of religious beliefs. Yes, the state will hold a gun to the head of religious people in order to force them to do abortions. I've no doubt that this thought has been in the minds of the left for quite some time. Every single one of their arguments in these gay rights cases are consistent with them.

If someone can articulate a reason why that won't happen on the basis of the existing arguments now, I'd love to hear it.
4.24.2009 4:38pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I am continually amazed by those opposing what they see as discrimination by advocating discrimination."

You needn't be amazed. As our society changes, things that were once deemed tolerable, such as discriminating against someone because of their race, sex or ethnic origin, are now deemed intolerable. So those who once felt free to discriminated are now discriminated against. That's pretty much the way it works.
4.24.2009 4:40pm
trad and anon (mail):
Ah, "homophobes". Nothing says respectful debate like name-calling. Because, of course, religious people only oppose homosexual behavior because they are afraid of it - nobody genuinely believes that it is morally wrong.

"Respectful debate" was not the idea. Incidentally, "homophobia" means "anti-gay bigotry," not "fear of homosexuals." (Or "fear of sameness," if you really want to go for etymology.) It's like "anti-Semitism," which means "prejudice against Jews," not "prejudice against Semites."
4.24.2009 4:40pm
jrose:
Tern,

Replace "homphobe" with "anti-gay", and trad/anon has a point.
4.24.2009 4:46pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Seamus, the big problem I see with your argument is as follows:

Marriage as an institution is ancient and has historically had procreative and opposite-sex requirements, the last few centuries have brought increasingly rapid change to the social institution. In the US, for example, it wasn't until the last few decades where marriage was seen as a partnership of equals and the vast majority of traditional societies don't really see it as a partnership of equals either. In most societies, the wife was treated legally as relates to power of the husband, about as well as children were.

We have also seen a major shift from extended-family elements (not fully arranged marriages, but ones where the family helps things along hoping to benefit from the marriage of a family member) to ones where it is solely regarded as a personal commitment in a very individualistic way.

The other side of the argument is that marriage has become something today very different than it was even 50 years ago (even 35 years ago, it wasn't rape if it was between a husband and wife anywhere in the US). It is certainly arguable that marriage has become somewhat trapped in our social contradictions and that the least disruptive way forward is to recognize same-sex marriage.
4.24.2009 4:47pm
dave h:
Randy, I think you need to be a bit careful equating 50's and 60's era civil rights struggles with the current effort to get SSM. I personally believe that two men should be able to get all the same contractual rights as a man and a woman, and that beyond that it shouldn't be any of the government's business either way. However, I believe there are more complicating factors that make this point more equivocal than with an effort to ensure someone with black skin has the right to vote. Therefore ones needs to be more careful targeting boycotts, etc - I think the prop 8 backlash went overboard. Furthermore, while it's very important to be able to be civilly married (and I would be upset if it were denied to me) it's quite a few steps down from the treatment of people with black skin during the civil rights struggles, and I think it's important to have that perspective. You should also take heart in the rather clear fact that there will be same-sex marriage in the future, if for no other reason than because newer generations have less problem with it. We're just quibbling over the details.
4.24.2009 4:48pm
jrose:
But more specifically, it would likely weaken defenses under state religious-freedom provisions, constitutional or statutory (state "RFRAs"), that require a compelling interest to override religious freedom.

What states have sexual orientation anti-discrimination statutes with religious-freedom exemptions?
4.24.2009 4:49pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

All of those arguments are precedents to force religious people out of the public sphere.


That depends on what religion you practice.

Many religious groups have changed their attitudes towards women, racial minorities and gay people.
4.24.2009 4:49pm
trad and anon (mail):
A lot of people have made the argument that perhaps priests who are against gay marriage won't be forced to officiate at one, but that Christians operating in the marketplace would have no exception from a general law against discrimination. Thus, New Mexican photographers would be forced to do business with homosexuals who want to take wedding pictures, etc.

Yep. And so I ask you, as I have asked others: will you stand on principle and say that New Mexican photographers should have an exemption from laws forcing them to business with blacks and Jews who want wedding pictures, or that all antidiscrimination laws should be repealed? That the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should have been rejected in 1964 and should be repealed today? If you'll accept the absurdum, you'll get credit for consistency.
4.24.2009 4:51pm
jrose:
SSM eliminates the argument, which has sometimes been successful, that a traditionalist organization does not engage in sexual-orientation discrimination as such, but acts against all extramarital sexual conduct

This straight-forward, non-controversial assertion has no bearing on whether it is good policy to permit sexual-orientation discrimination on an exception basis.
4.24.2009 4:55pm
Cornellian (mail):
What place is it of government to determine if a religious organization is sincere?

If you're going to privilege religious objections over non-religious objections, you've inevitably signed up for the task of figuring out what constitutes a religious objection.
4.24.2009 4:57pm
DangerMouse:
trad,

I'll play your game if you will play mine:

If someone can articulate a reason why [the state will not hold a gun to the head of religious people in order to force them to do abortions] on the basis of the existing arguments now, I'd love to hear it.
4.24.2009 4:57pm
jrose:
trad and anon,

The distinction between religious-based sexual-orientation and racial discrimination is the former is grounded in the belief that sexuality is "what you do" not "who you are", and is either held by or thought to be legitimate by enough voters.
4.24.2009 4:59pm
trad and anon (mail):
All of those arguments are precedents to force religious people out of the public sphere.

I'm not interested in arguing about hospitals being forced to perform abortions (a matter on which I agree with you). But as for religion: yes, I want to force anti-gay religions out of the public sphere by force of social pressure. We did it with racist religions during the Second Reconstruction and we should do it with anti-gay religions today. Let them "reinterpret" their theology, or receive new "revelations" from God, or lose their membership because it becomes socially unacceptable to join. Their universities should suffer the fate of BJU, and their hospitals should be forced to recognize people's spouses as next-of-kin.
4.24.2009 5:00pm
DangerMouse:
I'm not interested in arguing about hospitals being forced to perform abortions (a matter on which I agree with you).

You agree with me, what? That it'd be bad? Ok. But then why make arguments that would lead to it?
4.24.2009 5:02pm
DangerMouse:
But as for religion: yes, I want to force anti-gay religions out of the public sphere by force of social pressure.

You keep saying "social pressure", but everything so far has to deal with the LAW and the power of the state. If you mean social pressure without the force of law, then say so. If you mean the law, then refer to the law.
4.24.2009 5:03pm
trad and anon (mail):
If someone can articulate a reason why [the state will not hold a gun to the head of religious people in order to force them to do abortions] on the basis of the existing arguments now, I'd love to hear it.
I'm not aware that existing antidiscrimination laws would require anyone to perform any particular medical procedure, including abortion. They would prohibit a doctor from performing abortions for non-Jewish women but refusing to for Jewish women, even if they have a sincere religious belief that Jews are children of Satan, but there's no "abortion exception" from the antidiscrimination laws.
The distinction between religious-based sexual-orientation and racial discrimination is the former is grounded in the belief that sexuality is "what you do" not "who you are", and is either held by or thought to be legitimate by enough voters.

What has this got to do with freedom-of-conscience exemptions from antidiscrimination laws?
4.24.2009 5:07pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:


All of those arguments are precedents to force religious people out of the public sphere. In particular, I am extremely concerned that the left is gearing up to force Catholic hospitals to provide abortion services, under threat of losing licenses, on the basis that being a market actor doesn't give them a right to deny services because of religious beliefs. Yes, the state will hold a gun to the head of religious people in order to force them to do abortions. I've no doubt that this thought has been in the minds of the left for quite some time. Every single one of their arguments in these gay rights cases are consistent with them.


Usually I find your arguments a bit over the top. However, let's explore this one a little.

One of the premises of our Republic is that those who find themselves on the minority side in any issue will have their liberties protected against undue influence from the other side. I support same-sex marriage because I think it helps in this area.

However, at the same time, if you are worried about Catholic hospitals being forced to provide services they object to (rather than a mere obligation to either provide the service or, where medically necessary, transfer patient to where it can be provided), this is a valid concern whether or not the Left is really gearing up for this.

What we need are stronger religious protections for religious organizations as relates to the services they specifically provide. I firmly believe that all states should pass state RFRA's as a nice step forward.

Whether this allows for-profit (as opposed to for-prophet) companies to discriminate in these ways is a very, very different question.
4.24.2009 5:09pm
DangerMouse:
trad,

I'll answer your question since you answered mine:

will you stand on principle and say that New Mexican photographers should have an exemption from laws forcing them to business with blacks and Jews who want wedding pictures

In general, no, I don't think that there should be an exemption on the basis of racial discrimination or religious discrimination. I don't think that sexual behavior should be a basis for discrimination laws, though.

or that all antidiscrimination laws should be repealed?

Of course not. Antidiscrimination laws are good for society. However, I do not think it's necessary for society that antidiscrimination laws incorporate protections on the basis of sexual behavior.

That the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should have been rejected in 1964 and should be repealed today?

Without necessarily agreeing to every single Court interpretation of such law, no, I do not think it should be repealed and do not think that it should have been rejected, although I'm a little hesitant as to the basis for the law hinging on the Commerce Clause.
4.24.2009 5:14pm
trad and anon (mail):
You keep saying "social pressure", but everything so far has to deal with the LAW and the power of the state. If you mean social pressure without the force of law, then say so. If you mean the law, then refer to the law.

I can see why I was confusing, since I referred to social pressure and legal forces in the same paragraph. For the most part, overtly racist religion was chased out of the public sphere by social pressure. It became socially unacceptable to be a member of a church that taught that black people bore the mark of Cain. Younger members of the religion didn't believe such things even though their pastor said them at the pulpit.

The result: the racist churches of the South mostly bowed to social pressure and "reinterpreted" the Bible to get rid of the "black people bear the mark of Cain" stuff. Those that didn't saw their membership evaporate as younger people rejected their theology and others were unwilling to bear the social stigma of being branded as racists. A few overtly racist churches still exist, but they're much less common, and much smaller, than they used to be.

The law did get involved in some ways: even religiously based racist hospitals weren't allowed to discriminate against black patients. Institutions like BJU had to give up their tax-exempt status. But for the most part overtly racist religion became a minor force in this country because of social pressure, not legal pressure. I support the same treatment for anti-gay religion.
4.24.2009 5:17pm
jrose:
What has this got to do with freedom-of-conscience exemptions from antidiscrimination laws?

It could be legitimate for someone to hold a belief that sexuality is "what you do", not "who you are" - and that belief justifies an exception. In contrast, there is no corresponding legitimate belief that jusitifes a racial discrimination exception.
4.24.2009 5:19pm
trad and anon (mail):
DangerMouse: So you simply support race-based antidiscrimination laws, but oppose sexual orientation-based antidiscrimination laws? OK, that is a consistent position as well.
4.24.2009 5:20pm
Aaron Denney (mail):
DangerMouse: I think there is a a rather large gulf between being forced to serve all comers and being forced to do particular procedures.

I really don't see how SSM muddies the waters except if clergy were forced to perform such services, which I don't find credible.
4.24.2009 5:22pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Proposed deal:

We let everyone exempt themselves from antidiscrimination laws where this conflicts with religious belief, and in exchange we let various religious groups opt out of anti-bigamy laws when this conflicts with religious belief. Deal?
4.24.2009 5:28pm
DangerMouse:
I really don't see how SSM muddies the waters except if clergy were forced to perform such services, which I don't find credible.

Like I said, the argument is made that if you're providing a market service then religious objections have no place. People also say that state licenses do not permit religious objectives to conditions of that license.

There have been numerous instances where states have tried to force hospitals to engage in abortion services or other services in violation of religious beliefs or conscience clause protections.* In fact, there is currently a very large push to force pharmacists to provide contraception services in violation of their religious beliefs. I see no reason why that argument won't shift to hospitals and abortion once the left claims victory in that one. There is currently a federal review underway of the conscience clause protections that were put in place to address that very issue.

My point is, if religious legal exemptions are gutted to such a degree to force people to violate their religious beliefs, such as providing adoptions for homosexuals, then I see no end to that push, which will end up forcing Catholics out of the hospitals just as they were forced out of adoptions.

* See here at the bottom of the article.
4.24.2009 5:32pm
DangerMouse:
Sorry for the typos in my last post. The second sentence should read: People also say that state licenses do not permit religious objections to conditions of that license.
4.24.2009 5:33pm
ba2 (mail):
Same sex marriage is dangerous to the whole concept of religion. Marriage is a religious symbol of synthesis and a resolution of the dualistic nature of the universe. The sacred integration of the female and male principles is a basis of religion primitive and modern.
4.24.2009 5:35pm
jrose:
Danger,

What if a religious organization believes inter-racial dating is sinful (Bob Jones). Should a photogrpaher be exempt from taking pictures at a wedding of a divorcee, or if it involves a religion he finds objectionable? How do you tell the difference between a legitimate religious belief and an illegitimate one?
4.24.2009 5:43pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
jrose:

I have a different answer than Dangermouse probably....

I think that we should be very sparing with antidiscrimination laws. These laws should address serious and systemic problems only and should be repealed when the problems are no longer serious or systemic. THe civil rights acts are prime examples of when laws should be enacted though now I think we might do better by repealing them.

This being said, I think there is a line between objection to taking part in a transaction and interfering with such a transaction. I think there ought be tort remedies in cases where a wedding photographer decides simply not to show up after the wedding has been arranged and he has agreed to be there (contract or not), just because he finds the activity distasteful. In short, if you don't want to serve someone, and you are willing to respectfully refer someone elsewhere, and this is NOT done on the basis of catering to racists, etc. I don't see why this would be a problem.

You call up a wedding photographer who asks "is this an interracial marriage?" You say "yes it is." The wedding photographer says "I am sorry, I can't help you. However, here is a business I would highly recommend and they do an excellent job." That is OK in my book. Heck, why would it be different if the guy just said "I am not as good at taking pictures of black folk as so-and-so. He is a much better artist in this regard than I am?"
4.24.2009 5:51pm
DangerMouse:
einhverfr,

Referral of abortion services could be construed as material cooperation in an intrinsically evil act, which would be a sin. Forcing people to refer for services they find objectionable doesn't mean that they have clean hands in the matter.
4.24.2009 6:03pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
While I don't have a problem with "religious exemptions", such exemptions for individuals (and businesses -- indeed, for everything but churches themselves) should be required to meet the same kind of standard that "conscientious objectors" had to meet to avoid being drafted into the infantry.

In other words, you can't just say "my religious beliefs mean that I can't photograph your wedding", you have to prove that you actually hold those beliefs, and that they are based on religious dogma (rather than prejudice).

The problem with the anti-gay zealots who are pushing these religious exemptions is that there is nothing in the bible prohibiting a photographer from taking pictures of a gay wedding (whereas the bible is pretty clear about the "shalt not kill" stuff.)
4.24.2009 6:06pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:

Referral of abortion services could be construed as material cooperation in an intrinsically evil act, which would be a sin. Forcing people to refer for services they find objectionable doesn't mean that they have clean hands in the matter.


Ok, then we can leave this as "transfer, when medically necessary."

If you are taken in an ambulance to a Catholic hospital and hospitalized, and desire an abortion but the hospitalization may push you beyond a legal window, you should have the right to be transferred to a hospital that would perform the service. Agree?
4.24.2009 6:15pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Also when an abortion is medically necessary for the mother's life or physical health, I think a referral is a medical duty.
4.24.2009 6:16pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
(in the latter case, I think medical malpractice claims SHOULD prevail if the hospital does not fulfil their legal duty to the physical health of the mother.)
4.24.2009 6:17pm
A.:
ba2: Your statement is without legal significance.
4.24.2009 6:17pm
DangerMouse:
jrose,

I don't think the government should be in the business of determining whether religious beliefs are legitimate or not. But that sort of analysis need not take place for laws that have general application if the laws do not substantially interfere with religious freedom. I don't think that the Bob Jones precedent is so clear cut, though, even without judging the legitimacy of their religious beliefs.

In particular, I'm concerned that the California Supreme Court de-linked the provision of social services by Catholic Charities with its religious mission. The Court almost seemed to state that because Catholic Charities provided charity to all, it could not be a religious organization and therefore had to provide contraceptive coverage for its employees. That is extremely troubling to me, because in that case the State seemed to artifically define the limits of religious freedom in a way inconsistent with the reality that religious organizations almost always provide charity to all irresepective of belief. Such other limitations are possible in the future, such that a Court could artifically rule that providing health care is not a religious function (in contravention of centuries of history otherwise) and ruling that they have to provide contraception, abortion, etc.
4.24.2009 6:21pm
Seamus (mail):

Should a photogrpaher be exempt from taking pictures at a wedding of a divorcee . . . ?



Absolutely.
4.24.2009 6:28pm
Tom G (mail):

Should a photogrpaher be exempt from taking pictures at a wedding of a divorcee, or if it involves a religion he finds objectionable? How do you tell the difference between a legitimate religious belief and an illegitimate one?


I think a distinction should be made between someone operating independently as a free-lancer and a larger business like a hotel, restaurant, etc.

I am more sympathetic to an individual who does not want to involve themselves in a situation where they feel deeply uncomfortable, outnumbered, etc.

For example, what if a gay free lance web designer is contacted by Focus on the Family to come into their office and create content for their web page, including anti-SSM communications. As a gay man I know that I would be extremely intimated to set foot on the Focus on the Family campus, and perhaps the photog felt the same way about the wedding.

The thing that gets me though is that the point is kind of moot-couldn't the photographer (or my hypothetical web designer) just make up some excuse like they are booked or they are traveling etc. It seems like discretion is all thats necessary here, unless you are purposely seeking martyrdom. Am i mistaken?
4.24.2009 6:28pm
trad and anon (mail):
It could be legitimate for someone to hold a belief that sexuality is "what you do", not "who you are" - and that belief justifies an exception. In contrast, there is no corresponding legitimate belief that jusitifes a racial discrimination exception.

But why should there be freedom-of-conscience exemptions only for religious beliefs you deem "legitimate"? Who put you in charge of determining that anti-gay theology is legitimate, but anti-black theology is not?

The state should not be in the business of deciding which interpretations of the Bible are "legitimate" and which aren't. The Constitution forbids it from doing so.
4.24.2009 6:34pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
It's been awhile, but didn't most here hold that Muslim cab drivers couldn't refuse service to fares carrying alcohol?
4.24.2009 6:39pm
trad and anon (mail):
Same sex marriage is dangerous to the whole concept of religion. Marriage is a religious symbol of synthesis and a resolution of the dualistic nature of the universe. The sacred integration of the female and male principles is a basis of religion primitive and modern.

Except for all the religions that support it? Several smaller Protestant denominations (most notably the UCC) have an official position in support; the Unitarian Universalists are officially in support; a bunch of Reform rabbis will perform same sex marriages; Hindu swamis are divided on the subject; Wiccans have no structure and therefore no official position but are typically in support; and so forth.

Granted, these are all minority positions among world religion in general. But how the UCC is "dangerous to the whole concept of religion" is wholly beyond me.
4.24.2009 6:46pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
I don't think the government should be in the business of determining whether religious beliefs are legitimate or not.
_
ah, so you think I should be allowed to not pay a percentage of my taxes because its against my religious beliefs to fund the US "war machine?"
4.24.2009 6:48pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Owen:

It's been awhile, but didn't most here hold that Muslim cab drivers couldn't refuse service to fares carrying alcohol?


Is there a law that generally requires this? (as opposed to refusing to issue licenses to cab drivers wanting to serve the airport after numerous complaints)
4.24.2009 6:52pm
Randy R. (mail):
Tern: "There is a fundamental conflict here - and attempts to force religion to condone homosexuality often take the form of discrimination against religion. I.e., when one requires my religion to acknowledge SSM (immoral) one is discriminating against our right to practice our beliefs."

hardly. You are free in your religion to say or believe whatever you think. However, when you use your religion to deny rights to other people,then you are the one discriminating.

People who say that homosexuality if 'morally wrong' means that they are anti-gay. If you think it's wrong, you likely think it is a choice (again wrong), but refuse to consider that it is an ingrained trait, such as lefthandness. That's pretty much the definition of homophobia.
4.24.2009 6:59pm
DangerMouse:
ah, so you think I should be allowed to not pay a percentage of my taxes because its against my religious beliefs to fund the US "war machine?"

Whether the law generally applies without a substantial limitation of religious freedom does not depend on the government assessing the legitimacy of one's beliefs.

Last I checked, Quakers have to pay income taxes, right?
4.24.2009 7:07pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
einhverfr wrote:

Owen:


It's been awhile, but didn't most here hold that Muslim cab drivers couldn't refuse service to fares carrying alcohol?



Is there a law that generally requires this? (as opposed to refusing to issue licenses to cab drivers wanting to serve the airport after numerous complaints)


http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=2827800

In the end, they were not allowed to discriminate against passengers in that way. So how is this different from denying access to some other "public accommodation", such as refusing to rent a gazebo to a same-sex couple?
4.24.2009 7:07pm
Randy R. (mail):
Seamus: " I was merely trying to properly identify what should be characterized as traditional."

thanks for the clarification.

Dave H: I agree that civil rights for blacks is very different from civil rights for gays. Each minority has it's own struggles. The women's movement was itself different.

Yet, there are many similiarities. People who opposed rights for women, blacks and now gays offer the same arguements: This is how it's always been, so this is how it should always be. Also, they argue,poor me -- i've always been discriminating against this people, for good reason, mind you, and now you want to force me and stop me from discriminating against them -- that's tyranny, not freedom!

I understand some people have fears about this. Change always brings about problems. But the fears are over blown. After all this time, only three incidents are cited, and the same ones over and over -- the Catholic Charities Adoption, in which the CC voluntarily gave up all adoptions rather than comply with local law, the wedding photographer in NM, and the civil union ceremony in NJ. In none of these cases did SSM play a role, so the gripe is not with SSM, but with anti-discrimination laws.

But what is remarkable is that most states have these laws, and have had them for many years, since at least hte early 90s. And afterall this time, the vvery worst you can come up with is three cases. I'd say that means the laws are actually working pretty well.

I agree, we will have won the battle in the long run.
4.24.2009 7:08pm
trad and anon (mail):
I think the Society of Friends would be a lot more popular if it got you out of paying income tax.
4.24.2009 7:11pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Should a photogrpaher be exempt from taking pictures at a wedding of a divorcee . . . ? "

The real point is that hte photographers refused to take pictures of a gay wedding because of 'deeply held religious beliefs.'

This of course nonsense. If they had a sign posted in their store that they will not take pictures of any wedding the violates their religious beliefs, and then list all of them, that I would beilieve them. But they would, by their own admission, have to turn down most jobs, because many of them would be divorced people,people who committed adultery, people who had sex before marriage, and so on.

But no. They are happy to take pictures of people who blithely violate many of their 'deeply held religious beliefs' they just singled out gays. So no, it wasn't because of their beliefs,but simply because they have prejudices against gays. They can have their prejudices, but they cannot refuse service to a paying customer.
4.24.2009 7:14pm
trad and anon (mail):
After all this time, only three incidents are cited, and the same ones over and over -- the Catholic Charities Adoption, in which the CC voluntarily gave up all adoptions rather than comply with local law, the wedding photographer in NM, and the civil union ceremony in NJ. In none of these cases did SSM play a role, so the gripe is not with SSM, but with anti-discrimination laws.

Especially since neither New Mexico nor New Jersey even has same-sex marriage.
4.24.2009 7:16pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Owen Hutchins:

Yes, I was referring to that case. I wasn't able to find documentation of larger issues beyond the airport permit issue though.

I thought the issue had to do with permits to operate taxi cabs at the airport? Not a right to provide paid public transportation in general, subject to religious restrictions?

If a taxi-cab company wants to advertise heavily that they only serve the Islamic community and have these restrictions, I don't have a problem with that. However, when it becomes difficult to find a ride from the airport, that becomes a public matter.
4.24.2009 7:33pm
ArthurKirkland:
The game of ever-more-powerful trump could be fascinating.

A Catholic clerk could refuse to provide service to a Protestant (heretic) couple seeking a license for a marriage (thrice-divorced man, lapsed Catholic woman) to be performed in a Protestant church.

An adherent of a new anti-Catholic church (whose doctrine is that the concealment-and-facilitation-of-sexual-abuse-of-children record marks Catholics as Satan's handymen) could refuse to provide a park permit for a reception associated with a marriage performed in a Catholic church.

A Jew, emboldened by the new "religious liberty," could refuse to issue a license to anyone desiring to be wed during the Sabbath (with the added heresy of bacon cheeseburgers at the reception).

A hardcore Mormon who decided to issue multiple licenses to man who explained a calling from God to take multiple wives would probably be out of luck, but who knows what could happen if he established a sincere conscientious objection to monogamy?

A strong Christian evangelical could decline to issue a license to someone she knows to be a Godless communist.

An Opus Dei member could decline to issue a license to a divorced Catholic intending to marry another spouse.

A Jewish clerk or health inspector could refuse to issue a health permit to a restaurant that serves shrimp, pepperoni pizza or pulled pork sandwiches.

And that's just the government employment context.

If someone can rely on a claim a religious belief prohibiting putting a box of contraceptives in a sack for a pharmacy customer, why couldn't someone else claim a similar pass with respect to refusing to sell a notebook intended for use at Bob Jones University or Brigham Young University or Yeshiva University or Notre Dame?

A sales clerk could refuse to sell God-mocking music, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or Adam Sandler's Hannukah Song, or Lutheran hymns, or George Michael's next comeback album, depending on the clerk's religious views.

What if a nature-based religion develops a science-focused university (it would have "natural" advantage, being based on science and reason) and refused to hire anyone who believed in the supernatural?

The real fun begins when gays form a church -- I believe this to be inevitable, particularly if the religious are dealt more trump cards -- that considers the Catholic Church to be an agent of Satan, and gay clerks consequently refuse to speak a single word with known Catholics, let alone issue licenses for Catholic weddings.
4.24.2009 7:35pm
ArthurKirkland:
By the way . . . if a government employee is permitted to refrain from issuing a same-sex marriage license on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, on the grounds of religious conviction, and it is discovered that the employee's son (married to a man) is still welcome (with or without his spouse) for Thanksgiving dinner, does that render the employee ineligible to claim "religious objection" the following Monday?
4.24.2009 7:39pm
DangerMouse:
Arthur, do you really want to force pharmacists to dispense contraception in violation of their religious beliefs? Do you really want to force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?
4.24.2009 8:27pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
DangerMouse:

Arthur, do you really want to force pharmacists to dispense contraception in violation of their religious beliefs?


For that matter, do you really want to force Quakers who enlist in the Army Reserves for the scholarship money actually take part in military actions?
4.24.2009 8:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
(if thy job offends thee get a new one.... exceptions granted to businesses who advertise religious restrictions and are not in a monopoly or blocking position.)
4.24.2009 8:46pm
ArthurKirkland:
A pharmacist who can't serve the customer should find another line of work, particularly if that pharmacist is employed by another. If I believe parents are mistreating children by indoctrinating them in a particular religion -- an interesting question develops if the reasoning is based on a different religion, or a strain of the same religion, or a belief that the supernatural is for children and the weak-minded -- should I, as a grocery clerk, be entitled to refuse to sell them the fixings for a Seder, or a communion dinner? If I believe a girl should not be wrestling boys because of my religious beliefs -- and I'll bet that religion is out there somewhere -- should I be permitted to refuse to sell the girl a uniform or a water bottle or an elastic bandage or an instructional recording? If I believe parents are mistreating children by sending them to a school that teaches the Earth is 6,000 years old and that the Flintstones is indistinguishable from a documentary, should be I permitted to refuse to sell the gasoline the parents will use to drive those children to school?

The Catholic hospital strikes me as a different issue. If that hospital seeks/receives public money, or seeks/accepts public ambulance patients, or acts in a manner that suggests a haphazard approach to religious doctrine (perhaps by admitting elective surgery patients who administer the death penalty or torture people in unjust wars?), the case for calling the shots diminishes.

Perhaps if a hospital or a pharmacy advertised "limited service" prominently -- a striped "H" on the road signs, a large illuminated sign on the storefront -- and the health care planning system acknowledged that availability of full-service providers must be the priority for every citizen, a better case could be made for excusing health care providers who wish to refrain from filling certain prescriptions, or providing certain procedures, or accepting certain patients.

Should an emergency room physician be permitted to refrain from operating on a patient whose same-sex spouse is in the next room? Should a pharmacy employee be permitted to refuse to fill an allergy medication prescription for a customer who insists on holding hands with a same-sex spouse while waiting in line?
4.24.2009 9:03pm
jrose:
But why should there be freedom-of-conscience exemptions only for religious beliefs you deem "legitimate"? Who put you in charge of determining that anti-gay theology is legitimate, but anti-black theology is not?

The majority decides, not me. The majoirty determines what is legitimate. I suspect that some day in the future, the majority will no longer view the belief that sexuality is "what you do" is a legitimate reason for an exemption.

The state should not be in the business of deciding which interpretations of the Bible are "legitimate" and which aren't. The Constitution forbids it from doing so.

When it comes to private-actor discrimination, the majority has the Constitutional authority to decide which actions are to be prohibited and which are exempt.
4.24.2009 9:16pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
AurthurKirkland:

The Catholic hospital strikes me as a different issue. If that hospital seeks/receives public money, or seeks/accepts public ambulance patients, or acts in a manner that suggests a haphazard approach to religious doctrine (perhaps by admitting elective surgery patients who administer the death penalty or torture people in unjust wars?), the case for calling the shots diminishes.


I would limit it to areas relating to public money and public ambulance patients, etc. But the haphazard approach to religious doctrine would undermine any case.

Basically, if the hospital doesn't want to provide abortions, that is fine, but if a woman is hospitalized 2 months into a pregancy (let's say, due to rape at the hands of a family member) with a serious condition (let's say due to violance at the hands of that same family member) and wants to have an abortion and is unlikely to be released in the next month, and if she was brought in on a public ambulance, the hospital needs to make other arrangements, such as transferring her to a facility that will perform the abortion and facilitating this transfer. Being a religious corporation doesn't give you the right to coerce others.

Similarly if there is a standard of care duty, alternative arrangements need to be available. For example, a woman is 8 weeks pregnant and beginning to develop AML (a form of leukemia). Chemo while pregnant isn't a good idea, so the pregnancy ideally should be terminated. If the Catholic hospital isn't willing to perform this, they should refer it out. Otherwise medical malpractice lawsuits should proceed on merits.

Outside of this, I don't see why Catholic hospitals should be required to perform abortions, except where a) a woman might be prevented against her will from getting an abortion and b) medical malpractice issues are present.
4.24.2009 9:23pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
jrose:

The majority decides, not me. The majoirty determines what is legitimate. I suspect that some day in the future, the majority will no longer view the belief that sexuality is "what you do" is a legitimate reason for an exemption.


So..... if the majority believes that polytheism is not a legitimate religious viewpoint, then we polytheists can be discriminated against?

I am sorry. As for determining what religious beliefs are legitimate, absent a strong compelling interest, I would rather see government out of the question.
4.24.2009 9:25pm
jrose:
I don't think the government should be in the business of determining whether religious beliefs are legitimate or not. But that sort of analysis need not take place for laws that have general application if the laws do not substantially interfere with religious freedom

Using your standard, anybody can claim a religious exemption, such as the hypotheticals I gave (What if a religious organization believes inter-racial dating is sinful (Bob Jones). Should a photogrpaher be exempt from taking pictures at a wedding of a divorcee, or if it involves a religion he finds objectionable?).

I don't see how you can avoid the question of legitimacy unless you are willing to allow every claim for an exemption.
4.24.2009 9:28pm
jrose:
So..... if the majority believes that polytheism is not a legitimate religious viewpoint, then we polytheists can be discriminated against?

We aren't debating government discrimination on the basis of religion. We are debating the scope of religious exemptions to private-actor anti-discrimination laws.
4.24.2009 9:37pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
ArthurKirkland:

One other point occurs to me on the Catholic Hospital issue.

I can't think of any hospital anywhere I have ever lived that was truly a full-service shop. Every hospital refers patients out, transfers them out, and facilitates those transfers. "Limited service" is meaningless in this context.

The key question to my mind is whether patients' civil rights are materially and unreasonably affected. If you find yourself hospitalized at a hospital not of your choice and the hospital won't respect your wishes, that is an issue. Similarly none of this should be a defence against medical malpractice.

Of course, if a private business wants to advocate a taxi service which follows Islamic commandments, that is fine provided that it doesn't prevent people from getting rides from important places like the airport and that they advertise this so as to minimize inconvenience of potential customers. If a hospital wants to follow Catholic rules, that is fine, subject to the above rules.
4.24.2009 9:38pm
Tern (mail):
Arthur, thank you for the list of straw men. I needed the laugh.

Given the hostility (one-sided) expressed towards religions which believe homosexual behavior to be a sin, I think that I am not going to trust SSM advocates to protect my religious liberty. This leaves us at an impasse. And while a respectful discussion might not be the point, it would go a long way towards bridging our differences. But there doesn't seem to be much interest in that; it's mostly about hammering believers into submission through perjorative labels and intolerance.

So y'all aren't doing much to alleviate my concerns that if SSM is legalized, my church (I'm LDS) will be either forced to recognize SSM (i.e., allow it in the temples, not excommunicate those who do it, etc) or face legal penalties. This is probably because it has become clear to me that many want my church to face legal penalties because of our opposition to SSM.

And the sad thing is, while I oppose SSM, I'm otherwise in favor of much of the so-called gay agenda. I have no problems with extending most marital benefits to partners, I think that criminalizing homosexuality is unworkable, and I believe firmly that individuals who engage in homosexual behavior should be treated with courtesy. (This does not extend to condoning their behavior; but friendship does not require complete acceptance.) Yet, the consistent attacks because we don't agree with SSM are polarizing - and we will not be intimidated.

Abortions are a good comparison, albeit not perfect. But race and sexual orientation are different. And most blacks agree, as can be seen by the overwhelming number of blacks in Cali who voted for Prop 8.

But regardless of all of this, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before SSM is completely legal in the United States. And if, or when, this happens, the next question will be, how do we treat those on the losing side of this cultural battle? From what I can see - without grace or mercy.
4.24.2009 9:47pm
Tom G (mail):

So y'all aren't doing much to alleviate my concerns that if SSM is legalized, my church (I'm LDS) will be either forced to recognize SSM (i.e., allow it in the temples, not excommunicate those who do it, etc) or face legal penalties.



This is probably because it has become clear to me that many want my church to face legal penalties because of our opposition to SSM.


Tern:
You do not have to worry about this at all. Once public opinion shifts against your church's position sufficiently, God will change his mind and reveal to your church elder's that he was actually mistaken about SSM. Just like God instructed Joseph Smith to institute polygamy, but then God changed his mind about it so Utah could become a state.

The LDS was founded as a virulently white supremacist, pro-slavery organization. But then in the 1970s, when racism was becoming socially unacceptable and the mormon church wanted to spread its tentacles into the third world, God realized that he had been mistaken and blacks WERE people after all.

This was not, however, before a tremendous amount of mormon resistance to civil rights as evidenced by this speech that mormon "apostle" Mark E. Peterson gave to BYU faculty in 1954:


"Not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn't just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn't that he just desires to go to the same theater as he [sic] white people…It appears that the negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for the negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, 'First we pity, then endure, then embrace'…Now we are generous to the negro. We are willing that the negro have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves." *


Is it absolutely amazing how much the above quote resembles the sneering bigotry exhibited by tern above:


And the sad thing is, while I oppose SSM, I'm otherwise in favor of much of the so-called gay agenda. I have no problems with extending most marital benefits to partners, I think that criminalizing homosexuality is unworkable, and I believe firmly that individuals who engage in homosexual behavior should be treated with courtesy. (This does not extend to condoning their behavior; but friendship does not require complete acceptance.) Yet, the consistent attacks because we don't agree with SSM are polarizing - and we will not be intimidated.


Its the same pattern: saying the most ignorant, condescending things while at the same time acting as if he is doing us some kind of grand favor by blessing us with his "friendship" while seeing himself as fantastically enlightened because he is willing to treat us as 3/5s of a person.

You can keep your ridiculous "marital benefits" and stuff them in your magical underwear. We'll take complete equality, thank you.

* from an interesting (and detailed) work on the racism of the LDS in the 50s, if anyone is interested in a more encyclopedic rundown of that Church's utter moral bankruptcy.
4.24.2009 11:43pm
Tom G (mail):
whoops meant to post the link:
4.24.2009 11:46pm
Tom G (mail):
Ok for some reason the link is not posting but google the following:

BYU, LDS Teachings, and the Civil Rights Movement
4.24.2009 11:49pm
Randy R. (mail):
Tern: "So y'all aren't doing much to alleviate my concerns that if SSM is legalized, my church (I'm LDS) will be either forced to recognize SSM (i.e., allow it in the temples, not excommunicate those who do it, etc) or face legal penalties."

Strangely enough, SSM IS legal in four states now. And it has been legal in several other countries, such as Canada. And there is no evidence that any church has been forced to allow it in temples or churches.

But I guess that won't stop you from playing the victim card, eh?
4.25.2009 12:22am
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Strangely enough, SSM IS legal in four states now. And it has been legal in several other countries, such as Canada. And there is no evidence that any church has been forced to allow it in temples or churches.


Even if Free exercise of religion is not sufficient, Freedom of Association is. See the Boyscouts of America case. In fact this is one case I think gay rights advocates should be celebrating. The fact that it is a record of law that groups like the BSA can refuse membership on the basis of homosexuality because this is not as important as free association more or less shoots down the idea that churches are somehow going to be forced to desecrate their temples with ceremonies they don't believe in.
4.25.2009 12:39am
ArthurKirkland:
It will be easier to buy the "they are outraged because homosexuals are sinners" argument the first time a religious objection is advanced to serving a greedy lender, or a brazen adulterer, or a guy who shaves his face, or a mobster, or a lover of graven images, etc. etc. etc.

I believe the "losers" on the issue of same-sex marriage (or civil unions) should be treated with grace and mercy. They should be entitled to believe as they wish. They should be entitled to guide their children as they wish. They should be entitled to assemble with those who share their views and study or celebrate or proclaim them, and they should be free to advocate their views. They should be free to advocate their views. They should be treated with respect.

Every government clerk, or pharmacy clerk, or bank teller, I gather, encounters a number of people who are to be served objectionable for many reasons. And I am sure that clerk could find a religion that would support a claim of religious objection -- there are religions that object to killing insects, are driven to distraction by psychiatry, find bacon -- or shrimp or onions or some birds or pepper or meat (only on Fridays, in some cases) or lettuce or beans or tea -- inappropriate, believe some people to be inhabited by demons (that one must make homosexuality look a little better by comparison), outlaw clothing, oppose blood transfusions and any product of which blood is an ingredient, prescribe stoning for adulterers, eschew insulin, forbid tattoos, promote tattoos . . . the list is nearly endless. Perhaps most remarkable, some religions ban beer.

If the clerk couldn't find a useful religion, he could create one.

A person who needs insulin on an emergency basis, or a morning-after pill, or needs to see a psychiatrist, or is seeking a loan should not need to hope that the clerk on duty isn't a strict Muslim, an extreme Christian, a strident Scientologist or a member of one of many religions that despise certain moneychangers.
4.25.2009 12:40am
trad and anon (mail):
Strangely enough, SSM IS legal in four states now. And it has been legal in several other countries, such as Canada. And there is no evidence that any church has been forced to allow it in temples or churches.

Discrimination on the basis of race and religion has been illegal for a long time now. But no church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or what-have-you has ever been forced to perform an interracial or interfaith marriage, or allow its sanctuary to be used for one, when it did not wish to do so.
4.25.2009 12:48am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Marriage is between one man, one woman, and one government.
4.25.2009 1:28am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
I think that criminalizing homosexuality is unworkable,

But if it was workable I'd be for it. We await better technology.
4.25.2009 1:35am
Joe Trossa:
Trad: Yet. But I don't see this ending with SSM. I think that the end goal is the complete acceptance of homosexual behavior. SSM is simply one more step in the process.

einhverfr: I wish that others felt as you do about the BSA case. But they don't - and precedents can be overturned.

Randy: Read what I said. I didn't use the victim card. Good try with the straw man, though. SSM is not legal everywhere through the United States, nor does DOMA allow it to fall under the full faith and credit clause.

Tom: Attacking my religion? How novel. And completely irrelevant.

M. Simon: I really don't want the government in anyone's bedroom, regardless of technology.

My main point of the discussion still remains - the conduct and demeanor of many SSM advocates leaves me unable to trust them in matters of my religious freedom. (Though few even allow that I should have such freedom.) Nobody has allayed my concern; they have just attempted to shout me down and insult my faith.
4.25.2009 2:11am
Tern (mail):
Sorry; different computer, different user name. Joe Trossa = Tern. My regrets for any momentary confusion.
4.25.2009 2:12am
Cornellian (mail):
the conduct and demeanor of many SSM advocates leaves me unable to trust them in matters of my religious freedom.

And the conduct and demeanor of many of your religious leaders doesn't leave many SSM advocates inclined to entrust their freedom to those leaders either.
4.25.2009 2:29am
A.:

My main point of the discussion still remains - the conduct and demeanor of many SSM advocates leaves me unable to trust them in matters of my religious freedom. (Though few even allow that I should have such freedom.) Nobody has allayed my concern; they have just attempted to shout me down and insult my faith.

Tern, you seem confused. It's not the job of SSM advocates to earn your trust or allay your concerns. They can and will prevail without you. This thread isn't about making you feel better.

The point of the laws offered in this chain of threads is to allay *our own* concerns about the extent to which we, as a society, are willing to get our hands dirty crowding other peoples' convictions. Whether you are happy with the balance that is eventually reached is largely irrelevant--the question is whether the decision-making majority is happy with it.

That's not to say your thoughts and feeling altogether don't matter; after all, it'd be a silly goal to accommodate you--inevitably at some cost--in ways that you find ineffective. The contribution that you can usefully make here is to explain the nature of your apprehensions and the sorts of accommodations that you might find helpful, not to complain that the tone is hostile.
4.25.2009 2:48am
Ken Arromdee:
It will be easier to buy the "they are outraged because homosexuals are sinners" argument the first time a religious objection is advanced to serving a greedy lender, or a brazen adulterer, or a guy who shaves his face, or a mobster, or a lover of graven images, etc. etc. etc.

We don't generally apply this reasoning to other religious objections about other things. For instance, if someone is fired for wearing a yarmulke, we don't ask if the person has also been eating kosher food, and decide that it's okay to fire him if he's insufficiently religious in other areas of Judaism, thus "proving" that the desire to wear a yarmulke isn't sincerely religious.
4.25.2009 9:27am
trad and anon (mail):
Trad: Yet. But I don't see this ending with SSM. I think that the end goal is the complete acceptance of homosexual behavior. SSM is simply one more step in the process.

Yet? Do you really foresee the government forcing racist pastors to perform interracial marriages, or forcing Orthodox rabbis to perform interfaith marriages? The antidiscrimination laws have never been so interpreted. There's no constituency or precedent for having the government force the LDS church to perform same-sex marriages, but most of us would love to see the LDS church receive a new "revelation" on the subject, just as they did with black people in 1978. Similarly, we'd like to see other anti-gay religions reinterpret their theology on this subject, just as most of the white Southern churches reconsidered their racist theology.

I agree that the goal of the gay rights movement is complete acceptance of "homosexual behavior," just as the goal of the black civil rights movement was complete acceptance of black people as legally and socially equal to whites.
4.25.2009 9:53am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Tern:

I wish that others felt as you do about the BSA case. But they don't - and precedents can be overturned.


Now, to be sure the BSA case is a borderline case in some ways, but to overturn it you have to weaken important Constitutional liberties. I appreciate strong senses of liberty which protect all of us.

A:

The point of the laws offered in this chain of threads is to allay *our own* concerns about the extent to which we, as a society, are willing to get our hands dirty crowding other peoples' convictions. Whether you are happy with the balance that is eventually reached is largely irrelevant--the question is whether the decision-making majority is happy with it.


Well, I think it is broader than that. I think the purpose of the laws discussed here are to ensure that broader societal protections on liberty are strengthened rather than undermined. As they should be. The fundamental question though, as in all areas of liberty, is where the appropriate balance is.
4.25.2009 11:44am
Seamus (mail):

But they would, by their own admission, have to turn down most jobs, because many of them would be divorced people,people who committed adultery, people who had sex before marriage, and so on.



Do you really know of anyone who would regard a marriage to be blameworthy because the couple had been fornicating before the wedding? My understanding is that those who believe a couple is sinning by fornicating usually believe that marriage is exactly what they ought to be doing. In fact, the Anglican wedding ceremony used to say that one of the three purposes of marriage was "as a remedy to fornication, for those who have not the gift of continence." (The other purposes, you might be surprised to learn, are *not* to allow a second person to take advantage of one's health insurance, or to give someone a right to visit one in the hospital, or even to allow two people to make a statement about how much they loooovvvvve each other, which reading the debates on SSM might lead you to think are the chief purposes).
4.25.2009 1:01pm
Seamus (mail):

It's been awhile, but didn't most here hold that Muslim cab drivers couldn't refuse service to fares carrying alcohol?



Cab drivers are common carriers, which are traditionally required to serve all comers on reasonable request. That's not the case with photographers.
4.25.2009 1:12pm
Seamus (mail):

ah, so you think I should be allowed to not pay a percentage of my taxes because its against my religious beliefs to fund the US "war machine?"



Those who refuse to pay taxes are free riders because they are protected by the armed forces paid for by others. In other words, defense is a public good. I don't think you can say that if I refuse to photograph some couples' weddings, I'm free riding on the weddings that are photographed by others. Nor, if I refuse to perform an abortion or refer for one, am I free-riding on all those abortions performed by others.
4.25.2009 1:15pm
Seamus (mail):

In the end, they were not allowed to discriminate against passengers in that way. So how is this different from denying access to some other "public accommodation", such as refusing to rent a gazebo to a same-sex couple?



The definition of "public accommodation," like that of "interstate commerce," has been expanded beyond all recognition, simply in order to justify government regulation.
4.25.2009 1:22pm
Seamus (mail):

It will be easier to buy the "they are outraged because homosexuals are sinners" argument the first time a religious objection is advanced to serving a greedy lender, or a brazen adulterer, or a guy who shaves his face, or a mobster, or a lover of graven images, etc. etc. etc.



The religious objection is not to "serving" sinners; it is to material cooperation with the sin. Thus, the proper analogy is not, for example, to "serving a greedy lender"; it is to renting a storefront to the greedy lender so he can operate his loansharking business. It is not serving "a brazen adulterer"; it is renting an apartment to the adulterer to serve as his love nest. It's not "serving" a mobster; it's laundering the mobster's money.
4.25.2009 1:34pm
Strict:

A person who needs insulin on an emergency basis, or a morning-after pill, or needs to see a psychiatrist, or is seeking a loan should not need to hope that the clerk on duty isn't a strict Muslim, an extreme Christian, a strident Scientologist or a member of one of many religions that despise certain moneychangers.


Or a doctor who refuses to issue a prescription to a patient with celiac disease, because the Bible says to eat wheat.

It's easy to think of a religious objection to pretty much anything.

You'd better hope your public defender doesn't take a religious vow of silence right before your trial...
4.25.2009 2:00pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
A note on Mormon temples vs Lutheran churches here.

I think given that anyone can walk into a Lutheran Church, I don't think that there would be any basis for banning someone for SSM alone. Same with baptist churches, etc. Same with Mormon churches!

Mormon temples are different. They serve as ritual centers for specific ceremonies only available to Mormon members. So forcing SSM in a Mormon Temple pose two major problems Constitutionaly that don't occur with SSM couples attending a Mormon church:

1) Compelled speech. The government can't require you (other than as an employee as related to job function) to articulate a certain point of view, or to perform speech in ways that the Government demands. That means that if you don't want to reference the pagan goddesses in the Pledge of Allegiance, the government can't make you. Marriage rituals are speech. Therefore compelled marriage rituals are compelled speech therefore presumed invalid (If you are a DoS employee working in an embassy, I don't think you can refuse to administer oaths as your job requires, but that is a different matter).

2) Freedom of association. Since the Temple isn't open to the public any more than your home is, the LDS church doesn't have to let anyone in that they don't want to let in. I don't have to invite every LDS missionary who stops by into my house for tea, after all, right?
4.25.2009 2:32pm
cmr:


And the conduct and demeanor of many of your religious leaders doesn't leave many SSM advocates inclined to entrust their freedom to those leaders either.



This was nothing but "I know you are but what am I?!" in long-form...
4.25.2009 6:38pm
Mike S.:
The Civil Rights law's obliteration of what had previously been the unquestioned right of a proprietor to determine whom he wanted to serve was generally considered justified by the fact that in large swaths of the country Blacks could only find second (or fourth) class accommodations.For the state to override the wishes of business proprietors without regard to historical circumstance strikes me as overreach by the state. Why should businesses be allowed to discriminate against people not wearing shirts or shoes?

Since I don't believe that same sex couples (or Jewish couples, or people marrying divorcees ...) can only find second-rate photographers to photograph their ceremonies (whether marriages, civil unions or commitment ceremonies) or second rate caterers or halls or what have you I am not clear why the state should have any reason to compel a private firm to provide a service they don't want to in this matter, whether or not the objection is based on religion.

What I hear from both the same-sex marriage supporters and opponents, is that they would like to hold to their beliefs without ever encountering someone who thinks their belief is immoral. I do not see, however, how, in a free society, either side has the right to drive the other out of the public square. It seems to me that, at least for now, both the gays and those whose religions forbid homosexual sex will have to accept that there are many in our society who think their beliefs are immoral. Those who have the strength of their convictions should be able to accept that.
4.25.2009 10:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mike S. :"It seems to me that, at least for now, both the gays and those whose religions forbid homosexual sex will have to accept that there are many in our society who think their beliefs are immoral. Those who have the strength of their convictions should be able to accept that."

You of course raise a good point. And on the face of it, it seems reasonable.

But the problem is much bigger. As others have noted, what if a doctor or pharmacists thinks that gays are immoral -- does that mean he doesn't have to treat them? Usually not a problem, unless you are in a small town and doctors or phamascists are hard to find.

We have decided as a society that if you are open for business, you cannot discriminate based on certain factors. If you open a restaurant, you can refuse people who aren't wearing shoes or shirts, but you can't refuse people because they are black, or jewish.

Now why would anyone refuse to serve someone who is black? Because they are prejudiced! And our laws say that you can't do that. Why would anyone refuse service to a gay person? Because they are prejudiced! And our laws say you can't do that.

Now, if you have a problem with these basic civil rights laws that have been on the books since the 60s, then go ahead and write your congressman and demand that they be repealed. But I'm gonna tell you, although there might be some people in American who would support you, most do not.

And the majority of Americans have decided that if you open a restaurant, you can't refuse service to blacks. In many states (but certainly not all), that extends to gays. Again -- you don't like that? Then write your congressmen! But most legistlation that protects blacks or gays from discrimination in public businesses is broadly supported by the people.

So, to get back to your argument, the answer is that if you really think being gay is immoral, then either open your business is state that does not give protections to gay people, or find another line of work. That doesn't NOT drive you out of the public square -- you can certainly march against gays, preach as you like, say what you like, even write letters to the editor. but you cannot treat gays differently from other customers.

On that alone, you should understand the difference. But it's much more than that. This really has nothing to do with morality. These same people will tell you that sex outside of marriage is immoral, that adultery is immoral, that eating pork is immoral, that abortion is immoral, and so on. Do any of them ever ask their customers if they violate these moral codes? Do they ever refuse service to any one who had ever had premarital sex? Or an abortion?

No, of course not. Mike, this is not a question of morality, but rather good old fashioned prejudices. They simply don't like gays, and they single them out. Should our society make accomodations to these people? Absolutely not.

If the worst bigots in America can serve pie to blacks in their restaurants, something tells me that the average American can serve pie to gays. It really isn't that hard, and we usually tip well.
4.26.2009 1:07am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Randy S:

First, I favor recognition of SSM across the board. However the antidiscrimination laws disturb me to some extent. I don't think every unfair act of discrimination should be illegal, and that we should instead focus exclusively on those which are pernicious, widespread, and systemic. You make an argument that anti-gay discrimination is pernicious, but is it sufficiently widespread and systemic to to warrant burdening everyone with the possibility of being sued over such discrimination whether it is real or imagined?

Let me give you a hypo I don't believe should be illegal:

Suppose Joe hates Jews and he owns a restaurant. He makes every item on his menu entirely unkosher, advertises it, and routinely parodies Jewish cooking. For example, koshered chicken in a blue cheese sauce, koshered pork roasts, etc. Discrimination? Yep. Pernicious? Yep. Motivated by bigotry? Yep. Suppose he does parodies of passover seders.... Sure. Suppose he has an insert in the menu saying "It will be a great day when Israel is wiped off the map!" Suppose he takes the parody further by wearing clothes at work based loosely on ultra-orthodox Jewish clothing. I think that all of that ought to be constitutionally protected under first-amendment free speech rights DESPITE the fact that it occurs in the open market.

Similarly the wedding photographer is in a specific position in that the fruits of his labor are artistic and expressive. I think that a wedding photographer who agrees to do a same-sex wedding photoshoot provided that he isn't required to photograph the couple kissing should be protected on the grounds that forcing this requirement would be effectively compelling him to express artistically sentiments that he would otherwise choose to avoid expressing. Now, if it is a for-profit corporation with multiple effective principles, the personal element is greatly diminished, but how many corporations are there which fit this model and do wedding photography?

Stating that artistic businesses must provide equal services to everyone strikes me as dangerously close to compelling spoken opinions. This part DOES bother me because it erodes other important liberties. And this is NOT merely the equivalent to serving pie in a restaurant.
4.26.2009 1:38pm
John D (mail):
einhverfr,
Suppose Joe hates Jews and he owns a restaurant. He makes every item on his menu entirely unkosher, advertises it, and routinely parodies Jewish cooking. For example, koshered chicken in a blue cheese sauce, koshered pork roasts, etc. Discrimination? Yep. Pernicious? Yep. Motivated by bigotry? Yep. Suppose he does parodies of passover seders.... Sure. Suppose he has an insert in the menu saying "It will be a great day when Israel is wiped off the map!" Suppose he takes the parody further by wearing clothes at work based loosely on ultra-orthodox Jewish clothing. I think that all of that ought to be constitutionally protected under first-amendment free speech rights DESPITE the fact that it occurs in the open market.


It is my understanding that you have given the Orthodox view of the "kosher-style" deli. "Oy, they serve both kneidlach and weiner schnizel."

For that matter, many Orthodox Jews would consider my husband's family's seder a parody. "When it says 'we were slaves in Egypt,' you do not bring up the archeological evidence that you claim disproves that."

The point I'm making is that your example does not constitute discrimination against Jews.

Honestly, if I've got my marriage rights, I don't care if the Orthodox synagogue in town brings two women to altar to have a mock same-sex marriage as part of a sermon against the practices at my synagogue.
4.26.2009 2:36pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
John D:

What do you think about my compelled speech point regarding wedding photographers?
4.26.2009 3:18pm
RAH (mail):
I do not agree with SSM, it is an aberration of the premise of marriage, which was to connect a male and female for the purposes of children, alliances and property transfers.

SSM violate most of that. The ability to transfer property is easily done by contracts and designating your loved one as a personal representative. Or power of attorney, or medical power of attorney.

The push for recognition of SSM is to promote societal approval of such via the law. This violates my freedom to not approve of an action or belief.
4.26.2009 4:17pm
Seamus (mail):

Why would anyone refuse service to a gay person? Because they are prejudiced!

* * *

f the worst bigots in America can serve pie to blacks in their restaurants, something tells me that the average American can serve pie to gays. It really isn't that hard, and we usually tip well.


The issue is not refusing to serve pie to gays. The issue is, at it were, refusing to cater a gay wedding. Or do you believe that it would be racial discrimination if a photographer declined to be the official photographer for the Million Man March (or the NAACP convention) because he didn't want to appear to be endorsing their actions?
4.26.2009 9:07pm
jrose:
The issue is not refusing to serve pie to gays. The issue is, at it were, refusing to cater a gay wedding. Or do you believe that it would be racial discrimination if a photographer declined to be the official photographer for the Million Man March (or the NAACP convention) because he didn't want to appear to be endorsing their actions?

There isn't necessarily racial discrimination when objecting to the political message of the Million Man march or an NAACP convention. You may disagree with their messages and not in anyway be a racist.

But there is no political message other than the desire for the races to stay apart, and therefore there is racial discrimination when objecting to an inter-racial marriage. Similarly, the political message that gay couplings shouldn't be recognized can only be explained by sexual orientation discrimination.
4.26.2009 10:31pm
Seamus (mail):

But there is no political message other than the desire for the races to stay apart, and therefore there is racial discrimination when objecting to an inter-racial marriage. Similarly, the political message that gay couplings shouldn't be recognized can only be explained by sexual orientation discrimination.



So the pie shop *should* be forced to cater to gay wedding?
4.26.2009 10:38pm
Seamus (mail):
And while we're at it, the evangelical publishing house should be required to publish books of Catholic theology?
4.26.2009 10:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
"The issue is not refusing to serve pie to gays. The issue is, at it were, refusing to cater a gay wedding."

How are these two scenarios different? Both are situations whereby you are open for business, you solicit business from the general public, and you refuse business from a group of people you just don't like.

"Stating that artistic businesses must provide equal services to everyone strikes me as dangerously close to compelling spoken opinions. This part DOES bother me because it erodes other important liberties. And this is NOT merely the equivalent to serving pie in a restaurant."

You make an important disctinction. Thanks.

"So the pie shop *should* be forced to cater to gay wedding?"

How about a compromise? For artistic or limited use services -- say, photography or catering (you can't cater more than one event at the same time, unless you have a large staff), you can discriminate against anyone you like, provided you clearly advertise that in your advertising. Do as the Boy Scouts do, and loudly proclaim "No Homos Welcome!" That way, I know not to patronize them, but the religious can flock to them. Everyone's happy.

However, when it comes to vital services, such as medical services or pharmacies, you don't get that exemption.

But I stand by my point that this has nothing to do with religious beliefs, and everything to do with old fashioned prejudicial hatred. If they really didn't want to serve people that violate their beliefs, they would refuse service to people who have had abortions, premarital sex, adultery affairs, divorces, etc. But of course, very few people who want to discriminate against gays based on biblican beliefs ever attempt to discriminate against anyone else who has violated those same beliefs.

Lastly, there is no question that there must be photographers and caterers who really are prejudiced against blacks, or Indians, or whatever. How do they survive in today's world? Aren't their rights being trampled upon, as some suggest?

Yet it doesn't seem to be a problem. I predict that if civil rights laws protecting gays are implemented, our country will settle into the same pattern. Eventually, discrimination against gays will be as unfashionable as discrimination against blacks or other minorities. Some find that horrible, I find it admirable.

"And while we're at it, the evangelical publishing house should be required to publish books of Catholic theology?"

And while we're at it, we can think up any sort of scenarios that push fear. But that's isn't an argument.
4.27.2009 12:02am
Randy R. (mail):
Rah: "The push for recognition of SSM is to promote societal approval of such via the law. This violates my freedom to not approve of an action or belief."

There are now four states that allow SSM, Iowa, CT, MA and VT. Are you saying that in those states, your freedom to not approve of SSM is somehow curtailed? Please give details on how, because so far no one else has been able to identify any. (Okay, Iowa won't actually allow SSM until tomorrow, so it's a bit early to say there. Ditto VT. So go ahead and give an example from MA. Or Canada, or Belgium, Denmark, Spain or S. Africa, all of which allow SSM).
4.27.2009 12:15am
ArthurKirkland:
Here are a couple of "sincerely held religious claims" for special treatment by a couple of God's devout.

If society is willing to accept, as a matter of law, tht the beliefs of these two deserve special treatment, how can society honor less the sincerely held beliefs of any citizen? If the claims of murderous nuts that they "sincerely hold" religious beliefs are to be accepted as a basis for special treatment, merely because they use some "magic words," how can any other person's claim be denied? And if the belief systems of these twisted ideological assassins count as beliefs worthy of recognition -- merely because they use the "magic words" -- how can any other belief system be rejected as unworthy?

Count me as proud to refrain from to sharing a belief system with these two.

Not that I have anything against All Bran.
4.27.2009 12:26am
ArthurKirkland:
Here are a couple of "sincerely held religious claims" for special treatment by a couple of God's devout.

If society is willing to accept, as a matter of law, tht the beliefs of these two deserve special treatment, how can society honor less the sincerely held beliefs of any citizen? If the claims of murderous nuts that they "sincerely hold" religious beliefs are to be accepted as a basis for special treatment, merely because they use some "magic words," how can any other person's claim be denied? And if the belief systems of these twisted ideological assassins count as beliefs worthy of recognition -- merely because they use the "magic words" -- how can any other belief system be rejected as unworthy?

Count me as proud to refrain from to sharing a belief system with these two.

Not that I have anything against All Bran.
4.27.2009 12:26am
Randy R. (mail):
Arthur: "If society is willing to accept, as a matter of law, tht the beliefs of these two deserve special treatment, how can society honor less the sincerely held beliefs of any citizen?"

Indeed. Several years ago, a nice law-abiding gay couple were murdered in their bed when two gusy burst into their room at night and opened fire. They were arrested, and asked why they did it, they said that God commanded them to kill gays.

Surely, that's a deeply held religious belief, to kill gays, so should they get an exemption from criminal law?

Oh, I know. It's okay to refuse this gay couple pie in a restaurant based on deeply held religious convictions, but not to murder them under those same beliefs. So where do we draw the line? On just criminal activity?
4.27.2009 12:38am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
First of all, questions of antidiscrimination laws regarding catering to gay weddings is not as troublesome to me as questions like artistic services (photography, etc). With artistic services I am willing to cut slack I am not willing to elsewhere just because there is an expressive element to the service. Same with PR businesses and the like.

A second issue is that refusing service is quite different (usually, though not always) from interference. If a caterer promises to cater the wedding and then doesn't show up because of a matter of conscience that is fundamentally inexcusable and they deserve to be tarred, feathered, and run out of town (alas, what civilized times we live in... where we just fine them). On the whole I don't have a fundamental problem with outlawing this sort of discrimination provided that the discrimination is widespread and systemic enough to warrant more than boycotts, negative publicity, and the like.

The problem is that antidiscrimination law always burdens everyone by making everyone worry about being PERCEIVED as being discriminatory. This burdens everyone and I don't think we should enact antidiscrimination alws willinilly. For example, if we start hearing anectdotes of discrimination against blonds, we shouldn't immediately jump to pass antidiscrimination law there.

So I guess I would like to hear a real case as to how widespread a problem discrimination actually is (in terms of outright refusal to provide services rather than disapproving glances, etc) before I commit to a position on those laws as a whole though. I support SSM recognition because this is an area where the discrimination is widespread and systemic. But what of employment, public services, etc? Is the discrimination widespread enough to warrant laws preventing it? Are there statistics showing it is?

(I also think we should replace our hate-crime laws with crime-with-intent-to-intimidate laws. If a crime is meant to send a message to Jews, gays, public school teachers, divorced-and-remarried people, whatever, it should be subject to enhancements and we shouldn't be setting aside certain classes of hate and intimidation as more actionable than others.)
4.27.2009 12:45am
Randy R. (mail):
Our country has an interesting history regarding prejudices. Back in the 19th century, there was deep discrimination against the Irish immigrants. Good protestant churches railed against them because they were catholic, they were 'papists' and not real Americans. The Know Nothing Society sprung up as an anti-catholic force. Remember when people thought Kennedy would take his cues from the Pope,and not the constitution?

Then we had immigrants from eastern europe, and now discimination against them was fashionable. Especially against the jews.

But sometime in the 20th century, these very same protestant churches found out that God changed his mind -- now it's NOT okay to be prejudiced against catholics, jews or european immigrants.

Then we had a long history of discrimination against Blacks. Heck, even the Baptists thought slavery was good for them! And who was against civil rights for blacks? Quite a few churches, including the Mormons.

But wait -- once discrimination against blacks ceased to be fashionable, God once again changed his mind -- discrimination is not longer acceptable against any race.

We saw a slow but similiar change regarding women. First, they were just property of men, and that' how God wanted it. Now, women are equal under law and in fact. My, how often God changes his ethics!

The same is happening with gays. The under 30 generation is virtually unanimous that gays should NOT be discriminated against in law, and a huge majority of them support SSM. It's only a matter of time when discrimination against gays will be outlawed everywhere, SSM is allowed in most states, and gays are accepted as equals,just as women and other minorities are. It is in fact, already happening.

And so we will soon find that God will once again change his mind. Within 10 or 20 years, we will find all the major religions will now say, hey, any idiot reading the Bible can *clearly* see that gays are just as good as everyone else!

And that's the big fear for some people. That society, and eventually their own religion, will betray them on a deeply held principle that gays are hated by God. They know it's coming, but they want to hold it back as long as possible.
4.27.2009 12:47am
jrose:
So the pie shop *should* be forced to cater to gay wedding?

Every bit as much as they should be required for an inter-racial wedding.

And while we're at it, the evangelical publishing house should be required to publish books of Catholic theology?

No. That's not discriminatory towards Catholics. But, refusing to cater a Cathloc wedding is.
4.27.2009 8:36pm

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