Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Larry Klayman, testified before a House committee about anti-discrimination law and same-sex marriage and was questioned by Rep. Jerrold Nadler about the difference between a religious objection to serving a same-sex wedding vs serving an interracial or interreligious wedding.
Interestingly, when asked if it would be a violation of someone’s freedom of religion if the federal government said a restaurant can’t discriminate against gay people, he said no, it would not be. He seems to be making this strange distinction between a business discriminating against gay people in general and discriminating against a gay wedding specifically because that’s a “celebration” and somehow that makes it a violation of their religious freedom. But he doesn’t think it would violate the religious freedom of a person who opposes interracial or interreligious weddings if the government says they can’t discriminate against such weddings.
This is always the problem with such reasoning. Unless you’re willing to overturn all of the anti-discrimination laws, which Staver says he is not willing to do, you’re left with special pleading. If person A thinks gay marriage is terrible and immoral and therefore they refuse to offer their services to such weddings, that’s an outrageous violation of their religious freedom. If person B believes that interracial or interreligious marriage is terrible and immoral, it’s magically not a violation of their religious freedom to force them to offer their services to such a wedding. And the only difference between them is that Staver agrees with person A but not with person B.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: