Will Illinois’ Proposed Gay Marriage Law Violate Religious Freedom?

If you don t like gay marriage

Will Illinois create discrimination in the name of ending discrimination?

Illinois’ bill redefining marriage to include same-sex “marriages,” is on the governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.

Proponents of the bill say that ti will end discrimination against homosexuals. Others are concerned that a lack of exemptions for individuals and small business owners, including one-owner businesses, will allow coercion and a violation of these citizen’s basic right to religious freedom.

One thing that is commonly (and I think, deliberately) overlooked in discussions of this issue is that religious freedom and freedom of conscience are basic human rights.

From The Chicago Tribune:

Illinois’ gay marriage bill that awaits the governor’s signature doesn’t force religious clergy to officiate at same-sex weddings or compel churches to open their doors for ceremonies. But similar safeguards aren’t spelled out for pastry chefs, florists, photographers and other vendors who, based on religious convictions, might not want to share a gay couple’s wedding day.

The lack of broader exceptions worries some who fear an erosion of religious freedoms, even as supporters of the law say it will eliminate discrimination.

“We’re going to have to wait for lawsuits to arrive,” said Peter Breen, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, a socially conservative legal group.

  • Bill S

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Why on earth do Catholics think that there is anything in their religion requiring them to discriminate against gays? If the couple wants to marry, that is their business. If your business is catering, baking, driving a limo, etc. ten do your job and don’t discriminate. How hard can that be?

    • AnneG

      How is it discrimination? Why do the feelings of two people have anything to do with the inalienable rights of a business owner? And don’t use the “race” excuse on me. We are talking about behavior.

      • pesq87

        there are no inalienable rights of a business owner. what are you talking about? business must operate within the confines of the law.
        my religion holds that second cousins may not marry each other, but the government considers it a valid marriage, so I cant discriminate against them.

        • AnneG

          That is where you are wrong. Government should not violate inalienable rights, and, when it does, it means there are no rights the government respects.

        • AnneG

          Bill S & pesq87, you are saying that business owners have no rights. That is equivalent to going to a Kosher bakery and telling them you want to order pies with crust made with lard. No, yo do not have the right to do that.

          • pesq87

            AnneD, I apologize. I made an overly broad statement that was in fact, so broad it is inaccurate. For the avoidance doubt, however, “inalienable rights” are usually meant to mean those rights that cannot be bought, sold, or transferred from one individual to another, like the personal rights to life and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. I was reacting to your use of the term, and again, I retract my statement: business owners certainly do have some inalienable rights. HOWEVER, again I maintain that a business owner who offers a public accommodation must abide by the public accommodation laws. If I CHOOSE to offer my services to the public, I may not discriminate on certain bases.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              “For the avoidance doubt, however, “inalienable rights” are usually meant to mean those rights that cannot be bought, sold, or transferred from one individual to another, like the personal rights to life and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.”

              That hasn’t been true since 1973, mothers have been transferring their children’s right to life to Planned Parenthood for quite some time, and on the taxpayer dollar.

      • Bill S

        I agree with pesq87. As a person, I have certain inalienable rights that I do not have as a business owner. The “race excuse” that you ask me not to use provides a perfect anology. Just as you can’t discriminate against me because of my race, you won’t be able to do it because of my sexual preference either. I don’t know how this poses a problem to you.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          “As a person, I have certain inalienable rights that I do not have as a business owner. ”

          So like fetuses, business owners aren’t people either. You must give up your likes and dislikes to run a business?

          This sort of blatant heterophobia is the only reason I even care about what gays do.

  • RelapsedCatholic

    I’ll say the same thing as I did on twitter. Baking a cake does not signal your approval, it signals your desire to earn money.

    • Dale

      RC and Bill, I admit I don’t fully understand the position of the bakers. However, I suppose making a wedding cake is much more involved than a simple sheet cake. In some ways, a wedding cake is a work of art. As such, it requires a degree of emotional investment which, say, roofing a house or selling a set of bedsheets does not.

      The same could be said about wedding photography or florists. Their work involves a degree of artistry and personal investment in the wedding. I think that this is the complaint. Bakers, photographers and florists, to some degree, feel they are part of any wedding they assist at or work for.

      If I have that wrong, I hope a wedding photographer, baker or florist will correct me.

      • RelapsedCatholic

        My hope would be that in the vast majority of cases if a baker or photographer said ‘I will work for you, but I want to be clear and upfront that I do not approve of same sex marriages’ that the people would not hire them. It may cost them other work, but that is sometimes the price of standing up for one’s beliefs.

        • Dale

          The New Mexico Supreme Court said pretty the same thing in its ruling. They suggested that a public business such as Elane Photography put up a sign stating its religious opposition to same-sex marriage, but also stating that it would provide services to clients getting such a wedding.

          I can see where that would stick in the craw of businesses opposed to same-sex marriage. And I can also see the relevance of the current controversy regarding the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance plans cover emergency contraception. At least two federal courts (one district, one appellate) have ruled that close-held, family-run businesses do have the religious rights of their owners. Other courts have ruled to the contrary, so I suspect the US Supreme Court will eventually need to weigh-in.

          The decision of SCOTUS may have some bearing on the Elane Photography case (and cases similar to it.) The conflict between the principle of religious liberty and the principle of equal protection under the law, and relative weight given to each one, is likely to be up in the air until the US Supreme Court speaks on the matter.

  • kenofken

    As an Illinois resident, I’m proud that our state passed this law. I do not forsee our legislature granting a special dispensation for people to refuse gay business. I have no doubt matters will have to be sorted out in litigation, but my understanding is that this area is covered under the Illinois Human Rights Act of 2006 (775 ILCS 5). It forbids discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on a variety of grounds, including sexual orientation. The way I read it, if you run a business or service which is open to the general public, you can’t refuse to do business with someone because they’re gay. Chicago also has its own ordinance to that effect which has been in force for 25 years.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      Human Rights Commissions are usually Orwellian in nature- they exist solely to destroy civil liberties.

  • FW Ken

    Many of these business owners have served gay persons in the past, even the ones who have now turned on them. Of course, the discrimination is not against gay persons, per se, but the faux marriage into which they are choosing to enter.

    • kenofken

      The wedding photography business in New Mexico tried this line of argument in their case “Elane v. Wilcock”. It failed. The state’s supreme court found that discrimination against the act was actually the essence of discrimination against the couple on the basis of their orientation.

      • hamiltonr

        Which is the point. Are we creating a new form of discrimination against people of faith? Freedom of conscience and religion are basic human rights.

        • Dale

          The Elane decision was decided on the basis of several points, and prior court rulings, but came down to a matter of Elane Photography being a public accommodation. Quoting from the ruling:

          If a commercial photography business wishes to offer its services to the public, thereby increasing its visibility to potential clients, it will be subject to the antidiscrimination provisions of the NMHRA. If a commercial photography business believes that the NMHRA stifles its creativity, it can remain in business, but it can cease to offer its services to the public at large. Elane Photography’s choice to offer its services to the public is a business decision, not a decision about its freedom of speech.”
          https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/sc33687.pdf

          The New Mexico Supreme Court rejected the argument that the antidiscrimination law compelled a government sponsored message. It also rejected the argument that the antidiscrimination law compelled a third party message. If either of those two arguments had won, the victory might have gone to Elane Photography. But the court noted that the US Supreme Court has never ruled in such a way that antidiscrimination llaws would fit those categories. Presumably, that leaves an opening for an appeal to SCOTUS.

        • Dee

          Yes, they are, but to them it is an acceptable form of discrimination. I live in Illinois, and the state is run by the Chicago democrats and their agenda. The courts will have to force the legislature to create appropriate safeguards for religious liberty. I will continue to donate to the Thomas More Society to help make this happen.

      • FW Ken

        An interesting decision, given that same-sex marriage does not exist in New Mexico. It will also be interesting to see what comes out of the appeal.

        • kenofken

          There’s no appeal unless SCOTUS takes it up, which is always a long shot, at best. We aren’t creating a new form of discrimination against people of faith. It is the same burden which has been placed upon people since the inception of civil rights law.

          The New Mexico court recognized that yes, this is an imposition on people’s freedom of conscience, as are the limitations of other categories of civil rights laws. The court’s consensus, which I think reflects the nation’s consensus for 50 years, is that the cost of accommodating conscience, when it deprives others of their right to public accommodations, is too high.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Which means that the courts have violated the civil rights of the majority in favor of the special rights of the minority. It will take a civil war to straighten it out.

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          Checking Google indicates you appear to be inaccurate regarding its status in the state. New Mexico apparently is in the weird position of being the only US state with neither statute/amendment/case law to allow nor statute/amendment/case law to ban gay marriage. As a result, there’s apparently about eight (of 33) NM counties currently issuing such marriage licenses, while the others don’t.

          The legality is being fought over in the state courts; the NM supreme court held a hearing near the end of last month, but apparently has yet to issue a ruling. The Elane case would seem to anticipate poor prospects for traditionalists before this court on this question. Conservative legislators seem likely to try for a referendum on a ban, but trends in polling suggest the state is near or past the tipping point, leaving a ban less likely to pass than not by the time a vote is brought before the electorate.

          • FW Ken

            In other words, same-sex marriage does not in New Mexico.

            • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

              You’re not even technically correct.

              • FW Ken

                So same-sex marriage does exist under New Mexico law? You do like to make things up!

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com/ The Sanity Inspector

    I’ll bet a lot of opposition would soften if it were just honestly labeled: Imitation Marriage.

    • hamiltonr

      Which is the point. Are we creating a new form of discrimination against people of faith? Remember: Freedom of conscience and religion are basic human rights.

      • Wyrd Wiles

        If you boss is Jewish, are they allowed to tell you not to eat pork?
        The argument you’re making goes more ways than one. Think REALLY carefully before you go down that road.

        • The original Mr. X

          “If you boss is Jewish, are they allowed to tell you not to eat pork?”
          Perhaps a better analogy would be “If your boss is Jewish, are they allowed to not serve pork in the office cafeteria?”

          • Wyrd Wiles

            I disagree. The difference is that the boss isn’t being forced to serve pork, he’s being told he can’t stop other people from eating it. If the bakery decides they want to turn away paying customers, because the owner is a bigot, that’s up to them. Nobody is telling them to serve pork. They’re freaking out because they can’t stand the idea of people eating it.

            • The original Mr. X

              “If the bakery decides they want to turn away paying customers, because the owner is a bigot, that’s up to them. Nobody is telling them to serve pork. They’re freaking out because they can’t stand the idea of people eating it.”
              Actually, I think you’ll find there are quite a few cases now saying that they have to serve pork or face large fines…

            • The original Mr. X

              It’s perhaps also worth pointing out that that the prohibitions on eating pork were only ever meant to apply to Jews, whereas the nature of marriage is intimately tied up to the nature of mankind, and thus applies to everybody equally.

  • DonnaB

    This argument is tired and thin. If you are in a business that caters to people getting married, your concern is operating a business in a competitive field. You’re also subject to the same public accommodation requirements as any other business. It is unlikely that every potential customer will agree with you on every religious belief you hold, and if accepting their business offends your delicate sensibilities you should probably reconsider whether you are in the right line of work.

    Would the same argument hold for other forms of discrimination? If a photographer realised a client was a different ethnicity, would he be right to refuse service? What if the caterer’s religion requires women to cover their head (a common requirement that I’ve heard professed by Baptists, Muslims, and Catholics, and I’m sure there are others), should he be allowed to refuse to provide service when he learns none of the women at the wedding will be covering their head? Doesn’t a room full of naked headed women directly violate his own religious beliefs?

    The particular argument in this article isn’t about preserving religious freedom. It is about nothing more than preserving the privileges of the majority at the expense of a minority. Privilege is power, and if everyone is forced to treat everyone else fairly, the privileged are denied the small, petty degree of power they have always enjoyed. There’s no reason a secular government should validate the choice of one couple of consenting adults to marry while denying another couple of consenting adults the same choice. All the knicker twisting and pearl clutching in the world won’t change that truth.

    • hamiltonr

      It sounds as if “gay marriage won’t change anything” was a lie.

      • DonnaB

        I would say gay marriage changes many things that needed to be changed. What it does NOT change is heterosexual marriage, which was one argument many made, and still do, against it.

        It also does NOT change the definition of marriage for religious communities; the Catholic church can still decide what qualifies as a sanctioned union within the Church and continue to not offer blessings to or acknowledge homosexuals, divorcees, and non-Catholics to its heart’s content.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          Only at the risk of being thrown in jail for being discriminatory against gays- which is where all this is headed, towards Dan Savage’s forced abortions for heterosexual pregnancies.

      • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com/ The Sanity Inspector

        I can remember when it was “civil unions”, not marriage, that they were lobbying for.

      • Dale

        The contention that “gay marriage won’t change anything” does seem to be inaccurate. But calling the statement a lie seems unfounded since it implies that proponents knew in advance of the changes which would occur. I think most proponents are astonished, even bewildered, that bakers, florists and photographers are refusing to offer service due to their religious belief.

      • DonnaB

        I would say it changes a number of things that needed to be changed.

        What it does NOT change is the way heterosexual marriage is recognised under the law, as many have and still do instant it will. It does NOT change the way religions or clergy definite marriage within the context of offering blessings and sacraments. What it does NOT change is the way Americans form their families.

        It DOES change the way some American families are recognised under the law, which is the point.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          The concept of divorce did it already. I don’t see how adding gay marriage won’t affect the concept of marriage for the religions and clergy- all it will take is a single lawsuit to make heterosexuality illegal.

        • The original Mr. X

          “What it does NOT change is the way heterosexual marriage is recognised under the law, as many have and still do instant it will.”
          Erm, yes it does, it changes the legal definition of marriage from “a union of a man and a woman (etc.)” to “the union of two people”. That’s a change. Unless perhaps you want to argue that gay marriage and heterosexual marriage are actually two distinct things, in which case I agree with you, but I think you might have a hard time getting your fellow gay marriage advocates to.

    • FW Ken

      “Fair” is a religious word. Which is to say, your conception of fairness compels you to force people to obey you. Talk about “privilege”!

      But at root, you are demanding that the community recognize same-sex marriage as equivalent to other-sex marriages without demonstrating that they are. Instead, you rely on a religious argument while complaining that we rely on religious arguments. The hypocrisy is stunning.

      • AnneG

        Exactly, FWKen, and she establishes a group with special privileges and protections, violating others’ rights and liberties. Then, calls names if we don’t agree.

        • DonnaB

          When did I call anyone a name?

          For what it’s worth, I’m fine with married people getting tax breaks and special “spouse” privileges, as long as any two adult citizens can choose to form a legal partnership and earn the exact same privileges.

          • FW Ken

            Why do you think that “marriage” of any kind deserves those tax breaks and privileges?

      • DonnaB

        Firstly, allow me to give you the benefit of the doubt and take your statement that “‘fair’ is a religious word” at face value for the sake of argument. For the sake of this discussion, “fair” is religious jargon and has no secular application absent religious overtones. Let’s take that a step forward and assume my religion encompasses the concept of “fairness”, which it does. Even so, *I* am not forcing anyone to do anything. I am not a dictator or evil overlord commanding this country to comply with my unreasonable whims or adopt my religious views. I am one of the People (you know, as in “We the People of the United States” and “a government of the people, by the people, for the people”), and the people of this country have repeatedly chosen to change these laws so that they apply the same way to everyone. That’s how our system works. It’s imperfect, and it is challenging, but it offers us the opportunity to change for the better and strive for equity under the law. If that equity aligns with the fairness my religion asks me, even compels me to seek and embrace, then that gives me a personal stake in this process, and allows me to cede a portion of my privilege and power for the sake fairness and equity.

        Which brings me to my second point, privilege, specifically mine. I have been in a heterosexual marriage, fully and legally recognised by the state, for 11 years. We enjoy tax benefits, I have been on my husband’s health insurance for the entire time he’s had it, I have access to joint accounts and accounts (such as utilities) under his name. We are each other’s next of kin, so in the event of illness or death we know the other will have the right to act on our behalf, and our property and children won’t be taken from the surviving spouse should the worst happen. If we were to divorce, I know I can’t simply be thrown out of our home because I have legally enforceable rights to shared property. I have all of these privileges because my government affords them to me, not because of my religion or the sacraments offered by my clergy. If my clergy were to withhold its blessing and deny me the sacrament of marriage within my religion, I can still ask the state to acknowledge our union and reap all of those privileges. Everyone in the country should be able to say the same thing.

        The hypocrisy I see is the insistance that some people be deprived of the legal recognition of their union while others benefit from legal recognition of their union.

        As far as recognising unions you personally don’t agree with, if that’s how you want to treat people in your personal life, more power to you. However, if you are offering services to the public you have to offer those services to everyone on the same terms. Just like you can’t tell people they can’t eat in your restaurant if they have the wrong skin color, or shop in your store if they have a disability, you can’t withhold your services because the customers are not the right gender or sexual orientation. If that impacts your business or religion you’re probably doing one or both wrong.

        • FW Ken

          “Fair” means to follow the rules. To propose a law on that basis, you must draw your notion of fairness – your rules -from a transcendent, hence religious, source. I don’t begrudge you that.

          I do note that you still haven’t demonstrated the equivalence of same-sex and other-sex couples.

          Btw, sexual preference and race are not related concepts, so invoking historical objections to mixed-race marriage is invalid. A common rhetorical device, but invalid.

          And because you are advocating tyranny, that makes you culpable.

          • Dale

            Ken, I haven’t seen Donna advocate tyranny, so I am surprised you made that charge.

            The principle of fair, in the sense of equitable, is not rooted in religion. It is rooted in the relative values that two or more individuals attach to items or concepts. Trading two fish in exchange for five crabs may be considered a fair trade if the individuals agree upon it. This has nothing to do with religion or even with absolute values.

            As for the equivalence, or non-equivalence of same-sex marriage and other-sex marriage, I suppose that really depends on the definitions which a person uses. If marriage is a long-term civil and social contract between two individuals to promote mutual happiness and well-being, then the two types of marriage are equivalent. If marriage is considered to something different (as traditional Christians believe,) then the two types of marriage will not be equivalent. That said, I do not think that you and Donna will agree on the same definition of marriage.

            • FW Ken

              Dale,

              “Fair” as I find it is defined as in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate. The second definition has to do with complexion. Hence, if you are playing Monopoly, you play fair by abiding by the rules laid down by Parker Brothers. If you wish to declare same-sex acts moral, then you need to say who’s rules you are using to make that determination. That requires a transcendent source for your rules. I call that religious, since it’s not a judgement derivable by any human science, natural or social.

              Marriage is manifestly not a contract or covenant between two individuals, but a covenant between them and the community. It is a profoundly social act, despite our modern sentimentality about it. If it were essentially private, there would be no need for a marriage license or divorce decree issued by the state.

              • Dale

                Ken, I agree that a marriage is a social contract as well as a legal contract. I think proponents of same-sex marriage would also agree.

                As for the meaning of “fair,” you cite a definition relating to an agreement between players on rules of a game. This requires no transcendent source. The rules were created by another human being, and exist only as a short cut to avoid extended negotiations regarding gameplay, and to allow the game to start quickly The rules can easily be changed, if the players agree to it.

                • FW Ken

                  Except that in the same-sex marriage debate, “fair” is the preliminary claim. That is, fairness demands allowing same-sex couples the status of marriage. That claim, to my mind, presupposes a definition of fair that comes from somewhere. As I noted, it doesn’t come from the natural or social sciences.

            • FW Ken

              An interesting perspective on the New Mexico rolling. Look for the word “tyranny” in the last sentence.

              http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/11/justice-bosson-and-the-prostitution-of-religious-belief

              • Dale

                Ken, I looked at the First Things article you linked do. It was written by a philosophy professor who says things such as:
                Returning to our own century, we find the Court arguing that homosexual couples have a right to the someone’s camera in the same way the [starving] pauper has a right to the baker’s bread.
                The New Mexico Supreme Court said no such thing, and it has nothing to do with their decision. That the author is willing to misinterpret the ruling to fit in that particular bit of nonsense says something about his reasoning. Obviously, he would consider such a thing tyrannical. I suppose anyone would.

                • FW Ken

                  We disagree as to whether it’s nonsense, but I would agree that he extrapolated from what the court did find, which is that the gay couple had a right to the photographer’s craft. However, I think the is valuable in that it distinguishes basic from frivolous.

    • The original Mr. X

      “Would
      the same argument hold for other forms of discrimination? If a photographer
      realised a client was a different ethnicity, would he be right to refuse
      service? What if the caterer’s religion requires women to cover their head (a
      common requirement that I’ve heard professed by Baptists, Muslims, and
      Catholics, and I’m sure there are others), should he be allowed to refuse to
      provide service when he learns none of the women at the wedding will be
      covering their head? Doesn’t a room full of naked headed women directly violate
      his own religious beliefs?”

      Refusing to photograph somebody because of their ethnicity isn’t really the same as refusing to photograph a gay marriage, because the latter is an action somebody can choose to carry out or not, whereas the former is something over which nobody has any control. And if somebody’s religious beliefs forbid them from taking photographs of women who aren’t wearing hats, then yes, they should have the right not to take any such photographs.

      “There’s no reason a secular government should validate the choice of one couple of consenting adults to marry while denying another couple of consenting adultsthe same choice”

      I think you’ll find that *any* government recognition of marriage is going to
      necessitate defining it, in which case some combinations will be excluded from
      the state definition whilst others are included.

      • DonnaB

        The government can define marriage, or any other contractual or licensed partnership, I don’t have a problem with that. Like any other law, however, it has to apply equally to every person. To get married in my county you have to:

        obtain a marriage license by appearing in person in the county clerk office, showing government issued photo id that matches the name provided in the license application, provide social security numbers to the county clerk, pay a licensing fee, and have a ceremony after a short waiting period conducted by an authorized officiant.

        There are some special rules about people who have been married before and divorced and minors wanting to get married, but there is nothing in those requirements that could not be met by couples of any gender composition, yet my state doesn’t issue licenses to same gender couples.

        The law is applied to people differently based solely on gender. That is the problem.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          But the solution isn’t to make marriage discriminatory based solely on species, which is what gay marriage laws do.

        • The original Mr. X

          “Like any other law, however, it has to apply equally to every person.”
          And it does: every person is equally able to get married to somebody of the opposite gender.
          (Well, obviously not *every* person: somebody who’s already married, or closely related to their intended, or wants to marry someone who’s under the age of consent, can’t get legally married. Then again, given that nobody seems to raise a fuss about this, it would seem that whilst the law must apply equally to everyone, it must apply more equally to some people than to others.)

          • Dale

            Mr X, you are not the first person to make the two arguments you stated. But neither one is credible. The first claim is similar to saying a law which restricts marriages to Democrats would be fair, since everyone is free to be a Democrat. Or, it would be like saying that Saudi Arabia has religious equality because everyone is free to be Muslim.

            The second argument is also flawed. Persons who are below the age of consent are being protected by law from exploitation, as they do not possess the maturity or life-experience to make a legal contract.

      • DonnaB

        The parallel between ethnicity and sexual orientation, while not in any way perfect, is the wholesale discrimination of a group of people.

        As much as I would love to debate the whole choosing to be gay vs. being born gay, for the sake of this argument I don’t think it matters, what matters is the person’s identity with a segment of society. A photographer refusing to service a Jewish couple or a Hindu couple or a Christian couple because of their religion would be unacceptable and illegal. As would refusing service to French Canadians because they’re foreigners. The point is if you’re offering services to the public you’re offering services to all of the public on the same basis, you don’t get to choose which types of people can contract your business and which types of people cannot.

        • FW Ken

          Being born gay vs a psychogenic/psychosocial origin is irrelevant. It’s not a choice in either case. However, to say that same-sex attracted persons have no further choices is dehumanizing.

          In fact, sexual preference remains a subjective status, self-reported, unlike race. It is not in the same sort of category as race. The only basis for forcing people to serve a same-sex commitment ceremony (which has no legal standing) is social approbation of self-defined gay persons. That puts it on the same footing as catering a KKK rally, except that the KKK are a socially disapproved group.

          And save the shrieking: you know full well I am not comparing same-sex stuff to the KKK, except for the social standing.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          This whole government interfering in people’s private companies business because of some imagined “public accommodation” has really gotten out of hand. I’d rather have segregated lunch counters back than this attitude.

    • Dale

      Donna, you grossly misrepresent the beliefs of the three religions which you mentioned. But your basic argument is the same which the New Mexico Supreme Court found convincing. If a photographer wants to be a public accommodation, selling to the public, the photographer must abide by the laws which regulate public accommodations. The photographer is free to operate as commercial enterprise which offers its services to a private clientele (presumably members of a club or other private organization.)

      • DonnaB

        I agree that my example grossly misrepresents most religions that practice head covering. The people I personally know who practice head covering, each from a different religious background, do so for deeply personal reasons, and would never hold anyone else in contempt for not making the same choice; that is one reason I used that example. Aren’t the people refusing to bake cakes or photograph weddings because it’s against their religion grossly misrepresenting their religion? Maybe I’m wrong on that, it just seems an odd way to love one’s neighbor as oneself, to me.

        If I misread the article I apologize, but I understood that the fear is that businesses that typically provide services in the wedding industry may not be able to discriminate against gay couples under the new Illinois law. I didn’t see where it mentioned private clientele or private clubs, but I suppose that would be one way for these businesses to “safeguard” themselves from gay customers.

        • Dale

          Hi Donna,
          I have to admit that I was surprised when an innkeeper refused to rent a hall for a wedding reception, but was happy to rent a room to the newly married couple. Then a photographer, followed by a baker, amd then a florist refused to cater for same-sex weddings. I don’t fully understand their rationale, and earlier in this discussion I tried to suggest a rationale. However, I wonder how much of their objection is actually based in religious beliefs, as opposed to simply wanting to be culture warriors. Why would an innkeeper object to renting for a public celebration of a marriage (which had taken place elsewhere) but willing to rent for a private celebration of that marriage? Why would a florist be happy to sell a gay man a bouquet for Valentines Day, but draw the line at selling flowers for wedding? I am left wondering about their motives.

          When I mentioned that businesses had a choice between operating as a public accommodation or operating as profit-making enterprise which caters only to a private membership, I was referring to an option which the New Mexico Supreme Court explicitly stated in its ruling. Whether that same option is available in Illinois, I do not know.

  • Barbara

    If I were a Christian business owner, my response would be to accept the order but then make it clear to the client that I am doing so under protest and will be donating 100% of the proceeds of the sale to Focus on the Family. If the gay couple wants to use the system as a sledgehammer against dissent, well, as it is a democracy, two can play that game. Could you imagine what would happen if enough Christian business owners took this position? If there’s one thing I learned from my days as a socialist, it’s that union really does level the playing field, and I am convinced that there are way more supporters of traditional marriage and freedom of religion than those on the other side,

    • pesq87

      I’m pro-gay marriage and I would support this action.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      While you may be convinced “that there are way more supporters of traditional marriage and freedom of religion than those on the other side”, the polling based from empirical sampling tends to indicate for the country as a whole at best a roughly even split these days, and even that much only via “Bradley Effect”. The GSS-2012, for example, gave about a 48-38 split supporting gay marriage; Gallup’s July 2013 numbers were nearer 52-43. You might also look at the 3rdWay/HRC poll results from earlier in the year, which had a question that specifically asked whether or not a photographer should be able to refuse to photograph a gay couple’s wedding. While they used a smaller pollster and the result may have been an artifact of question framing, their data indicated the public believed (54-38) such discrimination ought be unlawful.

      • FW Ken
        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          (Hm. Not sure if the last response got eaten by a power outage here. More briefly….)

          Measured based on election polling, Grove tends to be less biased and with lower average error than Rasmussen; possibly Rasmussen’s habit of weighing electorate samples by party ID (which can change) is a factor.

          Both these polls are almost certainly influenced by differences in the exact wording, and differential cognitive priming from the preceding questions.

          • FW Ken

            What in the world does the Rasmussen poll have to do with political parties? I recognize the need to dismiss data that you don’t like, but try to make sense. Or at least remember that truth is not a matter of majority opinion.

            • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

              Attitudes on tolerance/intolerance of homosexuality are correlated to political party identification. (Do I also need to be explicit that presidential votes also tends to correlate to political party identification?)

              • FW Ken

                Well, that’s pretty desperate. Borderline psychotic, although psychosis would assume you don’t know what your doing.

                • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

                  Such language would seem to fall short of (and evades my capacity for candid reply within) Rebecca’s nominal standards of “polite” and “use courtesy and civility”.

                  • FW Ken

                    Perhaps if you didn’t make things up…

  • FW Ken

    I suppose the bottom line is that including sexual preference in an anti-discrimination law creates a fundamentally unjust law, based as it is on an ideological, not scientific anthropology and anti-scientific propaganda. The decision then is how to respond to an unjust law. That has always been an issue, since Caesar has always demanded his pinch of incense, at all times and in all places.

  • FW Ken

    Regarding the New Mexico case, a concurring opinion included in the ruling states:

    it is the price of citizenship…

    http://www.adfmedia.org/files/ElanePhotoNMSCopinion.pdf

    Please note that it’s not the price of doing business, but the price of citizenship. This sentence contradicts the earlier part of the paragraph, which refers to public accommodation. However, it is this last sentence that will find its way into future rulings.

    As to the frivolous nature of the suit, the lesbian couple in question obtained a photographer at a better price. This was to make a point, not about getting services.

  • Elaine S.

    There’s a difference between refusing ALL service to a particular class of people and refusing to participate in a specific EVENT that is inimical to one’s convictions. Say, for instance, you were Jewish and were a staunch supporter of Israel, and owned a catering service. It would not (IMO) be right for you to refuse service as a matter of policy to persons of Palestinian/Arab ancestry who were asking for your services at weddings, family reunions, etc.; but I think it would be well within your rights to refuse to cater a fundraising event for the PLO, Hamas or any other organization that denies Israel’s right to exist. You could also, as far as I know, under current religious freedom law, refuse to work between sunset on Friday and sunset on Saturday (your Sabbath). Likewise there is a difference between refusing to serve gay persons or couples as a matter of policy in ALL circumstances — which I believe would be unjust discrimination — and simply refusing to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony.

    As a lifelong Illinois resident my biggest concern is not so much about being forced to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies, as it is about the state officially establishing as a matter of policy that disapproval of same-sex marriage is equivalent to racial or religious bigotry, and that persons who hold such convictions (like myself) are no longer welcome to do any kind of business with the state, to enter certain occupations or ultimately, even to live here. Catholic Charities was already forced out of the adoption business because it wouldn’t place children with same-sex couples in civil unions. How long will it be before, say, social workers, teachers and all state employees (of which I am one) are subject to termination or ineligible to be hired if they have any record of opposing same-sex marriage, or if they refuse to endorse it?

    • Dale

      Elaine, I think you make some good points. However, as long as your private opinions regarding same-sex marriage does not affect the service you provide as a government employee, I don’t see how those opinions would be relevant to your job. In other words, even if you disagree with same-marriage, as long as you provide the same service to such couples as you provide to traditional couples, I don’t see how there could be any problem.

  • FW Ken

    Another, perhaps more honest take on the subject:

    http://theconversation.com/the-trouble-with-gay-marriage-19196


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X