State Sen. Scott Schneider has introduced a “religious freedom” bill in Indiana. Micah Clark of the American Family Association describes what it would do:
It would allow small businesses — such as bakeries, caterers, florists, and wedding chapels — to refuse services to gay couples based on the owner’s religious beliefs, he said. It would also allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, he said.
“The freedom of conscience bill is really about limiting government’s ability to squelch freedom of religion, conscience or speech,” Clark said.
Religious liberty isn’t the freedom to do anything and everything you want and get away with it. Believe me, racists and other flavors of bigot have already tried. In 1968 a South Carolina restaurant owner argued before the SCOTUS that he shouldn’t have to serve black people on account of his religious beliefs. The man was Maurice Bessinger who owned Piggie Park BBQ.
The attorney representing the petitioners suing Piggie Park also addressed in court the “First Amendment religious privilege claim that petitioner asserted that his religion required him” to deny service to black customers.
“I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”
The SCOTUS ruled 8-0 against him (Justice Marshall recused himself). If business owners can’t discriminate on the basis of skin color because of their religious beliefs, why should they be allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation due to their religious beliefs?
If stealing, speeding, assault, discriminating through a business, and all manner of other crimes are bad for society, they don’t suddenly become laudable or acceptable when done for religious reasons. I will forever defend someone’s right to worship as they see fit (as much as I loathe religion and will do my damndest to convince them otherwise), but laws exist to keep people from harming society – and we’ve established that institutionalized discrimination is bad for society. You don’t get to make second class citizens of minorities just because you’re religious.