A Gay Dad Sounds Off on the Gutless Who Mask Bigotry as “Religious Freedom”

ImageA wedding is one of the most popular and revered fixtures of modern culture. Children, particularly girls, are led to romanticize it. Television shows build whole ratings-grabbing boosts around their fictional renditions of it. Weddings are loved, they are hated, they are dreamed about, they are dreaded. They can be magical and they can be disasters. Whatever they are . . . people remember their own wedding day, good or bad, their whole lives long. They are an important milestone for everyone who has one, and they should be treasured.

Recently, I have been asked to officiate at two weddings. The couples who asked, one opposite gender and one same gender, are both very close to my heart. I am honored and humbled by their requests and take them very seriously. I have been asked to have a voice in the most cherished moments of these friends’ lives, and I will do everything in my power to perform at the level they deserve. These invitations have given me a moment to ponder about people who, when they are asked to become involved in these sacred events, use the requests as a platform to express bigotry instead.

There is a disclaimer at the end of many movies where woodland creatures appear to be ravaged: “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie.” The illusion that there might be such harm was at the whim of the storytellers, and it is their final intention to let you know that they were fibbing for the sake of drama.

There should be a similar disclaimer at the end of same-sex wedding events: “No Christian principles were violated in the union of these people.” Those are the facts. The people in this case who would have you believe otherwise are not storytelling filmmakers, they are some of the bakers, dressmakers, florists, and venue managers in the wedding industry. They want you to believe that somehow supporting two people making a lifetime commitment is a violation of their own “religious freedom.” This is one of the biggest illusionary shell games in public discourse today.

Almost to the case, these offending vendors have demonstrated a complete lack of scruples in any other way toward the very principles they claim to uphold. While they deny service to LGBT couples wishing to marry, they appear to have no problem in ignoring anything else that would fly in the face of biblical standards. Oregon’s Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which shut its doors this week, showed they would marry pretty much anyone and anything, including even animals, but absolutely no LGBT couples. Aaron Klein claims that those speaking out against his discrimination used “militant, mean-spirited Mafia-style tactics” to shut them down.  “I just did not want to be part of her marriage,” he stated, referring to one of the brides he to whom he declined service.  What are the standards at play in his statement?  Dishonesty—there is no evidence of “Mafia” or any other illegal tactics being used.  Hypocracy—the Kleins want freedom of speech, but do not want those who react to their behavior to enjoy the same freedoms (or to have a choice as to where they spend their money). Delusion—the bride asked him to provide a service for her wedding, I don’t mean to speak for her, but I am positive that she had no intention of having him in her marriage at all.

Let’s look at that Washington florist. She also lacked moral standards.  She had no problem flowering the romance and intimacy of two gay men, which should have been the core of her misguided religious complaint, but then pulled back when the two were ready to declare lifelong allegiance to each other (that is, marry), which actually is supported by the Bible.

I personally did my own digging in one of these cases to see if an Iowa venue, the Gortz Haus Gallery, which rejected the union of two men, would hold the same scrutiny over a celebration of another non-opposite gender union: the “marriage” of two corporations.  I sent in the request and described an event of a ceremony and reception to be celebrated by two unifying nameless corporate teams.  The details mirrored and almost mocked the traditional wedding set up.  Would Gortz Haus care whether the companies were ethical and moral?  Would they care if there was love involved or pure opportunism?  Would they care about anything other than the fact that Gortz Haus was being offered money to hold the event?

They did not. Betty Odgaard of Gortz Haus Gallery eagerly bid on my proposed event without a single inquiry into the ethical or philosophical standing of either entity in the union. She stated, welcomingly, “By managing setting arrangements and timing, we have had very good success in similar situations.”

Standing up for Christian principles in general is obviously not the motivator for any of these people; taking a stance against LGBT people is. Even with the most outlandishly anti-gay interpretation of the Bible, not one Bible verse implies that it is wrong to provide services for two people standing up to articulate their love and promises toward each other. Not one.

In fact, there are many references that support doing so: the commandment to love one’s neighbor as one’s self; the commitment and love declared by David and Jonathan; the golden rule; the fact that Jesus himself was a de facto wedding event contributor when he turned water into wine (without making a judgment on the wedding party for whom his service had been performed).

As for the concept of “religious freedom ,” it presents its own unique problematic dichotomy. How can one person’s “religious freedom” be granted at the expense of someone else’s? The existence of multiple “religious freedoms” that are mutually exclusive of one another cannot exist. The U.S. Supreme Court wrestled with this concept in 1878 (Reynolds v. United States), when it was presented with the case for bigamy on the part of the Mormon Church. The Court rejected the “religious freedom” argument, citing the “slippery slope” ramification to unfettered “religious freedom,” which could ultimately force, for example, the legalization of religiously sanctioned human sacrifice by those who believed that God mandated it.

While no one in our modern society is suggesting that people lose their physical lives over “religious freedom ,” those who wrap their bigotry up in this phrase are essentially condemning LGBT couples to the loss of their emotional life. These naysayers would sacrifice the happiness, hopes, security, honor, and dignity of the lives of people in their community purely on the basis of their own personal, albeit inconsistent, belief system. They advocate that others should lose their life well-being in a sacrifice to their own particular belief in God.

This is not religious freedom. It is not principled. These people are running scared from the fact that the world around them has changed. Recently, the New Mexico State Supreme Court ruled that these bigots can express whatever they think and feel, and that they can believe as they wish. They can hang a sign. They can run advertising. What they cannot do is deny prejudicial service and interfere in the loves of others.

However, to achieve a greater sense of true Christian love, our courts, churches, and people must now discard the “conventional wisdom” of decades past and drop these baseless prejudices.

That does not take public aggrandizing and self-victimization. What it takes is guts.

 

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Special thanks to Rachel Hockett for editing help on this article.

 

About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: http://www.imagaysingleparent.com/2013/02/02/rob/ and here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/31/rob-watson-gay-family_n_4689661.html
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57 Responses to A Gay Dad Sounds Off on the Gutless Who Mask Bigotry as “Religious Freedom”

  1. mark bruzee says:

    Hey Rob,
    Its mark again, and I’ll bet you know what I’m about yo ask…
    Please may I,again?
    Probably have it up by Friday.
    Mark

  2. Tired says:

    A individual person can believe anything they want. However a business cannot discriminate, or the business license should be revoked. A business does NOT have a religion. (Churches are Not a business, however if a church wants to have a political opinion it should lose tax exempt status and pay their fair share in taxes) If the individual baker wants to use religion as an excuse for bigotry that is fine, have another baker in the business make the cake. The laws for businesses change over time all the time. So with this bakery, when it was started the laws are XYZ, and they know those laws before starting the business, but then a new law is passed 123, the business has a choice about this law, obey it or close down. They cannot and should not be allowed to be “Grandfathered” in, and be exempt of the new laws… IF this was the case their would be massive amounts of businesses that would NOT be required to serve african americans, or not paying minimum wage when the law increases the amount…. The baker has the choice, no one said owning a business was easy…. Either obey the law or close…. and NO ONES religion is being persecuted, the only thing being challanged is the LAW stopping discrimination. IF a religion stated that women cannot work ever, and the business owner had this religion, he/she could NOT prevent women from being hired to work in the business… he can have his opinion but still cannot discriminate against her…

  3. Reblogged this on just4craig and commented:
    This is an excellent piece and I want to share it with everyone who shares with me.

  4. Pingback: A Gay Dad Sounds Off on the Gutless Who Mask Bigotry as “Religious Freedom” | just4craig

  5. Pingback: Masking anti gay bigotry as "religious freedom"! » The Buell Review

  6. Patrick says:

    Those against same sex marriage in my opinion are looking at this through such a skewed and narrow lens. Yes, it is a private business, however public law states that you cannot discriminate based on other factors besides sexual orientation. If you think it’s perfectly fine for a business owner to do this, they what you’re in essence saying is that ALL discrimination protections are unnecessary. All you have to do is change the words “same sex” to interracial, or Jewish or black people……I can keep going, so in that context where does it end?
    Besides, if you’re willing to forego any other tenants of the bible including supplying cakes for a pagan ritual, then I’m sorry, you’re really just using your religious beliefs to promote your bigotry and worst of all, you’re using God as your patsy. Now you tell me, which is really more offensive?
    Anyone who has never had to deal with same sex issues are basing their opinions on something that they know absolutely nothing about, but at the same time are willing to cherry pick a couple verses out of the bible, spin their own slant on it and then use that to condemn and discriminate against an entire segment of society….again, in the name of God. Seriously?
    Many of us, especially baby boomers didn’t or weren’t able to reconcile our sexuality with our upbringing until we were well into our 40’s. Many people have taken their own lives because of religious views like these. From my Catholic upbringing I was tormented most of my life by this “curse” of being bisexual. Praying my ass off for 30 years got me nowhere and I felt as though God had abandoned me because I was broken. On the verge of suicide, bottle of pills in my hand kneeling on the floor I decided that I was going to pray one more time, only this time it wasn’t to be straight and normal like everyone else, this time all I asked God to do was to show me the path. In an instant my tears of despair were turned into tears of joy and for the first time in my life I felt the divine spirit touch my soul. It was in that second that I felt as though God had dumped the entire knowledge of the universe inside my head and all of a sudden I understood so many things about life I had never know before. I realized that I wasn’t cursed at all, in fact God created me to be *exactly* to be who I am, and no one on this earth can dispute that.
    For all those that think non heterosexuals are somehow less acceptable as people, or that God hates us and we’re all going to burn in hell, you might want to take a step back and reexamine your own lives and maybe realize that you are in NO place to judge another for who they are.otherwise you would be judging God’s reason’s…..now *that* takes some balls.

    Rob, I’ve read many of your blogs and I personally want to thank you. You are a very gifted writer and appreciate the way in which you relate your thoughts and experiences.

    • JON says:

      Very well written and said. I completely concur. God bless you for your insights and contribution.

      Sincerely-

      Jon B.

      “Where is hatred and love bred? In the heart or in the head?” – Jon B.

      “Is it more important WHO we love or only THAT we love?” – Jon B.

  7. Happy birthday Rob! I’m a fan and thank you for what you do. May you be blessed even more!

    Love from the Philippines!

  8. paula says:

    This is the first time I have visited this blog and I must say that I am impressed with everyone’s civility regarding this matter, even when their views disagree. If this article and it’s replies set the tone for this blog, then I will enjoy coming back and reading both it and the comments. Manners and civil discourse–who knew it might still be possible?
    Hopefully yours,
    Paula, a potential new reader

  9. vveelle (McMuffin) says:

    Romans 1:27

    New International Version (NIV)

    27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
    I can’t fathom why people who believe in the Bible think that it doesn’t condemn homosexuality. I have no hatred for the people and if their state approves of their marriage then so be it but I would have a difficult time being of any use to them in their “wedding”.

    • ktah says:

      Did you know that the bible also says dwarves, hunchbacks, and people with eye defects and skin diseases and damaged testicles (???) are all unworthy. It also says it’s fine to beat up and have sex with your slaves. Now do you seriously believe someone was divinely inspired to write that sort of insensitive garbage? It’s a perfect example of the ignorant prejudices and superstitions of the original bible authors who wrote things to suit their own circumstances.

      • McMuffin says:

        Can you tell me where these verses are found and especially if they are in the Old Testament or the New Testament? That would make a difference.

        • Steven says:

          So, you’re telling me that one section of the magical fairy book has more relevance than the other?

          • vveelle says:

            Things changed in the New Testament because of Christ’s death. People were no longer subject to the law, which they were unable to follow anyway. But after Christ died and rose again, he provided salvation because he died a terrible death for our sins. I really don’t want to say anything more about it, as you doubt my words.

          • Dave says:

            @vveelle

            This is the Christian defense for cherry picking the Old Testament which tells us quite clearly to have our disobedient sons stoned to death, please tell us what Christ said about same sex relations in the New Testament.

        • Jesus himself was condemned for associating with prostitutes, lepers, etc. He taught us love, no matter what, and acceptance of people. He teaches us that it is not our place to cast judgement on others OR their sins.

          The Bible verse you quoted specifically says lust, which is considered a sin in and of itself regardless of whether it is lust between two of the opposite sex or the same sex, so any act out of lust would be considered shameful and therefore the particular verse you quoted cannot accurately represent the Bible’s stance on homosexuality as the Bible clearly states many times throughout both the Old and New Testaments that lust is a sin in and of itself.

          Furthermore, by placing the word “wedding” in quotation marks the way you did clearly shows a condescending attitude toward the ceremony. Two men/two women are fully and clearly capable of loving one another in an intimate fashion. Loving one another with the same emotions a man and a woman can. So any union between two women or two men doesn’t mean anything less to them, a lifelong commitment, than any union between a man and a woman.

          By taking a condescending attitude toward their “wedding” you are thereby passing judgement on their wedding. By passing judgement on their sin, which is not your place, you are sinning as well. Since Jesus taught us that no one sin was better/worse than another, you are no better in any way than those who commit acts of homosexuality (if it’s even truly a sin) and lust. According to the Bible.

          If you cannot see or understand the sad instances where man has used the Bible, a book, a teaching that was supposed to be God’s voice, not theirs, to further their own personal agenda, then perhaps you should read it again. Or, if you are one who continuously insists that it is without contradiction and flaws, and that it may as well have been written by God himself, then perhaps there is no hope. There are many contradictions in there, and many instances where it is clear that whoever was writing/rewriting it was more interested in pushing their own personal agenda, which is wrong.

          Here’s what I was taught. God is love. And if God is love, I can’t see where he would turn anyone away. Jesus would have serviced the couples referenced in the article. Often Christians are asked “What Would Jesus Do”? I believe it is more important to remain as Christ-like as possible, and not try to push our own personal agenda on others. To spread love and kindness instead of intolerance.

          I have met many people who have turned away from Christianity who would still be Christians today if people were simply more Christ like. And unfortunately, I have met so many more Christians who aren’t as Christ like as they could be. It is sad.

        • I would also like to point out that the original Hebrew version of the Bible used Elohim many times in Genesis, which translates to “they” but it was translated to “he” instead, simply to further personal agendas. Many times in translation things were changed for multiple reasons. The same goes for the writing/rewriting of the Bible over the years. It was not ours to edit.

          Just an example.

        • Kara says:

          Leviticus chapter 11, 12, 18, 19 (all the abominations we eat, burnt offerings we’re supposed to kill, women are unclean after giving birth,shaving)..
          Exodus 21 (slavery and who owns who, what masters get to keep/take from their slaves) Deuteronomy 22 (murder a woman who is not a virgin, rape a woman and you have to pay her father with silver, then keep her as your wife!)
          Proverbs 22:15 (A lot of people use this as an excuse for child abuse, but the actual rod a Shepard uses is for guiding, not beating their flock. How many sheep herders do you know that beat their sheep?!)
          1 Timothy 2 (misogyny and sexism)
          2 John 1:10 (prejudice, judgement and exclusion) 1 Samuel Chapter 18 (speaks of the love b/n Jonathan and David- “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul..then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle (sounds quite like a marriage ceremony to me- giving your most prized possessions, and leaving your father’s house to go to your new family’s home)… 2 Samuel 1:26… (Upset over Jonathan’s death) “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me; thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.”
          Deuteronomy 23 “No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the LORD. 2″No one of illegitimate birth shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of his descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall enter the assembly of the LORD.…
          Galatians 5:12
          As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
          Leviticus 21:20
          or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.
          Leviticus 22:24
          You must not offer to the LORD an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land,
          Deuteronomy 23:2
          No one born of a forbidden marriage nor any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.

          I could keep going… but, hopefully you get the point…Besides, it doesn’t matter if it’s OT or NT, the same tired, prejudiced versus are used over and over (and over again!) to deny equal rights to other people. to deny respect for your fellow “children of God” to deny BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS to other Human Beings, based on your personal religious preference…

    • KievJoy says:

      And of course, hetrosexual sex is never perverted, is it.

    • PJMcK says:

      And how many generations was the bible passed down by oral tradition from father to son to grandson, etc. before anyone was even able to write it down? Not to mention the number of times it was translated and retranslated, or the number of times it was copied and recopied (by manual transcription, no less!), with transcription errors and all? And you want to take it as infallible?

    • billy says:

      So when christ died for our sins, saving us from our own inevitable acts against god, did t not include the sin of homosexuality?

      • JON says:

        Billy-

        Below lies the sum total of just what Yahshua Messiah/Yahushua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus) had to say about GLBT peeps and homosexuality in the New Testament:

        “……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..” Love ye one another.” – Jon B.

        Any questions?

    • Ray Kawamura says:

      Seriously, you’re quoting Paul, the man who gives two conflicting views of his conversion story, over Jesus of Nazareth, who said not one word about homosexuality, or same sex marriage? Paul, who’s word can’t be trusted to get his own conversion story right, over the non-judgement of your supposed savior? Sounds like your savior is Paul to me. Paul preached things that were not congruent with what Jesus taught. You might want to rethink your position.

      • KievJoy says:

        Paul was brought up as a Pharasee and at the beginning of his ministry he still had that mind set. Women shouldn’t speak in church? By the end of his ministry, when he had learned a lot more of being a Christian and not a Pharasee he had changed on many things, and even (shock horror) had women deacons and some of his letter indicate a few women were running churches. This is just one of the glaring examples of the difference at the beginning and end.

  10. ktah says:

    Religious freedom means that you are free to live your own life according to your religious beliefs. It does not mean that you are free to force other people to live their lives according to your beliefs. I see two options here. The preferable option is that business owners should keep their religious convictions separate from the public service they are providing, and they keep their nose and opinions out of the personal lives of their customers. The second more divisive option is that a business that wants to actively discriminate should be required to publicly advertise their discrimination policy, so that members of the public can make an informed choice on whether they in turn want to discriminate against that business.

    • Will says:

      I agree, and very well thought out and posted. Thank you.

    • paula says:

      Nice! I like it, I really do. Everyone wins—those that do not wish to serve (insert group here) do not have to do so and members of said group will not waste time in those establishments trying to do business with them only to be turned away. Reckon it might take a little more guts to just up and say it out loud, but hey, if one really feels that strongly, one should have the strength of their convictions.

    • gary says:

      if anti-discrimination laws include members of the lgbtiq community as a ‘protected class’ then businesses should understand and adhere to such laws. a ‘business’ is not a thinking, breathing entity and cannot, therefore, have thoughts or beliefs in anything.

      if the business owners/managers cannot in all good conscience operate their business within the law, then they should consider an alternative career.

  11. antarabesque says:

    As a ‘once upon a time’ business owner I feel compelled to respond, though I can’t exactly put my finger on what specifically in this article disturbs me. I think a business owner has the option of deciding who they will provide a service for, however flawed their reason might be to others. Two examples.
    There was a labour dispute at the main employer of a town near us. The union wanted us to print t-shirts showing the skyline of the manufacturing plant with an airplane sporting the owners’ name crashing into the highest building, it was a month after 9-11. We refused. People may not have connected our business to the shirts, but we determined it was in poor taste and wanted to truthfully say we wanted nothing to do with it.
    A young lady came in with a design to be printed on t-shirts. It was an erect penis barely disguised as a tree with a saying alluding to how tree planters ‘do it’. It was extremely derogatory to women. I refused. She was outraged, insisiting it was a joke, the cusotmer is always right, and DEMANDING I take her order. I didn’t.
    I would suggest my Christian beliefs and values had a huge influence in arriving at these decisions.
    I wonder what else might be behind the refusal of the businesses in your post. Will their church excommunicate them if it is known they cater a gay wedding? Will their family ostrasize them? Will the landlord of their business premise evict them? If the church you worship in tells you nothing other than their interpretation of scripture and you are not inclined to wrestling with the text on your own, what world view is likely to be adopted? While I may not agree with that world view, I do believe business people do have the right to select. There is some business out there that will cater, as there was a business that printed the union and tree planter t-shirts.

    • robw77 says:

      Thank you for your comment. There is a huge difference between the examples you cite and the situations in the article. Both your examples are around requests to do something that you found disturbing, projects that you found offensive, and that you would have turned down no matter who the person was requesting them…tall, short, of either gender, of any ethnicity. There was no discrimination, there was just ethics. None of that applies to the situations in the article…in fact, it was the exact opposite. The vendors were being asked to do the exact same thing that they would for any other customer… that they would do for an opposite sex couple, or in the case of Sweet Cakes, that they were willing to do for animals. Or in the case of the Iowa venue, that they were willing to do for a non-love union. They were discriminating against WHO it was for, not over what was being done. It does not matter if their church ordained the prejudice. They were not acting as agents of the church. If a church believed that women should not have the right to purchase items, should vendors have the right to refuse business to all women? No.

    • Dave says:

      Yes, prior to civil rights legislation, businesses had the right to ‘select’, to refuse services to African Americans, and they did all over the country. From the Apartheid Southern US to San Francisco. Thankfully the government stepped in and got in the way. There is no difference here, people justified their hatred of African Americans with a couple of Bible quotes back then, we laugh at them today and a business will likely go under if they display such blatant bigotry. That is quickly happening with LGBT issues and we have no federal protection against discrimination like other minorities but businesses will be tried in the court of public opinion and many will lose. If this article rubs you the wrong way then you need to do some soul searching in my opinion.

      • antarabesque says:

        No, it doesn’t rub me the wrong way at all. I was just offering a different perspective. I think what hit a cord with me was the perceived generalizations. Just as ”all Christians believe homosexuality is a sin’, ‘all Muslims are terrorists’, ‘all shop owners who discriminate are bigots.’ I’m only suggesting that people adopt a ‘policy’ for many reasons, and that doesn’t necessarily mean they are justified in doing so.

  12. Roman says:

    Just, thank you.

  13. KievJoy says:

    I have to disagree on this. I agree with same sex marriage, but I don’t think a pastor who doesn’t agree with it should be made to perform the service. a priest in England said no. He did not make a big thing of it, just said he couldn’t do it in all conscious. The couple are the people making a big deal out of it, they are taking him to court so it is now in the headlines. If someone thinks something is wrong, even if someone else doesn’t agree with it, whatever the reason, they should be free to say no.

    • robw77 says:

      You are mistaken, KievJoy, no one is asking any religion to ordain something against their religion, and that is not the issue. The issue is that public services are wishing to deny services on their own whims of approval which they claim are religiously based. They also have shown that they have no qualms in performing their services for others who would also be against their “religious beliefs”. This article was not about the religious freedom of churches within their own environments.

      • RoyK says:

        Okay, I’m going to disagree with you here, Robb (and normally I agree with your logic), but this was not a “public service”; it was a private service offered to the general public by a private company. It was not a service that was supported by taxpayer funds. As such, while despicable, they are not outside of their rights to be stupid and hypocritical. As a private company, they have the right to determine who they do and do not want to do business with (and they can reap the consequences of their stupid and hypocritical decisions). Nothing prevents them from cutting off their nose to spite their face. And if they continue following their dunderheaded business model, they will be out business soon enough. If instead this was a public entity (such as a County Clerk) being asked to provide a public service (such as issuing a Marriage License) and they refused based on their “religious beliefs”, that would be a different issue since they receive their funding via the taxpayers and cannot discriminate against anyone outside of the scope of the laws pertaining to the entity from which they receive their distributed taxpayer funding.

        • I agree with you that a very expensive lawsuit isn’t the way to go. But the bottom line is, whether or not they should have the right to refuse service isn’t the issue. It’s illegal in Oregon to refuse service to anyone based on sexual orientation. The refusal was directly linked to their sexual orientation. If the business doesn’t like it, they shouldn’t be a business to begin with. You know the rules going into the game. If you don’t follow them…then there are consequences. From a moral standpoint, I think both ends are wrong.

          • Cautious says:

            Not really accurate. They knew the rules at the time they started in business, but the state changed the rules. Standing by your beliefs is not bigotry, it’s called integrity.

      • Owen says:

        I this is the crux of the argument. I’m a Christian, but I’m one of those crazy whackadoo Christians who has no problem with two people getting married, thinks the Earth is really damn old, etc. So, to the commentor at the top of the page: yes I can be a Christian and think that being homosexual is A-OK — Love God and love your neighbor, upon these two commandments etc etc.

        The argument that, if two men or women get married, all of a sudden priests and pastors and whoever will suddenly be forced to abandon all their most cherished principles is just absurd. Even today, a pastor in the US (I’m not sure why a lawsuit in a different country with a different system of laws has any bearing here) may refuse to perform an interracial marriage or any marriage he or she deems unfit. That’s his or her freedom to do so. I may think it’s stupid and backwards, but I can’t force anyone to do anything. In the same way, a pastor who sincerely holds the (in my opinion wrong) belief that two men should not be married is free to say, “No thanks, try the Unitarians.” Similarly, the argument that if we allow two dudes to get hitched, all of a sudden I could marry my truck or my dog or my neighbor’s four year old is just stupid. I mean bone-chatteringly dumb, showing an ignorance of basic law. As soon as any of those three things can legally enter into the binding civil contract of marriage between two consenting adults and the State, we’ll talk.

        A private business can choose who it does business with. Again, I may think it’s mean-spirited and a twisting of Jesus’ message to deny service to a gay couple, but that just means they and I will go somewhere else to spend money. Eventually the invisible hand of the market will work its magic and they’ll either realize that business is better when everyone gets cake, or go under.

        The real problem occurs when, as mentioned below, someone like a county clerk decides that she won’t grant licenses for the civil contract of marriage to gay couples because she thinks Jesus said not to. She should be fired for not doing her job as a public servant. She and others will cry, “Persecution!,” but only in bizzaro America is getting called to the carpet for not doing your taxpayer-funded job persecution.

        Maybe we should just make all civil contracts called domestic partnerships or something. My partnership with my wife is no more or less special than anyone else’s. If the word marriage is so sacred, let the Church keep it and use it in their own ceremonies. But don’t let love get taken hostage by dogma.

        • KievJoy says:

          I agree with gay marriage, but am pointing out that a pastor in England is being threatened with court because he doesn’t and has refused to marry a gay couple. He should also have the freedom to say no.

          • Owen says:

            He absolutely should, you’re right.

            Remember that you can sue for just about anything. Doesn’t mean you’ll win. Also remember that in the US we have hard-coded guarantees of such freedom, the equivalents of which are absent in England. Even if the pastor 1) is sued and 2) loses, the case has zero bearing on US law.

          • Keith Chadwick says:

            There are I believe equivalents in British law more based on precedents than encoded rights like you have in the US which is a very young democracy in comparison.

          • Keith Chadwick says:

            Agree that is completely incorrect however not surprising. As the laws change certain people will attempt to push the envelope until the law history clearly defines the lines. This is the way the law works. In essence, from the perspective of the law, this is a good thing to happen as in the UK as in other countries it will be thrown out. This will set a precedent which will help to calm fears that it will happen in the future.

        • As an Atheist you are the exact type of Christian I love and wish would speak up more. Bravo..,. we all must respect each other.

  14. Kathleen says:

    the best advertising is word-of-mouth. I am guessing the brides, told their friends & family what went on, then they told their friends & family. News travels quickly.

  15. Michael Aaron says:

    Incredible article. Thoroughly enjoyed the read and your research. Bravo!

  16. J. D. Jones says:

    I’m married but did not have a “wedding,” just a simple service with a judge, and I never dreamed of the fancy event as my friends did. I love to go to weddings, though. Is it not possible to book a venue, order a cake, or do anything else (save finding the licensed person to perform the ritual) without having to disclose everything about the couple? Does a baker really need to know his/her beautiful cake is even for a wedding? I know nothing of these matters and am very curious. Thanks.

    • Chris Stanley says:

      It’s technically possible, yes… but if a man goes in and tries to buy a wedding cake, and the baker says ‘Oh, what colors do you and your wife want?’ should a gay couple stay silent? As for venues, they usually require the bride AND groom’s names on the contract, so they can pursue fees against both should the reservation be cancelled, etc. Finally, why should an LGBTQ couple feel the need to hide who they are, or be even a little dishonest by just concealing the gender of one person? A wedding should be cause for joyful celebration, not secret shame. Two people are committing to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives. (Or in Britney Spears’ case, 72 hours.)

  17. David Evans says:

    I applaud you and your article!

  18. Very well written and stated. I applaud you for the use of logic in your arguments and could not agree more.

  19. Derek Wheeler says:

    Thank you.

  20. Mikki says:

    Great article! Just an FYI, I recently opened a Designer Cake shop in SE Missouri, and in 3 weeks will be doing a gorgeous cake for a same-gender couple’s wedding reception. Unfortunately our state is still running around with their collective heads up their nether regions so they have to go to another state for the actual ceremony.

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