A Gay Dad Sounds Off on the Homophobic Pediatrician and Florist Who Attempted to Humiliate LGBT Families

humil incA popular insurance company pays a great deal of advertising money to let everyone know that they are in fact “our good neighbors.” They populate commercial after commercial with cheery, miraculously at-your-service agents who care about their clients above all else. While I am sure their real agents are customer relations friendly, the reality is they are likely no more so than any other public facing company. The associates, employed by the company, who personify saintly best friend types the most, are the actors in the ads.

The truth is, customers are not important loved ones in the lives of service people. We are, at best, friendly, tip-paying, lucrative transactions. We don’t represent go-to shoulders to cry on, we represent income, and even the warmest heart moving gesture is a business decision.

Likewise, as consumers, we are not buying advice, approval or input from those serving us. The cashier at the local grocery store is not our equal partner in deciding how we feed our family and whether we are good parents or not. He or she does not get a vote in how we run our lives, instead, we look for that person to treat us professionally and with equal courtesy as they would all others.

Proponents of the conservative “Religious Freedom” strategy would have us believe differently. To them, a Christian business person is not only beyond a transaction based relation, they are an intimate who should have a personal say, and commentary on the lives of their LGBT clientele, lives in which most would say the business person has no stake. This “commentary” usually comes in the form of rejection, judgment and the refusal of service. It is rude, and it is humiliating.

In some of these cases, these behaviors are not only mean-spirited, they are illegal and go against local non-discrimination laws. Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington, just lost in her bid to discriminate against two gay men wanting to marry. Her flowers had been sentimentally important to them in their romance, and her rejection soured their betrothal.

Others are legal, but wrong. In a recent case a pediatrician, Dr. Vesna Roi, rejected lesbian moms and their baby as clients. She had been vetted and the couple felt protected and validated, then she shamed them for being who they were as parents. The family had no legal protection due to a failure in Michigan’s laws. Such actions are legal in most states. Arkansas and Indiana have recently made moves to not only make sure discrimination is legal; they have taken steps to encourage it.

Refusing service to LGBT families when it happens is cruel and demeaning. The couples it happens to are blindsided. The rejection seems to be rigged like stink bombs going off in the moments that should be positive milestones in the family’s experience.

My letter to two who felt it was their place to degrade LGBT families:

Dear Doctor Roi and Florist Stutzman,

At this point, you have each served dozens of individuals, if not hundreds. Some of those you feel personally about, and intimate — they feel like friends. Others, the doctor needs to check their file to remember details, and the florist knows no more about them than their credit card number.

Looking back to the day when you each decided to work with the public. I have to assume that you went into business to bring happiness, comfort and a high level of satisfaction to whomever stood before you.

Instead, you have gained infamy for doing the opposite. You both behaved in completely heartless ways, and worse, called on Jesus Christ to justify it.

Your rationalization is as disappointing as your actions themselves. You, Dr. Roi stated that you “prayed on” your decision to reject. It is sad that Christian theology has earned a reputation as being supportive of your lack of decency even though the Christ behind it dictated “loving ones neighbor as yourself,” and to do no harm to little children. He made these pronouncements in between the times he was admonishing people for judging others.

Ms. Stutzman, you claim that the act of selling a couple flowers for their commitment to marriage and declaration of life long love violates your “freedom to honor God doing what you do best.” You earned money from the couple as part of their romance and seduction (and presumably sex). That income did fit into your “deeply held” religious principles, apparently. About those transactions you say you “kindly” delivered and “would gladly continue to do so.” Your principles therefore are not against gay sex, they are against life-long love, commitment, honor and responsibility.

While I do hope you re-examine your “logic” behind your actions, I am asking here for something more. I am asking you, and service providers like you, to stop attempting to humiliate LGBT families at the moments that should be the most respected and wonderful of our lives. Quit trying to take away our precious moments.

The Declaration of Independence, as Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has pointed out, is about a principle that precedes our rule of law. He, of course, wants that principle to be about a God that Roy Moore defines, but his overall point is valid. We each have the human right to pursue happiness in our personal lives, and we do not have the right to attempt to disrupt it in others.

When the Supreme Court of Massachusetts became the first judiciary to declare same sex marriage a constitutional right, they did so by making a significant observation. They pointed out that in a person’s lifetime, the spouse that person chooses is one of the most profoundly, self-determing actions that an individual can take. Likewise, as we go through the process of bringing our families together, the decisions around the details of marrying including the right flowers, the right cakes, the best photography are all integral to the fabric of the memories we are creating. Those things may seem superficial, and in truth they ARE superficial to observers, and they have likely been so to YOU in most of your professional transactions. They are NOT superficial to the people involved. The young men wanted your flowers because of the role your arrangements played in their romance. Your flowers did not bring meaning to the men and their love, their love brought meaning to your flowers.

Likewise, Dr. Roi, every first event with a baby is golden to new parents. The first laugh, the first burp, and especially the first forays into parental responsibility, the first doctor visits. Both my sons were adopted out of the foster care system, and all our “firsts” were done with a back drop of pretty dire and dramatic events. Even with that, the moments were precious as we took on the profound understanding that these little lives were completely dependent on us, and the most important responsibilities we would ever have. A pair of lesbian moms came to you, screened you, and extended you trust in their journey of parental responsibility. Their coming to you did not validate their parenthood, their patronage of you validated you as being worthy of trust.

God did not bring these couples to you so you could judge them. His intention was for you to experience your humanity by serving them. He intended to give you the gift of bearing witness to significant moments in their lives. His intention was to enrich you,

He failed. And, in being the professional you intended to be, so did you.

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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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24 Responses to A Gay Dad Sounds Off on the Homophobic Pediatrician and Florist Who Attempted to Humiliate LGBT Families

  1. James says:

    Really inspirational post! I absolutely love your blog- I can’t help but visit you almost everyday :p

    James,
    http://www.llamapost.com
    Interviews with the hottest movers & shakers on the net.

  2. Pingback: Response to an Uninformed Homophobe |

  3. zman says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to engage again Rob, I appreciate it. Just because I disagree with you a lot doesn’t mean I don’t think your probably a great guy.

  4. zman says:

    I have a number of objections to your logic in this blog. First off I would agree that the Dr.’s actions were over the line in discriminating against patients because they are gay. However, the florist case is different as are the majority of other cake/florist cases across the country. The distinction is that the florist is not denying services to her customers based on their sexuality. The gay couple had repeatedly been customers already and reportedly had a personal relationship with with the florist who knew they were gay. So the refusal of service by the florist is not because of their sexuality, she is refusing service for a CELEBRATION/EVENT of a lifestyle which is against her religious beliefs. Logic follows that if she caters to the celebration, she is condoning and taking part in it which would be taking part in a celebration of a lifestyle that is against her religious beliefs. She is not refusing service based on who they are (she has serviced them many times), but on what they want to do which would involve her. That is an important distinction and a big difference between the two cases you referenced. Refusing outright services to someone based on their sexuality and refusing to cater and take part in a certain type of celebration to which one has religious objections toward, are very different.

    Question #1: f you were a florist or baker and someone came to you wanting a cake or flowers to commemorate a celebration of traditional marriage by a seemingly nice group of people, and the arrangement or cake was supposed to say something like, “marriage is for one man and one woman”, would you service that person? Serious question. Or an arrangement for a KKK rally? I’m guessing you would refuse services. The subjective morality of the celebration/event doesn’t matter, it is the ends ie the discriminatory refusal of service that is the issue.

    Also, you want business owners to be legally forced to cater to celebrations/events of lifestyles that are against their religion. This fundamentally takes away some of the business owner’s freedoms to exercise their religion. The degree to which someone decides how their business will or will not be involved in certain celebrations/events is a manner of running a business. If those decisions are religious based then that is a manner in which an individual exercises their individual religious beliefs. When you limit those decisions you are removing freedoms for that person. There is no way around that. You are limiting their religious practices as they participate in society. So if you take something away from others by limiting their religious practices for your benefit, is that not also a suppression of individual identity? You want their religious practices limited to maximize your moral practices. Your are setting your rules of morality at a higher regard than someone else’s rules of morality and then turning the tables and placing limitations on their moral freedoms. You’ve just done the exact same thing you criticize of them.

    A bigger issue is: what makes your moral rules more true than those of the florist? If all morality is subjective, as you say it is, then how are you justified in suppressing her moral expression? You can’t say she is wrong, you can only say you don’t prefer her outlook. You haven’t answered that question when posed before so I don’t imagine you would answer it now. But I digress.

    Yes being a florist or any other service provider is a free choice, but so is wanting services from that specific provider. They don’t have to be a service provider but you also don’t have to want to use their services either. Your conclusion is that your view of the public’s rights (or group sympathies) trumps someone’s personal rights on how they run their business and how much freedom they have to incorporate their religious beliefs into their own lives ie literally forcing them to take part in a celebration they don’t agree with. Please don’t use a race analogy or reference Jim Crow here because it is clearly not analogous. Again, I’m not talking about flat out refusing services to a person based on sexuality, I’m talking about forcing a person to cater to a celebration thereby taking part in that celebration to which they have a legitimate religious objection.

    You say that business providers don’t get to vote on how you run your lives. That doesn’t apply here. No one is telling anyone how to do anything. They’re doing the opposite by staying out of how you run your lives and refusing services to a celebration of the running of your life. In the vast majority of these cases, there has been no shaming, humiliating, or judgement placed on the gay community by refusing services. They’re saying they don’t want to take part in the celebration and the florist communicated that to the gay couple in very relational manner if you’ve read the details of the encounter. The florist gave the couple another floral reference whom they could use. Also, you’re muddling the morality of the issue, whether it is mean spirited, and the legality of it. We don’t base laws on the sentimentality of behaviors or if it is demeaning. You say the florist and anyone of the like are mean spirited. Well I disagree. In the majority of these cases, I haven’t seen any mean spiritedness, harsh words or actions, or any shaming; only actions based on convictions. Just the act of refusing services for a celebration which is against one’s religious beliefs is not inherently mean spirited. I pose question #1 to you again. Does that make you mean spirited? Mean spirited would be to sue the florist personally and try to run her out of business because you disagree with her religious beliefs. But that already happened.

    • Ben in oakland says:

      There are way too many holes in what you have to say. I’m going to addrress your points in three parts. First, from a case in Canada a few years ago.

      “Saskatchewan’s top court has said marriage commissioners cannot use religion to say “no” to nuptials for same-sex couples. The Appeal Court had been asked by the government to rule on a proposed provincial law that would have allowed commissioners to cite religious grounds in refusing to marry gays or lesbians. The appeal panel’s unanimous decision said the law would be unconstitutional and would amount to discrimination.”

      It really is that simple. Just as in the United States, religious congregations are pretty much able to do what they want within their churches, but don’t get to make up new rules when they act as part of secular society, this court case isn’t infringing on what churches are able to do and believe. It’s simply saying to commissioners who work for the government, “You have a job you were hired to do, and these are the laws. Don’t like it? Get a new job.”

      One of the judges made a really interesting point in her opinion. Justice Gene Ann Smith said the religious objection was secondary. “These marriage commissioners are not themselves compelled to engage in the sexual activity they consider objectionable. Their objection is that it is sinful for others to engage in such activity,” wrote Smith. “It is therefore arguable that the interference with the right of marriage commissioners to act in accordance with their religious belief … is trivial or insubstantial, in that it is interference that does not threaten actual religious beliefs or conduct.”

      Imagine that! The religious lives and practices of the Religious Right don’t automatically include the lives and practices of other people who don’t share their beliefs? It’s so… sane!

      Second, a quote from a Satanist Church:

      “As the High Priest and Magus of The Liberated Of Lucifer, one of those minority religions in Utah, I can state that our order believes the following on Religious Freedom – “True freedom means allowing others to practice their religion freely, as long as their practice does not infringe upon you. As long as they don’t want to force you to worship as they do, force you to pay their religious tax, force you to follow the commandments of their faith, attempt to legislate their faith restrictions or requirements into law, take your land from you for religious purposes, or kill you if you don’t go along with their efforts to do any of these things – or based on their belief that people like you should be killed – then they are not infringing on you. ” And I’ll add this: asking you do provide flowers for my wedding is not the same thing as inviting you into my bedroom, and demanding that you praise me for my sexual activities.

      Third: This is ben in Oakland.

      It is highly telling that just about the only complaints about refusing to do one’s job because of supposed “religious beliefs” crop up whenever these people have to behave politely or decently, let alone amicably, without animus, to gay people who don’t share their unfounded beliefs about gay people.

      In other words, as always, I can reject the whole of Christianity– as 2/3 of the world has– and this bothers no one but the most rabid of fundamentalists. But let me say that I am gay, and reject just this itty bitty little ditty they love so much to sing of conservative Christian belief, and whoa, Nelly, the sky is about to fall and we are being persecuted for our beliefs.

      Sorta makes you wonder if it is REALLY about sincere religious belief at all, dunnit? I’d be willing to bet that these poor, little, Christian victims have no problems doing hindu weddings, where false gods and idols are invoked on a regular basis. Are they endorsing a lifestyle which rejects the entirety of their beliefs, not just the antigay bits?

      I was a highly successful wedding photographer for 30 years. I never considered myself a participant in their wedding, merely a paid attendee at best. When these vendors claim they are being forced to participate, it’s just nonsense both in reality and in the darkness of their own hearts. They are providing a service for which someone is paying them money. Elevating themselves into “participants” whose “moral approval” is requested is narcissism. If a vendor refuses to engage in sound business practices, for the sake of insulting and demeaning those he considers to be his religious and moral inferiors, then I’m afraid he deserves whatever happens. That’s why smart business people don’t do that. I’ve known plenty of people whose business failed because they just couldn’t find it in themselves to treat others as they would like to be treated.

      There are plenty of legal ways to avoid this non-existent participation, but they prefer to tell people exactly why they don’t wish to. It’s called changing the subject from complying with non-discrimination laws in a professional and business like way, to be forced to do something they don’t want to do.

      As a wedding photographer, I knew there were all kinds of clients whose wedding I didn’t wish to photograph, usually because I flat out didn’t like them, or thought they would be trouble. I would have been extremely rude, foolish, uncaring, and unprofessional to tell them why. This is no different, except that the vendor has a need to proclaim his or her superiority in religious belief, by which I mean superiority in morality. Here are few alternatives to flouting anti-discrimination laws, whether for religion or sexual orientation.

      I’m booked. Why don’t you call so and so.

      I don’t think I could do a good job for you, because I am uncomfortable around any same sex displays. However, I will comply with the law. (that couple will not stick around to hear more).

      I don’t think I could do a good job for you, because I am uncomfortable around any same sex displays. But I’ll do my best for you if you choose to hire me anyway. If not, Why don’t you call so and so. (Ditto).

      The state requires me to do business with all comers. I oppose same sex marriage, but I will follow the law of my state. (I can guarantee you no couple is going to stick around)

      The state requires me to do business with all comers. I oppose all homosexual equality before the law. If you choose to have you event here, I will comply, but I will donate $XXXX to Big-Anti-Gay, Inc. (Ditto).

      In this last case, there is always the irony of a Christian declaring that “there is no room at the Inn.” There is also THIS, since we’re talking about good Christians who follow Jesus and all. “You have a strongly held religious belief that forces you to act like a royal jerk? Interesting. I gather you’re not a Christian, then, because treating other people so unkindly would be utterly contrary to Jesus’ teachings.”

      Moreover, there is the invisible issue. If my venue hosts events for people who reject the entirety of my religious beliefs– Hindus, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims for example– and not just the antigay parts, am I not participating in idolatry and idolatrous practices and false scripture, or condoning the rejection of Jesus, which is surely a much greater sin than what someone does with his/her dangly bits?

      All of these avoidance methods are legal, as their is no stated intention of denial of service. So there are plenty of legal ways to avoid gay cooties. But these also point out this, and I have said many times on these very pages:

      If you disagree with a anti-discrimination laws, then work to get them repealed. Trying to find exceptions to them merely underlines why we have those laws in the first place.

      And of course, some Christians would cry like big ol’ babies if the civil rights protections that they expect from anti-discrimination laws were denied to them, because someone doesn’t like their religion.

      • zman says:

        Just because Canada made a decision you agree with does not give the issue any more merit. I disagree with their decision and they are using faulty logic. This is not about the collective rights of the “church”, it is about the rights of individuals concerning their religious expressions. We’re talking about INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. You point to an opinion regarding marriage commissioners but it’s not clear if “marriage commissioners” are employees of the government or private employment. If they are employees then they are voluntarily employed by an agency which has it’s own policies. If the state is requiring private ministers to perform gay weddings if asked, that is completely different. I will continue as if the “commissioners” were private and equal to a florist or cake makers because it sounds like that was your intended comparison.

        Regarding the judge’s opinion: of course no one is compelling florists or ministers to engage in any sexual activity. That’s a red herring. Sexual activity is not the only objection. The objection is: having to be forced to take part and participate in a celebration they find religiously objectionable. The justice just asserts that the interference does not “threaten actual religious beliefs or conduct.” But she doesn’t say how that is not threatening to religious beliefs. Some religious people would say, “of course it does”. The justice didn’t even touch that logic because it is a valid argument which doesn’t agree with the outcome they prefer.

        You said, “Imagine that! The religious lives and practices of the Religious Right don’t automatically include the lives and practices of other people who don’t share their beliefs?”. But your logic is doing the exact same thing. You are imposing your view of morality on religious persons and requiring them to adhere to it if they own a business. You are “automatically including” these religious service providers (the florist) in the lives and practices of the gay community… against their wishes. That’s blatantly hypocritical.

        To your second point: also flawed logic. Just because a providing flowers is not the same as “in the same bedroom” as a gay couple does not mean she does not have an objection to their ceremony. No they are not the same thing, but they don’t have to be. The florist is not forcing her beliefs on anyone, she is simply saying she does not want to participate. Forcing her to participate is YOU forcing YOUR moral rules on someone.

        Your third point: No, there is no evidence for the simple assertion (assertion = akin to “because I say so” logic) that religious beliefs “crop up” when one has to behave politely. As I’ve already pointed out, there is nothing inherently rude or condescending to bow out of participating in a ceremony one disagrees with. There was no hostile tone, rude words said, or anger in the way the florist refused the wedding. So basically you’re saying that if one doesn’t believe what you believe then they’re rude.

        Now we have to establish the basic notion of “participation”. You said you never considered yourself a participant in a wedding for being paid to take photos. Of course you were! At my wedding, I desired my service providers to feel as though they were participating and to be engaged in their work. You may not have felt that way but many others do. By definition, when you are a part of the wedding by assisting in it’s function and in it’s structure and organization, you are participating! That is absurd. You can only be asserting this so that it doesn’t take away from the point you want to make.

        There may be other phrases to use to bow out of a wedding but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that you are limiting someone else’s right to express and follow their religious morality.

        Question #1 (again): Why doesn’t anyone ever answer my questions on here? If you were a baker, would you cater an event held by a group celebrating marriage between and man and a woman, say if they wanted a cake which states “marriage is between a man and a woman”? Would you also refuse service to a KKK event? Again, the morality of the event shouldn’t matter according to you, only the discrimination of refusal of service matters. According to you, you’re not “participating” so you should have no objection in providing services right? If you refuse services to anyone you are mean and rude right?

        Question #2: A bigger issue is: what makes your moral rules more true than those of the florist? If all morality is subjective, as you believe it is, and if truth is only what we find truth to be for ourselves, then how are you justified in maximizing your moral expression at the cost of suppressing the florist’s moral expression? If there is no true right and wrong, then the florist is not truly wrong. If she’s not truly wrong then there is no justification for penance from her. You can only say you don’t prefer her outlook. If you say your morality is objective truth, then what is it based on and how is that basis more moral than the florist’s basis for her religious beliefs? This is the crux of the matter so please answer this question.

        • tiffany267 says:

          Hi “zman”,

          Ben said all morality is subjective? Where? You are the only person who has used that word at all. To answer your silly question, the florist has no moral basis for this decision whatsoever. There is no coherent moral code, even a false one like utilitarianism, that supports this behavior. Please take some courses in ethics then come back and talk about morality.

          Anyway, as a radical libertarian, whose premise for all political positions is individual rights, I also take issue with the incorrect assertion that a business has religious rights. Individuals do unfortunately have religious rights. Businesses do not. Businesses exist only as a legal entity for purposes of creating profit for shareholders. Period. They do not have any other natural rights. In fact, a corporation turning away a customer without a profit-based motive for doing so is violating the rights of its shareholders. Forget anti-discrimination laws. That’s beside the point. Anyone claiming to be concerned about individual rights should immediately challenge the florist’s actions as a hideous violation of contract with the owners of the company. You, sir, are beaten at your own game.

          • zman says:

            Moral subjectivity appears to be the position he is coming from and I gave him the only two options to answer that question. Either there is or there isn’t moral truth. That’s not a silly question, it’s the crux of the issue and you didn’t answer the question. You just asserted it was silly. Sure the florist has a moral basis for her beliefs ie HER RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. If you disagree with her fine but that doesn’t make them any less moral than yours does it? You just assert that her beleifs aren’t coherent but you can’t make a case for that bc that’s an emotional platform. Again, you’re putting forth a “because I say so” argument. Telling me to take an ethics course is intellectually lazy. Make the argument. Explain to me how her beliefs aren’t coherent. Your assertion is an objective statement, so then make the case.

            Individuals “unfortunately” have religious rights?! You would suppress individuals of their religious freedoms?! Welcome to N. Korea and all other totalitarian regimes. It’s hard to take you seriously when you make statements like that. Your assertion of why businesses exist is flat out wrong. Businesses do not exist for shareholders. The vast majority of businesses do not have shareholders. Businesses fundamentally exist to provide income for INDIVIDUALS! The florist has no shareholders and apparently no other employees. She didn’t start her business for any shareholders but because she likes making flower arrangements and wants to make a living at it. Your assertion is absurd. And the Supreme Court disagrees with you as well. Individuals do have natural rights and individuals are the one’s running their small businesses how they see best. That is what freedom is. One has the freedom to run a business in accord with their values. How would you regulate and try to separate businesses from their founder’s values in a practical way? The only answer is that govt runs it, but that would make you a socialist. That is why businesses have other freedoms as well like freedom of speech. You don’t think that a news paper corporation (a business) should have freedom of speech?! I’m sorry Tiffany but you’ve been consuming too much radical political talk.

            And once again, you evaded my questions. That’s what people do when they’re pinned down, they skirt the question or ignore it entirely.

          • zman says:

            Tiffany, you haven’t even attempted to address any of the points I’ve made. That is what a debate demands. Points and counter points. When I make a point, it is dismissed and not address (skirted) and then someone moves on to try and make another point. Stay on point here. Address the merits of the argument. But you’ve name called already, calling me a “homophobe” when there is no basis for that. Is that what you do when you disagree with someone is label and demean them?

        • robw77 says:

          zman-

          The discussion would work better here if you did not set up strawmen arguments that have fallacies built in, and then insist that any one answering you adhere to the limitations you’ve designed. That is intellectually dishonest.

          You ramble, so it is difficult to follow your line of thinking. You have decided there is a participation choice on the part of the florist… that flowers for a wedding is her “participating” and flowers for the sex and romance is “her not judging people for who they are”. That is a silly fictitious distinction. IF she is “participating” in the wedding by providing flowers, the parallel would be that she is “participating” in the gay sex that led up to the wedding. She is doing neither. She is selling flowers. Also, if you have information that she removes herself from other events that are not her personal sensibilities, please provide them. My understanding is that she has not. The Klein’s of Oregon certainly did not and were even willing to provide cakes for animal “weddings” and I believe satanic themed events (reporters had called to see how far they would go). So the issue is not that she does not want to violate her personal belief code, it is that she ONLY applies that to a single group of people, and a single activity that they want her service for. That involvement is beyond the scope of what is reasonable for her service.

          Your strawman about the KKK cake, or whatever it is, has already been played out twice, and lines of distinction drawn. You change the analogy when you added a message to be applied to the product– no establishment has to write things that it considers hate speech. The flowers did not include her having to do anything different than had she supplied them to any other patron, the hate speech cake would have included writing that NO other patron was asking for. As it turns out, the bakery in question would have given the KKK guy a cake, but removed themselves from the “extra”. The florist here could have done the same.

          Your questions on whether there is a “moral truth” or “moral truths”, or whether one person’s is “more right” than the others, is both beyond subjective and irrelevant. It is subjective in that I am as Christian as the florist and to me her concept of Christian beliefs and Christian “moral truths” are a complete bastardization of what Christ really stood for. It is irrelevant in that our civil code of ethics are based on human rights not anyone’s “moral code”. The Ten Commandments are certainly a basis for the Judeo Christian “Moral Truth” however very few of them are codified in any way in civil law and basic human rights. You have a civil and human right to believe in any god you wish– the Ten Commandments does not allow that. The basis for our civic law and human rights are the founding documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The court system is set up to determine whose opinion therefore lines up to the standards of civil/ethical/human rights law. Recently courts dominated by Republican appointees have shown that the “moral truth” you think should not be questioned, is in fact counter to established human rights.

          In terms of what is truly moral, and what is not— there are moral beliefs that are superstitions, and ones that are principles. Each have specific characterizations: superstitions have only some sense of tradition behind them but no rational reason or justification. There is some history and legend as to why some believe that a black cat crossing your path is evil, but a white cat doing the same is not. Principles have an equanimity — they are based on specific actions, not who is doing the action. If one person kills someone under the exact same set of circumstances as another, both killings are as morally wrong. With same sex marriage, it has nothing to do with what is being done– in fact what is being done is highly respected and honorable– it has only to do with who is doing it…and only ONE of who is doing it. If Sally falls in love with Ben and wants to marry him— that is “morally OK”; but if Sal falls in love with Ben and wants the exact same thing, that is “morally wrong”? No. That is superstition.

          In terms of social ethical and human rights, the equal treatment of consumers is an overriding “moral Principle” and both the people in this article violated it.

          • Ben in oakland says:

            beautiful and accurate response, Rob. I just didn’t have the patience or the time.

          • zmann says:

            If everything is subjective and nothing is truly known, then how do you truly know that if everything is subjective?

            Rob, human rights are inherently a moral code. Ethics are derived from what we view to be appropriate based on values which are based on notions of morality. Genocide is not a violation of human rights just because it is unethical, it is a moral affront to our humanity. Most all our laws are based on our moral sense. It is ridiculous to any rational thinker that human rights and morality are separate notions.

            God (in the Old Testament) and Jesus (in the New Testament) do not give any instruction for codes or for political institutions (governments). God/Jesus define how we are to live our individual lives with others and then man has set up certain systems relating to those notions. The 10 Commandments certainly have been codified into codes (private property, protection of life, protection or marriage). Western “ethics” are derived from Judeo/Christian Biblical ethics which is where we derive our current notions of human rights. These ethics were not popular in the ancient near east at that time, and frankly not too popular outside of western culture now. The conscience of our Constitution, ie the Declaration of Independence, says “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men”. The notion that we are all equal only because we were all created in the image of God and endowed with rights is distinctly a Christian notion taken from instructions of the 10 Commandments, God’s literal words to mankind, and teachings of Jesus. That was the basis for our Constitution and form of govt which has lifted more people out of poverty than any form of govt in the world due to the moral Judeo/Christian notions/moralities within it and on which our human rights are based.

            So our system is set up to “secure” individual liberties which include freedom of religion. Again, the florist has not refused service to the couple bc they were gay, she regularly serviced them. That is not participating in their lives, that is just providing a service. However, when they ask her to participate in an event that is contradictory to her religious beliefs (or “superstition” or whatever subjective term you’d like to give it which is irrelevant if everything is subjective anyway), she bows out. She is not imposing her beliefs on anyone. Quite the opposite, she is trying to not participate. But the gay community has imposed their values on her and want to force her to participate thereby imposing their beliefs on her and taking away her individual liberty to behave how she pleases. She has not taken anything away from the couple, they are still free to celebrate with another florist, however she is not free. You have restricted her liberty altogether.

          • robw77 says:

            zmann, your response is so full of double-speak, I am truly having trouble unravelling it. You say for example “It is ridiculous to any rational thinker that human rights and morality are separate notions.” Yet the people you are defending are exactly the people trying to distinguish between them. They want a pass on treating people as having human rights and dignity based on their own rules of morality. They themselves don’t dispute that.

            Your post reveals that you do not have a solid understanding of the relationship of the 10 Commandments and the US rule of law. As it turns out, very few of the 10 C’s have anything to do with US law, and they never have. Never has there been a codification of false idols, regulations to honor one’s parents, regulations against false idols, etc. Likewise Jesus’s top commandment — to love God , is also not codified into law, the exact opposite. His second commandment on the other hand could be the basis for the core of both the Constitution and human rights: to love your neighbor AS yourself. And that is the very principle the florist and the doctor violated.

          • zmann says:

            Also Rob, as you call for these providers to love their neighbor as themselves, what are you doing to love them or others who disagree with you? If loving someone is equal to obliging them, then how are you loving these providers?

  5. Griffox says:

    Matthew 25: 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    Now, I’m no longer a Christian, so maybe I can’t properly interpret scripture without the Holy Spirit to guide me, but it seems an awful lot like Jesus wanted his followers to minister to the “sinner,” not shun them. It just seems odd to me that when people pray to Jesus for guidance on how they should treat (insert despised minority group) that Jesus always confirms that person’s inclination to shun, mistreat, or belittle those in that group. Don’t like black people? Neither does Jesus! Think helping the poor is socialism? So does Jesus! Think gays should be put to death? Jesus agrees! Is Jesus just a yes man who agrees with anything and everything or is it more likely that people are hiding behind their personal relationship with Jesus while asserting their own prejudice? I’m sure this doctor did pray about her decision and I’m sure she felt strongly led to refuse to treat a lesbian couple, but that’s most likely because that’s what SHE wanted to do and now she gets to deflect criticism by saying, no it wasn’t me, it was Jesus.

  6. tiffany267 says:

    Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog and commented:
    This is what happens when we let corporations, which only need exist legally for purposes of profit, become religious organizations.

  7. Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    From a gay dad, choice words for homophobic professionals…

  8. carol says:

    This is poignant and so true. Thank you for being so humane and so brilliant.

  9. Ben in oakland says:

    I should add:

    It’s VERY telling that the only place these so-called “religious freedom” asininities come up is when a certain class of so-called Christian is asked to treat gay people politely, decently, without animus or despite, or a completely unwarranted belief in their wholly imaginary superiority as Christians, as human beings, and as moral people.

  10. Well said. We are all God’s children. Everyone of us deserves to be treated fairly. Our dollars are the same. Our clientele are the same……..

  11. Ben in oakland says:

    The “good doctor” prayed on it, eh?

    One has to wonder to whom it was that she preyed– er, prayed? And who answered, and what he/she/it said? I’m certain it wasn’t to Hippocrates, who said, “First, do no harm.” It wasn’t Jesus, because she was certainly not treating others as she would like to be treated.

    I suspect she just prayed to herself, and failed to see humanity in others. Just more proof that we create god in our own image.

  12. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    A lesson that needs learning!!

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