NOM BLOG

The War on Marriage Is Against Everyone

 

As seen with the many cases of punishment of people in the wedding industry, including forcing them out of business with charges of "discrimination," governments often have no regard for the freedom of speech or the freedom to hold beliefs contrary to public approval. Courts frequently fail to draw the distinction between legitimate refusal to not participate in something like same-sex ‘marriage’ because doing so violates deeply-held and constitutionally protect religious views, and a blanket refusal of service to gays and lesbians as a class. Dennis Saffran, of the American Thinker, explains:

ThinkstockPhotos-147252592"These cases do not involve the sale of commercial goods at a place of business but rather the dragooned rendering of personal creative services for, and frequently attendance at, sacramental ceremonies that offend the providers’ consciences. The small business and crafts people in the dock in these cases have not refused to seat gay people at lunch counters, or to welcome them into their shops and sell them film, floral bouquets, or pastries. In fact, all have said they would be happy to sell off-the-shelf products for same-sex weddings, and several had longstanding business relationships with the gay customers who sued them. But they don’t want to be compelled to use their creative talents to “celebrate something that offends [their] beliefs.”

The courts have said that this doesn’t matter; that refusal to service the same-sex wedding of someone you otherwise happily do business with is still discrimination based on sexual orientation because, in the words of the Colorado court in the recent case, “the act of same-sex marriage is closely correlated to… sexual orientation” in that it is “engaged in exclusively or predominantly by gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.” But by that logic aren’t a black carpenter who refuses to make the cross for a Klan rally, and a black photographer who refuses to come take pictures of the festivities, guilty of racial discrimination? If they have no problem selling cabinets and cameras to whites generally, they are in the exact same position as those now having their livelihoods destroyed. Any attempted distinction boils down to an emotional response of “gays good; Klansmen bad,” and as fervently as one may agree with this visceral reaction it cannot be the basis for formulating a neutral legal principle.

. . .

While conservatives have often argued these cases mainly in terms of religious freedom, the threat to artistic freedom is perhaps even more serious. If the state can commandeer wedding photographers, who provide their clients with commemorative books, to celebrate gay marriage (as one Facebook commentator noted, “think about the implications of forcing someone to produce a book”), how big a slide is it to conscripting writers into the cause as well? If that seems dubious, consider that the lawyers bringing these cases argue that photographers, bakers, and florists forego their religious and artistic freedoms because they publicly offer their services in the commercial market. But so do most freelance writers (as Professor Eugene Volokh, a same-sex marriage supporter, has noted). And most lawyers. And for that matter most clergymen when they perform weddings, for which they typically charge a small fee to supplement their salaries. Consider also that much of this litigation seems to be driven not by gay couples who just happen to wander into the shops of evangelical bakers or florists, but by activists trolling to find and destroy them. It’s not far-fetched to imagine these activists looking to see which conservative Christian writers also advertise for commercial freelance work to make ends meet, and then swooping down like hawks. Before they do, though, and before they pursue more cases against bakers, they should consider that they’re setting a chilling and horrible precedent, and one that could just as easily be used to bludgeon liberals and gays."

The true discrimination here comes from same-sex marriage activists. Exposing the hypocrisy is the only way to end it.