The Washington Post reports that:
an Annapolis company whose old-fashioned trolleys are iconic in the city’s wedding scene has abandoned the nuptial industry rather than serve same-sex couples. The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week. And he has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors.
“As long as he doesn’t discriminate against other people, he’s free to do whatever he wants to do, including withdrawing his business from the industry,” said Equality Maryland executive director Carrie Evans, oblivious to the Orwellian overtones of her statement.
The situation is similar to that of a religiously conservative photographer who refused a request to photograph a lesbian wedding; her case is now before the New Mexico Supreme Court.
In each of these cases, the vendor is not refusing to serve gay people who come into their shops, for instance; they’re refusing to provide their services for same-sex weddings, which they feel violate their religious beliefs. There is a difference here that is not minimal.
LGBT progressive activists don’t have a problem with forcing wedding vendors whose religious convictions oppose same-sex marriage to either violate their personal beliefs or go out of business. But it smacks of progressive authoritarianism. We want the right to marry; forcing private businesses to serve us is another matter entirely, and another agenda. It erodes liberty in favor of state coercion for progressive ends.
Along similar lines, progressives cheer that private businesses will now be forced by the state to provide their employees with free “morning after” abortofacient drugs, despite their owners’ religious objections.
Eventually, it might dawn on these champions of governmental coercion that granting the state power to force private business owners to violate deeply held beliefs may come back and bite them when a different regime, with a different ideology, is in power.
Let’s be clear; the government should treat all citizens as equal under the law, and government marriage clerks that refuse to perform same-sex weddings shouldn’t hold their jobs. But private businesses are not agencies of the state, not quite yet, though increasingly that, too, seems part of the progressive playbook.
More. From a letter published in the Washington Post:
Why in the world would two people who are about to celebrate their marriage—surely one of the more joyful events of their lives—want to use a vendor who is unhappy about providing a service that they are paying for?
Why, indeed. Until you grasp that it’s all about force, coercion, and the use of state power to bring all who might dissent from the progressive worldview to heel.