Liberty vs. Progressivism

by Stephen H. Miller on December 28, 2012

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.

{ 50 comments }

Doug December 29, 2012 at 1:14 am

So I guess you would have no problem with a business refusing to serve african americans too. If you operate a business open to the general public, you serve ALL of the general public. Save your deeply held beliefs for the church on Sunday.

Mike in Houston December 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

Stephen is apparently unaware (or just plain ignorant) of what ‘public accommodation’ means.

I suppose he’d be okay with a taxi service that excluded Jews in the name of religious liberty as well.

Houndentenor December 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

So many gross distortions it’s hard to know where to begin.

No, we don’t allow discrimination against certain groups for any reason. What if someone belonged to a white supremacist group. Are they allowed not to provide services for mixed raced couples? What if they claim that it’s against their religion? I am from Texas. I still hear people claim that “race mixing is wrong. It’s in the Bible!” Such people exist. Do we cater to their prejudices or do we require public businesses to provide equal access?

About birth control. No, the employer is NOT being required to provide “abortificants”. Hardly any employers pay for all insurance costs. In fact the only places I ever worked that did that were arts organizations and they were very progressive and would have had no objection to that. In reality most employers are merely a conduit for employees to purchase insurance at a greatly reduced cost from what they could get individually. The employers pay little, if any, of the actual cost of the insurance. They aren’t paying for those meds specifically and often aren’t paying for any of it. What they want is to be able to prohibit which meds their employees can take. In the meantime, I propose that we take the 1.3 million per day Hobby Lobby has decided to pay in lieu of providing comprehensive medical care for it’s women employees (which is the majority of its employees, btw) to pay down the deficit. Thanks, HL, for volunteering to pay extra taxes!

Jimmy December 29, 2012 at 11:15 am

Does the writer believe in liberty for all, or just liberty for some? Does liberty suffer if one who has it infringes on another who holds the same?

I am not aware that any of the religions practiced in this country has among their tenets an expectation of operating some form of commercial endeavor. It’s not exactly crucifixion to make the decision to pursue another line of work.

How low the bar is set for martyrs these days.

Gus January 2, 2013 at 3:59 am

You just don’tunderstand. When someone else does sonething, it violates my personal relationship with my dogma.

Gus January 2, 2013 at 3:59 am

You just don’t understand. When someone else does sonething, it violates my personal relationship with my dogma.

Jorge December 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

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.

This statement horrifies me. The government has absolutely no business telling its employees which religions are good and bad. That is a violation of the First Amendment and cannot be allowed to stand. Especially in situations, such as issuing or performing same-sex weddings, where the frequency is so low that reasonable accomodations can easily be made by substituting other employees. I will never tolerate any government discrimination against religion, mine or others’.

Houndentenor December 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It is nothing new for practioners of a religion to not be able to hold certain jobs for religious reasons. Perhaps your religion forbids you to work on certain days. No employer is legally required to accommodate that. (The courts ruled in favor of the employers in all such cases.) If you were a Muslim you would have to pass on a job that required you to handle pork. If you were a Jehovah’s Witness you would probably not be able to work in a blood bank. People in minority religions are long used to the public at large not accommodating their religious practices and having to go out of their way to find appropriate food, employment and living conditions. It’s only the majority religion that is suddenly acting victimized when a job might require them to do something they don’t like but it’s their “right” to just not do that part of their job. Bullshit.

Tom Scharbach December 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm

It’s only the majority religion that is suddenly acting victimized when a job might require them to do something they don’t like but it’s their “right” to just not do that part of their job. Bullshit.

Dead on. Spoiled, is what they are. If a person works in a government office which issues marriage licenses, then let them do the job or, if they won’t, find another job.

What I find so annoying about this recent spate of “Christian conscience” about same-sex marriage licenses is that the so-called Christians who are objecting are not even consistent about their finely honed religious scruples — you don’t hear them claiming “religious conscience” when it comes to issuing marriage licenses to divorced folks who want to remarry, despite clear and repeated passages in Christian scripture that remarriage after divorce is adultery. Adultery seems to be fine, same-sex marriage not. Pfui.

Houndentenor December 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Jesus never once mentioned the gay sex much less marriage. But all the gospel passages concerning divorce forbid it. So if they would refuse to issue same sex marriage licenses one would assume they’d have already been refusing marriage licenses for couples where one or both had been previously married. Or not. Hypocrisy is as epidemic among that crowd as victimization. “Poor us, we can’t make everyone else live according to our own hypocritical rules.”

Jorge December 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Perhaps your religion forbids you to work on certain days. No employer is legally required to accommodate that. (The courts ruled in favor of the employers in all such cases.)

Uhhh, what?

http://www.jlaw.com/LawPolicy/accommodation.html

The obligation that an employer reasonably accommodate the religious needs of employees includes Sabbath observance. Whether a method of reasonable accommodation can be devised will mostly depend on the type of work involved and the size of the employer’s workforce.

Some examples of possible accommodation without causing “undue hardship” include voluntary substitutions, flexible scheduling (allowing you to work on Sundays, Christmas, or other national holidays), lateral transfers, and change of job assignments. An employer could allow an employee who is a Sabbath observer to work longer hours on Monday through Thursday to enable the employee to leave early on Friday to be home for the Sabbath. The employer must offer a “reasonable” means of accommodating an employee.

In 1997, President Clinton issued Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Expression in the Federal Workplace. These Guidelines clarify the rights of civilian federal employees with regard to religious exercise and expression in the workplace. In general, the Guidelines provide that the federal government, in its role as an employer, should accommodate the religious observances of employees so long as that accommodation is consistent with workplace arrangements and efficiency. (A copy of these Guidelines may be obtained from the Institute for Public Affairs.)

Employers are legally required to at least attempt to accomodate their employees.

Houndentenor December 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I dealt with this issue at a job in the late 90s. The language is created so as to be basically meaningless. Yes, a huge company with thousands of employees is going to let you use a personal day for Yom Kippur. A small one? No. Is a department store going to give you every Saturday off? Every Sunday off? Highly unlikely. They can, but their lawyers will easily make the case that the request is unreasonable. I saw this happen and there was no guarantee only a promise of “best efforts”. In practical terms that means “don’t count on it.”

Lymis December 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Straw man.

Find me a religion that forbids its adherents from checking ID, overseeing the filling out of forms, collecting documentation, issuing paperwork, and filing the resulting documents, and we can talk about whether someone is being given adequate accommodation in their freedom to engage in their religion.

Nobody’s asking these clerks to have sex with the people who apply for a license, nor to perform any religious rituals whatsoever.

The same applies to a guy who runs a trolley service. Driving people back and forth from a wedding service to a reception hall is not participating in homosexuality. It’s not even participating in a gay wedding unless they want to hold the ceremony on the trolley itself.

The wedding photographer is far closer to the fuzzy edge, because of their direct involvement in the ceremony and the interaction of the people involved. But a trolley service? Do gay people ride differently than straight ones? What exactly does he expect a passenger on his trolley to do that violates the owner’s religious freedom?

Rob December 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I’m with Doug — either we have non-discrimination laws, in general, or we don’t. If we don’t allow businesses to discriminate, then why should we allow them to discriminate on the basis of some perceived religious objection. Would they be allowed to exclude Jewish couples, who, after all, don’t believe the Jesus is divine? If we want to eliminate all non-discrimination laws, that’s a completely different conversation.

Jim Michaud December 29, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Only $50,000 per year? Doesn’t sound like the business was too successful regardless. His competition will be swooping in like seagulls.

Jorge December 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I’m with Doug — either we have non-discrimination laws, in general, or we don’t. If we don’t allow businesses to discriminate, then why should we allow them to discriminate on the basis of some perceived religious objection. Would they be allowed to exclude Jewish couples, who, after all, don’t believe the Jesus is divine? If we want to eliminate all non-discrimination laws, that’s a completely different conversation.

Then everything the religious rightists say is true, and equality is a lie. Gay marriage legislation isn’t about equality, it’s not about those 1000+ legal rights straight couples have that gay couples don’t. It’s about overthrowing an entire social order in an expression of primal political power. It’s a disgusting trickery that’s being pulled, and I want no part of it.

Houndentenor December 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm

No, the religious right is selling you a big pile of crap and you’re buying it for some reason. For a long time all of society has catered to the whim of the majority. They feel entitled to never have to compromise anything. If their job conflicts with their beliefs well then their employer has to change. Well most non-Christians confront this all the time and you don’t hear them bitching and whining about it all the time. If your job is to issue marriage licenses, then it is your job to follow the laws of your state. Plenty of clerks would like to have issued licenses to same sex couples before it was legal but they weren’t allowed to. Were there rights violated? No. It was their job to follow the law and they did what they were legally obligated to do. Why now are clerks who object to gay marriage allowed to ignore the laws of their state. They have no legal right to deny a legal license to a couple. none. And if they refuse to do their job, then they should be fired. You would be fired if you refused to do your job.

Jorge December 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I am buying nothing except what I am seeing in front of my own eyes at the present time. And what I see is that laws which were supposed to be about equal rights from the government are being used as a bludgeon against people’s private industry practices and against their religious beliefs. What I is laws that are taking an ideology that was once a minority ideology and force-feeding it into an attack on people based on their political and ideological beliefs–nothing more. So this isn’t just about dignity for gay people, this is about power.

And if the cost of making things right again is throwing out the entire Civil Rights Act, then I say if the slippery slope cannot be paved right, then we have no choice but to demolish it.

Houndentenor December 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm

What power?

This reminds me of a moment from the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize”. A white southern woman looks into the camera (c. 1964) and asks “what about my right to be able to eat in a restaurant without any colored people in it?” 40 years from now these objections will look equally silly to people who are looking back wondering how people could be so prejudiced and narrow minded.

I’ll repeat what I said. If you find me a county clerk who has been allowed to refuse marriage licenses to couples when one or both of them has been previously married and divorced, you can make a case for the religious exemption for county clerks and same sex marriage applications. Does any such exemption exist re divorce.

This isn’t about power. This is about the majority wanting to legally discriminate against a minority group and then acting victimized because they aren’t legally allowed to. it’s the same bellyaching that people did about desegregation. I’m (just barely) old enough to remember the 60s. Same bigots, different bigotry.

Jorge December 31, 2012 at 9:05 am
Lymis December 31, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Oh, please.

This is no different than saying that the lunch counter sit-ins and the bus demonstrations weren’t about equal access to public accommodations and the right to be treated the same as white people, but were about taking down society.

jimmy December 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

As if 1000+ legal rights were something to sneeze at. In what way is the social order being overthrown when marriage is still being held up as the ideal, formally and legally recognized notion of family unit? Marriage is not being trashed; it is being held even higher on a pedestal.

Mark December 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

I assume that Stephen (and Jorge) believe that Maryland’s public accommodations law, which required companies like Discover Annapolis Tours to service interracial couples who choose to marry in Maryland, “erodes liberty in favor of state coercion for progressive ends.”

Or does Stephen believe that anti-gay Christians deserve “special rights”–that they, and they alone, should be free from the requirements of the public accommodations law, while those with religious or moral objections to other types of marriages (interracial, interfaith, second marriages) nonetheless are required to abide by the law’s terms and serve all?

Based on his rhetoric, it sure seems like Stephen is in the “special rights” for anti-gay extremists crowd.

Jorge December 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I assume that Stephen (and Jorge) believe that Maryland’s public accommodations law, which required companies like Discover Annapolis Tours to service interracial couples who choose to marry in Maryland, “erodes liberty in favor of state coercion for progressive ends.”

Liberty is a dirty word to me. I prefer dignity.

Jimmy December 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Such sanctimony.

Dignity for all? Liberty for all? Whose dignity suffers when liberty is afforded to all?

clayton December 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I find myself on both sides of the trolley operator issue. On one hand I believe businesses offering public services and accommodations should not be allowed to discriminate. On the other hand, when my husband and I had our commitment ceremony in a non-equality state, we made sure all the vendors and service Providers knew it was going to be a same sec ceremony. If anyone had objected (nobody did), we would have given the business to someone else. There is always someplace else to buy a wedding cake.

As for the insurance issue, an employer has the right to hold his own religious beliefs. He does not have the right to impose. those beliefs on employees. Moreover, if all employers are held to the same standard, that is the opposite of discrimination.

Houndentenor December 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm

We run into a variety of situations on this topic. Personally I don’t want a photographer who has a problem with a gay wedding. I don’t want that asshole at my wedding so in that case I’m more than happy to give the business to someone else. Forcing them seems to me to be a fight not worth fighting. On top of that the chances of getting top quality work from someone with that attitude (or for that matter that narrow-minded a world view) are not good.
A clerk who processes paperwork is not the same thing. I don’t feel the least bit of sympathy. We ALL have had to do things for work we didn’t like or agree with. Grow the eff up and be glad you have a job in this lousy economy. Let’s imagine another scenario. You are a photographer and you are cool with any kind of wedding regardless of the religion, ethnicity or gender of the people getting married. But you have hired an assistant who refuses to work at Catholic weddings. Do you go to the trouble of hiring another assistant for those occasions only, or do you just hire someone who can work at all the events you are hired for? Should you be legally required to accommodate that person’s prejudices even if it creates a hardship for you?
We always seem to be having this conversation from the perspective of the poor put-upon Christian. It’s the equivalent of feeling bad for the poor white woman who had to sit next to Rosa Parks on the bus. No one has to accommodate your religious, sexual, ethnic or other prejudices. Imagine I work in that office and decide I’m not going to issue marriage licenses until my state legalizes gay marriage. Would that be okay? Of course not. I’m so tired of being expected to accommodate the religious right at every turn. Not everyone agrees with you. Do your own thing but don’t expect me to play along. If I wanted to continue to be a hypocrite I’d still be going to the Baptist Church. No, they aren’t all hypocrites. Just most of them. I say that from decades of personal experience.

Mike in Houston December 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

Beliefs vs behaviors… As a society, we have established (by force of law) behavioral rules that apply to any number of public situations – including those areas of public accommodation where a reasonable person expects that a business (or employee / owner of said) that sells a good or service does so without regard to who the seller is.

These rules (laws) in no way impinge upon anyone’s freedom to believe what they want.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences for expression of beliefs that run counter to the law, an employer’s policies, or market disapproval (loss of business).

In the case of this taxi service, the owner has – rightly – decided to forgo providing this particular service rather than abide by the rules everyone else follows… And to exercise his free speech rights to whine about it.

Regan DuCasse December 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

The biggest problem with this religious objection is that it’s inconsistent and is only used against easily identifiable ‘sinners’, without ANY disclaimers or prominently visible signage that shows the customer who the business will or won’t serve.
Using this religious angle to justify selective discrimination, only shows that the business owner isn’t SO strongly holding their beliefs that heterosexuals who also meet their list of criteria, aren’t treated the same way.
It has to be equal discrimination, or equal accommodation.
And let each customer have the ability to actually choose.
The way Grubb and the other business owners have behaved with this, they are demanding to choose the service for the customer.
What kind of business does that?!
That’s like a restaurant owner deciding what dish the patron is going to have. If the patron even knows anything about the business at all.
After all these religious tests and criteria are so far, invisible and no patron could possibly know what the background of the owner is, any more than the owner could of their patrons.
This is what makes this religious excuse bs from the outset.
And now, the chili is hitting the cheese when it comes to certain religious people making a crap pile of everything, then whining as if THEY are the victims of others because of it.

Bill RJ December 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm

What if the federal government decreed that it would be better for the farm economy if more pork were consumed, and pork is healthier than beef according to the federal government’s commission on health, and therefore everyone must buy and eat 2 lbs of pork per week regardless of outmoded and nonprogressive opposition based on superstition and anti-pork bias. I guess if a Democratic administration proposed that, all the partyliners would be onboard with it.

Doug December 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Yeah, just like you right wingers are happy to cram your religious beliefs down everyone else’s throat.

Tom Scharbach December 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm

The 2012 Republican platform’s position on marriage (the FMA) and abortion (federal ban on all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest), as well as on numerous other issues, steamrolls individual conscience, religious conscience and (in the case of marriage) reserved powers. Where is the religious conscience exemption in those cases?

Houndentenor December 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Why are you infringing on their rights to be bigots???

Tom Scharbach December 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Quoth Stephen, “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.

I just love Bill RJ’s feeble attempt to play the “Jew Card” in this discussion, as if the Christian right, coupled up foreskin to foreskin with cynical Republican politicians, hasn’t been using the supposed “Judeo-Christian” heritage to obliterate thousands of valid (under both civil and religious law) Jewish same-sex marriages in this country. Ditto for the roughshod disregard for Jewish law regarding abortion.

I don’t know about the “Christian” part of it what they are doing, but the “Judeo” part has been misused, misunderstood and, for the most part, trampled to the point where it is unrecognizable. Loathsome, that’s what it is.

Adrienne Critcher December 31, 2012 at 10:06 am

I have to wonder if Grubbs and others are actually struggling to balance their business interests against their personal bigotry. The Christian Bible is very clear in Matthew 19:9 that anyone who is divorced (except for an unfaithful spouse) and who remarries will be living in a perpetual state of adultery. Adultery is clearly a violation of Grubbs’ Christian principles. In the past, did Grubbs refuse to lease his trolleys to heterosexual couples who had been previously married and divorced their spouses? Did he make sure that their first (or second or third…) marriages ended because their original spouse was unfaithful? Unless Grubbs strictly followed Matthew 19:9, then his decision to discontinue his wedding services is simply based in bigotry against gay people and not any kind of (misguided) religious principle.

Don’t let these religious poseurs get away with claiming some kind of adherence to moral principles when in fact they are hiding behind their cherry-picked religious texts to justify their own personal bigotry.

So we need to ask Christians who think they are having their religious liberty violated by same-sex marriage laws if they have followed Matthew 19:9 for straight couples.

Doug December 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm

How many of those ‘so called’ Christians are in fact divorced and remarried themselves?

Houndentenor December 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Or have had affairs. Your friendly neighborhood fundie church gives Peyton Place a run for it’s money. I say that based on personal experience in those churches.

Doug December 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm

It’s interesting that the southern Red states have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest rate of divorce, the highest rate of incest, the worst education etc, etc.

Let he who is without sin . . . . .

Jimmy December 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm

It’s the same ol’ stuff -”Do as I say, not as I do.”

Houndentenor December 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I call it institutionalized hypocrisy. What freaks them out is not that people do things they don’t approve of. They do them too. What freaks them out is that people aren’t willing to be hypocrites about it like they are. Plenty of them are having gay sex, affairs, abortions, you name it. But they lie about there’s and pretend they don’t. In fact you can usually tell who is doing what by how loudly they rail about that particular sin.

rickles January 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

I came here expecting to call Stephen out for one of his most ridiculous columns. But, I see others have it well in hand!

Doug January 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Stephen lives in the right wing bubble right next to Mitt Romney. Neither has a clue.

Tom Scharbach January 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm
Tom Scharbach January 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm
Tom Scharbach January 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Third try. I’m a menace to HTML this morning.

A few thoughts concerning two of Jorge’s comments:

I will never tolerate any government discrimination against religion, mine or others’.

I wonder, Jorge. In our lengthy discussion of abortion in the thread “Conservatives v. Libertarians“, we had the following, concluding exchange:

Tom: I don’t think that “the community” — people who might or might not share the moral/religious convictions of the father and mother, and do not have to live with the consequences — should make the decision for the couple. I do not think that the government should be involved at all.

Jorge: *Shrugs.* I think that kind of standard is an easy way out of excusing people from committing crime. They just need to invent a religious reason for it.

Then everything the religious rightists say is true, and equality is a lie. Gay marriage legislation isn’t about equality, it’s not about those 1000+ legal rights straight couples have that gay couples don’t.

The essence of equal treatment under the law is that all citizens have equal rights and equal responsibilities, benefits and burdens, privileges and penalties, under the law. In short form: “Equal, no more, no less, no different.”

Houndentenor January 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Being LEGALLY married as about those 1000+ legal rights and responsibilities that come from being legally married. Damn straight it is. If it wasn’t for that then just having a commitment ceremony would be enough. I know plenty of gay couples who are as committed to each other as any married straight couple I know. But that doesn’t mean diddly squat when one of them is denied being in the ICU with them as they lay there dying or when the relatives who disowned their partner long ago swoop in and take possession of all the partner’s possessions. Yes, it’s about the legality of it, otherwise why would we involve the law at all. If it were only a religious institution, we’d just get married at church and be done with it and not need a marriage license and all that. it would be no different from baptism. We don’t register baptisms with the state because there is no legal benefit to being baptized. Marriage is both personal and legal. If it’s religious for you as well, great, but we don’t require couples to be married in a religious setting. They can be married by a captain or a civil authority as well. Some religious people (and note: not all of them) are having a shitfit because they are waking up to the fact that they can’t get people to do what they want them to do any more and want to use the government to enforce their prejudices.

JohnInCA January 4, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Please, if this guy were truely stalwart in his convictions he would have run into trouble when he denied men on their second wife.

TomJefferrsonIII January 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

Sometimes conservatives like to “slum” in libertarian or Ayn Randian circles. This is one such case; the idea that civil rights laws should not apply to the private sector, because that would be a violation of liberty,. is an idea from the Libertarian-right and the Ayn Rand folk.

Yes. Their should be reasonable exemptions made in the workplace to protection religious freedom (as imperfect as it will probably be) and yes, I can see having some exemptions in a non-discrimination policy with regards to the private sector and sexual orientation discrimination.

In the short term, these exemptions (i.e. small businesses, religious groups, Boy Scouts) are probably necessary to get civil rights/equal rights for us gays. When public opinion changes in a generation or so, and most straight people look at homophobia like most white people look at 1960s racism, then these exemptions will probably become much less applicable.

My boyfriend is Jewish and I am Catholic. We are certainly not talking about marriage (we are still University students), but I cannot imagine that we would be getting married in a Church or a Synagogue because of the interfaith thing and the same-sex thing. Maybe a Unitarian church.

David in Houston January 19, 2013 at 10:31 am

The entire basis for this argument is ridiculous. Religious people aren’t demanding liberty. They want special treatment under the law, based on the fact that they made a *choice* to become religious. Making a choice doesn’t give you a special privilege to discriminate against anyone who you personally disapprove of — regardless of the fact that you’re using a 2,000 year old book to justify your bigotry. No one else in our country has that right, except for religious people. Enough.

TomJeffersonIII February 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution (and the 14th) means that we do have to protect religious freedom (as much as we do gay rights) and that is going to make, sometimes making imperfect exemptions.

For example, if the government builds a highway and, realizes that it is being block by a church, what should it do? Some people suggest that they should just tear it down and other suggest that we should let the church stay and cease to have any sort of civil transportation policy. I do not agree with either argument.

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