Equality Virginia, the commonwealth state’s marriage equality lobby, can claim a role in bringing the freedom to marry to all Virginians. Kudos all round. But now, what will they do? I know! Force bakers and photographers to accept gigs that they would rather turn down. That’ll show ‘em.
This week, the group sent out a fundraising letter stating:
While we celebrate marriage, opponents of equality are doubling down on intolerance—doing their best to push Virginia backward, and trying to…use the upcoming General Assembly session to ensure that “the rights and freedoms of those who disagree with the redefinition of marriage are treated equally and not discriminated against in their religious practice, education, business, or employments.”
“The situation is urgent,” the letter declares.
Along the same lines, the Washington Post “Civilities” advice column recently ran a letter about New York state innkeepers who were fined $13,000 by the state:
I am writing about the New York state couple who refused to allow a lesbian couple to use their farm for their wedding. As a gay man who recently married, I’m troubled by this situation because I find that too many gay people who say they are being discriminated against are not willing to see that others have different beliefs and values, especially when it comes to marriage rights. In planning my own wedding, I had only one bad experience when a vendor said it would not cater to my husband and me; I took my business elsewhere. As bad as this sounds, I believe that business owners should have the freedom to choose whom they serve…
Post columnist Steven Petrow responded, indignantly: “Of course, it’s a shame that not everyone in your shoes gets to celebrate with their second-choice of vendors.” He continued:
Frankly, I wasn’t surprised to see some columnists’ blowback against the lesbian couple or New York’s $13,000 penalty against the innkeepers…. I was surprised, though, by the large number of my LGBT Facebook followers who seemed to share that view. One gay man posted: “Why ruin someone else’s livelihood, when you still found another venue, still got married, and are still just as happy?” And this from a lesbian reader: “Let us not start becoming bullies after everything we fought for….
Clearly my sympathies lie with the McCarthys [the lesbian couple], not the farm owners. I can only imagine the hurt and humiliation the couple felt when they were turned away, and I applaud them for not taking the insult quietly.
To which the Cato Institute’s David Boaz tweeted, “Let’s go around fining everyone $13,000 to show the need for tolerance.”
As I’ve said before, whether you think government should force small businesspeople to provide services for religious ceremonies they feel violate their religious beliefs has all to do with your concept of individual liberties, and whether these are fundamental rights of individuals or are gifts for the state to bestow as progressive elites decide is fit, and holding that the right not to act is no right at all. For those in the latter camp, there is just no convincing them that this is all so very wrong.
More. Making A Conservative Case for Gay Marriage. It isn’t helped when the secondary message is that we have no tolerance for religious dissension.