So, the proposed Arizona Law was a bad idea. It was vetoed, and that is a good thing. That law would be like doing chemotherapy because you’re tired of shaving your head.
The current legal landscape is such that if you have a deeply held religious belief that gay marriage is wrong and choose not to perform services in furtherance of celebrating a gay wedding, you can be sued in court and lose. A religious business owner who is not otherwise discriminatory can now face legal penalties for failing to provide services for celebration of a sinful act. Specifically for refusing to provide services for gay weddings. (It is still OK to be a religious pharmacist in Illinois if you do not want to dispense the morning after pill.)
A bakery in the State of Oregon lost in court.
A bakery in the State of Colorado lost in court.
A photographer in the State of New Mexico lost in court.
In celebration of Governor Brewer’s veto, Michael Austin has this to say:
In the first place, a wedding is not the same thing as a marriage. A marriage is a contract certified by the state. A wedding is a big party with cake and photographers. A moral objection to the way that the state certifies a contract should not be confused with a moral objection to baking a cake for a party. Unless one has a sincere and deeply held belief that gay people should not be allowed to eat cake, then there can be no rational religious objection to baking one for a gay wedding, whatever one’s feelings about gay marriage may be.
That sounds impressive. Michael Austin has learned the rhetorical trick of defining the issue in a way that you win. If one side gets to frame the issue, that side has all of the advantage in the argument. I disagree with Mr. Austin’s premise. In fact, so does Google, dictionary.com, Miriam -Webster, the Free Dictionary, and Oxford Dictionaries. If your argument is based on a hair-splitting definition not based on common usage in any mainstream dictionary, something else must be going on. Changing what words mean because it agrees with what you want to say is never a well founded argument. A wedding is a marriage ceremony. So a couple might say they were wedded by a justice of the peace who performed the marriage ceremony. Mr. Austin is wrong and should feel bad for even making such an argument.
So what to do? Gay rights advocates cheer when religious businesses are forced to set their conscience aside or go out of business. What happened to the First Amendment?
The direction things are going right now, when it comes to businesses that handle any kind of wedding business, “Religious Christians Need Not Apply”. What if a bakery did not discriminate in any other way against people, they just didn’t want to bake a gay wedding cake? Is that OK, or is that intolerable discrimination? According to the current legal climate, simply providing services for the gay public is not enough, you also have to cater to gay weddings. No matter how wrong you believe it to be.
Got that? Being non-discriminatory in every other way is not good enough. You have to support gay marriage if you want to be in the wedding business.
We really need a resurgence of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.