Gay rights vs. religious rights: 7 issues to watch

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NEW YORK (RNS) The rights of religious groups or individuals that object to same-sex marriage continue to clash with those pursued by gay rights advocates. Now, the fight that started at state ballot boxes and in courtrooms has moved to floral shops, bakeries and photo studios.

As churches are concerned about the potential of facing lawsuits, some are changing their bylaws to explicitly reflect their views on traditional man-woman marriage.

Groom figures on a wedding cake

photo courtesy bikeriderlondon via Shutterstock

Groom figures on a wedding cake

A bakery in Gresham, Ore., owned by a Christian family, under investigation by state officials for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, decided to close its doors. “This fight is not over,” they wrote on a sign in the shop window. “We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore.”

Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that photographers could not refuse to shoot gay wedding ceremonies even though the state does not officially recognize gay marriage. The court ruled that declining to photograph a gay wedding was similar to declining to work at an interracial wedding, with Justice Richard Bosson saying, “There is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.”

Many of the legal skirmishes are not directly tied to federal recognition of gay marriages after the Supreme Court’s decision striking down most of the Defense of Marriage Act. Instead, the fights largely revolve around state and local anti-discrimination ordinances that include protections for gays and lesbians.

Upcoming battles include whether religious opposition to same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender and/or marital status; and what happens when a discrimination claim bumps up against an individual’s or institution’s religious freedom.

Many cases are still being resolved:

  • The lawyer who represents the owners of a Colorado bakery say they could face a year in prison for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.
  • A Kentucky county commission sided with a gay rights group in a discrimination complaint last year after a Christian printer declined to print T-shirts for a gay pride festival.
  • A florist in Richland, Wash., who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding launched a countersuit against the state attorney general, who sued her for violating the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

The Supreme Court’s decision against the Defense of Marriage Act applies to federal benefits, but many have been watching to see whether it holds further implications for religious groups or individuals. For instance, employers in states where gay marriage is legal will be required to provide Family and Medical Leave Act leave to employers with same-sex spouses, even if their state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington-based religious freedom law firm, notes that since DOMA was enacted in 1996, six states and Washington, D.C., have adopted same-sex marriage through the legislative process with conscience protections for those with objections to same-sex marriage.

Ahead of the court’s decision, the Becket Fund issued a brief on areas where religious freedom could be impacted by the DOMA ruling, outlining seven areas to watch:

Public accommodation laws 

Many religious institutions provide services beyond their congregations that are considered “public accommodation,” such as health care, counseling, child care, education, wedding facilities and adoption services.

For instance, New Jersey’s Supreme Court held that the Boy Scouts organization, which does not permit gay leaders, is a place of “public accommodation.” Some fear that a lack of explicit conscience protections could open the doors to lawsuits.

Housing discrimination laws

Courts in some states have required landlords to allow unmarried cohabitating couples as tenants despite the landlords’ religious objections. A federal recognition of marriage would give same-sex couples a strong standing to access housing under anti-discrimination laws.

In a 2001 case, a New York court sided with two lesbians, saying they had a valid claim of discrimination after Yeshiva University declined to provide housing benefits to unmarried couples. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in New York, a similar case could be considered marital discrimination.

Employment discrimination laws

Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; most state laws include an exemption for religious organizations. A federal law to make anti-gay discrimination illegal nationwide has lagged in Congress for 20 years.

Now the question is: If a gay man or lesbian is fired for being gay, and that person’s marriage is now recognized by the federal government, does anything change? Does a federally recognized marriage offer greater protection in discrimination claims?

After the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington stopped offering spousal benefits to any new employees.

Government facilities access 

Access to government facilities, such as schools, parks and other spaces, could become challenging for some who oppose same-sex marriage. For instance, the Boy Scouts have lost leases to campgrounds, parks and a government building headquarters and lost the right to participate in a charitable payroll deduction program. Public university student groups could face scrutiny. The University at Buffalo suspended an InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group after it asked a gay member to step down as treasurer.

Maintaining licenses or accreditation 

As many governments would require all state marriages to be treated equally, some worry about loss of licenses or accreditation. Many cite the case where Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco shut down adoption services because the agencies refused to comply with anti-discrimination laws and place children with same-sex couples.

Religious colleges and universities also fear loss of accreditation if they oppose same-sex marriage. The American Psychological Association threatened in 2001 to revoke the accreditation of some religious colleges, partly for “codes of conduct that prohibit sex outside of marriage.” It later decided to keep a religious exemption.

Government grants and contracts qualifications and tax exemptions

As many religious institutions seek grants and contracts for services, some see a tension between providing services and receiving government funding. Illinois Catholic Charities shut down rather than comply with a requirement that they can no longer receive state money if they turn away same-sex couples for foster care or adoption.

Some are also concerned about the possibility of state or local tax exemption challenges, or the ability to apply for government funding. If discrimination standards apply to sexual orientation, religious school leaders fear they could be denied government programs, such as scholarships and grants.

Educational and employment opportunities

The decision could continue to impact government workers and students at public universities.

Julea Ward, a master’s in counseling student at Eastern Michigan University, told her professors that she could not help gay and lesbian clients with their same-sex relationships. She was expelled for violating the school’s anti-discrimination policy and given $75,000 in a settlement.

At least 12 Massachusetts justices of the peace have resigned because they declined to facilitate same-sex marriages.

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  • Frank

    Its time for chuckholes and Christians to be bold upholding Gods standard for sexuality and marriage. The time to fear offending people is over. Our rights are being degraded slowly but surely and in time our beliefs will be criminalized.

  • Frank

    Haha chuckholes. It should read Christians. Spell check fail.

    Just waiting for some antichristian to say that chuckholes was correct in the first place. 🙂

  • AZatheist

    If your profession causes you to choose between following man”s non-discrimination laws and God’s law, I would think that real Christians would happily abandon said profession and find another. As Jesus said, “And if your right hand causes you to offend, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is better for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell.”

  • Frank

    If, as your name suggests, you are an atheist then your advice about what Christians should do is hollow. We are not called to remove ourself from the world.

  • Pat Palazzolo

    Where does one draw the line (if any) on a religious right to discriminate?

    Can a conservative Muslim business owner refuse service to a woman because it offends his religious beliefs?

    Can a wedding photographer refuse service to an interracial couple because it offends his religious beliefs? (Opposition to interracial marriage cited scripture and religious beliefs).

    The courts will ultimately answer this question. And I suspect they will likely take the view that our constitution does not permit us to use our personal religious beliefs to discriminate against others where the law prohibits it.

    Is this an attack on religious freedom, or is it maintaining the integrity of a constitution in a pluralistic society with a secular government? I believe it is the latter.

  • If we could have simply allowed civil same-sex marriages back in the 70’s we wouldn’t be having this conflict today. And if we would have separated the concept of a civil marriage from the concept of a religious marriage that would have helped as well. Then today, we would only be debating the issue of same-sex marriage within the religious community where there are various theological viewpoints on same-sex marriage. However, this country was founded on some of the founders views that their religious views should apply to the entire country. If these dynamics had been addressed in the 70’s I don’t believe that we would be working through issues today of when a business owner could or couldn’t offer their services to people who were getting married.

  • InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has faced similar scrutiny from state universities for over a decade, because they have held that their leadership should hold to their understanding of biblical standards of sexual expression. They have not required this of those outside of their elected student leadership. I hope that Sarah can write an article about her research on the results of the legal actions of those other actions involving InterVarsity.

    I have written for over a decade asking that InterVarsity be careful to ask the same questions of students who are seeking a leadership position, so that it will not be an issue of what sexual identity or sexual orientation or sexual behavior the potential student leaders have. Seeking a leadership position in InterVarsity does the organization to ask these type of questions of the potential student leader, whether this information has already been made public or not.

    As the article that was referenced states, IVCF’s requirements are not about a person’s sexual orientation, but about their sexual behavior or their believes about the biblical parameters of sexual expression. Steven Jackson, the person in the article referenced about the IVCF suspension, said that he defines himself as gay and was dating a woman when he was elected to the leadership position.

    The last 5 paragraphs of that article definitely give a different impression of the situation than what would generally be understood from the reference of it in this article.

  • T-runner56

    In America the religious have no rights. Period. People who don’t see that are either living in a different century, not watching the news, or just deluding themselves because it’s less painful. America is a hedonistic society. It lives for the pleasure & satisfaction of self. Anything or anyone who interferes with that pursuit of self-gratification is an enemy, and we are going to see — soon, I’m afraid — Christians in the U.S. locked away in prison or put to death when they stop fearing persecution and start refusing, in the name of Christ, to fall in line with what American society demands. One big difference between Christians and Muslims is that Islam is a violent religion and they can simply murder infidels, whereas Christians are called to pray for them. If you know the Bible, then you know this story is not going to have a happy ending, at least not by earthly standards.

  • AZatheist

    Real Christians are:

    “Therefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” — 2Cor. 6:17

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” — IJohn 2:15f

    For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

  • Frank

    Having an atheist use scripture they don’t believe to define someone they don’t understand falls very flat.

  • Frank

    It depends on where your faith is whether your ending will be happy or not.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    You’re correct, Mr. Jones. America was rapidly waking up to the inequalities LGBT Americans still face in most US States back in the early 1970s, but then the anti-gays started making all that trouble. How many billions of American taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted by anti-gays trying to stop time and lock their prejudices into place? The United States Constitution requires “Equal Protection Under the Law,” but anti-gays including anti-gay churches committed countless acts of sedition trying to delay enforcement of “Equal Protection.”

    I’d like to see anti-gays forced to pay their debt to American taxpayers and American society.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    It’s sad to see Ms. Bailey pretends all denominations want to deny marriage equality to LGBT Americans. When speaking about First Amendment issues in regards to marriage equality, it’s always important to remember it isn’t just a matter of those denominations who LIE that they’d be “forced” to perform same gender marriages. The major Christian, Jewish and other denominations that are marrying same gender couples now are being denied their right to practice their religion freely in 37 US States. These denominations will marry same gender couples in 15 US States and the District of Columbia:

    Affirming Pentecostal Church International
    Alliance of Christian Churches
    The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
    Conservative Judaism
    Disciples Of Christ
    The Episcopal Church
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Global Alliance of Affirming Apostolic Pentecostals
    Metropolitan Community Church
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reform Judaism
    Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
    Unitarian Universalist Church
    United Church of Christ

    Some churches in these denominations are already marrying same gender couples:

    American Baptist
    Presbyterian Church USA
    United Methodist Church

    These and many other denominations reject the hate speech inserted in the bible to hurt LGBT people. Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide “Biblical cover” for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word “homosexual” didn’t even exist until 1870.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    LGBT Americans refer to the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” routine T-Runner is trying to pull here that of a “Drama Queen.” The coming nationwide marriage equality isn’t an attack on Christians. No one will ever demand that some unpleasant anti-gay church marry a loving, committed same gender American couple–and why would we? The most beautiful churches and synagogues in America already WANT to marry us, but are denied their right to practice their religion freely in many US States.

    These hurtful, hateful photographers and bakers could have simply told the same gender couples, “Sorry, I’m all booked up, may I recommend my competitor a few blocks away?” Instead, we see these hateful individuals attack the same gender couples. There’s no use whining about the many US States that forbid that sort of discrimination in public accommodations, or that those who choose to violate the law must pay the consequences.

    Ever notice that each and every of these hateful denials of service involve the “Alliance Defending Freedom” as defendants? This anti-gay ambulance chaser attorney group is actively recruiting anti-gays who own public accommodations that serve the wedding industry. Let’s face it, Americans have noticed this coordinated effort to violate the law. Courts have noticed it, too, as the fines levied against these hateful business owners are rising.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Posting nasty comments about “an atheist” won’t change the fact that Azatheist proved you’re disregarding the Bible in favor of your political agenda, Frank.

  • Michael Garrett

    CarrotCakeMan is certainly entitled to his point of view and his listing of the various stances of denominations. As a minister in the PCUSA I can tell that the marrying of same sex couples at this time is a violation of the denominations policy. Where it happens it is subject to judicial review by courts of the church.

    I’d urge the writer to check his facts on the intentional “mistranslation” allegation. That is pure spin, with little grounding in reality. Half truths don’t advance his cause.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    True, as Mr. Garrett pointed out, some ministers who have chosen to unite loving, committed same gender American couples have been attacked by their denominations, but the PCUSA is already ordaining LGBT ministers, and it’s odd Mr. Garrett chose to omit that relevant point.

    I’d urge Mr. Garrett to check with the many denominations I listed as to why they reject the mistranslations to which he apparently wants to cling. The fact that so many denominations are marrying same gender couples where state laws allow them to practice their religion clearly demonstrates my post is NOT “pure spin,” but is clearly grounded in reality.

    Half truths don’t advance your anti-gay agenda either, Mr. Garrett. And which agenda is advancing? Has any of these Christian and Jewish denominations decided to STOP marrying loving, committed same gender couples? Have any US States REVOKED marriage EQUALITY? Has America’s military started to attack LGBT service members again? Has the United States Supreme Court changed its minds about their June rulings? Has the majority of Americans who support marriage equality stopped growing rapidly?

  • Doc Anthony

    “Hey, Mr. Apostle Paul! We citizens of Ephesus are putting together a celebration for the goddess Diana next month. We hear you’re the best and friendliest tent-maker in town, so we’d like for you to put up some special tents and cloth panels inscribed with “Happy Anniversary Diana!”

    “Oh no, you don’t have to attend the orgi–we mean you don’t have to attend the festivities. We know you’re a Christian. Your church doesn’t have to do or support anything. We just want YOU, as a business owner, to bring us those fancy “Happy Anniversary Diana” tents and cloth panels. How soon can you have them ready for us?”

    “And by the way, if you as a Christian refuse to tacitly endorse our celebration of the goddess by giving us the Diana stuff, we’re going to use bullying, hatred, intimidation, and even the power of government to shut your Christian business down, because American freedoms of religion and conscience don’t matter to us Diana fanatics at all.”

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Is there anything more pathetic than anti-gays whining that their intended victims are “the real bullies”? Why don’t these hateful, hurtful “Christianist” bakers claim they are already booked for that day? But, as we see, these hateful bakers are more interested in attacking same gender couples.

    Spare us your silly victim fantasy, Doc.

  • I suspect some people get tired of me presenting this point, however, we have come to a place in our society where I experience regularly the type of anti-____ (fill in the blank with the best term) approach in regards to my decisions in life that are presented when talking about an anti-gays approach, in addition to some other people who respect me, even if they don’t support me. I posted on the NALT project site:

    “Mike Jones September 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm”
    “John, if you had listed “Q” as well, when you said “LGBT-affirming Christians,” I would have at least known that I fit in there, as I am always questioning many things, it seems. The only thing that I’m pretty sure that I am not is ever-straight, other than I have only dated women. What category do you place someone like myself in who is a Christian man who is single, who experiences primarily sexual attractions toward men, who is not ex-gay, not gay, only bisexual way over on the homosexual attractions section of the Kinsey Scale, who isn’t gay-affirming himself and who is not sexually active with anyone, but who has non-sexual attractions mostly toward men? And who accepts and respects people who are gay, ex-gay, anti-gay, bisexual, straight, not yet Christian, or never to be a Christian.”

  • I noticed that I posted an incomplete sentence. The complete sentence is: Seeking a leadership position in InterVarsity does allow the organization to ask these type of questions of the potential student leader, whether this information has already been made public or not.

  • Frank

    There is nothing nasty in my posts. And anyone’s whose faith is not part of their entire life lacks integrity.

    And clearly you don’t know what those verses mean. We are not to be OF this world but we are to live IN this world.

  • Frank

    Thanks for the list of churches to avoid as they deny Gods Will.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Two points:: First, equating for civil rights purposes something that is not an action –color of skin (race) with an act (homosexual activity) –which is done constantly by Gay activists– is completely bogus, but the liberal media goes along with this Big Lie giving it life.
    Second, There is supposed to be First Amendment protection for religious beliefs (and being able to live a life based on those beliefs). To force someone to, under heavy penalty of law, make a cake, take a photograph, or prepare a floral display is gross tyranny, pure and simple.

  • AZatheist

    Christians are inprisoned in labor camps in China and North Korea. Christians are fleeing fire-bombed churches in Egypt. To equate having to obey a non-discrimination law equally applied to all with those horrors is shameful. Baking a cake is hardly the stuff of “dungeon, fire, or sword.”

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  • Zoe

    Although I am an avid supporter of legal marriage for all. I do believe that privately owned businesses and religious groups have the right to make policies according to there beliefs. As a woman, I can’t sue a Catholic seminary for not ordaining me a priest. People have the right to there beliefs, whether or not you find them reprehensible. LGBT people should have the right to marry in the eyes of the law an churches have the right to define the religious sacrament of marriage in accordance with their interpretation of scripture.
    P.s. I am a devote catholic

  • Patrick Jordan

    I’m Christian and I had to laugh. Gay marriage is not a “perversion” or any of the nasty things you other Christians love to call it. (Aren’t you all so nice and holy to begin with) C’mon people. People are born gay. God doesn’t make mistakes. God made gay people. Gay people fall in love. God is the epitome of love. God isn’t going to make 8-10% of the population gay and then condemn them for it. That’s silly. The hand of God is working TODAY. I’ll take God over the Bible, which was written by man, mind you. The Bible is has an amazing overall message of charity and international love, but it was not meant to be taken so literally on each little sing verse. If that was the case, I’d have to kill my friend for working sundays, burn my mom for wearing two types of thread, stone my sister for planting two different crops side by side and probably call anyone who ate shellfish or crab a sinner. The Bible also says slavery is okay.

    This is 2013, people. We adapt and change.

  • When we look at the combined research studies for the percent of the population in the US who are gay, even if we also put people who are bisexual, and people who are transgender in with those who are gay, (gay referring to both gay men and lesbian women) the percentage comes to significantly less than 8-10%. Even Wikipedia is a good place to begin to explore this.

    People are born with certain personalities and certain predispositions. The research has not shown that people are born with a sexual orientation or with sexual attractions.

    God does create more people than is publicly known as having sexual biological aspects that we would consider as intersex, if so many surgical procedures were not done shortly after childbirth so that the child is viewed as either male or female.

  • Frank

    God does not make people gay. Our sinful fallen world does.. And I would spend more time trying to understand the bible if I were you.

    It is 2013 but Gods eternal truths do not change.

  • zoe

    So, as Patrick pointed out, is slavery, which is condoned in both testaments, a “unchanging truth”?

  • K H


  • Frank

    The slavery in the bible is not the racial based slavery we are familiar with. Most of it was indentured servitude which most people went into willingly. Yes there were also the spoils of war but God did not create slavery our sinful fallen world did. God spoke about the fair treatment of slaves. Slavery is not condoned.

  • Zoe

    I agree, but remember, the bible was often used in the south to condone racial slavery and prejudice in the civil war and the later civil rights movement.

    Also any Christian church that ordains women and any woman who does not cover her head while praying is technically in violation of 1 Corinthians.
    And anyone who divorces and remarries is in violation of the gospel.
    Homosexual acts may be condemned in scripture, but so are many things that most Christians hardly plink an eye at.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Apparently, Frank can’t even own up to his own personal attack. Sorry, Frank, you are not the one who gets to decide for all Americans just what the Bible means.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    I observed above that Frank seems to feel he’s the “Decider” who gets to tell all Americans what the Bible means. Now Frank tells us he doesn’t accept the Freedom Of Religion guaranteed by our Constitution and has attacked these denominations for disregarding the Gospel Of Frank. Frank’s apparent desire to force us into his Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, will not disturb or reduce the growing list of welcoming and affirming Christian and Jewish denominations.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Mr. Breshanah is repeating one of the oldest anti-gay LIES of all. Science has proven sexual orientation is inborn and unchangeable. Several US federal and several US State High Courts have examined that evidence and ruled that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is similarly unconstitutional as discrimination based on race because BOTH are IMMUTABLE characteristics.

    Once again, these hateful, hurtful and unAmerican florists, bakers and photographers COULD simply CLAIM they are fully booked for that day, but, instead, they choose to attack the loving, committed same gender American couples. We know the anti-gay group “Alliance Defending Freedom” is recruiting such small businesses to commit these crimes with the promise of full financial support. Only the few other anti-gays continue to cry crocodile tears for these lawbreakers.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Rest assured that no loving, committed same gender American couple will EVER ask the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, to marry them, Zoe, nor will we ask any Catholic Church. Why should we, when, for example, the National Cathedral (Episcopalian) in Washington, DC, is happy to do so? Despite the wild claims of anti-gays, no one has ever sued an anti-gay church in the US.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    “The research has not shown that people are born with a sexual orientation”

    False. A quick search on on the phrase Physiological Basis of Homosexuality turns up over 26,000 articles, the vast majority supporting the biological basis of same sex attraction.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    “God does not make people gay. Our sinful fallen world does.”

    Can you provide some documentation for your wild claim that goes against the evidence to which I directed readers above?

    “It is 2013 but Gods eternal truths do not change.”

    You mean like how the Catholic Church still says the sun revolves around the Earth and eating meat on Friday is a sin?

  • Frank

    Yes the south did justify their slavery through the bible. They were wrong of course.

    As far as ordination of women I think that in context its not so clear that its impermissible.

    There are biblical reasons for divorce although I agree that divorce is a big problem that the church has looked the other way on.

    And yes Christians ignore many things because they want to live a certain way. That fact does not change the sinfulness of certain behaviors homosexuality being one of them.

    The answer is not to let more and more sins go unnoticed.

    So Gods eternal truths have not changed we just get better and better at ignoring them.

  • Frank

    Our biology produces cancer and disease. It produces death as well. All these things were not created by God.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    You’re correct about the slavery passages in the Bible being used by Southern slaveholders to justify their situation, Zoe, just as Frank desperately seeks to misinterpret the Bible to excuse his attacks on LGBT Americans.

  • Frank

    Science has not proven anything. The best answer science has it that they don’t know. Its most likely a combination of factors.

    Lying does not help your case.

  • Frank

    Uts happneing alreday. There is a gay couple in the UK suing the church.

    Its only a matter of time in the US. Churches better prepare themselves.

  • Frank

    Since the beginning of the church, churches have denied the Will of God.

    No one has to trust me. Read the bible for yourself. You will see homosexual behavior is condemned. No changing that.

  • Frank

    Thanks for proving you just see what you want to see.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Thank you for admitting you cannot prove any of your wild claims, Frank. Please enjoy your own beliefs, and learn to accept no one else will be forced to share them.

  • Frank

    You obviously live in your own reality which you are welcome to.

    How sad.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Anti-gays routinely take to posting personal attacks when we refuse to fall for their propaganda.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide “Biblical cover” for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word “homosexual” didn’t even exist until 1870. Many major Christian and Jewish denominations condemn misusing the hate-based mistranslations to attack their fellow Americans and are marrying same gender American couples now. About 400 years ago, a group of religious authorities (sanctioned by King James I of England), secretly manipulated the English version of the Bible to reflect their own heterosexual attitude; they opposed the King kissing other men in public. But in revised versions, religious authorities re-defined the Greek word “arsenokoites” of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The most accurate translation, abusers of themselves with mankind [KJV], was pretty vague. Nevertheless, they replaced this vague 5-worded text with the not so vague and purposely targeted 1-word text, “homosexual(s).” Either way you cut it, this text does not describe loving, committed same gender couples. This campaign gave those who were looking for a reason to justify their own homophobia a license to openly express their bigotry.

  • Zoe

    Frank, so is it safe to say that we as Christians, my self included, should first look at our own hypocrisy and sin, and try to correct ourselves before using scripture as a weapon against other people who may not even be part of the body of Christ?

    P.S I am not trying to be too antagonistic, my discussion is out of love, God bless you Frank

  • CarrotCakeMan

    The Bible even relates to us what Jesus actually did about a loving, committed same gender couple.Modern Biblical scholars have proven the Bible was intentionally mistranslated relatively recently in order to provide “Biblical cover” for then-rising levels of homophobia. For example, the word “homosexual” didn’t even exist until 1870. Many major Christian and Jewish denominations condemn misusing the hate-based mistranslations to attack their fellow Americans and are marrying same gender American couples now. About 400 years ago, a group of religious authorities (sanctioned by King James I of England), secretly manipulated the English version of the Bible to reflect their own heterosexual attitude; they opposed the King kissing other men in public. But in revised versions, religious authorities re-defined the Greek word “arsenokoites” of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The most accurate translation, abusers of themselves with mankind [KJV], was pretty vague. Nevertheless, they replaced this vague 5-worded text with the not so vague and purposely targeted 1-word text, “homosexual(s).” Either way you cut it, this text does not describe loving, committed same gender couples. This campaign gave those who were looking for a reason to justify their own homophobia a license to openly express their bigotry.

    Frank has accused me of seeing only what I want to see. Sad to say, it’s painfully obvious that’s merely his attempt at “projecting” his own myopia onto the majority of Americans who reject his anti-gay agenda.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    The Bible even relates to us what Jesus actually did about a loving, committed same gender couple. Jesus affirmed a gay couple. Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. Many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. In the original Greek, the word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Wrong again, Frank. Sexual orientation, whether gay, bisexual or non-gay, has been shown by science to be inborn and unchangeable, and psychologists have shown being gay or lesbian is just as healthy and “normal” as being non-gay. Here are several respected websites (and a citation from Fox News for the doubters), one at a time, that document this:

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  • Frank

    Speaking of propaganda….

    How sad.

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  • Frank

    Wow jus wow! Your biblical ignorance is certainly on display.

    Thanks again for proving my point that you only see what you want to see. Your deception runs deep indeed,

  • CarrotCakeMan
  • CarrotCakeMan

    We can be sure Frank will shortly insist he isn’t interested in this mountain of scientific evidence that refutes his ugly and hurtful anti-gay “beliefs,” and we know why. Psychologists report that the most commonly observed symptom of the mental disorder homophobia is cognitive dissonance, an inability of those so afflicted to accept documentation that contradicts their deep-seated phobia and hatred of LGBT Americans.

  • Frank

    Not one of those links prove tat people are born gay. In fact many of them prove the opposite,

    No gay gene, combination of factors most likely more nurture than nature.

    Amazing how desperate people can be justifying their sin.

  • Frank

    Of course.

    That does not change the sinfulness of homosexual behavior though.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Yes, Frank, we all knew you would denigrate the evidence that refutes your nasty anti-gay “beliefs.”

    I don’t post the facts to convince you, Frank, I know why you are unable to accept any facts that debunk your anti-gay “beliefs.” Normal, non-homophobic Americans are all posting these facts so that other readers will not be fooled by your attempts to deceive us.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Actually, Frank, you have only succeeded in showing YOU only see what you want to see. Psychologists know why you are unable to accept the facts that refute your lies.

  • Frank

    One way to test a hypothesis is to find similar test subjects. Twin studies have frequently been used to test genetic theories. The latest twin studies regarding homosexuality are giving more evidence that homosexuality is not DNA determined.

    “Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way. . . .

    “Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay.

    “‘Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100%,’ Dr. [Neil] Whitehead notes. But the studies reveal something else. ‘If an identical twin has same-sex attraction the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11% for men and 14% for women.’

    “Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. ‘No-one is born gay,’ he notes. ‘The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors.’”

    – See more at:

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Sorry, Frank, we even know why you would lie about this evidence.

  • Frank

    Your desperation is showing.

    How sad.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    “The American Vision–a Biblical Worldview Ministry.”

    That’s your source? Hilarious!

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Frank is of course comparing apples to oranges. The UK means NOT AMERICA. The church being sued is the official government church there. NO CHURCH in AMERICA is the official government church.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Just one more personal attack…

    Isn’t that why you’re really here, Frank? To attack anyone who disagrees with you? Are you familiar with the internet definition of a “troll”?

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What a pity for Frank that his dogged determination to “project” his homophobia onto God is rejected by more Christian denominations every year.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    “Desperation,” Frank? More Christian denominations reject your hate-based mistranslations of the Bible every year. Marriage equality is supported by a fast growing majority of Americans. More US States honor that equality every few weeks. Clearly, it’s the anti-gays who are desperate as they see their anti-gay agenda crumble.

  • Frank

    There is nothing loving about condoning, accepting, justifying, affirming, celebrating or remaining silent over sinful behavior. That’s the definition of hate. Those churches are not practicing love but hate.

    And yes it’s true more churches are denying the will of God and denying Gods created order. Just a separation of the wheat from the chaff.

    As far as equality I have no problem with the government extending any benefits they choose to. However two same sex people can never make a marriage no matter whether the government calls it so or not.

  • Zoe

    I do believe that the Holy Spirit is moving us to a more compassionate and loving discussion around this very sensitive and complex issue.

    BOTH sides need to be compassionate and non antagonistic though, either way bickering and bullying will only bring more contention.

    May God’s love be with you all

  • Frank

    That’s only the site that came up.

    The data and the studies are real and conclusive. Alone can look it up.

    Sorry that your theory is untrue.

  • Frank

    It will happen in the US. Churches prepare yourself.

  • Frank

    I agree. We all need to be more compassionate and loving. It starts with the truth. Homosexual behavior is sinful. Now let’s treat them like we treat envy one else. Sinners in need of grace. What we cannot do is claim that’s its not sinful.

  • Frank

    Its not an attack, simply an observative truth.

  • Frank

    No one is fooled by your lies, distortion, misrepresentations and half truths.

    I actually feel sorry for you. You are so thoroughly deceived and are clueless about it.

  • Zoe

    Washington Nathonal Catherdral is a much prettier place to have a wedding ceremony then the WBC anyway 😉

  • Zoe

    Agreed. Along with you, myself and everyone on the planet. I am so thankful for God’s mercy and love.

    Carrot and Frank please stop fighting and enjoy the sabbath, pray for each other instead.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    It is irrelevant if someone is born with a built in attraction toward homosexual activity..There are many types of activity some people have a built in attraction toward including everything from setting fires to stealing things to bizarre sexual practices. That doesn’t mean society has to allow,, approve, or even become a party to coercing other people to be involved in those activities.
    All that these controversies are proving is what some people predicted decades ago–that the more homosexual activity is approved, the more other people will be tyrannically coerced by government power to be a party to actions they find reprehensible and immoral –all in the name of some right that is totally imaginary and phony.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Frank is right about the research. A decade or more ago Gay activists were using the “genetically gay” argument to the point that some of the world’s leading real geneticists– including 2 or 3 from Harvard– (who hate to get involved in politics) issued a statement that there is no such thing as a “Gay gene” and they didn’t expect to find one based on the research already done. They were also angry about how some of their research had been misused by Gay groups and their academic sympathizers in other fields. Thus no one has a “need” to be homosexually active

  • Frank

    For me its not about fighting with someone so deceived. Obviously the truth can’t reach him. I engage only for those who Amy be reading this and are tempted to buy into his lies.

    Your point is taken however.

    God bless you!

  • zoe

    🙂 have a wonderful sabbath! Hopefully the weather where you are is as nice as it is here in mass.

  • Jay

    I have seen this more and more here lately. The most disturbing yet is the 19 year vet of the U.S. Air Force who was fired and court marshaled over his open religious beliefs. My question is what can we do? The couple who owned the bakery lost business because the gay rights activist threatened to boycott any businesses that continued to work with them. Cant we as Christians do the same? There are more Christians than gays are there not? Don’t we have more resources (Christian TV and radio stations)? Why have we not organized to stop the persecutions of our faith. I understand we should not start fights with anyone but this would be considered a defense in my eyes. We need to band together and collect on the promises of the first amendment. This is only happening because we are letting it.

  • Again, we need to be careful in differentiating same-sex attractions from same-sex sexual attractions. All people are attracted to other people of the same sex in a broad range ways that are not sexual. For some people some of those same-sex attractions at times trigger same-sex sexual attractions.

    And again, the APA presents that sexual orientation is fluid over time for some people.

    When we take the time to carefully work through the entire research study that a research article is referring to, we discover that there are more complexities to the research than what is presented in articles about the research.

    At best the studies show that the first three years of a person’s development in life is impacted by a broad range of factors. Sexuality is not static and it is not set at childbirth.

  • The cultural phrase is also ever shifting regarding same-sex relationships. Some people say, “loving, committed same gender couple.” Others say, loving, long-term committed.” Others say “gay marriage.” Some relationships that are committed are not long-term. Some relationships are intentionally not monogamous even when they are loving and committed. Some relationships are monogamous and are for life, and not just long-term. Some relationships are for life even when the feelings of love wane.

  • AZatheist

    “There are more Christians than gays are there not? ”

    Don’t count on it; at least not true Christians.

    True Christians, when faced with persecution (and for the sake of argument, I”ll agree that making some flower arrangements for the wedding of a couple of geriatric lesbians is the same as being thrown to the lions) turn the other cheek and pray for their persecutors. They don’t call Jay Sekulow, flle suit, and tour mega-churches whoring after ‘defense funds.”
    True Christians rejoice and are exceedingly glad in their persecution, they are not concerned about their business, their raiment or Mammon.
    True Christians know that Jesus is the Small Gate and Narrow Road and don’t expect the government to make it easy for them to be one of the saved.

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  • Zoe

    For someone who doesn’t identify as a Christian, you do know a lot about how we are supposed to handle our enemies, with love compassion and prayer.

    Bless you!

    P.s I’m being serious

  • etseq

    Hey Deacon – religion is a choice as well…so piss off!

  • etseq

    So we are to take science lessons from someone who believes the earth is 6000 years old?

  • etseq

    Is this an opinion column because it certainly isn’t objective news reporting. As would be expected from an editor at Christianity Today, it is incredibly slanted towards conservative anti-gay religion. There is hardly any mention of the fact that not all religions have this narrow political view of anti-discrimination laws and that we have in the past only made very narrow exemptions for religion for related laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Very disappointed in RNS for failing to provide balance – it felt like reading something from Christianity Today, which I guess is not surprising.

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  • I’m not sure if your agreeing to stay out of the world with this set of verses with the above issue. If you are then your mis interpreting it. In james 4 it talks about either we are an enemy God or of the world. We are not suppose to live in the world but we are suppose to share the gospel preach the word the truth stand up for the truth. the verses your talking about refers to not living like a unbeliever in the world living in sin

  • AZatheist

    Thank you, Zoe. You’re too kind.

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  • Its annoying how regular people who live a homosexual lifestyle can create for them an identity such as a race or gender or disabled or elderly and call their selves “GAY” and claim RIGHTS; like these other ones that clearly deserve RIGHTS. People that live a homosexual lifestyle want to satisfy their desires of lustful attraction and love for each other then finalize a same sex marriage, pushing their agenda and it won’t stop there as we already see. People shouldn’t deserve rights based on if you want have same sex relationships or transgender etc… homosexual lifestyle is not a RIGHTs issue but a moral issue.
    Now religion and religious lets define it. Religion is a organization and their building they have rules and regulations and rituals you have to follow lite candles saying a certain amount of prayers the right prayers use certain prayer trinkets etc…. Religious- doing what the church tells you to do, repetition same prayers, ritual routine.
    NOW Relationship! with JESUS CHRIST. We all broke Gods 10 commandments we all have sinned and we will be judged for every thought word and deed we have done. If we come to JESUS confess our sins ask forgiveness repent that means stop sinning turn away from it have a personal relationship with JESUS CHRIST and he will change your hearts. When it Comes to church then its called fellowship a bunch of believers coming together sharing one thing in common, the love of GOD.

  • Sebastian

    What an absurd statement. Christians have the right to worship and believe, the right to post drivel such as yours and the right to try to persuade people to believe as we do. Every time a Christian says something as absurd as “Christians have no rights” you undercut the persuasiveness of the Christian message, undermine evangelism, and insult the Christians in cou tries such as Saudi Arabia who truly have no rights.

  • Rev. Dn. Erik W.

    As a deacon in a Christian church, I’d just like to say that Bailey does not speak for all Christians. Denying legal recognition of marriage to same-sex couples is discrimination not only toward gay people, but also toward churches like my own which offer the Sacrament of Marriage to all, whether gay or straight.

    Are you really committing a big evil sin if you bake a cake for a same-sex wedding? If the law forbids you from discriminating against someone in business, then as a Christian, you must follow the law. I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin, but if you do, you also know that in order for something to be a sin it must be committed with deliberate intent and complete consent. If the law requires you to bake a cake for a gay couple, your hands are tied and you have no choice but to comply — therefore, no sin has been committed.

    I pray for the day when Christians such as Bailey will stop hiding behind their religion and just outright admit they think homosexuality is disgusting, and *that* is why they don’t want gay people to have any rights. It’s not a religious issue, it’s bigotry.


    How was the baker doing the attacking? Did the baker go chasing the customer down the street, while holding a bag of icing to their head, forcing the homos to ask for a wedding cake? Or was it the homos that went into the baker’s shop and asked for a wedding cake and when told “No… but there are others who will.” started demanding to know why.. all so they could hold the gun of political/activist coercion against the christian convictions? When did wedding cakes, flowers or even rainbow cookies become a “human right”?

    As to your “editing the Bible to be homophobic” claim. When “they” decided to change the bible to “add” in the sin of homosexuality…. did “they” run out and find all the other thousands of copies around the world and secretly replace them with the new “homophobic version”. How did numerous copies, all around the world, get changed… and none of their owners the wiser, that their Bibles had been swopped for the “new modern homophobic” version? DId it happen while they slept one night!

    WOW! You go to imaginative extremes, in an apparent effort to erase your guilt before God! But lying, like homosexuality, is a sin…. or are you now going to excuse your lying by claiming to be a “genetic victim”?????

    Liars are compelled to protect themselves with bigger lies!

  • tmcgsfr

    All pro homosexual arguments are invalid. We haven’t excepted their lifestyle for the past thousands of years and we still will not except it. Even if it was “legalized” there is no way it will be accepted by the majority of the people. Our legislators and the rest of the bureaucracy may make a homosexual union “legal” but the majority will never except it because it isn’t a legitimate lifestyle or union. It was never meant to be, whereas they will die out due to the fact that they can’t produce offspring! The whole point of a marriage is for the begetting of children and for the betterment of society. Our government is bent on destroying the traditional family(aka mother, father, children) because it is the building block of society, and they know it! And the argument of someone being “born” homosexual is an invalid argument as well. Why would our government ban unwanted homosexual attraction therapy in several states so far? Our government doesn’t want anyone interfering with their plans to annihilate the traditional family. Even if this turns out whereas the forces of darkness seems to win, the truth will ALWAYS set you free. In the end God will triumph. Nothing anyone can say or do or change will ever change that fact.

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  • ashiraladonai

    Jesus said this long ago:

    (From John 15)
    18 “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

    19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

    20 Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

    21 And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.

    22 If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.

    23 Whoever hates me also hates my Father.

    This is what to be in the world but not of it means.

    It is further expounded on in John 17:

    14 I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

    15 I do not ask that you take them out of the worldj but that you keep them from the evil one.

    16 They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.

    17 Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.

    18 As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.l 1

    9 And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.

    Being separate does not mean we never interact w/ people of the world. Jesus did that daily: it was His ministry while on earth. He was, is, & ever shall be holy yet He became human for our sakes & loved us in all our weakness–even dying for us–although we didn’t deserve His precious gift.

  • ashiraladonai

    These have to be put in context. When we are called to be separate, the context is to keep ourselves from things unclean–to keep pure–keep apart from sin. But as St. Paul rightly stated in his first letter to the Corinthians:

    9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—

    10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

    11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

    This is what being in the world but not of it refers to…Keeping pure…Not putting ourselves in a position to sin. God called us to holiness…separateness…

  • Chuck Miller

    You have stated the truth, well said!!! Where is the Homosexual gene?, Bi-sexual gene, Transgender gene, Bestiality gene, and the Pedifile gene??? Marriage has always been defined between 1 Man & 1 Woman only as it should. Do not let those that believe anything goes and have no moral fiber change the definition of Marriage in America!!!

  • Thomas Weatherly

    When you run a service regulated and licensed by the state, you follow civil law
    or change profession. When you deny service you as a state permitted service; you have a stated advantage over unlicensed companies. They can’t operate. The people set the laws and Constitution protects rights. you dont like so amend Constitution. We shut down a business by boycott – we a bunch heteros – because we dont like discrimination. The owner complained we destroyed his business. Our stated goal.

    We should stop subsidizing religious houses; they should pay taxes. You keep refusing to serve folk based on your theology you hasten the day.

  • I see where ur coming from but I don’t think there is a religion against inner racial marriage that I ever heard of? and as for same sex marriage these people are creating an identity based on their personal lifestyle desires of the same sex labeling himself gay or lesbian and claim they deserve rights like someone of race or gender etc, that is wrong. I mind as well want to marry my cat and claim rights.

  • gary47290

    You say: ” the agencies refused to comply with anti-discrimination laws ”

    The ugly truth about the anti-Equal Marriage side comes out. This really is about discrimination, not some fake religious freedom claim. If the bakery or photographers really felt at they claim, I wonder if they would refuse a secular or Hindu or pagan wedding? The answer is: Not when the almighty dollar is involved. Willamette Weekly tested the religious values of the Oregon bakery, and found they were more than happy to bake cakes for Solstice Events, an “I got Divorced” Party, or stem-cell research, etc etc.

    How many ways can you frost “hypocrite”?

  • Walter Fletcher

    Tmcgsfr did you actually just state that the gay community will die out because they can not reproduce? ?? I myself am bisexual it was not a choice I made but I am also not suffering from same sex attractions as I enjoy them. By the way guess what both my parents are straight!

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  • Sam Iam

    Why Can’t I Get Civil Rights To Marry My Gay Dog??? That Is Also An Alternate Lifestyle…

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  • Louise

    One thing is for sure,Anyone can find something somewhere sometime to disprove the Bible. Its been going on for years. It is easier to disprove it then to live it. However, Sedum and Gomorra was not destroyed because of God’s love of those type of people. the new testament refer to them as an abomination,it says that even the beast of the fields know better than to do that type of act. It also states that it is not a birth thing but God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are unseemly because they refuse to do the right way. has anyone ever stopped to consider why God made a man and a woman called them Adam and Eve? If he loved those type of people he would have made a Adam &Steve or Trivia &Eve…No matter how anyone looks at this and makes all the I’m right statements in the end when all is said and done..we’ll see who was right at the judgment day when God himself destroys all that is evil. What a shame we are forced to endure such things, & our poor…