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Cool with contraception, Americans divide over transgender bathrooms and wedding servi …

A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, North Carolina on May 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GUTHRIE-SATIRE, originally transmitted on May 11, 2016.
A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, N.C., on May 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo  *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GUTHRIE-SATIRE, originally transmitted on May 11, 2016.

A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, N.C., on May 3, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-GUTHRIE-SATIRE, originally transmitted on May 11, 2016.

(RNS) When it comes to contraception, a clear majority of Americans say employers should be required to cover it in their health care plans — even if they have religious objections.

But a survey released Wednesday (Sept. 28) by the Pew Research Center reveals a sharp division on another hot topic: whether photographers, cake bakers and other wedding service providers should have to serve same-sex couples. And Americans also disagree on whether transgender people should have to use the public restroom of their gender at birth.

"Broad consensus on contraception coverage, but public more divided over wedding services for same-sex couples, bathrooms for transgender people." Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

“Broad consensus on contraception coverage, but public more divided over wedding services for same-sex couples, bathrooms for transgender people.” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

“What doesn’t surprise me — but is I think the biggest news in terms of the value of the research — is the deep divide in this country is more basically theological than anything else,” the Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said of the study.

For Mohler, Pew’s findings on religious liberty “have almost everything to do” with whether a person attends church services regularly.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

The survey, titled “Where the Public Stands on Religious Liberty vs. Nondiscrimination,” shows that those who attend religious services weekly are more likely to hold traditional moral views on matters raised in the study.

By contrast, the Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas of Washington National Cathedral says the survey reveals Americans’ attitudes toward discrimination.

She said it is discriminatory to force transgender people to use a bathroom that does not correspond to the gender with which they identify, just as it is discriminatory for a business to refuse to provide a service for a gay couple’s wedding.

“We’ve often seen throughout our history that people have used religion to try to legitimize discrimination of other human beings,” Douglas said.

The country should not wait until a consensus emerges to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination, she added. “If we waited for the polls, we would still have Jim Crow.”

In designing the survey of 4,538 adults, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, Pew researchers set out to test Americans on matters that have forced courts to weigh religious versus other constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas of the Washington National Cathedral speaks on a panel about race and religion during the 2016 Religion Newswriters Association annual conference in Silver Spring, Md., on Sept. 23, 2016. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

The Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas of the Washington National Cathedral speaks on a panel about race and religion during the 2016 Religion Newswriters Association annual conference in Silver Spring, Md., on Sept. 23, 2016. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

When a florist refuses to supply roses for a marriage between two women, is he exercising his religious freedom, or discriminating against two people who may legally — since a 2015 Supreme Court decision — marry in any state?

“It’s interesting to see that so many Americans are in agreement about the question about the provision of birth control in employer-provided health care,” said Pew senior researcher Jessica Martinez.

“You see a lot more division on the other two topics we asked about,” she said, referring to transgender people’s bathroom use and wedding services to gay couples.

But is the broad agreement on contraception — and the lack of it on wedding services and the transgender bathroom question — so surprising?

Most Americans, Pew researchers point out, accept birth control. Just 4 percent consider it immoral. Americans are far more divided, however, on homosexuality, the poll also finds. While 62 percent say homosexuality is morally acceptable or not a moral issue, 35 percent say it is morally wrong.

And while a large majority of Americans (87 percent) say they know a gay person, only 3 in 10 say they know a transgender person. Knowing a transgender person is closely linked with the belief that the person should be able to use the restroom of his or her choosing.

Mohler asks whether the agreement on the birth control question would have emerged had the pollsters considered the nature of many of the objections to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception provision — the context for much of the recent controversy on the issue.

Objections to the provision, he pointed out, mostly did not relate to the required coverage of  birth control per se.

Rather, some Christians objected only to covering those birth control methods that they consider abortifacients. On this issue, the Supreme Court in 2014 ruled in favor of the evangelical Christian employer in what became known as the Hobby Lobby case.

If a question about contraception had explored that specific objection, the response may well have been different, Martinez said. “The question we asked was much more general.”

The survey also found that on these questions of religious liberty and discrimination, most Americans had little sympathy for opinions that differed from their own.

"Relatively few sympathize with both sides of contraception, same=sex wedding and bathroom debates." Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

“Relatively few sympathize with both sides of contraception, same=sex wedding and bathroom debates.” Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

 

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)

146 Comments

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  • Al Mohler and the rest of the religious right have been trying to frame all three issues as “religious freedom” in the most self serving manner possible.

    All three involve some weakly supported discrimination being practiced against others. Religious imposition or in the case of Transgenders just plain bigotry by those looking for a marginalized group to hate. Calling these “religious liberty related” issues is insulting to the term. At no point did religious freedom entail compelling others to follow the dictates of your faith nor grant license to harm the rights of others.

    Rev. Douglas had it right. What the survey shows is how amenable far too many Americans are to discrimination against political minorities.

  • Most religions don’t acknowledge human realities in this world. Born in the Bronze and Iron ages and reflecting the ignorance and prejudices of their time offer a black and white, absolutist world view that is out of touch with reality. This is especially true in the more fundamental and literal interpretations.

  • What father, mother, brother, sister, boyfriend etc would want their daughters to be in same bathroom or locker room and dressing room with a man? No decent person would ever want that.

  • The one question they didn’t really ask?

    Despite the civil rights act of 1964, and similar laws at every level of government which forbid discrimination in employment and public accommodations on the basis of religious belief, some people feel that such discrimination is appropriate.

    Do you think that some people should be able to discriminate against others on the basis of religious beliefs?

    If you ask that question, I suspect you will get a much different answer.

  • JP, I would suggest that you get informed about this issue before you make you decision and go mouthing off about things you don’t know about.

    As Ben in Oakland suggested, check out Buck Angel. He was born and named Susan. Do you want him in the bathroom with you daughter? He’s a man and should use the men’s room, not the women’s room. Get informed. Then make your judgmental pronouncement..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buck_Angel_Headshot.jpg

  • Whatever a person plumbing a person is born with determines the gender of the person for life. A man dressing like a woman doesn’t make one a woman.

  • What about people born with ambiguous genitalia? education– it’s a GOOD thing.
    And of course, what about the complete lack of demonstrable problems generated by trans people using the bathroom that works for them?
    If trans people don’t deserve a place to pee, then neither do you.

  • How does one in a girls bathroom and locker room prove they have ambiguous genitalia?

    If “trans people” get to use the girls bathrooms and locker rooms then so should any guy.

  • Thank you for stating the obvious. How does buck angel prove he is a woman or a man? And of course, what about the complete lack of demonstrable problems generated by trans people using the bathroom that works for them?

  • Buck proves what he-she is by whats between the legs.

    What’s wrong with guys using the girls bathrooms and locker rooms if they tell you they are a girl? If using the girls bathrooms and locker rooms works for them then so be it. Surely you don’t have a problem with this do you?

  • You obviously have not seen the people the other posters are referring to. They hardly resemble their biological gender by any stretch of the imagination.

    So why does this issue have you Bible thumpers’ panties in such a twist?

    What does it matter to you if people use bathrooms that are appropriate for the gender they most resemble?

  • Why should fake women get special privileges that other men don’t get?
    What’s the big deal if a guy wants to use the girls bathrooms and locker rooms if he thinks he’s a girl?

  • Not answering the question. Why is this a concern of YOURS?

    You are saying that you feel deprived that you can’t troll the women’s bathrooms (for reasons I cannot fathom).

    To answer the question in a far more civil tone than you really deserve, because they physically resemble women far more than other men.

  • You didn’t answer my questions.

    Decent people don’t want men of any kind in any girls bathrooms, locker rooms or dressing rooms.

  • Get a better prescription on your glasses. I said:

    To answer the question in a far more civil tone than you really deserve,
    because they physically resemble women far more than other men.”

    “Decent people don’t want men of any kind in any girls bathrooms, locker rooms or dressing rooms.”

    I wasn’t asking about what decent people wanted. I was asking you.

    How would you know what decent people want or don’t want? You aren’t one of them.

  • People should be able to discriminate in their private affairs for any reason or no reason at all. It is called freedom.

  • It isn’t a private affair, it’s a public accommodation.

    Personally, I prefer to live in a society with non-discrimination as a social policy. We did it the old way, and Jim Crow was not one of my favorite people.

  • Jim Crow was the state using its power to enforce racial segregation on private businesses.
    Personally, I prefer to live in a free society that respects private property and the individual conscience, no matter how poorly formed it may be.

  • There is no conscience employed in denying people goods and services in open commerce. It is a deliberate, malicious, harmful act.

    Your freedom to act has always been limited by the harm you may cause others in doing so. Free speech doesn’t cover fraud or defamation. Right of Association doesn’t cover criminal conspiracies. Right of free exercise of religion doesn’t cover human sacrifice, polygamy or violating anti-discrimination laws.

  • “Religious liberty” has become short-hand for the legal discrimination against GLBT people. Evangelicals have been stewing since the ’64 Civil Rights Act. They have always thought it should be legal to discriminate against black people, deny them entrance to businesses, etc. And now that we’re extending protection from discrimination to GLBT people, Evangelicals are just further enraged.

    I can only say that America is not going back to the 1950’s no matter how longingly the Evangelicals pine for it. Evangelicals are gonna have to get used to sharing this country with ALL kinds of people that aren’t like them and don’t follow their religion. I realize it’s tough to lose power and have to share it with those you previously dominated and mistreated. But they’re just gonna have to get used to it.

    While the poll is disheartening as to how much discrimination and prejudice still exists toward GLBT people, one has to also note that America as a whole is moving in the right direction. A few years ago the numbers were worse. We’ll get there in spite of the Evangelicals.

  • Pew’s research should extrapolate a statistical curve which will confirm when the bigots are to be relegated to the dustpan of history.

  • ” I can only say that America is not going back to the 1950’….”

    To quote Gershwin – ” It ain’t necessarily so ”

    I’m not voting for a president – I’m voting for the justices of SCOTUS.
    We can dump a president in 4 yrs.
    The make-up of SCOTUS will last for many decades.
    Which candidate do you want to nominate the next 2 to 4 justices ?
    The 50’s will appear as a paradise when we are adjudicated back to the Dark Ages….

  • “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and
    narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these
    accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be
    acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s
    lifetime.”

    Mark Twain – Innocents Abroad

    Men and women use common bath and dressing facilities all over the world. More often au naturel in a pasture, backyard, middle of the street.or bank of a river.

    You are indeed representative of he whom Twain was writing.

  • As I commented to you regarding another article :

    The deeper you reach, the more you manifest your naivete and bigoted ignorance.

  • Florist, bakers, invitation printers and all the other types of businesses that serve the wedding industry – they are providing goods and services to individual people. They are not directly involved in a wedding; they are not wedding participants. They are merely vendors, providing their goods and services. They have nothing to say about what sort of event is taking place; it is simply none of their concern who is getting married. Their personal moral approval was not required or even requested, yet they seem to believe that their religious convictions gives them the right to make a big show of withholding that moral approval and refusing to provide to same-sex couples the exact same product or service they offer to opposite sex couples. That is not “relilgious freedom”, it is blatant discrimination without any rational justification.

  • You are mistaken on so many levels. Decent people are plentiful in society and they have no issue whatever with transmen using the mens room and transwomen using the ladies room. There is ZERO threat to anyone else when a trans person uses the restroom or locker room matching their gender identity. There has been NO cases where a transgender woman created trouble for anyone by using the ladies room. But this year alone almost two dozen trans women have been murdered JUST for being trans and not any other reason. Trans men and women are no threat to anyone, but they are very likely to be the victim of violence from ignorant people.

  • Apologies.for digesting the dictionary.
    But the question still remains :
    Would you please explain the difference between a man and a women ?

  • It is one of those eternal questions. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Am I man or woman? Am I flora or fauna?

  • Please, I’m not trying to be a smart ass – but this is your statement :
    “And a man “feeling” like a woman does not make him a woman. ”

    Again, this isn’t a philosophical question such as why am I here, but a real life question that we all as humans need to face-up to.

    Would you please explain the difference between a man and a woman as you see it ?

  • You’d be surprised what decent people have no problem accepting. I’ve been in many mixed gender locker rooms all over the world, mixed gender nudity. No one seems to have a problem with it, except for the people that aren’t there,

    And again, you still haven’t educated yourself about people born with a,bigamous genitalia, or what transgender is really is,

  • And a man who knows nothing about transgenderism but making statements of certainty about a man “feeling” he is a woman doesn’t make him an educated or compassionate person

  • That is easy. Whatever plumbing a person has between their legs determines their gender. Its known from birth and stays the same all their lives.

  • Since there are no men trying to use the ladies facilities for the purpose those facilities were made available, I don’t see what you’re worried about. There are already PLENTY of laws against men lurking in the ladies facilities for the purpose of lewd conduct or other criminal activity. But, as you know, criminal conduct is NOT the issue here when we’re discussing transgender women using the appropriate women’s facilities.

  • All men should be able to use the girls bathrooms and locker rooms if fake women can. You should have no problem with that.

  • “Fake women”? What the heck are you talking about? Do you even know what it means to be transgender? Do you know that before a transwomen MUST live, dress, and function in her gender, in ALL aspects, before being approved for surgery? This includes using the appropriate ladies facilities. Transitioning is not something you do now and then, or when the mood hits. It’s 24/7. It is unreasonable to expect a trans woman to never need a restroom until after she’s completed surgery. And many transwomen never do have the surgery (it is rather expensive), but use HRT.

    You have no actual problem with trans women; it’s all just ignorance in your own head, because trans women are no threat to anyone while they go about their business like every other woman.

  • Just because a man puts on a dress doesn’t mean he is a woman.What it means is that there is something wrong with his thinking.
    You can’t change your gender by surgery.

    There is no scientific evidence that proves a person is born trans.

  • ” Only occasionally do hermaphrodites actually exhibit the genitalia of
    both a male and a female; for example, a person might have a penis as
    well as a vagina. In many of these cases, the doctors aren’t sure which
    genitalia the person has at birth:” – ” New Health Advisor ” http://www.//newhealthadvisor.//com/Hermaphrodite-//Human-Pictures.//html

    For the great unwashed – photos are included.

    As I keep advising you – the deeper you reach – the more manifest is your ignorance….

  • Yes, employers should provide contraception to employees as a matter of basic health care. Employers should not be allowed to impose their particular religious opinions on employees. — Edd Doerr

  • Why stop there? Employers should also pay for my gym membership and organic food that is expensive to buy. After all, these things help my health.

  • Just stop already. You’ve proven that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Learn some science from the last 10 years.

  • I just gave you science. There is no scientific evidence that a person is born trans.
    You have bought into the lie that a person can determine their gender just by thinking it. There is no basis in science for this.

  • Please raytheist, save your comments. I have been dealing with JP’s comments for some time. He/she is, I believe a troll.
    In any case – a *Chupwala for sure.
    *Haroun and the Sea of Stories – Rushdie

  • More ignorance, especially from someone who constantly derides science whenever it is not in accord with hid “faith.”

    You can put all of this to rest very easily, and prove that it’s all in someone’s head.

    Cut off your weenie. Show us how easy it all is.

  • Contraception is integral to women’s health, whereas exercise and diet are matters which are generally considered not a matter for insurance in the US. Get real, JP.

  • That’s why I have trouble with the “religious exemption.” If I own a bakery, say, Cakes by Curmudgeons or maybe Bakery Bigots, I should be able to refuse to bake a cake for any occasion whatsoever–a Black LIves Matter post riot party, the opening of a new police substation, a same sex wedding, a victory party for Hillary Clinton, or a local meeting of the Furry Community . . .

  • Exercise and eating right are integral for all people’s health. Employers should cover the gym cost and organic food cost also.

  • OOOOhhhhh…. you’re talking about cross-dressers (sometimes also known as transvestites == trans/cross + vestiture/clothing), or drag queens. They are males, they know they are men, and they are cisgender. (or female, know they are women, and still cisgender). Totally different topic from those who are transgender. Most transgender men and women are not into performance art, but have regular jobs and just want to get on with their lives without interference from people like you.

    eta: and there’s a difference between cross-dressers (who do it for themselves) and drag queens, who are often into performance art.

    Science has found there are actual physical differences between cisgender and transgender people, just like there are actual differences between hetero- and homosexual people. And then there are a whole host of other variations, like XXY and other combinations of factors. Only an uneducated fool would think gender is just about what’s between your legs.

  • A “transgender” man is still a man. For thousands and thousands of years a person’s gender has always been know at birth by what is between the legs. It never changes.

  • Holy cow! You got one (almost) right. A transgender man IS man, even though he was assigned “female” at birth simply because of what was between the legs. And a transgender woman IS a woman, even though she was assigned “male” at birth because she was born with a penis and testicles at birth.

    What is known at birth is only what physically appears, but that is not the whole story. There are chromosome markers as well as psychological markers. MOST people do identify as the gender and sex they were born into. I was born with male genitalia, and I identify as a male — I’m cisgender. Transgender women are born with male genitalia and they know from an early age they don’t identify as a male and they are in the “wrong” body (and vice-versa for transgender men). You can’t change the chromosomes and other genetics, and you can’t readily change how a person identifies (unless you’re willing to do irreperable harm to the person), so you change the body with HRT and surgery.

    And until fairly recently, when an infant presented with ambiguous genitalia, doctors would rush to surgery to “fix” things, and the infant would often grow up being told it was a ‘girl’. Now most doctors know they have to wait for the child to grow and reveal itself or identify itself as is boy or girl.

  • Not almost right but completely right. No such thing as a “transgender woman”. Her gender is determined at birth by what is between her legs.

    Not even surgery can change the chromosomes and genetics of a person that they have from birth.

    Even Bruce is still a man even though he dresses like a woman.

  • Oh bruther! Caitlyn Jenner was assigned male at birth because of what was between the legs. But she is now a transgender woman — a woman, just like thousands of other transwomen, most of whom you wouldn’t be able to identify just by looking. Same with transmen, many of whom are more masculine-appearing than I, even though they were assigned ‘female’ at birth.

    Clearly you are deliberately choosing to ignore all the facts that have been presented, so go ahead and live in denial. I’m done trying to help you grow and understand what’s going on.

  • Bruce is still a male. Nothing has changed but his own self-deception about himself. What’s tragic is that many people are buying into his own personal deception.

    There are no science facts that transgenderism is innate. No biological basis for it. These are the facts you are ignoring.

  • There should not be a religious exemption. There is only freedom or tyranny. I am free to associate or not associate with anyone for any reason or no reason at all. Maybe I just don’t like you. The state has no business using its police powers to force me into entering into a contract with you. Likewise, you should not be forced to associate with me.

  • The two of you fail to understand the concept of open commerce. You have a store open to the public, you have a duty to serve the entire public within reason. Discrimination in open commerce is an attack on the public. You are restricting open commerce in service of your personal bigotry.

    If you want to serve only the customers you like, then open a business by word of mouth, membership club or some other form of closed to the public fashion. Nobody stops you from doing that.

    Like we haven’t had enough of having public accommodations restricted because of government endorsed prejudices.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Motorist_Green_Book

  • In many cases health insurance covers (or subsidizes) gym memberships as well. Employers ARE paying for it already.

  • See my prior comment. Most health insurers cover gym memberships to some degree. The jury is still out whether organic food is healthier, so no need for that. To a health insurer contraception is a net benefit to them. Pregnancy, especially an unplanned one is a major source of claims payouts. Employers have no say as to what constitutes minimum standards of coverage for an insurance company.

    Hobby Lobby was such a terrible decision even its own authors wrote it in a way to keep it from being applied to any other situation besides that specific one.

  • “We’ve often seen throughout our history that people have used religion to try to legitimize discrimination of other human beings,” the Rev. Kellyanne Brown Douglas said.

    Bingo!

  • So I assume, then, that you believe that all laws holding people accountable for being accessories or accomplices should be stricken from our law codes.

  • False equivalence on steroids.

    A baker is willing to bake a fancy cake for Alex and Chris, but refuses to bake the exact same cake for a different Alex and Chris. The difference is the customer. The product is identical.

    Our laws say a for profit company can choose its product, but cannot discriminate against specified classes of customers. A business cannot refuse to serve you because you choose to be Christian.

  • If you think that Trump is willing or able to choose a Justice to your liking, you aren’t paying attention. Trump does whatever crazy thing he thinks of at the moment, ignores all advice, and goes for personal benefit. Trump would probably hand the Supreme Court to the highest bidder. And like Trump, the nominee will likely have no personal ethics.

  • Why does it matter? Christians lost on gay marriage and needed another group to vilify.

    Look at the history of Christianity. They have to have someone to hate so that they can feel special.

    Before family values, we had segregation. Before segregation, we had the temperance movement. Before temperance was Christian support for slavery. There is always a group of “others” to look down on.

  • Your assumption would be completely wrong, then. Aiding and abetting a criminal act is not even remotely connected or analogous to wedding vendors selling goods or services for a wedding. Getting married is not a crime.

  • No, the difference isn’t the customer, it is the purpose the cake is put to. Just like there is a difference between loaning a car to a friend so he can go shopping, or so he can troll for streetwalkers — the first is fine, the second is not. Likewise, there’s a difference between selling a cake to a gay couple to celebrate a birthday or a promotion at work, and a cake for their wedding. The same goes for people renting space, or photographers, or medical supply companies and abortionists. As in crime, so in sin — if you knowingly support or aid the forbidden activity, you share in the guilt. And just as “I was just following orders” is no defense, neither is “but that was what the law required.”

  • But it may be a sin. As crimes are to man’s law, so sin is to God’s law — and it is possible to be accessories or accomplices to both.

  • Nonsense. Getting married is not a sin. Even if some hyper-sensitive Christian baker or florist believes getting married is a sin, they are not in business to monitor OTHER people’s activities. They are in business to make money. That’s all. Their moral approval isn’t requested or required for someone else’s marriage. The law is very clear that one person’s religious beliefs cannot interfere with another person’s civil rights, in the way these bakers and florists want to do. They aren’t officiating a wedding, and they aren’t even participating at all. They are only selling goods or services and they have nothing to say about what their customers do with those products.

  • Pregnancy that is not intended is a major issue to a woman’s health. More importantly, it was what voters wanted as minimum insurance coverage when the ACA was proposed and insurers have no issue with it.

    The real issue is what business is the contraception choices of others to you? It is no more a suitable subject for an employer than any other use of health coverage. Something which is private to the employee and their healthcare provider.

  • Wow, you really don’t understand, do you? Yes, it IS discrimination against the customer. Refusing to do flowers or cake for a same-sex wedding IS against the PERSON. How many straight people have a same-sex wedding? Refusing to sell goods or services for a specific type of wedding is discrimination against the people who have that type of wedding, and nothing more than discrimination.

    Did you read the ruling in the Phillips case? The judge gave the example of a special tax on yarmulkes. You can’t tax yarmulkes and also claim you’re not Anti-Semitic since you will sell other types of hats to Jews. That’s foolish.

  • So pregnancy only becomes a major issue to a woman’s health if it is not intended? There is no such thing as a healthy unintended pregnancy? Beyond that, the entire point of the 1st Amendment is to protect the right of people to act in ways the majority represented by their government desire, or to refuse to act in ways that majority demands. As for the privacy issue, that holds only as long as I am not required to provide the service in question — once that happens, I become a party.

  • It is against a person engaged in a specific ACTIVITY that the vendor considers sinful. It’s the difference between refusing to sell medical supplies to an abortionist and refusing to sell him food. In the first case, it’s the use the medical supplies are put to. In the second, it’s because of how he earns a living — the difference between whether you are an accessory or not. Is the belief that revisionist marriages are sinful honestly held? Then they fall under the 1st Amendment’s religious protections.

  • The activity has no bearing on anything. It is not the vendor’s concern whatsoever. Bakers and florists sell cakes and flowers. What the customer does, or plans to do, with the products sold is outside the purview of the vendor. Anti-SSM discrimination is discrimination based on the sexual orientation of the customer. Bakers and florists aren’t an “accessory” or participant in any other event, so there is no difference just because it is a same-sex wedding.

    And, seriously — find a case where a medical supply house refused to sell medical supplies to a legitimate medical facility based on what they perceived would be the end use of those supplies.

    It is a business transaction, not a religious exercise.

  • Yep. It is a total change to their lives and their health. One which women volunteer for by their will alone when intended.

    If a woman does not intend or want a pregnancy it is a major issue to her health, one she is not voluntarily choosing.

    The first amendment does not permit you to compel others to follow the dictates of your religion. An employer has no more say in paying for contraception than they do in controlling what drugs a doctor prescribes for an employee.

    Religious freedom is not freedom to harm others or their rights in service of your deeply held belief.

  • only in their own minds.
    When these vendors refused to do wedding services for non-Christians as well, devil worshipping hindus, jesus denying jews, god denying atheists and Buddhists, people who are divorced for any reason except adultery, and they do this across the board, only then will they have some legitimacy– and not much even there– about being accomplices to sin.

  • no there isn’t. the cake is not for “the wedding”, it is for “the party afterward.”
    As for “that was what the law required”, then they should be willing to take the consequences of breaking that law, or seek to get it overturned. Whining that they are special is just whining.

  • Got it, if someone comes into a gun store ranting about how he’s been wronged, the store owner has no moral right to refuse to sell the ranter a gun — he is only selling a good, after all, and has nothing to say about what the customer chooses to do with the gun he sells him.

  • So if a woman doesn’t want the pregnancy then it is inherently unhealthy, but if a woman wants the pregnancy then it is unhealthy only if it becomes so? But you are wrong about the woman voluntarily choosing the pregnancy, she did just that when she chose to engage in sex — pregnancy is a natural outcome of that activity, and I can’t imagine that the women don’t know that.

    But you are right, freedom means we don’t have the right to force businessmen to provide goods or services or support activities they find morally abhorrent. That is true freedom, after all, where both parties have a choice what they offer or accept.

  • And the wedding encompasses the entire event, not just the exchange of vows. But that’s why I labeled the florists and bakers as accessories (those that aid, abet or encourage someone in the commission of the act but isn’t actually present), rather than accomplices (those actually present during the commission of the act) — the accomplices would be the preachers, photographers, those providing the location, etc.

    Nor are they whining that they are special, they are demanding the same right that all Americans are guaranteed by the Constitution — to freely exercise their religion.

  • Again, apples-and-oranges. Weddings are not a crime, nobody is harmed, nobody is hurt or even threatened to be harmed in anyway. It’s a wedding — a happy, joyous occasion for the actual parties involved. The businesses and wedding vendors are not involved in the event, they have nothing to do with the event, so they have no reason to be forming an opinion about an event they are not a part of. It’s totally none of their concern, in real life. Just because a few hyper-religious extremists don’t approve of who is getting married, that doesn’t give them the right to deny them the same goods or services that are freely offered to other couples getting married. Discrimination, even in the name of phony “religious convictions” or “religious freedom” is still discrimination and it is not acceptable in a secular civil society. All these religious folk who think it is okay to discriminate because of someone’s sexual orientation will find themselves out of business, because society doesn’t tolerate bigotry. And the courts have agreed.

    You need to get your head on straight and quit inventing irrelevant scenarios that anyone can see right through.

  • “So if a woman doesn’t want the pregnancy then it is inherently unhealthy, but if a woman wants the pregnancy then it is unhealthy only if it becomes so? ”

    Yep. You seem to be under the misperception that your opinion as to how women conduct their lives is supposed to mean something. Its not your business how she becomes pregnant or what she does afterwards. Its not the business of employers or insurers either. In fact how an employee uses their health coverage is privileged information which employers are not privy to (See HIPAA). Health insurers have to meet government standards for minimum coverage.

    ” she did just that when she chose to engage in sex”

    Not if she was using contraception. Not if she was not intending to be pregnant. But its good to know your argument is built entirely on s1utshaming rather than any concern of addressing medical needs. What you find morally abhorrent in how people handle their private personal decisions is not relevant. You don’t have a say in the matter, nor should. Business people have to abide by certain rules and laws in order to do business in open commerce. You make money selling goods and services to the general public, you owe a duty to them as well.

    You aren’t talking about freedom, you suggest that business people, really nosy Christians, should be privileged to attack the rights of anyone else.

  • Not if certain people have their way. The “religious freedom” bills and laws coming from conservatives these days amounts to nothing short of a new version of it.

  • But they don’t have the right to discriminate on the basis of religious belief. And no where in the bible does it say thou shalt not bakes cakes for the people thou despise th.

    It’s VERY telling that they don’t claim the right to discriminate against devil worshipping, false god worshipping couples where alien and false gods are invoked at the wedding. That is also a sin.

    So far, the courts agree,

    It’s so hard to imagine that the free exercise of religion doesn’t include foisting your religious beliefs on people who don’t share them.

  • Apparently, so do the handful of hyper Christian vendors who are too self righteous to say “sorry, I’m booked.”

    So, the proper statement is “the nature of SOME religious views of marriage.”

  • A happy occasion for everyone but the vendors faced with the choice of violating their consciences or being driven into bankruptcy. But I suppose the knowledge that they are inflicting that kind of grief on those they hate just adds a bit of schadenfreude to the pleasure the happy couple is taking in their celebration.

  • So the vendors should just lie about why they are refusing service? Yeah, that’s right, drive those that don’t agree with you into the closet — who cares if they turn into lying hypocrites so long as they shut up and keep their heads down? With the occasional legal lynching to encourage their subservience, of course.

  • Any “violating their consciences” is entirely self-inflicted, pretending they even need to be concerned with who is getting married. They are overstepping decent boundaries pretending they have any right to an opinion about someone else’s marriage or wedding. Customers come in and request a fancy wedding cake from people who advertise to make fancy wedding cakes and set up their business to include making fancy wedding cakes. They did not open their business to pass moral judgment on other people’s relationships, because the vendors have absolutely nothing to do with it. They don’t get involved in a straight couple’s relationship, so why get all bend out of shape over a same-sex couple’s relationship? It’s not like the baker or florist has an responsibility at all in the matter. And every case that has gone to court has come to the same conclusion.

    And when you consider that the vast majority of bakers and florists are probably some sort of Christian, it is clear that most of them know how to separate their personal faith from their business transactions, and they have no problem providing to same-sex couples the same quality of service they provide to opposite sex couples …. just like I Cor 5.9-13 tells them to do. INSIDE the church, be as judgmental as you want to be, but when you open a business out in the public square, keep your judgment to yourself, because you cannot avoid doing business with people you think are “sinners”. The only way to avoid doing business with “sinners” is to remove yourself from society entirely, as the Amish do.

    People outside the church are not accountable to self-righteous Christians’ interpretation of sin and don’t have to give an answer for that, but EVERYbody in society (including these hyper-sensitive Christians who want to open a business serving the public and subject to all the public accommodations laws and the Civil Rights Act) MUST give account to how they function under the civil laws that govern society and commerce in a SECULAR nation.

  • Since the bakers aren’t refusing to bake cakes for worldly sinners (something Paul forbids, BTW), but refusing to sacrifice at foreign altars, that isn’t an issue. And where did you get the idea that Christians shouldn’t recognize marriages of non-Christians? Marriage is an institution for everyone, not just Judaeo-Christians.

  • It doesn’t matter if she “intends” to become pregnant or not, she has to be aware that the possibility is there. And BTW, this is hardly a fringe opinion but something that a slim majority of Americans agree with me on, on the very few occasions that pollsters actually ask people’s opinions on the preferred legality of abortion based on motivation — high percentages favor abortion for reasons like rape/incest or the life of the mother, but that support drops precipitously when the abortion is simply because the baby is unwanted.

    And no, I’m not saying that business people should have the right to attack the rights of others, just that they should have the same right to freely exercise their religion as everyone else — not just so long as they do so in socially approved ways.

  • The bakers/florists/photographers/land owners aren’t demanding the right to be concerned with who is getting married, just the right not to be forced to sacrifice at foreign altars as a condition of earning a living.

    And you misunderstand 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. Yes, believers should not shun sinful unbelievers — as Paul says, “You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.” But Paul is NOT telling us to join them in their sin, which is precisely what providing support for sinful activity is doing.

    But you are right, most believing Christians are just keeping their heads down under the pressure, perhaps lying about being booked or such, or simply taking the pain of guilty consciences as the price of earning a living. I would imagine that large numbers of Christians did just that when the Roman emperors were also demanding that they sacrifice at foreign altars as a condition of living at all. In fact I know they did, read up on the Donatist heresy that came out of a similar situation. But the weak-willed have been long forgotten, it is the martyrs that are remembered to this day to strengthen the faithful as persecution resumes. And so it will be again.

  • Of course it matters. It is her body and her choice whether she wants to be pregnant or not. Your opinion on the matter amounts to no more than s1utshaming. Women don’t act the way you want them to be, so you attack their rights and demean them as human beings.

    The fact that your opinion is held by a sizeable number of people doesn’t make it correct or sane. It just speaks badly for those people. Rights and civil liberties are not subject to popular vote. At no point is the decision one that requires the approval of the public. It is a private matter entirely.

    “And no, I’m not saying that business people should have the right to attack the rights of others, just that they should have the same right to freely exercise their religion as everyone else ”

    What a load of bull. You want a privilege to attack the rights of others and use religion to excuse it. Your right to religious exercise ends where you are trying to use it as a pretext to harm others. Like your right to human sacrifice.

  • And the ones demanding the privilege to attack the rights of others are the ones demanding that businesses be forced to cater to their desires in violation of the owners’ religions — a clear violation of the 1st Amendment.

    Once a woman becomes pregnant it ceases to be about “her body” and becomes about “their bodies.” But it’s odd that you should mention human sacrifice, since an ever-growing mound of tiny corpses has become the foundation of the death cult that the women’s rights movement has turned into.

  • No, it wasn’t until same-sex marriage became legal that any of these bakers, florists, and other wedding vendors even imagined they were somehow involved in the events of their customers. It’s a false idea and will be struck down. As the courts have shown, creating a specialty cake or fancy floral arrangements is NOT in any measure some sort of endorsement, approval, or participation in the actual event.

    Bakers CAN, on an individual case-by-case basis, turn down a request for a specific design element that the baker considers offensive (same concept as a black printer does not have to print racist propaganda for the KKK). But in these cases going to court there is no discussion of any design elements; the customers were turned down because of who they are, before they even discussed what design elements the customer wanted.

  • No, the customers were turned down because they were asking the bakers to provide support for actions that violated their religious consciences. Like the Billy Joel song goes, “you’re free to speak your mind, but not on my time.” And it wasn’t until judges blinded by their own cultural prejudices declared half the country to be irrational bigots that what the cakes were celebrating became an issue. As has been repeatedly pointed out, these bakers had no problem providing cakes to gay customers for birthdays, graduations, and other celebrations. In the case of the florist in Washington, the gay man asking for the flower arrangement was a valued long-time customer that the florist considered a friend. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/05/12/im-a-florist-but-i-refused-to-do-flowers-for-my-gay-friends-wedding/?utm_term=.af52612f100b

    And your KKK example is a good one, though it involves freedom of speech rather than religion — should a Black restaurateur be forced to cater a KKK convention?

  • Business have obligations to the public, employees and the government as the costs of doing business. Running a business in open commerce is a privilege. One which comes with compliance with various laws. Your religious birds don’t Grant you a right to have a say in the private decisions of others. An employer has no say in how employees use their health insurance benefits. They also have no sat in what the government sets as minimum requirements for health coverage. Your 1St amendment rights do not entitle you to decide for others.

    “Once a woman becomes pregnant it ceases to be about ‘her body'”

    What a load of BS. It becomes your body to command as you will? One. So once she is pregnant she loses all her rights as a human being? That is never true.

    You have a messed up version of what personal liberties actually mean. It all comes down everyone must do as you command. Nobody has rights but me.

  • The florist was guilty of anti-gay discrimination by refusing to do for her gay customer what she did for her straight customers. In all of these frivolous cases, the courts have found that there is NO DIFFERENCE in the products in question (cakes, flowers, invitations, whatever), but because the customers were gay or lesbian same-sex couples. Blatant discrimination. Nobody was asking a vendor to endorse or support or applaud their relationship or wedding, just like straight couples don’t expect any special approval from the vendors they hire.

    There is no rational reason for a baker or florist to refuse to provide services for a wedding. It totally does not matter who is getting married, except these few Christian extremists want to pretend it does matter — they have some silly personal notion that *some* people don’t deserve to get married like everyone else — but the courts have consistently ruled against them becuase they are wrong. If their religion somehow prevents them from serving all their customers equally, they need to find a different business. They cannot be allowed to make cakes and flowers ONLY for the sort of weddings their personal religion might endorse; their personal religion has NOTHING to do with someone else’s marriage.

    Now we can go round and round about this, but the bottom line at the end of the day is that these few Christian extremists are crossing the line and violating other people’s rights to be served in a place of business open to the public, and ONLY because they are gay/lesbian. The ONLY difference between one wedding or another is the people involved. Refusing to provide cakes or flowers for a same-sex wedding is ONLY because of the people, not because of the event, because they already do for other similar/identical events.

    it also does not matter that these bakers and florists might provide goods and services for OTHER types of events for their gay customers. if they don’t provide ALL the same products and service to their gay customers like they happily provide for the straight customers, it is because of who the people are, and that will always be illegal, immoral, unethical, and thoroughly uncivilized.

  • You’re right, we can go round and round on this, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day these courageous martyrs are being persecuted for their religion in violation of the 1st Amendment. It’s sad to see people so blinded by their cultural prejudices that they can’t recognize flawed reasoning because they can’t accept the conclusions they’d have to reach if they did — and it’s catastrophic when those people are judges. History will not judge them kindly, any more than it has those judges that abused their powers to suppress Blacks.

  • Acquiring a business license does not mean surrendering your 1st Amendment right to exercise your religion. And while the employer may not have the right to force employees to make use of the health benefits, he DOES have a 1st Amendment right to offer benefits that don’t violate his religious conscience. Federal law cannot override the Constitution.

    And no, once a woman becomes pregnant another person’s rights are involved — the baby’s. Amazing how hard pro-choicers work at ignoring that fact, all so that the hundreds of thousands of sacrifices on the altar of “women’s equality” can continue — all while ignoring that half of those slaughtered babies are female, apparently their rights don’t count.

  • Nope. There is no organized, systematic “persecution” of Christians in this country. They are free to have their beliefs and live their lives by their beliefs. They are not in danger of losing their jobs, their homes, their families, or anything else. They are even free to open a business to the public and offer whatever goods and services they want to offer.

    What they are experiencing is the fact that in our secular society, people who open a business are required by law to treat all customers alike — what is offered to one is offered to all, because our laws are designed to protect all customers equally. Nobody is forcing Christians to open a business, but their business license requires them to not discriminate against others. If their religion requires them to discriminate, they need to find another line of work OR simply stop offering certain products or services to the public. Bakers can still make cupcakes and cookies and breads and fancy designed birthday cakes; but if they can’t make wedding cakes for all, they need to stop advertising wedding cakes as part of their services.

    To call these few Christian extremists “martyrs” just because they refuse to operate under the same rules as everyone else in our society, diminishes those actual Christian martyrs in other countries who are actually killed, or fired from jobs, or have their homes destroyed simply because of their religious identity. THAT is actual persecution, but it’s not happening in America, where Christians are still the majority and still hold most of the power in our country. This is changing, and these few Christian extremists are afraid they will be treated the way they have treated others, riding rough-shod over everyone who will not toe the line and kowtow to Christian oppression. Christians are only losing their position of dominance and influence, but they are not losing any of their actual personal rights.

  • “Nope. There is no organized, systematic “persecution” of Christians in
    this country. They are free to have their beliefs and live their lives
    by their beliefs. They are not in danger of losing their jobs, their
    homes, their families, or anything else. They are even free to open a
    business to the public and offer whatever goods and services they want
    to offer.”

    Tell that to the business owners that have had their livelihoods destroyed because they refuse to be accessories to sin and so sin themselves — to quote Sir Thomas More, “the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.” It is true that they haven’t had to pay the ultimate price that More paid for holding to God instead of Man, but they have paid heavily and God will honor them for it.

  • Nonsense. IF (big “if”) they lose their businesses, it is their own doing. Nobody is forcing them to break the law, they do that of their own choice. Nobody is asking them to participate in something they find “sinful”. They are ONLY being asked to provide the very products and services they opened their business to provide.

    If they ONLY want to provide products and services for one-man/one-woman marriage in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in Jesus’ Name Amen, then by George they need to close their public shop, reorganize, and re-open as a private Christian-only club for members only. That’s how it is done in America.

    Or if they can’t provide for same-sex weddings, they can stop providing for ANY weddings and just do other baked goods. There are many solutions to the issue, but these Christian extremists want to make a point of discriminating just so everyone can see how much they hate same-sex couples. How foolish. Like those calligraphers in Arizona making a case to allow discrimination even before anyone asked them to print invitations for a same-sex wedding. Under the prompting of the ADF, Christians like this are going out of their way to put their bigotry on display. And, as in every case before, it will backfire.

    Equality and non-discrimination are not difficult concepts. Christians simply need to learn to get along with people who are different. That’s how society works. It is no longer acceptable in this country to say “We don’t serve your kind here” no matter how much these Christian extremists wish it were so.

  • You are of the mind being pregnant or working as an employee means you surrender all personal liberties to others. A corporation and fetus are people but a woman or worker are not. the first amendment is not an excuse to get around laws one finds inconvenient or grants a right to take liberties with the lives of others. An employer NEVER has a say in what are minimum coverages for health insurance or how it is used. The first amendment doesn’t grant exceptions to labor and insurance laws.

    If an employer doesn’t want to provide those kinds of benefits, they can opt out of providing insurance altogether or let employees do so. That is the proper way to do it. Not deny employees their legally entitled coverage.

    A fetus has no rights. It has no individual existence until viable or born. So you are talking about attacking a woman’s ability to make personal and intimate decisions about her body. Decisions you have no say in. You don’t have to like or approve in their decisions. Your input is immaterial and unnecessary here.

  • Got it, you believe acquiring a business license means giving up your 1st Amendment right to freely exercise your religion.

  • Not at all. Nobody has been asked to relinquish their First Amendment rights, so your comment makes no sense.

  • Just as the right to refuse to support a viewpoint is fundamental to the 1st Amendment’s freedom of speech, so is refusal to participate in or support an activity one’s religion holds as sinful fundamental to the 1st Amendment freedom to exercise one’s religion.

  • No. Baking a cake or arranging flowers is NOT in any way showing support for anything or participating in anything. It is a business transaction identical to any other business transaction for which that business was set up. No baker or florist has any business passing judgment on a customer’s wedding or relationship or anything. They opened a business to make pretty cakes or arrange pretty flowers. It is not the business owners concern what the customer does with the finished product. That’s where these few Christian extremists cross the line between personal religion and professional business. And the courts have shown they are wrong every time.

    If I go into a place that advertises to make wedding cakes, I have a right to ask for and receive a wedding cake, same as every one else. I have NO right to demand the baker come to my home and make custom desserts for me (that service is not part of their normal business offerings). I also have no right to demand the baker put a display of dancing phalluses (courts have consistently shown that actual speech or actual offensive designs cannot be forced). But the baker cannot arbitrarily decide that he will not make cakes for ANY same-sex weddings because that is blatantly discriminatory against same-sex couples. It is discrimination against a person. Do you truly not understand this?

    Read the ruling in the Phillips case where this disctinction is made very clear. If you won’t have anything to do with same-sex weddings out of some imaginary fear of “sin”, it is anti-gay discrimination, obviously.

  • So then you would have no problem with a baker being required to provide a cake with swastikas on it — after all, it “is NOT in any way showing support for anything or participating in anything. It is a business transaction identical to any other business transaction for which that business was set up.” To refuse “is blatantly discriminatory against [fascists]. It is discrimination against a person. Do you truly not understand this?”

  • Oh, Doug, Doug, Doug…. did you not read what I wrote:
    “courts have consistently shown that actual hate speech or actual offensive designs cannot be forced.”

    And “fascists” are not covered under the Civil Rights Act or any public accommodations laws, so your logic is seriously flawed.

    There is nothing intrinsically offensive about a fancy decorated cake or beautifully arranged flowers. If a baker shows his portfolio of specialty wedding cake designs, ANY couple should be able to request one. There is no rational reason the baker cannot do for one couple what he has already done for other couples, EXCEPT that the baker is an anti-gay bigot who doesn’t understand the concept of non-discrimination.

  • Exactly. The same principle should apply to your 1st Amendment right to exercise one’s religion — and does, when it comes to conscientious objectors.

  • What “same principle”?? There is nothing objectionable about making a wedding cake. The baker’s area of expertise and knowledge is making cakes, that is all. His involvement begins and ends with the cake. He is not involved in the wedding, the relationship of the couple, or anything else. So he has no reasonable objection to making a cake for a same-sex couple. Under the law, there is no difference, so the baker cannot treat them differently. If he can’t, for religious reasons, treat all customers alike and make a wedding cake for any couple, he needs to stop making wedding cakes for anyone. We’ve been over this before, and it is beyond dispute or debate. If he advertises to make wedding cakes, he cannot exclude any entire protected class of people who are legally able to marry because that is discrimination.

    You truly have no rational argument, and there is just no way to justify anti-gay discrimination.

  • So what’s objectionable about a baker putting a swastika on a cake? “The baker’s area of expertise and knowledge is making cakes, that is
    all. His involvement begins and ends with the cake. He is not
    involved in [any statement the customer wants to make], or anything
    else. So he has no reasonable objection to making a cake for a [fascist].”

  • Are you seriously asking what’s objectionable about a swastika? We’ve already covered this — bakers and others are NOT required to create obscenities, hate speech, or other actually offensive things. Bakers (and others) are allowed to refuse specific design elements. That is NOT the same thing as arbitrarily refusing to make a cake for same-sex couples, since these couples were refused ONLY because they are same-sex couples, without even beginning to discuss any particular design elements.

  • But the swastika obviously isn’t offensive to the customer, or it wouldn’t have been ordered. And you just argued that the vendor is nothing but a conduit, whose own beliefs are irrelevant — that the customer is all. Therefore you “truly have no rational argument, and there is just no way to justify [anti-fascist] discrimination.”

  • No, the swastika is offensive to most rational people. And if the baker finds THAT SPECIFIC DESIGN ELEMENT offensive, he can’t be forced to make that specific design element, even though he might bake a cake for that person.

    Refusing to bake ANY kind of wedding cake for a same-sex couple is discrimination against the customer. Refusing to create offensive speech or designs is already protected, as has been discussed repeatedly here. There is nothing inherently offensive about a wedding cake, and the baker already makes them as part of that businesses offering. Your idea of a swastika falls in the same area as having dancing phalluses on a cake — specific design elements or blatant hate speech, etc., are things that a baker cannot be forced to do because it has to do with a specific product or service. Refusing to make a wedding cake for ANY same-sex couple isn’t about the product or service, because they already make wedding cakes; that is discrimination against a protected class.

    You can’t refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple; you CAN refuse to incorporate specific design elements that might be requested. But the cake itself is not offensive so there’s no reason for discrimination. And if an Aryan-Nation couple came in and wanted a wedding cake, no matter how offensive their philosophy is, they have a right to get a wedding cake … just not with swastikas or lynching nooses or other similar hateful design elements.

    And, seriously, ALL of these issues and more have already been covered by the courts, along with all your silly “what if” and “what about” scenarios, so there is no point in you pretending to be ignorant or being deliberately obtuse.

    There is no violation of anybody’s religious freedom when a same-sex couple requests the same products or services that are offered to other couples. It’s just blatant anti-gay bigotry trying to hide behind a cloak of religious freedom, and the courts have seen through the sham over and over.

  • “Your idea of a swastika falls in the same area as having dancing
    phalluses on a cake — specific design elements or blatant hate speech,
    etc., are things that a baker cannot be forced to do because it has to
    do with a specific product or service.”

    And just as vendors have a right to refuse a particular design element because they don’t agree with the message (1st Amendment right to free speech), so vendors have a right to refuse to provide support for behavior and rituals that violate their religion (1st Amendment right to exercise religion). You can go right on ignoring how those same vendors are happy to serve gay couples when marriages aren’t involved, but it doesn’t change that fact. Vendors are not just conduits for the customers, and just as refusing to sell to a known fascist regardless of what is on the cake is not the same as refusing to include a swastika, so refusing to sell to a gay couple at all isn’t the same as refusing to help provide for a gay wedding while having no problem with birthdays, graduations, etc. However you try to finesse it, whatever appeals to authority you may make, that is not going to change.

  • And that is where you are mistaken. There is no ‘message’ conveyed by baking a cake or arranging flowers. The event of the people involved has nothing to do with the vendors providing the products or services that will be used.

    Refusing to provide products or services for a same-sex wedding IS blatant discrimination against same-sex couples, just like adding a special tax on yarmulkes is anti-Semitic. You can’t say Jews can buy any other hat but there’s a special tax on yarmulkes without admitting the tax is anti-Semitic, because yarmulkes are a Jewish-specific type of hat.

    It is impossible to say “I’m not anti-gay, they can buy any other product here, just not a cake for their wedding”. Being against same-sex wedding IS anti-gay. The baker isn’t participating in a same-sex wedding; he’s making a cake for a same-sex couple.

    And nobody said anything about refusing to serve a known fascist regardless of specific design elements. If David Duke went into a black-owned baker and ordered a cake for his daughter’s birthday, there is no reason the baker should refuse; he’s in business to make money, not pass judgment on his customers. If David Duke asked for a confederate flag and white supremacist language, THEN the baker could refuse that specific design.

    There is no difference between a wedding cake for a straight couple and a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, so there’s no reason to refuse wedding cakes for all same-sex couples. And the courts have consistently agreed. The baker isn’t participating in the wedding or the reception, so it doesn’t matter how he feels about it.

  • ” There is no ‘message’ conveyed by baking a cake or arranging flowers. The event of the people involved has nothing to do with the vendors providing the products or services that will be used.”

    So you think that freely exercising one’s religion is about “conveying a message”? Does that mean that you believe that exercising one’s free speech is about “living one’s life in accordance with God’s Will”? Both rights involve people’s freedom to act in ways that the larger society doesn’t approve of, but they are not synonymous.

    And beyond that, how does the presence of a message involve the vendor? After all, it is the CUSTOMER’S message, according to you the vendor is just a conduit whose own opinion is meaningless.

    “There is no difference between a wedding cake for a straight couple and a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, so there’s no reason to refuse wedding cakes for all same-sex couples.”

    There is a fundamental difference — one is for a marriage in accordance with God’s Will, and the other marriage violates it. You may not agree with that, but the 1st Amendment protects the right of individuals to freely exercise THEIR religion, not yours. And as with conscientious objectors, that means not being forced to give support to acts or rituals that violate that exercise.

  • No, there is no legitimate difference. A legal marriage is a legal marriage. Period. The baker’s religious view of marriage ONLY pertains to the baker’s personal marriage.

    Round and round, you are simply arguing that it is okay for Christian extremists to discriminate in a place of business, for reasons that have no bearing on the business, but solely because of who the customer is.

    The courts will continue to rule against these Christian extremists who have no legitimate reason to refuse to provide same-sex couples all the same products and services they happily offer to opposite sex couples. And rational customers will continue to boycott such insane business owners because discrimination is no longer acceptable in our society.

  • And there’s your problem yet again — the 1st Amendment exists both for speech and for religion, because for both “legitimate” is in the eye of the beholder. But apparently, you feel that the free exercise of religion is a wonderful thing, so long as “free” is defined as “responsible” and “responsible” is defined by the government. (But of course, you won’t apply the same reasoning to speech.)

    But as Peter in the earliest days, faithful Christians will continue to say, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?” Because at the Final Judgment, “I was just following orders” isn’t going to cut it.

  • The First Amendment guarantees the government cannot infringe upon your right to free speech OR freedom of religion (both beliefs AND religious practices). Opening up a shop to the public and offering to make wedding cakes is not a religious practice; it’s a business transaction. What you offer to one customer you must offer to all. That’s the law. There is no infringement of religious freedom by asking a business owner to follow the law concerning non-discrimination among customers. For a business owner to use his personal religious beliefs to discriminate against customers in a place of business open to the public is a violation of the customer’s rights.

    And even though I don’t think a business owner should be shut down by the government, he should be fined for breaking the law. AND other customers should boycott the place so his business dwindles.

    These Christian extremists don’t seem to understand that discrimination is just not acceptable, and they will have to suffer the consequences. Nobody is forcing them to break the law, they do it voluntarily on their own because they don’t really understand the First Amendment. Nobody is taking away their religious freedom; they just don’t seem to understand that their religious freedom doesn’t allow them to discriminate against an entire segment of the population. If their religion doesn’t allow them to make cakes for same-sex weddings, they have to stop making wedding cakes all together. Nobody is preventing them from dropping “wedding cakes” off their list of available services; they can just make cookies and cupcakes and pies and birthday cakes and other desserts. But these people would rather go out of their way to discriminate instead of following the law.

    Nobody is even telling them they can’t believe whatever crazy thing they wish about marriage. But their beliefs about marriage have nothing to do with OTHER PEOPLE getting married and expecting a wedding cake from a place that sells wedding cakes as part of their normal business. These Christian extremist business owners crossed the line by confusing these issues. It isn’t their beliefs but their behavior that gets them into trouble.

  • Yes, I know, you’ve made it abundantly clear that you believe that freedom to EXERCISE (not believe) your religion only exists until the government tells you it doesn’t. Explaining why you believe the government’s decision to forbid that exercise doesn’t change that.

  • No, that’s not what I’ve said — it’s just the opposite, in fact. Christians can believe as they want, and they can practice their religion. But making a cake for someone’s wedding is NOT a religious exercise by any stretch of the imagination. It is a business transaction that these people already agreed to do when they opened up their business. To refuse some customers because they are gay is discrimination, not religious freedom.

    if these Christian extremists ACTUALLY wanted to pretend they only bake cakes in line with their religious beliefs, they would also refuse cakes for the weddings of people who were divorced, or people who weren’t a virgin. They don’t do that. It has ONLY become a “religious freedom” issue because same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states and these Christian extremists want to pretend that same-sex couples aren’t entitled to the same thing that others get. It’s not religious freedom at all but anti-gay discrimination.

    Until same-sex marriage became allowed, you never heard of bakers and florists “participating” in an event — they made their cakes and flowers and minded their own business. Christians are the ones making trouble because they don’t like gays. That’s all it is.

  • Since when do Christians teach that people who are divorced or aren’t virgins can’t marry? Even Catholics acknowledge situations where divorce and remarriage are permissible.

  • Not for profits have different rules when operating with their own money. Churches can hire only believers.

    When a non profit like a school takes taxpayer money, they have to abide by the restrictions on those funds. But in general, non profits are free to discriminate. The golf course in Augusta GA didn’t admit women. But their right to discriminate did not protect them from disgust.

    For profit companies that are considered public accomodations have to abide by laws prohibiting discrimination.

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