Religious freedom needs to be considered

Bait and switch on gay marriage?

Over the course of this debate, one refrain has been consistent by those advocating in support of gay marriage: The religious liberties of clergy and religious officials will not be compromised.

Even when shop owners are sued for respectfully declining to provide services to gay marriage ceremonies, the refrain continues. They claim that refusing to serve the ceremony is still discrimination against the participants, even if the shop owners actively serve gay customers for any other reason.

Firstly, it is hard to stomach that a shop owner must provide a service to events that he or she disagrees with.

One’s freedom of speech should allow him or her to abstain from participating in such events because being against gay marriage (and refusing to participate) is different from discriminating based on sexual orientation. I would feel differently about refusing to serve gay people, but not about refusing to serve an event because of moral concerns.

It would be the same about a gay business owner refusing to cater an event advocating against gay marriage.

However, proponents of gay marriage claim, clergy will not be forced to marry two people that their religion says cannot be married. That is, until now.

An Oct. 20 article on Reuters says that an Idaho town is now seeking to enforce its ban on discrimination against two ordained ministers at a chapel. This broad antidiscrimination ordinance would force the pastors to marry gay couples, and would penalize them with up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines every time they refused.

While the article says that the city, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, refused to comment on the legal challenge by the ministers, the city attorney did say that the chapel would probably be bound by the ordinance.

The side in support of gay marriage keeps moving the goal posts. It reminds me of the case invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act.

In that case, the majority claimed that they were striking down DOMA while leaving open the question on the constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage. Shortly thereafter, however, courts across the country used much of the same language to begin striking down such bans.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissent on this case (Windsor v. United States), even did an experiment where he took the language of the majority opinion and substituted “DOMA” with “this state law.”

Where does this end?

Every time the lobby on the ‘for’ side of this issue says where the line is, that line only lasts as long as they are working to reach it. Let’s just hear a consistent message from their side.

Let’s settle this once and for all: Are we, as a nation, looking to force people to personally act against their morals, or just seeking to make sure people have their God-given rights?

If the answer is the latter, as it should be, we can do without the government coercion and allow individuals to do what they want.

Isn’t that what this battle is all about?


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