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Wedding industry illustrates unresolved legal relationship between religious freedom and gay rights

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  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    It's very simple. When a person goes into business to serve the general public, that person agrees that his/her religious liberties cease where the rights of the general public start. The business person gives up the right to be bigoted or unjustly prejudicial when s/he goes into business; that's just part of being in business. If the person in business to serve the general public does not want to provide all of his/her regularly-available services or products to all of the general public, that person should find another way to earn a living because s/he has no business being in business.

  • Jeff Harris Edmonds, WA
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    Religious freedom? The people in New York who rent their farm for weddings are running a business not a church. It is a public accommodation. No one is requiring them to participate in a marriage they are merely renting the space.

    Unresolved? New York's anti-discrimination laws protect everyone from unfair discrimination, as do New Mexico's. The US Supreme Court has let stand a unanimous New Mexico Supreme Court ruling last year that said Elane Photography violated New Mexico's Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph the same-sex ceremony "in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races."

    The misnamed Alliance Defending Freedom, (the only so-called freedom this group defends is the exclusion of taxpaying gay citizens from equal protection under the law) should be careful what they ask for. Allowing any business to use religious beliefs as an excuse to deny people services would be deeply damaging to our society. For example, could a emergency medical service owned by a Southern Baptist refuse service to a Mormon?

  • Rufio Saratoga, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    There is just something inherently wrong with any privately owned business not being able to make the simple decisions about who the customers may be - the right to refuse service. Why should government be able to dictate to that level? Our nation was founded on some very simple premises regarding government interference in personal liberty.

    Likewise, a free and competitive business environment, results in the natural prosperity of businesses that chose the best practices.

    When something that is wrong is allowed have government protection - the wrong spreads to even wider circles until we find that right is called wrong and wrongs become rights.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    The freedom to practice a religion gives one a right to hold beliefs, establish and support institutions of worship, preach it on street corners, own and use religious books and artifacts, to be free of government sanction or favoritism towards any denomination. This is a blessed freedom. Look at those places where it doesn't exist, to understand.

    Conducting a business falls entirely in the secular sphere. It's also optional. No one is compelled to remain in an industry where one's conscience does not permit it.

    You are confusing rights of conscience with the authority of civil law. Conscience does not give anyone a right to disobey civil law without consequences. Civil disobedience has costs, as many a protester can tell you. But, if you have a truly held religious belief that makes it difficult to conduct a business without violating antidiscrimination laws, you do have a legal right to (at your own expense) change businesses, or move to where those laws don't exist.

    While that farm's owners can compromise on receptions but not ceremonies, others might not want even LGBT visitors. Civil law must apply equally to all.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    Why is it okay to use your "religious conscience" as a reason to discrminate against LGBT couples, when you don't even bother asking your heterosexual customers if they are violating your "religious conscience" in any way?

    If its against your religious views to serve sinners, isn't it as much a sin to serve sinners unknowingly? Shouldn't you have a questionaire for ALL your customers?

    These bakers, photographers, florists, etc. don't seem to have a problem baking cakes for serial adulterers; providing flowers for fornicators getting married, or providing the venue to host the wedding of a convicted thief.

    This whole issue just brings to light the hypocrisy of those who refuse to business with LGBT people on "religious grounds". I'd suggest you all do a search on your bible's multiple warnings to hypocrites. You're on shaky ground people when you use your religion in this manner. Very shaky ground.

    Rufio says:

    "When something that is wrong is allowed have government protection - the wrong spreads to even wider circles ..."

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    Furry1993 & Jeff Harris are spot on and the Constitution supports their views. The issue is simple. The article is disengenous at best. At worst the rational of the article is very thinly veiled justification for discrimination.

  • intervention slc, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    @Rufio
    "Why should government be able to dictate to that level? "
    Might I suggest some study of pre civil rights laws Amercian history for starters.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    Yes, it is simple.

    Stop using our religion as an excuse for prejudice and bigotry.

  • Willem Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 31, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    Remember this law also protects mormons!

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Aug. 31, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    Thank goodness the Marriotts havn't lost their common sense and have held fast to their business ethic that "the customer is always right" and welcome all LGBT wedding participants to hold both their wedding ceremonies and receptions at Marriot facilities worldwide. These two little businesses in New Mexico and New York are destined to remain small and probably bankrupt for placing their religious convictions before their business sense. Congratulations to the Marriotts for recognizing that at the end of the day you can bank a dollar but not a belief.

  • Trouble Lehi, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    It is clear that providing a business service only to opposite sex couples does not necessarily stem from discrimination, nor is one required to assume that the motivation for such decisions arises from any sense of bigotry or hatred. The word "discrimination" is too casually used and carries with it a meaning that not always applies. Business owners and managers make decisions every day, and almost all of them are based on strategic and financial considerations, not raw and base human emotions.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    @Rufio

    "There is just something inherently wrong with any privately owned business not being able to make the simple decisions about who the customers may be"

    You can't seriously not see the problem in that? Are you saying a diner should be able to refuse service to black people if the owners want to? Are you saying a wedding hall should be able to refuse service to a mormon couple if it believes them to be evil?

    What a ridiculous statement.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    Personally, I think a (wedding) cake is just a cake. But if business owners are opposed to SSM then here's an idea: Sell your cake as the law requires you to, but tell the happy couple all proceeds of the sale will be donated to the NOM or political candidates who oppose SSM.

    The "undesirable" customers will likely shop elsewhere, and you can't get hit with a lawsuit.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 3:24 p.m.

    @trouble

    what 'strategic and financial considerations" would drive a company to exclude only LGBT people?

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    RE: The Wraith,”Are you saying a diner should be able to refuse service to black people if the owners want to? Are you saying a wedding hall should be able to refuse service to a mormon couple if it believes them to be evil?” No not at all,
    You have made a non sequitur whichis a statement in which the final part is totally unrelated to the *first part,for example:

    *(Jesus)a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’(Mt 19:5)

    *Honor your Father and Mother”[not significantother],which is the first commandment(Not a suggestion) with a promise. God distinguishes father and mother from all other persons on earth, chooses them and sets them next to Himself, occupying the highest place in our lives next to God. (Eph 6:2,3).

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    @Trouble 11:31 a.m. Aug. 31, 2014

    Business owners and managers make decisions every day, and almost all of them are based on strategic and financial considerations, not raw and base human emotions.

    ---------------------

    True. Unfortunately the decisions made to discriminate against LGBT people are based on raw and base human emotions. The level of animus used to support those decisions, and against LGBT people, is incredible. That must not be allowed.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:04 p.m.

    Religious institutions such as LDS Temple and Catholic church and others will most likely be able to not perform gay weddings. Others being places of public accommodation, who accept most anyone willing to pay regardless of religious affiliation will most likely have to.

    The days of businesses being able to refuse service to anyone are past .. ever since the civil rights law of 1964. That right was abused and the government had to step in and set things straight.

    Businesses don't have the inherent right to do anything they want just as prisoners in prison don't have the right to do anything they want. They both abused their freedom, and as a consequence they lost certain freedoms, and rightfully so.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:23 p.m.

    It appears that many people commenting on this forum on both sides of the issue did not read it. It plainly says that this couple will host receptions for gay weddings but they will not host gay weddings. The couple are discriminating against the event not the people.

    That is acceptable and to deny their right to do it is violating their civil and human rights.

    Bringing in a racial example (as always), if a black-owned restaurant refused to cater a KKK cross burning they can. If one of the participants shows up at the black-owned restaurant after the cross-burning the restaurant can't turn him away. That would be racial discrimination and is illegal.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:23 p.m.

    Great! Does this now mean that anyone that goes into any kind of business is required by law to be an atheist! We must get rid of charities, teachers (kindness smacks of Christian influence), AA (totally out of wack), drug treatment facilities (who is to say, without being an religious zealot, that taking drugs is wrong), or maybe the most recently defended right that there is nothing wrong with pornography, except by those "Taliban-like" religious extremists. We need to remove all these bigoted, racist, and religiously tainted ideas from our vocabulary for the good of the whole. I guess nobody can speak in public, atheist or religious, because I can assuredly find that religious influence in any speech? I have always wanted things to more quiet. Perhaps if the secular religion is fully implemented in America, we won't have any George Washingtons, but we will have those stalwarts of humanity such as Marx, Lennin, and Lao, all of which will bring us that equality and nirvana that some here so ardently want! Perhaps our Constitution will then reach its crescendo moment in the land of the free and the brave.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    "...the decision to start a home-based business removed the couple's right to refuse service based on their religious beliefs."

    It remains unclear from where the author conjured this statement.

    First, per US Supreme Court precedent, there is no "right to refuse service based on...religious beliefs" if doing so would violate anti-discrimination laws that are applicable to all businesses.

    Second, a "decision to start a home-based business" misstates key concepts behind the order. The ruling hinged on finding that the owners' use of part of a multi-purpose building for a personal residence was not sufficient to make the entire facility "distinctly private". If it were, the NY statute would not apply. But because the entire 2400 sq.ft first floor was advertised and rented exclusively for receptions and meetings, year-round, and various commercial uses of the 100 acre grounds closely aligned with the statutory definition of "public accommodation" the judge held the facility was not exempt from the law.

    This case, along with the CO baker and NM photographer, were plain vanilla applications of well-tested statutes. Simply calling something an "unresolved legal relationship" does not make it so.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:49 p.m.

    This same arguments used against same-sex weddings were the same arguments used against interracial marriages.

    Today, businesses cannot discriminate against those seeking interracial marriages. And we are better for that.

    Love your neighbor as yourself.

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 6:21 p.m.

    A wedding is a religious ceremony.

    They gays wanted perform a religious ceremony on private property.

    The property owners should NOT be forced have to support or allow another religious activity or worship on their property.

    (interestingly enough they willing to allow a reception a non-religious event)

    A business license does not give the government license to take away other constitutional rights a person has.

    The gays are demanding personal labor (the baker and photographer) to be forced in support their lifestyle choice, and they are demanding private property for religious services,

    and the left, the liberal , the democrats, can't see what is wrong with that?

  • ? SLC, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 6:22 p.m.

    Everyone wants the right to choose for themselves the things they will or will not do. So often we hear people say they can do whatever they want so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. Yet, same-sex marriage and abortion are two issues of our day where people are at odds with each other. One group of people believes both are inherently wrong while there are others who may believe either is ok. These will demand or coerce others to perform services they are uncomfortable or cause them to face losing their livelihood in various occupations. Where’s the freedom of choice in that? Those in the one group are often called bigots for choosing not participate in activities they are uncomfortable, while some in the other groups are simply being bullies.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 31, 2014 6:26 p.m.

    @Trouble writes, "providing a business service only to opposite sex couples does not necessarily stem from discrimination, nor is one required to assume that the motivation for such decisions arises from any sense of bigotry or hatred."

    You're half right. The motivation is usually not hatred, but rather fear of those we see as different from ourselves. Like any fear, it doesn't have to be rational to still be real. I'll believe you when you say you don't hate same sex couples. You may not "hate" people of other religions or races, but simply be uncomfortable around them. . But yes, this is what bigotry is, and yes, it is discrimination and yes, it is illegal.

    @donn, 97% of the time, the men are straight and this is what they do. Assuming that Jesus actually said those words, I don't think he meant that it should apply to 100% of the men. Jesus lectured about hypocrisy but not homosexuality--guess which he thought was more important? Paul had problems with women and with widows--and wrote about his opinions. Much of what he said (slavery, the roles of women) directly contradicted what Jesus taught.

  • Trouble Lehi, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 7:13 p.m.

    The point is that not every decision or situation that one finds disagreeable arises from malice or ill will. The accusation of discrimination is liberally used these days, and is often applied when it is not justified when all the facts are known. Just because a business excludes certain services doesn't mean that one can safely assume that the motivation behind it is hatred or fear. There's more than your own perspective of social awareness, or lack of it, that drives business and individual decisions.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:31 p.m.

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God, according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege: let them worship how, where or what they may.

    How can we reach out in faith to others unless we allow them to approach us and we engage with them? Jesus associated Himself with those who needed a physician. Can we do less?

    Also a question: did the owners of the farm/wedding venue refuse to rent their facility to those who had cohabited before marriage?

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:44 p.m.

    @Tekakaromatagi: "The [owners] are discriminating against the event not the people. That is acceptable and to deny their right to do it is violating their civil and human rights."

    No surprise that the Liberty Ridge Farms owners did not try explaining how discriminating against an event is acceptable and somehow distinguishable between discriminating against the people who uniquely characterize that event. The CO baker and the NM photographer both tried and failed to persuade a court this was a meaningful distinction.

    I believe both courts used a hypothetical vendor who won't serve interracial marriages, but claims he does not discriminate because he serves customers of all races (even mixed-race couples!). But of course, the event in question -- an interracial marriage - is inseparable from the required elements: two people of different races. In like manner, discrimination against the "event" is inseparable from discrimination against the "people" if that discrimination is tied to the characteristics that identify them as a protected class.

    Distinguishing between the event and the people is a fig leaf: a resourceful/clever way to gain some temporary comfort for those who hold it, but not enough to withstand even the mildest scrutiny.

  • TN Cougar Johnson City, TN
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:53 p.m.

    Liberals are attempting to bully Christians into submission to liberal beliefs. The left insists that everyone comply with their beliefs or you will be put out of business. Freedom in this country is being assaulted.

    Stayed tuned. A litmus test for employment is not to many years down the road. All American's of conscience will either be required to pretend to believe what they are told to believe, or they will become unemployable.

    It wasn't too many years ago that the current bad being described as good would have been unthinkable.

    It amazes me to read comments attached to this article that compare the homosexual marriage debate to the civil rights movement of the 60's. One is a matter of choice (who you decide you want to marry or be intimate with) and one is who you are (the color of your skin). It is a weak argument at best to try to bully everyone into thinking homosexual marriage is ok for fear of being called a bigot. Believing homosexual marriage is wrong is not bigotry. It is simply not agreeing with the choices others make.

  • intervention slc, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    @trouble
    So then tell us what you think would motivate a company to exclude just LGBT people for stratigic purposes since the example given in the article only excludes LGBT people?

  • intervention slc, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:44 p.m.

    @Tekakaromatagi
    "The couple are discriminating against the event not the people." I give you credit for trying to play on semantics the only problem is for it to be about just the event they would have had to refuse to do any ceremonies not just those by LGBT people. As soon as you make it about one group of people and not everyone it becomes about people not events.

  • intervention slc, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 10:41 p.m.

    @TN cougar
    Not being allowed to discriminate and restrict others rights (whether it's based on race or sexual orientation) does not make you bullied it simply means we a society will no longer allow you to bully others .

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 10:48 p.m.

    Freedom is a concept that can only be appreciated by a sentient human being. Any attempt by religion to address itself upon the freedom of any such person is an attempt to deny that person their own accrued rights, and it is wrong.

  • David Mohr Victoria/BC/Canada, 00
    Aug. 31, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    We are discriminatory all the time in business. There are women only gyms for example. The alcohol laws prevent people who are of age to fight for their country from coming into the bar. There are reasons for these discriminations and usually it is because society has decided that it is ok. Now society has decided to accept LGBT to the extent that no one can say no to them.

    Unfortunately, society has lost its morals and decided that the minority should be right. The good part is that God will sort this out. The bad part is that, to anyone who truly reads the Bible, society is in trouble and will not like how God sorts it out. I so testify.

  • David Maddox Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 31, 2014 11:34 p.m.

    I agree with Tekakaromatagi, and it seems to be something too many people miss: It's not nice/good/holy to discriminate against gays. In some jurisdictions, they're a protected classes, and it's actually illegal. But homosexuality and same-sex marriage are not the same. Discriminating against the one does not mean discrimination against the other, and it should therefore be permissible.

    Lest you disagree, take the example of two women (true story) who "marry" purely for tax benefits. Neither is a homosexual. Discrimination against same-sex marriage does not of necessity discriminate against homosexuals.

    More importantly, marriage should be recognized by society and the state because a man and a women who are committed to each other form the foundation for the ideal circumstances for raising a child. Kids need a mom and a dad. Where that's not the case, substitutions are made. But they are not the ideal, and shouldn't be recognized as "marriage".

    Everyone should discriminate against bad actions. In this case, same-sex marriage.

  • firstamendment Lehi, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 12:49 a.m.

    PUBLIC places owned by gays still continue to discriminate based on race, religion, sexual orientation, weight, and etc. and are not fined.

    People no longer have a right to effectively vote or even have a real voice on this critical issue. There is no reason for our governments to involve themselves in promoting homosexuality, and private citizens certainly should NOT be forced to promote it, etc. . Gays are free to vote, work, do what they want together, and so on. It almost seems that liberals/gays etc. make all the rules, and thus feel they are above the rules- Orwell's "Animal Farm" rings that bell.

    Associating homosexuality with the Civil Rights movement is shameful, and offensive to many of us, especially those of us who had slave ancestors. It has nothing to do with that. It's sexuality, gays are rightly free to live.

    MARRIAGE legally sanctions, upholds, and enforces relationships that are crucial for the survival of Humanity. Homosexual relationships need not be enforced. And, honest research shows that promoting homosexuality is harmful for our children.

    IT IS very wrong to force us ALL (We The People = The Government in the real America) to promote harmful things.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 6:23 a.m.

    @the greater truth 6:21 p.m. Aug. 31, 2014

    A wedding is a religious ceremony.

    --------------------------

    Some are. Some aren't. The religious weddings are generally performed in religious edifices (churches, chapels, temples, etc.) or locations that have specifically been set apart for religious purposes (and claimed as such on tax filings). I've seen nothing to indicate that the building or field at the farm in question had been set apart for religious purposes nor that a religious wedding had been contemplated. Please direct me to any sources you have seen indicating the religious consecration of the building and/or field as a church. Please direct me to any sources you have seen which indicate the wedding was a religion-based wedding. If there are no sources for either of those premises, it would appear that this was a secular wedding at a secular situs, and no religion was implicated or implied by the nature of the wedding or site.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 1, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    @ Trouble

    In the context of these cases, the only definition of "discrimination" that applies is the one defined by the laws these business owners violated. These laws specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. There is no exemption based on personal religious beliefs.

    IMO this is proper because it is more beneficial overall to have a law that ensures that we're all treated equally in the public square that we all must share, whereas bowing to specific religious beliefs benefits only those who hold the belief (and harms those subjected to it). The latter also creates the problem of which religious beliefs to exempt. I don't think a good argument can be made that they all should be.

  • ? SLC, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    To coerce another to perform services they are uncomfortable with upon threat of a lawsuit is beyond bigotry and discrimination. It is abuse and it is wrong.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Sept. 1, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    @TNCougar: You have it all wrong. The truth is that fundamentalist Christians who selectively read the Old Testament are the ones who are attempting to bully people of other faiths, including us Christians who try to follow in Christ's path, treating all others as equals and with Christ's love.

    Secular Humanists have more in common with Jesus than you do. Neither they nor we simple followers of His are bullying anyone. We're merely speaking out for the equality of Man, for justice, for treating thy neighbor as thyself, and speaking against the injustice, exclusion, disdain, and ostracism you seek to impose on others. We thank the Lord that He has led our nation toward civil rights and away from the darkness of superstition, fear and hate.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    @Rufio
    "There is just something inherently wrong with any privately owned business not being able to make the simple decisions about who the customers may be - the right to refuse service. "

    I wonder how many of you in middle or high school watched a film or heard/read about sit-ins and bus boycotts and all those other things in the Civil Rights movement and thought that it was wrong for businesses to have to serve black people.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    @Tekakaromatagi
    " The couple are discriminating against the event not the people."

    That's like arguing that refusing to bake a cake for a Jewish kids' high school graduation is just anti-Jewish graduation not anti-Semitic.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    @donn

    I know what a non sequitur is. My examples do not fit that description. As for the remainder of that post it made absolutely no sense. I literally have no idea what you were trying to say. My examples were in response to a very specific statement by an earlier poster. The statement was that basically a business owner should have the right to refuse service to customers if they want to. So I used the example of the owner of a diner refusing service to black people to point out how ridiculous that idea was. I further used the example of a wedding hall owner refusing service to mormons. In both cases these would be examples of a business owner refusing service to customers which is something the poster argued they should have the right to do. My examples were simply pointing out that if we let that we can't really let that happen. So both were perfectly logical examples given the statement I was responding to.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Sept. 1, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    @QuestionMark(?): "To coerce another to perform services they are uncomfortable with upon threat of a lawsuit is beyond bigotry and discrimination. It is abuse and it is wrong."

    -o-

    You would be correct, if we were speaking of slavery or indentured servitude. However, we are not. No law compels anyone to operate a business. If your religious beliefs are so sincere (even though I think they are a gross misinterpretation of Christian principle), you should be willing to do as Jesus asked. Give away all your material possessions, leave your family, and follow Him.

    If you wish to operate a business in a jurisdiction that prevents discrimination (either through criminal or civil law), then you can either comply with the law, move to another jurisdiction, find another way to make a living, or accept the consequences of your action.

    No one is regulating your beliefs or forcing you to conduct a trade, but your actions are subject to the law when you injure others.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    @first amendment
    Please do tell us what "public gay establishment" is getting away with discriminating against people for any of the reasons you list. The fact is that all Public estaishments are held to the same legal standard and making false claims to the contrary only deminish your own arguments.

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Sept. 1, 2014 5:15 p.m.

    Wraith: One way to look at it would be why would you want to have a service in or give a single penny to any business that had such negative feelings for you in the first place? Just because they are being forced to hide their real convictions I wouldn't want to grace their coffers with a penny if I knew their real beliefs.

    Donn: 'a man will...be united with his wife' How does a Mormon use this to scripture to support heterosexual marriage only, but look past his own church saying it didn't apply when it was used to condemn polygamy? (ie wife not wives)
    'honor your mother and father not significant other' Last time I checked, married or not, your mother is always your mother and your father is always your father. You might want to rethink using that as an argument against LGBT marriage.

  • ? SLC, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 5:41 p.m.

    A Quaker:

    "No one is regulating your beliefs or forcing you to conduct a trade, but your actions are subject to the law when you injure others."

    When it is legal for one to coerce another to perform a service for an event they believe to be morally wrong or lose their livelihood, does this not injure them? Does this not become slavery? Is this not discrimination against one’s beliefs? To force someone to do something against what they believe or to tell them they must find another vocation is regulating their beliefs.

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Sept. 1, 2014 8:00 p.m.

    If you want to use your religious views as an excuse to deny goods or services to gays, blacks, Jews, Mormons, the left-handed or anyone else you don't like, you're free to run your "business" as a private members-only club. That's what Rush Limbaugh's whites-only country club does.

    If you want to run a business and sell goods or services to the general public then you'll be subject to all the federal, state and local public accommodations laws. But in all the confederate states and other red states like Utah that means you're still free to discriminate against gays since there are no statewide protections (yet) for sexual orientation.....as long as your business isn't in a city like Houston or SLC which does protect sexual orientation under its local ordinances.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 8:06 p.m.

    @?

    And what if that person strongly believes in slavery and the superiority of the white race? Should that person be allowed to ban black people from his business simply because he strongly believes in segregation? Maurice Bessinger wanted to do just that. The government forced him to allow blacks into his businesses and to employ them. If you read anything about him you will find out that saying he strongly believed in segregation is an understatement (and he backed it all up with quotations from the Bible). To him segregation was a deeply held religious right. Did the government not violate his beliefs by telling him he couldn't segregate?

    My real issue with those who side with the cake bakers, photographers, or wedding hall owners in disputes with LGBT couples is that it seems they want to allow for discrimination for only these couples. The same people who are screaming this all amounts to religious persecution would also be up in arms if the baker said no to a black couple. Apparently they just want to hate on gays.

  • firstamendment Lehi, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 10:23 p.m.

    Activists etc. (Vaughn of CA included) have made it clear that marriage is not about "Civil Rights" it's about promoting sexuality.

    It does not matter how many studies activists manipulate, suppress, misinterpret, etc. God, evolution, the aliens (whatever you believe created us) AND HONEST RESEARCH have made it perfectly clear that homosexuality is not best for children. If it were, homosexuals would have evolved the ability to procreate.

    MARRIAGE legally sanctions, upholds, and enforces relationships that are crucial for the survival of Humanity. Homosexuals are free to love but it is wrong to push everyone into legally enforcing and promoting other relationships that are individualistic.

    We should always be kind, but research shows that promoting homosexuality is harmful for our children& humanity (gays included :)).

    It is very wrong to force us ALL to promote harmful things.

    Saying no to promoting homosexuality should be a right.

    @ Tolstoy no, they aren't. Please read "GLBTQ Racism: A time to Address our Secret" and "How racism exists in our community REPORTING BY MARGIE M. PALMER AND JOSEPH PEÑA" and "Crafting Gay Children" etc.

    Those concerned with "rights" should fervently go after gay bars etc., instead of seeking out Christians to bully.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 11:28 p.m.

    The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines BIGOTRY as "strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about race or religion."

    Well, IMO, regarding bigotry as defined there, one could equally argue that those who promoted and obtained the passage of the law regarding refusing business to persons because of their lifestyle, are bigoted. They definitely have "strong, unreasonable ideas, esp. about ... religion.", and the exercise of one's specific right as enumerated not only specifically, but I would argue, first and foremost, as the very first right, listed in the very first amendment, of what is called "The Bill of Rights" in the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Why does this matter? It matters, IMO, because I believe the framers of the Constitution, and especially those of the Bill of Rights, listed it first in the first amendment, because it was more important to them than even the right to free speech, or freedom of the press!

    And therefore, certainly any primary and preceding and precluding right should certainly trump any national or state law, including this one, to try to upend and override it.

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    I wish I could find copies of the Deseret News from the 60's and 70's. When Walgreen's refused to serve colored people at their lunch counters, was that a religious freedom issue too?

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    Talk about beating a dead horse.

    Readership on the sites blogs must be down.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    Jesus said, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23) Anyone that equates Homosexuality with light only shows how subtle the adversary of God has become. Homosexuality is just as much a violation of the 7th commandment as adultery and,in my opinion, is much worse. Adulterers would no doubt argue that they are only expressing their free will and want to be protected from the consequences of their actions, including wanting society to acknowledge that what they are doing is natural and good. Not so! It is one thing to humble acknowledge sin and ask for help in overcoming it, but quite another to sin and arrogantly and pridefully want to continue abusing God's law of chastity and fidelity.

  • donn layton, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    @A Quaker Secular Humanists have more in common with Jesus than you do? Are you sure? (Jesus on Christians)“(John3:36)He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the(secular) Son shall not see life; but ‘The Wrath of God abideth on him”
    .
    RE: “Laura Bilington, Paul had problems with women and with widows--and wrote about his opinions”. Wrong, Paul is quoting the 5th commandment (Exodus 20:12) "Honor your father and your mother(not significant other).
    “I don't think(Jesus) meant that it should apply to 100% of the men .”Jesus is quoting Moses,(Genesis 2:24) That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    @The Wraith, You mixing categories, Black people and Mormons are not necessarily homosexual.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    Wedding businesses aren't being required to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. They are providing a venue for the public and as a public business they should not be permitted to discriminate against classes of people. Religious business people aren't concerned about participating in sins--they don't screen applicants for other major sins like adulltery etc. Religious business owners are seeking to ostracize others based simply on outward appearances.

    Ted Olsen, former Solicitor General under George W. Bush:

    "The Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly described the right to marriage as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men; a basic civil right, a component of the constitutional rights to liberty, privacy, association, and intimate choice; an expression of emotional support and public commitment; the exercise of spiritual unity; and a fulfillment of one's self.

    In short, in the words of the highest court in the land, marriage is the most important relation in life, and of fundamental importance for all individuals."

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    @first amendment
    "AND HONEST RESEARCH have made it perfectly clear that homosexuality is not best for children."

    Research says that kids have lower SAT scores and higher arrest rates growing up in poor families. Should we ban poor people from marriage? Should we be using averages (for sake of argument let's say you're right) when averages are just stereotyped generalizations if you try and brand them to everyone in that demographic? Utah allows single parent adoption but you all don't seem to care about using averages to stop that. So what's the deal? Looks like targeting same-sex couples with these sorts of criticisms is just an excuse.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    I'm not mixing categories donn. I'm providing examples of discrimination. My point is that it is just as bad to discriminate against the LGBT community as it is to discriminate against people based on race or religion.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    @LightandLiberty:

    Jesus said, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matthew 6:23) Anyone that equates Bigotry with light only shows how subtle the adversary of God has become. Bigotry is just as much a violation of the God's commandments as adultery and,in my opinion, is much worse. Bigots would no doubt argue that they are only expressing their free will and want to be protected from the consequences of their actions, including wanting society to acknowledge that what they are doing is natural and good. Not so! It is one thing to humble acknowledge sin (bigotry) and ask for help in overcoming it, but quite another to sin (be a bigot) and arrogantly and pridefully want to continue abusing God's law of love and charity.

    @donn;

    What does honoring your parents have to do with marriage? Are you wanting to marry your mother or father?

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    This paper has pounded the religious liberty drumbeat for months now, acting as if religion is under assault left and right. Yet we always come back to the same handful of cases-- the New Mexico photographer, the Colorado baker, a Washington florist, Hobby Lobby, and the Sisters of Mercy. Finally, a new one, a New York event venue. Except for the nuns, all have been private secular businesses engaged in secular activities. It's hard to see a tsunami of religious oppression.

    We hear nothing in the editorializing about the restrictions placed on ordained clergy of established churches by government fiat. Hard to believe, but across the country, pastors and rabbis face fines and imprisonment for conducting sacred religious rites in accordance with the dictates of their consciences and the tenets of their faiths. In Utah, it is a third degree felony for clergy to solemnize holy matrimony (30-1-13 UCA). North Carolina clergy have sued the state for their religious rights.

    If requiring a private business to accommodate all customers is an infringement on religious liberty, what do you call the government directly interfering with the religious things that churches do?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Sept. 2, 2014 12:31 p.m.

    @QuestionMark(?): Parsing your words to sound like you are saying something new? It's not working.

    Actions are not beliefs. (Hypocrites prove this every day.) While you're free to believe whatever you want, free in your personal life to be rude, insulting and unChristian towards gays, that doesn't buy you a free pass to violate laws. If you are in business to serve the public, you must obey public accommodations laws. If you find those laws coercive, fine. Wouldn't that "morally" free you to serve the public? ("Oh, I'm only treating them equally because it's the law, not because I want to.") If you're still too "religious," then embrace asceticism and follow Jesus.

    @donn, @LightAndLiberty, @firstAmendment: You're missing the big picture. Homosexuals are people -- our sons, daughters, relatives, neighbors and coworkers. Their "lifestyle" is legal. Their sexuality is innate, but even if it wasn't, they'd have a privacy right to it. So ruled SCOTUS. With that comes the rights to live, to love, to Equal Protection and to Due Process.

    Churches, meanwhile, can still exclude and preach against gays, and make Jesus weep.

    @Lagomorph: +1000000 Likes!

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    I totally get that some people interpret their religious teachings to say that homosexuality (and same sex marriage) is a sin. I get that they would not want to appear to be condoning "sin" by doing business with those they believe to be sinners. What I don't understand is how people claiming to be guided by Christian teaching and principles reconcile denial of commercial services with Christ's example and words. Jesus mingled with the sinners (of all types)-- they are precisely the ones needing help. The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain both make it clear how one should treat those you disagree with. Instead of refusing service, the bakers should be making a cake and adding cupcakes (in the spirit of turn the other cheek and giving your cloak when they take your coat).

    It seems to me that those bakers and photographers who withhold services from perceived sinners are doing the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. They are being judgmental, self-righteous, and selfish. Un-Christian, one might say. Can those defending the rights of these businesses to discriminate point me to the specific scriptural directives that authorize their actions?

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Sept. 2, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    There is a difference between declining to provide a service to a person because of a protected characteristic, and declining to participate in an activity one believes is wrong.

    It would be one thing for a merchant to say "I won't bake a cake for a gay person." It is another thing to say "I am fine with baking a cake for a gay person, but not with baking a cake for a gay wedding."

    You may not think the difference matters, but it is a difference.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Sept. 2, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    To a person who cares about liberty, antidiscrimination law ought to be seen as an extraordinary remedy, applied only in extraordinary circumstances where the imposition upon liberty is the lesser of two evils.

    In the case of race -- particularly, racism against African-Americans, an issue bound up with what could be called the nation's original sin, slavery, and a civil war that killed half a million Americans -- it's at least arguable that the extraordinary remedy is justified.

    But as we multiply distinctions where individual choice is forbidden to apply, we may start getting to a point of diminishing returns, where we do more damage than we prevent.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    Ah,here we have it. The "homosexual lifestyle" is what we're objecting to.

    My daughter lives in California with her wife. One teaches school and one manages a nonprofit. They own a house built in the fifties which has a garden in front and solar panels on the roof. They tend the lawn, pay their bills, and are involved in their communities. They both do volunteer work and have a circle of friends they are close to. When the weather is good, they do a lot of weekend hiking and camping.

    Now I'm sure that there's something really, really bad about this "lifestyle" that you object to, but I can't figure it out. Can you give me a hint?

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    Here is my proposed compromise. Allow any private business that has "religious objections" to accepting business from those they find objectionable to refuse to provide the service requested. In exchange, such business owners be required to indicate their religious objections and the clients they will refuse to serve in all their advertising, at the entrance to their facilities, on their public web space, and in all directory listings they place themselves in. This requirement will both protect their "religious" sensibilities and save the consumer seeking their goods or services time when looking for a service provider. I suspect, however, those claiming religious objection would object to such a proposal once they realize folks like myself will stop patronizing them as well.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    @the greater truth

    "A wedding is a religious ceremony."

    Except when it isn't. My wedding ceremony (32 years ago) was not religious and of all the weddings I have attended in the last few years only ONE was religious.

    "The property owners should NOT be forced have to support or allow another religious activity or worship on their property."

    But they have been. It only became problematic when the clientele were just not the "right" kind of people for them.

    "interestingly enough they willing to allow a reception"

    We have a word for that where I come from: hypocrisy. They are willing to take "tainted" money some of the time but other times it's just, well, too tainted.

    "A business license..."

    Is just that, a license from the state allowing you to provide services in accordance with the rules, regulations, and laws of the license issuing authority.

    "The gays are demanding personal labor"

    No, the anti-gay community is demanding special rights under the law.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Since when has the act of being in business been a waiver of your religious rights? I would like to know when the phrase "unless you are in business, then the government can force you to violate your conscience" was added to the 1st Amendment.

    Because you gay activists also argue that people who are "bigoted" shouldn't keep their jobs, either. See Brendan Eich and the various television shows where the gays have tried to get people fired. Or the poor guy (Scott Eckern) in San Francisco who lost his job because he dared to disagree with the gay mob.

    So you can't own a business without losing your religious rights. You can't work at a job without losing your rights when faced by the gay activists. I guess you don't have any rights at all then, except to die because you are unemployable.

    "But Gay marriage cannot harm anyone--we'll just make sure you starve if you disagree with us!"

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 2, 2014 6:29 p.m.

    @Proud Duck: "There is a difference between declining to provide a service to a person because of a protected characteristic, and declining to participate in an activity one believes is wrong."

    A distinction without a difference.

    In each of these public accommodation cases, the religious 'sin' the owners identify is the act of homosexuality. The owners assert that their participation in the "activity" of a same-sex-marriage is "wrong" because it makes them complicit in this underlying sin. Likely because a loving and committed homosexual couple will probably act like loving and committed heterosexual couples once they are married.

    But consider @David Maddox's example of "two [heterosexual] women...who 'marry' purely for tax benefits."

    Let's assume this is true and these women convince a facility owner of these facts. There is no sound business or religious reason to decline this specific SSM ceremony or "activity". The owner cannot be considered complicit in that sin which he appears most concerned about.

    On what basis then does the owner determine which type of SSM he will host and which he will forbid? The sexual orientation of the couple, exclusively. So we arrive back where we started -- people, not events.

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Sept. 2, 2014 9:18 p.m.

    @TheProudDuck says "It would be one thing for a merchant to say "I won't bake a cake for a gay person." It is another thing to say "I am fine with baking a cake for a gay person, but not with baking a cake for a gay wedding.""

    So if I'm a merchant who's a traditional Mormon or a traditional Southern Baptist, I can refuse to bake a cake for the wedding of a mixed-race couple as long as I'd other wise sell to white or black individuals?

  • Rufio Saratoga, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 5:07 a.m.

    Ranch, why not use the rest of my quote also ..."until we find that right is called wrong and wrongs become rights."

    Having a genetic combination that determines a dark skin is NOT the same as a choice to act contrary to the Laws of God. It may be harder for some to be obedient in certain areas than others - but that does not change right and wrong. Courts or judges may choose to try to redefine them legally; but eternally those are still not right or rights.

  • Rufio Saratoga, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 5:26 a.m.

    @Schnee

    And how many of those educated in high school or middle school actually lived during those times and saw it first hand? There was something definitively different then than the tactics but the LGBT. Those times were filled with silent, peaceful protests seeking being treated fairly because of their genetic make-up; the LGBT movement today is hostile, strong-armed and coercive by those seeking special rights for choices.

    Go back and learn about MLK from his own words, not from someone's "summarized" story. Wonder how he perceived the topic of homosexuality being a good Christian? Try the 1958 column in Ebony Magazine as a starter.

  • donn layton, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    A Quaker Secular Humanists have more in common with Jesus than you do? Are you sure? (Jesus on Christians)“(John3:36)He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the(secular) Son shall not see life; but ‘The Wrath of God abideth on him”.

    RE:“Laura Bilington, Paul had problems with women and with widows--and wrote about his opinions”. Wrong, Paul is quoting the 5th commandment (Exodus 20:12) "Honor your father and your mother(not significant other).

    “I don't think(Jesus) meant that it should apply to 100% of the men .”Jesus is quoting Moses,(Genesis 2:24) That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    @The Wraith , You mixing categories, Black people and Mormons are not necessarily homosexual.

  • ? SLC, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    No Wraith, people do not hate gays for not wanting to participate in an event they believe is morally wrong.

    A Quaker. It is also rude to coerce other people into doing things they believe are wrong or to cause them to loose their livelihood. Yes, under the law in some places, some people could be compelled to do something they believe to be morally wrong. Just because something becomes legal, it doesn't make it morally right. The Savior doesn't coerce people to do things, but He invites people to come to Him. He weeps for all of us in how everyone treats one another, including how some in the LGBT community treat others opposed to same-sex marriages.

    "When we undertake to cover our sins...or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved...No power or influence can or ought to be maintained...only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned." D&C 121:37,41

  • BobDog Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    Let's change the story line to a situation where two naturists (read nudists) wanted a naturist wedding. Should a photographer or cake baker or facility operator be required to provide services? What about a polygamous wedding where a man plans to marry two wives at the same time? What about a Hells Angels wedding with big hogs to be driven into the wedding or reception area? And lest we forget: "no shoes, no shirt? No service".

    What the article is highlighting is the success of the LGTB community in politically achieving a level of legal protection akin to race and gender. So far it has been the L and G who have found the greatest protection. The T and B remain to be seen.

    By the way, I can refuse to serve Mormons, and I can refuse to employ Mormons. Look at all the Mormons who lost jobs in California and elsewhere after supporting the successful proposition protecting marriage between a man and a woman. Where was the law to protect their rights? Oh, I forgot. They were not a protected class like LGTB.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    @BobDog
    "So far it has been the L and G who have found the greatest protection. The T and B remain to be seen."

    Actually B has the greatest protection since a man who has attractions to both men and women are able to at least marry a woman in every state. Are you confusing bisexuality with polyamory?

    "And lest we forget: "no shoes, no shirt? No service""

    There's no constitutional right protecting shoelessness, shirtlessness, nudity, motorcycle ownership, or polygamy so all of your examples are things businesses can reject.

    "Where was the law to protect their rights? Oh, I forgot. They were not a protected class like LGTB."

    Religion is a protected class. If someone were fired just because they were LDS (something of which I am aware of literally 0 examples of LDS workers losing jobs after Prop 8) then that would be a valid lawsuit based on those anti-discrimination based on religion laws.

  • BobDog Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    @Schnee: The U.S. Constitution does not protect LGBT folks any more or less than it protects nudists and bike riders. It is legislation that creates the protection that the article discusses. Brown v. Board, as right as it was, was on shaky Constitutional grounds. It took the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to really take bite into segregation. And it is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its state law corollaries that create the protection of LGBT folks as discussed in the article.

  • JJ1094 Saratoga, UT
    Sept. 4, 2014 4:43 a.m.

    @Schnee, who said:

    "There's no constitutional right protecting shoelessness, shirtlessness, nudity, motorcycle ownership, or polygamy so all of your examples are things businesses can reject."

    Why would the right to choose who to marry, including multiple wives (polygamy) not be equally protected - especially when it is based on firmly held religious beliefs?

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    Laura Bilington: "Now I'm sure that there's something really, really bad about this 'lifestyle' that you object to, but I can't figure it out. Can you give me a hint?"

    I have pondered your daughter's and her sweetie's situation you have described. I conclude that the bad part of their lifestyle, the really objectionable part, must be the fair weather hiking and camping. They are missing out on the joys of cowering in a tent on a ridgetop during a thunderstorm and waking up in a mud puddle in a soaking wet sleeping bag. They could be more adventurous. Or maybe it's the midcentury home; it might be a little dated. Other than that they seem like a delightful couple.