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Shopping for lifestyle acceptance?

March 5th, 2014

Is this woman  (yea, Fox News again) really this uninformed?  Do we really have to shop around for people who accept our lifestyle?

What if you didn’t want orthodox Jews in your place?  How about senior citizens?    Are there two sides to the Arizona issue?

Yes, I know it is a done deal in Arizona.  However, there are other states that are trying to legislate similar laws that allow business owners to refuse service to gays based on their religious beliefs.  The Arizona bill went down in swift defeat not because of men of good will but because of the economic pressure directed at the government.   Not all states have Arizona’s tourism attractions though.   Will any of them be successful?

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  1. Wolverine
    March 5th, 2014 at 08:27 | #1

    No shirt. No shoes. No service?

    • March 5th, 2014 at 09:39 | #2

      I agree with that one for sure. I think anything dress code is perfectly legal as it should be.

  2. March 5th, 2014 at 10:22 | #3

    She just doesn’t seem to get it that the times have change and yo can’t decide who has rights and who doesn’t.

    If you are open for commercial business, you just don’t always get to make that choice.

  3. Rick Bentley
    March 5th, 2014 at 10:30 | #4

    Beyond the more narrow question of this law … or of owner rights vs. non-discrimination laws …

    Does anyone here think it’s fair game for any religion to TRY to discriminate based on homsexuality? I really don’t get that there is any logical connection between homophobia and any mainstream religion.

    If you believe in a God, and he made gay people, then what’s the problem? IMO it’s not a valid interpretation of Christianity to want to deny service to gay people.

  4. Rick Bentley
    March 5th, 2014 at 10:36 | #5

    Expecting a gay person to try to become straight is like going up to a handicapped person in a wheelchair and exhorting them to walk, telling them that if they believe in God they’ll be able to walk (because you saw it happen on TV, on a faith healer show). It’s just insane behavior.

  5. March 5th, 2014 at 10:54 | #6

    I don’t disagree with you, Rick. The one exception I would make is that I don’t think ministers should be forced to marry anyone they don’t want to. Civil weddings, no exceptions.

    I don’t even know why I feel that way.

  6. George S. Harris
    March 5th, 2014 at 12:28 | #7

    WWJD? While I don’t know the answer for sure, what does the Catholic Church do about homosexuals and the Eucharist? If a priest refuses to allow a homosexual to participate in this sacrament, what recourse does the person have?

  7. Rick Bentley
    March 5th, 2014 at 14:18 | #8

    No minister should be forced to marry same-sex couples. No disagreement here.

  8. March 5th, 2014 at 19:13 | #9

    @George S. Harris
    not being catholic I guess. That happened around here about a year ago, at some woman’s mother’s funeral.

    Definitely WWJD.

  9. Lyssa
    March 5th, 2014 at 21:08 | #10

    George S. Harris :
    WWJD? While I don’t know the answer for sure, what does the Catholic Church do about homosexuals and the Eucharist? If a priest refuses to allow a homosexual to participate in this sacrament, what recourse does the person have?

    Same thing as divorce and remarriage. Many Catholics conscientiously form their

  10. Lyssa
    March 5th, 2014 at 21:09 | #11

    …form their conscience on their own with the blessing of many a priest. At least the ones that think do. Many priests do as well.

  11. Scout
    March 5th, 2014 at 21:24 | #12

    I think I’m reasonably familiar with Christian doctrine, and I know nothing in my religion forbids Christians to serve sinners in places that provide food and shelter. This is a non-issue on religious grounds. There is absolutely no doctrinal justification for turning away coveters, idolators, liars, graven image makers, etc. They are we.

    In the United States, if you, as an individual, decide not to do business with someone for any cockamamie reason, that’s your decision. But if you offer public accommodations to people moving in interstate commerce, and you don’t like the cut of someone’s jib – tough. Suck it up, man.

  12. Scout
    March 5th, 2014 at 21:27 | #14

    @ Moon (#6): you feel that way because it makes sense. When the State bestows a legal status, it can’t discriminate. However, because our genius forefathers saw what damage was done when state and religion intertwined, they made certain that our founding document drew a clear line between them. If a church whose doctrine is that left-handed people shall not marry right-handed people wants to refuse such a marriage, it is of no moment to the Government. Good luck in their next membership or pledge drive, but they can believe and act on whatever they want.

  13. Wolverine
    March 6th, 2014 at 20:51 | #15

    So, Scout, if a professional caterer, for example, does not wish for reasons of strong religious faith, to participate in a same-sex wedding by providing the food and drink for it, he will have to do so anyway if approached by the groom and groom or bride and bride? Does this mean then that, if a caterer is asked to provide food and drink for a lawful Westboro Baptist Church rally against homosexuality, he must also do so or face legal consequences? What say you?

  14. Scout
    March 6th, 2014 at 21:15 | #16

    You missed my point, Wolve (not for the first time). My point was that churches are free to decline their sacraments and rituals to whomever doesn’t meet their religious standards, no matter how arbitrary they might seem to outsiders.

  15. Wolverine
    March 6th, 2014 at 21:59 | #17

    No, Scout, you missed MY point (not for the first time either). I understand your theory about churches and agree with you. I merely asked for your opinion about the legalities of a private business turning away a client because of strong antipathy toward something based on religious or other moral preferences. Is this an all or nothing legal deal in your view?

    • March 7th, 2014 at 02:25 | #18

      You don’t turn away groups. You restrict behavior that you will do.

      For instance, I wouldn’t be a wedding planner if I had strong views against gay marriage. You can’t pick and chose. You can restrict things you will do, however. You might have to cater a party for Westboro but you can refuse to write I HATE FAGS on the dessert cake.

  16. Wolverine
    March 7th, 2014 at 04:28 | #19

    Hmmm, so, following the Westboro example, you could be obliged to bake the cake for a same-sex marriage but could refuse to put “Robert and William” and two male groom figurines on top?

    • March 7th, 2014 at 06:55 | #20

      Not if you want to be a wedding planner. Now, can you set yourself up as a wedding planner for heteros and advertise that way? I guess that is untested territory.

  17. Scout
    March 7th, 2014 at 08:11 | #21

    It wasn’t a question I addressed, Wolve, but since you have interest in my view, I’ll lay it on you in all its complexity. I start from the default position that anyone should be able to refuse to do business with anyone else for any reason, however arbitrary. The trouble with this is that we know full well (because we are both old enough to have lived through it) that the country was really being damaged by people using religious and non-religious (sometimes just completely unvarnished bigotry) justifications to refuse service to African Americans. We addressed this with federal prohibitions on denying public accommodations to persons on the basis of race and other arbitrary criteria if the provider was engaged in interstate commerce (which was the hook to get the feds into it). Many states followed suit with their own anti-discrimination statutes and, in those cases, the interstate commerce bit was not essential. So we now are at a point where virtually every provider of services is subject to some sort of anti-discrimination requirement and my personal view about what a default position should be can operate only in very narrow circumstances without running afoul state and local laws. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but the evil that these laws was intended to address was so pervasive and so damaging to so many of our fellow citizens, that I accept the necessity of these requirements.

    The problem with now trying to carve out a religious exception was nailed very simply by Lyssa either in this thread or somewhere else recently – If you try to draft a religious exception, it becomes necessary to find a way for the State to test the sincerity of the religious exception, and you have to decide how to keep the religious exception from swallowing up prohibitions against discrimination against race, creed, national origin-type prohibitions. Do we draft a statute that allows me to discriminate based on religious principles against Muslims, but not against Jews, homosexuals, but not against transvestites, ex-felons but not against misdemeanor perps? If I am an innkeeper can I turn away two men seeking a room because I mistakenly believe they are homosexuals and that offends my religious sensitivities? Do they have redress if I am wrong? Do we need to have a government agency to classify people correctly to ensure that no mistakes are made? Should those who can be legally discriminated against wear externally visible symbols, so we know who they are?

    Aside from that, there are a few very practical points. First, there is no religion that I’m aware of that requires its adherents not to serve food or provide lodging to sinners, be they homosexuals or idolators, or ass-coveters. My religion, for example, emphasizes from the Top down the need to serve and welcome such people. Second, who the hell would want a hairdresser or wedding caterer or photographer to do work for them if he/she has some animus (religiously based or otherwise) toward the consumer? Third, how big a risk is it, really, to take a chance and say no to a transaction if your religious beliefs really mean you can’t provide proper service (I know of a few reported cases in the western states, but I have to think these are outliers). Fourth, if it really is a strongly held religious belief, holding that belief sometimes causes real inconvenience in the secular world, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Take your medicine and stand by your beliefs.

    In short, much as I start from the idea that I’ll do business with whom I bloody well choose, I can see why we have to have some limitations on that instinct and I find it difficult to understand how one creates a system that drafts in exceptions that do not swallow up the initial, necessary requirement. If you show me some statutory language that will work and that you think addresses some or all of my concerns expressed above, I’ll take a look at it.

    As for the Westboro loonies, the Scout Catering Company won’t do their shindigs. They probably wouldn’t want me to in the first place, but if they choose to go to law over it, I’ll take what comes with a smile on my face.

  18. Rick Bentley
    March 7th, 2014 at 11:00 | #22

    “Hmmm, so, following the Westboro example, you could be obliged to bake the cake for a same-sex marriage but could refuse to put “Robert and William” and two male groom figurines on top?”

    That’s what I believe.

  19. Wolverine
    March 8th, 2014 at 00:35 | #23

    Very interesting response, Scout. Something that might seem so simple has become extremely complicated in the consideration of actual circumstances and variations. I cannot see this having any effect on providing general services to the public — restaurant meals, hotel accommodations, whatever. But it does seem to get dicey when the service turns very personal. Your example of a photog was a good one. I am thinking, for example, of the hiring of a local professional and advertised singer for a wedding — both religious and traditional wedding music. If that singer for genuine and established religious reasons does not accept same-sex marrage and would feel extremely uncomfortable helping to celebrate such an event, could he simply refuse the assignment on such grounds without fear of losing his business on a charge of bias? Or are we perhaps going to be treated to civil disobedience in reaction to judicial threats to punish unless one violates one’s own faith beliefs? I agree with you that the thing starts out at a default position of sorts for many of us but then moves into very complex and as yet unknown legal territory.

  20. Scout
    March 9th, 2014 at 13:42 | #24

    Think about it this way, Wolve: would you like a singer/cakebaker/photographer to do your wedding if you knew he/she has an active distaste for you and/or your lifestyle?

    That’s why this is a non-problem. No one will lose a business because of such a refusal (although they may lose business of a certain demographic). More likely no one who declines once will be asked again.

    One of the problems with the Arizona law was that it would have arguably permitted refusal of restaurant meals, accommodations etc.

  21. Wolverine
    March 9th, 2014 at 22:05 | #25

    I agree with you, Scout. But I also suspect that there are those who might choose to push the envelope on this just because they have an avocation of sorts for pushing envelopes. Beyond that observation, I don’t see how you could write any kind of law for this without getting caught up in a confounding legal maze.

  22. Scout
    March 10th, 2014 at 08:27 | #26

    Yup. I think that’s where it comes out, Wolve. There have, in fact, been a few lawsuits or actions in these situations. I’m not sure that any have reached a final outcome. But I don’t think it’s going to be a real-world problem to any great extent.

    In contract law, there has for a very long time been a principle that a court will not enforce “specific performance” – i.e., force someone to fulfill a contractual obligation – in a personal services context. The classic hypothetical is that you can’t force an opera singer to sing pursuant to a contract. It’s too easy for him to screw it up either on purpose or because he has a bad attitude. So monetary damages is then your only remedy for breach.

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