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Comments about ‘Colliding causes: Gay rights and religious liberty’

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Published: Saturday, Feb. 11 2012 1:00 p.m. MST

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Linguist
Silver Spring, MD

It seems to me that there are two independent issues being confused here:

The first is marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The second is public accommodations and the laws governing them.

They aren't the same issue at all.

If there are sound reasons (and I believe there are) for recognizing the right of same-sex couples to sign legally-binding marriage contracts that opposite-sex couples now get to sign, then those arguments are necessarily independent from issues of who has to recognize legally-binding marriage contracts.

After all, the Catholic Church need not recognize a civil divorce. How do bakers who follow Catholic teachings handle baking wedding cakes for civil marriages of divorcees?

How does a Jewish photographer handle the wedding of a mixed-religious couple that her own temple would never agree to?

How does an Evangelical motel owner respond to an unmarried couple that wants to book a room for the night?

How does a Christian photographer handle an unmarried gay couple that simply wants to celebrate the 6th anniversary of their meeting?

I don't know the answer to public accommodation laws, but I do know that this isn't a question that applies uniquely to same-sex marriage. It's exactly the same principle.

I think this article, however sincere, does a disservice to both gay couples wishing to marry and to those with religious convictions wishing to thrive in a pluralistic society.

David B.
Cedar City, UT

I also think this couple was unjustly dealt with by the commission and I would of told them to stuff it! My choice my business! Now personally I don't agree with same sex relationships and I also think it's immoral. This gay couple wanted something for nothing and the more this allowed to happen the more problems there are going to be.
What ever happened to the business owners choice to set up their business anyway they want. If you're doing work on the internet I would have formated what my service would and would not do and if the customer doesn't like it they can go elsewhere but oh no the customer is trying to dictate how a small business should run thru the commissions or courts.It's also like a small restaurant With an english only menu or having each item listed be a number. Do you have any idea how hard it would be to have a menu in 10 languages.

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

As a gay guy I'm totally in agreement with any private service provider who, for whatever reason, does not want to have gays as their clients. They have the right to choose who they will, and will not provide services for.

Why any gay would even *want* to hire someone who doesn't approve of him or her is beyond me. There are a multitude of gay and gay-friendly services which would gladly have gay clients.

I don't understand the gays who brought these "discrimination" suits, but I strongly suspect they're fringe radicals--and in the distinct minority. Please don't get the idea that gays in general are out to "get" religious people. We simply don't want those people to impose their own beliefs on, e.g., our right to marry--a right which does *not* limit in any way how religious people run their own lives. It's a huge distinction.

Again, this article is not about "gays"--it's about a handful of gay radicals who don't represent the great majority of us.

SoCalChris
Riverside, CA

There IS a way to "live and let live." Civil unions.

The LDS Church's position as described in this piece is once again exactly right. You show tolerance, compassion and accomodation without fully embracing and celebrating something you believe is wrong.

Ridgely
Magna, UT

It's interesting that the same week the heavily LDS supported Prop 8 is declared unconstitutional(for a second time), the Des News prints an anti-gay article window dressed as an impending religious liberty crisis. It's specially disingenuous when it is primarily extrapolated from one sensationalized case SEVEN years ago.

Gay marriage has been legal in Canada, Massachusetts,and parts of Europe for years now. It hasn't changed the daily functions of the LDS Church. It hasn't forced any changes to LDS religious doctrine or beliefs, and hasn't impacted LDS Temple work in those jurisdictions.

Yet somehow that monumental fact never seems to make it into the Deseret News.

OnlyInUtah
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Here's the key... every business and every individual has the right to refuse service to anyone but not in a discriminatory manner. For example, the photographer in the story should not have refused to take the photos because of the sexual orientation of the customer. But she could easily have refused based on a "scheduling conflict" or other non-discriminatory reason.

Kitenoa
Salt Lake City, UT

For once, a balanced article. My comment:

At many restaurants there is a sign at the front desk that reads "we reserve the right to deny anyone service", especially if the customer is antagonistic toward the restaurant's house rules". At bars, unruly or uncomplying customers are physically removed from the premises by a security officer (or bouncers). A customer can choose to comply with reasonable house rules (such as the business owner's religious belief does not allow them to photograph gay unions) or CHOOSE another business that allows services. It may be inconveinient but neverthless reasonable. Gays cannot force others against their rights to religious liberty and personal convictions. And it goes both ways, business cannot stop a celebration from happening.

Financially, the house rule is an income loss to the business owners BUT you both get to choose; and you continue to have your freedom to choose.

In this case, the photographer does not have a bouncer to kick out unruly gay couples, neither can the photographer stop the wedding celebration from proceeding.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

Reading about the wedding photographer, the Ocean Grove Methodists and catholic Charities yet again reminds me of all of the anti-Mormon literature I've come across...Both have been answered and refuted several times yet their supporters refuse to even consider the truth.

The businesses were in jurisdictions that forbade discrimination against gays, yet they CHOSE to do so. They knowingly violated the law of their own free will and choice.

The Ocean Grove Methodists made a deal with the government to allow the park/gazebo to be tax exempt if it were open to the public. Weddings, concerts, etc... were held there. The church knowingly violated the deal of their own free will and choice.

catholic Charities likewise knowingly violated the deal with the state of their own free will and choice. They got money if they didn't discriminate. They took the money anyway and discriminated.

Being a libertarian, I am ALL in favor of ANy business being able to discriminate against ANYONE for whatever reason they choose, including race, religion, sex, etc...

We as a society have chosen another path. We don't allow it. We LDS and other Christians can't say that OUR discrimination against others is fine, but discrimination against us is wrong. Christ hated hypocrites.

very concerned
Sandy, UT

I do not believe in the basic premises upon which homosexuals have historically based their case. These premises are systematically assumed nowadays as fact. The scientific basis of such assumptions are not irrefutable.

If I believed those premises; that homosexuality is uncontrollable (i.e. a biological imperative), that abstinence is not a viable option, that there is nothing immoral/unhealthy with having same-sex, that there is no God, nor prophet, then it would certainly follow that gay people are truly a persecuted minority and need the same *rights* (i.e. legalized same-sex marriage) as heterosexuals. These premises automatically lead to the kind of demands being made. Without these premises, the whole house of cards falls.

Respectfully, I do not believe those premises. I know many of you do. The problem is that the pendulum is swinging so far in your direction that the First Amendment rights of sincere religious people are in jeopardy. I hope that concerns you of the GLBT community who are also sincere in your beliefs.

Of course, those who practice GLBT lifestyles deserve respect and compassion just as any fellow human beings. But not at the expense of religious rights.

markusjbear
Foothill Ranch, CA

Again, this is not a case of civil liberties but this is a case of Religious Freedom and Freedom of Speech. People do not like to hear that they are living amoral and want to stifle anyone who says they are living amoral. The gay community was all upset when a lesbian actor said this was her choice. They want to force her and us to think that it is all biological and not a choice. If we say this life style is wrong we are labeled a bigot the discrimination is turned around.

The article was very well done. The article did not include the doctor in California that was force to complete artificial incrementation on a lesbian couple against his will or the San Diego firefighter that was forced to participate in gay-lesbian parade against his will.

Many comments accused the article of need to be in the options column, but again, when someone brings out the facts that are against the gay and lesbian community, they scream and yell that it is opinion and want to silence it. The bottom line, the gay and lesbian agenda will put great limitations on religious freedom and the freedom of speech,which is The very cornerstone of this country.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@OnlyInUtah
So lying... you want someone to lie to cover up their discrimination?

SoCalChris
Riverside, CA

These aren't isolated cases. There's a similar case going on right now with a bed and breakfast in Hawaii.

The IS a slippery slope. The sky IS falling for those of us who don't believe homosexuality is perfectly normal and healthy and don't want our kids taught that it is. In California it's not tolerance it's totalitarianism. You WILL agree with our position. A handful of elite judges have foisted gay marriage on California despite what voters have had to say. SB 48 will now force schools to indoctrinate kids from Kindergarten on up about gays and lesbians.

I will say this. It's wrong to refuse to photograph someone simply because he or she is gay. But it's also wrong to insist that someone photograph a gay wedding or some other overtly gay activity. There's a big difference.

DEW
Sandy, UT

Those people who voted this Prop 8 going to be sued and fined? This is getting ugly and evil.

moderateinmagna
MAGNA, UT

So i guess that any business that has a sign up that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody" could be sued for discrimination if they decided not to serve someone who has long hair and tattoos even tho the owners had the sign up saying the reserve that right.

mytymouse09
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I'm so tired of gays DEMANDING their rights -- what about the rights of people who don't embrace the beliefs of gays. If this couple declined to photograph the lesbian couple in their "commitment", that should have been their choice without the fear of being sued. Too bad the photographers don't sue the lesbian couple for discriminating against the beliefs of the photographers. I'm sure the lesbians could have found a photographer who would have complied to their wants, but no, they had to make a big issue out of it and cause a financial burden to a young company. There are too many gays who are thin skinned, and think they are the only ones with rights. Before I get responses attacking my comment, I have a gay son, who I love dearly, and he even thinks there are too many obnoxious gays in our society.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

I personally don't care who anyone sleeps with (unless it violates the law). That is their business and the government shouldn't be peeping into their bedrooms. That said, the only way that homosexuals have to practice their form of "poor me I'm discriminated against" is in the courts and the so called "human rights" commissions. I for one am getting sick and tired of the homosexual community always trying to ram things down my throat. If you go and watch one of their parades, they are in your face. The homosexual community want acceptance and tolerance. They should be able to give it back.

In this case there were more than likely 100's of photographers those people could have chosed after being turned down by these people. Why didn't they go to another photographer? They threw the equivalent of a tantrum and wanted to force someone to accept their views and their way, which by the way is not the way Americans do things. There is no middle ground in this because no one wants there to be.

ulvegaard
Medical Lake, Washington

If a boy scout had approached these photographers, wanting them to take pictures at his Eagle Court of Honor and, for what ever reason, they declined -- there might have been a few critical words spoken around the dinner table and the community. But a law suit? I doubt it.

There is a difference between a hospital refusing to treat someone, and some photographer listed in the yellow pages from wanting to do business with someone, or anyone. It's capitalism in it's purest form. You do business, you make money, you don't, you lose out. Again, we're not talking about life threatening issues here.

I don't think it's right to deny people services that are needful for existence - food, shelter, clothing --- but if I don't want to mow your lawn because there are too many hills, or someone won't paint my house because the siding is falling off . . . . there has to be some common sense here.

From what I see, I get the feeling some individuals might even be purposely approaching someone to take pictures, rent a hall, or what ever, knowing full well they'll be turned down just so they can run to an attorney.

These are the tenets of liberty or freedom. I don't attend churches which disagree with my beliefs just to start a fight -- but some do.

Macfarren
Dallas, TX

Let's take this photography example to the extreme and see if the same logic holds up that the current court holds to. Let's say an active Christian photographer is asked by a potential client to do a pornographic photo-shoot. The photographer declines on the basis of violation of his beliefs. The potential client sues because they felt 'discriminated' against. Since pornography is not illegal, do you think the court would rule against the photographer?

Many say that the wedding photo issue is no big deal and we should all get over it. Wake up! It's not about the wedding, it's about the ramifications of government intrusion into private (note-- not public) business, and the voice of a tiny angry minority turning the world on its head.

jonjon
Cedar Hills, UT

thanks for the article. Discrimination is taking away someone rights based and gender, race, sexual preference. I didn't know that have a photographer at your wedding is someones right as a human being. I wish we would just let Capitalism work in this country. Another photographer could create a niche and get very well known for same sex weddings. Free Markets work, if the government would let them

ParkCityAggie
Park City, Ut

Rational people of Utah.. Unite and take over!

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