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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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SoCalChris
Riverside, CA

The photographer did not discriminate against someone because they were gay. She declined to photograph a gay wedding, something that contradicted her values. Im amazed this distinction keeps getting blurred. If a photographer refuses to photograph a Mormon group at a Prop 8 rally is that religious bigotry? Or maybe he doesnt hate Mormons, he just opposes Prop 8 and doesn't want to be a part of it.

In California, the only hate that was seen during the Prop 8 campaign was from one side. Prop 8 supporters were spit at, flipped off, things were thrown at them. Prop 8 contributors have been black listed and some have lost their jobs. I dont know of anything remotely comparable on the flip side.

Baccus0902
Leesburg, VA

Congratulations to Washington State, the 7th State in the Union to legalize Same Sex Marriage.

Marriage and a big variety of them exist now and have existed since the beginning of time.

The LDS and any other group can believe whatever they want about marriage, homosexuality, tobacco, alcohol, etc. that is their right. Right that most civilized human beings would defend even if they are in disagreement with their beliefs.

When you are calling SSM a "sin" you are stating your belief not a fact. Just your belief.

Fortunately for a nation as diverse as ours. Your believes are personal and should have no influence in the edict of laws for the people.

We are blessed to live in a time and place where social justice is finally making roots in our society and culture.

The courageous leaders, supporters and people, gays and straihght , who have made this transformation possible deserve our admiration and respect.

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds." Albert Einstein

Bubble
SLC, UT

@SoCalChris

the only hate? I would call actively working to keep certain families and individuals from having the same protections as everyone else and in effect treating them as second class citizens pretty hateful sorry.

the first part of your comment trying to make a distinction makes no sense. It is however a great example of circular reasoning.

22ozn44ozglass
Southern Utah, UT

Lane Meyer:

"Do any of you realize that New Mexico has a clause written into their state constitution that makes homosexuals a minority that cannot be discriminated against.. That is why the photographer was sued. It was under an amendment to their constitution that was duly voted upon by the citizens of New Mexico and accepted as law"

I suggest you read the appeal for this case Elaine Photoghraphy LLC Plaintif vs Vanessa Willock Defendant. First a few facts that make this case all the more interesting. When Ms Willock inquired about having Elaine photogrhapy take pictures of her "committment ceremony" she clearly stated that it was going to be a same sex ceremony and then specifically asked IF the Elaine Photography was "open to helping us celebrate our day".

There are many photographers in New Mexico who had no religous objection to taking pictures of the commitment ceremony. However, Ms Willock then filed a complaint with the New Mexico Division of Human Rights proving that her words and her actions are not the same regarding whether Elaine photoghrapy was open to taking pictures of the same sex union. It should be pointed out that at the time of Willock's complaint, New Mexico did not recognise SSM or any type of legal union between same sex couples.

Now for a couple points of law that you are wrong on. First, the complaint was investigated by the NM Division of Human Rights. The New Mexico Commision on Human Rights and not a Jury or a legitimate District Court ruled that Elaine Photography had engaged in an illegal act of sexual orientation discrimination by a public accomodation in violation of New Mexico State Statute 28-1-7 which is also referred to as Employment New Mexico Human Rigts Act. In addition the director of the NM Division of Human rights and not a prosecuting attorney determined that the complaint was valid and should be investigated.

The ruling was NOT based upon any ammendment to the New Mexico Constitution as you claim,and the appeal makes it absolutly clear that the State Statute mentioned above was the entire crux of the the complaint against Elaine Photography. The NM Constitution is not even mentioned in the ruling and the appeal of that ruling.

LM sayeth "I do hate it when others tell only half of a story to prove their own point of view"

How do you feel about those who do not present the true facts and the actual points of law to prove their point of view?

ProudUtahn
St. George, Utah

VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT

"I suppose if we allow businesses to decide whether or not to provide services to homosexuals because it is 'a choice' which they find morally objectionable we should also allow businesses to not provide services to those who choose a religion that they find morally objectionable. If so, then that seems fair."

If someone refuses service to another because of homosexuality, how would the business owner have any idea unless that person told them? I go into businesses all the time with my wife, son, brother and or friend. No one knows my orintation or religion unless they know me personaly or I tell them. They can make an assumtion by my mannorisms or actions otherwise they would never know. I believe a business owner has the right to refuse service to who ever they choose without government intervention the owner is the one missing out on the sale.

ProudUtahn
St. George, Utah

I am one who believes in God and that the scriptures are true giving guidence and warning to the world. For those who do not believe as such I say this. If religion is man made and securalism is man made. Then those speaking of religion and praying has just as much right in schools and the public square as the foul language, stories and litriture that is allowed now days.

All this discussion on marriage, what happend? it was not that long ago that the media made it out that most people did not believe a piece of paper mattered and marriage was not needed anymore.

Joe Carlin
OAKLAND, CA

What is unsaid is that a Mormon adoption agency in Massachusetts continues to operates. They continue to refuse to place children with same sex couples. It is very legal for them to do so, because they are a private agency, and their faith says they can.

What they also don't mention is that the Catholic organization could also do the same thing if they operated as a private organization. But they don't. They accept taxpayer money and thus strangely feel at odds that the taxpayers don't like it when their money is used to discriminate against them. Try being any charity receiving money and then the charity telling you thanks, but you have absolutely no say in how it'll be used. You'll find that charity out of business quite soon. And that's exactly what happened here.

Individuals and organizations are free to operate as they choose. But the government cannot nor should it ever discriminate. If organizations wish to use government funding, they shouldn't be surprised that the government doesn't wish them to use it to discriminate either.

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

SoCalChris
The photographer did not discriminate against someone because they were gay. She declined to photograph a gay wedding, something that contradicted her values. Im amazed this distinction keeps getting blurred.
KJK
So ...a baker refused to make a wedding cake for an LDS couple because the couple wanted the baker to draw the Salt Lake temple in icing on the cake. If the baker feels that temple rituals are demonic, that would be OK? Why is YOUR form of discrimination OK and the other is not?

SCC
Prop 8 contributors have been black listed and some have lost their jobs. I dont know of anything remotely comparable on the flip side.
KJK
Since firing someone for their politics is illegal, why haven't we heard of those fired suing?

22/44
It should be pointed out that at the time of Willock's complaint, New Mexico did not recognise SSM or any type of legal union between same sex couples.
KJK
So, the photographer still violated a valid state law.

22/44
Now for a couple points of law that you are wrong on. First, the complaint was investigated by the NM Division of Human Rights. The New Mexico Commision on Human Rights and not a Jury or a legitimate District Court ruled that Elaine Photography had engaged in an illegal act of sexual orientation discrimination by a public accomodation in violation of New Mexico State Statute 28-1-7 which is also referred to as Employment New Mexico Human Rigts Act. In addition the director of the NM Division of Human rights and not a prosecuting attorney determined that the complaint was valid and should be investigated.
KJK
Hmmm...that sounds like the IRS. No prosecuting attorney determines whether my 1040 looks sketchy and deserving of an audit. The governing agency (IRS or the NM Division of Human rights) makes the call. It's perfectly fine.

22/44
The ruling was NOT based upon any ammendment to the New Mexico Constitution as you claim,and the appeal makes it absolutly clear that the State Statute mentioned above was the entire crux of the the complaint against Elaine Photography. The NM Constitution is not even mentioned in the ruling and the appeal of that ruling.
KJK
So? It's a validly enacted law and Christians are commanded to "render unto Caesar". The passing of and enforcing of laws in our secular society definitionally belong to Caesar.

Gregg Weber
SEATTLE, WA

I tried this a couple of time with no response at all. Even saying thank you and it will be screened. Either this is a duplicate, sorry 'bout that chief, or this is the first to actually get through some computer bottleneck.

Let's see if I get this right. Allan wants Berry to do something for Allan that Berry doesn't agree with. Berry says no and looses the job. Allan finds Charles who does it with no problem. Allan doesn't like it that Berry said no so he (Allan) sues Berry for not doing that thing that Charles did.
Now Berry went to his friend Doug and told him the story. Doug didn't like what Allan did and found out that Allan sells widgets. Doug figures out a use of those widgets that Allan wouldn't want them to be used for. Doug, Edward, and Frank each individually go to Allan to buy some widgets but Allan tells them that he won't sell any widgets to any of them. They would have to buy the widgets from Gregg.
Whether it be selling or doing a job, just as not selling something to a class of people, something that another will sell, harms your pocket book there should be no legal restraint from doing what you consider right in refusing to sell or do something and you should face the financial consequences.
Legal consequences is [as a catagory, singular] a double edged sword that can be used both for and against you.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

It is disturbing to see how perverse are the arguments used to justify bigotry. What a sad commentary on religion that it's followers will warp truth to maintain hatred and condemnation of others.

bebot
SHAWNEE MISSION, KS

I have some strong opinions about this and many other topics, but no matter how respectful and on topic I write, my comments a not approved. Is there some kind of trick to get your comments published because I see much more controversial comments on here than anything I tried to write.

It is difficult to watch fellow Christians and LDS people discriminate against a group of people and think it is okay. If you refuse service to someone because of race, gender, or sexual orientation you should be ashamed of yourself. I'm LDS and work with gays all the time and at no point do I ever feel like I'm compromising my standards.

Religious intolerance has cause more wars and murders than any other cause. Once we accept others for what type of people they are and not for what type of religious beliefs they hold, our society will progress.

Gregg Weber
SEATTLE, WA

Concerning bebot's comment about religious intolerance being the cause of more wars and murders I can see that if one includes the religious wars started by Muhammad against the jews and others, Hitler against the jews and others, Stalin against Ukraine.
You might search "how many people were killed by tyrants" and see what comes up.
It is true that tyranny kills more than freedom.

I assume that this got approved to show the other side of an argument (debate) otherwise only one side would be presented.

Malcolm Swall
SAN DIEGO, CA

Allowing same sex couples to marry will change marriage exactly as much as allowing women to vote changed voting.

If you have a problem with anti-discrimination laws, get the laws changed. If you think a small business owner should be allowed to discriminate, and the law says they shouldn't - petition your legislature, start an initiative, circulate a petition.

O'really
Idaho Falls, ID

@ Kevin If a baker didn't want to make a cake with a temple on it for me, I'd simply find another baker, or make it myself.

I think these complaints serve only to further a dubious agenda, nothing else. They certainly don't serve to generate approval and acceptance of LGBT "rights" from those who disagree with the whole thing. They only serve to further antagonize.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

Rynn
RE: Why do people mix up homosexual behavior with race? People are born with a particular race - but Hollywood and the media have given us plenty of examples of people who switch between hetero and homosexual. A black man is always going to be black, no matter what. He didn't choose it and he can't change it.

LDS4
I was baptized as a convert 35 years ago. I CHOSE to be LDS. People switch between LDS and non-LDS all of the time. You seem to imply that if one CHOOSES to be part of a group that faces discrimination, then you can't complain since you CHOSE to join that group. Should people be allowed to discriminate against people since they CHOSE to live that lifestyle?

Most LDS CHOOSE to be Republicans. What if Obama gave an executive order ordering only the names of Democrat candidates be printed on the ballot? Voters wanting to vote for GOP candidates would have to write in the name of the candidate. Since the GOP guy can CHOOSE to be a Democrat if he wants his name on the ballot, then there is no discrimination, especially since they can still be elected via a write-in vote.

Just because someone CHOOSES to be X doesn't mean that we can freely discriminate against X and then say that if people want societal approval, all they have to do if CHOOSE to no longer be X. The LDS at Haun's Mill could have chosen to not be LDS. Do you believe that it's their own fault for what happened to them? That's crazy!

Baccus0902
Leesburg, VA

@ Gregg Weber
You are using as examples selective cases to contradict bebot's assertion. However, your presentation is also vague and undefined.Because you are basing your position on fairly new historical cases.
If we look at crimes committed in the name of religion you may like to start with the Old Testament;
Israel against all those people they conquered, took their land and killed in the name of God.
Persians, Assyrians, etc. against Israel.
The Crusades
The Inquisition
Let's go to the Americas:
The Inca Empire, being the chosen one by the god Sun
The Aztecs
The Mayans
And the list goes on and on. Unfortunately we don't have the numbers to corroborate bebo's assertion. But we don't have the numbers to dispute it either.

However, those numbers are really irrelevant. Because, you see, no crimes should ever be committed in the name of religion. One crime in the name of God is one too many.

Discrimination, bigotry, social injustice in the name of God is wrong regardless the number of time those Gospel violations are committed. They are always wrong!

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

"As of July 1, 2003, New Mexico non-discrimination law extends to categories of "sexual orientation and gender identity" as well as "race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, physical or mental handicap or serious medial condition." An Act Relating to Human Rights, N.M. S.B. 28 to be codified at ch. 196, N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 28-1-2, 7, 9 (April 8, 2003); N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-1-7 (2001). Sexual orientation is defined to mean: heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality, whether actual or perceived."

I was wrong. Just a law - not an amendment.

BUT it has been a law since 2003. Those photographers had to choice to move to a state (like Utah) that has no anti-discrimination law if they wanted to be able to discriminate to those who didn't believe like they did. Why did they choose a state that had laws against the very thing that they purported to want to do - only photograph those things that agreed with their beliefs?

Why can't we blame these individuals for their choices too?

The Finite
Orem, UT

If you believe in a Constitutional republic like we do, then you believe that other people's beliefs, no matter how reprehensible to you, deserve some level of protection. This obviously cuts both ways, hence the article. The answer is balancing. We protect what's most important but have to sacrifice what's less important.

Which is more important: that a gay couple gets to choose its photographer or that a photographer is allowed to maintain her livelihood? Paraphrasing may commenters: "She shouldn't be offering a service to the public if she's not willing to do it without discriminating." Rephrased: "She shouldn't be allowed to make a living if she isn't willing to violate her deeply held, Constitutionally protected religious beliefs." In my opinion, the application of the New Mexico law in this case is unConstitutional.

That changes if every photographer were to discriminate in this way. In that case, the tables turn as was the case in the South as most business owners discriminated against blacks. If the gay couple couldn't hire any wedding photographer, then that's worse than requiring the photographer to photograph a single gay ceremony.

I'm LDS. If someone refused to shoot my wedding because of religious conviction, but I had other photographers to choose from, I don't believe that my commitment to a Constitutional republic allows me to force the photographer to shoot my wedding.

This principle also distinguishes fundamental things like employment and housing from things like wedding photographers.

The irony is that the article referenced the need for balance and middle-ground, something that seems to have gone unnoticed by many of these commenters.

O'really
Idaho Falls, ID

@ Pagan and Ranch Hand...I suggest you do an indepth study of the Bible, not just as spiritual direction, but as a historical document. It would explain the accusations you so often use against religion, ie the tiresome old shellfish barb (it was part of the Mosaic law which was done away with after Christ was on the earth. It doesn't apply in 2012. It was a test of obedience before Christ.) And all the accounts of murders and wars in the Bible. These are not condoning the same violence in our modern times as you would suggest. So many of these things you post are taken out of context in the Bible. From your endless comments, you obviously have never read or studied it with the intent of gaining spiritual understanding. I suggest you read commentaries by historians and anthropologists about the Middle East and how the Bible fits into the cultural past.

As much as you blame religious folks for not bothering to understand what may be behind gayness, it appears you haven't taken the time to really understand religion and spirituality. There are far more logical explanations within the Bible than you want to admit.

RFLASH
Salt Lake City, UT

It is truly truly sad reading this article. To use God as an excuse to treat others this is sad and then to turn the entire thing around and put the discriminator as the victom in the story! Please, come sit down with me and I will give you the chance to explain this to my face. How often I have tried to reach out! there is a woman I admire and love so much. I was always so worried what her reaction would be to know i was gay. At work, one day, she did. Before i knew I was got frantic and I found myself telling her that I would do my best not to offend. I still vcare deeply about this woman. Finally when all was out in the open, we were both in tears. Thankfully, nobody was around. I thanked her for those things that are hard to talk about. She cried and said she felt like testimony meeting. She was right, and you know, it was the only time in years that someone actually shared God with me. Without trying to offend anyone, we deserve a little more.. . You don't always know! We should al care more. why is it so difficult

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