Comments about ‘Liberty versus liberty: religious freedom bills trouble gay rights supporters’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25 2014 10:25 a.m. MST

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Robert Riversong
Warren, VT

This is such utter nonsense. Intolerance of intolerance is not discrimination but the inverse.

Religious liberty extends to one's church and one's home and one's private life. It is NOT a license to impose one's beliefs into the public sphere.

As soon as one engages in public business, one is outside the realm of religious protections and forbidden by law from any form of discrimination.

Concentric eye
San Diego, CA

The Unruh Act in California prohibits discrimination by businesses offering goods and services to the general public; most states have very similar statutes. At times, sincere religious beliefs of business owners must certainly be put aside to comply with the law, as that is the cost of doing business.

Actual case - a person owns a duplex, in which she lives, and and rents out the other unit. She wanted to rent only to a married couple, and refused to rent to an unmarried uncouple, as cohabitation was against her religion and her moral values. Although she was a small business, with limited operations, and very much a vested interest in the entire set of circumstances, she was prohibited from discriminating against unmarried couples. I believe this was much more a personal issue than would be photographing a wedding of a same sex couple, or making that couple a cake.

Although application of the law seems onerous, given the circumstances and intent of the duplex owner, such application serves a broad purpose - all members of the public are treated fairly and equally. It's a broad purpose law, which helps (forces, actually) a diverse community to be tolerant of others.

Detroit, MI

If you don't want someone coming to your business just demand a high price or give them bad service or give indications that they will get bad service. Problem solved. All the laws in the world are never going to stop discrimination just ask one of our African American brothers.

Rexburg, ID

Buying a cake or taking photos at a certain store is certainly not a "right." That's the first thing that needs to be clarified. Did the stores discriminate? Yes, but therein lies the rub.

Somehow, individuals and businesses must be free to live according to their conscience, just like anyone else. If they find some behavior morally offensive, they should have the right to not associate with those doing that behavior. We have to be smart enough to find a middle ground here, and I don't think the Arizona bill is it. What we must avoid is a heirarchy that says gay rights (or any other subset of rights) trump everything else, because that would take away the rights of some group or other.

Logan, UT

25 years after Loving v Virginia, the sheriff who back then arrested Mr. and Mrs. Loving still believes black and white don't mix, and his view was based on religion.

In an interview with NYTimes: "I still think it should be on the books," said Sheriff Brooks, "I don't think a white person should marry a black person. I'm from the old school. The Lord made sparrows and robins, not to mix with one another."

Can someone like him deny inter-racial couple's service on religious grounds?

Buffalo Grove, IL

The people backing this bigoted legislation are using some pretty twisted logic. How is it against anyone's religious beliefs to sell a cake or flowers to someone? It isn't. No one is forcing the owners of any business to actually perform any act that is prohibited by their religion. Not forcing them to lie. to kill. To sleep with their neighbor's wife. Not forcing them to miss church or to blaspheme. They are saying that they must do something they already do hundreds of time a day, serve a customer. Do the exact same action for person X that they do for person Y. If your 'bible' or any other religious book says that you should treat people differently based upon their color, race. religion or sexual preference, then your religion is in conflict with our constitution. You do not have the religious right to treat people of any kind in a way that restricts THEIR constitutional rights. IF the dolts in Arizona do go forward with this sick bill, it will be overturned within a year or two at most. These stone-age clowns need to be driven from public office.

Phoenix, AZ

"25 years after Loving v Virginia, the sheriff who back then arrested Mr. and Mrs. Loving still believes black and white don't mix, and his view was based on religion."

His position is understandable. In the first part of the Bible strangers were not welcome among the Israelis unless they were circumcised first. If they refused, they were not welcomed. And, of course, the Egyptian pharaoh and his men were all drowned in the sea basically to drive the point home about freedom of worship.

However, marriage among the races should not be disparaged. In the coming years there will not be black Americans or white Americans. There will be just tan Americans.

orem, UT

You people are dangerous.....If someone wants to hang a shingle outside their door and create a business, that is their right. You can go somewhere else. If the market decides they shouldn't exist then the people will vote with their purchasing power. This is our system. Not crying to the government to force someone to make you a cake. It is called freedom. You are free to go somewhere else for you cake. Or better yet, start your own cake baking store and put me out of business. That is the American way.

To many of you are from the 60's and want to cry to daddy to make it all go away. Grow up and take responsibility for yourself and stop blaming others.

Sandy, UT

People should be free to discriminate... After all it helps me identify them and avoid them. However this law codifies and legitimizes discrimination as acceptable behavior. This laws says that the state is not only condoning such behavior but actively supporting it.

Such foolishness. And the saddest thing of all is that the law (if passed) won't stand but will cost taxpayers millions (lucky, lucky lawyers).

Phoenix, AZ

"The people backing this bigoted legislation are using some pretty twisted logic. How is it against anyone's religious beliefs to sell a cake or flowers to someone?"

Some restaurants will not allow you in unless you're properly dressed. Even some fast food establishments will refuse service if you don't have a shirt on. It's not about religion at all.

Bleed Crimson
Sandy, Utah

Why is it that the LGBT community are pushing for an anti-discrimination bill here in Utah that would protect them from any discrimination, yet when Christians in Arizona are pushing for an anti-discrimination bill that would protect them from discrimination, the LGBT community is having hissy fits?

That's a double standard and it reaks!

If there were a need for an anti-discrimination bill, then it should apply to all people. Nobody deserves to be discriminated against including Christians.

Stephen Daedalus
Arvada, CO

To review the bill, Google: sb1062p.pdf

This is just a sloppy bill and if it ever gets signed into law in AZ or other reactionary type states, there will be some entertaining consequences. The law hinges on a purposefully broad definition of the phrase "Exercise of religion" and allows both individuals and limited liability entities (such as corporations, LLCs) to assert it as a defense.

This opens up every party that claims this defense to having their religious beliefs litigated. By that I mean the other side's attorneys will have every right to scrutinize both the validity of what a person is claiming is a religion (overall) and the sincerity of that person's own belief in that religion.

Is that really where folks want to go on this?

Salt Lake City, UT

The principles of religion extend to behavior in the public sphere. These people are not seeking to impose their beliefs on others, but trying to live their own beliefs.

Try to empathize. If you really believed that you were exercising your art and skill to contribute to a wedding, wouldn’t you want to have the right to choose not to contribute to weddings that you found morally repugnant? Or, would you want to be able to refuse service to someone asking you to photograph or cater something that you found morally repugnant?

I am not arguing in favor of this bill; I think it is too broad. I am only arguing for empathy toward people trying to practice their religion in public life.

I am not arguing that SSM is morally repugnant. I am arguing for people’s rights to feel that something is amoral, and to refuse to participate, within reason.

American Fork, UT

Soon, states like arizona will make it legal to discriminate against anyone, including heterosexuals.

West Jordan, UT

This is a difficult issue, with no good, clear cut "right" answer.

Through either position we can imagine a 'parade of horribles'.

If a person or business cannot choose the customers it serves, allowing for freedom of conscience:

- A Jewish baker could be compelled to bake and decorate a swastika cake, celebrating Nazi Germany
- A black photographer could be compelled to attend and photograph a Ku Klux Klan ceremony
- A doctor could be compelled to perform elective abortion or assisted suicide.

On the other hand, we could return to the ugly practices of the past:

- Signs in shop windows preventing entry/patronage
- Prevention of groups from moving into neighborhoods
- The list goes on and on.

It's an ugly with NO good governmental solution. Abuse will abound from those wanting to punish the other side, filling up court rooms and attorney's pockets for decades. Many innocents will be hurt in the process.

Which is the lesser evil here: patrons turned away, to (hopefully) be able to seek services elsewhere, embittered and hurt, or persons compelled to act against their own conscience or perhaps lose everything, resentful and afraid?

Either option is bad.

Provo, UT

Ah yes: Nothing screams "America!" like the government forcing private citizens to violate their beliefs and become state actors in order to make a living.

Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union Speech:
The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them.

These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call [gay marriage] wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words. Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them.

Los Angeles, CA

Does the Arizona bill really give people of ALL religious beliefs the right to refuse service based on those beliefs? For example, can those affiliated with Christian Identity groups refuse service to interracial couples? If the bill really does allow that, then it must be viewed as too extreme and undeserving of support. If it does not allow such refusal of service, then we must conclude that it has nothing to do with "religious freedom" in any general sense and is simply a vehicle to allow those with one specific set of religious beliefs to refuse service to one specific group.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Bleed Crimson
"yet when Christians in Arizona are pushing for an anti-discrimination bill that would protect them from discrimination"

Because that's not an anti-discrimination bill those Christians are pushing for, it's a right-to-discriminate bill.

Salt Lake City, UT

Yesterday I agreed with @Locke. Today I'm agreeing with @Demosthenes. Does anyone else find this troubling?

scottsdale , AZ

This is bigoted racism hide behind religion

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