Comments about ‘Wedding industry illustrates unresolved legal relationship between religious freedom and gay rights’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 31 2014 8:00 p.m. MDT

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Ogden, UT

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

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?

Saratoga, UT

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

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.

Here, UT

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

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.

slc, UT

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

Provo, UT

Yes, it is simple.

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

Los Angeles, CA

Remember this law also protects mormons!

us, CA

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.

Lehi, UT

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


"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

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.

salt lake, UT


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

layton, UT

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).

Ogden, UT

@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.

Bountiful, UT

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.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

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

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

"...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.

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