Liberty versus liberty: religious freedom bills trouble gay rights supporters

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  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    @John Pack Lambert
    " The law makes no mention to sexual orientation at all. It merely clarifies that businesses can assert religious freedom rights, and that religious freedom applies to lawsuits. Both of these are in fact probably already the case."

    Read between the lines; it's obvious this bill was specifically made with sexual orientation in mind. Arizona is just one of a dozen or so states that at the same time were looking at the same type of thing as a reaction to those bakery/photographer cases.

    "Without a law defining sexual orientation as a protected class, it is not clear that people would have grounds to sue for discrimination at all."

    They might've been able to in one of the other states. I'm not sure what the laws are in New Mexico, Washington, or others.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:22 p.m.

    @ John Pack Lambert of Michigan

    What is being debated is whether or not it's okay to discriminate. The answer: It's not.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Feb. 27, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    Much of the rhetoric around this bill ignores that in Arizona it is not clear that the issue of people trying to get a same-sex marriage would be actionable in the courts at all. Without a law defining sexual orientation as a protected class, it is not clear that people would have grounds to sue for discrimination at all.

    Put another way, legally, store owners in Utah, Michigan, Ohio and many other states could refuse to sell to homosexuals. The fact that they don't shows that the claims that this is a threat are false and missing what is really being debated.

    What is being debated is the right of individuals to control how they use their expressive talents, in making cakes, arranging flowers, taking photographs and buying services for their employees.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Feb. 27, 2014 3:14 p.m.

    The rhetoric about this bill has been either fueled by people who do not understand it, or who are trying to mislead others. The law makes no mention to sexual orientation at all. It merely clarifies that businesses can assert religious freedom rights, and that religious freedom applies to lawsuits. Both of these are in fact probably already the case.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    @Gze: "Can Muslim taxi drivers refuse to drive unaccompanied women?" Why would they want to, that isn't part of their religion. You know, I have seen and participated in a lot of cross-cultural communication. One simple rule to follow is if someone outside of a culture tells you something about someone in another culture, "They won't give a ride to uaccompanied women." "They'll throw their children in front a car to collect insurance." etc, etc.

    The smart thing to do is recognize the source and don't blindly accept everything you hear on faith. You are in Utah, you can think for yourself now.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    I am a gay person, but I also grew up Mormon. I must admit that I was truly blessed in my life because I grew up among some wonderful people. I gained a lot of strength among them and I learned how important it is to be among people that care about you. I guess I viewed many of the teachings differently than most people! I was always taught to respect others, even those who didn't believe the same way I did! I understand the beliefs, but I do not understand peoples actions! there are those of us who have to take another path! I can no longer believe those negative teachings about who I am! Why is it so hard for people to have respect for gay people! We should have a right to live according to our own beliefs in God and if you are talking about religous freedom, you should include us as well. We are the ones being accused of not being good enough!
    Everyone's beliefs are important! Do people really want to incorporate such a nasty law into their beliefs? Think about it! that isn't what I learned growing up Mormon!

  • A Run South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:42 a.m.

    amend to my previous comment...It is legal FOR NOW

  • A Run South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 10:41 p.m.

    You know, people say that they are just trying to do what the constitution states, giving everyone freedom of religion, speech, etc.., as well as following the 14th amendment. This is true completely. Everyone should be able to have as many rights as they want.

    However, as in the recent bill in Arizona... The constitution does say that no state shall deny equal protection of law. It does not say that the citizens can't refuse service to other citizens

    That last sentence sounds bad, and probably reminds people of oppression of the blacks during the 1960s. Many of you are probably going to say Blah Blah Blah Civil Rights Act Blah Blah Blah. This still sounds terrible. The civil rights act of 1964 says that you can't discriminate based of of Gender, race, religion, color, origin. Last time I checked, Homosexual isn't a religion. Also, because the companies in Arizona sold to both male and female, just not to gays, it is legal to do so. It may not be right, and it is not my position to decide, but it is LEGAL

  • lindaj72 salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 6:57 p.m.

    John T I liked the points you made regarding Jesus Christ during His ministry. He did indeed preach love but He did not condone sin. He said to the woman about to be stoned - "Go your way and sin no more." I would also like to point out that Jesus actually had a lot to say about the sin of homosexually. It is found mostly in the O.T. in the Law of Moses. Jehovah was the God of the O.T. which was actually the pre-mortal Jesus Christ Himself. When the writings of the O.T. were being translated, it was considered incorrect to repeat the name of deity so many times, so references to "Jehovah," was replaced with "Lord." This change has created a lot of confusion. The Apostle Paul also spoke of the sin of homosexually, and since he was preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, then our Savior's teachings was the source of what he taught.

  • klangton Akiachak, AK
    Feb. 26, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    It's like Christians asking for the right to treat others in am unchristian manner. So much irony.

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 3:23 p.m.

    @Uncle Rico: You are wrong. There is no passage in the U.S. Constitution that mentions God. Furthermore, when religion is mentioned, it says that no religious test is required to hold office, that says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Furthermore, many of the principle founders were Deists; Deists believed in God, but they did not believe in prayer.

  • smitxxx Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    A fundamental right of our constitution is to prevent state power from prohibiting the "free exercise" of religion.

    I am stunned that so many people in this forum think that government should be allowed to prevent you from "exercising" your religious beliefs in the conduct of your business.

    Marriage as defined in the Bible is a fundamental tenet of religion. If one believes that gay marriage is destructive of the Biblical belief, he or she has every right to fight against it--privately in one's business or in the public square. Free exercise is not limited to one’s home or church.

    Those who would deny a business owner the right to serve whom he will on religious grounds would also coerce a Christian physician to perform an abortion.

    Note that the Constitution also prohibits the establishment of a state religion. If the state makes exercise of my beliefs illegal (through hate crime or anti-discrimination laws, for instance), it not only violates the free exercise clause, but essentially establishes irreligion as the state religion, and imposes it by law.

  • Evo1 USA, FL
    Feb. 26, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    Saying that this has anything to do with religious freedom is an outright lie. Nothing in Jesus's teachings condones the discrimination against people you don't like, even if you believe that they are sinners. In fact, people you believe to be sinners are those any real Christian should be showing the greatest hospitality, as both an example and as testimony of the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus, remember, shunned the company of "good church-going people" and associated mostly with those whom such people would treat just as these bigots would treat gays. He called on his followers to do the same. Anyone who claims that their Christian beliefs justify their acting on their bigotry and hate to discriminate against any other person is a nothing but a hateful un-Christian liar who is spitting on the very foundation of Christianity, and on Jesus himself.

  • CaliFreedom San Diego, CA
    Feb. 26, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    For those of you who are against this bill, I think you are missing the point. There have been a number of cases in states across the country where a gay couple went to a wedding service provider who said they wouldn't provide a service for their wedding. In all of these cases, there were probably 100 other photographers or bakers the gay couples could have gone to. But no, they decided the shove their agenda down the throats of Christians and tried to sue them. Give me a break. Abortion is legal, but doctors who don't want to provide abortions don't have to. And there are still millions of abortions every year by doctors willing to provide them.

    The 1st Amendment guarantees the free exercise of religion. At some point there are going to be gays who sue a Christian pastor or Bishop to perform their wedding. That is what this fight is ultimately all about. Christians should not be forced to participate in any way in a gay wedding that they find morally objectionable.

    Last question: was Barack Obama a bigot in 2008 when he said he thought marriage was between a man and a woman?

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Feb. 26, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    How one can say with a straight face that religious freedom is under attack in America is laughable. What is going on in this country is that people are sick and tired of religious types running rough shod over the Constitution. They won't and legally do not have to passively take this type of violence anymore. The tide has turned for the better.

  • BYU_Convert Provo, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    Most businesses in Arizona, many ran by conservatives, are pressuring Gov. Brewer to veto the bill. AZ tourism leaders say the bill will haunt Arizona for decades. Even AZ Senator John McCain said the bill "would have devastating results."

    Arizona is not new to legislation that seeks to discriminate against whole groups of people. Anyone remember Arizona Senate Bill 1070? A bill Jan Brewer signed into law? It allows for racial profiling of citizens "suspected of being illegals" targeting African Americans and Latinos.

    Did you know that in 1989 Arizona voted down to acknowledge Martin Luther King Day as a holiday? Did you know that as a result of that vote, conventions and tourists boycotted the state. And that the Super Bowl was moved to California that year costing the Arizona $500 million in lost revenue?

    Discrimination is discrimination, and it just doesn't pay.

  • Donald Johnson Somewhere, MI
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    Can a Jewish caterer refuse to cater a Neo-Nazi rally? How about an African American and a KKK event? Is that bigotry, too? How about an Attorney General whose job is to defend a law to which she morally objects (like California's or Virginia's bans on gay marriage)? Why is it okay to refuse to do your job due to a moral objection there? This isn't about bigotry. It's just about deciding that some moral objections are more politically acceptable than others.

  • Little Andy Tremonton, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    And what good does it do to pass any bill or vote?? A judge will come along and do it his way.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 6:58 a.m.


    Your "uppity gay couple" says a heck of a lot about you. How is it "uppity" to ask for a business to provide them the SAME service they provide to everyone else?


    Wording doesn't have to specifically say "lgbt" for everyone (literally everyone) to know that the purpose of the bill is to allow people tell lgbt couples "we don't serve your kind here" (especially since these bills were never even thought of until lgbt couples began to be allowed to marry).

  • John T Scranton, PA
    Feb. 26, 2014 6:38 a.m.

    RALPH: "They are the sinners, not me!" Excuse me? “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:21–23, NKJV)
    We ALL fall short, my friend - every one of us. I agree, that homosexuality is a sin, but it is not THE sin - it's one of many. And, we all still sin in one way or the other. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1–2, NKJV)

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    Feb. 26, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    This is not a double standard by any case - for years the LGBT community has been discriminated against. All that is being asked here is to be treated equally. These bill(s) just codify the discrimination that has taken so long to get out from under. Is that to much to ask from those who call themselves Christian?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Feb. 26, 2014 5:59 a.m.

    This bill carves out a special waiver for the religious. Doesn't this necessarily require government to enforce "an establishment of religion"?

    I don't think Governor Brewer will sign the bill, but I kind of hope she does. It will then be challenged in the courts and we'll soon have another legal conclusion that strengthens the First Amendment.

  • John T Scranton, PA
    Feb. 26, 2014 5:52 a.m.

    Values Voter, you commented: "In the New Testament Jesus had nothing, zero, zip, nada, to say about homosexuality, homosexuals and/or homosexual couples, but he was VERY specific in his condemnation of divorce." Do not make the mistake here of practicing eisegesis, which is the practice of reading into Scripture one's own ideas. While Jesus may not have mentioned homosexuality directly as a sin, He strongly endorsed marriage between one man and one woman. In condemning divorce, Jesus quoted from Genesis 2:24: “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’” (Matthew 19:4, NKJV)
    The arguments that "Jesus did not say anything about it," or "The Bible doesn't mention it," are dangerous turf upon which to stand. While certain actions or sins may not be mentioned by name, the biblical principals which lie beneath condemnation of those actions are valid.

  • milojthatch Sandy, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 1:20 a.m.

    Force is the opposite of freedom. This most troubling issue should concern everyone, including gay rights supporters who without knowing it, our selling away their own freedoms in the future by fighting this.

  • Arizona Mildman Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 26, 2014 12:59 a.m.

    Calling hate and discrimination religious "liberty" is erroneous. The idea that the people who cherry pick excerpts from the Old Testament to excuse their hate and discrimination when that is the book of the Jews and Christ said nothing about it in the New Testament (the book of Christians) shows that it is a weak argument to begin with. The majority of sane responsible Americans don't buy this hogwash. Trying to bring Jim Crow back by discriminating against a different demographic isn't legal, to begin with. From the fourteen defining characteristics of fascism: "3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc." It used to be blacks but now gay people are the new 'identified' enemy.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:49 p.m.

    Does anyone remember the story of Mary Magdalene, the adulterous woman who was avoided and despised by others and who was yanked into the streets to face a stoning until a loving and caring Jesus came along? I think we need a little more of Jesus' example instead of the examples of the pharisees. When people talk of religious convictions, are they talking about Christianity because I'm not seeing a whole lot of real christian principles as modeled by Christ in today's society. I see a lot of people hiding behind their supposed faith in order to hurt others. Are people really exercising their religious convictions concerning gays? If that is the case, why don't they exercise their religious convictions concerning those customers who drink, smoke, do drugs, commit adultery, get abortions, etc, etc, etc. It seems to me that only one group is being targeted to make a religious example out of.

  • Maibraina WEST JORDAN, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:38 p.m.

    And what if a minister or other member of the clergy does not want to perform a same sex marriage because he believes it is solemn mockery before God? Do we force him to do so? He is like the business man or woman. He marries couples all the time. Under this logic if we force business people to provide goods and services, we have to force the minister as well.

  • NoBoxScot Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:55 p.m.

    I'm rather disgusted with all the news coverage of this issue - not a one really looks at the wording of bill.
    You all just want to stir the hornet's nest and increase the volatility and divisiveness of the issue to 'make news'.
    I tried to include the link to the bill, but no luck.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    If we can force people against their will to serve our wedding, can we force them to work on Sunday too?

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:40 p.m.

    What's next? Requiring gays to wear rainbow patches and an identification tattoo so these businesses can readily identify them? These types of bills are a slippery slope and can be used as a gateway to all kinds of discrimination, not just against gays. Similar types of incremental legislation happened in 1930's Germany, much done in the name of religious freedom. The same thing is happening in Russia, and even worse, Uganda. This Arizona law wouldn't be the end of the matter. It would only be the beginning if history has any say so.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:36 p.m.

    I would make a cake for a gay couple. I'll take their money. That isn't the point. I should be able to refuse any individual or group my goods and services for any or no reason without harassment from corrupt judges and police passing their own sense of morality on myself. My business is MY own property. In America, we have the right to private property as well as the freedom of speech, expression, association and having an opinion. Legislators, judges and police exist to defend that right. If I use my property to commit something that is inherently criminal or negligent or if I breach a contract, by all means, use the legal system to make it right. If I make a moral judgment, however, that differs from the opinion of a judge or lawmaker, leave me alone. This isn't Iran, this is America!

  • Willem Los Angeles, CA
    Feb. 25, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    Some people stop at nothing to denigrate gay and lesbian Americans,just like they used to do to African Americans not too long ago.

  • Creeper51 Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 9:51 p.m.

    I guess what it really comes down too is, how are you going to sue or prosecute someone for refusing to work for you? That's really all the Photographer did, refused to work one day, and this uppity gay couple decided to sue him for refusing their money.

    Honestly how backwards is that.

  • Mugabe ACWORTH, GA
    Feb. 25, 2014 7:56 p.m.

    What business owner would not want to increase his/her profits? I can't see how selling a cake to a Homosexual couple is a violation of our religious beliefs. We shop at Grocery stores, who by the way, sell alcohol, cigarettes, porno magazines, etc, etc. These things are not part of any religious worship, but we don't complain about them be sold where we buy groceries.

    I am not for same sex marriages, but I just think that we, the people, are taking this just a little to far. We need to relax and let nature take its course. We should petition our legislature via of mail, phone calls or email and express our concerns about redefining marriage, but don't treat the people in the fashion. It just isn't Christian like to do this.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 25, 2014 7:53 p.m.

    @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.

    I disagree. If this was the 60's, people would be saying, "Businesses need to have a conscience. There is more to business to wanting to make a profit. Corporations need to be socially responsible."

    What I am saying is that there are a lot of people that think companies should only be focused on making money.

    What if the Westboro Baptist church wanted to buy a cake, or to be catered from an event. Religious discrimination is illegal. Should someone be forced to cater to them?

    If they get onto this, they can go to Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, etc and make a lot of money when they were discriminated against. But they would probably avoid Kansas and Arizona because it would be less likely to work.

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 7:30 p.m.


    'However, the purpose of a wedding isn’t to disparage and hate, it is to celebrate love and commitment. There is not hateful purpose or intent.'

    That to me sounds an awful lot like a moral judgment on your part. Which is perfectly fine. You are most certainly entitled to make and pass judgment to what you think is right and wrong. However, the state exists to uphold and enforce criminal, tort and contract laws, not pass and enforce MORAL JUDGMENT. We are NOT Iran. We are America. We don't send moral police around to harass individuals and businesses because they have been deemed 'hateful.' Hate 'crimes' are not inherently criminal. Criminal behavior is limited to a very small list of behaviors that infringe on the rights, liberties and property of another, eg, murder, rape, theft, fraud, etc. Feeling a certain way towards an individual or group is NOT a crime but a non-objective, moral judgment.

  • pbunny Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 7:14 p.m.

    Kora, thank you for responding to my question. I do NOT think that that a black photographer should be required to provide services at a KKK function or a Jew for an anti-Semitic function. In the analogy, you are equating refusal to serve at an event expressly focused on hating and denigrating the server (KKK, anti-Semitic, and in your other example an anti-gay functions) with the refusal to serve in the celebration of something the server doesn’t like or don’t agree with (a gay marriage). Nobody should be subjected to their own disparagement by a hateful group. However, the purpose of a wedding isn’t to disparage and hate, it is to celebrate love and commitment. There is not hateful purpose or intent.

    My real question, and it is genuine, if anyone would like to answer is this: Would any of the commenters on this page who would refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding also refuse to bake a cake for a remarriage? If not, why? Given that Jesus specifically condemned remarriage and was silent about homosexuality.

  • lindaj72 salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 6:19 p.m.

    I don't think it is so much baking a cake for a gay wedding that is objected to, but how the couple may want their cake decorated or the photographer asked to photograph behavior offensive to them. I think we have every right to refuse this kind of service. I attended a wake for a gay man who died of Aids many years ago. I liked this person a lot. I saw behavior at this wake that was way too much for me to handle. In my opinion it was not behavior that was respectful to the deceased, but it was a private party and their right to do what they want. I did not voice my opinion, but politely thanked the host for inviting me and then quietly left.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    There is something to be said for everyone to have the right to religious freedom. It is in the constitution.

    Right now there is a case going through the courts of the United Kingdom, a gay couple is suing a church to allow gay marriages there.

    As it seems that all things European are brought to our soil, people of deep religious convictions are becoming very concerned.

    This is not to say that public businesses should not be open to everyone.

    This is to say people are afraid, they are being forced at every level to accept things they find to be unacceptable,deeply vile and evil.
    I personally have no problem with different lifestyles, as long as they are not forcing that lifestyle on me and my family. Many Americans feel this same way, however when our right to worship how, where and what we may is violated...

  • MDurfee OREM, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 6:02 p.m.

    The Jim Crow laws forced stores and restaurants to provide separate services for African American citizens. The Jim Crow laws didn't allow people to NOT discriminate, in fact they forced them to.

    The so-called non-discrimination laws similarly actually compel governments to actually force religious persons to provide services that are against their conscience, such as forcing a Catholic doctor to provide abortions.

    Religious persons are entitled to laws that protect their right to exercise their religion freely, without the interference of government. The government should NOT be in the business of forcing people to violate their conscience. This is just a new form of twisted discrimination.

    It's not about flowers or cake, it's about the freedom to do or not do something according to your own sense of right or wrong. Both free speech and free exercise of religion are guarantees of the 1st Amendment. If we allow the rights of one group to be suppressed in the name of "political correctness", everyone's rights are at risk.

  • NevadaCougar Panaca, NV
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    There should be a recognized distinction between suppliers of goods and suppliers of services. At least for those small-business owners that provide services. Granted, large companies and suppliers of goods in general shouldn't be able to use religion as an excuse. However, small business owners that provide services should be treated differently in my opinion. As an attorney, I feel that I should be able to choose my clients. If I don't like a case, I shouldn't be forced to take it. A photographer should not be forced to take a job either. What if a pornographer asked her to shoot offensive domination/bestiality photos for his website? No law should force servitude. Isn't that just another name for slavery?

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:24 p.m.

    @John T:
    "A hypothetical question: If Jesus owned some sort of small shop - say, a carpentry business - would He refuse service to anyone?"

    Supposing this same Jesus was in a Temple and some people came in and wanted to 'change some money (money changers).' Would He refuse them? Not only yes... But He'd drive them out of the Temple... likely with a whip.

    "Can Muslim taxi drivers refuse to drive unaccompanied women?"

    They seem to be able to refuse to drive almost anyone they wish... such as a guy with a big knife in a seedy part of town.

    @Archer of Paradise:
    "What if as an engineer I'm solicited to design a strip club--should I have the right to refuse service?"

    You should be able to deny service in that case. The best way is to just say... 'I don't wanna, period.' Same with the baker of cakes.

    "Please show me any scripture anywhere, where god says 'don't serve gays or you'll be sinning.'"

    Jesus didn't say it, but his helpers (Apostles) said something like... 'it's not kosher for two people of the same sex to lie together.'

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:20 p.m.

    Not hiring someone or refusing selling a product is one thing.

    But forcing people to attend their wedding is a whole other thing. Services should not be forced to serve weddings against their belief.

    Should we force services to attend a Satanist wedding or a Nazi wedding?

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    Apparently there is no language that singles out gays in this bill. It simply allows businesses to deal according to their conscience. If someone wanted a photo-shoot at a Satanic cult party, a photographer should have the right to say no.

  • Arizona Border Dude NACO, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 5:05 p.m.

    The bill is wrong headed. It should state that a private business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone. And, no law shall compel an owner to provide any service that creates an environment offensive to other patrons, or violates the owner's religious, business or personal ethics.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:55 p.m.

    If the government forces a business owner into accepting customers that are acting in a way that violates the personal standards of the business owner or his customers, it puts the business in a lose/lose situation. There are customers that will not frequent nor take their children into a business if other customers are drunk or immodest or displaying affection. An owner could tell a heterosexual couple to "cool it" but if a homosexual couple got asked to "cool it," the owner could be prosecuted for some civil rights violation. Anyone that thinks this won't happen is living in denial. A businessman should be able to conduct business in a way that doesn't offend his own personal standards or the standards of his customers.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:46 p.m.

    AZ-Byu fan,

    "....No where in the bill is sexuality mentioned in any form or in any way. So why is it that only one group of individuals feel threatened by this bill?...."

    The one group that feels threatened by the bill has ample cause to believe that the bill is in direct response to issues of equality for gays, same sex marriage in particular. Arizona is not the only state debating similar legislation. No smokescreen about religious freedom will obfuscate what is painfully obvious to the world.

  • LiveLongAndProsper Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    These "religious freedom" bills seem to be designed to protect discrimination, not to protect religious freedom. What actions are the bakers, florists or other business people being asked to do that they do not do every day in the course of their business? Nothing. The baker is being asked to bake, the florist is being asked to provide flowers, the photographer is being asked to take photographs. That's it. They are not being asked to engage in any other activity, sinful or otherwise. Their business transaction is not an endorsement of the end use of the product. It is simply business as intended when they opened their services to the public. Claiming that you are somehow sinning based not on your own personal actions, but on the actions or intentions of your customers is ridiculous.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:42 p.m.

    rhappahannock: what about XXY or XYY? Where do they fit into you basic science? Where do they fit into your well defined and limited plan?

    There are too many variables, not only with genes, but with hormones, prenatal occurances, and the wiring in our brains to throw everyone into two catagories. How about letting each find their own way and respecting their decisions?

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:38 p.m.

    It appears that the biggest problem is that a large amount of the population can no longer make "moral" decisions without the approval or force of the government. There appears to no longer be trust between the citizens to do the right thing, without the full force of the government.

  • Florien Wineriter Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    Sounds to me like reimposing the unconstitutional Jim Crow laws.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    In essence granting the right for a business to deny service to gay couples. What it does is protect the business from a law suit. I am not for gay marriage, but I also am not for denying the rights to those who are gay. I can understand a photographer in not being comfortable or a cake baker. The Savior taught us to give service to the Samaritan. He also told those who accused the woman of adultery to first cast the stone if they were without sin. It makes me sad to see that those who have been taught these principals feel that the issue of gays exempts them from this. As a Mormon, we do not smoke or drink, so should we never provide service to those who smoke and drink? Of course not. Our church leaders have encouraged us as members to be respectful to those that are gay, this isn't just in words, it is also in service.

  • Danite Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:17 p.m.

    If an individual chooses to be with another individual of the same sex, that is their choice. If an individual chooses to disagree with such choice and not condone such behavior by refusing to make them a cake, that is their choice. Why can't we just let people choose? It's ironic that those who are pushing for freedoms to choose who they can marry are so up in arms about others choosing who they will do business with. The "Religious Zealots" are not advocating for Uganda type of laws here, they just want their freedom to choose to be protected. Good for Arizona!

  • GrinOlsson Ketchikan, AK
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:15 p.m.

    It seems to me with respect to religious freedom, that yes, religions can entertain business, but not government. Therefore, a business has a right to deny service to any person or other business that it feels offensive to its standards. grinolsson dot com

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:13 p.m.


    As long as they're going to discriminate against ALL "sinners", then fine. But they only want to discriminate against gay "sinners", which really means that it is NOT about "religious conscience". If it were, they wouldn't serve any "sinners".

    @Bleed Crimson;

    The difference is that the Utah bill prevents discrimination, the Arizona bill endorses it.


    Please define, legally, "morally wrong". It could be anything from sneezing without covering your mouth to dancing around naked in front of your business. Very, very subjective. And why should LGBT citizens have to go from business to business to get service? Do you?

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    If a Nazi comes into my place of business, in full swastika uniform, I should be able to refuse service. It is my business on my own private property. If I'm not doing anything criminal or negligent and if I'm not breaching any contracts, I should not be harassed by moral police, on MY OWN property. When did we adopt Sharia law in this country?

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    Pbunny- Yes those groups have that right. What you are saying is that a black photographer should be required to provide services for KKK functions, and Jews for anti-Semitic functions. Am I wrong, or do you only believe in selective discrimination against groups you disagree with?

    JerryBall and John T- I believe Christ would say, and did say in the Bible, "Go and sin no more". Would the LGBT community listen or sue for imposing his religious beliefs on them. I suspect the latter. And does not the book of Romans in the New Testament say that homosexuality is a sin? So how is being opposed to it a early Bronze Age teaching?

    Would the gay community be okay with renting out an event hall for an anti-gay rally? Based on your comments they should be forced to create anti-gay cakes and provide photography for anti-gay groups and events and provide whatever services to groups that they strongly oppose. This must occur even if they find the groups vile and disgusting.

  • Le gros legume Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    I support this bill because I'm for freedom to do whatever you want. If you want to discriminate, then do so. Those business who support your lifestyle will make more money anyway. And by the way, since when can we not bring religious principles into the public sphere? Is that against the law, suddenly? I don't think so, at least not for the first 150 years of our country it wasn't.

  • Le gros legume Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    I support this bill because if a company, business wants to not serve someone, that person can go somewhere else and pay their money to another business so that other business will make more money. I don't see how that is a huge problem. We're so worried about gay rights that religion is getting kicked in the teeth. It's only from the gays perspective, not from someone who is religious. The gay person is discriminated against, not the religious person. What happened to equality?

    Feb. 25, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    Your first two examples of persons of conscience don't apply. There are already laws against being a party to hate speech.

    You are wrong, there is a good and simple solution for everyone. It is the exact same one that changed Jim Crow segregation and denial of service: repeal those laws and allow no new ones.

    That some will continue to decry the freedom of others is their problem. But for the majority those complaints vanish within a single generation.

    Will there always be whiners and complainers about anything and everything anyway? Of course. We justy don't let them determine orthodoxy or law.

  • Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    Shouldn't it be my right as a business owner to refuse service to someone whom I think is a lesser human?

    Don't I have a right to discriminate against certain types of people that I find repugnant?

    They are the sinners, not me!

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    To everyone decrying the "discrimination" of religious people who don't want to violate their beliefs, I ask you this: how many of you came out to publicly support the family in New Jersey back in 2008 when the bakery did not want to decorate their cake. The bakery refused to put the name of the 3-year old son on the cake because it was Adolf Hitler.
    So Robert riversong, by your admission, that bakery had no right to not put that name on the cake simply because they found it offensive.

    If you can't refuse to serve gays you also cannot refuse to serve a Nazi or a racist. You must produce products for their events or photograph those events, even if you find them offensive. This cuts both ways. You cannot protect just one group, but must protect all. Liberals don't have the right to make the decision of what can be discriminated against and what cannot. Either anyone can follow their conscience on such issues or no one.

  • Phillip Cide Alexandria, VA
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:36 p.m.

    If merchants are going to deny service to those people their religion identifies as sinners then they should deny service to ALL the sinners that their religion defines. If they pick and choose in any way, then they are just discriminating.

  • rhappahannock Washington, DC
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    Scientifically speaking, XX is not the same as XY. Why should people be applauded for denying basic science?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:20 p.m.

    What it comes down to is this, we can discriminate in any way we like in the name of religious freedom (in fact baptists can discriminate against Mormons - religious freedom you know). Thus begins the rapid retrograde decline of the United States.

  • Jacksonian Sandy, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    How can so many people support thought crime? Not selling something to someone is not a crime. Making it a crime based on someone's thoughts when the non-crime was committed is creating a thought crime.

    I support the argument that you can't keep gays from getting married on the basis of "its wrong." But this is a two way street, and you can't keep someone from selling something to you on the basis of "its wrong" as well. One or both of these actions could very well be wrong - but Americans still have the right to be wrong at least for now.

  • NorthboundZax Makanda, IL
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    It isn't obvious to me how far this goes. If a Mormon convenience store attendant refuses to cater to smokers is that ok? If the store owner then fires the Mormon attendant for following his religious conscience is that ok? If the gas station owner then refuses to hire devout Mormons because their religious conscience does't match with his is that ok? …or is this only meant to apply to gays and not any other religious beliefs?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    It’s pretty plain to see whose rights are being trampled on and who is doing the trampling. Why this sudden urgency for legislation to protect religious liberty? Such concern has been noticeably lacking up until same sex marriage started to become an imminent prospect.

    Religious freedom is in no peril in America. But the perception that it is being challenged is certainly being encouraged.

  • Values Voter LONG BEACH, CA
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:07 p.m.

    Jerry Ball writes:

    "They are using the misinterpreted Early Bronze Age Jewish Biblical version as a bludgeon. The New Testament, not so much,. . . "

    How true that is. And why would people who call themselves Christian not hew more closely to what Christ actually said and to what his stated focus actually was?

    In the New Testament Jesus had nothing, zero, zip, nada, to say about homosexuality, homosexuals and/or homosexual couples, but he was VERY specific in his condemnation of divorce.

    As the late writer Paul Monette once observed -- (paraphrasing) -- homosexuality is a "sin" most zealous religious conservatives need never worry about committing, which allows them to condemn it with GREAT authority! When it comes to infractions, they, themselves might more commonly be guilty of --(((cough, gluttony, divorce, etc.)))-- a whole different set of rules seem to apply.

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:04 p.m.

    @ Robert Riversong

    You have a big problem with your argument:

    The founders of this great country sought the almighty for guidance and certainly imposed their religious beliefs into the constitution, which gives you the rights you enjoy everyday.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    "If a religious baker "believes that baking that cake will cause them to sin against their God,..."

    Please show me any scripture anywhere, where god says "don't serve gays or you'll be sinning".


  • Archer of Paradise Oklahoma City, OK
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    Should I not have the right to deny anyone services on acts of morality? What if as an engineer I'm solicited to design a strip club--should I have the right to refuse service? There is great danger in taking away a business' right to refuse service. The debate really is centered around whether or not homosexual marriage is a civil right. If the people do not now define some boundaries of infringement on religious beliefs it will become an issue akin to paying off the national debt. The litigious creep is subtle but these laws will transcend questions of commerce and will be forced into our churches, schools, and homes. You cannot infringe on freedom of religion without infringing on ALL freedoms.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    re: Hutterite earlier today

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

    Wouldn't that put Natural selection in to play?

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:41 p.m.

    @Bleed Crimson: Please explain how Christians in Arizona are being discriminated against? I have absolutely no idea what religion my baker belongs to. I have no idea what religion anyone I do business with belongs to with one exception. The photographer of my wedding was Mormon. How do I know? Because she provided me with lots and lots of samples to look at and the majority of the photos were of large families standing in front of Mormon temples. But what, exactly, would a baker provide me as samples of his Christian belief. More importantly, what would a baker provide me as samples of his ignorant homophobia belief (shrouded in religion) so I can avoid buying cookies, pastries and pies from him?

  • Outside-View Federal Way, WA
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    I certainly am in favor of trying to pass a religious liberty law that will allow people to exercise they religous beliefs especially when doing so does not hurt anyone but possibly their own businesses. Gays can get photographers or florists who may want to specialize in their wedding events. Gays just cannot allow any afirmed right for people to say that their lifestyle is wrong without being punished. This same attitude will be made against religions themselve soon saying that those religions cant discriminate or they will lose their tax exempt status.

    i dont know that this bill is the right law to allow this right but I hope the U S Supreme Court will someday soon afirm the right for States and religious people to define marriage as they want and to chose who they want to serve in their businesses with out being punished for it.

  • JerryBall San Francisco, CA
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    This bill is not so much anti-gay as it is anti-Christian. They are using the misinterpreted Early Bronze Age Jewish Biblical version as a bludgeon. The New Testament, not so much, as their logic is contrary to the teachings of Christ. They seem to be wearing the title of "Christian" under the guise of the Old Vengeful God of ye olde tymes as passed down via tales of Bronze Age Shepherds before Christ. Joseph La Rue, are legislating from the wrong Book.

  • AZ-Byu fan gilbert, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:25 p.m.

    I don't think that this law is worth the controversy it has created. But all of you claiming that this is an anti-gay bill should read that actual bill. All that it does is provide someone one a "defense" to use if legal action is brought upon them for refusing business for personal religious reasons. It doesn't even keep a lawsuit from going to court and certainly does not guaranty that a judge would even rule in their favor.

    No where in the bill is sexuality mentioned in any form or in any way. So why is it that only one group of individuals feel threatened by this bill? Is the vitriol so severe that we have completely lost common sense? I am an accountant and personally I would have no objection to providing accounting services to any one based on their sexual preference, religion or race. However, if I was asked to audit a strip club, which would require a visit to their location; shouldn't I be able to refrain and ask them to please find another auditor?

  • rightway2go Ellington, CT
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    This is a necessary law to have for people of faith, otherwise you are violating their religious freedom. It's not bigotry, it's for the sake sake of people who hold to their faith. People who never go to church can't understand that faith comes before money and business. The courts made a mess out of everything in the first place by acknowledging gay marriage. No such thing as a gay marriage. Marriage is really only between men and women. If you force Christians to work for gays you are asking them to deny their faith which real Christians aren't going to do anyway. Let them look for other businesses who will support them and leave the Christian alone.

    Feb. 25, 2014 2:11 p.m.

    Can they also refuse to bake cakes for people entering a second marriage? Can Muslim taxi drivers refuse to drive unaccompanied women? Can Catholic bakers refuse service to Mormons because they don't define "Christian" the same way?

    Feb. 25, 2014 2:08 p.m.

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

    See, here's the problem. It doesn't say anything about Christians, yet that is the only people anyone seems to be interested in "protecting."

  • pbunny Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    The only thing Jesus said about marriage was that people who divorced for reasons other than infidelity were entering into adulterous relationships if they remarried. Not committing adultery is one of the ten commandments. For this reason,the Catholic church refuses to marry divorcees. (Note: nobody has ever sued the Catholic church for this--and they can't, because of the constitution.) Do those of you who support refusal of cake baking and picture taking for the weddings of gay people also support refusal to bake cakes for, take pictures of, and otherwise serve the weddings of people remarrying? Would you support denying remarried folks employment or housing on religious grounds? I have asked these questions here before but nobody answered me. Thanks.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    If someone running a business is confronted with people wanting them to provide services for something morally wrong, the state shouldn't force them to do business with them.

    If someone holding a "wedding" for two men or two women can't get service from one business, they can get it from another. It's not about promoting "Gay rights", it's about silencing anyone who understands marriage differently from them. We're here now trying to enact laws to protect people who aren't being protected by sound laws that are regularly ignored or illegally struck down by the "LGBT" movement anyway. What do they care that -this- law passes?

  • FractalTheorem West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    If the pro-gay side wins this argument, I'm afraid it will be to their detriment - a Pyrrhic victory. It will only serve to promote distrust, anger, and even hate as those who are simply acting according to their belief system are strongly censured, losing ground instead of gaining it.

  • John T Scranton, PA
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    A hypothetical question: If Jesus owned some sort of small shop - say, a carpentry business - would He refuse service to anyone? Are there any genuine Christ-followers out there who really believe that Jesus would not treat all who entered His shop with the love and respect that He showed everyone when He was here the first time? It seems to me, that we all need to stop judging people so much, and let THE Judge deal with people in His own time and way. We may not like or agree with others on a particular lifestyle or other issue, but we will be held responsible for how we treat those with whom we disagree.

  • AZFarmBoy Goodyear, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    First off, I want to say that I don't necessarily support the law - I think it could be more narrowly written, possibly in the way Mr. Laycock suggests in the article.

    But I want to ask a question to those that are appalled at the proposed law:

    If you owned some sort of small event hall, and the Westboro Baptist Church (or some organization like it) came to you, and wanted to reserve the hall for their annual "God Hates Gays" banquet, would you like to be able to deny them service? Or should they be able to sue you for discrimination?

  • Wiaz scottsdale , AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:23 p.m.

    This is bigoted racism hide behind religion

  • Azazael Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:18 p.m.

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

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    @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.

  • Freonpsandoz Los Angeles, CA
    Feb. 25, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    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.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    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.

  • FractalTheorem West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:54 p.m.

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

  • Azazael Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    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.

  • Stephen Daedalus Arvada, CO
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    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?

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    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.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    "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.

  • cocosweet Sandy, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    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).

  • oremtigger7 orem, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    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.

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:40 p.m.

    "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.

  • DougW659 Buffalo Grove, IL
    Feb. 25, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    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.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    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?

  • Demosthenes Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    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.

  • sethsmith Detroit, MI
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    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.

  • Concentric eye San Diego, CA
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:22 a.m.

    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.

  • Robert Riversong Warren, VT
    Feb. 25, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    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.