Protecting freedom of speech

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    March 26, 2014 12:13 a.m.

    I am a gay man. I was baptized Mormon, blessed as a baby, and I even went on a mission. Since when is it a Mormon belief that you can not take photos of lesbians? Besides, does not the Mormon church believe in obeying the law? It is against the law to discriminate in New Mexico. Say what you want, it was discrimination!
    You know, if you had to go through it, you might change your mind! I have felt discrimination many times in Utah. I have been laughed at and I have been fired! More power to you, Cassie! More power to you! I would feel ashamed to treat others that way. I do my best to honor the beliefs of all LDS people around me! To hear them say that it is ok to treat me like this is very painful! Taking pictures doesn't mean you believe in gay marriage, but it can be a way of respecting someone and treating them like a person! Without trying to offend you, it is wrong! it is wrong because of what it does!
    I would be embarrassed to treat someone that way and say that it is my belief!

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 24, 2014 12:07 a.m.

    @ Counter Intelligence: Yes, two years in February of 2012, a hairdresser who had done Gov. Martinez's hair 3 times refused her any additional appointments based on her stand against same-sex marriage.

    You like to claim this is discrimination. Others like to claim it was a political statement since it was against a single politician based directly on that politician's stance on a specific issue that directly impacts this particular individual. At the time he refused to cut her hair, he made a statement to the effect that if he is not good enough to get married, he is not good enough to cut the Governor's hair.

    Here's the question: What does the hairdresser have to do with the photographer? Does one action make the other action correct? Do they cancel each other out? If Democrats jumped off a cliff would that be a valid reason for Republicans to do it too?

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 22, 2014 10:45 p.m.

    @ Centerville Mom: Since it was a commitment ceremony the photographer refused to take pictures of, I think we can all agree the use of the word "marriage" is not really the problem.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 22, 2014 8:36 p.m.

    @ Badgerbadger

    The author is arguing for the right to declare her religious perspective in certain situations in the public square. This benefits her, but it also undermines another value we hold - living cooperatively and civilly. I question why the former should be given more weight. The benefits of everyone getting along accrue to all. The benefit of what she wants accrues only to some AND it causes discord. This doesn't seem like a tough call to me.

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    March 22, 2014 8:04 p.m.

    centerville mom,

    There would be no need for discussion at all if more people from conservative faiths could see that allowing a loving couple to legally cement their relationship via civil law does no harm to anyone. There would be no need for discussion if people would not try to legislate religious doctrine. There would be no need for discussion if self-declared good Christians weren't harboring vindictive motives, rather than the love for their neighbors that Jesus tells us is the second most important thing, next only to loving God.

    As for the "definition of marriage," read your Bible. Marriage by conquest was quite common, women being prizes of war to be taken for wives. Divorced women who remarried were to be stoned to death. Not to mention slaves, concubines, incest and all manner of begetting and begatting. The idea of the egalitarian marriage we enjoy today is a product of our egalitarian society. This "tradition" you're imagining never existed.

  • Centerville Mom Centerville, UT
    March 22, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    Actually, there would be very little discussion here if the the lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and transgenders didn't want to change the definition of marriage that has stood for 6,000 years. That's the real issue. My experience is that most Christians don't care what two consenting adults do in PRIVATE, whether they be two males, two females, or two of the opposite sex. No one is denying them that "right." And, surely, no one would deny "serving" such couples if we don't change God's definition of marriage. If the definition of marriage isn't changed, then the cake-maker and the photographer have no issues.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    March 22, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    I suppose, if you're opposed to the morality of the customer, you can perform the service as required by the laws governing your business license, and at the same time exercise your first amendment rights by being as annoying as possible and preaching to the the sinning customer to your heart's delight. Maybe if you're lucky, they'll release you from your obligation early.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    March 22, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    @Truthseeker: I appreciated your clarification that the Court ruling was appropriate for the Cake Shop, because they refused to bake any cake for the Same Sex Wedding ceremony. It would have been different if the couple had requested a message on the cake that promoted Same Sex unions. That would have been a Free Speech issue. In this case, the couple might just as well have requested a big bowl of Hostess Twinkies, and had a store refuse to sell to them.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    March 22, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    These people who complain about their religious liberties being violated remind me of the Pharisees who judged Jesus Christ for his choice of company.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 22, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    @ Sal:
    @ Quaker:
    @ Truthseeker:

    Most of the facts as stated by Quaker and Truthseeker are correct - an important thing to be aware of, however, is that Catholic Charities is _still_ doing adoptions in MA. They actually went with Quakers second choice and now operate the same way LDS Social Services operates - performing private adoptions with private money.

    As for "gay propaganda" in schools and parents being prohibited access to schools - a bag of books on different types of families was sent home with a student, the parents could chose which books, if any, to read. A father wanted to make the choice for all children that they not be read books about same-sex parents. He also wanted to prohibit children with same-sex parents from talking about that at school where his children might hear.

    The school told him he could not set those limits and when he got belligerent and disruptive, had him forcefully removed from the school.

    It was not the subject he was protesting that was the problem, it was his behavior that was the problem.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    "If you won't serve the product of your business to ALL customers who come to your door, then you shouldn't be in business."

    Where was you outrage when the hairdresser refused to cut Mew Mexico governor Martinez's hair because of her stance on gay marriage?

    Oh yea - politically correct "tolerance" is always mono-directional

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    March 22, 2014 6:24 a.m.

    The federal court ruling in the Michigan case is quite instructive. It pretty much scoffed at arguments very similar to Utah's.

    It rejects the pseudo-sociological "argument" that marriage needs to be "protected" from gays, for the sake of the children. It said very dismissive things about the state's "expert" witnesses on this subject. (These are the same witnesses that Utah is relying upon.)

    It rejects the "procreation/biological" argument.

    It rejects the "tradition" argument.

    It rejects the "OMG, there may be unforeseen consequences" argument.

    It rejects the "will of the people/states' rights" argument.

    And the state didn't even have the temerity to argue the religious freedom argument, but I suspect this court wouldn't have spent more than a single sentence dismissing it.

    In short, the court cut through the state's argument like a hot knife through soft butter. The decision was very much child-centric, too. I recommend reading it. It's posted in various places. One is as C4220110321.PDF on the Detroit Free Press website.

    So, that's it, a pretty good likelihood what we'll see from the 10th Circuit on this appeal.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 21, 2014 4:44 p.m.


    Actually, Catholic Charities in MA had placed 13, "hard-to-place" children with gay couples in a 20 yr period, beginning in 1987. In 2005 the Boston Globe reported the Pres. Of Catholic Chatities in Boston, stated, "if we could design the system ourselves, we would not participate in adoptions to gay couples, but we can't. We have to balance various goods." The article in Boston Globe brought the practice to light.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 21, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    "Can you change God's definition of marriage for a few dollars?

    Can you nullify "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" for a few dollars?

    Really Mike, who cares? Agaiiiiin, this has nothing to do with morals. It's simply human rights. For society the arbiter of what is a marriage is the state and if the state has a foundational policy that says you can't deny someone access to a service or process based on their inherent human condition then it doesn't matter at all what God thinks a marriage is or what you think God thinks a marriage is.

    "Can government force people to set aside conscience as a precondition for owning a business? " No, and they are not being asked to set aside their conscience now. Business owners can believe as they choose, they just can't act on that conscience if it violates the law.

    Could you set up a business that advertises as a Christian only wedding photographer and never work for anyone other than Christians, maybe, that's the kind of thing we'll have to see.

    God just has nothing to do with this battle.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 21, 2014 3:35 p.m.

    "Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white-supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church. However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents’ point. In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respodnents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech.

    Such discrimination is against the law; it adversely affects the rights of Complainants to be free from discrimination in the marketplace; and the impact upon Respondents is incidental to the state’s legitimate regulation of commercial activity."
    (Craig and Mullins v Masterpiece Cake Shop)

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    March 21, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    @Sal: Would you keep repeating a falsehood if you knew it was false?

    Massachusetts didn't close any adoption agencies. Catholic Services had been adopting children to gay couples long before the court decision legalizing gay marriage. To the board of the charity, the court decision didn't make any difference and they were prepared to continue. The state's Catholic Bishops, however, felt the need to make a doctrinal stand, and as they "owned" the charity, could shut it down. And did.

    It wasn't an either/or situation, though. They had three choices:
    _Continue adoptions without discrimination and continue to receive state funding for their services.
    _Continue adoptions, except to gay people, and continue operations with their own funding, but not the state's, or
    _Shut down.

    They chose the third choice. By contrast, LDS Family Services still operates in Massachusetts, still places adoptions as they see fit, and operates without state funding, as they always had.

    The Catholic agency simply refused to operate without state funding. They tried to use the kids as hostages to extort an exception from the state. When they couldn't, they just abandoned them.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    March 21, 2014 2:39 p.m.

    Testimony -

    Are homosexuals being shuttered, banned? Have you been arrested for coming out of them?

    Is it a crime to proselytize your sexual orientation?

    Have you been arrested for homosexuality?

    Are you being threatened with hanging for refusing to recant your sexual orientation?

    Has the state denounced you for your sexual orientation, seized your property and exiled you under threat of death if you return?

    Have your homosexual books or artifacts been declared illegal, taken from you and burned?

    Have you been forcibly converted to another sexuality, tortured until you signed a pledge of straightness?

    Homosexuals should be grateful for the freedom this country affords them. In many other countries, they would experience any or all of the above.

    By your definition, homosexuality freedom isn't being threatened or denied either. The photographer did none of those terrible things. Neither did the baker. Yet their business assets were seized because of they live their religion. Where is the case of someone's assets being seized for living their sexual orientation?

    Homosexuals have all freedoms in this country. Don't begrudge others their freedom. Destroy theirs and you lose your own in the process.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    March 21, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    Testimony, you have only to go to Massachusetts to see what the government has done to force churches and businesses to accept the gay lifestyle. Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to close if they do not adopt to gay couples. Children are exposed to gay propaganda from kindergarten on--in California, too. Parents are forced out of the public school system if they hope to raise moral children. These are examples of the beginning of 'force' by the government and courts.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 21, 2014 2:26 p.m.

    Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    What the gay community wants us to believe is thT everything has a price. They think that they can "buy" us, and if we refuse, then tbey will sue us.


    There you go again,
    telling others what yet another group 'wants", "thinks" or "believe".

    Mike, for the umpteenth time already,
    - YOU have your opinions and thoughts.

    You do not speak for others,
    You do not think for others.

    Stating your opinion is Free Speech, and for that I will defend you.
    Speaking for Others is a violation of Free Speech, and I will fight you.
    Thinking for others is just plain old abusive.

    BTW --
    I've listenied to the Gay community.

    All they "want", "think" and "believe" is just to be treated like any other law abiding, tax paying, citizens of the United States.

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 21, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    This doesn't sound like an issue of "freedom of speech" to me.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    March 21, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    It isn't discrimination to exclude some people from being photographed or from having a cake made because they can easily have it done elsewhere.

    It is oppression to force those with deeply held religious beliefs to violate those beliefs.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 21, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    What the gay community wants us to believe is thT everything has a price. They think that they can "buy" us, and if we refuse, then tbey will sue us.

    What can you buy - for money?

    Can you change God's definition of marriage for a few dollars?

    Can you nullify "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" for a few dollars?

    Can government force people to set aside conscience as a precondition for owning a business? Exact where in the Constitution is that stated. Spare us your reference to the 14th Amendment unless you are a slave who has not been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Twisting that Amendment to apply to "feelings" is not something that educated people wod do.

    Section 8 of Article 1 only allows government to regulate Interstate Commerence. Anyone who bieves differently has not read the Constitution, but that what those who twist the Constitution count on, a citizenry that is ignorant of the limits placed on government.

  • Stephen Daedalus Arvada, CO
    March 21, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    This column and several comments misunderstand the public accommodations laws and regulations under which these sort of complaints have been brought.

    Nearly every state has such a law (Colorado's is over 100 years old) and over the years, most states have expanded the list of protected classes, and many have included 'sexual orientation' in the past 10-15 years. The definition of "public accommodations" is pretty uniform too, and generally includes goods/services offered for sale to the general public. If you open a business of that sort and you refuse to follow the law, then you can expect to be fined if someone files a complaint, not all that different than the vast range of other rules/regulations that apply to businesses.

    A religious exception for certain business types -might- fly IF the services involve sufficient creative expression, and photography might be one (depending on specifics). But if so, then such an exception will apply to all other protected classes, allowing refusals of interracial or non-white weddings, Catholics/Mormons/atheists, old-geezer-to-spring-chicken weddings, etc. Keep in mind, if your state statute does not include LGBT, this is a non-issue.

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    March 21, 2014 1:37 p.m.


    I'm failing to understand this supposed religiously-dictated imperative to refuse services. Where is this mandatory shunning of gay people described in the Bible? Where is it written that attendance at a wedding of which you disapprove is a sin?

    All I'm hearing is that you don't like gay people so don't want to attend their wedding. Then, some sort of rationalization that it would violate your religious freedom. There's a big non-sequitur in the middle of that. Explain the connection.

    And, heaven forfend that a religious devotee would ever have to sacrifice anything for his faith. He could move to a state or country where the public accommodations laws don't cover sexual preference. There are plenty of those. He could take a salaried position as a church photographer, so he'd never have to work for the general public. Or eschew society and become a religious ascetic.

    There's a difference between religious devotion and homophobia. Using the first as an excuse for the second, is deplorable enough, but then demanding immunity from treating people equally based on that, just compounds the problem.

  • Jon W. Murray, UT
    March 21, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    What everyone seems to be missing here is the purpose of a wedding photographer and his product, photographs of weddings. That purpose is to commemorate an event, showing it in as positive a light as possible. So forcing, under threat of destroying his entire business, a wedding photographer to show a ceremony, which he sincerely believes is an abomination before God, in a positive light - really is impinging on his religious beliefs.

  • anotherview SLO, CA
    March 21, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    When i was in high school, i worked in the kitchen of a hospital there in Salt Lake which served wine to pts who were permitted to have it. It was listed on the menu. As the pt trays were filled according to the menu, sometimes I, an LDS member, had the task of putting wine on the pt tray. It never occurred to me that i was breaking a commandment. I was taught I should obey the WoW but i don't recall being taught It was a sin for me to do my job in serving others.

    The law allowed the stoning of a woman accused of adultery. Adultery was a major sin in Jesus' time, yet he opposed the law being carried out, reminding those who would impose the penalty that they were sinners too. Jesus (who was perfect and had more authority to judge than any mortal man) urged the woman to repent and let her go.

    Religion enjoys more freedom here than in most parts of the world. Religious people trying to justify discrimination against non-adherents in the public square is hastening the demise of religion.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    March 21, 2014 12:28 p.m.

    The biggest problem with the arguments is the assumption that providing a service makes you an accessory or accomplice to their "sin." By denying service you are not impeding their immorality at all. Providing the service is not your sin. You are not scantily clothed, eating non-kosher foods or engaging in homosexual acts. When I drove cab I knew I was transporting individuals who were engaged in what I considered immoral behavior. And I will not even use the argument they could get a ride from another driver. If you open a law-abiding business, you serve the law-abiding public. If laws are passed, like the one vetoed in Arizona, it will be hard to draw the line in so many gray areas (those immoral activities described are not illegal) and it would open the door to discrimination against people of different religious beliefs.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    March 21, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    Steve C. Warren
    If wedding photographers with Christian beliefs decline to photograph a same-sex ceremony for religious reasons, shouldn’t they also for religious reasons refuse to photograph engaged couples who sometimes take the name of the Lord in vain, who refuse to keep the Sabbath holy and who smoke pot?


    What about couples who "Living In Sin" together,
    Have had children out-of-wedlock,
    Have had ANY Sexual Relations?

    Same broken Law of Chastity.

    They should at least be consistant and show integrity with their religous bigotry.

    As far as a business is concerned --
    Just like with coupons, menus, catalogs, advertisments, or posted hours of operation ---

    I think placing something as simple as a disclaimer stating what your will or won't do -- no hidden costs or surprises.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    March 21, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    @Jamescmeyer - You should read some of the court decisons on the Hugenin case, it's enlightening. Courts have held your distinction ("Their being lesbian had nothing to do with it-it was the nature of the ceremony") is a distinction without a difference.

    The New Mexico Supreme Court quoted the US Supreme Court: "While it is true that the law applies only to conduct, the conduct targeted by this law is conduct that is closely correlated with being homosexual. Under such circumstances, [the] law is targeted at more than conduct. It is instead directed toward gay persons as a class."

    To connect the dots: Elane Hugenin refused to photograph a lesbian couples wedding. Straight couples don't have gay weddings. Hugenin's sole purpose for refusing her services was the identity of the persons involved (lesbians) which is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Again, from the NM Supreme Court: "In this case, we see no basis for distinguishing between discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on someone’s conduct of publicly committing to a person of the same sex."

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 21, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    Hold you breath here… but I actually agree with Mike Richards second posting here. He is spot on. This is about mutual respect. Sure the law has part of it… but the law should be the last barrier reached. If people respect you, you will not be asked to do things that they know are against your morals or beliefs. His example of a lab having the right to determine what kind of work it will do… is reasonable and fare.

    Just as you would not ask a devout jewish photographer to work on his Sabbath. It is perfectly ok for Chick-fil-A to be closed on Sundays..even if you are hungry. But the nuance here is they are closed to everyone. The Jewish photographer can't shoot on Saturday, because doing so would require him/her to violate one of their beliefs. Printing nudes would require one to see nudes, which is a violation Mike's beliefs. They cause you to do something overtly against your beliefs.

    It is about respect… and respecting everyones beliefs. I can respect your choice while not being an active part of enabling that choice.

  • Testimony Philadelphia, PA
    March 21, 2014 11:08 a.m.


    Claiming your freedom of religion is somehow threatened is complete, total, and utter nonsense.

    Are your churches being shuttered, banned? Have you been arrested for coming out of them?

    Is it a crime to proselytize your religion?

    Have you been arrested for heresy, blasphemy, or apostasy?

    Are you being threatened with hanging for refusing to recant your religion?

    Has the state denounced you for your religion, seized your property and exiled you under threat of death if you return?

    Have your religious books or artifacts been declared illegal, taken from you and burned?

    Have you been forcibly converted to another religion, tortured until you signed a pledge of devotion?

    History shows us ALL OF THE ABOVE have happened to people without religious freedom. Right through the 20th century. Some even today. NONE of that has happened in the USA since our Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state was established as the law of the land.

    We should be SO grateful!

    Cherish that separation. Don't begrudge others their freedom. Destroy theirs and you lose your own in the process.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 21, 2014 11:00 a.m.


    You've used your right to speak to use several names. You've used your right of speech to tell us that you, not the Church you belong to or the God that directs that Church, to define what type of marriage is correct. You have that right to speak. Everyone who has posted has the right to speak freely. What you don't have is the right to dictate to others that they must violate principles of conscience in their business just because you personally accept a type of "marriage" that is not in agreement with mine, or a photographers. God holds us all accountable for the way we use our "right" to speak. Some of us use that "right" to promote what He has decreed while others use that "right" to disagree with God.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 21, 2014 10:57 a.m.


    "Bluedevil - nice cherry picking. Now about those swimsuits? or do you just hate Christians?"

    Ah… for todays BadgerBadger…. I hate Christians now…. good golly. Its real easy, photographers all over the world turn down swimsuit, lingerie, glamor… what ever you want to call it… shoots all the time. Never have done one myself… don't plan on doing one either… and I am not even Muslim…. Not sure I said anything about christians… swimsuits… or christians wearing swimsuits.

    "The disdain of others is meaningless to those of us of put our God first."….. followed by a snide comment that I must hate christians…. nicely done.

    I am feeling the Christian love emanating from Murray

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    March 21, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    OMM - maybe your ability to live by your religious convictions is not be threatened or denied, but you only speak for your own religious convictions, not mine, or anyone else's. Just yours.

    If you want to start your own religion, you can decide what the tenets are, and you can run the church and decide how those tenets are interpreted, but you are not the spokesman for any church, and you are not the spokesman for me, or any other person of religion.

    Other people's (people of EVERY religion) religious rights are being threatened and denied, right here in the US, and even right here in Utah.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    March 21, 2014 9:58 a.m.

    If wedding photographers with Christian beliefs decline to photograph a same-sex ceremony for religious reasons, shouldn’t they also for religious reasons refuse to photograph engaged couples who sometimes take the name of the Lord in vain, who refuse to keep the Sabbath holy and who smoke pot? In other words, by declining only to photograph same-sex couples, it’s not really about religious beliefs. It's about antipathy toward gays.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    March 21, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    Are you as noble as Don Blair was, or would you tell us that you have the right to force us to abandon our principles?

    9:27 a.m. March 21, 2014


    Don Blair was a photographer Mike.
    and by your desription, probably a very good man --
    he was not a Constitutional Scholar, nor a Lawyer.

    We are a country run by laws, not feelings and opinions.

    If you want a country run by religous convictions,
    move to Iran.

    Why should America spend 5,000 lives, 75,000 causalties, and $3 trillion to fight the likes of Taliban abroad, and then turn right around and allow it here?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 21, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    Why not use an example of....

    A Mormon works in a Resturant.
    A customer orders a cup of coffee.

    Should the Customer denied service becase the Mormon doesn't drink coffee?

    I'm Mormon,
    I don't drink coffee.

    But me denying service because I don't drink coffee is stupid.

    Same goes for Gay wedding cakes, photographs and religous convictions.

    Your religous convitions are not being threathened or denied by doing business with gays,
    anymore than my keeping and living the Word of Wisdom is in jeopardy for serving a cup of coffee.

    If you don't believe in Gay marriage, fine - don't get one.
    But being uppity toward others, is bigotry.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 21, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    "The weapon of choice in the gay community is force". This is the core of the debate and problem here, all other polemics and speculation aside.

    Some refuse to believe that being gay is inherent to humanity and therefore protected by human rights law.

    Whether or not it's "moral" has noting to do with civil rights, unless the characteristic does harm to others. Being gay does no harm to others.

    BTW; this is exactly why the state of Utah defense is structured as it is.

    It would be like denying service to some one who is albino. Being albino is rare but inherently human and does no harm to others, so you don't get to deny service to that person based on their being albino. You can make up all the stories you want about why this person is albino but you can't legally deny them their human rights.

    So Mike, believe all you want about the morality of homosexuality but unless you can prove it's not inherently human, or does harm to others you don't get to deny service based on that characteristic. Welcome to society and a civil world.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    March 21, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Besides this editorial, there have been a number of articles and comments in these pages trying to disparage public accommodations laws through absurd comparisons.

    There is only one thing you're legally entitled to if you make a habit of demanding pizza at ice cream parlors, chow mein at pizza parlors, cheeseburgers at Chinese restaurants, and chicken vindaloo at hamburger stands: a competency hearing.

    This in no way impinges your right of free speech to express your preferences or views. Perhaps pizza is your favorite food. Perhaps you loathe chicken vindaloo. While you have a right to say those things, you don't have a right to force it upon others. You may order as much pizza you like, at your local pizza parlor. You may avoid eating chicken vindaloo yourself. You cannot force every restaurant to serve pizza, nor every curry joint to close. That impinges upon others' rights. If your sister or daughter loves takeout chicken vindaloo, it's no injury to you as long as you're not the one eating it. You should be happy for them, while you enjoy your pizza.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    March 21, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    Karen - Living ones religion is not done as a statement to others. Living ones religion is being true to ones self and to ones God. The disdain of others is meaningless to those of us of put our God first.

    Bluedevil - nice cherry picking. Now about those swimsuits? or do you just hate Christians?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    March 21, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    If you won't serve the product of your business to ALL customers who come to your door, then you shouldn't be in business.

    If your god tells you that you must NOT deal with sinners in your business then you should close your doors because *everybody* is a "sinner" according to nearly every religion, therefore serving ANY customer is violating your "religious beliefs" - or you should find another god to worship.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    March 21, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    @Karen R.
    The issue raised in this article is that it is -not- discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. Their being lesbian had nothing to do with it-it was the nature of the ceremony. This is esecially in contrast with the Californian bartender who refuses service to those who don't support changing marriage, without penalty.

    I, for one, would be -honored- if a Muslim photographer refused to take pictures at a beach party I threw because of the nature of swimsuits. It would warm my heart to meet someone with concerns about modesty and with the courage to say so.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    March 21, 2014 7:12 a.m.

    I think it's significant that the first two scenarios are imaginary. They haven't happened. The only thing that has happened is your third scenario.

    It's easy to go wrong when you make imaginary comparisons and try to make an editorial point from them.

    Do you know for a fact that it is an offense for a Moslem to be in the presence of an immodestly dressed woman? I expect you're wrong on that account. The religious stricture, for those who choose to follow it, is to not dress immodestly oneself. Your photographer would be in complete compliance taking pictures of a beach party, as long as she dressed appropriately herself to meet her own religion's expectations. No one else in her presence needs meet those expectations.

    While many Jews follow the kosher laws, it again concerns themselves, defining what not to eat, what not to wear. Your ham and cheese sandwich isn't their problem. As for public accommodations law, you're only entitled to equal access to what is on offer.

    Your third example, the real one, differs in that you claim a religious exception to other people's actions. Wrong.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    March 21, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    The op-ed doesn't mention that New Mexico has a law that expressly protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the photographer violated this law.

    Having said this, yes - let's continue to have this debate. Some questions/thoughts:

    If the primary benefit that comes from an expression of one's religious belief in the public square is to declare that individual's religious perspective, should this right of free speech be given more weight than our collective goal to live in a cooperative and civil society - particularly when this right to expression is not completely foreclosed; there are ample (and protected) opportunities for expressing it outside of the public square?; and particularly when the belief being expressed serves to exclude individuals or groups not for the common good but solely for a religious purpose?

    Also, for those who are religious, isn't living cooperatively and civilly an expression of your beliefs as well?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 21, 2014 6:33 a.m.

    Your examples are silly. The BBQ one... you don't hire a caterer and then ask them to make something that is not on their menu. Thats like going to McDonalds and asking for a salmon steak. McDonalds can easily say that they don't have that on their menu. The BBQ is just the same. A caterer has a menu they provide.

    Likewise the photography example. In my early days after being at the Y - I was a staff photographer for the Daily Herald - I worked as a freelance photojournalist for the Mercury News shooting sports while completing my graduate work. I was asked several time to shoot weddings and things like senior portraits - to which i turned down, because it was not the type of photography I did.

    The case in Oregon is more nuanced. The photographer was approached to do a style of photography they normally do. They were not asked to offer a service that was not something they normally do. I don't totally have my mind made up on this. I still do photography on occasion, and more types, but refuse to shoot youth. Its just my rule and no one has complained.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 21, 2014 12:33 a.m.

    Free-agency allows out Courts to be filled with nonsense, it's the judges responsibility to be respectable.