LGBT

Religious Liberty-, LGBT-Advocates Clash Over New Bill

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Rep. Raul Labrador
US Govt

In the ongoing battle over differing interpretations of religious and civil liberties, Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) recently introduced a bill that seeks to protect religious institutions and other organizations from legal penalties for their views on same-sex marriage. He faces opposition from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The situation raises questions about the scope of the First Amendment and its guarantees of freedom of religion and association.

In a press release, Labrador said of the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, "Our bill will protect freedom of conscience for those who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue." He added his concern that religious groups face unfair scrutiny from government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Our bill will ensure tolerance for individuals and organizations that affirm traditional marriage, protecting them from adverse federal action."

HRC spokesman Fred Sainz thinks these concerns are unfounded. He said, "There is no evidence that federal programs have or would discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs about marriage," according to the Washington Post.

However, Labrador, who is joined by 60 co-sponsors including Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC), may have legitimate concerns. As Reason's Scott Shackford has reported, a photography business in New Mexico and a bakery in Oregon, among others, have faced legal troubles over refusing for religious reasons to service same-sex couples. In these cases, the religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment was placed at stake.

A. Barton Hinkle has noted that these cases not only undermine the "live and let live" mentality touted by the LGBT community, they actually enforce discrimination and undermine the right to free association.

One HRC blogger speculates that "if passed, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would permit a federal worker processing tax returns, approving visa applications or reviewing Social Security applications to walk away from their responsibilities whenever a same-sex couple's paperwork appeared on his or her desk." 

The claim may not be a strong one, though, as Labrador's proposed law focuses on limiting the power of government, not giving tacit approval to rogue homophobic bureaucrats. The bill specifies various actions that the federal government, particularly through the IRS, should be prohibited from doing to "individuals and institutions that exercise religious or moral conscience regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman":

·Deny or revoke an exemption from taxation under Sec. 501 of the IRS Tax Code

·Disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by a person

·Deny or withhold any federal benefit

·Deny or exclude a person from receiving any federal grant, contract, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status

·Otherwise discriminate against any individual organization

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  1. Sounds like the federal government would be “prohibited” from not giving out a bunch of special tax favors.

    1. Yes Tony we know. You are dying to use the power of the federal government to punish your enemies. You don’t have to reassure us. We know you are a fascists. A stupid fascist but a fascist. So you don’t have reaffirm your fascist street creed with us.

      1. Please do not feed the fasces trolls.

          1. I was going for that, yes.

      2. Not giving special tax handouts to bigots is me being a fascist?

        Did your hyperbole filter break recently or what? Everything’s totalitarian-this, fascist-that. It makes you sound like an idiot.

        1. Not treating citizens equally on the basis of religious belief or nationalism is characteristic of fascism, yes.

          Or would you like to proffer a list of persons who would be suitable to run the federal office which determines which views do and do not require penalty.

          1. Or would you like to proffer a list of persons who would be suitable to run the federal office which determines which views do and do not require penalty.

            You know he’s going to just hand you back a slip of paper with his name on it.

          2. They are trying to protect unequal treatment! Special tax breaks because they believe in bullshit.

            1. So no, then.

              I look forward to seeing you get hoisted on your own petard when Information Commissar Ashcroft is responsible for determining what is or is not “bullshit” for the purpose of preferential tax treatment.

              Well, no I don’t but you know what I mean.

        2. “Not giving special tax handouts to bigots is me being a fascist?”

          Not giving out “special” tax handouts to bigots that you give to everybody else is fascist. And, really, you might want to be a little more reticent about calling anyone an idiot.

          1. Not giving out “special” tax handouts to bigots that you give to everybody else is fascist.

            Ironically, this is one of Tony’s main defenses of gay marriage.

            1. I’m not sure cognitive dissonance qualifies as “irony”.

        3. So will mosques not get any special handouts either? Because being gay in some Muslim countries will get you stoned. And not in a good way.

          1. I’m not in favor of government subsidy of any flavor of bullshit.

            1. So any college with a liberal arts program is toast then.

              1. No just adults with imaginary friends.

    2. Sounds like you’re being deliberately-obtuse.

      If a government favor is to be given out, it must be done so without ideological bias on the part of the government. Giving the government the power to say that group A will pay lower taxes than group B because the government likes what group A believes, is indeed quasi-fascist. Government is not a proper arbiter of ideas.

      Not that I think there should be tax-exempt organizations in the first place. If there is a tax, everyone should be on the same footing, whether they’re selling burgers, preaching a religion, or trying to convince people to recycle.

    3. “Sounds like the federal government would be “prohibited” from not giving out a bunch of special tax favors.”

      That it gives to everybody else. You know, you really are a first class imbecile. What the hell is the fight over government recognition of gay marriage about other than “giving out a bunch of special tax favors”?

    4. Sure, if by “special tax favors” you mean the tax exemption that everyone is entitled to who satisfies the requirements of sections 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and if by “not giving out a bunch of special tax favors” you mean “not discriminating on the basis of viewpoint.”

  2. HRC spokesman Fred Sainz thinks these concerns are unfounded. He said, “There is no evidence that federal programs have or would discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs about marriage,” according to the Washington Post.
    placed at stake.

    […]

    One HRC blogger speculates that “if passed, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would permit a federal worker processing tax returns, approving visa applications or reviewing Social Security applications to walk away from their responsibilities whenever a same-sex couple’s paperwork appeared on his or her desk.”

    “There is no evidence that a federal worker would walk away from their responsibilities if that happened.” … because it hasn’t had a chance to happen yet.

    Convenient, huh?

  3. Tolerance for the intolerant cannot be tolerated.

    1. You are a bottomless pit of epic comments, a veritable Sarlacc of succinct wit.

  4. HRC is not now nor has it ever been in favor of freedom of conscience or freedom of association. This is no different.

    I don’t think I am ever going to understand Identity Politics. Ever.

    1. It takes a particularly twisted liberal brain to understand, or at least to go along with it.

      What’s fun is to get two liberal identity groups fighting each other.

  5. The bill specifies various actions that the federal government, particularly through the IRS, should be prohibited from doing to “individuals and institutions that exercise religious or moral conscience regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman”

    Why add the “regarding marriage as the union of one man and one woman”? Don’t individuals and institutions that exercise religious or moral conscience regarding other matters equally deserving of protection? Or is this about protecting just people who happen to agree with him while maintaining the ability to punish people who don’t?

    1. Stormy, get fucking real.

      1. He does have a point here. Creating special exemptions in certain areas for some religious beliefs basically means the government has the power to determine what is and isn’t a valid or acceptable religious belief. Not that I support anti-discrimination laws, or oppose this bill (I’d have to read up more on the specifics)

        1. He really doesn’t. It is exactly the same as when people argue that gay marriage is illegitimate because it doesn’t cover all possible unions between individuals — that it is not ideal is irrelevant if it is good and pertinent to a case in the real world.

          Perhaps a law with a more philosophic-ideal approach would be preferable (though perhaps it is not — see the 9th Amendment for details), but freedom-enhancing legislation is not bad simply because it fails to address all similar cases.

          1. Stormy didn’t actually say anything about whether the bill was a good or bad idea, just questioned the motivations of its supporters in Congress, and I think you’d have to be either naive or stupid to think his characterization of their motivation is untrue.

            My point wasn’t so much that it’s not perfect – I think that’s obvious from a libertarian POV – my point is that laws like this, in addition to not covering people whose objections are not religiously-based – gives the government the power to basically decide what is and isn’t an acceptable religious belief or practice. That doesn’t necessarily mean this law is a bad thing overall – it’s just something to consider

            1. the motivations of its supporters in Congress, and I think you’d have to be either naive or stupid to think his characterization of their motivation is untrue.

              1) I don’t want to be a jerk here — I think you’re a good egg — but who gives a shit what their motivations are? Many supporters of legalizing marijuana draw the line at hard drugs. That is not a consistent position. For that matter, gay marriage falls in that bucket far more so than this bill. It’s irrelevant, and bringing up innuendo about motivations in a blog entry not about that is a red herring. Supporters of the bill are on the right side; HRC and others are not.

              2) Not being a mind-reader, I couldn’t tell you what Labrador’s motivation is and would point out that many, many libertarian or freedom friendly persons have supported or written their own freedom-enhancing legislation targeted at specific problems rather than an airy, one-size-fits-all idealized rule on the lines of the 9th Am.

              gives the government the power to basically decide what is and isn’t an acceptable religious belief or practice

              3) Courts have already acknowledged this as a power that the government has. To the extent that it is a problem, it pre-exists the bill on offer.

              Stormy is full of shit. This is objectively an issue where the SoCons or whoever are on the right side of the issue, just as pot legalization is an issue where the dumb hippies are unquestionably in the right.

              1. FWIW, I do think it is a slander. SoCons (and most Americans) have no problem with halal and kosher being proscribed by Muslim and Jewish restauranteers; ditto for whatever atheists want to do on their property or their businesses. SoCons’ beefs usually lie in talismanic expressions of their faith through government action (e.g., having the Ten Commandments at some court) or various sex hangups, and not so much in forcing other religious (or irreligious) folks to manage their property in accordance with their sectarian beliefs.

                1. “3) Courts have already acknowledged this as a power that the government has. To the extent that it is a problem, it pre-exists the bill on offer.”

                  This is true, and I acknowledged that by saying “laws like this” – my point was just that this is another step down that road.

                  “Stormy is full of shit. This is objectively an issue where the SoCons or whoever are on the right side of the issue, just as pot legalization is an issue where the dumb hippies are unquestionably in the right.”

                  If by issue, you mean “anti-discrimination laws specifically relating to religious objections to gay marriage” then yes, I agree. If the issue is the broader issue of anti-discrimination laws, or even just religious exemptions anti-discrimination laws, then I disagree.

                2. Your examples are of pretty unoffensive stuff from other (Abrahamic) religions. I don’t even know of anyone proposing anti-discrimination laws regarding those things.

                  What about polygamy? IIRC, there are also laws that carve out exemptions to drug laws for certain drugs that were used in Native American religion. I’m not sure if a majority of SoCons oppose such laws, but I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that most people opposing such exemptions are SoCons. I’d also guess that most conservatives (obviously excluding the minority who still oppose interracial marriage) support laws outlawing discrimination on the basis of a marriage being interracial. Opposition to interracial marriage is a sincere (albeit despicable, not to mention clearly wrong from a Biblical perspective IMO) religious belief for a lot of people. Heck, virtually anything could be a sincere religious belief. Which goes back to my point – the First Amendment shouldn’t just apply to religions that existed and were accepted in 1790, or only those that are accepted today.

              2. “1) I don’t want to be a jerk here — I think you’re a good egg — but who gives a shit what their motivations are? Many supporters of legalizing marijuana draw the line at hard drugs. That is not a consistent position. For that matter, gay marriage falls in that bucket far more so than this bill. It’s irrelevant, and bringing up innuendo about motivations in a blog entry not about that is a red herring. Supporters of the bill are on the right side; HRC and others are not.”

                I agree it doesn’t matter in the sense that it shouldn’t affect whether or not libertarians work together with someone on a particular issue. If Stormy’s point was that we shouldn’t support this bill because of that, I agree with him. At the same time, I don’t have a problem with someone pointing out the hypocrisy of supporters of this bill, nor do I have a problem pointing out the hypocrisy of people who want to legalize weed, but not hard drugs, or progressives who oppose the Patriot Act but support big government in other areas, etc. Since when are all posts in a Reason thread completely on-topic?

                1. It’s not that it’s on-topic or not, it’s that it is the exact argument used by progressives to legitimize abuse. If a group can be shown to be inconsistent, so the logic goes, it is justifiable to impose upon them the same restrictions which they would inconsistently impose upon others.

                  Hell, it’s not even necessary to prove an inconsistency; merely supposing inconsistency to be the case is sufficient.

                  Fuck that. It’s an aberrant mentality from progressives, and libertarians buying into the premise without also supporting the conclusion is also harmful as it prevents them from gaining converts and being politically relevant.

                  Stormy’s observation (or unfounded supposition, if we’re being more honest) is as worthless as that of conservatives who point to Muslim-majority countries’ laws to then claim that American Muslims and their defenders are being insincere in their civil rights complaints.

                  1. “It’s not that it’s on-topic or not, it’s that it is the exact argument used by progressives to legitimize abuse.”

                    Unless Stormy actually meant to imply that inconsistency negates his position, he wasn’t even making an argument (beyond the accusation of inconsistency, that is).

                    There are plenty of examples on this site of a progressive saying something libertarians agree with, followed by a stream of comments about that person’s hypocrisy. Do you criticize the posters who make such comments in those instances, or accuse them of supporting the unlibertarian position on the issue because they are calling someone out for hypocrisy? If yes, then at least you’re consistent. If not, I apologize, but I haven’t noticed that.

                    “Stormy’s observation (or unfounded supposition, if we’re being more honest) is as worthless as that of conservatives who point to Muslim-majority countries’ laws to then claim that American Muslims and their defenders are being insincere in their civil rights complaints.”

                    I don’t think that’s exactly the same thing, because conservatives are blaming American Muslims for positions they don’t hold. Now it’s possible Labrador is a total libertarian on this issue, but I find it highly unlikely that, to give just one example, he would support legalizing polygamy if you asked him his position on the matter. And if we’re talking more broadly about SoCons as a group, we already know that the vast majority of them would not support that.

                    1. …I find it highly unlikely that, to give just one example, he would support legalizing polygamy

                      Well, he is a Mormon, so possibly bad example…

                    2. Do you criticize the posters who make such comments in those instances

                      Actually, yes. I tend to take a more measured tone in most cases; the reason being that other posters will generally speak their minds on the freedom violation and on other topics. Stormy exclusively (or near-exclusively) focuses on posting regarding conservative hypocricy (real or imagined) on threads of this nature, which is exactly what progressives do when confronted with examples of conservatives being on the correct side of a rights issue.

                      Lots of folks on this board criticize Tulpa, but if they are being honest the majority of his posts are on-topic and express some argument, even if it’s not a particularly good argument or the majority view. Stormy waltzes onto these threads, drops off innuendo, and pretends that he meant nothing by it when called on the carpet. He doesn’t make arguments (which are distinguished by having disprovable statements, inferences, some state premises and a conclusion), he casts aspersions.

                      I don’t like Illinois Nazis. I see no reason to limit my commentary to expressing that dislike when there is a freedom issue at stake; in fact self-censoring in that way is cowardly and implies agreement with the rights-violation. I see no reason to take an irenic tone towards someone who refuses to argue a point and casts aspersions favorable to the aggressor — that is a marker of either insincerity or cowardice.

                    3. Quick note on this:

                      conservatives are blaming American Muslims for positions they don’t hold.

                      Judging by polling, American Muslims are quite favorable to freedom restrictions (yes, including freedom restrictions of the nature of those found in Muslim-majority counterparts); significantly moreso than American SoCons. Even with that being the case, it is a red herring in the context of a debate on the civil rights of American Muslims — exactly the kind of red herring Stormy likes to drop off in these threads.

                    4. I will agree with you that Stormy has a habit of doing what you accuse him of, so I will say that he’s more deserving of your response than another poster would be. I don’t think he necessarily because he’s not a libertarian – I’ve seen him make posts critical of liberals without mentioning conservatives before. If I had to guess, I’d either say he’s a libertarian who came to that position from the left, and as such is more critical of conservatives than most others, or he simply likes riling up the conservatarians here, and there are more of them on this board than there are liberaltarians (SIV’s assertions notwithstanding).

                    5. TIT, I will agree with you that Stormy often does what you describe, so I suppose your response is more fair than it would be to someone else. I don’t think he necessarily does it because he’s not a libertarian, although it’s definitely possible. I think he either does it because 1) he’s a libertarian who came to that position from the left, and still retains a greater hostility towards conservatives than most libertarians. Or 2) he just gets a kick out of riling up the conservatarians on the board, as there are a lot more of them here than liberaltarians (SIV’s assertions notwithstanding)

                    6. Sorry for the double post. The first comment wasn’t showing up for some reason, so I assumed it hadn’t posted.

            2. It would be infinitely better, of course, to repeal the “civil rights” legislation that has created protected classes in the first place. Which will happen sometime about 2-3 billion years after the heat death of the universe.

              I positively adore the irony that you vociferously support same sex marriage, having attacked the purists who want to do away with civil marriage altogether for perpetuating bigotry and letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and having instructed the right wingers around these parts who brought up protected class arguments to shut the fuck up because they were a completely separate issue, then oppose an exemption limited to religion because is isn’t a libertarian solution, wouldn’t be fair to the non-religious, and would involve the government in what should be a private institution. I suppose the relevance of those concerns depends upon whose ox is being gored.

              1. Was that a response to Stormy or me? Cause I literally have never advocated any of the things you’re accusing me of. In fact, I’ve explicitly stated multiple times in this thread that hypocrisy by some supporters of the bill, or the concerns/imperfections I brought up, do not mean that the bill shouldn’t be supported by libertarians.

                1. Was that a response to Stormy or me?

                  It was to you, sorry, threading broke down with all the replies.

                  Cause I literally have never advocated any of the things you’re accusing me of.

                  I cbf to go Googling for it right now, but I’m nearly 100% certain that during the myriad gay marriage threads at Reason leading up to the latest SCOTUS rulings you were among those who completely rejected the arguments from the righties on here who warned of the protected class slippery slope as a total irrelevancy to the rights of gay people, and also rejected the purist argument basically on the same grounds as Tony (that being: it’ll never happen, so even if gay marriage isn’t a perfect libertarian solution, support it anyway, unless you’re a bigot).

                  1. – I want to do with away with marriage altogether. I do believe allowing gay and straight marriage is better than the status quo, but I have never said I don’t support eliminating marriage licenses altogether. In fact, I got into a long argument with John on marriage licenses when the DOMA ruling came out. I do think it’s unlikely, but I don’t think that means libertarians shouldn’t work towards eventually eliminating them
                    – I have never accused anyone who makes that argument of being a bigot just for having that position. I may have called someone who supports that position a bigot at some point, I don’t know, but if I have, it definitely was because of something else they said.
                    – I’ve never told anyone who makes the slippery slope/anti-discrimination argument to STFU. I have disagreed with them, but I have never told them to STFU, which you specifically accused me of.

                    And I’ll reiterate that I definitely did not make any of the arguments relating to this thread specifically that you accused me of, and accused me implicitly of being a hypocrite for making those arguments.

                    1. Fair enough then, like I said, I’m not gonna go digging through year old threads to nail a “gotcha” quote. It seems to me like the appeal of pragmatism is stronger for most of the libertarians around here on the gay marriage issue than for the majority of other issues (including this exemption), where it is usually pooh-poohed. That’s all.

                    2. I really don’t think you’d find a “gotcha” quote, even if you did. I have disagreed with people on gay marriage, but I’ve never accused anyone of being a bigot simply for refusing to support gay marriage as an alternative and insisting on only ending civil marriage, nor have I ever told anyone to STFU for making an argument about how gay marriage causes anti-discrimination lawsuits and should be opposed on such grounds.

                      “It seems to me like the appeal of pragmatism is stronger for most of the libertarians around here on the gay marriage issue than for the majority of other issues (including this exemption), where it is usually pooh-poohed. That’s all.”

                      Examples? Aside from Tony, and maybe Stormy Dragon, who else has opposed this law in this thread? Gay marriage threads almost always have a lot of people on both sides.

  6. When you give a group of people the means to push people around, some members of that group will push people around. Don’t try to tell me that the gay couples siccing the government on cake bakers and florists have no other source of cakes or bouquets than the ones they singled out to harass.

  7. I still think the best solution is for a business to clearly advertise a list of those whom they won’t serve, if it is that important to them.

    1. Great idea.

    2. “We reserve the right to serve or not serve whoever the fuck we want.”

      1. HA! You think that business you created is yours?

        We allow you to own that business for as long as it serves the “public good”.

        Your business isn’t here for you, it is here for us.

        If we decide to, we will go all Kristallnacht on your ass.

        1. “That business? You didn’t build that.”

  8. This showdown was inevitable. It’s not as though they gay power groups are just going to fold up shop once gay marriage is the law of the land. Once equality is achieved, their efforts will turn toward carving out special treatment.

    1. So we had best not start down that slippery slope and just keep them second-class citizens.

      1. That’s the spirit! And, please, would you wear this armband?

      2. Or just get government out of the business of marriage entirely. Why should single people be second-class citizens?

        1. But until the day when government does what it’s never going to do in anyone’s lifetime, we should continue treating gays as second-class citizens.

          1. Yeah, just like single people of any gender or sexual orientation. Tortures of the damned.

            1. Singleness is not an innate biological characteristic. It is a choice. You can choose to be single or to be married. It’s a choice straight people can make and gay people can’t, and that’s the problem.

              1. Well I imagine it’s not much of a choice for most of you, but you’re welcome to argue for government intervention into your romantic undesirability.

                1. Well I imagine it’s not much of a choice for most of you…

                  Ohhh, sickburn there Tony. Perhaps if the rest of us were more willing to put our ripe young asses out there for the plucking of some old codger to put bread on our table we’d know that unique feeling of self worth that you do.

              2. Singleness is not an innate biological characteristic. It is a choice.

                Very good! (and universally true regardless of your sexual orientation)

                You can choose to be single or to be married.

                2 in a row! Now you’re getting it! (and universally true regardless of your sexual orientation)

                It’s a choice straight people can make and gay people can’t, and that’s the problem.

                Actually not true even as it regards civil marriage, in that there are many categories of straight people who are denied that choice, and in that gay marriage is currently legal in 13 states and recognized by the federal government. But also totally irrelevant to an examination of the treatment of single people vs married people. Although I have always opposed civil marriage as an institution on principle since I became politically aware, I think it’s a stretch to call people who aren’t married “second class citizens”.

              3. “Singleness is not an innate biological characteristic.”

                Neither is homosexuality. Unless you believe in things without evidence (kinda like believing in God).

                1. “Neither is homosexuality. Unless you believe in things without evidence (kinda like believing in God).”

                  Not to defend Tony, but there is quite a bit of evidence that sexual orientation is, at the very least, significantly influenced by biology.

                  1. “Not to defend Tony, but there is quite a bit of evidence that sexual orientation is, at the very least, significantly influenced by biology.”

                    Nearly everything is influenced by biology. The same can be said of religion.

                    1. “Nearly everything is influenced by biology. The same can be said of religion.”

                      Do you really feel that religion and sexual orientation (gay, straight, or whatever) are equally influenced by biology? While I’m sure there’s biological influence on the human tendency to create and embrace religion, I really seriously doubt there is any biological basis for what specific religion anyone is.

              4. What do you feel about this recent study on identical twins and homosexuality. I’m a believer that homosexuality is not a choice in the sense that it’s a whim, but it is primarily psychological. By banking on “born that way,” you are putting your side in a corner.

                http://americanvision.org/8136…..EfwCH.dpbs

  9. You know, I would think that if the head of the Human Rights Campaign actually was against the federal government discriminating vs. traditional believers, then he’d get out in front of this issue. “The bleevers and Christfags are trying to scare people with fears about federal persecution – I will stop those scare tactics in their tracks by backing Rep. Labrador’s bill! By passing this bill, we give assurance that we won’t do what we had no intention of doing anyway!”

    And he failed to follow this course of action because…I don’t know how to finish that sentence without using the word “lie.”

    1. OK, the HRC guy claims he doesn’t want homophobic bureaucrats or federal contractors oppressing gays. But his group’s…what do you call it? The word “agenda comes to mind”…his group’s agenda seems to extend to the bullying of private businesses.

      From the HRC Web site:

      ” But the thing is, it doesn’t matter one iota whether or not an individual vendor has a personal “problem” with a customer or his/her reason for requesting service. Again, a vendor might have thoughts or feelings about any kind of customer who comes in the door. A barista might not like a religious symbol on the latte orderer’s person. A counter worker who happens to be vegan might have serious moral qualms about a customer’s lip-smacking fondness for ribs. A strong environmentalist tasked with creating wedding invites might be appalled by a client’s penchant for wasting paper. And yes, a Christian baker or florist might personally reject the divorced, multi-married, interfaith, atheistic, nonkosher, seemingly imcompatible, or any kind of couple who seeks out the vendor’s business. Because again, people have personal feelings. Everyone. All of us, not just Christians who personally oppose same-sex marriage.

      1. “What none of us have: the “right” to discriminate on the basis of our personal feelings. This is actually not an open debate. We, as a series of interconntected communities, have taken a consensus position when it comes to nondiscrimination in the public sector. A vendor cannot deny a client on the basis of who he or she is or some other factor that’s based on the businessperson’s personal whim. A shop owner can set standards (e.g. no shirt, no shoes, no service), hours of operation, and so on. However, we long ago determined that the ability to say “we don’t serve your kind here” is a completely untenable standard for sustaining communities?both the business community and our citizenry.”

        http://www.hrc.org/nomexposed/…..kIHwX_pdGo

        1. What none of us have: the “right” to discriminate on the basis of our personal feelings. This is actually not an open debate.

          I like the openness to discussion and different points of view here.

          What a jackbooted, nightstick-swinging asshole this guy is.

          1. This is actually not an open debate.

            Well, I might understand perfectly well why a two-bit thug by proxy might want to declare debate on the matter “closed”. The entire proposition is about as stupid and totalitarian as one might imagine.

      2. A barista might not like a religious symbol on the latte orderer’s person.

        Similarly, a barista might not like it if a customer wore a t-shirt saying, “Marriage: One Woman, One Man.” And HRC would be OK with imposing legal sanctions on the barista and his shop if they refused to serve the guy wearing the shirt, simply because of his “personal feelings.”

      3. “…it doesn’t matter one iota whether or not an individual vendor has a personal “problem” with a customer or his/her reason for requesting service.”

        By that reasoning, HRC should be legally compelled to sublet webpage space and office space to the Westboro Baptist Church.

  10. Setting aside the objective stupidity of the statute, there’s a straightforward free speech problem here. The government can’t afford special protection to views it agrees with and deny that protection to views it disagrees with.

    1. So I imagine you would make the bill fairer by protecting supporters of gay marriage, too?

      1. It’s like those Economic Empowerment Zones that give special tax cuts to businesses in certain areas. If it’s so great for the economy, why not make the entire country an Economic Empowerment Zone?

        1. What about just a simple catch all general statement, just a simple phrase written in to an amendment to the Constitution with the words to the effect an individual’s ‘freedom of association’ is paramount over any political objective done in the name of the Greater Good? That should clear up any ambiguity on the matter for all times sake, eh?

          1. And if that fails, we can have a general statement affirming that what is not mentioned in governing documents is part and parcel of the people and local governments. That should do it.

          2. Nah. The attack on freedom of association is based on other Constitutional amendments (mostly, the 14th equal protection/anti-discrimination).

            1. A new amendment would supersede an old one. However, I think your characterization is incorrect, as least as it applies to private businesses. Federal discrimination statutes of private businesses tend to rely on the commerce clause – state statutes would be legal, even under a originalist or textualist approach.

              1. Federal discrimination statutes of private businesses tend to rely on the commerce clause

                You are correct, sir. Good point. We are currently in the business of elevating the commerce clause over the BoR.

                state statutes would be legal, even under a originalist or textualist approach.

                Not if the state statute violates the BoR, especially under an originalist/textualist reading of the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

                1. The Privileges and Immunities clause is not a part of the BOR. I assume you meant the Privileges or Immunities clause (there’s actually two such clauses, one with “and” and one with “or”) which would seem to be more relevant here, although that too is not part of the BOR. As for its original intent, I must say I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable in that area to say whether your interpretation is correct.

    2. The government can’t afford special protection to views it agrees with and deny that protection to views it disagrees with.

      Naturally, it does so all the time. See, e.g., campaign “finance” laws, the commercial speech doctrine, hate crime laws, and even, yes, “anti-discrimination” laws, all of which impose penalties or extend protections based on the content of speech.

      1. …”yes, “anti-discrimination” laws, all of which impose penalties or extend protections based on the content of speech.”
        Beat me to it.

    3. “Setting aside the objective stupidity of the statute, there’s a straightforward free speech problem here. The government can’t afford special protection to views it agrees with and deny that protection to views it disagrees with.”

      If that were the case, there would be no problem with Max if he didn’t want to photo anything he chose not to.
      That is ‘speech’ right there, and he (should be welcome) to express his dislike of gay marriage.

    4. OF COURSE IT CAN!!! Why else bother to go into “public service”

  11. The text is very clear:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof–unless the religious exercise in question is unpopular or somebody doesn’t like it.”

  12. It really is amazing how quickly some of the people who argued for equal rights for gay people can switch to denigrating other people’s rights.

    1. It has nothing to do with rights. The real rights at stake wrt gay marriage are almost all property rights and freedom of association that very few of the FB crusaders are even aware of, much less positively predisposed towards addressing. At best, there is a vague understanding of the association rights in play.

      In a sane world, gay marriage would be the most boring subject in the world, discussed only by accountants and lawyers when they run out of discussion on other subjects. Instead it has erupted into one of the most idiotic displays of self-righteous, narcissistic displays of political theater I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing.

    2. From day one, gay marriage wasn’t about freedom of association for gay people (who could always get married if they could find a priest to do the deed) or property rights (gay couples can duplicate married people property rights via contracts or other documents).

      It was about status, and specifically both state recognition of their status and the power (as we are learning) to force others to “respect” that status.

      1. I don’t disagree that most people pushing gay marriage have been primarily concerned
        with using it to promote social acceptance of homosexuality. And I say this as someone that supports gay marriage and broader social acceptance of gay people, although I don’t support forcing the latter on private parties. However, I have to disagree with the other implications of this paragraph

        “From day one, gay marriage wasn’t about freedom of association for gay people (who could always get married if they could find a priest to do the deed) or property rights (gay couples can duplicate married people property rights via contracts or other documents).”

        I’ll start by saying that marriage is not a religious thing for a lot of people, though I admit that’s besides the point. The big one, regarding freedom of association, is that until the recent DOMA ruling, a gay person could not sponsor a foreign partner as a straight man or woman can sponsor a foreign spouse so they can acquire legal residence. This may seem trivial, but it definitely isn’t to people it actually affects. Relating to property rights, a marriage license, unfortunately, seems to be a much more reliable means of contract enforcement in this area than a generic contract. Tax law isn’t something that can be easily contracted around, and there have been many instances where lack of a marriage license has affected gay couples in medical situations, in some cases even when the other partner has power of attorney

        1. “The big one, regarding freedom of association, is that until the recent DOMA ruling, a gay person could not sponsor a foreign partner as a straight man or woman can sponsor a foreign spouse so they can acquire legal residence. This may seem trivial, but it definitely isn’t to people it actually affects. Relating to property rights, a marriage license, unfortunately, seems to be a much more reliable means of contract enforcement in this area than a generic contract. Tax law isn’t something that can be easily contracted around, and there have been many instances where lack of a marriage license has affected gay couples in medical situations, in some cases even when the other partner has power of attorney”
          +1
          No doubt there’s the agenda RC mentions, but there are legitimate reasons for the government to ‘equally protect’.

      2. Equal status. Minorities have a right to demand that, and when government doesn’t recognize it, it is a moral and constitutional abomination.

        Nobody is going to Clockwork Orange you into not being a homophobic idiot. All anyone is asking for is equal treatment by the law.

        1. All anyone is asking for is equal treatment by the law.

          Heterosexuality isn’t a “protected class”. So if a straight couple gets told to piss up a rope because there’s no room at the inn, it isn’t going to result in civil rights litigation that puts the inn out of business. If you want equal treatment by the law, you’d do well to support the repeal of special classes of victims against whom crimes can be committed to the exclusion of all others. You might also want to get on board with withdrawing state recognition of marriage – it gives certain people advantages that others don’t have.

        2. “All anyone is asking for is equal treatment by the law.”

          Tony wants the law to compel people of all religions to violate their religious convictions equally.

          See? Equal treatment! That’s what Tony’s idea of gay rights is all about!

          LOL

        3. “Equal status. Minorities have a right to demand that”

          True. Only minorities in America have PRIVILEGED status.

        4. Tony|9.24.13 @ 9:09PM|#
          …”All anyone is asking for is equal treatment by the law.”

          If that’s true, you shouldn’t give a damn if some socon doesn’t want to take a picture; s/he has nothing to do with ‘the law’.
          So you have a choice here; claim equality before the law or hypocrisy.
          Your choice.

          1. I think gays should be treated equally before the law as any other class of people. You can’t actually be discriminated against by businesses catering to the public because you are white. I just want gays to have the same rights white people have.

    3. It is not amazing if you do not assume that people who desire the same outcome on a particular issue share your motivations for desiring that outcome. What HRC means by “rights” is not the same as what you mean.

      1. Yeah, what they’re talking about when they talk about rights isn’t the same thing we’re talking about when we talk about rights.

        I still think the battle is for both true principled liberals as well as the libertarian center.

        Yeah, I think there still must be some true liberals out there. People who still believe in free speech–even if they don’t like the speaker. People who still think even the obviously guilty deserve a fair trial. Some who think that other people should be free to exercise their religious beliefs–even if they don’t share them.

        There’s gotta still be some liberals out there like that somewhere.

        1. Perhaps, but there are not that many. Modern liberalism, from what I see does not have principles. It has goals, and they do not care at all how those goals are reached.

  13. If I had the slightest inclination to enter the field of law as a profession it would be on the subject of contracts. I ain’t smart enough to make a splash at contracts in general, so I’d have to gravitate to probate, representing the dead, which is a contracts specialty.

    My business card:

    “You can dispense with your property as you please.”

    If there’s something else related to the government’s recognition of marriage, let me know.

  14. A. Barton Hinkle has noted that these cases not only undermine the “live and let live” mentality touted by the LGBT community

    There was nothing to undermine in the first place, Mr. Hinkle. The LGBT, along with other practitioners of victimology couldn’t care less about letting others be as they are. They’re in the grievance business just like most other political pressure groups scurrying along the muck.

    One HRC blogger speculates that “if passed, the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act would permit a federal worker processing tax returns, approving visa applications or reviewing Social Security applications to walk away from their responsibilities whenever a same-sex couple’s paperwork appeared on his or her desk.”

    I guess it would never occur to people touting themselves as “human rights” advocates that a person does not become the personal slave of some group whenever that group alleges discrimination. It does not seem to occur to them either that such things as “tax returns,” “Social Security” and “visa applications” are arbitrary impositions that all of us can well do without.

    1. “There was nothing to undermine in the first place, Mr. Hinkle. The LGBT, along with other practitioners of victimology couldn’t care less about letting others be as they are. They’re in the grievance business just like most other political pressure groups scurrying along the muck.”

      Really? Every LGBT person couldn’t care less about letting others be as they are? And I suppose every Mexican is a on welfare and loves big government?

      1. Re: Calidissident,

        Every LGBT person couldn’t care less about letting others be as they are?

        A person cannot be L, G, B & T at the same time, so the concept is ridiculous.

        Anyway, each person cares about living and letting others live. The so-called LGBT community is the one not interested in individual liberties but in tribal-centered redressing of imaginary grievances.

        1. “A person cannot be L, G, B & T at the same time, so the concept is ridiculous.”

          It’s not really, a concept, just a term that refers to multiple groups of people.

          “The so-called LGBT community is the one not interested in individual liberties but in tribal-centered redressing of imaginary grievances.”

          If by “LGBT community” you mean “certain LGBT advocacy groups” then yes, I agree. But the LGBT community is not limited to these groups, and you didn’t even use the word “community” in your post. I don’t mean to accuse you of holding a position you don’t, but your wording was confusing.

          1. Re: Calidissident,

            you didn’t even use the word “community” in your post.

            But it was mentioned in the comment about what A. Barton Hinkle noted.

            If by “LGBT community” you mean “certain LGBT advocacy groups” then yes, I agree.

            No, I mean anybody who subscribes to the notion of an LGBT “community.”

            1. People are tribal. Nothing in our biology or history suggests that rugged individualism has anything to do with being human. It’s a radical concept that originates from a place of extreme privilege brought to you by the tribe you were lucky enough to be born into. People without their entire community infrastructure in place and paid for do not entertain rugged individualism as a virtue.

              And there is absolutely nothing morally wrong with believing in the utility of community. To reject community is to reject one of the most successful evolutionary adaptations of our species.

              1. “And there is absolutely nothing morally wrong with believing in the utility of community.”

                Not even your side believes that. The utility of community is only a good when exercised by the protected classes, when exercised by “privileged” communities it is considered grossly immoral. That is the problem, the moral double standard.

                Also, tribalism is the great cause of conflict in human history. One of the utilitarian purposes of individualism is to mitigate tribal impulses. Trying to encourage tribal thinking in American culture is incredibly dangerous social experiment. One that is likely to turn out much differently than you want.

  15. If you are gay, I really don’t understand why you would go to a church that holds that it’s a sin to engage in homosexual sex.

    For example, the Catholic Church won’t hold a marriage ceremony for LOTS of people that Jewish or Protestant churches will. They won’t perform a marriage for someone who is divorced, for instance. They won’t perform a marriage if either party has been excommunicated for whatever reason. They won’t perform a marriage for a priest or nun.

    If a church believes, for example, that abortion is a sin, and you believe it’s not, then why would you go there?

    The churches that won’t marry gays aren’t stopping gays from getting married, they just refuse to sanction it in their church.

    1. I don’t think this bill is specifically aimed towards churches, though I agree with your point.

    2. This is why “Churches will be forced to marry gays!!!” is and always has been a bullshit argument. Churches are free to do, or not do, whatever they want in this regard already, and legalizing gay marriages does nothing to change that. Right now there are churches that don’t conduct interracial marriages, and many more won’t conduct interfaith marriages, despite those both being a) legal and b) covered by nondiscrimination statutes in other areas.

  16. Re: Tony,

    Equal status.

    So, forced equality. Either that, or you don’t have a clue what the word “status” means or entails.

    Minorities have a right to demand that

    The only minorities that touch this earth are individuals, and they are each unique. So the idea that each individual has a “right” to demand equality is absurd, a prefunctory contradiction coming from whatever idiot conceives it.

    1. So the fact that it was nearly universally blacks who were enslaved and then lynched in this country over centuries was just a huge coincidence?

      Protected minority classes exist because those minorities were historically discriminated against. Understanding the social consequences of those outrages is essential to determining the fairness and hence utility of our economy. Colorblindness is veiled racism.

      1. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

        —-Martin Luther King

        “Colorblindness is veiled racism.”

        —-Tony

        Tony thinks Martin Luther King was a racist.

        1. The left thinks that, as a practical matter, Martin Luther King did not really mean that quote. They believe that black people are at a perpetual disadvantage for being black. They are racist, but they don’t think that kind of benevolent racism is bad or even really counts as racism. They are masters of doublethink.

          1. Doublethink? Hell yeah!

            “Colorblindness is veiled racism.” stands right up there with “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery”, and “Ignorance is Strength”.

            And Tony really does believe that freedom is slavery, too.

            No exaggeration. No doubt.

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