Gay Marriage

Florists Join Bakers, Photographers in Court Ruling Ordering Them to Serve Gay Weddings

You will bring me flowers, or else.

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flowers
Syda Productions / Dreamstime.com

Florists—at least those in Washington State—can be forced to provide their goods and services for gay weddings. That was the unanimous decision from the state's supreme court handed down yesterday.

The high-profile case, which had been winding through the courts for a while, pitted Baronnelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, against a gay couple who had come to her seeking her flowers for their wedding. She declined, citing her religious opposition to recognizing same-sex marriage.

As had happened in other cases involving bakers and wedding venues, this decision put Stutzman on a collision course with the state's public accommodation antidiscrimination laws. Washington forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Stutzman's argument was that she wasn't discriminating on the basis of the men being gay but rather refusing to participate in the wedding (which wasn't even legally recognized by the state when they started planning it in 2013). She argued that government mandating her participation by requiring her to provide flowers violated her constitutional rights to free speech, free exercise, and free association.

The court roundly rejected all of her claims. The decision noted courts had previously rejected claims that attempted to separate "status" from "conduct" in similar ways, that, for example, discriminating against somebody who is pregnant falls under sex discrimination. As for her attempt to invoke her religious freedoms, they noted that the Supreme Court has set the precedent that "that individuals who engage in commerce necessarily accept some limitations on their conduct as a result."

As for her free speech claim, the court has shared the position that we've seen in similar cases: They say Requiring Stutzman to prepare flowers for a same-sex marriage is not actually compelling her to endorse said marriages. This is very similar to how courts have ruled on wedding cakes. They have declined to accept the argument that the creation of a wedding cake is in and of itself expressive speech, but a baker does have the freedom to reject orders to pass along a particular textual message. (I explained the almost comically absurd complexity of this line of legal reasoning here years ago).

Perhaps even a little more concerning, even if they did accept floral arranging as a form of expressive speech, it still might not have changed their ruling. In a similar case in New Mexico, a photographer lost a fight to refuse to shoot a gay wedding. Pretty much everybody understands that photography is expressive speech. But this majority decision agreed with the New Mexico court's decision, which concluded, "[W]hile photography may be expressive, the operation of a photography business is not."

That is the kind of logic that can end up in all sorts of bad places: "While the publication of a newspaper may be expressive, the operation of a media business is not." The operation of a business is indeed expressive. It remains deeply frustrating to see the courts (and the American Civil Liberties Union) continue to sometimes cling to an idea that people lose some of their freedoms simply by engaging in commerce, which is itself a type of freedom.

The Cato Institute submitted an amicus brief defending the florist's right to say no to the couple as a First Amendment issue. Cato (like Reason) has long supported legal recognition for same-sex couples. That's not the issue here; it's a matter of free speech (or compelled speech, in this situation).

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the shop (and was just designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center) is promising to try to get the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I'm skeptical the high court would take the case. They've already refused to hear the previous wedding photography case, and that's a much more straightforward example of expressive speech. And so far, the business owners have been losing all these cases. There's no conflict in judicial rulings that the Supreme Court needs to resolve, as yet.

Read the ruling here.

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  1. We are a private business, not a public accommodation!

  2. But I was told yesterday in the comments that you didn’t care about this case and were ignoring it because you’re a SJW or something, Scott!

    1. Don’t worry, John will be along soon. I’m sure Scott failed in some way to adequately demonstrate his commitment to free association.

      1. And here I used up all my popcorn last night.

      2. It doesn’t matter what Shackattack demonstrates. John will tell him what he was REALLY thinking.

        1. +1 “Mind Reading Warlock”

      3. Next thing you know, John will be sucking dick at a gay wedding, and it will all be Scott’s fault.

        1. Woah! Does the Shack really have that power? That’s kind of scary

          1. Shackalacka can’t make someone do anything they don’t, deep down, really want to do.

      4. I wouldn’t join any free association that would have me as a member.

    2. “Scott doesn’t really give a shit about the florist, he’s writing this article to ACT like he does the big fake!”

    3. John knows that Scott’s concern is all for show. He is the eye in the sky, looking at you-oo-oo, he can read your mind.


  3. “She declined, citing her religious opposition to recognizing same-sex marriage.”

    See now, this is the mistake. You tell them that you think their hair is stupid looking, and you can’t have your flowers in a wedding when the people getting married have stupid-hair.

    In Amerika, this is an acceptable reason to deny service. Anyone who says the Republic ain’t dead is functionally retarded. The irony, to me, is that ‘Marriage’ as an institution is in fact Religious. Fascinating how the left doesn’t give a shit about separation of church and state when it comes to preferred rent-seekers.

    1. Have people made that sort of argument, that they are having someone else’s religion forced onto them? You can say that the gays getting married have one interpretation of their religion that the state is forcing you to accept when they force you to bake them a cake or arrange flowers for them in celebration of their religious beliefs. It’s only a kind of nuance, but argued this way the state is respecting the establishment of religion.

      1. It wouldn’t make a difference with the way they interpret these. We’re going to need to wait until a Muslim bakery/florist gets slapped with one of these rulings before they’ll take a serious look at it. This may sound like sarcasm, but I’m actually dead serious. It will take another preferred rent-seeker complaining about this before they give any kind of a damn about it. All that ‘intersectionality’ they love so much.

        1. This may sound like sarcasm, but I’m actually dead serious.

          Oh, I don’t doubt it one bit.

        2. the left has already chosen the Muslims over the gays. Did you forget the back flips in trying to blame the Orlando nightclub shooting on anything but the shooter’s religion? And have you missed how the DNC tossed a guy out of the race for Chairman for daring to question how Dems could square Keith Ellison’s being a Muslim with Islam’s antipathy toward homosexuals.

          SJWs come with a pecking order. Muslims trump gays, race usually trumps all, and the pipeline incidents show that enviros trump labor.

          1. show that enviros trump Natives

            And also that enviros trump the environment. They don’t give a shit about cleaning up after themselves.

            1. Goddam it, I knew this was going to turn into another trump thread.

        3. What you need is a hardcore religious couple to seek out gay and lesbian bakers and demand they service their Marriage which will be filled to the brim with messages that Marriage is 1 man and 1 woman until you get one that refuses then sue them for discrimination

          1. How about a cake celebrating June 12,2016 jihadi victory over sin.

            Would a gay baker be forced to make that?

      2. A wedding ceremony often has quasi-religious elements (solemn vows and whatnot), so it seems like a plausible argument. Forcing people to attend weddings is only a step or two removed from making them go to church. Though it isn’t clear whether a florist would be expected to attend.

        1. Florists are long gone before the wedding starts if they were ever there at all. They are no more ‘participating’ than the ‘artistic expression’ of the table and chair vendors setting up.

          And the customer’s have their own right to their own creed involving marriage so its religious freedom vs religious freedom so its a wash – the court literally can’t take sides. So the next question is ‘who started this relationship?’ and the answer is the business by invited the public to come and do business with them, and this customer is a member of that public.

          And so, as the invited guest, the customer wins.

          Don’t offer something for sale you can’t sell legally, same advice we give to the local crack dealer.

  4. …individuals who engage in commerce necessarily accept some limitations on their conduct as a result.

    Commerce is a privilege not a right.

    1. Then wouldn’t that run afoul of the Privileges and Immunities Clause?

  5. It seems Shackford is once again pushing his extreme anti gay agenda.

    /sarc

      1. That was some funny stuff last nite.

        1. Sounds like I missed something good.

            1. Hot damn.

            2. Christ, what an asshole.

              (The “Mind Reading Warlock,” not Scott)

              Although it has made reading the comments much more enjoyable since I started skipping entire sub-threads where the warlock shows up to shit all over the thread, I just wish more people would ignore it.

            3. Yeah, jesus… John appears to have truly gone insane.

            4. Now we just need them to spin it as “I drove Scott to a meltdown! This proves I’m right! U MAD BRO?”

              Oh, wait, they already used that one on ENB, nevermind.

  6. “I swear to God, if you do not bake that Nazi cake I am going to come down on you so hard that the Holocaust is going to look like a damn joke”
    – Gary Johnson

  7. Perhaps the Stutzman’s should have taken their business to Muslim florists and bakeries.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwM8z48Ek1M

  8. Using the government to coerce people to violate their religious convictions is fundamentally unjust.

    The problem here isn’t the way the law is written. The problem isn’t the way the law is understood.

    The problem is that there are too many voters, judges, and others who are hostile to First Amendment religious freedom.

    There is no substitute for people who are committed to protecting our rights. Persuading other people that protecting our rights is the fundamental purpose of libertarianism is the ultimate solution, and I used to think that Reason was the very best way to accomplish that to a mass audience.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for Shackford. He sticks up for people’s rights even when, I suspect, he doesn’t particularly care for the people who are asserting them. And that’s what being a libertarian is all about.

    1. Forget the religious angle. What is the basis for forcing anyone to transact business with someone he chooses not to do business with? Isn’t it a fundamental violation of personal liberty to force someone to provide a personal service that he does not want to provide?

      1. And we all know what the next claim will be: the florist/photographer/baker purposely did a lousy job to harass the gay couple they didn’t want to serve in the first place.

        1. I think doing a half-assed job is perfectly acceptable, as long as you don’t do something insane like write ‘Gays Go To Hell’ on their cake. Want your wedding cake to not suck? Maybe don’t force the baker to make the cake at the point of a gun.

          1. I think purposefully doing lousy job is actually mean spirited than just saying that th ey are not interested in serving such a function. As well as the virtue of it is bing more difficukt to prove, but it would save you from punishment if it could be proved.

      2. I believe our rights are a natural outgrowth of our agency. A right is a right to make a choice for yourself. Rape is wrong because the victim’s right to choose was ignored or violated. Theft is wrong for the same reason. So is . . .

        But we’re not talking just about agency, here. We’re talking about our legal rights–a pale shadow of the real thing. That being said, the First Amendment, as written, does a fairly good job of approximating our right to choose our own religious beliefs free from government coercion and protecting that right.

        They’ve thrown the First Amendment under the bus, and they did it on purpose.

        1. You know what we call a class of person who is not legally allowed to withold consent?

          It starts with an “s”, if memory serves.

    2. Apparently if the government decides an institution isn’t religious, even when centuries of examples show that it is a religious matter, it suddenly becomes a secular practice. The logical thing for the government to do, that of course they will never do, is stop requiring a rubber government stamp on a marriage. That would have solved everything, but of course then you wouldn’t need to petition the government simply to make promises to another person.

      I can’t wait for the inevitable polygamy cases to get serious attention. There have already been attempts, but the state will eventually corner itself into a box with their arguments involving all their preferred rent seekers.

      1. Like I said, we shouldn’t read too much into the implications of their argument–because it wasn’t formulated that way.

        They decided that homophobes should be compelled to provide services to same sex weddings, and they looked for the justification later.

        This isn’t about legal philosophy. This is about the courts being hostile to religious liberty.

        They don’t want people to be free to make choices for themselves if people are going to make choices that the court doesn’t like.

        When the whole process starts with hostility to religious liberty, then hostility to religious liberty is the ultimate cause of the problem.

      2. But marriage has become a secular practice as well as a religious one. Even without the government being involved, people would continue having completely secular marriages.

  9. What happens when a married gay couple who own a bakery boycotts Catholic wedding ceremonies to protest the church’s opposition to same sex marriages? Isn’t that religious discrimination? Will they be forced to bake?

    1. In an ideal world where natural rights actually mean something, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.

      In the flawed world where we live, where natural rights are subjective they probably still wouldn’t be prosecuted. You have to consult your ‘Pyramid of Oppression’. Catholics are pretty low on the pyramid, so their rights are trumped by the feelz of everyone above

    2. in this world, the gay couple should face similar sanction. Maybe fighting absurdity with more absurdity is the only way of highlighting absurdity. Though, in reality, I suspect that the same people who are attacking this couple would defend your hypothetical gay pair.

  10. “The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the shop (and was just designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center) is promising to try to get the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

    If you’re not listed as a ‘hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center then you’re doing something wrong. Even the Mises Institute is listed as a ‘hate group’ by the SPLC. It’s a bade of honor at this point

    1. Mises? Get the hell out. Then again, funds don’t raise themselves. And here I thought it was the right that was always using fear.

  11. I understand having laws against discrimination for government employees and sectors that are highly regulated and licensed by the government (it’s not llike I can go to a non govt licensed medical doctor), but I don’t need to enslave some person to work for my wedding who has a moral issue with it. That’s just evil.

    It’s not like there isn’t a robust market of competitors, and even if there wasn’t, we’re talking about shit that anyone can do without running a business to do it.

    1. Be careful splitting hairs here. As we’ve heard recently, you can’t even get your horse massaged (no euphemism!) unless the provider is licensed by the government.

      1. Believe me, I’m against most government licensing but we aren’t going to get rid of that anytime soon. But there is no justification in forcing anyone to be serviced (heh) by a private individual.

  12. “As for her attempt to invoke her religious freedoms, they noted that the Supreme Court has set the precedent that “that individuals who engage in commerce necessarily accept some limitations on their conduct as a result.””

    See, you Bible-beating hicks? All you need to do is cease engaging in commerce and you can do your little Christ thing all you want, unfettered by reality and common sense.

  13. Would it be in bad faith to close the company down and then re-open under a new name?

    1. In an attempt to avoid paying the fine (or whatever the exact penalty is)? That would be a bad idea.

      1. I thought the penalty is the requirement to do the specific transaction in question, i.e., bake a cake, display flowers, etc.,

  14. It is not just a matter of free speech or association. It is also a matter of freedom of religion. These people were fined and run out of business for practicing a non state approved religion. Freedom of religion necessarily implies freedom of association and speech. You can’t practice a religion unless you are able to freely express it and freely live by its tenants, which necessary means having the freedom to not associate with people and activities that are against your religious principles.

    What the Washington Court is doing is saying that people are no longer free to practice a religion that objects to homosexuality. Yeah, you can object to homosexuality in the privacy of your own head or home, but you can’t put those objections into any meaningful action outside of that. That is just establishing a set of state approved religions and the end of meaningful religious freedom.

    And it won’t stop with this. Once governments see that they now have the power to ban the practice of religions they don’t like in the name of “tolerance”, they will move on to new practices and the scope of acceptable religious belief will get smaller and smaller.

    This is a grave threat to our freedom. I don’t understand why Shackford refuses to see the full gravity of this issue and frame it only in terms of freedom of association. Its much more than that.

    1. Yup there he goes, moving the goalposts again

      “You didn’t denounce the case thoroughly enough! Heretic!”

      1. Yes, the fact that Scott doesn’t seem to understand that this is a grave threat to religious freedom is strong evidence he doesn’t consider religious freedom to be important.

        Now go away and let adults talk about this subject.

        1. Oh blah blah blah. Even if Scott were to repeat verbatim the words in your head that you think he ought to, you would just come up with some other bullshit excuse for why Scott isn’t sufficiently pro-liberty enough in your view.

          You’re an annoying troll. Why don’t you go back to Breitbart or something.

          1. You’re interrogating the text from the wrong perspective, chemjeff. You’re supposed to waterboard it first.

            (Whatever happened to that “waterboarding isn’t torture” guy who used to comment here, anyway?)

    2. John, I agree with you wholeheartedly. This is a dangerous ruling (set of rulings, actually) that endangers the all of our natural rights.

      But, I think Shackford did a fine job with the post. He at least defended the rights of those who, I would assume, he doesn’t agree with. That’s a lot more than some writers at Reason would do. *Cough*…Shikha…*cough*

      1. He at least defended the rights of those who, I would assume, he doesn’t agree with.

        it’s a sorry testament to society that this sort of thing is so seemingly rare.

    3. I don’t understand why Shackford refuses to see the full gravity of this issue and frame it only in terms of freedom of association

      because its the strongest libertarian argument?

      making it a matter of “what defines religion” isn’t particularly germane to libertarians.

      and, besides that, if you wanted to hear some legal argument that ‘anti-homosexual animus’ is essential to the practice of Christianity, i think it would probably lose on the merits. it would only actually have teeth if there were some state-based RFRA which gave it explicit cover. Lacking that, its just a philosophical argument, and one that i think actually fails, given that many of the same denominations that some of these plaintiffs belong to have ‘official’ positions which are more accommodating of homosexuality than the adherents themselves. you can’t pretend “my church obligates me to believe X” when clergy themselves make so such claim.

      1. additional to this =

        there are plenty of places you can find the argument you want to hear. as i said (i think) last night – you’re coming to the wrong place if you think the ‘religious freedom’ angle is supposed to take precedence over a ‘freedom of association’ angle @ a libertarian magazine

        1. here are plenty of places you can find the argument you want to hear.

          Sure there are. Those places are places that value freedom of religion as a right. Since that argument isn’t ever made here, why is it unfair of me to conclude Reason and Scott in particular do not value or perhaps even recognize freedom of religion.

          You defend Scott by saying I misrepresent his views. Okay, my claim is that he doesn’t care about freedom of religion. And now your defense of him is “he doesn’t have to”. You are right about that. But can you now admit that I am right when I say he doesn’t?

          1. my claim is that he doesn’t care about freedom of religion. And now your defense of him is “he doesn’t have to

            No, its that the “freedom of association” argument is the more-libertarian case, and the one you should expect at a libertarian magazine.

          2. You defend Scott by saying I misrepresent his views

            never said that at all. I am saying he makes a perfectly good case, and you’re just pissed he’s not making the one you’d prefer, which is unreasonable.

      2. because its the strongest libertarian argument?

        No it is not. Why is freedom of association any stronger than freedom of religion? Do libertarians not recognize freedom of religion? Moreover, they objected here because of their religion. It is the most appropriate argument for this circumstances.

        and, besides that, if you wanted to hear some legal argument that ‘anti-homosexual animus’ is essential to the practice of Christianity,

        That is not the argument. The argument is Christianity does not condone or recognize homosexual marriage. Therefore, these people cannot be compelled to participate in a homosexual wedding consistent with their religious beliefs. It is not about homosexual animus. It is about people’s right to object to something.

        1. I guess John is just pissed that Reason doesn’t have an evangelical Christian on staff whose job is to denounce anti-religious infringements of liberty.

          1. That doesn’t seem to be his complaint.

            Looks to me like John thinks this case clearly violates First Amendment religious freedom, and he thinks both the court and Shackford should acknowledge that.

            1. I agree with John’s position, but I think Shackford wrote a decent article, even if he doesn’t cite that position.

              1. I feel the same way–and John have a legitimate argument there.

                Scott seems to have limited his article to covering what the court actually ruled.

                It’s pretty clear to me, however, that Scott doesn’t think much of the court’s ruling–even on those limited grounds that don’t address religious freedom.

        2. Why is freedom of association any stronger than freedom of religion?

          Because it doesn’t require having to make a strained argument which tries to define “what defines ‘religious practices'”

          Christianity does not condone or recognize homosexual marriage

          As i more or less already said = i don’t think that’s either a successful legal or philosophical argument at all, and i also don’t think it has anything to do with a Libertarian argument, which is what you should expect Scott to make.

          as a side note, john – i’ve been a very strong proponent of religious-freedom issues over the years (my dad argued religious freedom cases @ the supreme court back in the 80s), and have occasionally nagged reason about it when i think it mattered.

          for reasons i explain above, i don’t think its necessary here, and i think you’re wrong to make an issue out of it.

          1. Because it doesn’t require having to make a strained argument which tries to define “what defines ‘religious practices'”

            That doesn’t make freedom of association “stronger”. it makes it different. Do you not recognize freedom of religion? Yes, freedom of religion necessarily requires the court to determine if the religious objection is sincere. That doesn’t make free exercise some second class right that should be written out of the constitution or not applied in cases where like this where it clearly does.

            as a side note, john – i’ve been a very strong proponent of religious-freedom issues over the years (my dad argued religious freedom cases @ the supreme court back in the 80s), and have occasionally nagged reason about it when i think it mattered.

            Then why are not being so here? Why are you trying to claim that religion isn’t the key factor in this case and that this isn’t a real threat to freedom of religion?

            Are you just that dedicated to broaching no criticism of Shackford?

            1. Why are you trying to claim that religion isn’t the key factor in this case

              because i think Freedom of Association is the better argument.

              If the state had an RFRA clause, i’d argue that religious protection was more relevant and a better *legal* case to make.

            2. Maybe they’re just opposed to stupid criticism of Shackford.

              It may have escaped your attention, somehow, that the commenters are entirely comfortable with hurling bile at writers when they feel it is warranted — especially Richman, Chapman, Dalmia, and sometimes Robby (though that’s more of a love/hate thing), not to mention the execrable “Trump killed my granny” article that started the exodus.

          2. “for reasons i explain above, i don’t think its necessary here, and i think you’re wrong to make an issue out of it.”

            Forget it, John is having too much fun playing the aggrieved victim card.

            “Waa waa why won’t Scott validate my victim status and frame the issue that casts me in the role of victim as he ought to”?

          3. “Because it doesn’t require having to make a strained argument which tries to define “what defines ‘religious practices'”

            If they’d already ruled that catering a same sex wedding doesn’t constitute an endorsement of same sex marriage–so government compulsion is fine–then they’re already defined religious practices.

            1. Ken,

              If a Jewish caterer refuses to cater Christian weddings because he only does kosher meals, no court is going to let the government fine him for that or get into the weeds of determining if catering a Christian wedding is going against his conscience.

              They get into it here, because they are treating sexual preference the same way they treat race. It is effectively illegal to practice a religion that doesn’t condone mixed racial marriages. No amount of “but my belief is genuine” is going to save you. The reason for that is the court has since Loving treated race as such an elevated class it trumps even freedom of Religion.

              This case and Obergfell represent the court doing the same thing with sexual preference.

              1. If a Jewish caterer refuses to cater Christian weddings because he only does kosher meals

                Now you’re getting to the point i already made =

                you’re trying to assert that “refusal to associate with homosexuals is as inherently christian as Kosher practices are for jews”

                meaning, you’re making an argument which is defining what qualifies as an inherently religious act.

                I don’t think a court would look favorably on the comparison of a 1000s of years of jewish tradition, explicitly codified in text …. being the same as,”some people don’t like gays because of a few lines in Leviticus”, and one where there exists substantial disagreement among denominations and even within them.

                1. and as i’ve already said multiple times = its also irrelevant to making a solid libertarian argument on freedom of association grounds.

                2. Except the florists were not arguing that they would not associate entirely with gays. They were arguing that they would not serve an event that celebrated a homosexual relationship. Those are not the same thing.

                  The court is saying that the law can mandate compliance with both an ideological and theological point of view.

              2. I hope you appreciate what I’m referring to and what I was responding to.

                The claim was that the courts wanted to avoid the sticky issue of making judgements about what constitutes religious belief.

                But they’ve already done so:

                “As for her free speech claim, the court has shared the position that we’ve seen in similar cases: They say Requiring Stutzman to prepare flowers for a same-sex marriage is not actually compelling her to endorse said marriages. This is very similar to how courts have ruled on wedding cakes.”

                If they’ve ruled that government compulsion isn’t a First Amendment violation because she can cater the wedding without endorsing the marriage, then the courts has already ruled about what constitutes real religious belief.

                1. My 94 year old-grandmother was deeply religious and sharp as a whip. Once she realized that the guys she was going to rent to were gay, she asked to come over and speak with them. She explained that she couldn’t rent to them because that would be mean she was participating in their sin. She broke out her bible and showed them that what they were doing was wrong. She invited them to come to church with her that weekend. She offered to pray with them that Jesus would come into their hearts. They’d have had to get the sheriff to drag her out of that home–she would never have willingly participated in damning those poor souls to hell.

                  Because the courts say that catering a wedding doesn’t constitute an endorsement and, hence, doesn’t violate anyone’s religious belief doesn’t make it so. We shouldn’t try to dress this up prettier than it is.

                  They have already made a judgement about what constitutes religious belief.

                  1. They have already made a judgement about what constitutes religious belief.

                    And that, I would say, is the problem with making the legal case about freedom of religion. If you do that, you are asking the court to make a ruling about what someone’s religious beliefs are. Which is not good for religious freedom.

                    As I often argue, you can’t have religious freedom if you have courts deciding what does and does not count as sincere religious belief. Especially when they have already gotten it wrong so many times.

                    1. They’ve successfully done this with conscientious objectors for decades. Doesn’t seem to have been a problem.

                      http://www.americanbar.org/con…..ctors.html

                      And the criteria for sufficient religious belief to not be compelled to cater weddings doesn’t need to be the same as it is to avoid carrying a gun in the army.

                      If a person says they don’t want to cater a gay wedding because it violates their religious beliefs, then the burden of proof should be on the state.

                    2. Seems like a problem to me. It should be much easier to be a conscientious objector. Simply saying “I have moral objections to fighting in the military” should be sufficient, if you ask me. Courts have gotten it wrong plenty of times.

                    3. If arguing that something violates your freedom of religion is bad for freedom religion, the can the government ever be restrained from violating freedom of religion?

                      I do not see how that makes the free exercise clause any more than empty words.

                    4. the can the government ever be restrained from violating freedom of religion?

                      Have you seen our government? I haven’t had much luck in restraining it from doing anything.

                    5. That is clever, but it dodges the question I asked.

        3. The argument is Christianity does not condone or recognize homosexual marriage.

          If that’s the argument, then a gay wedding isn’t actually a wedding and the marriage isn’t actually a marriage. So what’s the basis for objecting to it? All they are asking is for some flowers or cake for a party that, according to the beliefs of the providers, is not actually a wedding.

          Freedom of association is better and cleaner as an argument.

          1. No its not. People are no longer being allowed to exercise their religious beliefs. How could something be more clean than that?

            These people are not refusing to associate with gays. They serve gays. They are refusing to be a part of a particular ceremony because it violates their religious beliefs.

            In what universe is that not a free exercise issue? And how in the hell is the government deciding that something that has been the accepted belief of billions of people in multiple regions for thousands of years can no longer be practiced in a public way not a grave threat to freedom of religion?

            Why do you refuse to see that and continue to treat this case like its some kind of a zoning issue?

            1. I never said it wasn’t an issue of freedom of religion. Just that the freedom of association argument is easier to make and applies to everyone, so it is a better legal strategy and better for protecting everyone’s rights. If no one has to do business with anyone they don’t want to, then there is no danger of anyone being forced to violate religious beliefs by performing certain services.

              How is that not better both for religious freedom and general freedom of association? It would be far better to have broad general freedom that encompasses religious freedom than to have narrow decisions that depend on a court determining what constitutes a sincere religious belief.

              1. Just that the freedom of association argument is easier to make and applies to everyone,

                It makes it a worse legal argument. The government restricts freedom of association in all sorts of ways. What it hasn’t done until now is restrict free exercise of religion. Winning a free exercise case is a lot easier than winning a freedom of association case. It is not a better legal strategy.

                The case is about religious. And you keep telling me that it is really about association. No, its not. It is what it is.

                1. What it hasn’t done until now is restrict free exercise of religion.

                  Tell that to these guys: http://turnto10.com/news/local…..na-charges
                  or anyone else who tries to practice a religion that uses controlled drugs in their religious practice and who doesn’t pretend to be some kind of Indian. Or to weirdo Mormons who practice plural marriage.

                  1. It has restricted it in a very few cases Zeb. Meanwhile, it restricts freedom of associations in too many cases to count. Every zoning law and restraint on contract is a restriction on your freedom to associate. They are two different rights and freedom of religion has always been treated with more respect by the courts. That may not be right, but that is how it is. So, no it is not a better legal argument. Freedom of association is a worse legal argument.

                    1. OK, maybe it is. What do I know?

                      But it seems to have failed as an argument in this case. Freedom of association probably would have too. So I’m thinking our current government and courts don’t have much respect for either.

      3. Lacking that, its just a philosophical argument, and one that i think actually fails, given that many of the same denominations that some of these plaintiffs belong to have ‘official’ positions which are more accommodating of homosexuality than the adherents themselves. you can’t pretend “my church obligates me to believe X” when clergy themselves make so such claim.

        The requirement for religious belief is that it be genuine and sincere. It is not that it be “approved by the clergy”. Basically what you are arguing for is what we are getting which is state controlled and state sanctioned religion. Unless the powers that be approve of your beliefs, you can’t practice them.

      4. ”anti-homosexual animus”

        Which is bullshit….Someone had pointed out that the florist had served the customer before in different capacities, but when she declined to participate in the wedding he sued her. When progressives act like these vendors are banning gay people from their shops they’re just lying.

        1. None of these cases has involved the refusal to do business with homosexuals. They have all invovled the singular refusal to serve gay weddings. And that makes Shackford’s and the court’s framing this issue as a freedom of contract one all the more inappropriate. This is a freedom of religion issue.

          Why is it so hard for Shackford and others on here to see the case for what it is? Is that fucking painful to support the rights of people they don’t like?

        2. my point wasn’t to say that all people who are refusing to engage in compelled speech are therefore “anti-gay”, and i’ve argued strongly AGAINST that in many other places.

          my point was that i think courts would take a dim view on the idea that people who don’t observe vast swaths of the bible as behaviorally binding are somehow especially protected by the texts of Leviticus

          meaning, that the reality is that Christianity actually has very little to actually say about “homosexuality” as a whole, and that trying to defend a Freedom of Association claim on a religious basis actually the weaker argument.

          1. my point was that i think courts would take a dim view on the idea that people who don’t observe vast swaths of the bible as behaviorally binding are somehow especially protected by the texts of Leviticus

            Your point is that you think that courts should be in the business of deciding what is acceptable religious belief and what is not. Up until recently, that has not been the case. The standard is whether the belief is genuine and sincerely held, not “are you really a good member of this religion and do we as the court really agree with your interpretation”.

            What you are telling me is that people can exercise religion as long as in your view they live up to their convictions and you agree with their interpretation of their religion.

            Now tell me again how much you value freedom of religion?

            1. Your point is that you think that courts should be in the business of deciding what is acceptable religious belief and what is not.

              they do that every time they deal with Freedom of Religion claims, which seems to be what you want the courts to do, rather than hear a better case on free-association ground.

              Its also besides the point, since as i keep saying, if you want to fulminate about religious-freedom angles here, there’s 1000 places for you to do it. Expecting it to be made @ a mostly-secular-minded libertarian publication is unreasonable, never mind annoying.

              1. they do that every time they deal with Freedom of Religion claims, which seems to be what you want the courts to do, rather than hear a better case on free-association ground.

                Not to the level you are advocating here. They don’t look at whether the person is really a good Christian or Mormon. And they don’t get into the business of deciding what is really religious doctrine. They only determine if the person geniunely believes it and if there is not some other really compelling governmental reason why the practice should be stopped. That is it.

                And that is the question that you and most other people on here refuse to face. What these decisions are doing is deciding that the government interest in ensuring that gays are publicly accommodated is now strong enough to outweigh even the most genuine religious objection. Homosexuality is not being treated like race and publicly objecting to homosexuality is now effectively illegal.

                That is the ugly truth that you and Shackford and others refuse to face.

            2. What you are telling me

              No, you’re straw manning.

              I’ve said my points 4 or 5 different ways already, i don’t need you inventing new ones. Thanks, i’m done here.

              1. And your points keep involving the courts deciding if the person really is a good adherent tot he religion in their view. And that is not how it works.

                1. And your points keep involving the courts deciding if the person really is a good adherent tot he religion in their view.

                  my core points mostly involve telling you to stfu, ‘we get your point already’ = reason isn’t going to cater to your specific desires here, so get over it.

                  the points about how i think the religious-freedom claim is weaker than the Association argument are mainly just a sidebar, and is just my opinion; i think, barring an RFRA giving specific cover, you’d be more likely to weaken freedom of religion by testing the CRA against it.

                  1. you’d be more likely to weaken freedom of religion by testing the CRA against it.

                    And what do you know, that seems to be what has happened in this very case.

          2. That is entirely based on what type of Christian church you belong to. Catholicism has its Catechism, which gives a detailed explanation of what the Church believes about various asoects of life and why it makes those conclusions. Maybe you can argue that with more loosely organized denominations, but it is not something that holds much water with many.

    4. And by the way, I think it’s safe to say that freedom of religion is a subset of the much more expansive freedom of conscience. You have (or ought to have) the freedom to make conscientious decisions about your life however you see fit, whether they are motivated by religious dogma or not, without the state interfering with the judgment of your own conscience, provided of course there is no NAP violation.

      I think it would be wise more generally to frame the issue less in terms of “freedom of religion”, which implies that it is only relevant to people of faith, and frame it more generally as a freedom of conscience issue, which covers absolutely everyone at all.

      After all, the people currently #Resisting Trump and boycotting his stuff certainly wouldn’t want the government to step in and tell them that it’s somehow illegal to conscientiously decide with whom to do business or not to do business.

    5. There is no legal argument that will thwart those who are actively hostile to religious freedom in the First Amendment.

      The problem is not that they don’t understand the First Amendment. The problem is not that they have a different legal philosophy. The problem is not that they avoided religious freedom in the First Amendment.

      This court doesn’t want people to be free to make choices for themselves about their own religion if they’re going to make choices that the court doesn’t like.

      This court is actively hostile to religious freedom as it’s described in the First Amendment. If they hadn’t avoided the question of religious freedom in the First Amendment, they’d have steamrolled it.

      1. Yes. And that is the reason why this case is so bad. This case is a huge threat to freedom because it is a threat to free exercise not because of its goofball holding on commerce not being free expression.

        And Scott refuses to understand that.

  15. Freedom of association is dead. We’re all public accommodations now, operating at the whim of every pack of grievance mongers able to get the government’s attention by shrieking.

    1. Yeah, but now we can throw ‘freedom of religion’ out with ‘freedom of association’. Hell even the Civil Rights Acts and Title IX had ‘religious exemptions’.

      Out: ‘freedom of religion’, ‘freedom of association’ and ‘freedom of speech’ (to a degree).

      This is the ‘progress’ that progressives promise

  16. That is the kind of logic that can end up in all sorts of bad places…. The operation of a business is indeed expressive. It remains deeply frustrating to see the courts (and the American Civil Liberties Union) continue to sometimes cling to an idea that people lose some of their freedoms simply by engaging in commerce, which is itself a type of freedom

    I am cringing in advance of “someone” showing up to argue that this is somehow coded-language which falls short of “Vigorously Denouncing” bad law…. and therefore (by the law of retard-syllogism) supports it

    Also – ‘Fagspiracy’ or something.

    1. i wasnt fast enough, apparently.

      1. Why does Scott refuse to see this as an issue of religious freedom? Religious freedom is never mentioned. These people didn’t object because they thought not serving gay weddings was a good business model. They objected to it because they felt it violated their religion. For Scott to frame this issue as a right to contract and never mention the right to free exercise is bizarre.

        Free exercise is the touchstone of the whole issue. And he refuses to address it. That is a valid criticism of his writing on this.

        1. i already answered this above.

          1. No you didn’t. You basically admitted Scott doesn’t care about freedom of religion, which is my point.

            1. You’re upset a libertarian makes a libertarian argument at a libertaran magazine. yes, we noticed, and we said we think that’s stupid.

              1. No. I am upset that a Libertarian magazine refuses to recognize a grave threat to freedom of religion and resorts to making secondary arguments to avoid doing so.

                You tell me. Is free exercise of religion something that Libertarians in your view should support or is it not? If it is, then why is it unreasonable to expect a Libertarian magazine to make arguments defending it in a case where free exercise of religion is the central issue and that sets a precedent which represents a grave danger to freedom of religion.

                If there was a law that allowed the police to confiscate guns from your home without any reason or due process, do you think Reason would write about it as a 4th Amendment problem? It would be a 4th Amendment problem. But wouldn’t the 2nd Amendment be the larger issue? And if reason refused to talk about the 2nd Amendment, wouldn’t it then be reasonable to assume they didn’t really support the 2nd?

                This is the same thing. It is a freedom of association issue but that is not the main problem with this case.

                1. You tell me. Is free exercise of religion something that Libertarians in your view should support or is it not?

                  yes. and you’re right reason as a whole tends to be weak on the issue.

                  which is just more reason why your bitching at Scott in particular is pointless and boring

                  If it is, then why is it unreasonable to expect a Libertarian magazine to make arguments defending it

                  Because the freedom of association angle is actually stronger here; they don’t need to, on top of probably ‘not wanting to’

                  Stephanie Slade actually does occasionally write about religious freedom issues and makes the sorts of arguments you seem to want to hear.

                  Your objection has been noted. I’m not sure what more you’re looking for.

                  1. Because the freedom of association angle is actually stronger here; they don’t need to, on top of probably ‘not wanting to’

                    Okay, name one instance where that wouldn’t be the case. What infringement on religious practice isn’t also an infringement on free expression and association?

                    More importantly, why is freedom of religion not a strong argument here? These people objected on the basis of their religion. They serve gays. The are happy to associate with gays. What they are not happy to do is participate in do commerce with a ceremony they feel violates their religion.

                    If this isn’t a case where freedom of religion isn’t the stronger argument, then no case is.

                    You are just trying to read freedom of religious out of the BOR. Sorry, it is there. There isn’t one giant association clause that relieves you of the distasteful task of defending freedom of religion.

                  2. Who, me? Write about religious liberty? Never.

                    https://reason.com/blog/2015/12…..erty-contr

            2. Freedom of religion is not the main issue here. The main issue is freedom of association. If you advocate for free association then that covers religious reasons as well as other reasons.

              Just admit that you are wrong about it.

              1. If they had refuses to do this for non religious reasons, then it would be a freedom of association issue. They did this for religious reasons. That makes it a free exercise issue.

                Is there any issue that is in your view a free exercise issue and not a freedom of association issue? You are trying to read freedom of religion out of the BOR and subsume it in free association. Sorry, but the Amendment doesn’t say that. They are two separate things.

    2. Also – ‘Fagspiracy’ or something.

      This comment seems very bizzaro-John at this point. Almost like you’re *still* saying “It’s not a ‘gay agenda’ because it doesn’t follow or outline a specific set of goals or timelines and isn’t strictly related to sex acts between two people.”

      A slippery slope, by any other name, will still fuck you in the ass whether you want it to or not.

      1. I have no idea whether you were replying to me or making some sidebar point.

        1. Your comment sounded like an out-of-hand dismissal or derision of everyone who made the ‘Gay Agenda’ or “It’s a conspiracy!” argument. Which, even if only a conspiracy of True Scotsmen, it is.

          1. Your comment sounded like an out-of-hand dismissal or derision of everyone who made the ‘Gay Agenda’ or “It’s a conspiracy!” argument. Which, even if only a conspiracy of True Scotsmen, it is.

            it was, at least from the POV that i don’t think that any such ‘agenda’ or ‘conspiracy’ exists.

            i think there are some legitimate constitutional & philosophical arguments here, but i think the occasional yokel culture-war whining that its all part of some Homo-leftist attempt to undermine western civilization is idiotic.

  17. Now now, Scott, you need to hysterically denounce the case IN ALL CAPS before John is convinced that you aren’t on the pro-authoritarian side of things here.

    Oh who am I kidding. John will never be convinced.

  18. “They say Requiring Stutzman to prepare flowers for a same-sex marriage is not actually compelling her to endorse said marriages.”

    Because compelling someone to provide flowers isn’t forcing them to condone gay marriage, the government can compel them to condone gay marriage?

    They’re working on the wrong problem. The problem isn’t with condoning gay marriage. The problem is with the government compulsion.

    They seem to have lost track of what a right is.

    A right is the right to make a choice. If Stutzman’s religious beliefs are such that preparing flowers for a same-sex marriage constitutes an endorsement of gay marriage, then the government should not compel Stutzman to violate her religious beliefs.

    This is what is meant by “establishment”. This is what is meant by “free exercise”.

    Actually, this goes back farther than the First Amendment. Its roots are in the Peace of Westphalia. It goes back even farther than that.

    1. “They say Requiring Stutzman to prepare flowers for a same-sex marriage is not actually compelling her to endorse said marriages.”

      Because compelling someone to provide flowers isn’t forcing them to condone gay marriage, the government can compel them to condone gay marriage?

      This comment brought something to mind… despite what the court says, this whole thing is 100% about condoning, acceptance, and endorsing. In the new Left agenda, equality in treatment by the law is not enough. Having wrong opinions and ungood thoughts is also unacceptable. Having achieved marriage equality, these legal cases we hear about now seem to be for the purpose of exponging ungood thoughts through forced acceptance, endorsement, and condoning.

      To many Leftists, these bakers, photographers, and florists MUST be forced to accomodate gay couples because those nasty Christians need to learn that their beliefs are backwards, icky, and wrong. Legal equality was nice, but complete cultural acceptance is what Progressive religion really mandates!! The courts seem to be used as a cudgel to purge ungood thoughts and force acceptance, yet the court claims none of this has anything to do with endorsing marriages… To the Leftists supporting the defendants in these cases, that is precisely what this is all about.

  19. Obergfell was a horrible decision for a lot of reasons. What set it apart from other bad decisions was how dishonest it is. As bad as something like Dred Scott was, at least it was honest about its awfulness. Obergfell was anything but. One of the most dishonest passages was when Kennedy dealt with the possible threats to religious freedom the decision was creating, he wrote.

    Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.

    What a total lie. No, you can’t object to gay marriage. You can be forced to participate in it as a price for making a living. You can’t advocate for a change in the law and you can’t choose not to participate.

    1. Well, he does say, “proper protection” instead of just protection

      1. “Proper protection” as in “you can think unapproved things but you better not express them.”

        1. They get to decide what’s proper, fytw.

        2. The French model of ‘freedom of worship’ rather than the American ‘freedom of religion’. Progressives want to impose the French model in the US. And the French model doesn’t work nearly as well as the American model. Just ask a Muslim in France and compare it to what a Muslim in America would say

          1. They want something worse than that. They want the French model selectively applied to disfavored groups.

            1. Agreed. Take heart, Gorsuch is going to replace Scalia.

      2. don’t you love political weasel works like proper, reasonable, and common sense? No vagueness to them at all.

        1. That use of proper is sneaky

          1. which is the whole point. When someone uses a word like that, it implies that disagreement is improper, or lacking in common sense, or unreasonable. It’s a handy rhetorical device to use on drooling mobs.

    2. SCOTUS has accepted the Civil Rights Act’s infringement on freedom of association for decades. Obergfell had nothing to do with it.

      1. Yeah. That battle is long lost, and nothing in the near term is going to change that fact.

      2. It has everything to do with it. SCOTUS has accepted the CRA’s infringement on freedom of association and religion for actions that involved the protected classes of race, religion and gender. What Obergfell did, even though Kennedy tried every way in the world to say he didn’t meant to, was make sexual orientation a protected class under the Constitution and thus a reason to infringe on the right of free association and religion.

        This is why supporting a constitutional right to gay marriage was such a huge disaster for liberty. It necessarily required making gays a protected class and made the public practice of all but the most liberal versions of Christianity effectively illegal.

        If it were not for Ogberfell, this decision would be very easy. But once gays were made a protected class, it doesn’t work that way anymore.

        Libertarians refuse to face that reality and continue to pretend that supporting a constitutional right to gay marriage had no consequences for religious freedom. And that is just not true. It did.

      3. No, the court has just said that making an invitation to the public to come buy is saying you are willing to associate with them. Can’t invite everyone and then discriminate against the responding customers by civil rights qualities, the owner knew that was forbidden throughout the business transaction from invitation to completion.

        Can’t respect the public’s civil rights? Don’t sell to the public but run a private club and make the invitation of sale to just the membership.

    3. *Obergfell was a horrible decision for a lot of reasons.*

      1) this case has nothing to do with obergfell.
      2) Obergfell had one question for the court to answer: do the federally recognized, state licensed, civil contracts titled marriage benefit from the 14th amendment, flowing all subordinate levels of government to the citizen no matter where they are in federal jurisdiction? The obvious answer is ‘yes’. If the feds recognized state-licensed fishing licenses the same answer would be reached. That was the point of the 14th amendment, to make an federally recognized right be apply to all citizens.

  20. Oh, you meat bags never cease to amaze me. It’s a wonder how you even crawled out the ocean. There is no surprise that this mouth breather didn’t see the rising tide coming and she stood beside her boat and drowned in her stupidity. I personally can’t stand to deal with the troglodytes to run a business. However there are a few ideas that bounce around in the transistors. Like the simple concept of a layered business. Layer one, you are free to purchase anything you like off of the shelves, there are plenty of cakes (or flower arraignments) for you to choose from. Layer two, custom orders are by appointment only, fill out this application and I will review it. If you request interests me, I shall ask for you to return and we will come to an arrangement. It melts my circuits when humans can’t seem to get these simple concepts. It sounds like humans are more concerned with their passive aggressive proxy wars then conducting business.

    1. Silly woman thought her business and labor was hers to do whatever she wanted with.

    2. I personally can’t stand to deal with the troglodytes to run a business.

      if only there was a marketplace with other options from which to select.

  21. Can’t wait for my pepe themed wedding

  22. Well, John has gone from “Scott doesn’t give a shit about the evangelical florists”, to “Scott isn’t defending the rights of the evangelical florists in exactly the manner that I think he ought to because he hates religion”. Small steps of progress, I suppose?

    1. Nah John wants special “rights” for religious people. Refusing to serve gay people because you hate gay people for purely secular reasons is totally ok with him.

      Freedom of association for everybody is the only libertarian position. Granting special exemptions for religious people is nonsense.

      1. Truth be told, I am in favor of a business owner having the right to refuse service to any customer for any reason, religious or not, based on “hate” or not. That is genuine freedom of association IMO.

        If John thinks that people should be compelled to serve religious people, then yeah that would be wrong.

      2. Nah John wants special “rights” for religious people.

        No, the people who wrote the first amendment want that. You want to read the free exercise clause out of the 1st Amendment and just read the freedom of association clause. Sorry, I don’t agree. And i am forced to wonder, what other clauses of the BOR you would like to see eliminated by judicial fiat.

        1. What the fuck are you talking about? My position is that EVERYBODY (including religious people) can refuse to server whoever they want for whatever reason they want. You want only religious people to be allowed to do so.

          1. You want only religious people to be allowed to do so.

            No, he’s just saying religious freedom is ALSO an equally valid basis for a free-association clam.

            There’s nothing exclusive about one or the other.

            He prefers the religious argument and is angry that an otherwise-secular-libertarian magazine isn’t vigorously pursuing the arguments he favors. its annoying that he thinks the magazine is supposed to cater to him, but he’s not making any special-pleading case

            1. There’s nothing exclusive about one or the other.

              Yes there is. The government restricts your right to freedom of association in all kinds of ways. Zoning laws are a restriction on your freedom of association. Hey, I want associate with people and do business with them on my front lawn, how can you tell me I can’t?

              Free exercise of religion is a much more absolute right. Saying you can’t associate with your 500 best friends on your front lawn has never been treated like saying you must do something that violates your religious freedom.

              The two rights are different and apply in different and sometimes similar circumstances. This is a freedom of religion case. Why? Because the objection was religious and the case results in people being forced to act against their legion.

              You don’t like making that argument. Well too bad. That is what this case is. And the two rights are not the same. they never have been. If they where, there wouldn’t be a separate clause for religious freedom.

              1. fair enough, you’re still boring everyone to death.

      3. Nah John wants special “rights” for religious people. … Granting special exemptions for religious people is nonsense.

        Actually, no he’s not. and the 1st amendment isn’t nonsense.

        please don’t encourage him by misunderstanding his point. he’s wrong to complain, but not because his general point is wrong; he’s wrong because he’s simply demanding the magazine emphasize a religious-freedom angle rather than the broader (and probably more inclusively ‘libertarian’) freedom of association argument.

        1. The freedom of association argument includes religious people so for him to complain about taking that position makes me think he doesn’t give a fuck about freedom of association in general.

          1. makes me think

            there’s your problem.

            1. With over 10 years of experience watching John blather on, it is definitely true and it s what he always accuses everyone else of. Look at his response about the CRA or about how freedom of religion is a more fundamental right. He absolutely does believe that its more important that religious people be allowed to discriminate than everyone else.

              1. you’re still just imputing things he didn’t actually say. which i objected to *him* doing above. what’s good for the goose, etc. don’t pretend to assert what other people ‘believe’; simply because he has a hardon for the religious freedom issue doesn’t mean anything other than just that.

                and as he makes pretty clear above, there is a legitimate argument that Freedom of Religion is more reliably-absolute than association claims (at least from a constitutional-law point of view, if not a philosophical one)

                your claim that ‘religious people want special rights’ is a bullshit argument often cited by “freedom FROM religion” types. I think its a terrible misreading of the 1st amendment.

                1. I wonder where John would come up if a business refused to sell body armor to someone on religious grounds.

  23. As long as it is still ok to deny services or first amendment protections to conservatives, Republicans, pro-lifers, pro gun advocates, climate deniers and anyone who voted for Trump, then what’s the big deal.

  24. I will believe this is justice when the ACLU is forced to defend gun rights.

    1. Or Christians. They took the opposite position in this case.

  25. Funny how lawyers can deny clients that make them uncomfortable, just say their schedule is booked and offer a referral to a colleague who may be able to help. Oh wait, most lawmakers are lawyers.

  26. What I still can’t figure out is why a gay couple would want to force a baker to bake them a cake (or a florist to arrange their flowers, or a photographer to photograph their wedding) who is against gay marriage based on religious convictions. For one thing, how good a job do you think they’re going to do? At best they’ll most likely just half-ass the job. At worst, who knows what you’re actually eating when you take a bite of that cake (chocolate replaced with Ex-lax?). The only thing I can figure is that it’s all about using the power of the State to bring those “evil bigoted Christians” to heel.

    I can’t wait for the case involving a Muslim baker/ florist/ photographer refusing to serve a gay couple. Not sure how the Progressive Victimhood Stack will resolve that one.

    1. it’s about forcing people the SJWs don’t like into some semblance of conformity. Pure and simple. Most of what the left does is about force. The economic angle would only confuse them.

      1. This is exactly my point above. The court’s opinion that preparing flowers for the wedding doesn’t amount to an endorsement is not at all agreed upon by the SJWs/Leftist/Progressives. The SJWs whole goal in this sort of litigation is to force acceptance of their goodthink upon all who have opposing viewpoints. You’re damn right that forced service is an endorsement and those florists/bakers/photographers are gonna endorse it and like it!

    2. What I still can’t figure out is why a gay couple would want to force a baker to bake them a cake

      Because they are not just any gay couple. They are leftists. And this has only tangentially relates to gays. It is about using gay rights as a way to give the government the power to control the exercise of religion. That is what is going on here. And many Libertarians refuse to see that.

    3. Actually this case was interesting. One of the guy’s had a long working relationship with Arlene’s and had hoped she’d do the flowers for the wedding. She said something like “Oh I’m so happy for you but I can’t because God.” The guy went home and posted an “I’m so bummed to have this happen.” and the whole thing went viral and the state of WA sued on their behalf. The ACLU and HRC got their hooks in the couple convincing them that they should do this to help curb homophobia or some such nonsense. They were initially reluctant, and when they did agree to a suit kept the numbers small and donated the proceeds to a charity. I’d hope that if people didn’t want to sue they’d not sue but I can understand why outside pressure from known organizations might make your views on something seem wrong, so I understand it.

      The state suit was independent of anything the couple did.

      1. Then it was leftists in government. The point is that this really doesn’t have to do with gays. Its not like gays can’t get service or gay weddings are being canceled because of this. This is all about using gay marriage as a way for government to start to control religion.

      2. Why not simply return the money to the defendent if they supposedly liked them and if this was just about precedent?

        1. Unlike some commenters I don’t have a direct line to the minds of the people involved and can only speculate. I’m just giving the available background on the case because the commentariat has a habit of describing every public accommodation case that has ever happened as if they were the same case. Yokels were already braying for the couple’s blood in 2013 after they’d declined initially to file suit and the state did so on their behalf over their objections.

          I don’t know what was said to them by folks from the ACLU and HRC to change their minds or what advice was given on how to handle it after the suit.

          1. Certainly their objections didn’t hold for very long, but I’m sure they struggled mightily with their inner demons.

            1. K. I’m not sure what “very long” would be in an era where a story goes viral and an ACLU spokesperson can give you a call the same day, but if it makes this easier to drop in the monomyth of the litigious homos then by all means.

      3. so you have a long-standing working relationship with someone, one with presumably no animus, and then you sue them. Ultimately, this couple also had a choice.

        1. Sure. I think they made the wrong one, but again, I’m not sure what the big orgs said to them to get them to change their minds. I have my roots in liberty and I’d tell them to fuck off, but not everybody does.

          1. I’m not sure what the big orgs said to them to get them to change their minds.

            Probably called them whatever the gay equivalent of “Uncle Tom” is until they knuckled under and agreed to sue. Who knows?

      4. the state of WA sued on their behalf.

        If the state sues on your “behalf” can an individual stop them? just curious

        they did agree

        that suggests they’d need to sign on, yes?

        1. My understanding at the time (it’s been almost four years now) was that the state case was completely separate and was never actually joined by the couple (that may have changed after I got tired of following the case), but they were told that even though they didn’t want to sue the florist had violated the rules and would be punished.

          They eventually agreed to a secondary suit at the prodding of the ACLU with the HRC and the gay press cheerleading.

          1. they were told that even though they didn’t want to sue the florist had violated the rules and would be punished.

            I’ve never paid attention to exactly how that sort of thing works, but that’s pretty interesting.

            I assume the state would have to cite “things they said” as evidence. but if the defense simply called them as witnesses and they said, “Aw, i didn’t really mean it”, the case would seem to fall apart. Maybe that’s why they needed the second case.

            whatever, i already have a john-inspired headache now. i’ll ask my dad about these legal things later.

            1. They had stated publicly that it had happened and Stutzman didn’t deny it. I don’t think anyone contested that they had been denied service for a wedding because it was a gay wedding.

    4. “What I still can’t figure out is why a gay couple would want to force a baker to bake them a cake (or a florist to arrange their flowers, or a photographer to photograph their wedding) who is against gay marriage based on religious convictions.”

      It’s because once a group gets a chance to get the government to fuck with people, it is inevitable that some members of that group will get the government to fuck with people.

      Here’s an article about the case in Seattle’s Stranger.

      http://tinyurl.com/hg2s897

      The happy couple looking over their garden fence are smiling totalitarian shitheads.

      1. smiling totalitarian shitheads

        Great band name.

  27. The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the shop (and was just designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center)

    At this point being designated a “hate group” by the SPLC should be a badge of honor. Wasn’t the Reason Foundation on their list one year?

  28. Honest question: Aside from pure spite, why would you want a business owner, who obviously objects to a certain part of your lifestyle to the point of refusing you service, to preform a service which you must pay for? Why give money to somebody you consider a bigot? I’ve never fucking understood that.

    1. Presumably the vast majority of regular people avoid such proprietors in that way. Some take it on themselves or are recruited to set legal precedent.

      1. Yes Tony, the law has never been used to enforce discrimination of any kind. Govt is always good, keeping people from being bad.

        1. Derrr that’s totally what I said.

      2. I understand that,Tony, but why? I mean, wouldn’t you rather know if they hate you? Plus, for all you know, said business owner may earmark all money supplied by gay customers towards what you might consider to be an adversarial politician or group.

        Why fund your own perceived discrimination? It’s just so damn silly.

        1. it’s a combination of using force and social signaling. And you’re a good faith question of Tony.

        2. The goal is to settle in law that business owners catering to the public may not discriminate against gays anymore than they can discriminate against black people. Maybe some people think that’s a worthy use of their time while others are fine with wearing tacky formalwear shoving cake into each other’s faces.

          1. “The goal is to settle in law that business owners catering to the public may not discriminate against gays anymore than they can discriminate against black people.”

            Again, I understand that. What I want know is why would YOU, as a gay man, wish to spend your money at a business that you damn well know has an owner that will in all likelihood use the funds you supplied them to help advocate laws you find discriminatory?

            If you want to settle for the standard FYTW/out of spite response, fine. But it makes you no better than the people you believe are irrationally hateful.

            1. I live in the Bible Belt. If I didn’t confine myself to my urban enclave, I’d have virtually no choice but to frequent establishments run by fundie bigots. The lack of any options whatsoever for blacks was indeed a primary motivation for the original anti-discrimination laws in the South. There are only so many flower shops. I’m not gonna seek out the one owned by the biggest goobers around, but the point of these norms is to allow the same access to commerce as the majority classes get without any effort–so that at least in this one small way the alleged virtues of capitalism with respect to cold supply-and-demand rationality actually apply.

              1. “The lack of any options whatsoever for blacks was indeed a primary motivation for the original anti-discrimination laws in the South.”

                Those were state-mandated Jim Crow laws, completely outside the bounds of free association. The business owners had no choice in the matter.

                “There are only so many flower shops.”

                If you’re referring to the lack of options in the surrounding area, well, at least nowadays, the advent of online shopping kind of makes that a moot point.

                But you’ve still yet to answer my initial question. Public accommodation vs. free association aside, why would you even consider giving money to a person who might use your money to actively petition the state to inact laws that you find discriminatory?

                1. *Those were because of

                2. “The business owners had no choice in the matter.”

                  Good lord you people are like robots with your nonsensical boilerplate excuses. Those poor put-upon business owners. They really really wanted to serve blacks, but the evil government, which came from outer space obviously and not from the votes of business owners, just wouldn’t let these white southerners be the racially progressive people they truly were!

                  1. “They really really wanted to serve blacks, but the evil government, which came from outer space obviously and not from the votes of business owners, just wouldn’t let these white southerners be the racially progressive people they truly were!”

                    So now you can read the minds of every southern business owner from 50-60 years ago? They were in 100% agreement about keeping those scary black people out of their businesses? Talk about boilerplate.

                    Oh, nice of you to try to corpse-fuck our subthread, by the way. Always a noble move.

                3. I have actually shopped at Hobby Lobby many times. I simply don’t consider the owners’ political views, because that’s too much effort. Now, if some establishment was very rude to me because of my sexual orientation, I might be a little indignant. Just as you would be if you had any trait for which people were disposed to treat you in a subhuman way.

    2. Yeah, me neither. If anything, “bigots” should be allowed to be “bigots” for any reason they choose, whether their “bigotry” is motivated by religion, racism, sexism, hatred of gingers, whatever. That way everyone will know which businesses discriminate and can avoid the ones run by assholes.

      To paraphrase Aldo Raine: “I like my bigots easy to spot…”

      1. ^ This.

      2. They are. They’re just not allowed to discriminate in their public accommodation business.

  29. RE: Florists Join Bakers, Photographers in Court Ruling Ordering Them to Serve Gay Weddings
    You will bring me flowers, or else.

    Or else…what?
    No business should be forced to provide services if they do not wish to provide said services.
    Yup.
    The good ol’ USA is becoming more like the good ol’ USSR every day.

    1. Agreed. Unfortunately, the principle was decided back in 1964, when the civil rights act was passed.

    2. Don’t believe headlines, business just required to do business while respecting their civil rights. Don’t want to do gay weddings then don’t do weddings. Just as the Kosher Deli could by religious law sell pork to Gentiles but not to Jews and that would also be a civil rights violation, the deli doesn’t sell pork at all.

  30. I have to wonder when a court will apply the same commerce/public-accommodation lever to an actual church. Hell you can even throw equal protection into the mix since they do weddings for straight couples.

    There is no reason the prog-logic doesn’t push that far.

    1. https://reason.com/blog/2016/09…..-and-state (I believe they dropped this interpretation after a backlash)

      1. They’ll find a softer target; some religious organization owned property but not specifically a sacristy. Anything available for hire to those outside of the membership.

  31. Courts have all been ruling the same way because it’s not actually all that complicated. Operating a business does not restrict your preexisting freedoms; it simply does not come with unfettered liberty and never has. Engaging in commerce, which is a liberty but is also secured by myriad taxpayer-funded entitlements, has always entailed abiding by certain pro-social requirements. In all states that means not injuring people purposefully or through neglect. In all states it means accommodating people with disabilities. In some states it means not discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation. It is not surprising either that Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett cannot legally bake people into meat pies.

    Freedom claims compete. You don’t get to say one is cosmically automatically better than another. Society gets to decide, and states via legitimate democratic processes have decided that freedom from discrimination in commerce trumps the freedom of proprietors to discriminate–which is the freedom you’re actually defending, however much you want to equate it to speech so it sounds nicer.

    1. “Freedom claims compete.”

      No, no, no, a thousand times no. Fist, meet nose.

      1. I think this is obviously, even trivially, true. If it’s not then what are you people bitching about here? One person’s freedom to walk anywhere he wants is countered by another person’s freedom from trespassers. What stupid libertarian candyland are you trying to insist exists?

        1. “Freedom” to be served (by someone compelled). The NewSpeak is progressing nicely.

          1. You think you deserve the freedom to be served by jackbooted thugs with guns if someone sets foot on your property, so don’t go around casting aspersions on those who merely want to buy a freaking cake in peace.

          2. I do not know about Skippy, but I think I have a right to enjoy my property without someone using it without my consent and I believe that I do not have rightt to your cake without your consent.

            1. You don’t have a right to my cake but you have a right to my obedience to your alleged property claims–and if you don’t get it you feel that you have a right to send armed thugs after me, if not shoot me yourself. If that’s not entitlement nothing is.

        2. The correct turn of phrase is “to gambol”.

    2. Huh. Blue John is a mindreader, too.

    3. “Society gets to decide”.

      Please define society.

      1. It apparently doesn’t include people who disagree with Tony.

        1. Unfortunately it does. You can see the result. It’s orange and flying around in Air Force One.

      2. The aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.

    4. Re: Tony,

      Engaging in commerce, which is a liberty but is also secured by myriad taxpayer-funded entitlements[…]

      Indeed? So are sexual relations. Doesn’t that mean the government gets to say who you can sleep with? Or do the myriads of taxpayers – funded entitlements not extend to your bedroom?

      Your argument was never compelling since you’ve been making it for 5 years at least, Tony,because it assumes too much.

      1. Yeah it assumes people are capable of some measure of prudence in their self-governance. Admittedly a shakier proposition than I thought given current circumstances.

      2. Obamacare compels you to take coverage for contraceptives, there is the government’s nose under the tent of your sex life.

    5. Can I injure people purposefully if I’m not operating a business?

      1. Yes, become a boxer.

    6. Yes, the Supreme Court says running a business is voluntary and as such the person engages in business knowing the ways their transactions are legally regulated and can be presumed to accept operation with those limitations.

      Can’t sell wedding services legally, don’t offer wedding services.

  32. So what would happen if a photographer were to shoot a gay wedding and all the while saying out loud how evil and wrong gay marriage is? I realized long ago that laws and their interpretation are not rational or based on their plaintext readings, so what do the lawyers out there say to this scenario?

    1. They would get sued and lose for hostile environment. Think of it this way, what if I ran a restaurant and served blacks but all of my staff called them the N word and always spit in their food. Hey, I am serving blacks. I am not discriminating.

      Indeed, people tried such things when the CRA was first passed. And the courts didn’t buy it and found them liable under hostile environment. They would do the same thing here.

      This is about compulsion and the government deciding that it is no longer legal to practice religions that do not accept not just homosexuality but homosexual marriage. Remember, it is not good enough to accept homosexuals and treat them the same as other customers. You must accept and agree to be a part of their marriage ceremonies.

      1. I assumed that was the case, but you escalated my example. Let’s take it back down. I only speak. There is no spitting or physical interaction at all. I am not threatening. I merely state that homosexuality is evil and a sin. I’m allowed to say that on a street corner. They are not “fighting words.” So what is the logic that forbids that in this case?

        1. That is an interesting question. I am not sure how a court would deal with that. And it raises the good point that these businesses should probably engage in these sorts of forms of civil disobedience rather than refuse and become martyrs before the court.

    2. Washington state laws says discrimination can be indirect AND they are required to give ‘full enjoyment of all’ services and a photographer who is trash-talking to guests about their employer would be in court no matter the justification of their trash-talking.

      Wouldn’t it be just easier to hire a temp photographer that doesn’t mind doing gay weddings? The fact that Elane’s Photography had hired temp photographers in the past meant they could have for this event. Again, it is the business with the obligation to obey civil rights laws, not any particular employee’s.

  33. they noted that the Supreme Court has set the precedent that “that individuals who engage in commerce necessarily accept some limitations on their conduct as a result.”

    This is a very disingenuous argument, because it begs the question: that engaging in commerce necessarily means changing your conduct, thus the conclusion that commerce means your conduct can be ‘limited’ by government. To show you how absurd is this argument, imagine a funny man who is good at telling jokes. Another person asks if he can record his act on video for money, and he says ‘yes’ and does the exact same thing: tells his jokes. Then he gets paid. What changed about his conduct?

    If the funny man had refused to be recorded on video, couldn’t that be construed as unacceptable conduct? “How?” you would ask. According to the parameters set by the courts, of course. So in essence it is not that individuals accept these limitations but rather that the courts get to set these limitations. So the argument is disingenuous.

    1. What if I am a member of a radical organization and paper my business with its propaganda and give it to all of my customers to read. Is that “proper conduct”. If the government decides my radical ideology is a problem, why couldn’t they tell me to knock it off if I wanted to engage in commerce? It seems to be under this court’s reasoning they could.

  34. “Westboro Baptist Wedding Photographers, Tracy speaking. Why, yes, we do photograph gay weddings, even though God hates fags, and gay people will burn in hell fire for all of eternity. Would you like to schedule an appointment?”

    1. That was supposed to be a reply to NotAnotherSkippy.

    2. [Wedding album ends up being a bunch of pictures of people in terrible awkward poses and/or stuffing their faces]

  35. I disagree with John because it seems to me that in this post, Shackford has come out in favor of religious freedom and freedom of association with no ifs, ands or buts.

    It was not always thus, I’m afraid. Consider this somewhat confused article where, as far as I can tell, Shackford says that when a local government infringes freedom of association and freedom of religion, the state legislature should *not* get involved to protect the rights of the affected businesses:

    “Larger governments telling local government what kinds of laws they can pass is bad, and I say that regardless of whether I support whatever law. If there is a civil liberty that is being violated, it needs to be tackled under a constitution or charter and then pushed to a court to rule upon. Why on earth should politicians outside of Charlotte have veto power over the laws of that city?”

    So…lawsuits to overturn these local laws are OK, but state legislation to overturn such laws? Violations of local self-government!

    And as I point out here, other Reason staff were willing to support state laws to protect private people from local government overreach – at least if the private individuals are trying to rent their homes.

    1. And as I mentioned, those constitutions and charters Shackford relies on to challenge local laws – who do you think writes those constitutions and charters, if not “politicians?”

      1. Libertarians see the right to free speech and association as absolute and thus see no reason for their to be a free exercise clause. If you have absolute freedom of speech and association, you necessarily have the right to free exercise. Therefore, there is no reason to think of these issues as anything but free association issues. It is not an unreasonable position. It is, however, an unrealistic one.

        Courts do not and will not any time soon see the freedom of association as anything close to as absolute as they see the right to free exercise. So in the world we live in today, arguing this case as an unacceptable infringement on freedom of association is a dead end with both the courts and the public. The only argument that has any hope of going anywhere is freedom of religion.

        1. This is not a Free Exercise Case, unless Stutzman claims here faith requires her to be mean and nasty to people she disapproves of. Arranging flowers in no way indicates her support or opposition to a same-sex relationship, and her bouquet does not endorse something she disapproves of.

          The fact that she was willing for years to sell flowers to the couple whose relationship was sin in her eyes means she is condoning sin from the beginning. If she had declined to sell to the Gay couple once she knew, she might have had a free exercise claim.

          The ADF case is abuse of religion to support a personal prejudice, that that is why the CO Supreme Court decided as they did.

      2. Neither the public nor the courts are going to agree that the government has no right to restrict your ability to contract and associate with people in any way. And when you frame this as a freedom of association issue, you are asking them to expand the scope of freedom of association well beyond anything we have ever had. If you see this as a threat to freedom of religion, the question becomes very simple and in accordance with how things have been since the beginning of the country; the government shouldn’t compel people to do things that violate their religions as a price of doing business. That is the specific part of the law that is being destroyed here. Yes, that is a restriction on your freedom of association, but that is not how the parties nor the public view it.

        1. I presume that, as Shackford says, the legal brief used those precedents which seemed to have the best chance of working (but it didn’t work).

          In discussing this with the public, of course freedom of association should be invoked, some of the the public isn’t sophisticated enough to realize that compulsory servitude of course doesn’t include making businesses serve you – they may actually think that freedom of association is a good argument.

    2. The business used its freedom of association when it invited the general public to come to business. Discriminatory freedom of association would require finding the ‘right’ people first as membership of a private club and then make the invitation to buy to just the membership.

      Once the public is invited they can respond with the exception their civil rights will be respected as required by law.

  36. Here is what I want to see happen:
    1. Prostitution legalized
    2. A whore refuses sex based on a protected class membership
    3. Watch the ensuing hilarity

    1. Can a white hooker in the parts of Nevada where prostitution is legal refuse to serve black men? I don’t think she could.

      1. There’s a word for forcing a woman to have sex with someone against her will.

        That would be legalized rape.

        1. Yeah, I have a hard time imagining that happening. Though perhaps I lack sufficient imagination.

          I’m pretty sure that they are allowed to refuse anyone they want.

          1. There is no hooker exception to the CRA. I think brothels are public accommodations.

            And they wouldn’t be forcing her to have sex with him. The plaintiff wouldn’t get specific performance. the plaintiff would get damages. So, they wouldn’t for her to have sex, but she would have to pay damages for not doing so.

            1. Nothing in typical antidiscriminaition law says that specific employees of a business have to perform specific tasks.

              1. Yes. It would be her employer who would be sued. And the employer would be on solid grounds to fire her.

                1. Re: my comment on prudence above. Sex against a person’s will is called rape. This might bump into antidiscrimination principles in this sphere of commerce.

            2. I thought the whores at those places were all independent contractors.

        2. It should be considered that, but if sex is a form of commerce, then (where sex work is legal) a prostitute is assumed to have given her consent to anyone who can pay her price before they meet. If the bizarre limit on freedom for people engaged in commerce is applied consistently. But these things are not applied consistently because they are applied for emotional and irrational reasons.

        3. “That would be legalized rape.”

          So, the cops would need to get permission from a dog first?

    2. It would be the bordello with the obligation, not any particular employee. The owner might give her the choice of compliance or being fired, but that is the right of any employer.

  37. There are two alternatives for those who do not like anti-discrimination legislation (all of whom are conservative Christians; nobody else campaigns against this): repeal the legislation altogether, or enact a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (already in force in 22 states). Both have the advantage that they allow discrimination against religious conservatives. Hallelujah!

    1. Actually the Elane’s Photography in New Mexico also had a state RFRA, but they only apply between a person and the government (those with religious rights and something without any). They don’t work between two people because they both have exactly equal righteous freedom and the RFRA is inapplicable (as per the New Mexico Supreme Court)

      They still lost and their writ of certiorari was denied by the SCOTUS

  38. Cato misses the point, and shame on them for supporting this case. Unless they want to argue for wholesale overturn of non-discrimination laws, the CO Supreme Court decision was correct. In an urban and civilized society, broad non-discrimination and public accommodation laws are necessary, or we marginalize the minorities, denying them humanity.

  39. Quite a few errors in this article

    *Florists?at least those in Washington State?can be forced to provide their goods and services for gay weddings* No, the business just has to treat weddings the same regardless of sexual orientation, just treat straight and gay weddings equally even if that is not selling things for weddings at all.

    *which wasn’t even legally recognized by the state when they started planning it in 2013)* Actually it was from December 6, 2012 but that’s immaterial since a commitment ceremony is just as covered.

    *Perhaps even a little more concerning, even if they did accept floral arranging as a form of expressive speech, it still might not have changed their ruling.* Of course not since the difference is one only the creator can see. As Justice Gonzales pointed out that would mean anyone that creates anything could claim ‘expression’ for any kind of civil right discrimination, rendering the law useless.

    And for those that think marriage is religious, its not in Washington from its first statutes until today:
    Laws of Washington p 691
    An Act to Regulate Marriage
    Sec. 1 Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Washington, That marriage is declared to be a civil contract.
    – passed April 20, 1854

    Marriage is a 100% secular civil contract and has nothing to do with this case anyway since a person can buy wedding services for a purely ceremonial reason sans any legal contract.

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