News story, from the New York Daily News, February 22, 2015, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/gay-hair-stylist-drops-new-mexico-governor-client-opposes-same-sex-marriage-article-1.1027072: A hairdresser in New Mexico refused to continue to provide service to New Mexico Governor Susan Martinez after she came out in opposition to same-sex marriage. From the article:
“The governor’s aides called not too long ago, wanting another appointment to come in,” he told KOB-TV. “Because of her stances and her views on this, I told her aides no. They called the next day, asking if I’d changed my mind about taking the governor in and I said no.”
News story, seen April 27, 2015 at Yahoo, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gay-businessman-deeply-sorry-hosting-132836168.html: A New York City hotel that caters to the homosexual community hosted a “fireside chat” type event for Ted Cruz, Republican Senator from Texas who is running for president. From the article:
“I am shaken to my bones by the emails, texts, postings, and phone calls of the past few days,” one of the hoteliers, Ian Reisner, wrote on Facebook. “I made a terrible mistake. I was ignorant, naive, and much too quick in accepting a request to cohost a dinner with Cruz at my home.” …some called for boycotting the Reisner and Weiderpass’ Out NYC Hotel, which caters to LGBT customers, because of Cruz’s social conservative positions.
These are two examples of where businessmen who serve the general public either refused service to someone for political reasons, or are sorry they didn’t refuse service to someone for political reasons, and implied if they had it to do all over again, they would refuse to serve in that instance.
On Facebook, when debating someone about a Christian’s refusal to provide services for a same-sex wedding, I used two examples. First, a black caterer being asked to cater a KKK rally. Second, a Democratic owner of an event center refusing to all his center to be used for the campaign kickoff by a Tea Party Republican mayor. In that debate the person said it was ridiculous to bring up hypotheticals, and that religious believes should never be a justification for refusing service. I disagree with him about the hypotheticals. Indeed, when discussing policy changes, whether they be proposed by politicians or pondered by the courts, I believe you absolutely need to consider how the change would affect people. What better way to do that than through hypotheticals? Wild hypotheticals aren’t helpful, but reasonable hypotheticals are. And I don’t think mine were wild.
So I ask the question: Should a person in business be allowed to discriminate against another person based on a difference in political beliefs? Should the homosexual hairdresser be allowed, by law, to refuse to serve a straight person who opposes same-sex marriage? Should a black person be allowed, by law, to refuse to serve a white person who believes the Black race is inferior to the White and proposes policies that would enforce that belief? I believe they should be so allowed, by law.
How is political belief so different than religious belief? The same amendment to the Constitution that protects freedom of speech (which the original framers meant to refer to political speech) also protects the free exercise of religion. If someone is legally allowed to discriminate on the basis of politics, why not on the basis of religion as well? Yet the same people who cheer the New Mexico hairdresser for discriminating based on politics excoriate the Indiana pizzeria owner for discriminating based on religion. I really don’t get it, except that deep down, behind those who would accept the one and deny the other, is the desire to wipe religion from the earth. Many may not even realize this is the goal; it may be latent as opposed to active, but I think it’s there.
Obviously, I would not propose a person be allowed to discriminate based on race when that discrimination is based on religion. I’m not so sure that the same applies to homosexuality. Yes, some homosexuals (including lesbians) are most likely born with a same-sex attraction, and thus for them to be in a same-sex relationship is following the course of their nature. Others, however, undoubtedly choose to be in a same-sex relationship, for whatever reason. For them this is not a natural thing. What I’m saying is the issue isn’t as clear.
Let’s take one more hypothetical. A homosexual flower shop owner refuses to serve the wedding of a heterosexual couple. Legal, or illegal? Apparently illegal, if it was for the straight bakery to refuse a same-sex wedding. That decision would most likely be based on political beliefs, not religious. The distinction, however, is very small.
So, these religious freedom restoration acts passed by Indiana and Arkansas this legislative season: are they important, or not? Are they needed, or not? I would hate for the black caterer to lose the legal right to refuse service to the white hate group. I would hate for the homosexual hairdresser to lose the right to refuse to serve the straight person due to that person’s politics. Yet, I see that as a tiny step after losing the religious reason.