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Don Roach: When Rights Collide – Homosexuality and Religion

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Our use of the term “anti-gay” has become a little excessive. I was reading about a law in Arizona that would allow any person or corporation the ability to claim the practice of religious exercise as a defense to violating certain sections of Arizona law.

Nowhere in the text of the law is the word “gay”, “black”, “white”, or other buzzwords used to attach an –ist claim to such language. Nevertheless, most media outlets are calling the bill an “anti-gay” piece of legislation so let me add some context around the bill.

First of all, most state have equal protection statutes the contents of which employers are required to post somewhere employees to see. These statutes usually talk about not discriminating based on race, religion, creed, national origin, and sexual orientation. For the purpose of today’s analysis, let’s only view these laws with respect to religion and sexual orientation.

In practice, this means states cannot make laws nor support actions by any entity (unless exempted) that discriminated based upon religion or sexual orientation. For example, if I apply for a job at Citizens Bank, Citizens cannot use my religion or lack thereof as a criterion in its hiring practice. Were I a homosexual man, the same would hold true. If, during the process I felt discriminated against on those grounds, I could seek legal redress against Citizens.

The law in Arizona appears to be addressing businesses that object to certain aspects of homosexuality – namely gay marriage – and refusing to serve them based upon their religious convictions. Recently, there was a story of a wedding photographer who refused to take photos for a gay couple on religious grounds and was sued – and lost . In response to the ruling against his client, the attorney for the photographer said:

The idea that free people can be ‘compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives’ as the ‘price of citizenship’ is a chilling and unprecedented attack on freedom.

Americans seem to agree as a Rasmussen poll found that 85 percent of Americans believe that “if a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, […] he has the right to say no.”

Alternative, the lawyer for the couple who sued the photographer successfully argued in court that:

No court has ever held that the First Amendment gives businesses a license to sell goods and services to the general public but then reject customers based on race or religion or sexual orientation, in violation of state law.

While America appears to overwhelmingly agree with this photographer, the courts did not.

What happens when rights collide?

The situation with the photographer and the Arizona law are about rights colliding. Free religious exercise is one of the primary reasons people from Europe came to America as many couldn’t freely practice their religion. Still, if my religion called for me to murder someone every 28 days, religious exercise wouldn’t be a sufficient defense. In recent years, many in the faith community have discussed the implications of gay marriage and churches refusing to marry same-sex. I haven’t heard any local or national pols that churches do not have a right to marry whomever they want to marry. It’s not dissimilar to Catholic churches refusing to marry people who are not Catholic.

Thus the question is where do we draw the line between exercising our First Amendment right to practice our own religion against other rights?

In situations with gay marriage, it is a dicey legal situation. Most Americans favor allowing people to practice their religion and even a majority of Americans are fine with gay marriage. One argument in support of gay marriage has been how it doesn’t affect people who are heterosexual. That’s not the main argument, but it is certainly an argument in debate. Well, in these two examples there will be impact and if you are a businessperson with considerable convictions about an issue, where are your protections?

Where are your rights? Do you as a business person just not sell anything?

I feel we need to strike a balance, but I’m not quite sure how. I wish I could end with a solution, but unfortunately I don’t have one. Do you?

Don can be reached at [email protected] . Please follow don on Twitter at @donroach34.


Related Slideshow: Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index Scorecard - Providence, RI

HRC's Municipal Equality Index (MEI) demonstrates the ways that many cities can—and do— support the LGBT people who live and work there, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so. GoLocal pulled the data from the 2012 and 2013 reports to show where progress has been made in Providence and Rhode Island.

This year's report rates a total of 291 cities from every state in the nation, representing a total population total of 77,851,822.  To see how PVD compares to other cities, download the full 2013 MEI report here and the 2012 version here.

Prev Next

Providence Non-Discrimination Laws

This category evaluates whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by the city, county, or state in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Providence grabbed all available points in this category because it is under the jurisdiction of Rhode Island state laws prohibiting discrimination on both bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Non-Discrimination Laws 2012 2013
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
Public Accommodations    
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
Total Score 18 out of 18 18 out of 18
Prev Next

Providence Relationship Recognition

Because this is an evaluation of municipalities, not states, and marriage is a state-level policy, this section is weighted so that an equal number of points are awarded for marriage (or other state relationship recognition) and municipal domestic partner registries.

In 2013 Rhode Island passed landmark marriage equality legislation, cementing itself ahead of the curb in relationship recognition. However, since civil unions have been legal and available at the state level since 2011, the HRC granted the full 12 points in 2012 as well.

Relationship Recognition 2012 2013
Marriage Equality, Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships 12 out of 12 12 out of 12
Prev Next

Providence Municipality as Employer

By offering equivalent benefits and protections to LGBT employees, and by awarding contracts to fair-minded businesses, municipalities commit themselves to treating LGBT employees equally.

By the HRC's account, Providence falls in line with some best practices as an employer- ample forthright laws are on the books forbidding discrimination in city employment and ensuring domestic partner and legal dependent health benefits. However, the city falls short of ensuring equivalent family leave and affirmatively forbidding discrimination in awarding city contracts and benefits to contractors.

Municipality as Employer 2012 2013
Non-Discrimination in City Employment    
points for sexual orientation 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
points for gender identity 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Domestic Partner Health Benefits
4 out of 4 4 out of 4
Legal Dependent Benefits
2 out of 2 2 out of 2
Equivalent Family Leave
0 out of 2 0 out of 2
City Contractor
Non-Discrimination Ordinance
points for sexual orientation 0 out of 2 0 out of 2
points for gender identity 0 out of 2 0 out of 2
City Contractor
Equal Benefits Ordinance
0 out of 4 0 out of 4
Total Score 16 out of 26 16 out of 26
Prev Next

Providence Municipal Services

This section assesses the efforts of the city to ensure LGBT constituents are included in city services and programs.

A lack of a direct liason to the LGBT community in the mayor's office hurt Providence in the municipal services category. Providence does, however, have a Human Relations Office tasked with "enforc[ing] laws of equal opportunity in the City of Providence" as well as formally enumerated anti-bullying policies in schools at the municipal level.

Furthermore, the city's services aimed directly at underserved and particularly vulnerable populations were lauded by the HRC and scored Providence an extra 2 points in this category.

Municipal Services 2012 2013
Human Rights Commission
7 out of 7 7 out of 7
LGBT Liaison in
the Mayor’s Office
0 out of 5 0 out of 5
Enumerated Anti-Bullying
School Policies
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
Total Score 13 out of 18 13 out of 18
BONUS: City provides services
to particularly vulnerable
populations of the LGBT
2 Bonus Points 2 Bonus Points
Prev Next

Providence Law Enforcement

Fair enforcement of the law includes responsible reporting of hate crimes and engaging with the LGBT community in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Providence reports hate crime statistics, but their lack of a specific LGBT police liaison or task force caused an 8 point deduction from their final score.

Municipal Services 2012 2013
LGBT Police Liaison
or Task Force
0 out of 8 0 out of 8
Reported 2011 Hate Crimes
Statistics to the FBI
10 out of 10 10 out of 10
Total Score 10 out of 18 10 out of 18
Prev Next

Providence Relationship with the LGBT Community

This category measures the city leadership’s commitment to fully include the LGBT community and to advocate for full equality.

Providence was noted for it's leadership's public position on LGBT equality and particularly for a shift from 2012 to 2013 with the renewed focus on and support for marriage equality legislation through its passing. This shift was the sole driver of a higher 2013 overall score, with all 5 additional points being picked up in recognition of the city leadership's commitment to LGBT equality.  Other direct efforts to engage with the LGBT community also landed Providence 2 bonus points in both 2012 and 2013.

Municipal Services 2012 2013
Leadership’s Public Position
on LGBT Equality
3 out of 5 5 out of 5
Leadership’s Pro-Equality
Legislative or Policy Efforts
0 out of 3 3 out of 3
Total Score 3 out of 8 8 out of 8
BONUS: City engages with
the LGBT community
2 Bonus Points 2 Bonus Points
Prev Next

Total Scores

2012: 76 out of 100

2013: 81 out of 100

Categories 2012 2013
I. Non-Discrimination Laws
18 out of 18 18 out of 18
II. Relationship Recognition 12 out of 12 12 out of 12
III. Municipality as Employer 16 out of 26 16 out of 26
IV. Municipal Services 13 out of 18 13 out of 18
V. Law Enforcement 10 out of 18 10 out of 18
VI. Relationship with the LGBT Community 3 out of 8 8 out of 8
Bonus 4 points 4 points
Total Score 76 out of 100 81 out of 100



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Ok, but is filming a gay wedding really interfering with the photographer's right to practice his religion? I assume you are not forced to have sex with a man in order to film a gay wedding. Likewise, I assume a Christian wedding photographer is not forced to convert in order to film a Jewish wedding. The only good religious exception I can think of is refusing to work on the Sabbath.

Comment #1 by Ralph Pratt on 2014 02 26

Under this law, if a gay couple attempts to be seated at a restaurant--or a lunch counter, or buy screws at a hardware store, or dog food at a pet store, etc.--the owner can say, "Sorry, this is a Christian establishment. We won't serve you." Really? In America? Didn't we fight this battle already? Welcome back to the 1950s, Arizona. Don't forget the fire hoses.

Comment #2 by John Onamas on 2014 02 26

Photography and wedding cakes are different than selling scammbled eggs or snickers bars. It's their artistic talent that makes the result worth the price.

If you are a craftsman does this mean you cannot refuse a job? I've made things for my kids and people have asked if I would make them an item for their kids, I have declined. That may not count because I don't run a business in the art field, but it is a talent. Should the Government have a say in when and for whom I can use it?

Comment #3 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 02 26

The photographer in New Mexico could have politely informed the couple that she was already booked for that day, or that she would be on vacation that week, it's called a "white lie" And the couple would have just found a different photographer. Instead she found it necessary to read the girls the "riot act"
The "TOLERANT" right proves their true selves again.

The "victim" photographer was still "free" to go appear on Fox News and all the other professional victim outlets that the right-wing rubes are so enamored with. We all know how conservative rubes just love to play the victim card.
Sammy in Arizona"

Comment #4 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 02 26

Bigotry masquerading as religion.

Comment #5 by Redd Ratt on 2014 02 26

Well, Sammy started out rational..then Bush Derangement Syndrome set in once again. To bad. I had hope for 5 seconds!

Comment #6 by Jimmy LaRouche on 2014 02 26

Thank you, Don, for sharing your thoughts no this very divisive issue. I appreciate your candor regarding how to resolve the matter.

My thoughts on the issue:

Homosexuality is a choice, and a bad one. The agenda for those who promote homosexual conduct have often declared that part of the agenda would be to convince and enforce the notion that people are "born that way", thus making the issue a civil rights discussion.

Yet the evidence strongly suggests, from anecdotal to statistical, that men and women are simply not born gay (or straight, even). The idea that sexual behavior should serve as an identity is not only modern, but unsubstantiated.

I find it offensive that individuals who demand homosexual rights" want to portray their fight in the same light as the fight for Civil Rights which Americans undertook in the 1960s in regards to the treatment of African-Americans in the South (and other parts of the country for that matter).

Men and women are born with a certain skin color --- they should be neither punished nor promoted because of their skin color. People are not born gay -- the idea that their conduct affords them civil rights which can impinge on the rights of individuals to practice their faith and conduct their business is unconscionable and unsupportable.

It's time for men and women of conscience and conviction to stop hiding or stay silent because a virulent homosexual lobby screams "bigot" every time someone criticizes homosexual conduct.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this very fraught issue, Don.

Comment #7 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 26

It took conservatives a LONG time to figure out that politics has become far more than an intellectual "battle of ideas" and that the "gay left" wing of the democrat party is filled with HATERS of anything hetero and especially Republican. Sorry to say it, but that's where the constant, insulting drone, bile, and insults comes from. They, of course, will say that "the GOP hated THEM first". Nope. Scratch a homosexual and you will find REAL paranoia, and the political for it is beginning to wear thin, even within the mainstream democrats.

Comment #8 by G Godot on 2014 02 26

Thank you, GG!

"Gay" activists have overplayed their hand, and now people are punching back, twice as hard

In my hometown, in Torrance, CA! -- a homosexual vandalized a "Chik-Fil-A" because CEO Dan Cathy simple shared that he does not support gay marriage.

Give me a break! Gay activists lined up and threatened and bullied Chik-Fil-A. Counter-Mentum of conservatives and religious supporters all lined up and dined to "Eat More Chikin'" -- Way to go, America!

It's time to stop cowering to "homosexual" bullies and tell them that they can use or abuse their bodies as they choose, but they do not get to condemn or force other people to accept their "lifestyle:

By the way, a "gay" activist actually -- no joke -- told me: "You have to accept me! I will not accept 'tolerance'".

With all due respect to Ms. Rosa Parks, I refuse to sit in the back of the bus to the virulent "gay" lobby any longer, and apparently more people feel the same way (Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson was restored to his program, too)

Comment #9 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 26

Sammy Arizona - Since telling a lie I believe would also be against religious rules, the photographer would be hypocritical. A reversal to your argument would have been for the couple to leave the shop and tell their friends. I have walked out of more than a few establishments for one reason or another.

The photographer should not be forced to supply services, just as the couple should not be required to purchase services from only a particular vendor. Tolerance works both ways.

Since you don't seem to mind telling falsehoods, we must call into question any remark you make.

Comment #10 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 02 27

The problem is that you have the paranoid crazoids screaming and whining about how being forced to bake a cake for a homosexual is somehow ruining their lives....LOL Because the interpreter for the magic man in the sky wrote down that ALL homosexuals are bad people. He could have wrote that ALL conservatives are bad people and the illiterate monks that copied the bible by hand did it wrong, but hey that is another topic.

Personally I would like to see the reaction one of these conservative rubes would have if THEY were refused service by someone who objected to them being idiots.
Sammy in Arizona

Comment #11 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 02 27

Wuggly Ump
That's why its called a "white lie" like when I told my favorite aunt that her hideous new dress was very attractive. The photographers could have just told a "white lie" instead of insulting the girls. After all if lying was an Olympic sport conservatives would win the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals hands down every time

Comment #12 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 02 27

Why would a gay couple want a homo hating photographer take their pics? or worse, a homo hating baker make your cake, not sure i'd eat that cake. But the issue is complex, because it wasn't long ago that Blacks couldn't eat at the dinner, drink from the fountain, or use the same bathroom. I don't know if you can legislate morality and decency. The cultural war has begun.

Comment #13 by bill bentley on 2014 02 27

I find it strange that the notion of religion is associated with promoting hatred of homosexuals, I thought it was supposed to be about love and good treatment of others.

But that is a sad joke. Another is: good people will do good, bad people will do bad, but for good people to do bad, you need religion.

The AZ law is a slippery slope. What if your religion taught (or you think it does) that Jews were Christ-killers, do you get the right to refuse service to Jews? If you thought your religion taught that God created black people as inferior do you get to refuse service to blacks? What if you thought your religion taught that non-Moslems are infidels to be converted or abused, do you have a right to refuse services to non-Moslems?

Such positions were (are?) widely held. I'm old enough to remember the Jim Crow white-only signs, those people thought they had religion on their side (as did salve-holders.) Best not to officially encourage hatred and discrimination in the name of religion.

Comment #14 by barry schiller on 2014 02 27

Arthur Schaper, can you provide us links to this evidence that strongly suggests that homosexuality is a choice? And you talk about an individual that damaged a Chik-Fil-A because the owner of the chain doesn't care for gay people. Would you like to compare statistics about the level of violence that gay people commit against straight people versus the amount of violence that straight people commit against gay people? You're religious. I get that. You believe what's in the Bible and you focus on studies or evidence that supports the view that you want to be true. That's fine too. But to be honest, there is not a great deal of concrete proof on either side of this debate, but logic would dictate that most people would not choose to be hated and shunned by a large segment of the population. Kids wouldn't choose to be thrown into the street for being gay if it was a choice. I know it's easier for you to justify marginalizing gay people and treating them as second class citizens by convincing yourself that it's a choice, but there's no concrete evidence to support that. Until that evidence exists, you're just being hateful.

Comment #15 by Phil Paulson on 2014 02 27

If you think that people should be allowed to discriminate on sexuality, should they then be allowed to discriminate against women, men, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians, black, brown, red yellow? If I run a bed and breakfast do I have to let a gay, Jewish, black (or even worse mixed race) couple into my home? The saddest part is this hatred is taught.

And Arthur, Phil and I are still waiting for the scientific evidence that sexuality is a choice. Look under your articles on creationism and intelligent design. LOL

Comment #16 by Redd Ratt on 2014 02 27

Hello, Phil and Redd:

Here are the stats, sites, info on the harms associated with homosexuality:



Gay obituaries closely track officially reported deaths from AIDS”, has been published in Psychological Reports (2005;96:693-697).

"A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men," Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354." (See more statistics on Promiscuity at http://www.carm.org/statistics-homosexual-promiscuity)

Comment #17 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 27

From http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive//ldn/2003/sep/03092008:

"The high rate of psychiatric disorders associated with homosexual behaviour in the Netherlands contradicts the gay activist assumption about the cause of these disorders among homosexuals. Fitzgibbons expresses concern that persons involved in homosexuality have been left at high risk by most medical groups that have “embraced the homosexual agenda and are advocating that lifestyle, despite all of the scientific studies and medical evidence that demonstrate medical and psychological risks.”

“It seems”, he tells Zenit, “the politically correct homosexual agenda is trumping science.”

See the entire Zenit interview at http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=41158

Comment #18 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 27

The alternative newspaper LA Weekly even published an expose which suggests that the health problems afflicting homosexuals has nothing to with bigotry and prejudice:


I was surprised to see this article in print in the LA area, and even the reporter acknowledged shock about such things, like the pressure to conform in "gay communities" is greater than in religious communities.


Thanks for asking for information, Phil and company. You will see more discussion soon enough.


Comment #19 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 27

A few more stats, regarding the higher incidence of AIDS and other communicable diseases among homosexuals:

(Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/msm/index.htm)

Center for Disease Control, cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/HIVIncidencePressRelease.html)

This report just in: another gay-NFL player, who had announced after retirement, has just passed away:


Simmons died from health complications related to AIDS.

Comment #20 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 27

I can remember when all they asked for was TOLLLLLLERANCE. Taking a photographer to court to MAKE him photograph your gay "wedding" strikes me as asking for a lot more than TOLLLLLLLLLLLLERENCE.

Comment #21 by G Godot on 2014 02 27

If lying were an Olympic Sport Obama would win the GOLD for "You can keep your healthplan AND your doctor.....PERIOD".

Comment #22 by G Godot on 2014 02 27

Come on Arthur. I thought you were better than that. CARM is a Christian site. Life Site News is a pro-life site. Zenit is a Catholic site. The bias in built-in. Would you accept information from pro-gay websites and publications as valid?

Comment #23 by John Onamas on 2014 02 27

C'mon, John-- with your logic, if a site which advocated a contrary position also declared "2 + 2= 4", you would reject that statement.

Such arguments are hollow, but I predicted that you would make that charge, so . . .

I listed other sources above, including records on epidemiology as well as psychological reports. Did you read them?

Third, I have indeed researched opinions from "pro-gay" sources, which suggested that people are not born gay, at all.

Tammy Bruce, a libertarian talk-show host, is a lesbian, and she declares that she choose to be one.

And speaking of bias built-in, the current political discourse has proceeded from the bias that people are "born that way", despite the rising evidence, from personal as well as statistical sources, which document that men and women abandon homosexual conduct in their lives.

By the way, just because a site is pro-life or Catholic does not mean that its arguments are wrong. Your attempt to shame those sources into irrelevance does not work, and does not diminish their accuracy one bit. What sources would you like to share that suggest that people are "born that way"?

Comment #24 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 27

G G:

Right again regarding "tolerance". Reminds me of Orwell's "Animal Farm.":

All lifestyles and views are equal, just some are more equal than others.


We tolerate everyone's opinion, but we expect you to tolerate ours more."

Thanks again, GG!

Comment #25 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 27

Arthur, 2+2=4 is a fact-based argument with only one right answer. In a contentious debate with a number of valid opinions, some balance is expected. As for the epidemiology stuff, very nice. But I think you're confusing the disease with the infected. Risky sexual behavior is not limited to gays.

To illustrate my point, I'll post an article from PBS that provides scientific validation for a genetic component for homosexuality. By your argument, you shouldn't question the source for potential bias. Just because it's from PBS "does not mean that its arguments are wrong."

What do you do when two arguments are diametrically opposed? You question things like bias, the qualifications of the researcher, and form an independent opinion. Your opinion is clearly colored by your bias. I don't care if you have a strong opinion, but you need to be intellectually honest and admit your bias--at least to yourself.

By the way, I don't really have an opinion on whether people are born gay. I don't really care. They are Americans, and they deserve equal treatment and protection under the law. Laws (like DOMA) should not be written to isolate any group of Americans for their beliefs and legal practices. As a Christian, I'm sure you agree.


Bonus article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/male-homosexuality-influenced-by-genes-us-study-finds-9127683.html

Comment #26 by John Onamas on 2014 02 27

Does it really matter whether its a choice decision or biology? And I think most informed people believe that all sexuality is both nurture and nature.

Comment #27 by bill bentley on 2014 02 28

I do not dispute an argument is wrong merely because of the source. Never have. Why are you changing the subject?

Advancing a position does not de facto demonstrate a bias. In fact, following a review of the evidence, I concluded, as have many, that people are not born gay. I was informed. If you call that bias, I don't have a response to that.

Genetic information is a correlation, not causation. Did the behavior cause the genetic distinction, or vice versa?

Thanks for sharing, John.

I als

Comment #28 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 02 28

Redd Ratt - Yes you should be able to refuse to provide your service. The property and service is yours to sell, or not sell.

Sammy Arizona - It's still a lie. What you said about Auntie's dress was a lie. You could have answered tactfully with "it has a very interesting print" or "design".

As far as conservatives lying? Politicians usually, and on both sides, but to paint any group with a broad brush like that seems, well, intolerant.

Comment #29 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 02 28

Lots of name calling back and forth, but no one has explained how simply providing a service to someone whose lifestyle or views are contrary to your own religious views interferes with your freedom to practice your religion. Yes, you can decline to provide service for any reason EXCEPT race, religion, national origin, sexual preference, etc.

Comment #30 by Ralph Pratt on 2014 02 28

So, "Ump" now we can legislate "tolerance"? Do so until the lawbooks collapse the shelves, all that results is an increase in sub rosa resentment. As a young infantry corporalonce said to me as I explained the rules with respect to the treatment of the prisoners his detail would be guarding... "I know I can't mistreat them, but it doesn't mean I have to like them". Think about it.

Comment #31 by G Godot on 2014 02 28

Yup, pratt, keep adding to the list of things you no longer have the freedom NOT to do.

Comment #32 by G Godot on 2014 02 28

Arthur, you're right. I never should have weighed in your opinions about biology and disease as related to the rights of American citizens. To each their own, I believe. Live and let live, as my father always said.

Comment #33 by John Onamas on 2014 02 28

Ralph, spot on. As I said above, people need to separate things that offend their sensibilities from things that actually prevent them from practicing their beliefs.

Comment #34 by John Onamas on 2014 02 28

I think for some of you, you are seeing how "celebrating" a same sex union prevents one from practicing their beliefs. If practicing your belief you only "celebrate" opposite sex marriages than doing anything other wise stops you from that practice. Let's change it around a bit, let's say your religion only "celebrates" the union between one man and one woman but two men and a woman come to you to "celebrate" their union. Your religious convictions bar you from said "celebration". Should you be forced to do so and thereby unable to practice your beliefs?

I'm a bit disappointed with how the conversation went but it usually goes like this. There are people in this world who have honest beliefs and hold them dear. They may not be your beliefs or my beliefs but they aren't invalid because they are not ours. If we are truly a "tolerant" society then we must respect minority beliefs and not just a select group of minority beliefs.

Comment #35 by Donn Roach on 2014 02 28

Donn, I'm not sure what you mean by "celebrating." If you mean officiating (as in a priest or minister), nobody should be forced to do that if it entails a religious ritual that is contrary to their own spiritual beliefs. If by "celebrating" you mean attending the wedding and sharing in the couple's joy, that's a personal decision and again nobody can be forced to participate. I think what is at odds here is whether or not providing services (like taking photographs) to a gay couple or at a gay wedding prevents someone from practicing their religion. Of course it doesn't. It might be different from their beliefs or the beliefs taught by their church, and it might make them uncomfortable, but this doesn't entail any kind of obstruction to the practice of their beliefs.

If one woman and two men came to anyone to officiate at a wedding, the first thing I would do is check state laws regarding polygamy. Nobody can be forced to take part in a something illegal.

Comment #36 by John Onamas on 2014 02 28

G Godot - No, we can not legislate tolerance or opinion. The term "hate crime" shouldn't exist. If a crime is committed against a citizen, does the perpetrator's opinion of the victim matter?
My last line was @ Sammy Arizona's "The "TOLERANT" right proves their true selves again." I was pointing out that to me, at least he seemed a little intolerant.
Interesting parable about the corporal, but I don't think it fits the narrative. The soldier is not working for the prisoners.
Looking at your other posts on this subject, I don't believe we are on completely different sides.

I am for the rights of all citizens. Including that of a same sex unions. I will also back the photographer that has a different opinion. He should not be made to work for someone he doesn't want to work for. That would infringe, I feel, his right to free expression. The couple can still be photographed.

Let's change the scenario.

If you went on an interview for a position at Employer A and during the interview decided the work was something you didn't expect or want, wouldn't you have the right to refuse the job? The photographer interviewed for the job found what it was and refused it. That simple. Employer A cannot force you to work for him.

Comment #37 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 02 28

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