First case I know of since the gay rights/religious liberty debate sharpened up over the last few years where a Christian business owner threatened to refuse all service to gay — or “openly gay,” i.e. affection-displaying — clients rather than service for gay weddings specifically. Although, strictly speaking, this isn’t a “religious liberty” case: There are no state or local laws where this guy lives that require him to serve gays. He can refuse for any reason he likes, religious or not. I wonder if it occurred to him when he was posting to Facebook that what he wrote, and the attention it was bound to receive, might make those laws more likely to happen now.
Elizabeth Scalia, a.k.a. The Anchoress, sides with righties on religious liberty but had some sharp questions a few weeks ago for business owners who draw a special moral line in refusing service to gays.
If a couple that is shacking up wants to celebrate the fifth anniversary of their moving in together, and comes to you for the celebration cake, are you baking it, or are you saying, “I’m sorry, but my religious conscience forbids it; I don’t want to be seen as giving even tacit support that sinful lifestyle which is negatively affecting society?”
If someone is throwing a “divorce party” (as some do) or remarrying without an annulment, are you arranging the flowers, or are you saying, “I’m sorry, but Jesus is incredibly clear about divorce and remarriage, and if I arranged these flowers for you, I would be dishonoring his teaching?”
If an unwed mother wants her baby photographed, are you photographing it, or are you saying, “I’m sorry, I believe a child is entitled to a mother and a father, and this person has clearly sinned against fornication, and I don’t wish to be seen as advocating and encouraging all this?” Would you figure “we’re all sinners and this is a one-off”, and — in charity — take the picture? What about if she comes back two years later, with another child from different father? Then, what will your conscience say?
Incidentally, there’s no evidence that this guy actually has refused service to openly gay customers. He’s stating what he would do if the situation presented itself, just like the owners of Memories Pizza in Indiana did when asked by a reporter if they’d cater a gay wedding. The fact that mere hypotheticals about refusing service to gays are now sufficient to justify entire news segments demonstrates how total the gay-rights movement’s cultural victory is. Either that or local news has gotten so desperate for “outrage” fixes to fill the demand for easy, buzzworthy content that they’re willing to pluck any random politically incorrect statement off of Facebook and give it three minutes of airtime.
Actually, I guess we know the answer to that, don’t we?
Exit question: After the Memories Pizza fiasco, why would any business owner want to broadcast his refusal to serve gays? This story was already picked up by lefty outlets like Think Progress this morning; the guy’s business is bound to be protested at a minimum. A lefty friend told me today that, while he thought the Memories Pizza Truthers were ridiculous, he really does think the only obvious explanation here is that the business owner is trying to bait gays into protesting him, hoping that social conservatives will rally behind him with some of that tasty GoFundMe sympathy lucre. If that’s the strategy, this guy’s taking a big risk: Conservatives are more likely to sympathize with a business that’s refusing to serve gay weddings specifically than gay customers categorically. Remember this poll? Even Republicans on balance said business owners shouldn’t have the religious right to deny service to gays altogether. He might get some solidarity cash if a boycott is organized against him, but who knows how much? And who would want that kind of aggravation?