By now you probably know that a Florist in Richland, Washington is being sued by the Attorney General because she declined to decorate for a same-sex ceremony.
The lawsuits are based on the belief that declining to be part of that event was discrimination based on sexual orientation.
However, there’s a problem with the argument that she discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. She has consistently and happily done business with people who identify as gay for years, including the individuals involved in this case. She considered them friends.
Still, the perpetrators of these lawsuits have found a way to rationalize their attempts to ruin the life of a perfectly decent grandmother whose life is a model of how to be charitable without abandoning your convictions; something we used to value in this country.
Since there is no evidence that she actually discriminates based on sexual orientation, they have redefined what discrimination means in order to make it illegal to have a business and disagree with them about same-sex “marriage”.
The old definition of discrimination meant that you couldn’t have a policy of refusing to business with a protected class. Meaning, you can’t say “no Mexicans allowed” or “Protestants only”.
The new definition of discrimination means this: if you offer a particular service for any purpose, you must offer that same service for every purpose. In her case, if you’re willing to do a wedding for a man and a woman, you must be willing to do a wedding for two men.
Where their argument stops no one knows.
Is Mrs. Stutzman obligated to decorate for a Satanic wedding as well? Can she be forced to do a wedding for a thruple (three people of various genders or maybe no gender at all)? If a family member was to be involved in a wedding she did not personally support, will she be compelled to attend at gun point if the family member was willing to pay for her services?
Or maybe gay is the only thing you’re not allowed to say no to? No one knows, yet.
Whatever your business is, stop and think about how this new understanding of “discrimination” could affect what you do?
If you’re a general contractor, surely you can imagine a contract you would decline out of personal conviction. The new ISIS community center perhaps.
You’re a website designer. You probably want the right to decline to build a support group page for pedophiles or a memorial site for “Great, but not forgotten, Nazi heroes”?
Every lawyer has both a right and obligation to decline a case if he feels he cannot provide zealous representation for the client.
You think the Christian thing to do is to decorate for the gay wedding? Great, have a great time decorating for it.
But we should be able to agree that people shouldn’t be forced to choose between their business and their faith. That’s what they do in Cuba, China, and Russia.
Once the government has created a religious litmus test in order to run certain types of businesses, are they not discriminating on religious grounds?
Of course they are. But from their perspective, this is good discrimination necessary to prohibit bad discrimination.
In other words, “you shouldn’t be able to use your religion to hurt people, so I should be able to use the government to hurt you.”
In their mind, the harm associated with needing to find another florist is a greater harm than bankrupting a grandmother because of her beliefs about homosexuality.
In one sense we should be sympathetic. There’s an old saying that “hurt people, hurt people”. When you encounter someone who is genuinely interested in harming another person who offended them, they are inevitably acting out of a lot of real pain. The homosexual community is filled with people who have real stories of real pain because they have been legitimately wronged.
But that doesn’t justify their attempts to use political leverage to destroy the lives of good people in an act of general revenge.
There’s an important parallel to the Islamic Terrorists who shot the cartoonists in Paris. While so many on the left are insisting that Je Suis Charlie, in reality, the left in America has been playing the same game with (thankfully) different weapons for a long time.
Brendan Eich was fired as CEO of the company he started because of his beliefs about marriage. Private property owners have been fined because they do not want their private property used for a same-sex ceremony. Every time a TV personality expresses their commitment to the biblical understanding of marriage, protests organize to get them off the air. Bakers, florists, and wedding photographers are facing lawsuits and fines because they prefer not to be part of same-sex ceremonies.
Without question, mass murder is orders of magnitude worse than the tactics the militant gay lobby has been using to make examples of the people who disagree with them.
But the root problem is the same.
A society cannot remain free if the people within the society seek the personal destruction of those who offend them.
The law exists to provide a remedy for real harms. But if we now believe that finding another florist after a polite conversation is an injury requiring the attention of our nation’s leadership we might as well drop any remaining pretense of adulthood and return to our pacifiers.
The essence of tolerance is the ability to disagree agreeably. Barronelle Stutzman has proven to be a model of how to do that. The other folks…not so much.
We have different stories, beliefs, and experiences. Each of us can learn something from our neighbors, especially our neighbors who are very different than us.
We all can agree that everyone should have the same opportunities in life regardless of what groups they are a part of. In that sense, we all oppose “discrimination”. But if “discrimination” has now been redefined to have nothing to do with opportunities and everything to do with feelings, count me out.
I prefer the adult world.