I've struggled with writing a streamlined rebuttal to all of these "Religious Freedom Restoration Acts" that keep cropping up, and with the arguments behind them. Then I realized, there is a very simple reason why "marriage" isn't some special, sanctified, sacred, religious haven immune to ordinary laws. And here it is:
|Attention RFRA Supporters: Not a church.|
Civil marriage and "holy matrimony" have coexisted for decades, centuries even, and have not heretofore presented a religious conflict for wedding and formal event vendors.
That's it. That proves, a) that the perspective of the religiously sensitive cake baker or florist is anti-gay bigotry wrapped in religion, and b) that legal protection for their position is unnecessary.
Everyone knows that the Catholic Church, for example, has been free to ignore the validity of any couple's marriage that they don't deem to fit with their doctrine. Even congregants in good standing have been denied a "church wedding" within its walls. This is still true now, and will remain true unless the Vatican changes its mind on the subject, not whether or not the United States changes its civil laws. The same is true for any church or religion, as it pertains to what they consider valid in their religion.
|Wedding reception hall (cakes, flowers, catering):|
Also, not a church.
The fact that now--now that same-sex marriage is a reality, and soon probably a nation-wide one--suddenly "requires" special exemptions to laws, and protections for religious belief ought to be very telling to everyone what this is really all about: anti-gay bigotry. How can all of the above be true, and this simple fact not be obvious? These vendors managed to ignore any "sincerely held beliefs" about their clients' private lives and personal morality before. Why has that suddenly changed for this particular category of "sinner?" And how can it possibly be legally justified?
Well, it can only be justified if you ignore precedent, logic, reason and go merely for truthiness and "gut-feel," and if you have a tendency to feel squishy about religious teachings. Because even if we did have to bend over backwards for religious belief in any and all case law, Christians have thus far been unable to present which commandment or bit of doctrine forbids selling wares to "sinners" in the first place. But, now I'm off on a tangent. Here, read this excellent article that tends to back me up, won't you?
|Image from source, Think Progress|
Why The Christian Right May Never Recover From Indiana
Maurice Bessinger built his fortune serving barbecue. At the half-dozen locations of his Piggie Park restaurants, customers could enjoy meats slathered in the yellow, mustard-based sauce unique to South Carolina. That is, of course, unless they were black, for Bessinger was also a proud racist. As late as the twenty-first century, Piggie Park distributed tracts to its customers claiming that the Bible is a pro-slavery document — one of them claimed that African slaves “blessed the Lord for allowing them to be enslaved and sent to America.” After Congress banned whites-only restaurants in 1964, Bessinger reportedly put up an uncensored version of a sign warning that “[t]he law makes us serve n***ers, but any money we get from them goes to the Ku Klux Klan. . .”
Read more at: Think Progress