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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious freedom and religious liberty.

Part 2: Responses to a newspaper article about
perceived conflicts between religious freedom
and same-sex marriage (SSM).

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In this web site, the acronym "LGBT" refers to lesbians,
gays, bisexuals, transgender persons & transsexuals.

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This topic is a continuation from Part 1.

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Responses by the public:

Michael Terence Worley wrote an article for the Deseret News, titled: "My view: Same-sex marriage decisions and 3 attacks on religious freedom." 1 It was published on 2014-JAN-12.

Readers of the article responded with 28 comments. The first dozen comments -- of which 11 are negative -- and the most recent comment are shown below. 2

  • "Schnee" posted:

    " 'laws require organizations and businesses to do something that they believe is wrong.'

    Non-discrimination policy is such a burden...

    'tactic frequently used by courts by stating either that there is no rational basis for laws defining marriage between a man and a woman'

    I would recommend obtaining better lawyers who can actually make the case that there is one, if there is one...

    'The third attack is thus far a social silencing of pro-marriage speech.'

    Hmm? Oh, right, being against same-sex marriage is "pro-marriage" to those who are fighting to stop these marriages..."

  • "E Sam" posted: "Read Judge Shelby more carefully. In the dispute before him, one side could demonstrate harml could prove that they had been harmed by Amendment Three. The other side could not. No harm had befallen it. His decision was correspondingly simple. You're imagining harm, but you have yet to demonstrate it."

  • "Blue" posted: "Celebrating your own marriage is one thing, preventing same-sex couples from marrying is another. No one is preventing you from stating your beliefs. However, your right to proclaim your belief that same-sex couples are second class citizens cannot protect you from the social condemnation that opinion rightly generates.

    Bakers, photographers, etc., may not legally refuse to do business with same-sex couples anymore than they can refuse to do business on the basis of race, but religions do have the right to refuse to marry same-sex couples. That's the balance that our constitution imposes on us all.

    The 'religious freedom' issues you worry about only exist because of the degree to which religions have integrated themselves into the necessarily secular areas of business and government.

    Yes, a religion that ... operates businesses while imposing its religious beliefs on non-member employees or customers is in for trouble in the coming years. That is trouble they have entirely brought upon themselves."

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  • "Bebyebe" posted: "Your concerns seem to be 'the camel's nose under the tent wall' arguments about what may happen. The gay marriage restriction affects the rights of your fellow citizens NOW. People should have the right to engage in legal contracts that have no discernible effect on the you other than make you uncomfortable."

  • "Kearns" posted: "Thank you for your comments, but I see some flaws with your arguments. Bakers, florists, and wedding planners are hired to provide a service to customers. In our society, it's expected to provide those services and products to all who have the money to pay for it. If one is absolutely morally opposed to attending a same-sex wedding, there are ways to provide the expected service without being a part of the celebration; my recommendation is to have at least one person under your employment who agrees to deliver the goods to same-sex weddings. Problem solved.

Next, let's compare how same-sex couples have been demeaned by unjust laws as opposed to the voters being demeaned after being told we voted for something that violates the rights of a minority. Who suffers more ridicule in this case?

Believe it or not, I voted yes on this issue nearly 10 years ago. Many things have changed in that time, and I have learned to love myself and others and realize that we [ALL] deserve to be treated with dignity.

Your third argument contends that speech is being stifled. I see no such thing happening. The comment about same-sex marriage proponents claiming that marriage between a man and a woman demeans us is, quite frankly, absurd. We love, honor, and respect those marriage. In fact, we value those relationships so much we want the opportunity to legally establish similar legal partnerships with somebody we love.

While I agree that the dialogue between people with opposing views could often be more civil than it often is, I haven't seen any opinions blocked by our government. Yes, organizations have stood up and presented opposing views and called on people to take a stand. That's what's expected in a free society--the ability to express your opposing view with the hope of coming together and better understand one another. That usually doesn't happen in large numbers, but often one person sees clear and reasonable arguments in these discourses and experiences a change of mind and heart."

  • "RanchHand" posted: "For a law student, I would have expected a much better presentation. As it is, I wouldn't hire you.

Businesses do not have religion. Ergo, they can't discriminate. The owners, when they incorporate, separate themselves from the business for financial purposes, and in doing so, they separate their own opinions from that of the business.

Have you found a rational argument yet? Why haven't you presented it to the court?

FYI, your speech is actually anti-marriage speech when you are against someone getting married.

Was it okay to denigrate blacks in earlier generations? Will it be okay to denigrate LGBT in later generations? You may be right about that one, but not for the reasons you state, it'll be because we've matured as a society to the point where we realize that some speech, while being "free", isn't without consequences to society."

  • "Pagan" posted: "Yes. Because when a person commits to life-long monogamy with another person ... it is an 'attack' on religion. Just look at all how all the marriages from heterosexuals have decimated the 60% majority of Christians in America. Please. Note the sarcasm.

Notice, people who want to victimize themselves claim they are under 'attack,' while they are trying to pass factual legislation to force their beliefs on others. In my opinion, if one was truly secure with their faith, they would let that faith be the example. Not force that belief, upon others who do not believe. And claim that lack of belief, is an 'attack' on that faith, while attacking others and legislation beliefs, upon them.

My example would be the 'war' on Xmas. As, how exactly, did a jolly fat man and reindeer ... play into the birth of Christ?

Non-believers are not the problem. It is the fatal actions, of those who attack, with those beliefs."

  • "McMurphy" posted: " 'If, in enacting DOMA, Congress had a purpose to injure and demean same-sex couples, then by extension any person who believes in man-woman marriage has this purpose as well.' Nonsense. Ascribing to most Americans the same motivations as a lobbied, bought-and-paid-for and intellectually corrupt Congress is nonsense."

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  • "EDM" posted: "Please! Everyone - EVERYONE - supports 'man-woman marriage.'

    Yes, I can appreciate the problem. There is a huge amount of discomfort when widely held religious views become out of sync with changing societal norms. But it is this discomfort, and this alone, that accounts for the fact that SSM is still not legal everywhere. There is no rational reason for prohibiting SSM, period. 'I don't like this' - or even 'this is an affront to my religious views.' - isn't a rational argument.

Anyway, what is called "'religious freedom' here is, more specifically and very honestly, freedom to discriminate. I, for one, cannot sympathize with the widespread discomfort being felt by so many religious people as SSM moves forward one state at a time. To use another example, let's just turn the clock back a bit to a time when race segregation was legal, and built on the widely held religious belief that blacks are inferior. 'Religious freedom' to discriminate did not prevail, and today, if you own a business that is open to the public, you cannot deny services to black people, no matter your personal feelings."

  • Mike Richards posted: "At some point in their lives, every boy and every girl begins to realize that 50% of the people on earth are physically different than they are. When they ask their father and mother about those differences, wise fathers and wise mothers will explain at age appropriate times why God made male and female. Wise fathers and wise mothers, will, at age appropriate times, explain the wonders of reproduction and the responsibility to wait until after being married to someone of the opposite sex before using those reproductive powers. Wise fathers and wise mothers will explain, at the age appropriate moment that fathers normally work outside the home to provide so that mothers can do the more important job of nurturing their children.

Now we have to ask ourselves what happened to those wise fathers and to those wise mothers. Were they asleep on the job or did their children rebel against their council? If they were asleep on the job, they have no one to blame but themselves, but if their children rebelled, then who taught them to rebel? Who sowed the seeds of rebellion in their hearts?"

  • "Maudine" posted: "You know, for people who are having their speech stifled, I sure do see a lot of letters, articles, and TV commercials advocating against same-sex marriage and against the inclusion of sexuality and gender orientation in anti-discrimination policies. I wonder why that is?"

  • James Whistler posted: "Three simple responses to the author's 'three attacks on religious freedom.'
    1. 'Requiring businesses to do something they believe is wrong.' What's wrong with baking a cake for a Lesbian? Who says? On what authority? Where?

    2. 'Saying that religious beliefs have no rational basis.' Of course they don't. Their basis is in faith. Saying that religion is usually faith-based and not reason-based, while civil laws should be reason-based and not faith-based, is hardly an attack on anything.

    3. 'The social silencing of pro-[traditional]-marriage speech.' There is no 'silencing' of ANY speech, but moreover, I don't know anyone who is against traditional families. The problem is that when some people say they support traditional marriage, they actually mean that they are in favor of forbidding same-sex marriages for everybody. There is no attack on traditional marriage, nor on people who value it for religious or other reasons."

  • Bruce Robinson, the webmaster of this web site, wrote: There are now two very different definitions of "religious freedom:"
    • The historical meaning relates to the freedom of religious thought, assembly, speech, writing, proselyting, religious conversion, etc. These are clearly protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    • The new and growing meaning relates to the religious freedom to denigrate, oppress, and discriminate against others -- often sexual minorities like the LGBT community, transgender persons and transsexuals.

Many states and cities have human rights legislation in place that requires "public accommodations" (retail outlets, etc) to serve customers without discriminating on the basis of the latter's skin color, race, gender, disability etc. Often, these protected classes include sexual orientation and gender identity. This is the source of problems with wedding cake bakers, wedding photographers, renters of wedding venues. etc. Whenever such a conflict occurs, it is heavily publicized across the country.

It is important for store owners to realize that Jesus called on Christians to follow the Golden Rule: for them to treat potential customers as the store owners would want to be treated. For a retail outlet to discriminate against potential customers violates this very important rule, and causes a great deal of social unrest.

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Reference used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Michael Worley, "My view: Same-sex marriage decisions and 3 attacks on religious freedom," Deseret News, 2014-JAN-12, at: http://www.deseretnews.com/
  2. "Comments about ‘My view: Same-sex marriage decisions and 3 attacks on religious freedom,’ Deseret News, 2014-JAN-12, at: http://www.deseretnews.com/

Site navigation:

Home > Religious freedom > here

or Home > Important essays > Religious freedom > here

or Home > Religious information > Religious freedom > here

or Home > Human rights > Religious freedom > here

No copyright claimed. Copyright remains with those who posted comments to the Deseret News web site.
Originally posted: 2015-JAN-26
Latest update: 2015-JAN-26
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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