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National Organization for [Business Owners' Unbridled 'Right' to Discriminate]

by Jeremy Hooper

Maryland's fairly passed Question 6 read like this:

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

Nobody ever promised vendors that they would have the right to discriminate at will. OBVIOUSLY. But leave it to the ever-fallacious National Organization For Marriage to take the above text and act as if it is false if it doesn't guarantee such vendors such a right. In reaction to a local business that has chosen to end its wedding-centric commerce rather than fairly accommodate any same-gender couples who might come along, NOM writes:

The ballot shown to Maryland voters used 25 words to described (sic) the redefinition of marriage but over 70 words claiming false religious exemptions for people and institutions who disagree with redefined marriage.

Sure enough, as we warned, citizens in Maryland who disagree with redefined marriage are now being forced out of the public square and are NOT protected under the redefining marriage law passed in Maryland.

As you warned? AS YOU WARNED?! Well then you warned with a factually incorrect, purposely forked tongue, NOMMERS! Because no one on our side—NO. ONE.—was claiming that local businesses would be free to sidestep standing nondiscrimination laws that pertain to public accommodations! We wouldn't have made that claim because that claim would have been legally ludicrous.

This is the perfect example of nothing ever pleasing the NOM crowd. Since the religious exemptions that our side fully supported do not grant them the unfettered right to discriminate at will, this NOM writer is telling readers that those religious exemptions are "fake." And since one local business is being told that he is not going to be free to tell otherwise qualified same-sex couples that their money is no good simply because they are gay, NOM is all like, "see, see—we told you so!" even though they are positing a counterpoint to a point that we never made! They are just so desperate to be proven "right" that they are concocting a wholly false scenario that puts hidden motives into what is a cut and dry legal situation—one that would apply in many instances regardless of whether or not the particular jurisdiction has marriage equality or not.

Business owners cannot just discriminate whenever they want, so long as they ascribe a faith motivation onto that shutout. That is not a hard concept to understand. There is not even the beginning of a debate here. NOM is just so desperate for traction in the aftermath of its devastating four-state losses that the organization is trying to mine controversy out of fair-minded obviousness.

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