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09/02/2014

WND's editor fundamentally misunderstands nondiscrimination law (part 3 of 3)

by Jeremy Hooper

In his third post on the same subject in just the past week, WND (formerly WorldNetDaily) founder and editor Joseph Farah yet again misses the point about nondiscrimination law and its application. Here's a pertinent snip:

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 At 10.56.32 AmThink about it. It’s really simple. If the folks who want to have a same-sex marriage are protected by laws honoring “sexual orientation,” why don’t those same laws protect the “sexual orientation” of the caterers, the florists, the bakers and photographers?

Don’t get my point?

OK, look at it this way: Suppose a devout Christian couple was planning a wedding at which the following biblical vow from Genesis 2:20-24 was to be read:

“And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

“And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

The couple wanted a videographer to capture this moment. They look at many different portfolios and find their favorite videographer is Lance. So they visit Lance and tell him what they have in mind. But Lance is an atheist homosexual, and he’s put off by the Christian couple’s whole concept – and tells them so. He would rather not perform this job.

Should Lance be sued? Should he be punished by the state’s human rights division? Should he be coerced to take the assignment?

FULL: SAME-SEX WEDDING? HIRE MUSLIM CATERER [WND]

I've already addressed Mr. Farah's oddly obtuse belief that only gay people are protected under sexual orientation protections. I will not dignify that non-debate again; you can read it here.

But as for Lance, the atheist homosexual who sets up a shingle and purports to do videography for the entire public? Yes, if he pointedly turns away a client precisely because of that client's religious faith, then he might, in fact, run into trouble. There is no double standard here, despite Mr. Farah's continued attempts to find one. Those of us who support fair nondiscrimination law very much support protections based upon religion. Just like a person who clings to anti-gay faith is not free to use that as reason to deny a same-sex couple, a person who is decidedly of the non-faith persuasion is not free to use his beliefs to pointedly discriminate against customers because they choose to pray in their own way. If Lance contracted for this job, then Lance has to shoot the ceremony, no matter how church-y it gets.

Now let's be clear: Lance might find a way around the job. A photographer, or most any other vendor, can most always claim to be all booked up on any given day, if he or she doesn't wish to take on the client. When Andrew and I got married, a couple of photographers we approached did in fact say they were unavailable on our chosen wedding day. Were they really, or were they simply not down with shooting a gay wedding? We don't know. But the reason they gave us for turning away our business was unavailability, not judgement, and we accepted that without any further question. If unavailability is the given reason, that typically ends the conversation right there. It's hard to disprove, and few would even try. It's certain that vendors across this nation play the unavailability (or similar) card on a daily basis in order to turn away clients that they simply don't care to take on, whatever the reason.

But the bottom line is that a business owner who sets up a shop in a given area has to comply with the nondiscrimination ordinances that apply to that jurisdiction. Religion is always protected; sexual orientation is increasingly so (and will inevitably earn nationwide protection in most of our lifetimes). If you want to run a public accommodation and you want to flout the law, then you better be ready to face potential consequences from those who pushback. Or you better be a good liar.

***

Pt. 1: Far-right still pretending limited nondiscrimination law opens whole new can of frosting [G-A-Y]

Pt. 2: Joseph Farah still clueless about nondiscrimination law [G-A-Y]

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