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But your subjective view of 'real' marriage is factually irrelevant, Ryan

by Jeremy Hooper

In response to my post about an Idaho wedding business that changed its website in what seems to be a revisionist attempt to cover the fact that it used to perform civil weddings and weddings outside of their faith, the Heritage Foundation's Ryan Anderson, one of the modern marriage inequality movement's biggest stars, writes the following:

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[Ryan's twitter]

Ryan's opinion about our marriages, as offensive as it may be, is completely irrelevant to the facts. The fact is that this business was, according to its own website, fully willing to move forward with civil weddings that they themselves may not have supported, but now—suddenly and seemingly without any announced change in business plan—they are not. They have always operated as a public accommodation with an "all comers welcome" position statement, and now they are trying to act like a de facto church that could not conceive diverging from their faith. And that is the issue.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the couple at the center of this controversy, is claiming that the business owners are now being asked to "violate their religious convictions and ministerial vows." If this business, up until two weeks ago, was perfectly willing to marry atheists, the previously divorced, and a whole host of couples that they might not personally condone, then their current claims to be wholly faith-driven are at least lessened, and more likely demolished. They (and Ryan) might see same-sex civil marriages as a whole new ball of wax and a bridge to far, but the law does not. Idaho and federal civil law recognizes same-sex marriage right alongside opposite-sex unions. That being so, it's likely if the ADF moves forward with this lawsuit, and if the information is accurately documented, then the law is going to side with my objective read of the facts rather than Ryan's subjective read of "real" marriage.

And the last thing I will say (for now), is that I literally do not know even one credible marriage equality activist who has even an iota of desire to actually force churches and pastors to marry same-sex (or any kind of) couples. And I know more than a few marriage equality activists. So this is yet another one of those instances where the far-right refuses to accept us at our word, and since they can't "catch us" in what they wish they could catch us in doing, they instead twist information to make it seem like we are acting in bad faith. The truth is that we are acting in good faith on this issue. WE. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. FORCE. CHURCHES. TO. MARRY. SAME. SEX. COUPLES. Period. But if a business owner like this brings a lawsuit based on completely flawed information, we will respond with the facts. On this one, I'm even willing to take all emotion or personal stake out of it.

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