A lot of businesses, business owners, and government employees have been refusing to service gay couples by not baking couples wedding cakes or not granting couples their right to a marriage license and these businesses and government employees base this discrimination on religious beliefs. Ever since gay marriage was legalized by the United States Supreme Court, many people have voiced their opinions on the matter and have spoken out for or against the new law. Even though the highest court of the land says that it is legal for gay couples to marry, some states still have laws that help to discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community.
In Mississippi, there are laws in place that protect business owners from lawsuits if they refuse to service gay couples because of their religious viewpoints. Kevin Theriot of Alliance Defending Freedom states that “the law’s only purpose was guaranteeing “‘that Mississippians don’t live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union”’(Qtd.
In Williams, “Supreme Court”). Although some may think that because citing religious beliefs to deny a gay customer service is legal in some states, it is also ethically and morally right is just wrong. Refusing to service people of the LGBTQ community is not respectful or decent behavior.
Jack Phillips, a baker in Colorado, refused to bake a cake for a gay couple for their wedding day and he states that “he declines cake orders for same-sex weddings because he believes Christianity teaches that homosexuality is wrong” (Paulson, “Can’t Have”).
While many people may believe that Mr. Phillips was well within his legal rights to refuse homosexuals his expertise baking skills, “the [Colorado] State Civil Rights Commission determined that Mr. Phillips had violated a state law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. . .” (Paulson, “Can’t Have”). Michael Paulson, a writer for the New York Times, writes in his article, “Can’t Have Your Cake, Gays Are Told, and Rights Battle Raises”, that “ local governments are taking an increasingly hard line on the issue [gays being refused service by business owners], as legislative debates over whether to protect religious shop owners are overtaken by administrative efforts to punish them. Just because something is made legal, does not make it right or moral. Most people would agree that slavery and segregation were both morally wrong, but it was still legal. As one can see, discriminating people because of the person that they choose to be romantically involved in is neither moral or ethic.
The fast food chain many have come to love and enjoy, Chick-Fil-A, has publically made a statement against same-sex marriage. While they have not refused to service homosexual customers, they donate millions each year to anti-LGBTQ groups every year. (Severson, “Chick-Fil-A Thrust”.) The Chick-Fil-A chief operating officer (COO), stated that “[they] support the biblical definition of the family unit [that being of husband and wife]” (Severson, “Chick-Fil-A Thrust”). In response to this, many people began to protest the business, while southern government leaders began to praise Chick-Fil-A for their stance on same sex marriage. For example, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, “[declared] August 1st as Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” (Severson, “Chick-Fil-A Thrust”).
As some states begin to pass laws which protect religious business owners who refuse to service the LGBTQ community, other states and lawmakers begin to create laws which make business discrimination toward the LGBTQ illegal. Georgia lawmakers have begun to veto their anti-LGBTQ relegious bills as the governer states, “[he] [does] not think [people] have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, which [him] and [his] family have been a part of for generations” (Somashekhar, “Georgia Governor”). This just goes to show that while people do not agree on everything, everyone can all live on the same planet and get along just fine. When people begin to get discriminatory and judgemental, that is where many people fall apart. Therefore, the world as a whole should begin to stand up to bigotry and hate towards the LGBTQ whether or not they have the same ideals and beliefs as the next person.
Many religious government workers have started to voice their opinions very publicly. Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, refused to give a gay couple a marriage license and cites religious beliefs as the reasoning behind this. The state of Kentucky and many other people got in an uproar against her but she states that “it [refusing a gay couple marriage] was under God’s authority” (Mervosh, “Kentucky Clerk”). Kentucky voters have recently shown their discuss for Kim Davis by electing her opponent in the 2018 election. Ironically enough, one of Davis’s first opponents was David Ermold, who happens to be one of the men whom she refused to grant a marriage license to. While he did end up losing in the primaries, due to the fact he was not that well known, he did get a lot of votes as an openly gay man.
If anti-LGBTQ relegious liberty bills begin to be vetoed; ordained ministers, business owners, and government employees will have to service those people who are of the LGBTQ community. Many people believe this is the right step moving forward. Equal opportunity for all, would be an ideal world to many. People believe this because when they are shopping, they do not want to be denied service because of personal or religious beliefs. If a heterosexual person, who publicly shames the LGBTQ community, walks into a gas station owned by a gay couple, they would not want to be denied service due to the fact of what they do outside of the gas station. America is a very diverse place to live where no two people will ever be exactly the same with the way they think, act, or whom they choose to love. One can clearly see that there is enough room on earth for everyone to have their own personal beliefs, and not to bash or discriminate against the people who do not hold those same standards.
As a country that loudly advertises diversity, there are many things that show we do not appreciate how diverse we are. Legally, pastors can not be sued for refusing a same-sex couple marriage. Legally, government employees can, based on serious religious beliefs, deny service to same sex couples. Ethically,meaning in a way that avoids activities or organizations that do harm to people or the environment, this is just not right. Gays need the same rights that heterosexual people and couples have. A basic human right such as buying a cake ot getting married, should be granted to every United States citizen.
In the Bible, Luke 6:37 in the King James Version states, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” With this, it seems as if the religious people who follow the teachings of the Bible regarding same-sex marriage, should also follow this teaching. Discriminating against gays and anybody in general for any reason is just inhumane. No one wants to be told that because they are gay or because they have different beliefs than the business owner that they can not be serviced. Many religious people and organizations such as Chick-Fil-A, have come out and stated if they are for or against same sex marriage. One could say that it is not a public business’s place to say whether they agree with someone’s personal life and beliefs. If a person comes to a restaurant, ethically they should be able to buy a chicken sandwich and a drink with their spouse or by themselves without being harassed and discriminated against. Gay couples and gay people in general, need basic rights like any other person. Just because someone may not agree with another person, that does not mean that they should not have the same rights.