Monday, October 7, 2013

Mr. Brown sticks to the script

National Organization for Marriage has run out of ideas for how to oppose marriage equality. They are increasingly claiming it is religious freedom that creates the basis for just discrimination.

Brian Brown sticks to his script with an email blast titled The Script Repeats… The theme of this bit of sophistry, before the obligatory request for money, is:
And so the script repeats... promise that nothing will change when marriage is redefined while knowing that religious liberties will be necessarily suppressed and people of faith are sure to be punished.
There are two elements to this. The first is that marriage equality creates a loss of religious liberty. The second is that equality advocates are being dishonest. The dishonest part is stated further when they get around to asking for money:
Won't you please make an immediate, generous donation of $35, $50, $100, $500 or even $1,000 to NOM right away to help us expose the lies upon which the movement to redefine marriage is based?
As I noted in more detail earlier today, religious liberty means the right to hold whatever beliefs one chooses and to worship, or pay reverence to, their god in whatever manner they choose. What NOM and Mr. Brown are claiming to seek is discrimination liberty or the right not to serve gay couples.

Mr. Brown knows perfectly well that his proposition is at odds with established public policy.

As Justice Scalia points out in Employment Division v Smith, religious exemptions to valid laws make the laws entirely unenforceable. That is precisely why Mr. Brown offers this proposition in the first place. Let's be clear. NOM is not fighting for religious liberty — NOM is fighting for marriage discrimination. NOM is doing so because the Catholic Church has a religious objection to marriage equality.

As for the supposed dishonesty of equality advocates, Mr. Brown writes earlier in his post:
… openly homosexual Democratic State Representative Greg Harris of Chicago, outright admitted in a public debate that the proposed law in Illinois redefining marriage did NOT provide religious liberty or conscience protections for individual Christian business owners.
What Representative Harris probably said (I do not have a transcript) is that people in Illinois cannot discriminate against gay couples today and they will not be permitted to discriminate against gay couples, due to marriage equality, tomorrow. That is correct and forthright. Where is the dishonesty?

In effect, nothing does change. Nobody can force a church or synagogue to consecrate any marriage. Baking a cake or arranging flowers for a gay wedding are not some sort of religious sacrament. Various religious orders produce products like wine and cheese. For example, the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in California offer a very tasty merlot. They do not ask who is buying their wine or for what purpose. They do not care nor should they. For some reason, a florist, a baker and a photograph maker do care. We should not be forced to cater to their personality disorders.
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