The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a majority of state senators have signed on to friend-of-the-court briefs in support of a Colorado bakery shop owner who refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
In response to the article above, I see a lot of people say “Well don’t businesses have the right to refuse service to anybody?”
Actually, no. Federal law dictates that a public business cannot discriminate against somebody based on their race, color, religion, national origin or disability. Right to refuse service is only legal if it is a clearly defined policy, does not target an entire group of people, and is applied consistently to all potential patrons. Sexual Orientation is technically not on that list, but many states have added it, and the argument is that morally (and based on legal precedent) it makes sense to add it.
From a legal standpoint, the freedom of religion argument is kind of weak, because while many Christian religions may state that you should not be homosexual, nowhere does it say that you should shut people out. Therefore a refusal to serve is not acting in accordance with your faith, it’s an attempt to persuade others to act in accordance with your faith, which is not protected. The LDS religion preaches love and acceptance towards the LGBT community, and denying service to them does not fit this description. If we set the legal precedent that LGBT can be refused service due to religious beliefs, it creates a slippery slope that could lead to an argument that serving a Mormon or a black man is against somebody’s freedom of religion.
But here’s the bottom line: Telling somebody that you refuse to give them the same respect you give everybody else based on their identity is mean, it’s not loving, and it’s not Christ-like. And I don’t understand how these people can’t see that.