In honor of another state, Pennsylvania, being forced to allow Gay marriages, in spite of the Supreme court’s argument that individual states had the right to define marriage in their own states, I am rerunning our argument on the issue – to wit, that gay marriage is ultimately an attack on the first amendment.
If you are a Christian in an increasing number of states, you no longer have the right to your convictions, at least not if you own a business. Due to the inclusion of “Sexual Orientation” in the anti-discrimination laws of numerous states, several florists, bakers and others in the wedding industry have cases in the courts because they refused to provide services for gay weddings or gay civil commitment ceremonies. One of the more well known cases involves a baker in Washington State (http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/same-sex-wedding-cake-refusal-could-cost-christian-baker/), but there are cases in Colorado (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/06/07/gay-colorado-couple-sues-bakery-for-allegedly-refusing-them-wedding-cake/), Vermont – in a case involving a Church group – (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2013/06/will-churches-be-sued-over-gay-marriage-its-already-happened-and-a-judge-ruled-church-teaching-irrelevant/), and other places. The argument being raised by the left is that this is discrimination against homosexuals. Except, that’s really not what these cases are about – after all, I am unaware of a bakery that refuses to bake a birthday cake for a gay client, – these bakers are saying they will not be involved with a particular type of event (a gay marriage) not with a particular type of patron.
The real issue then comes down to our religious rights as American citizens. While there is no current evidence that prosecutors are seeking to put Christians in jail if they refuse to support gay themed events, the use of fines or threats to business licenses is still a use of force to compel Christians to abandon parts of the Bible that are unpopular with society, and is similar to the Jizya (a tax in Islamic nations on non-Muslims), this of course is unconstitutional.
The entire linkage of gay rights to the Civil Rights movement is a result of poor thinking: Homosexuality is defined by activity (sexual acts and relationships between persons of the same gender). That is why I believe that homosexuality can’t be compared to ethnic origins or gender. Despite claims that homosexuality is biologically derived, no blood test, tissue sample, or genetic testing has ever been devised that can determine who is gay and who is normal. To illustrate what this difference is, I would say the statement “Sam is a homosexual,” is closer to the statement that “Sam is a fisherman” than it is to saying “Sam is a black man.” If Sam is a black man, he truly was “born that way,” but if I note that Sam is a fisherman I am referring to an activity that he engages in. If homosexuality is an activity, then any statement of its moral orientation is by definition a statement of religious belief.
Morality is of course a religious question, to argue that a particular activity is morally permissible is as much a statement of religious belief as is the statement that it is morally impermissible. In effect, then, this application of the law becomes an establishment of religion, something that government is prohibited from doing under the first and fourteenth amendment (which protects our rights at the state level). Whether the threat of force is by means of fines, imprisonment or death is ultimately an immaterial question when it comes to our constitutional rights and liberties. As a Christian, I ultimately don’t care about what a gay couple’s tax rate is, whether they can collect each other’s social security benefits, and I’m not fond of any regulations suggesting who can visit whom in the hospital. Perhaps, if I may suggest it, then, any states ability to recognize a gay union only extends to the relationship of that couple to the state, not their relationship to other citizens. Otherwise, that state has overstepped its bounds.