Should privately owned companies be forced to sell items to gay couples if doing so violates their religious beliefs? E.g. a baker was willing to sell any item in the shop except a wedding cake to a homosexual couple, and the couple filed a lawsuit.
Since you are the kind of person who subscribes to Christian E-zines that call gay people "homosexuals", let me ask you to imagine that you are actually a persecuted minority somewhere other than in the minds of the kind of people who write Christian E-zines. Here, I have some practice, so I'll tell you what it's like:You walk down the street with your head down and your arms wrapped tightly around you in the hope that you won't be recognized, because you don't think you can take one more day of hearing "Jesus-fucker" and "HEY, CROSSIE!" and "get fucked, you Christian asshole!" and "Christian, heh, I could knock that out of you [punctuated by a crotch grab]" simply because you are breathing. You have a cross necklace, but don't dare wear it except to church; one of your friends wore a cross necklace on the street, and she was stabbed in the neck with an ice pick. The doctors say she'll never be the same. You attend church--with only three other people, because congregations draw attention and are dangerous--only at night, in a dark and damp location, and some weeks you can't meet because the anti-Christians have been out again and there are rumors two people were raped (nobody you know; probably somebody you know knows them, though). It's a near-weekly occurrence that the walls of your church have slurs and reverse pentagrams and stuff like HAIL SATAN XTIANS GET OUT 666 painted on them. The police never investigate; you no longer bother calling them, because they're just going to tell you that you kind of invite it, being all in your face about how much you love Jesus and everything. There are no stained-glass windows; in your entire life you have in fact never seen a church that had windows, because they're easy to break and why should you give anyone easier access to hurt you? Someone saw you outside a fast food place once taking someone's hands to comfort them in prayer, and they beat you with a two-by-four. You turn on the TV and there is no Sunday morning sermon anywhere. Instead there is one show that airs on Thursday nights that has a single character who's Christian. She's a horrible stereotype, and her religion is always played for laughs, but at least she exists, she's there (your parents say there were never any Christians on TV at all when they were growing up, and you are horrified), and you cling to her like a dying man to a life ring because if she is there then at least you know other people like you are out there, somewhere. A Christian boy made it onto American Idol and people started talking about how great it was and how progressive our country is that someone "like that" could be on a reality show (but then the radio stations all refuse to play his music). You can't buy Christmas or Easter decorations; nobody sells them. Sometimes in big cities there are rumors that big-box department stores will have, like, half an aisle at the back of the store for a week before the holiday, but the stuff they sell is all very basic, and generic, and often inaccurate. You buy it anyway because it is all you have. Most of what you know about the history of your own religion is passed down to you in tattered little zines, some of them re-photocopied until they're nearly illegible. Almost everything is apocryphal because nobody ever found this stuff important enough to write down until about fifty years ago, and then it was only academics. Some nights you don't sleep because what might happen to you is terrifying. The life expectancy for Christians is 20 years less than the general population, and it's not because communion wafers lower your lifespan, it's because if you take out all the homicides and only count Christians who have not been murdered the life expectancy rises to be about equal with non-Christians of similar health and age. You wonder daily if you are going to spend the entire rest of your life looking over your shoulder, wondering if you should take a different route home.Welcome to my life. This is what it is like, being me, as a gay woman. I've changed rainbow ribbons to cross necklaces and "FAGGOTS BURN IN HELL" to "HAIL SATAN 666," but everything above is based on personal experience. I still have physical scars from some of it. It's gotten way better in the last ten years--after the September Nine killed themselves, people started taking the ostracization of queer people way more seriously--but it's still no walk in the park.So now let's go back to this world in which you are now a hated minority like me, shall we? In this world, Congress finally passes a couple laws that basically give you the right to exist. You can serve in the military. Pastors are now allowed to perform federally-recognized weddings. There are three Christian characters on TV now, and one of them is even treated seriously (although there's still significant debate over whether Christian characters are appropriate to children). There's even talk that there'll be a modification to ENDA, and you'll be able to wear your cross necklace at work without having to worry about being fired! This is great! You talk to your fiance (or fiancee, depending on your gender) and they agree: you should marry in a church. Now that you have the chance, before it gets repealed, you want your wedding vows to say "by the power vested in me by God and the state of wherever you live" and you literally just change into some clean clothes and race to the church. You don't even wait for a dress and tux. You call your family; there's a lot of happy crying. You set a date for a proper ceremony now that it's at least legal, and you call my bakery.And I say "You'll have to go somewhere else, I don't serve cross-kissers."How do you feel?If this was your everyday life, if you weren't poshy-poshy at the top of the food chain, and this happened to you, how would you feel?Would you find it unfair? Would you hope a court would side with you, because all you want to do is be able to walk down the street and read your Bible at lunch and not be afraid? Would you just want some tiny bit of validation, a bone that says "you are worth the air you breathe"? Do you understand, with this tiny shred of what it's like to be gay, that it is about much, much more than just a cake? Consider that. You'll never find it in one of your e-zines.