Gays, Bridal Shops, Judges, and the Anger of Grief

Gay rights opponents are locked in the anger stage of the five stages of grief identified by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Frankly, I thought they would be farther along by now.

The American public has made rapid progress in its acceptance of gay neighbors, gay sons and daughters and same-sex marriages, but those who regard homosexuals as practitioners of an aberrant and corrupting lifestyle, while recognizing, I think, that the cultural battle is lost, are deep in grief. Anger is only the second stage of the grieving process, and the most destructive as well as the stage that generates the most unethical and irrational conduct. If we can somehow get the grief-stricken to bargaining, depression and acceptance, the final three stages, everyone,including them, would be better off.

The signs are clear right now, however, that anger is the prevalent mood among anti-gay bitter-enders, after the first two stages, denial and isolation, have played  out. As a consequence we are seeing more and more instances of gratuitous cruelty and aggression against gays. It is usually diagnosed as hate, but its root is the anger of grief. The culture is changing in ways that some never dreamed it could or would, and they are furious.

Thus we have the sad story I posted on over the weekend, in which the owner of a bridal shop chose to denigrate a woman and her upcoming nuptials by refusing to deliver a dress and describing the same-sex wedding as “illegal activity.” Actually, her actions were the illegal activity, but it would have been unethical anyway. Why?  Because it was hurtful, unfair and disrespectful for no good reason, other than the fact that a woman grieving for a lost cause wanted to lash out at an innocent victim who had the misfortune to stumble into her fury.

Some commenters here were struck by the fact that Jennifer McKendrick, the photographer who refused to take senior portraits for girls who she observed engaging in cyber-bullying, was saluted on Ethics Alarms as an Ethics Hero,for doing essentially the same thing that the owner of Here Comes the Bride had done: refuse to render a service as a personal statement of values.

There were critical distinctions, however, both legal and ethical. Legally, an independent contractor like McKendrick can work or not work for whomever she chooses. She is not a public accommodation. Nonetheless, a photographer who refuses to perform a service for someone purely because of enmity based on race, age, gender or other bigotry isn’t any more ethical than the bridal shop owner. That was neither McKendrick’s motivation or conduct, however. She was aware of anti-social and harmful activity by minors, and she had the power, by withholding her services, to discourage and perhaps stop the behavior before it did serious harm. If McKendrick had been around when the owner of Here comes the Bride had been in her formative years, maybe Alix Gintner would have been able to buy the gown she wanted.

Now news comes from Texas that another angry anti-gay bigot, this time a judge, has given vent to his rage by abusing another same-sex couple.

The Houston judge entered an order that prohibits William Flowers from leaving his children alone with any man they aren’t related to “by blood or adoption.” That is inconvenient, to say the least, because Flowers is married to such a man, his partner Jim Evans. They were wed last year in Connecticut, which recognizes same-sex unions. .When William and his ex-wife divorced in 2004, they agreed that their three children would live with her. Following a recent trial in which William tried to change the arrangement to joint custody, Harris County Associate Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr. issued an injunction applicable only to William when his children are visiting. It prohibits him from leaving his children alone with any male to whom the children are not related by “blood or adoption.” Flowers can’t leave his kids at home with his husband, or, for that matter, leave them in the custody of male doctors, teachers or social workers.

Why such a restrictive ruling? There has never been any allegation of abuse of any kind, but Judge Prine appears to think that a man being gay constitutes a per se risk of inappropriate conduct, and that any male who is a friend or associate of a gay man is a potential threat as well. Family lawyers say this kind of ruling,  in which a step-parent or long-term partner is permanently enjoined from being alone with his step-children when abuse is not a factor, is unprecedented.

How could such a ruling be in the best interest of the children, which is the standard in family law? It can’t. The restriction’s only purpose is to express the judge’s disapproval of the marriage between Flowers and Evans, which Texas does not recognize as valid, and to make it difficult for Flowers to host his own children for a visit.

Judges and bridal shop owners, and many more misguided Americans, are lashing out in anger at a cultural change that they feel challenges religion, tradition, and their sense of the natural order of things. They are grieving, and we need to try to understand their fear and pain even as we restrain their antagonism and minimize the harm they do. Despair and bargaining lie ahead before they  reach acceptance, and this ugly chapter in American cultural history can finally come to a close.

35 Comments

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35 responses to “Gays, Bridal Shops, Judges, and the Anger of Grief

  1. And perhaps we can extend that same understanding to prolifers? Many of these people,violent ones excepted,truly believe that we are in the final stages of a fallen empire directly attributable to what they feel is debauchery.

    • The “empire” (Kingdom of God, you mean?) hasn’t fallen and debauchery is the issue, Karla.

    • I don’t think the analogy is appropriate:
      1) Though for many the anti-abortion position (I hate euphemisms, or “cover words”) has its roots in religion, it need not, since it is also the common sense position.
      2) It has nothing to do with debauchery and everything to do with abuse of power and abandonment of responsibility.
      3) The better analogy, in which a living being is treated as less than human for political and selfish objectives, is and has always been slavery.
      4) That battle is far from lost. I am something of an optimist, but I believe that the important battles usual swing the good and right way, as it has with the recognition of gay rights. The pro-abortion argument relies on political fictions, and eventually the practice will be severely and appropriately curtailed and regulated.
      5) Anger over the casual killing of unborn children is not an emotional reaction to personal disappointment, but an appropriate reaction to a brutal and cynical practice that justifies itself with twisted logic, banal slogans and cowardly politicians, like John Kerry and Joe Biden, who claim that they believe that life begins at conception but that they should support the taking of such lives at will because, well, that’s where the votes and money are.
      6) Who wouldn’t be angry at THAT?

      • That’s another thing about gay couples; they don’t abort anybody. I think that counts for a lot.

      • That battle is far from lost. I am something of an optimist, but I believe that the important battles usual swing the good and right way, as it has with the recognition of gay rights. The pro-abortion argument relies on political fictions, and eventually the practice will be severely and appropriately curtailed and regulated.

        While claiming that unborn life is of equal value to born life is quite a stretch (note that no pre-Roe abortion law had ever treated abortion as first-degree murder), it is clearly worthy of some form of protection. And while there is certainly debate over exactly what sort of protection the unborn should have, only fanatical pro-abortionists would claim there is nothing wrong with a high school student having an abortion so that she can fit in her swimsuit or prom dress.

        On the other side of the equation, it is generally accepted that it is justified to kill the unborn if they are a foreign invader or if they pose an unjust threat to human life (if only because it is justified to kill born persons who are foreign invaders and/or unjust threats to human life). I am not aware of a situation where it is justified to kill the unborn, but not justified to kill a born person in a similar situation.

        • I said nothing about relative “values” but it is no stretch. Even ethicist Peter Singer admits that the difference between an unborn child and one that has just been born is essentially nothing at all. Nor does the way the law has handled it prove what the killing of a fetus IS. Should society decide that a fetus is a human life, all of the millions of abortions might have been legal, but it wouldn’t make them any more ethical.

          Third parties that have intentionally killed unborn children (against the will of the mother) HAVE been prosecuted for 1st degree murder.

  2. Dear Jack:

    Thanks for the psycholanalysis, but it’s no-go. This is a moral issue of the highest order. As such, it is concurrently a political one. And if you think it’s a “lost” issue- that decent people are going to stand by while their children, both physically and mentally- are dragged into the corrals of the offenders- I beg you to think twice. This is as basic an issue as it gets due to
    the status of those ultimately involved.

    BTW: I know the judge whom you’ve mentioned. He’s a good man who takes his responsibilities to children seriously. Nor do I doubt that, if he could have, he would have done more to rescue that child from his peril. This is also why so many of us stand for the Marriage Amendment. Deviants who have “married” in those states where gay marriage has been voted in or (as in Iowa) imposed can likewise impose themselves in other states because of it. Our children mean much to us here in Texas. That’s not going to
    change.

    Ever since the 1960′s- and whenever some radical agenda is pushed forward by the forces of nihilism and paganism- I’ve heard the Dylanesque refrain from them of “the times, they are a-changin”. My response is the same now as it was then. The times are what free men make of them, guided by decency and the love of God. It’s not that our times are changing. They have been degenerating. And decent people are rising to that challenge are they realize the extent and nature of the threat, it having been blanketed for so long under falsehood while it grew.

    The agenda against children came “out of the closet” recently with the depredations and activities- now overt- by not only the activists in the streets, but those entrenched within the Executive Branch, to include the Dept. of Education. We intend to abolish that department, having warned long before of its potential as a base of evil- now come to fruition. We intend to actively pursue the deviants and the corruptors by enforcing the existing laws that protect children; not selectively, but across the board. And we will protect marriage and the family, recognizing that its sacredness is vital to any free and decent society.

    Okay. I’ve said my piece on this issue. Let the games begin!

    • Dear Stephen,

      I can understand how you might think I was aiming this post at you, since everyone else seems to be, but I don’t regard you as typical of the phenomenon of which I write (the phenomenon has been seem many times before) or put you in the angry category at all. (Passionate is not the same as angry.) I almost mentioned you by name, in fact, but felt that isn’t appropriate, and also that it wasn’t necessary. And I didn’t want to sing Carly Simon to you. You communicate your views directly and fearlessly (with full name included) and nobody will ever accuse you of lacking integrity in your beliefs.

      My late father had similar views, and I was unsuccessful in my long arguments with him as well. But he was never angry, and also always assessed each individual on his or her own character and merits, and would no more lash out in anger at a stranger for being a member of a category or group than he would have betrayed the country he fought for. I am very lucky, having the privilege of knowing, working with and caring about a large number of gay friends, who have educated me not be their words but by their conduct, decency,a and quality as human beings. Ultimately my father concluded that, for once, I knew something he did not, and his respect for me, I am proud to say, prompted him to treat those friend with same respect, and hold them in high regard.

      He also knew the “battle”.was lost. Like the good soldier he was, he accepted a cultural consensus that he didn’t understand, concluding that at some point the fight has to stop, and the healing has to begin.

  3. Inquiring Mind

    There are big reasons for this.

    1. Whether supporters of gay marriage want to admit it or not, they are literally creating situations where they are FORCING people to endorse gay marriage in contravention of their religious beliefs. In essence, these people, be it a bridal shop owner, a Teacher of the Year, students studying counseling (the Alliance Defense Fund has been involved in a few cases) or a photographer (look up Elane Photography) are being told that if they don’t toe the line, their lives will be ruined through what mounts to bullying.

    2. The post-Prop 8 reaction has lead me, as a Mormon, to assume that the gay community will NOT respect my rights. When the response to working within the system to overturn a court ruling (which is what Prop 8 was – California’s constitution allowed for a constitutional amendment which would overturn the state supreme court’s ruling, and it passed) is to send white powder in the mail to Mormon temples and to run donors out of various jobs, that does not speak well for their ethics. The way that many of the activists have treated those who disagree with them has a lot of people thinking, “It may happen anyway, but I have nothing to lose by fighting to the end.”

    3. Vaughn Walker’s lack of ethical sense in handling the Prop 8 case has also lead a lot of people to assume that if gay marriage ultimately is enacted via the courts, it will be because the system was gamed. If people could believe the ruling was fair, that might be different. but the way Walker handled the case leads me to believe his ruling was NOT based on logic and fact, but instead as either a means to put “those bigots in their place” (as he probably viewed them), or as a means to secure himself and his partner of ten years (a relationship he conveniently failed to disclose) a better deal out of the tax code, and that the rest of the judicial branch decided to cover for one of their own.

    4. The use of the court in general to enact this policy is also a huge factor, because we have the people voting the other way, and not too long ago. There is a sense that the court cases are partially a case of sore losers trying to get a judge to do what the people won’t, and also a case of people who refuse to compromise to recognize what people view as legitimate interests of their own (their religious freedom, for instance). Had they gay community said, “We want to be able to marry, but we will respect your beliefs as well,” and backed it up with actions (including finding a way to give people like this bridal shop owner a graceful way out if they don’t want to celebrate a gay marriage), we might have avoided a lot of this animosity. If a photographer doesn’t want to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, would it kill a lesbian couple to say, “Okay, we can understand, we didn’t mean to offend you.” instead of taking the photographer to court?

    One of the prices of freedom is accepting that people will have different beliefs and do things you would personally disapprove of. It’s called freedom of conscience, and it seems apparent to me as a Mormon that the gay community seems determined to stomp that out as it pertains to gay marriage – its not fear, it’s the conduct of the gay community after Prop 8 that has cemented that fear into my mind.

    It’s not that I view gays as deviants, or that I hate them (although I will note that ANY gay/lesbian couple seeking biological children HAS to bring a third person into the process – something that is the EXCEPTION when it comes to straight couples; that is a biological difference that can’t be argued around). It’s just that their actions in pushing gay marriage have lead me to believe they will not respect the freedom of conscience of Mormons, Catholics, and others who disagree with them. As a Mormon, I have no desire to be a second-class citizen when it comes to that. Sooner or later, that sort of thing will happen, because I don’t see the Mormon and Catholic churches changing their minds on gay marriage any time soon, and at some point, the gay community will demand that something be done about the holdouts.

    And yes, I use a handle online – because after Prop 8, my best friend’s wife got death threats because she donated in support of Prop 8, and the perps got off scot-free – largely because nobody in the gay community stepped up to identify who did it. And to be honest, backing down on gay marriage or other issues would leave me feeling that I threw my best friend under the bus – and betraying a friend whose wife got death threats for opposing a court ruling via the means the system set forth wouldn’t be ethical, would it?

    • Excellent post, some good points, and also some that I don’t understand.

      1. The fact that some gay activist groups decided to “punish” Utah for the Prop 8 vote should not be held against gays generally.
      2. Your argument sure sounds like the argument against “uppity blacks” in the 60′s.
      3. It makes you feel like a second class citizen because people actually treated as second-class citizens want to make you treat them as equals? The mind boggles.
      4. No one should apologize for offending someone when the “offense” is wanting to be treated like and accorded the same respect as everybody else. Rosa Parks wouldn’t have apologized for offending those who wanted her to sit in the back of the bus.
      5. When the legislature doesn’t enforce the Constitution, the courts will. Good.
      6. Regarding Walker: absolutely. He had a conflict and the appearance of impropriety, as I have written. The consensus to the contrary was a liberal media legal establishment whitewash, and disgraceful. Also stupid, as it undermined the credibility of the process.
      7. Some religious tenets, like the inferiority of women in the Koran, do not pass through the filter of American democracy. I believe that the moral disapproval of homosexuality is another example. Those who framed moral codes were people of their time, and applying acquired wisdom to those codes is a painful process.
      8. But a necessary one.

      • It makes you feel like a second class citizen because people actually treated as second-class citizens want to make you treat them as equals?

        The problem is that in the Prop. 8 case (obviously, this point would not apply ton the Nebraska Initiative 416 case, the Texas Proposition 2 case, or the Oklahoma Question 711 case), the only identified “harm” was the lack of “social meaning” and “cultural meaning” that the term marriage provides. This is because California provides a robust domestic partnership law which, by its own terms , provides people in such unions “the same rights,
        protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same
        responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they
        derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules,
        government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources
        of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.” Cal. Fam. code Sec. 297.5.

        Indeed, when the Massachusetts Senate certified a question to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on whether a civil union law that, by its own terms, “eligible same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities afforded to opposite sex couples by the marriage laws of the commonwealth, without entering into a marriage” and that
        “spouses in a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities under law as are granted to spouses in a marriage”. Opinions of the Justices to the Senate, 440
        Mass. 1201, 802 N.E.2d 565 (Mass. Sup. Jud. Ct. 2004), gay rights groups filed amici claiming that it would be unlawful discrimination, on the basis that because they denied the “social recognition” that comes with marriage, Id. at 24,they would “mark [same-sex couples] as inferior to their heterosexual counterparts and diminish their status in the community” regardless of whether they provided “the same benefits, protections,rights and responsibilities under law as are granted to spouses in a marriage”, Civil Rights Brief in Opinions at 12 , and that civil unions “would not constitute equality, because their relationships still would not be recognized by the rest of society as being as valued as heterosexual relationships.” id. at 13

        And in Li v. State of Oregon, 338 Or 376, 388, 110 P3d 91 (Or. Sup. Ct. 2005) (deciding if same-sex couples are entitled to some, or all of the benefits married couples have) plaintiffs had argued that civil unions would be “inherently stigmatizing and inherently separate and unequal” Reply Brief of Plaintiff-Respondents/Cross-Appellants, Li, at 10.

        The underlying fallacies of these arguments are the assumptions that the social recognition of marriage is independent of the male-female dynamic, and that heterosexual relationships are valued because they are called marriages. If this be so, it is not because of anything in the proposed civil unions acts, but the solely due to the construction sodomist fundamentalists choose to put upon it.

      • I believe that the moral disapproval of homosexuality is another example.

        Homosexuality as a behavior or homosexuality as in temptation?

      • Michael Ejercito

        The consensus to the contrary was a liberal media legal establishment whitewash, and disgraceful. Also stupid, as it undermined the credibility of the process.

        Compare this to how the media demanded Justice Scalia’s recusal because he attended a hunting party that included Vice President Dick Cheney, and a case with Cheney in his official capacity was before the court. The Sierra Club had pointed this out as a justification in its motion to recuse Scalia. Cheney v. United States District Court for the District of Columbia 541 U.S. 913 at 923-29 (2004) (J. Scalia) (citing the Sierra Club’s argument that “[b]ecause the American public, as reflected in the nation’s newspaper editorials, has unanimously concluded that there is an appearance of favoritism, any objective observer would be compelled to conclude that Justice Scalia’s impartiality has been questioned.”)

        How many of these same newspapers called for Judge Walker’s recusal, or at least admitted they were wrong about claiming that Justice Scalia must recuse himself? After all, if merely going on a hunting trip with someone who was a litigant in his official , not personal, capacity, is sufficient to cause a reasonable person to question Justice Scalia’s impartiality, and thus require recusal, how much more sufficient is it for a same-sex relationship to cause a reasonable person to question Judge Walker’s impartiality, and thus require recusal?

    • Vaughn Walker’s lack of ethical sense in handling the Prop 8 case has also lead a lot of people to assume that if gay marriage ultimately is enacted via the courts, it will be because the system was gamed. If people could believe the ruling was fair, that might be different. but the way Walker handled the case leads me to believe his ruling was NOT based on logic and fact, but instead as either a means to put “those bigots in their place” (as he probably viewed them), or as a means to secure himself and his partner of ten years (a relationship he conveniently failed to disclose) a better deal out of the tax code, and that the rest of the judicial branch decided to cover for one of their own.

      Aside from his defiance of binding precedent like Baker v. Nelson , 409 U.S. 810, 34 LE..2d 65, 93 S Ct 37 (1972) (summarily dismissing appeal raising same claims as the plaintiffs in Prop. 8 case) and Meinhold v. Department of Defense , 34 F.3d 1469, at 1480 (9th Cir. 1994) (essentially holding that relief may not be granted to non-litigants unless one of the prevailing litigants would have Article III standing to do so), in what ways did Walker unethically handle the case?

      • Inquiring Mind

        He failed to disclose the fact that he was in a long-term same-sex relationship. In essence, he was judging a case in which he had an emotional stake (removing what he perceived to be a social stigma attached to same-sex relationships) and a potential financial stake (the numerous tax benefits associated with marriage in the tax code).

        By not disclosing until AFTER he heard the case, he denied the supporters of Prop 8 the chance to request his recusal from the case. They never had a fair hearing.

        • Michael Ejercito

          By not disclosing until AFTER he heard the case, he denied the supporters of Prop 8 the chance to request his recusal from the case. They never had a fair hearing.

          Did not the district court already reject that motion?

  4. Chase Martinez

    I read an editorial by an Eastern Orthodox clergyman that I think applies well to the religion concern. From his point of view, marriage within the church was sacred and belonging to God. But he felt that secular marriage was neither here nor there in terms of sacredness. Thus, he went on to infer that the attempts to control secular marriage was nothing short of an attempt to make it “holy”, whereas in truth his beliefs hold that only the Church can make a marriage binding through God. His end argument through these points was then that the religious should “render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s” and not seek to control secular institutions of marriage, but simply hold them as spiritually non-binding, thus condemning homosexuality within the scope of their religion, but allowing others to choose within a free society.

  5. Marlene Cohn

    Jack, what an interesting take on the matter. But it somehow brings to mind Sydney Poitier’s soliloquy in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? “And not until your whole generation has lain down and died will the dead weight of you be off our backs!”

    I’m a skeptic, and I suppose I should have more faith in people, but the societal change I want is, “I can’t legislate against them, but why would I even want to? They’re just like me.” More and more of my friends (we’re all in our 20s, early 30s) are sadly wondering if we’ll have to simply wait for the older generation to die out to achieve that.

  6. Inquiring Mind

    1. I have no problem with legit boycotts. But if white powder had been mailed to an abortion clinic, there would be no doubt in the minds of some that domestic terrorism had taken place. But when white powder was mailed to Mormon temples in LA and Salt Lake City, there was no similar outcry. If they want to be treated as equals, then the rules apply to them as equals.

    2, Race and sexual orientation are about as alike as apples and a New York strip steak. Race manifests itself whether people want it to, or not. Sexual orientation either manifests itself via behavior or people come out and say what it is. It’s a HUGE difference.

    3. Let’s face it – people’s freedom of conscience, not to mention property rights – are being truncated in the name of “equality” for gays. Yeah, I can see how the photographer in the Elane Photography case might feel like a second-class citizen at that point. Or a bridal shop owner.

    4. Just because someone may be in the legal right doesn’t make them immune from being considerate. A seat on a public bus run by a local government is one thing. A private business is a different thing. Rand Paul is right about that part – and maybe it is time to start thinking about changing the law there.

    5. If the courts remain at odds with the people for the long term. You can’t hold courts accountable when they make a ruling as bad as Roe vs. Wade. But legislators can be voted out if they mess things up – and that also provides a safety valve. I do not see where the constitution requires gay marriage.

    6. Walker’s misconduct and questionable ethics feed into #5, as well. They feed into some of the feelings I outlined earlier. People will go along with court rulings if they feel it is fair – and Walker’s conduct creates a lot of reasonable doubts about the fairness or the court hearing. The whitewashing only adds to the doubts.

    7. I think that again. there is a difference between how Islam treats women and the opposition to gay marriage. The thing is, this could have been a lot less painful. But the gay community has decided that they NEED to force it down the throats of certain religious communities, many of whom are deciding that they have nothing to lose by fighting – simply because the slim chance of prevailing in the fight is preferable to the sure knowledge that surrender is a complete defeat.

  7. Karl Penny

    An interesting post, Jack, and one that has generated a fascinating comment thread, so I’m enjoying it a lot. A correction is in order, however. Kubler-Ross’ five stages identified the emotional and thought processes of those who had been told they had a terminal illness, not the grief-stricken. In addition, the stages don’t chart a linear process, those working through the stages do so in no particular order, and may be in more than stage at any given time. Finally, not every person goes through all five stages, and may skip one or two altogether. It was ground-breaking research when it came out in 1969, changed a lot of thinking on the subject, and has proven valuable many times since. Unfortunately, it has been seized upon by some grief counselors who have used it to support some pretty dubious premises (the stages are discrete, linear and sequential, and must all be worked through; going through a stage in the wrong order or, worse, skipping it altogether can make a persons “grief work” much more difficult or even ineffective). Kubler-Ross kind of went off the deep end toward the end of her own life, getting involved with a medium who encouraged clients to have sex with the spirits who came to them in darkened rooms (a skeptic in attendance at one of the seances turned on the lights unexpectedly, and there stood the medium, wearing nothing but a turban—oops). Nonetheless, her place in the field of psychology is secure, and she benefited materially from her work as well, so I don’t feel too badly for her.

  8. jan chapman

    It cheered me up to read this post. I hope you’re right about the progression of equal rights for gays/lesbians, and I would be interested to know how you feel this is going to turn out when it reaches the Supreme Court.

    Regarding abortion, it seems that there is also an undercurrent, with the most die-hard pro-lifers, of opposition to contraception via their attempts at the defunding of Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations, which is troubling. In addition, if abortion will be eventually severely restricted or abolished, I hope that other elements of our society will progress equally: health care, education, income disparity and child care to name a few. This alone could reduce the demand for abortions and improve the lives of women and children. If these things don’t happen, women will obtain abortions from whomever will give them one no matter what the law says.

  9. Thus we have the sad story I posted on over the weekend, in which the owner of a bridal shop chose to denigrate a woman and her upcoming nuptials by refusing to deliver a dress and describing the same-sex wedding as “illegal activity.” Actually, her actions were the illegal activity, but it would have been unethical anyway. Why? Because it was hurtful, unfair and disrespectful for no good reason, other than the fact that a woman grieving for a lost cause wanted to lash out at an innocent victim who had the misfortune to stumble into her fury.

    Jack, what is your comment on this

    That’s the allegation of J. Matt Barber, who last December was working as a manager in Allstate’s Corporate Security Division at the company’s headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. Writing for a conservative Internet site during off-hours, Barber wrote a column that argued against gay marriage from a Christian perspective.

    According to WorldNetDaily, Barber claims he was summoned on January 31 for a meeting with company officials, one of whom “slapped down” a hard copy of his Internet column. When asked if he wrote the piece, Barber replied in the affirmative but stressed that it was written on his own personal time and at home on his own computer.

    Told that the column was not representative of the company’s viewpoint, Barber was suspended from his job and immediately escorted off the premises. Three days later, he was fired.

    Barber has filed a federal lawsuit against Allstate, and according to his attorney, Matt Davis, the case has grave implications for religious freedom in corporate America.

    Was Allstate just as bad as Here Comes The Bride?

    • Chase Martinez

      That would be the Naked Insurance Agent Principle you’re seeing. Allstate wants the business of gay couples just as much as the business of anyone else, and don’t want their image to be hurt by a representative who publicly states bigotry against these people. Allstate would fire a racist agent for the same reason, with the same justification, and it would still be right regardless of whether the agent’s religious beliefs fueled his racism.

      • Inquiring Mind

        If Barber brought his position as a manager into it, there might be an issue. However, his position was only mentioned in one of the sites, and done so without his consent or knowledge.

        But these incidents will turn the people who get targeted into figurative martyrs for the faith, and it will only convince people that the gays will persecute them if they get the means (gay marriage and other gay rights measures) to do so.

        Congratulations, you’ve just ensured that this issue will now entail the political-legal equivalent of house-to-house fighting. Hope this issue is worth it to you.

      • That would be the Naked Insurance Agent Principle you’re seeing. Allstate wants the business of gay couples just as much as the business of anyone else, and don’t want their image to be hurt by a representative who publicly states bigotry against these people.

        Why does not that logic apply to Here ComesThe Bride, who could claim to want the business of people opposed to redefining marriage? (And since Florida’s Amendment 2 passed 62%, that is a huge market).

        • Michael Ejercito

          I r5ead further into the case.

          the Here Comes the Bride case was from New Jersey, the same state where the eHarmony lawsuit was filed.

  10. Michael Ejercito

    One other thing to consider is that there is a continuum on opinions of the role homosexuality plays in society, ranging from summary execution of all persons with sodomous inclinations to social sanctification of sodomy. A person could believe that it s a bad idea to criminally punish sodomy, while a good idea to encourage heterosexual unions.

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