Unethical Website Of The Month: Minnesota For Marriage

No, nobody's saying you can't advocate your beliefs, archaic and destructive though they may be. Just make sure they don't stop people from buying flowers and cakes like everyone else...

No, nobody’s saying you can’t advocate your beliefs, archaic and destructive though they may be. Just make sure they don’t stop people from buying flowers and cakes like everyone else…

I’ll spare you much commentary on this one, but it’s eye-opening in tone and content: an indignant, angry appeal to protest on the theory that legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota constitutes an attack on the freedom of religion.

A sample:

 “Now over 1.4 Million Minnesotans are considered the legal equivalent of “bigots” and have NO protection to live out their beliefs in the public square. The gay “marriage” law allows churches and SOME religious organizations to define marriage as only between 1 man and 1 woman. But, people of faith know that living out your beliefs means living what you believe OUTSIDE the walls of your church.

“Gay “marriage” supporters and their allies in the MN Legislature seem to think that Minnesotans with deeply held religious beliefs about Marriage will be content to believe that marriage is the union of 1 man and 1 woman in the walls of their church and then stay SILENT about those beliefs outside those walls. So, the MN Legislature passed the gay “marriage” bill with no protections for people outside the walls of their church. The MN Senate had the chance—and refused—to protect the religious liberty rights of Minnesotans outside their church walls….Now Minnesotans with the deeply held belief that marriage is the union of 1 man and 1 woman cannot act on this belief in the way they do their business or the way they practice their profession.

“The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has already confirmed our worst fears:  There is NO religious liberty protection for people of faith in the public square. The Department states specifically that nonreligious organizations are NOT exempt from the law and that nondiscrimination laws can (and will) be used as a weapon to punish people of faith. For example, if a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim florist refused to provide flowers for a same-sex “wedding” based on his religious beliefs, the same-sex couple can “file a claim with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights against the entity that discriminated against them.”

“Bottom Line?  The gay “marriage” lobby and their allies in the MN Legislature view Minnesotans of faith as “bigots” and will punish them accordingly using MN Human Rights laws—forcing men and women of faith to choose between their livelihood and their convictions.

“That is not acceptable.”

Wrong. Not only is it acceptable, it’s ethical, and absolutely necessary in a pluralistic, multi-faith community. When your religion interferes with my right to enjoy life and take part in it exactly as the rest of my fellow citizens, the freedom of religion has moved far, far beyond any Constitutional guarantees into an interference with the equally vital freedom of association and equal protection under the law.

It is easy to pick apart the logic of websites like this, but harder to counter their damage and the vile way they confuse the uneducated and civically ignorant,  while representing clear discrimination and stigmatizing based on gender as noble and virtuous. Lester Maddux made the same argument in slightly different form in protesting the civil rights laws forcing him to serve blacks at his restaurant. He just didn’t slap religion on it.

A related personal note: My mother was Greek Orthodox, and many of her relatives were conservative Greek Orthodox, some of whom maintain that the children of “mixed marriages”—my Dad was an agnostic Methodist who observed whatever religious ceremonies and traditions that made my mother happy—were illegitimate in the eyes of the Lord, like the marriage itself. My sister and I  learned this in church when we were 10 and 8, and I remember asking my father what it meant.

“It means nothing, son,” he said. “It means some fools will give you the cold shoulder, and that’s their right, but they have no right to try to stop you from doing anything outside their Church that you want to do, and if they try, they’ll be sorry they did.”

“I don’t think we’ll be going back to that church again,” he added.

The next Sunday, he took us to the circus.

___________________________

Pointer: Jonathan Adler

28 thoughts on “Unethical Website Of The Month: Minnesota For Marriage

  1. When your religion interferes with my right to enjoy life and take part in it exactly as the rest of my fellow citizens, the freedom of religion has moved far, far beyond any Constitutional guarantees into an interference with the equally vital freedom of association and equal protection under the law.

    Is MN for Marriage proposing that opponents of this so called marriage “equality” break up same-sex weddings?

    Not even the Supreme Court in Snyder v. Phelps held that people had a constitutional right to disrupt funerals.

  2. Frankly, Jack, I don’t see your point on this. No one’s questioning your parents’ religious beliefs or affiliations. And what do they have to do with this situation, anyway? Marriage, first and foremost, is a religious institution. It’s insane enough that a state will ignore the basic facts of biology and common decency in order to make deviant coupling the equivalent of a marriage and thus permit them to adopt and access children. But when that state ordains that decent people must now acknowledge this artificial status or suffer the consequences, it becomes unethical, immoral and tyrannical all at once. We are witness here to one of the most sure-fire means available in destroying the very heart of a great nation by enforced depravity.

    • “Marriage, first and foremost, is a religious institution.”

      Factually incorrect. Consider –

      Can Atheists marry? Have they ever, in the entire history of the US and in colonial times, ever been forbidden to wed?

      Is the dissolution of a marriage carried out by an ecclesiastical tribunal, or by a Family Court?

      Have secular authorities such as JPs and Judges had the authority to conduct marriages?

      Is a marriage conducted by a religious celebrant valid if there is no marriage license, issued by the state, signed?

      Has marriage always been a sacrament, or was that instituted less than 500 years ago in the Christian religion?

      Now you can argue that while historically, marriage and religion have been divorced (as it were) that times have changed since then. But if so, how come secular authorities continue to be allowed to conduct weddings?

      • This an excellent point to discuss. Throughout history, marriage has been a religious institution. Governments began to perform marriages because they controlled the religion. In Great Britain, the Anglican Church is the state church and ministers are state employees. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Congregationalist Church was the state church and ministers were paid by the state. When we eliminated the established churches in the early-mid 1800’s, the states kept this religious function of sanctioning marriage even though they dropped the rest of the church.

        I am mostly familiar with Western cultures, but does anyone know in what societies marriage has not been performed with religious sanction (historically)?

        • You missed a step. After the governments starting taking over solemnization, they also started granted legal rights to married couples. These legal rights were separate from the religious aspect.

          When the states disentangled from religion, they properly divested themselves of any religious role associated with marriages. They kept the required regulatory role over the laws that were created.

    • It’s full disclosure of possible bias. I really don’t like churches declaring what is or isn’t a “legitimate” relationship, and damn well don’t think they have any business carrying those restrictive beliefs into the secular public square, and stigmatizing and handicapping citizens by withholding products and services that “approved” people can use. This isn’t a website about religious freedom—it’s advocacy for discrimination. Be careful what you wish for—wait until gay-owned or atheist establishments start refusing to sell products and services to Catholics and Baptists. Apply the Golden Rule to that scenario.

      • You mean the church members, right? The churches can preach pretty much whatever from the pulpit (i.e. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan preaching hate), but they themselves don’t go into the public square and withhold products or services. If a member of a church decides to not look the other way on his beliefs and decides he doesn’t want to do business with this or that person, it’s the member making the decision “on the ground” as it were. And if one day Coffee Beyond Belief decides to not serve people of faith you can be certain His Way Cafe’ will open just down the block and everyone will still get their coffee.

        • So goes the hyper-market theory.

          Unfortunately it leads to an internal Balkanization that can only hope to divide further an already divided nation.

          Truthfully, no church/synagogue/temple/coven/mosque/mandir/shrine should really view any other religion’s endorsement/sanctification of marriage as legitimate. That’s fine, but also outside the authority of those institutions, those institutions have no power to act on those convictions.

          Marriage in the secular sphere, that is within the power of the individual state’s to define property laws, I don’t see any logical argument that bars equal protection of so-called ‘homosexual marriage’. Given a changing protection of association and property disposition legally, it seems like a neat and clean-cut argument to say “let everyone in the market discriminate as they want” and the market will adjust accordingly to provide for everyone, it doesn’t always work out like that. Kant’s universal rule argues against it.

      • I really don’t like churches declaring what is or isn’t a “legitimate” relationship, and damn well don’t think they have any business carrying those restrictive beliefs into the secular public square, and stigmatizing and handicapping citizens by withholding products and services that “approved” people can use.

        That does not constitute “interfer[ance] with [a] right to enjoy life and take part in it exactly as the rest of [the] fellow citizens” The Supreme Court stated that“[t]here is a basic difference between direct state interference with a protected activity and state encouragement of an alternative activity consonant with legislative policy.” Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 at 475 (1977) Why does this not apply to private action?

        No one I have heard so far claimed that there was a religious right to disrupt same-sex weddings.

          • Nothing said by Minnesota for Marriage even implied that there was a religious right to disrupt same-sex wedding ceremonies or receptions. Not even the Westboro Baptist Church claimed they had a right to disrupt funerals. (If they had actually disrupted a funeral, Snyder v. Phelps would have been decided the other way.)

            The mere refusal to provide direct support to a same-sex wedding does not constitute direct interference. See Maher, supra.

      • Government needs to just drop this pseudo religious function, for everyone. It is causing way to many problems and ridiculous situations, and not just for homosexual couples. When the government states that homosexual marriage is valid, they are telling the churches that they have to now accept this as their doctrine. If this weren’t so, then a domestic partner law, giving the same rights and benefits could be passed, but that is resisted because it suggests that one form of relationship is different from the other. The state has no choice but to force the churches to accept all relationships as equally valid, and since marriage is a religious sacrament, the churches feel the state is interfering and dictating religious doctrine.

        The only way out that I see is for the state to get out of the marriage business. By designating some relationships as ‘special’, the state has caused a host of problems. Let’s use my brother-in-law. His fiancee is pregnant. If they don’t get married, he gets a lot of financial benefits from the state.
        (1) His new child gets state-supported childcare
        (2) He gets WIC and SNAP benefits for his fiancee and child
        (3) his child support payments for his other children are reduced

        If he marries his fiancee, he loses the childcare subsidy, the WIC, the SNAP, and his child support is not reduced.

        This is way too dysfunctional. Scrap it all.
        (4) He pays child support for the new child, but would pay that out of his joint account with his fiancee who would deposit it right back into the account.

        • When the government states that homosexual marriage is valid, they are telling the churches that they have to now accept this as their doctrine.

          No, they aren’t. Valid legally does not mean valid religiously. When state and local governments have repealed various blue laws that restricted Sunday commerce, are the churches forced to say it’s okay to sell and shop on Sundays? No.

          If this weren’t so, then a domestic partner law, giving the same rights and benefits could be passed, but that is resisted because it suggests that one form of relationship is different from the other.

          You jump from cultural difference to religious difference. The government is saying that, to them, there is no difference. It doesn’t follow that the government’s not seeing a difference means the government forces churches to teach there isn’t a difference.

          If the government treats both pigs and cattle under an umbrella food term, does that mean that Jews are forced to say eating pig isn’t wrong?

          . The state has no choice but to force the churches to accept all relationships as equally valid, and since marriage is a religious sacrament, the churches feel the state is interfering and dictating religious doctrine.

          The state isn’t forcing any churches to recognize gay marriages. That’s not happening. Just like the state hasn’t forced any churches to recognize interracial marriages.

          Are you suggesting that religious people are too stupid to see the equivocation occurring here?

  3. “When your religion interferes with my right to enjoy life and take part in it exactly as the rest of my fellow citizens, the freedom of religion has moved far, far beyond any Constitutional guarantees into an interference with the equally vital freedom of association and equal protection under the law.”

    Is this as valid?

    When your right to enjoy life and take part in it interferes with my right to act or not act in accordance with my religious beliefs, the freedom of enjoyment has moved far, far beyond any Constitutional guarantees into an interference with the equally vital freedom of refusing to be participatory is that which I believe to be wrong.

    • No, of course not. Nothing that a gay couple is doing or wants to do in any way interferes with a gay marriage opponent’s life or living of it when they purchase that opponent’s floral arrangements or wedding cakes. While the attempted act of refusing the service directly inconveniences and denigrates them, the act buying flowers and using it in a wedding ceremony in no way affects the florist in any substantive or material way. If the very existence and lifestyle of someone else bothers you for no other reason than you’ve been taught that it is morally wrong–and that’s what we are talking about here—get over it. It’s none of your business, and your business can’t be used to vindictively foil their right to the pursuit of happiness by falsely labeling it “religion.”

      • . While the attempted act of refusing the service directly inconveniences and denigrates them

        The Supreme Court rejected the view that refusing to fund elective abortions constitutes interference with the ability to obtain an abortion.

  4. The core of the problem is hatred and control.
    I say, mind your own damn business and worry about your own life.
    That should keep you quite busy if you are doing it right.

    • What is needed is a clear distinction between directly interfering with someone’s activities and refusing to sponsor them. This is a distinction the Supreme Court actually made with abortion thirty-five years ago.

      • Sponsoring a wedding is contributing something to it for credit and publicity. Nothing says the florist can’t ask not to have its name mentioned. Accepting due payment for a service isn’t “sponsoring.” Did Elton John “sponsor” Rush Limbaugh’s wedding? No, he accepted cash to sing at it.

    • “FinlayOshea
      August 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm
      The core of the problem is hatred and control.
      I say, mind your own damn business and worry about your own life.
      That should keep you quite busy if you are doing it right.”

      Yeah, Finlay. I agree. Quit forcing your hatred of religion on business owners who have a faith-based reason for not supporting SSM! To quote you again: “Mind your own damn business and worry about your own life.” Go find a better caterer or photographer or baker! Leave people alone! Leave these businesses alone!

      • When it comes to discriminating in service based on race, age, appearance, marital status, gender, nationality, religion, physical features and political discrimination, unethical, unfair, societally harmful conduct all, businesses hsould not be left alone, and thanks to laws, aren’t. Sorry (not really).

  5. Oh for pete’s sake. Marry a goat if you want to; they are dear things and at least the couple can’t reproduce or adopt some goat/human clone.

      • So, it doesn’t get codified. Do you think the actual practice it is designed to implement will not occur, and those practicing it will not get away with it?

        • Are you thinking there’s going to be a de facto religious test that’s anti-Christian, as opposed to the de facto religious tests that are pro-Christian? Bigotry isn’t tied to Christianity, so of course not. So, are you suggesting it would be a bad thing if bigots don’t win city elections?

          I can agree that bigots should have equal opportunity at city contracts…so long as the contracts don’t involve dealing with the public.

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