It’s not Just AZ — “Gay Jim Crow” Laws Are Popping Up Across the US

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Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Update: On Wednesday evening, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is under intense pressure to veto a “gay Jim Crow” law that would make it legal for businesses to discriminate against anyone as long as it’s based on a “deeply held religious belief.” Although sexual orientation isn’t mentioned in the text of the bill, the measure is widely seen as a reaction to recent legal victories by the LGBT community. After the bill’s passage, nationwide outrage ensued. Twenty years ago, Arizona lost a planned Superbowl when its legislature refused to honor Martin Luther King Day, and there is talk of losing another one if it legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians. And with Arizona’s business community warning that long-term economic damage could result from its enactment, even some of the Republican lawmakers who voted for the bill are now urging Brewer to veto it. She has until Friday either to sign or veto the bill before it automatically becomes the law of the land.

But while all eyes are on Arizona, similar legislation is popping up in state houses across the country. As they lose ground in the culture wars, religious conservatives have seized on a new strategy: carving out exemptions from laws of which they disapprove on the grounds that they violate their religious liberties.

Reporter Dana Liebelson has been following the trend for Mother Jones, and she spoke about it with BillMoyers.com. Below is a transcript of the discussion that has been lightly edited for clarity.

Joshua Holland: The first of these bills to get lots of attention passed the Kansas House of Representatives with a pretty healthy majority, but was effectively killed in the Senate last Thursday. For those who haven’t followed the story, what would this bill have done?

Dana Liebelson: The Kansas bill was one of the most extreme bills we’ve seen on this issue. It explicitly allowed discrimination against same sex couples and said that this would apply to food service, hotel rooms, social services, adoption rights and even employment, and there wasn’t even an exception made for government employees, so government employees could also be allowed to deny same sex couples in Kansas these rights.

Holland: Just to be clear, you’re saying that the guy down at the DMV could refuse to process your application for a driver’s license because you are gay – on religious grounds?

Liebelson: Yes, and whoever was discriminated against would have no legal grounds to sue. So it basically legalizes that discrimination, or protects anyone who wants to make these sort of crazy claims.

Holland: And even though this bill didn’t pass, there was a diner down in Kansas that refused service to a regular customer who happened to be gay and then posted a sign in the window that said “No gay eating.”

Liebelson: That’s why people have been calling these ‘Jim Crow-style bills.’ They’re like something that’s out of 1955.

Holland: Over at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern wrote a piece called “Kansas Anti-Gay Bill May Have Been a Delightfully Ironic Political Ploy.” I don’t know if I’d use the word “delightful” here, but he had a theory: Kansas governor Sam Brownback, a dedicated culture warrior, is looking surprisingly weak against a Democrat named Paul Davis, who is currently the House minority leader. Davis is running a bread and butter economic campaign and he’s trying to stay away from social issues. So Stern thinks Brownback may have orchestrated this push in order to get Davis to vote against it so he could attack Davis as an enemy of religious freedom.

The big problem, of course, with Stern’s theory is that similar bills are springing up all over the place. Tell us a little bit more about the other states that are adopting?

Liebelson: We’ve seen bills that are remarkably similar to the Kansas proposal in Georgia, South Dakota and Tennessee. And so far, once people figured out that they explicitly said you can discriminate against same-sex couples, they’ve gotten a lot of blowback. But the South Dakota bill was just absolutely crazy. I mean they actually put in the bill that it’s protected speech to tell someone that his or her lifestyle is wrong or a sin — which, under the First Amendment is already protected speech. And it also said that an LGBT person who brought a lawsuit charging discrimination based on sexual orientation could face damages of no less than $2,000 dollars. So if you brought a lawsuit because you were discriminated against, you would end up paying serious money out-of-pocket.

Holland: You wrote that these bills are a response to some civil suits that have social conservatives up in arms. Tell us a little bit about that.

Liebelson: Sure. While we’ve seen these bills that explicitly say ‘same sex couples,’ they’re actually a new twist on an old measure called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Advocates for these bills say, “Hey, this is nothing new. We have a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. We’ve seen this before.” But, this is actually an entirely new kind of bill because it explicitly says in the language — and I had to dig through the text of all these bills to find this out — that anyone can use religion as a defense in a private lawsuit. And it extends this privilege to companies, so not just individuals. So a company could be like, “Hey, I don’t want to provide adoption services to a same sex couple, but you can’t sue me because it’s my religion.” And we’ve seen bills like that in Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi.

According to the ACLU and people who have been critical of these bills, they are a direct reaction to a case in New Mexico last year, where a photographer refused to photograph a same-sex marriage, and the photographer was sued and lost that case and the company was found to have discriminated.

Holland: There was another case in Washington State, where it was a florist who refused to provide flowers for a same-sex couple’s wedding. And a Colorado judge ordered a baker to bake a cake for another one.

Liebelson: Yes, these are the cases that religious freedom advocates keep pulling up. But the thing is, the language in these bills is so broad, it doesn’t just stop someone from baking a cake for a same sex wedding. It also extends it to, “I don’t want to hire you because I think that you might be gay.”

Holland: It’s interesting that the country is going one direction — gay rights advocates are trying to get the Employment Nondiscrimination Act passed in Washington. Although that’s unlikely to happen with this Congress, that’s where the nation is heading. And then there are these red state redoubts where they’re going the opposite direction.

You mention in the piece that the these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts already exist in 29 states?

Liebelson: Yes, either through legislation or as a result of court actions.

Holland: Can you clarify what the difference is between this new crop and those that are already on the books?

Liebelson: These bills started out as, “Hey, we want to make sure that new laws are not burdening religious exercise.” But in the last few years, we’ve seen these laws become much more broad, so nearly every claim of a religious burden can overturn state law. And I think a good example of that is someone who goes to church on Saturdays could claim that parking tickets issued for failure to pay the meter burdens their ability to attend church, so they should be exempt from such fines.

Holland: Reading your piece, I kept thinking that there must be an ALEC-like organization coordinating all of this legislation popping up in different states at the same time. ALEC writes model laws and then fetes state lawmakers to get them passed. Did you find an entity like that behind all of this?

Liebelson: I think a better description would be that it’s a network of conservative groups that have been working together very closely, and that’s why we’ve seen all these bills kind of come up at the same time with very similar language. The two groups that I found to be very involved with this legislation are the American Religious Freedom Program, which is part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center — sort of a neo-conservative organization that was founded in 1936 — and then CitizenLink, which is a branch of Focus on the Family. They have a bunch of state groups, and those groups have been involved, either in pushing legislation, or in some cases, they wrote the legislation.

Holland: Erick Erickson, the Fox News contributor, tweeted, “Work is ministry.” Is baking a cake an act of religious expression — and is that the heart of their argument?

Liebelson: People who are critical of these bills say that religion doesn’t extend to when you’re renting out hotel rooms or baking cakes. It’s definitely a very new definition. And we’re seeing this play out, not just with the same sex marriage stuff, but also with the Hobby Lobby case and providing contraception. And it’s going to be the big fight, I think, for the next couple of years.

Holland: The LGBT community has been a persecuted minority. Christians have not. We’ve seen this remarkable shift in public attitudes towards gays and lesbians because they’ve successfully made a rights-based argument, and rights-based arguments do very well in our political culture.

Your typical rank and file social conservative believes that this is a legitimate claim to religious freedom, but I can’t help wonder if there’s a Frank Luntz type of messaging expert in the leadership of the movement who knows that taking wedding photographs has nothing to do with exercising your religion, but decided that this was the right rhetorical approach to take.

Liebelson: I’m not sure if there is one person, but I do think this is definitely a new tactic, in declaring that corporations are not only people, but that they’re people who can hold religious views, which is a very remarkable claim.

Joshua Holland is a senior digital producer for BillMoyers.com. He’s the author of The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy (and Everything Else the Right Doesn’t Want You to Know about Taxes, Jobs and Corporate America) (Wiley: 2010), and host of Politics and Reality Radio. Follow him on Twitter or drop him an email at hollandj [at] moyersmedia [dot] com.
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  • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

    Watch liberals throw the 1st Amendment down the toilet live this week
    in Arizona. The 1st Amendment exists only as a
    joke and as a reminder of a bygone era where it once was taken
    seriously and had any real meaning.

    Predictably, all the CINOs jumped on the opportunity to kiss the gay
    agenda’s behind to get them some pink/center votes for upcoming
    elections (Gingrich, Romney, both Arizona senators: John McCain (R) and
    Jeff Flake (R) – with Republicans like these, who needs liberals?)

    Predictably as well, and equally disgusting, were the usual gaystapo
    corporations trying to twist Brewer’s arm to veto the bill with all
    kinds of threats (Apple, Delta, the NFL – the NFL? Talk about the power
    of homosexuals to corrupt institutions). I do not want Apple deciding
    what is religious freedom in this country – and who can and cannot have it -
    or any other entity that thinks they can dictate law (and trample on
    the most fundamental freedom rights) simply because they have a pile of money.

    I still don’t understand why people don’t grasp that refusing to serve or work
    with people who have a destructive sexuality agenda is a refusal to
    support a political ideology – a right which can never be banned and
    which can never be equated to refusing service to a person because they
    have dark skin. Conditioned people simply can’t think outside what they
    have been conditioned to think.

  • Jenny

    Kind of like how you have been conditioned to think that gay people have a “destructive sexuality”.

  • t3 the abolitionist

    I am for LGBTQA Rights. The reappropriation of African American History must CEASE now. I will NEVER surrender my ancestors’ narrative for anyone, not even myself. Where are the Gay/ Heterosexual signs hanging up in train stations, restaurants, hotels, and courthouses throughout America? Jim Crow involved lynching, segregation, whipping, voter disfranchisement, economic oppression, redlining, stepping off the sidewalk because a white person is approaching, not looking whites into their eyes, and, until the 1960s, not having the ability to freely protest without violence. There are schools that only serve gay children? Please. This is SIMPLY WRONG! The reappropriation of African American History must CEASE now. DO NOT TREAD ON THREE HUNDRED YEARS OF BLACK SLAUGHTERED BLOOD! NO ONE WILL PISS ON MY HEAD AND CONVINCE ME ITS RAIN! This is not JIM CROW!

  • Ann J Wyly

    DISQUS, I posted a comment a little while ago. It was approved and appeared on this site. I decided to correct some grammatical errors, via the “edit” option. But then the message disappeared altogether. What happened to it?

  • moderator

    Hi Ann,

    Should be back up. Thanks!

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Ann J Wyly

    Thank you! I’ve been really stewing over this issue and really appreciate having a respectable place to voice my opinion.

  • Ann J Wyly

    Following my own point, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if the Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, etc. began refusing to do business with/provide services to their “Christian” neighbors. My guess is the ‘Christians’ would be proclaiming “Foul”! (As though their own religion is superior to the more ‘in-superior religions’ that others believe in.) They would want to sue/press charges, because they believe it is ‘THEIR God’ given right to buy what they want. Forget the rights of those who hold views that are in conflict with their own . . . Kind of sounds like the Republicans in Congress who owe their loyalties to big, BIG Money/Corporate interests. Doesn’t it? Do Ya’ think there is any connection here . . . Dah???

  • Nuget

    I do wonder as an atheist,
    do I have to sever christians if they come into my resturant?

  • Ann J Wyly

    I think you meant “serve”. Well, it would seem to me regarding those pious ones (those who think of themselves as the majority) who rule upon and enforce ‘their’ laws upon the rest of us giving, kind, respectful humans. . . . presuming the law works both ways. . . . you would not have to serve them. So, herein lies the fundamental question that our forefathers (unaware of what our culture would become) had the where-with-all, and tremendous insight, to address in the Constitution of the US . . . We all know the basic truths and rights the constitution guarantees us. So, why do the conservative left “purported Christians” continue to wield so much influence over us? What must we do to convince them that their “Way” isn’t necessarily the “way” for the rest of humanity? (Kinda makes me think of the radical “religious group” of the 1970′s that dubbed themselves, “The Way”. .. ). well, if you don’t know about them, consider yourself blessed . . .

  • Ann J Wyly

    It is this sort of “self-righteousness” that gave rise to the Hitler/Nazi movement. Isn’t it time the human race moved forward, as opposed to digressing to these types of degrading arguments and standoffs? Didn’t we learn anything from the holocaust, the genocide of the Native American Indians, and the persecution of the enslaved African Americans. It is shameful that White Men (predominantly) continue down these paths . . . Seems they haven’t learned a thing . . . pathetic

  • porthope

    it seems that all the comments by Mr Goldstein have disappeared, while I found one truly repellent the rest were representational of a segment of our countries conservatives and just making them go away leaves us ignorant & other comments out of context. also smells of censorship, as a first time commentor & long time fan of Mr Moyers I am disappointed to say the least

  • moderator

    Porthope,

    Please read our comment policy. Mr Goldstein repeatedly broke the rules by using hateful language and slurs. We have a zero tolerance policy for such comments.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • porthope

    thank you for the explanation & yes some of his posts were pretty extreme, unfortunately they were also an accurate expression of some conservatives viewpoint. As I pointed out to Mr Goldstein in response to one of his posts this is the language of hate & bigotry used towards people of his surname not so long ago. My concern is if we don’t have access to it then we get a sanitized version of the more honest viewpoint being expressed. Zero tolerance policies tend to narrow the discussion until only the most moderate of opinions are viewed and are unrepresentative of subsection of society which while is sometimes offensive exist regardless & is driving the narrative behind these new takes on Jim Crow for sexual orientation
    instead of race.

  • porthope

    No instead they make segregation an option based on religious grounds which by the way was also one of the underpinnings of Jim Crow. Discrimination based on the firmly held belief that sexual orientation is a sin is no different then the firmly held belief that mixed race marriages are a sinful mixing of the purity of the white race & that was argued on religious grounds as well. So yes these current proposals have very much in common with Jim Crow & seek to use the rule of law to allow private & public business to discriminate based on conservative religious values.

  • porthope

    It is based on the consistent religious conservative argument the atheism is actually a form of religion and as such atheists should be allowed to refuse to serve christian conservatives because of the inherent sinfulness of their chosen beliefs & superstitions.

  • http://tanglesandwebs.blogspot.com/ Annie Stratton

    My take on this: If one has a business or other activity that purports to serve or be open to the public, then what your religion is has no place in deciding who can walk through your doors, regardless of who they are. You are not required to open your home to people who do not meet your personal criteria, but you do not have the right to close the doors of your business to them. The other arguments, though often making valid points, are beside the point.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that businesses can’t discriminate; however, doesn’t someone have the right to follow their religious beliefs in the workplace? If one does not want to be a part of a same-sex marriage, they may refuse to make the wedding cake, but they wouldn’t refuse the same people a birthday cake. A Catholic Hospital that refuses to do an abortion for someone won’t refuse that same person treatment for a broken arm. If you feel it is your right to demand a company like Hobby Lobby to pay for an “abortion pill” that they find morally objectionable, then is it also your right to demand a BLT at a Kosher Deli? How far into the closet do you need to drive religious practice?

  • Anonymous

    I believe that to sever them would violate existing laws. :)

  • Anonymous

    You cross a dangerous line when the government forces people engaged in commerce to do things against their will and/or against their religion.

    In Oregon or New Mexico where homosexuals are a protected class of persons, and if I want to sell my car and the guy shows up with his boyfriend and wants to make out with him on my lawn in front of me. Do I have the right to decline to sell to him and ask him (and boyfriend) to leave? Or can they sue me for monetary damages and have the courts force me to sell them my car anyway because I discriminated against him?

  • Deborah Morera

    I think part of the problem with your argument is that you assume the discrimination will stop at support for gay couples trying to get married. Additionally this law would allow for anyone to be discriminated against for any reason. Can you imagine what the businesses created by people from the Westboro Baptist Church could look like. my tax dollars pay for the roads, water and electric infrastructure that support their businsses. There is something perverse to ask me to pay into my legal discrimination. if these folks want to create their own community a la Atlas Shrugged, go for it I say. As long as they completely “build that.”

  • Deborah Morera

    A few questions: First, would you ask a hetero couple to leave for the same reason? Second, would you be ok with your tax dollars going to the infrastructure you are paying for so these businesses can even exist, if they then turn around and discriminate against you?

  • Anonymous

    There’s a problem with your final point – BLTs aren’t available at a Kosher Deli. Abortions aren’t available at a Catholic hospital. Or, let me go to a Ford dealer and demand a new Chevy.

    Hobby Lobby – if they only hired anti-abortion Christians, it wouldn’t be an issue. But they’re willing to hire any body who believes anything, so how can they discriminate against their own employees they agreed to hire? That’s not very fair.

    For the business who refuses services to certain people, it’s a)repugnant and b)the opposite of making a profit. If you want to advertise your religion by putting crosses all over and playing Christian music inside I guarantee non-religious people would stay away (except the nuts with an agenda).

  • Anonymous

    Walk back in your house and don’t answer the door.

  • Anonymous

    He can certainly make spelling errors ‘by mistake’. There are any number of ways to be passive-aggressive that people already use.

  • Anonymous

    You’re thinking of the waitress who claimed anti-gay comments on her bill to a customer. Here’s the story about the sign:

    http://topekasnews.com/kansas-restaurant-kicks-gay-man-tells-gay-eating/

  • Deborah Morera

    You bring up a good point that I will be thinking on. My first reaction to your statement, however, is that passing such a bill will make legal for one class of people to discriminate against another for religious reasons that are, in the end, their interpretation (what if the church they attend say those are not their religion’s beliefs?). I would rather protect the Westboros than allow for the unchecked discrimination this law would allow. They are allowed to say their vile things the same way the KKK is allowed to march on public property. But I do intend on reading up on the repercutions of not protecting businesses in this way. I just wonder, if as a country, we are ok with people putting up signs on their business’ doors saying “No gays, Muslims, Jews, unmarried couples, women in pants served.”

  • JonThomas

    This question has always been difficult. You can look to the armed services concerning the draft for examples of ways in which it has been answered.

  • Anonymous

    Your example raises the point.

    A couple comes to a baker to buy a cake for a wedding.
    If they begin making out in the store – sure, throw them out. They are not there buying a cake.

    If they ask to buy a cake and you ask who is it for, what and how will my product be used once it leaves my bakery – well, then you are not in business to sell weddings cake, but to check on and approve weddings.

    You will need a pretty extensive, exclusive list of types of people your “sincerely held religious beliefs” forbid you to sell your cakes to. You’d better be consistent.

    No couples who marry buy or serve or eat a cake to do so.

  • Anonymous

    A same-sex marriage is just like an opposite-sex marriage. Two people ask and agree to be married.

    They do not need to eat cake or have the baker present to marry.
    They do not need to have “religious flowers” or have the florist present to marry.
    They do not need to have a “religious photographer witness, sanctify, solemnize” or do anything other than take photographs or videos. And that work does not “marry” the couple or the photographer to the couple.

    If the couple’s church or religion is not the same as the photographer’s church or religion, tell them you do not do work in any church or with any couples with a religion other than your own.

    P.S. Your business marquee, advertising and marketing – the sign on your front door – better advise all of the public of your limitations, beliefs, practices. It cannot just say: Religious bakery. That could mean anything.

  • Anonymous

    What kind of “atheist” food do you serve? Is there a “christian” food you could not serve? Yes, I am being silly.

    How do they behave toward you, your staff and other customers? That’s about the only criteria that would be applicable.

  • Anonymous

    You have proved my final point. If you can demand contraception from a Catholic College where you know going in it isn’t available, why not demand that the Ford Dealer find you a Chevy? Not all hospital employees are pro-life, and not all employees of the Ford dealer have driven Fords all their life. In these, and the Hobby Lobby example, are you saying that they should discriminate in hiring so they don’t have a conflict? I doubt it. Why can’t there be some tolerance of beliefs that don’t agree with the government PC?

  • Anonymous

    I’ll agree the tolerance for all those things isn’t a straight line.

  • Anonymous

    Present is not the only means of participation. Florists and Bakers are not that rare. Why try to force someone to do something that they find objectionable? If a Jewish baker doesn’t have stars of David all over his shop, has he implicitly agreed to make a Hitler’s Birthday cake? Why not? He’s not attending the event. It seems that the acid test is that whatever one person wants overrides anyone else’s sensibilities, and that is wrong. If there weren’t these demands, I think the whole gay marriage issue would be a no-brainer, but as long as there are these stick it to those who don’t agree attitudes, both sides will continue the irrational fight.

  • Anonymous

    And you assume it won’t. If the law was poorly written, then is is good that it was vetoed. I believe in people a bit more than you seem to, and think not being forced to have involvement with gay marriage would be a more rational end than to think that the Westboro Baptist Church would take control of things. There are very few people that condone their actions. Did you read your last sentence? Are you suggesting that anyone that doesn’t agree with you should be exiled? That’s tyranny and discrimination greater than anything in the article!

  • Anonymous

    No. But should the gay business owners then be sued for religious discrimination? I think it is wrong to show blatant disrespect for the opinions of others by trying to force them to do something they find offensive … no matter who does it.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how that law would make it legal to put up a sign like that. As much as people like to think that ALL religious beliefs are evil, I doubt that many are that evil … except maybe not serving infidels.

  • Anonymous

    Hitler’s dead. If someone wants to “celebrate” his birthday and goes into a bakery owned/operated by a Jewish person, so what?!

    What anyone wants when going into a bakery is cake – for whatever reason(s). The baker is not “celebrating” anything with customers. He’s baking and selling cakes. Does he need to know who and what the cake is for to do what he does?!

    So a birthday cake DOES tell both baker and customer something – “Happy Birthday Hitler.” They know. They make a decision to share more than the transaction by specifying, or refusing to specify, “Hitler.”

    Does a couple or, more to the point, anyone buying a wedding cake need to tell the baker who and what the cake is for in order to buy it?! They order a “wedding cake.” It’s for a wedding.

    No baker I know has to know what type of wedding – religious, non-religious, traditional, non-traditional, “christian,” non-christian, straight couple, gay couple.

    Baker’s do not put the couple’s names on their cake. Nor do they put their own name on the cake. And no couple getting married has to eat cake as part of being married. It’s none of the baker’s “business.” Unless he bills his work as “christian” cakes only. Even then, some Christian” religion marry gay couples. He’d better say: Cakes for straight couples only.

  • xtophermiller

    I believe in the freedom of the individual – the lay person. The individual should have the right to say what they believe is their own deeply held religious beliefs. We may not like their decision, but that is the great thing about this country. We have the freedom to disagree – so long as our belief is not infringing on another’s freedoms.

    If I understand this law correctly, no one people group is being singled out. It is not an “anti-gay” law as many have called it. It is simply upholding what our constitution already gives us the right to do in a time when many seek to undermine our freedoms.

    As an author/designer, I reserve the right to turn down writing projects that violate my moral conscience. I do not seek to offend the other person, but I just am not comfortable in creating certain things (porn being one). If we remove the freedom of the individual we are saying that the individual has no say in who or what they perform their services for.

    This law doesn’t target gays anymore than it does Christians. If a gay man does not want to serve me because it violates his conscience in some way to serve a Christian man…he doesn’t have to…and I don’t expect him to.

    I think there is also a huge difference between serving somebody something (like food) and providing a service to them (like designing something for them). Perhaps that is where I personally feel a bit attacked by all of this. I, for one, would not want to be forced to design a “God Hates Fags” sign because I cannot refuse them based on my own moral judgement.

  • NotSoChewy

    Did you *read* the research done by commenters to verify the story which proved it was false?

  • Wheeler

    Really? so I guess its toally ok that I would have to be forced to hire a convicted gay pedophile that molested little boys at my business or face being sued for not doing so? After all no one is allowed to discriminate are they? Sorry but your WRONG! Its Your business and you hire those that best represent YOUR values. If your Gay and want a gay only business thats within your right to do as your now some kind of special protected class, but the hypocrisy of your LGBTQ agenda is that you show NO tolerance what so ever for anyone that opposes your pro-gay bias. They are Denied the same equally protected rights to form their businesses as they see fit to match their values and their religious beliefs to fit the needs of THEIR community. I really dont care what you do in the privacy of your own home or your own business. Identify your business as a gay establishment and we will be more then happy not to patronize it, (indeed rainbow flags have been a blessing on this front as a method to avoid your culture in public as much as humanly possible, especially with kids in tow). All we ask is you do the same. If you see a sign that says we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, it means exactly what it says. All it took for me was one time being within a few miles of flosom street fair in San Fran to know EXACTLY the kind of people LGBTQs are. Dispite children being present at this fair (from the activist bisexuals bringing them in tow and in bondage costume in some cases) there was public occurrences of fellatio and sodomy on the streets, as well as whippings and other disgusting S&M acts. These and other similar spectacles of the GAY lifestyle are what Normal people find the most offensive about your culture. We avoid them as much as possible but its on the news every week if not day, its in popular culture now because of the lack of and standards in television anymore, and its made required education material in our schools as young as grade school by liberals that want this disgusting lifestyle promoted and endorsed if not encouraged to be experimented with. Sorry but enough is enough. Its far past time the good people of this nation told you all to go home and do your crap all you want but leave it out of the public venues. And if that means when you speak to us we fold up our arms and turn our backs on you, so be it. I have left many a business especially restaurants the moment I witness blatantly homosexual behavior from an employee. I just get up and walk right out.

  • Wheeler

    Oh and by the way, maybe you should watch cspan on occasion, cause at the start of every session of Congress in DC and across the nation every meeting is opened with a prayer, be it Christian, Muslim, Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, or sometimes nondenominational or something else. Either way thats been the case for 225 years & it doesnt make your statement anymore true then then it does now. All the founders wanted was the freedom to worship or not worship as they saw fit without a state branded denomination forced the country. What you would have is an establishment of religion of atheism with the temple being the government itself to worship yourselves upon. Its no different then any other establishment of a national religion, which is exactly what the founders gave us liberty and freedom to avoid. your free to believe or not to believe in this country, your even free to act as you wish on your own property, or in your own lives. We can not have a freedom of religion without granting you the freedom to not be religious. and that goes the same for the opposite. This is the same for Gays and straights. One can not be a protected class and then claim their own special form of bigotry to anyone that opposes their viewpoint in the same public way. I honestly dont care whay gays do to each other, or if they are in a union or even if they raise their own biological children. They are theirs to raise as they see fit. As are ours. Some form of civility to avoid open conflict must be made. I for one use the rainbow flag to identify locations to avoid. I thank the community for that,and I am more then happy to stay away from them. That does not give them the right to inflict themselves upon us in our communities, during our events, and within eyeshot of our children. Its morally ambiguious at best to state this as civil disobedience to make a point. Its more narcissistic glory seeking from activist malcontents, looking for their next victim to sue. This is not EVERY gay person, but it is certainly the most visible and vocal percentage of them.

  • Anonymous

    Your response is very logical. How would the baker know it was for something that he/she found offensive if the customer didn’t specify something special to indicate it? I get the impression from your position that you also feel your right to get what you want from anyone you want absolves those who go out to intentionally offend.