A Minister and a Rabbi Walk Into a Vegas Wedding Chapel...

There are currently 32 states and counting that have marriage equality. This is up from 12 states before we helped Edie Windsor strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in the Supreme Court last June.

In the states where gay couples have just begun to marry, as in other states that have gained marriage equality over the last 10 years, most government officials and businesses – regardless of their personal beliefs – have no problem following the law.

At the same time, we're hearing stories of a small number of objectors who want to refuse service to gay couples based on their religious beliefs.

These situations aren't all the same.

On the one hand, we have ministers and churches. Religious leaders and institutions can choose whom to marry in a religious ceremony.

Let's take the example of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who performs religious ceremonies for other Jews. If two women ask him to perform their wedding ceremony, he has a right to say no because performing that marriage is against his religious beliefs – the same way he's allowed to decline business when one of the partners isn't Jewish. That's true even if he charges a fee for his religious service.

However, let's say this rabbi, or a Las Vegas wedding officiant, owns a business to perform nonreligious ceremonies. Once a business offers nonreligious services to the public, that business is required to follow the rules that apply to all other businesses open to the public, including anti-discrimination laws.

Providing wedding services, including services related to a wedding, doesn't mean a business owner is endorsing anyone's marriage, or agreeing with the customer. It simply means they are providing services to the public.

When a business offers general wedding services to the public, like the wedding chapels in Las Vegas, they cannot refuse service just because of who the customer is. And in North Carolina, we are hearing calls to allow government officials to not obey the law and pick and choose who to serve, while acting in their official roles as government workers.

That's not religious liberty, that's discrimination.

We saw extraordinarily broad legislation introduced earlier this year in states like Kansas, South Dakota and Tennessee, that would not only have allowed any person to refuse to provide services related to weddings of gay couples, but also to refuse to treat those marriages as valid at any time. That's wrong, and unworkable. That's why these and similar legislative efforts were resoundingly rejected, including in Arizona where the governor vetoed the bill after receiving pushback from businesses, religious leaders, and fellow Republicans.

Religious freedom is a fundamental American value, one which ACLU has staunchly defended for the past 96 years. We are all entitled to our religious beliefs, but this doesn't give anyone the right to harm other people.

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Robert Fellner

Why do business owners lose their rights as individuals when they open a business and, consequently, be stripped of their right to choose whom to do business with?

Their are much better ways of opposing discrimination than by relying on the use of coercion.

Carrie Geren Sc...

The wedding chapel has a "legal right to adhere to Biblical core values" where the Federal Supreme Court cited Romans chapter 1 specifically, in that they can not be forced on the job, off the job, in their businesses, ministries, churches, or religious groups, to violate their religious "core values."
The ACLU knows this, so why are they not take the case of the wedding chapel to be their defense in this obvious religious discriminatory attack? The American Medical Association stated that no gay gene has ever been found, no clump of gay genes creating a homosexual, and no epi genetic markers cutting on a gay gene, as they are not "born gay," as stated in the hearing where they refused to hear Prop 8, citing it as not a "civil right," as they are "not born gay"... Even had this not been the case, the Christian's legal right to adhere to their religious core values can not be usurped. Religious tolerance for their tenets of faith condemning homosexuality is expected. Religion is the protected class, and their rights can not be usurped.
END TIMES PROPHECY NEWS UPDATE, Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter, my program now on webcast and YouTube

Carrie Geren Sc...

The wedding chapel has a "legal right to adhere to Biblical core values" where the Federal Supreme Court cited Romans chapter 1 specifically, in that they can not be forced on the job, off the job, in their businesses, ministries, churches, or religious groups, to violate their religious "core values."
The ACLU knows this, so why are they not take the case of the wedding chapel to be their defense in this obvious religious discriminatory attack? The American Medical Association stated that no gay gene has ever been found, no clump of gay genes creating a homosexual, and no epi genetic markers cutting on a gay gene, as they are not "born gay," as stated in the hearing where they refused to hear Prop 8, citing it as not a "civil right," as they are "not born gay"... Even had this not been the case, the Christian's legal right to adhere to their religious core values can not be usurped. Religious tolerance for their tenets of faith condemning homosexuality is expected. Religion is the protected class, and their rights can not be usurped.
END TIMES PROPHECY NEWS UPDATE, Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter, my program now on webcast and YouTube

Right wing and ...

Well you better remember who thought UP DOMA, because that time at least it WASN'T the Republicans. It was that damn fool Clinton, who wanted to make excuses for doing something dumb in the dumbest PLACE he could have done it, getting caught and making up "a marriage is between a man and woman" to claim he'd never done anything to defile his marriage bed.
Talk about a slimeball, and people want him right back IN there in 2016. Put her back in and he comes with her.
Both those people disgust me.

Anonymous

it's all discrimination you idiot. forcing a person to officiate a wedding they disagree with is just as bad as disallowing gay marriage.

Anonymous

The ACLU is absolutely correct of course. Allowing public servants and businesses open to the public to refuse service based on religious belief would be a step to far in religious accommodation. Think of a Muslim taxi driver being allowed to refuse you a ride on a rainy night due to you having been drinking, or having wine or pork with you and most will immediately see why.

Anonymous

That's why my business would be a Christian business and private.

James Bold

Does anyone see the dangerous double-standard language the ACLU uses? They "say" you are entitled to your religious beliefs. But then they use phrases like "causing harm to others" and "discrimination" and "bigotry" when describing the application of those beliefs. So on the one hand they say they "staunchly defend" religious belief. But then they turn right around and characterize those beliefs with harmful terms. In short, they belittle and hold in contempt those beliefs which they pretend to defend. What a sad and hypocritical organization.

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