Over two years ago, the Supreme Court radically misconstrued the millennia-old definition of marriage. Today, the ramifications of that decision are compounding. The marriage redefinition allows the state to discriminate against religious members of our society.
In order to “coexist” in today’s culture, we must protect the religious liberties that allow us to live with our differences while respecting human dignity. We mustn’t allow the First Amendment to slip through our fingers. It allows us to attend Mass on Sunday, pray freely in public spaces, attend meetings with various faith groups on campus or even refuse to be religious at all. It gives us the freedom to practice an integral part of the human experience.
A prime example of this has come before the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Oral arguments are scheduled for Dec. 5 for the case that will decide the fate of business owners with religious objections.
In this particular case, a religious bakery owner in Colorado was asked to bake a cake for a gay wedding and refused on the basis that it violated his personal religious beliefs. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and an appellate court ruled that the owner’s religious beliefs did not usurp the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) laws set in place in Colorado.
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First off, let’s set the record straight. Those who object to serving gay couples are not objecting to serving them in general. They simply do not want to be complicit in an act they believe violates their religious duties. This does not open the doors to allow shop-owners to refuse service to gay people in any case.
Democrats constantly argue that cases like this lead to a slippery slope. If we allow religious bakers to object to gay marriages why not allow them to refuse service to interracial couples as well? This simply does not hold up to the religious freedom tenet. Interracial marriages or any other random marriages would not be held up in the court of law as a reasonable religious objection, as they shouldn’t.
At the heart of the case is an issue of ordering priorities and rights. Conservatives believe that a religious objection, at least a credible one like the right to disagree with gay marriage, cannot be infringed upon as guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights.
The left believes freedom of religion only allows us to practice religion independently but not to restrict the lives of others. The problem with this logic is it forces businesses to provide services against their will, or forces them to close down, like a bakery in Oregon.
Business owners should always have the right to run their business as a religiously upholding organization — just ask Chick-fil-A. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the Democratic Party would rather coerce a business owner into violating their own ethics than allow the owner to politely ask the customer to find a business owner who is willing to accommodate their needs. In the end, those businesses willing to provide those services would probably provide a better service to the client than a business forced to anyway.
It is time the left starts practicing the tolerance they preach. Tolerance includes those who believe in a higher power and wish to uphold their businesses to the same ethical standards they personally believe in. Hopefully, we’ll see the Supreme Court, now leaning the conservative direction with phenomenal Justice Neil Gorsuch, side with Masterpiece Cakeshop and protect the First Amendment freedom of religion.
Jake Lubenow ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science and finance. He is chairman of the UW College Republicans. Bailey La Sage ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science and Spanish.