Cheap Seats Online 2015 Part B
Freedom, Religion and YouBy Rich Trzupek:
I like Mike Huckabee, I think he’s a genuine guy I agree with him on the issues more often than not, but the Governor got it wrong when he weighed in on the Kim Davis controversy.
Like Ms. Davis, Governor Huckabee and many other people of faith, I believe marriage to be a spiritual union between a man and a woman, exclusively. But, I don’t believe that Ms. Davis has the right to impose her beliefs on others in her civic role.
The argument on the other side is not without merit. No one should be forced to act contrary to their conscious or religious convictions, so long as no one else is harmed. But, there is surely a difference between exercising one’s religious convictions in the private sector and in the public sector.
The courts have yet to definitively say whether or not engaged gay and lesbian couples can be denied services in the private sector, but I don’t believe there’s something nefarious about a person who objects to gay and lesbian marriage on religious grounds respectively refusing to make a cake to celebrate such a union, or act as DJ, or anything else.
It’s a matter of competing rights, and no, it’s not Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws were, just that: laws that imposed “separate but equal” requirements on the private sector that turned out to be anything but. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination on racial grounds in the private sector was criminalized.
Criminalization of private sector behaviors that result in denial of service to certain people is a rather extraordinary step. In general, society and the free market is self-correcting. If a particular place of business gains a reputation for treating its customers unfairly or unequally for any reason, that business won’t be in business for long.
Yet, in the early sixties, racism was so prevalent in the country, and particularly in the south, that we turned to the extraordinary step of criminalization because many said it was the only way to correct the problem in a reasonable period of time. I agree. Today, many believe that we have come far enough that the criminalization of private sector denial of services is no longer necessary. That is, the market will take care of it, so government doesn’t need to. I agree with that too.
In much the same way, the market is all that is necessary with regard to support or denial of services to gay and lesbian couples. It is simply nonsense to say that gay and lesbian couples who wish to be married will be universally denied any service or product they wish.
They will find some providers who will deny them services or products on religious grounds but, given that there are plenty of alternatives available in the private sector, the couple’s right to access every possible provider does not trump a particular individual’s right to follow their religious convictions.
If denying gay and lesbian couples services or products on a religious basis is objectionable enough to the public the business serves, they will either change their policy or close the doors. If enough of the public is OK with the policy, the business will go on.
That’s the private sector. It’s different in the public sector, because most of the time there are not multiple alternatives. If a gay or lesbian couple wants to get married in such-and-such location, then the license has to be issued by the governing body that administers marriage in that location.
Once the Supreme Court decided that gay and lesbian couples had the right to married, every public servant involved in administering secular marriages had two, and only two, choices: respect that decision, or resign their position.
Kim Davis, like Governor Huckabee and Your Humble Correspondent, is free to believe that a gay or lesbian union is not a sanctified marriage in the eyes of our Creator, but that’s not the issue. Ms. Davis’ job is a secular job. If her religious convictions do not allow her perform her secular job, then she needs to quit that job.
Ms. Davis’ confusion on this point is perhaps understandable, given that she lives in a nation led by a man who picks and chooses which laws to enforce, but having a hypocrite in the White House does not justify her actions, or rather her lack of action.
The way this nation is supposed to work is that if you don’t like a law, you work to change the law. If you don’t like the way the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution, you work to pass an amendment to modify the Constitution. Unfortunately, we live in a time, where if you don’t like a law, you simply ignore it and if enough people are willing to ignore it along with you, it becomes OK to do so.
Ms. Davis was thus simply following the pack, but that doesn’t make her right.