I've read two news stories today on small business owners that have lawsuits against them for declining service to homosexual couples. Two were bakeries in Oregon. The other was a photographer in New Mexico. In all the cases the service of the businesses was being requested regarding a wedding. You can read articles on the situations here:The original article on the Oregon situations
(I believe). - May 29th, 2013A recent follow-up article on the Oregon situations
. - August 15th, 2013The results of the New Mexico situation
. - August 22nd, 2013
It appears the results of the Oregon situation are still to come. The photographer in New Mexico lost the lawsuit.
Initially my mindset was, "This is dangerous territory." While I have my personal issues with religion, I don't want to see someone punished for standing up for their beliefs in a fashion that doesn't hurt others. It seems wrong. I don't see someone having to find another business for a cake or photographs as a world shattering thing/slight. On top of that this just seems to be playing into the paranoia of people that believe churches will be forced to provide weddings to homosexual couples even though their religious beliefs specifically denounce those kinds of relationships/lifestyle.
When I take the idea of, "Due to my religion I do not offer my services to <blank>." and I fill that blank with Hispanic/Black/White instead of gay/homosexual/lesbian...well, things change greatly in my perception.
People that know me know that one of the reasons I have a view of acceptance/support for some social issues is that I am fully aware that if I had been born earlier in the history of our country, I could have experienced serious bigotry. The reason for that bigotry? Nothing more than the melanin in my skin and the heritage of my family bloodline. Looking at how the business owners acted in this situation and making it about race/ethnicity I just find it unacceptable. I think that's the country I was raised in and live in. I know there are still people that wish that wasn't reality, but it is where the majority of us are "supposed" to be.
Justice is supposed to be blind. I think that's the case in the outcome of the New Mexico lawsuit. I'm guessing the one in Oregon will be similar. Discrimination is discrimination. Still, being a person I truly believe that when an individual (or group of individuals) feels they are being forced to make a change they don't want (or especially respect) they will push back. Sometimes that gets ugly. You only need to have taken a history class to see such cases in the past.
I guess I'm trying to figure out if there is a win/win outcome that can be found in these situations. Right now, it's going in the direction of win/lose and I'm afraid the outcomes are going to be used to fuel fires that don't need additional fuel.