Another case of refusal of service for a same-sex couple comes from my neck of the woods this time. Aaron Klein – the owner and proprietor of the “Sweet Cakes” bakery – is accused of denying service for two women who wished to purchase a cake on the 17th of last month for their upcoming wedding.
Klein on Friday denied [saying homosexuality was “an abomination unto the Lord”], but admitted to a KATU reporter on camera that he did deny her service.
“I apologized for wasting their time and said we don’t do same-sex marriages,” he said. I “honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn’t mean to make anybody upset, (it’s) just something I believe in very strongly.”
Besides, who the hell cares if it’s something you “believe in” very strongly? People believe in all sorts of things; that doesn’t give them any credibility, justification, or validity. Nor does it provide any sort of justification to demand that the state must bend to the will of those who feel the way he does, even if an entire group of people will be treated as second class citizens as a result.
Thankfully, the state of Oregon has reached a similar conclusion back in ’07:
But beliefs aren’t enough to cover him under state law. The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 prohibits discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The statute includes public accommodations, such as businesses.
Why this isn’t a federal law yet, I’m not sure, but at least there’s some protection on the state level. This say – and rightly so – that you have the right to go to whatever place of worship you wish. You are free to bow your head and pray to whatever god or gods you like. But as soon as you hide behind your religion to infringe upon the rights of another, then there are going to be problems. It’s not discrimination when a law prohibits your religion from discriminating against someone else.
“Statutes don’t get to overcome constitutional protections, so if somebody had a religious-based reason for wanting not to trade with somebody, I think you have a really interesting test case for whether or not a statute like this can apply,” [Portland attorney Paula] Barran said.
If the Supreme Court determines that someone’s religion – no matter what it is – takes legal precedent over issues such as public health (as in the case of Orthodox Jews and their oral-circumcision / hepatitis racket), medical science (the Catholic Church and “abortion pills” like Plan B and other “conscience clauses”), and the civil rights of women and the LGBT community, then in a way, we will have failed as a nation. We will have traded rationality, reason, and egalitarianism for fear, ignorance, and oppression. Irrational and unsubstantiated belief in a supreme being and its outdated or hopelessly idiosyncratic perspective on personal morality should not grant you special treatment or immunity from the law.
I say “should not”. Whether or not it will remains to be seen.