As with the baker in Colorado, free enterprise has ventured into monetary moral judgment.
When I had been 16, I had been the cashier at a local movie theater. Best job I ever had. Having lived in a highly dysfunctional home, getting away to the world of cinema…was fantastic.
My duties were simple, take the money…give the ticket. In the 80’s customer service did require that we smile and say, thank you. So pleasantries also were encouraged. An unusual job requirement in this day in age.
Being from a small town, I had the wonderful opportunity to turn away kids I went to school with…that were not of legal age to see an R- rated movie.
I did not turn them away because of color (though New Hampshire is predominately white.) They were not turned away because sexual orientation. Not a one sent to the curb for the religious beliefs.
The only ‘schoolmates’ turned away? Assholes, bullies, mean jocks, snobs! Unpleasant persons who did not deserve to watch Animal House.
The case is part of a nationwide crusade by evangelical Christians to weaponize the First Amendment and religious freedom to defend anti-gay bigotry.
The Arizona Supreme Court will soon issue a ruling on a case brought by two evangelical Christian artists, Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, who want to be able to refuse to make custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples.
Unfortunately for Duka and Koski, the city of Phoenix has an ordinance prohibiting them from doing so—and from posting a “We don’t serve your kind here” sign in their store, Brush & Nib Studio. So in 2016, they filed a lawsuit asking the court to block the city from applying the law to them—even though no same-sex couples had asked them to design a wedding invitation in the first place.
In Phoenix, it is unlawful to “refuse, withhold from, or deny to any person … accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges thereof … because of sexual orientation.” It is also unlawful to “display, circulate, or publicize or mail any … communication which states or implies that any … service shall be refused … because of sexual orientation… or that any person, because of… sexual orientation… would be unwelcome, objectionable, unacceptable, undesirable or not solicited.”
In other words, if you run a business in Phoenix, you can’t refuse to provide a service to gay people because they’re gay. And despite all the bluster in their complaint about God and running their business in keeping with their religious faith, that’s exactly what Duka and Koski want to do.
Plaintiffs in these cases have insisted that they are not bigots; they are simply exercising their freedom of religion. They argue that state efforts to ensure that LGBTQ people have the right to access services are tantamount to an infringement on that freedom. They just want to operate their businesses and remain faithful to their religious beliefs—including the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Remarkably, Duka and Koski argue that they are simply “politely declining to create artwork for same sex weddings,” as if the manner in which they practice their bigotry—politely as opposed to maliciously—makes a legal difference.
But it is still bigotry at its most vile: the “we don’t serve your kind here”-style bigotry that civil rights activists in the 1960s fought against. Indeed, when it comes to the law, there is no difference between evangelicals in the 21st century using religion to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people and evangelicals in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries using religion to justify imperialism, slavery, and Jim Crow.