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Author Topic: Gen Con is threatening to leave Indiana over a religious "protection" law.  (Read 4113 times)

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Offline kylie

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       I wouldn't deny that some people are just trying to work through things more calmly, but even from a popular opinion point of view:  If you look at the polls, I think we're reaching a point where in many states now you're talking about waiting for a minority to change their minds.  How small a minority does that have to be before people say that it's not "radical" change to go ahead and write something up into civil code?  (Leaving alone the part that, being seen as radical by some doesn't mean it's a bad idea - take racial desegregation again.)  And the farther that goes, the more reluctant a minority it's perhaps going to be.  It may not be quite there yet, but assuming stuff all continues in generally the same direction (and nothing all too wacko happens in the news or courts to disrupt the trend), I can imagine reaching a point where quite a few of the minority who wouldn't support doing business with gays just won't give in soon.  And there, waiting won't help much either. 

       We also have some people that are keeping pretty busy recycling as "evidence" information that isn't supported by well, serious empirical evidence (one good example, very poorly sourced claims about LGBT and children) -- doing all they can to get people who otherwise might make quiet decisions not to make a choice to open up.

       The thing that nags me perhaps about religion, is it's amorphous.  It could be used to "justify" doing or not doing just about anything.  If one has the right to live or "express" based on any belief whatsoever, then what's the point of any other sort of order?  Who can be excluded tomorrow?  The farther right often says, "Next dogs will be getting married," but the rejoinder here could as well be, Next people will be demanding a religious exemption to form another country inside the US or to marry all their kids for that matter...  Or just not to recognize the government at all -- which isn't so far from what some on the right have been (at least selectively) asking for anyway.  On and on.  Who's to really say what religion provides for?  Stoning today, no shellfish tomorrow, sphaghetti monster says the next day, and "I just believe" after that. 

         I don't see LGBT inclusion in business and civil society as asking for nearly as vague.  As a public movement, this is generally asking for an opportunity to largely (or ideally, fully) share in public life as so many other people do commonly exercise...  And not so much to arbitrarily pick out and specify some for whom basic opportunities will not be possible. 

         If anything, I would say the gay rights lobby has actually contorted itself to advertise just how "normal" and even "responsible" and "just like everyone else" things like gay marriage are expected to make it, in the name of making everyone who is more into the rhetoric of 'family' and even 'business' oh so comfortable.  As if singles, poly, and people without marriage licenses wouldn't be responsible because they weren't being regulated enough....  Ahem.  Although I suppose, one could argue better it's hard to be fully "responsible" when oh, say the the law in a few parts just wasn't allowing them to be fully compliant:  For example, when the 'wrong' (non-authorized) parent picked up the kids from school etc.  Though in practice quite a few people never would realize that was what was happening in that case...  But I feel that isn't nearly the full breadth of what the 'normality and responsibility' discourse has been hinting toward -- however loosely.
   
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 02:47:11 AM by kylie »

Offline consortium11

I emphasized a part of this quote here, because I wonder if there was actually any offering of a service. My understanding (which, I will admit, may be off the mark) is that what is offered by opening a shop or putting a "we create cakes with your text on it" sign in the window of a bakery is not a service - it is the offer of negotiating a contract to provide such services, an invitation to treat/bargain. There is no contract agreed on yet, so there is no refusal of a service. There is a refusal to enter into a contract negotiation.

It may sound a bit odd and a little counter-intuitive outside contract law, but my understanding of contract law is that a customer walking into a shop and proclaiming he wants to buy such-and-such item does not conclude a contract that began with an offer by the store to sell, but rather starts the contract negotiation that concludes when the store owner hands over the item and accepts the customer's money. So how can anyone who refuses to deal with a black, gay, elderly, disabled person actually refuse them a service - as far as contract law is concerned? Wouldn't they actually be refusing to negotiate the provision of a certain service, and not withhold the actual service itself?

You're basically right when it comes to contract law and advertising (although different jurisdictions use different terms); I let my language be a little loose in this case as (for once!) I didn't think it helped to get too bogged down in legalese.

In these cases it's also actually largely irrelevant. The vast majority of anti-discrimination statutes in the US (both on a state and federal level) use the term "public accommodations". This doesn't just relate to what we'd colloquially think of as accommodations (hotels, renting a property etc etc) but to anything that "accommodates the public"... so all shops, most businesses etc etc, with slight exceptions made for private clubs and religious groups (although private clubs are now largely classified as a public accommodation). Anti-discrimination laws tend to sidestep issues relating to contract law and exactly when something is offered by saying that all public accommodations can't discriminate.

To see this is action one can consider the fairly well known Elaine Photography case. Looked at purely through contract law no service was offered; when the company advertised that they did wedding photography that was merely an invitation to treat/bargain thus they did not refuse to offer a service. But as the relevant New Mexico anti-discrimination statue states that (emphasis mine) "in matters of employment, housing, credit, public accommodations and union membership" one cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity and the court held that refusing to photograph a gay wedding counted as discrimination on the basis of sexuality, the photography studio lost their case.

On a side note and relevant to the wider topic of this thread New Mexico also has a state RFRA which, while different to the one proposed in Indiana, is arguably actually somewhat stronger in that it doesn't have the clarifying clause that was subsequently added. It hasn't stopped New Mexico from being one of the most legally accepting states in the US for LGBT issues or deciding against Elaine Photography in the above mentioned one.

Offline Top Cat

I'll state my position on the whole matter one more time, and then let it drop: A religion is a personal thing. Everyone is entitled to believe, or not believe, as they see fit. For example, Orthodox Jews demand that their food be kosher, which they are absolutely entitled to do. But they cannot demand that everyone in the city/state/country follow the kosher rules as outlined in the Torah. They cannot even force other Jews to eat Kosher if those people do not wish to, for whatever reason.

Similarly, the Mormon faith demands that Mormons wear holy underwear, but it would be wrong for them to start demanding that everyone start observing this religious expectation. Their holy documents make a demand, and it is each and every Mormon's choice and religious decision of whether or not to do this.

Can they provide social pressure? Sure, that can happen for anything, and often does - Talking on the cell phone while on a bus, or wearing white after Labor Day, for example, will get some people to consider you uncouth and uncivilized, and may result in some negative treatment from others. But it's not a law, so there's no reason that you can't... except that other people say you can't. There are plenty of other things, even new ones, that are getting social pressure against them. But that doesn't mean that those people, no matter how much of the population they may be, can use their beliefs to force you to follow them.

It is a Christian conceit that everyone must follow their religion's rules (not solely Christian, but as Christianity is the dominant religion, they certainly have more opportunities to engage in this officious demand). There is no reason that a Christian demand that people not engage in homosexual acts should ever flow over to people who aren't Christian, or even that Christians must force other Christians to observe and obey this law.

And yet, this is something that our government has had some difficulty in applying properly. Despite the First Amendment's laws regarding religious freedom, there's been blindness about dealing fairly with non-Christian religions. Thanks to the Communist Scare in the 50s, several government agencies started making changes to things to follow a Christian view - the currency had In God We Trust replace the previous slogan, E Pluribus Unum; the Pledge of Allegiance had "under God" added. Other things have been done, and made into law, because of the common belief that "everyone" was Christian.

Scientific studies over the past few decades have proven pretty categorically that sexual orientation isn't just a decision, isn't just something that people can "turn off" just because a law, or an authority, tells them that they cannot do it. Criminalizing "gay-ness" (or homosexual acts, if you prefer) does not make people decide to just be straight. As such, it's improper (and, arguably, immoral) for a government to be making these demands on someone's behavior, or making laws that only apply to this subset of the populace.

Offline Caehlim

Similarly, the Mormon faith demands that Mormons wear holy underwear, but it would be wrong for them to start demanding that everyone start observing this religious expectation. Their holy documents make a demand, and it is each and every Mormon's choice and religious decision of whether or not to do this.

Forgive the slight derailment but to the best of my knowledge it's not compulsory for members of the LDS church to wear those sacred garments. They're something that some members choose to wear sometimes as a source of personal religious comfort, much like any christian might choose to wear a cross necklace and keep it tucked below their neckline. It's something comedians frequently make sport of, but it's not really a major or important doctrine of the LDS church.

However I agree entirely with your point in general that the line of religious freedom is crossed when it stops being about what you're doing and starts being about controlling what others do. If the pizzeria were muslim instead and refused to supply pizza to someone because they planned on refrigerating the pizza and eating it during the day in the holy month of Ramadan, then that would be a similar case of crossing the line into controlling what other people do. However demanding that they eat that pizza themselves during Ramadan would be restricting their freedom to practice their religious faith and perform a ceremonial fast.

Online Oniya

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However I agree entirely with your point in general that the line of religious freedom is crossed when it stops being about what you're doing and starts being about controlling what others do. If the pizzeria were muslim instead and refused to supply pizza to someone because they planned on refrigerating the pizza and eating it during the day in the holy month of Ramadan, then that would be a similar case of crossing the line into controlling what other people do. However demanding that they eat that pizza themselves during Ramadan would be restricting their freedom to practice their religious faith and perform a ceremonial fast.

Kind of funny story - Back when we lived in VA, Mr. Oniya worked with a couple of Muslims.  One year, one of the DMs came in during an inventory or checklist (both are circumstances where the company gets as many people working at tearing up the store and putting it back together).  As a 'morale thing', the DM was going to buy everyone lunch.  Mr. Oniya told the DM that it would be better to wait until after sunset and put the order in then - that way, everyone could eat.

Offline Top Cat

Forgive the slight derailment but to the best of my knowledge it's not compulsory for members of the LDS church to wear those sacred garments.
I did a quick search, and I stand corrected. *doffs his salacious hat*

I was trying to find three significantly different examples of religious requirements, and that one came to mind. Should have taken a few minutes on the homework, there. ;)

Offline Caehlim

Kind of funny story - Back when we lived in VA, Mr. Oniya worked with a couple of Muslims.  One year, one of the DMs came in during an inventory or checklist (both are circumstances where the company gets as many people working at tearing up the store and putting it back together).  As a 'morale thing', the DM was going to buy everyone lunch.  Mr. Oniya told the DM that it would be better to wait until after sunset and put the order in then - that way, everyone could eat.

Great example of how people of different religions can all work together respecting one another's beliefs and practices without necessarily sharing them.

I did a quick search, and I stand corrected. *doffs his salacious hat*

All good, I just have a few friends in the LDS Church so I've picked up a bit about their practices.

Offline Dimir

Thought this would apply to the thread.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/17/us/michigan-business-bans-openly-gay-people/

Car shop owner Brian Klawiter says that gay couples openly showing affection will not be allowed service while gun owners will get a discount. Appears to be more of a political statement and free advertising for this business, although it came along with death threats and protesting. However it appears to be legal under Michigan law.

Offline kylie

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    He might have to renew his license? first. 

    And it sounds like there may be additional state scrutiny, at least in cases like this where one might be found to have been making particular enough threats of sabotage or other material (and possibly physical) harm.

Quote
Brian Klawiter, the Grandville business owner at the center of a firestorm of controversy because of his Facebook post that he would deny service to openly gay people, has not been a legally licensed mechanic in Michigan since Oct. 12, 2014.

...

MLive reports Klawiter still has not registered his business in Grandville, in violation of local ordinances.

...

Woodhams also said the original post by Klawiter might raise concerns. In that post Klawiter threatened to reassemble the vehicles of customers who argued with him on gay rights, with bolts without any nuts. He has since claimed that statement was not a threat, rather it was an allusion to gay sex.

"The department is concerned about any work done in an improper or unsafe way by a mechanic and will take licensing action as appropriate when it receives a complaint," Woodhams says. "As we discussed, Mr. Klawiter is not a licensed mechanic."


Offline Formless

Kind of funny story - Back when we lived in VA, Mr. Oniya worked with a couple of Muslims.  One year, one of the DMs came in during an inventory or checklist (both are circumstances where the company gets as many people working at tearing up the store and putting it back together).  As a 'morale thing', the DM was going to buy everyone lunch.  Mr. Oniya told the DM that it would be better to wait until after sunset and put the order in then - that way, everyone could eat.

I salute Mr. Oniya for this.

Offline Ironwolf85

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*facepalm, facepalm, facepalm*
I sorta feel like venting a bit, I swear the guys making this law had no idea what the fuck they were doing. There was no reason for it except "WE MUST STOP DA EVIL GAYS" no religious practices were under threat, no lawsuits filed, nothing... written in haste and parinoia.

According to Gallup polling, Something like 86% of Christians under 30 support gay marrage, and I'm one of them. Even if they are fudging numbers this way or that, it is a wide margin. So when someone from the bible belt old enough to be my grandfather goes and does this. it makes me want to facepalm so hard. X,x

Offline Callie Del Noire

I salute Mr. Oniya for this.

Reminds me of standing watch with a driver on rotation between the Jebel port and Dubai. It was my first Ramadan in the gulf. There were six of us who talked with our drivers and hit it off well. They took us to this nice Iranian place and we had a good time after sunset. We asked questions, they explained things. Wish my photos survived the trip (someone stole the ten rolls I took on that first cruise)