Cost of Innkeepers in VT to Keep Their Religious Beliefs About Marriage - $30K and A Promise of No More Wedding Receptions

In the attached LINK there is a story about a lesbian couple who sued an Innkeeper couple in VT that refused to host their gay-wedding reception because of their deeply held religious beliefs.

As in CA, such a decision violates VT civil rights laws that maintain the rights of equal access to publicly offered accommodations. The Innkeepers were sued by the couple, and had to pay a total of $30K. They also agreed they would host no more wedding receptions at their Inn, because they would not support a “gay wedding reception” on religious grounds.

There’s a real clash coming between these state civil rights laws, and the Establishment Clause. Given the day’s political climate, it’s likely that results such as the above will be upheld.

While I abhor discrimination, I have a problem with the result, and the lack of acknowledgement of any religious exemption from compliance under this scenario. It’s not like this is the only Inn in VT? Was the couple truly excluded from a wedding reception? Were there no alternatives to this one small Inn?

What about Retreat centers run by Catholic lay-persons? Or Bible Baptist campgrounds? Would they fare any better?

Peace,
Robert

P.S. One other observation; the Chicago Tribune’s headline states the Lesbian Couple “wins” a settlement. By definition a settlement is just that… a settlement without a winner or a loser. Although I have to say that the “settlement” looks a bit more like a “stickup.”

The free exercise of religion is increasingly being prohibited, in violation of the first amendment. If an innkeeper has religious objection to using their own facilities to advance homosexual marriage, their free exercise of religion must give way to gay political pressure.

This is the problem with anti discrimination laws. They can easily be stretched to force private business and individuals to violate their beliefs.

This is no different then the laws that don’t allow people to discriminate against blacks or other minorities who conduct commerce. If you run a public business in a State the state can regulate your business because you are engaged in commerce.
How would you feel if a large number of Protestant businesses put up a sign saying, “No Catholics” in your city? Do you want to live in a world where your dollar is only good to the merchant if you belong to their race or religion?
Think about what you are advocating.

So much for the “live and let live” argument.

Moderator: Please merge with:

Re: Vermont Catholic innkeepers who refused lesbian wedding reception settle with ACLU [CWN]

I would support their right to refuse service to me for whatever reason they want. I have been asked to leave a store in Detroit because I was white. I don’t have a problem with it.

If the question is, would I rather allow lprivate business to discriminate on the basis of religion, or prohibit them from the free exercise of religion, I would rather err on the side of enforcing the first amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

We seem to have come a long way in allowing state interference in the free exercise thereof.

In the early days of the 20th century, signs saying “No Catholics Need Apply,” were not uncommon. Yet Catholics stayed and prospered.

If a Protestant person who owned a reception hall did not want to rent it to Catholics for the purpose of a function they throught was immoral (such as gambling, drinking, or rosary praying) I would be perfectly happy to take my business elsewhere. If a Protestant-owned hall had a policy that they didn’t rent their space out for BINGO, no one would bat an eye. The problem isn’t that the person is gay, but that the event itself is abhorant. If the same gay person wanted to rent the hall for another kind of event, it would not be a problem.

Yes, a Protestan business owner who objected to gambling, ought to be able to freely exercise his religion by refusing to allow gambling, or drinking, or whatever, in his establishment, even if that had the effect of discriminating against Catholics.

I wouldn’t even consider such a situation descrimination against Catholics. Maybe discrimination against gamblers? If the Protestant hall owner said, I won’t serve Catholics, that would be discrimination. If he said, I won’t allow my hall to these specific Catholics because they want to have a casino night, that isn’t discrimination.

There is no “right” to discriminate in public accommodation. Nor should there be. If one’s religious sensibilities prevent one from performing certain services, one needs to choose one’s profession carefully.

Should Christian Scientist Physicians be exempt from malpractice laws?

Right, as long as he treated all gamblers equally it wouldn’t be an issue.

That is exactly what the Gay couple was asking for, to be treated that same as any other couple getting married **under Vermont Law

**What if he said , well the Protestants can have a bingo game on Tuesday, but Catholics can’t have their bingo game here because I don’t personally believe Catholics should play bingo?

Apparently one does need to choose one’s profession carefully. Wedding photographers and wedding cake makers have, I understand, both been sued for refusing to phtograph or make cakes for, homosexual marriages. Their choice of profession means they are effectively prohibited from the free exercise of their religion.

I suppose that public accomodations can discriminate in some instances. The Ritz Carleton can refuse to accomodate me if I don’t have enough money to pay them; so they can discriminate on the basis of poverty. And some restaurants have discriminated on the basis that I wasn’t wearing a suit and tie.

Good. As I asked before, how would you address a Christian Scientist who decided he wanted to be an MD, but still wanted to freely practice his religion?

The point is that the R-C discriminated equally against everyone who didn’t have enough money. They didn’t let poor Blacks and/or Protestants in while denying service to poor Whites and/or Catholics.

Similarly, as long as the restaurant wasn’t serving anyone in shirtsleeves I’m okay with it. But not if they let Yankee fans in wearing polo shirts but require Braves fans to wear coats and ties…

I wonder if a homosexual owned a business, if they would let the Westboro Baptist Church rent a room from them to hold one of their “we hate gays” meetings.

I’m in no way condoning WBC’s actions or beliefs, just trying to make an analogy.

I know the lesbian couple want to be treated like any couple, but they aren’t the same as any couple. I’m not an expert on Vermont’s laws, but if the law requires citizens to believe that a lesbian couple are married or participate in their wedding, it is both immoral and against the federal constitution. Vermont should not be violating the rights of its citizens to practice their religion.

As to a Christian Scientist becoming an MD, they would have to meet the same standards as any other M.D., get through medical school, pass their boards, complete their residency, etc. I presume that a Christian Scientist might not wish to even go to medical school. A Christian Scientist MD might attract certain types of patients, still they should keep their malpractice coverage up to date.

Now, it seems that a minister or priest IS allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation–that is, they are not, currently at least, required to conduct marriages for same sex couples, even in Vermont. Why do they get to discriminate but others don’t? Ministers and priests get a special waiver allowing them the free exercise of religion under the first amendment, but others don’t?

What if someone’s religious beliefs didn’t agree with interracial couples? Do you think it would be ok to discriminate?

Wow, someone gets it.

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