This controversy involving the LGBT activists and state legislatures with “religious liberty” bills is very troubling. You already have a “religious liberty bill” — it’s called the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment which protects your right to practice whatever religion you want to, and your right to free expression of it. The First Amendment also protects your right to not practice a religion or to express non-religious or anti-religious views if you want to. No one has a right to force someone else to practice or express a religious view, and no one has a right to prevent someone else from practicing or expressing a religious view. The rights that are being violated, by social activists on the right and the left, are private property rights, freedom of contract, and freedom of association. Those are the very principles upon which America was founded. Or so I thought.
It seems to me that the anti-same-sex marriage conservatives do not understand those principles, obviously, when they want to make laws which prohibit same-sex marriage in their state. They want the government to control private people’s marriages and relationships. They do not believe in freedom of contract and association. No, ALL people have a right to have a contract with others, whether it is business, personal, or both. Usually, a marital contract is both personal and economic. Morally, the terms of such contracts are the business of those participating, as long as they are voluntary contracts and as long as people are peaceful. And as to who gets to participate in such contracts, that’s also the business of the parties involved, not their neighbors, and certainly not the government.
So of course a religious minister or priest has a right to not involve oneself in administering a same-sex wedding if he doesn’t want to. Unless he is employed by a church whose owners specifically say that as part of his job he must do that. If he doesn’t like it he can work somewhere else. And of course an entire church or otherwise private organization has a private property right and freedom of association right to not administer same-sex weddings if they don’t want to. And a private justice of the peace has that same right of refusal. And of course the same-sex couple who are being denied a service can go find someone who will administer their wedding for them. There are plenty of people now, justices of the peace and ministers, who are perfectly willing and happy to marry ALL people who want to be married. No problem there.
And of course people have a right to establish voluntary contracts for a same-sex marriage if they want to. That would be under the category of the people’s unalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Who owns your life, you or your neighbors? The government?
Commercial transactions also need to be voluntary. No coercion. In commercial transactions contracts are based on private property rights and free exchange, that is, free of coercion. For example: the Christian bakers who didn’t want to serve the lesbian couple. The principle involved here and the rights to be protected in this case were private property rights and freedom of association, not religious liberty. Yes, the Christian bakers stated that they didn’t want to serve the lesbian couple because the bakers disapproved of the lesbians’ lifestyle based on the bakers’ religious views. But the business there, the bakery, is those Christians’ business. It does not belong to their neighbors, and it does not belong to the government. It is their private property, and the right to control with whom to do business is ultimately 100% their right. They have a right to choose to not do business with anyone they don’t want to do business with and for any reason. That is their property right to control that. It is also their basic freedom of association right to control their associations.
Now, when government laws and legislative acts are made to interfere with those bakers’ basic rights, those governmental intrusions are just that: intrusions which are violating their rights. No one has a right to force the bakers to bake a cake for them. So, as I’ve said previously, the real aggressor in that case were the lesbian couple who then sued the Christian bakers who wouldn’t serve them. The lesbian couple brought the armed powers of the State in there to financially punish those bakers for not doing extra labor to serve the lesbians. Besides dragging the bakers through the courts and causing them a lot of stress and anguish and taking a lot of time away from them, the lesbians also sought and received financial reward from the bakers, and that was nothing but extortion, in my view, a criminal act on the part of the lesbian couple.
Now, unfortunately, I believe that the activist Christians and conservatives who had been critical of those “civil rights” injustices are not consistent in their advocacy of “religious liberty.” For example, if the couple who wanted a cake for their wedding were Christians, and they sued atheist bakers for refusal of service, I would bet that most of these activist conservatives would come to the side of the Christian couple. And I believe that because most people in general just don’t understand the moral principles of private property rights and freedom of association. We see that when it comes to same-sex marriage. The conservatives just don’t want certain groups of people, ones that they disapprove of (such as homosexuals), to exercise their rights to “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”
The main starting point for all this “civil rights” confusion and the further expansion of “protected classes” of people was the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As I have referred to previously, that Act rightfully repealed the Jim Crow laws which forced “whites-only” on privately owned businesses whether their owners liked it or not. And the Act prohibited discrimination by governmental functions such as the government schools, the public transportation services, the government-controlled parks, etc. But the Civil Rights Act should not have included privately owned businesses, no matter how large, no matter their function as a “public accommodation.” Once the separation between private property and “public” property began to be legislatively confused, I think that was the beginning of the end of private property rights in America (such as they were by that time, anyway), and also the beginning of an even bigger leap downward and backward toward a more demented and degenerate culture.