Christianity,  Culture,  Politics

Coercing a Christian couple to host a gay wedding

The story in the video above is not a new one. Still, you need to see this. Here’s the story in a nutshell.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford are Christians who own a family farm near Albany, New York. They regularly rent their property for special events, parties, weddings, etc. In 2012, a lesbian couple attempted to rent the facilities for their lesbian wedding, and the owners declined. Why? Because the Giffords are Christians and believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. They simply did not wish to use their property to host an event that contradicts their deeply held religious beliefs.

As punishment, the state of New York has fined them $13,000—$10,000 for the state of New York and $3,000 for the lesbian couple. In effect, the government is coercing them to host gay weddings from now on or face crippling fines.

There’s a twist in this. The lesbian couple initially contacted the owners by telephone. It turns out that the woman who called is a law student, and she recorded the phone conversation. Now you tell me. What kind of a person records phone conversations about wedding plans? Probably not someone who is mainly concerned about wedding plans.

This sounds to me like a set-up designed to ensnare unsuspecting Christians because of their beliefs about marriage. In any case, this Christian couple is now paying through the nose because the government says they must violate their consciences and host gay wedding on their personal property.

As I mentioned above, this is not a new story. This family farm has been in the news for two years now. Still, it makes a big difference to see these dear people and to hear from them in their own words.

The report says that the government is penalizing the Giffords for discriminating against the lesbians on the basis of “sexual orientation.” Nevermind the fact that the owners have employed gay people and have regularly served gay people. The state says they must also host gay weddings or be penalized for criminal discrimination.

If this isn’t a clear violation religious liberty—our nation’s first freedom, mind you—then nothing is.

(HT: The Daily Signal)


  • Jon Hall

    This will not end well for anybody. This will lead to a totalitarian government, do they not realize this? That is won’t end well for anybody expect for those in power?

  • Daniel

    This is persecution. They can go anywhere else if they want. That was not a public service, it was a private buisness with a respected traditional specification.
    I think the goverment should be concerned for the standard regulation rules and not to interfere in the traditional specification of that buissnes.
    Discrimination would be if they were not allowed to go there just becouse they were lesbians not becouse they were not allowed to have a gay wedding.

    • keithcrosby

      It’s not a matter of race but religious freedom. But let’s employ your uneven restaurant analogy. Imagine a restaurant that does not want to serve alcohol. People who drink alcohol should ask the government to force them to serve alcohol? So you’re saying I can force a Muslim caterer to serve pork? This farm hosts parties for same sex couples. They do not host religious services that violate their religious beliefs.

      • Jane Dunn

        Keith – Of course the government can’t require a business to offer services that it doesn’t already offer. Here, however, the business DOES offer wedding services. Because it does, it must not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation, etc.

      • buddyglass

        I didn’t say it was a matter of race. I used race as an example to highlight the a principle. Namely that employing someone who is {X} doesn’t mean you aren’t still discriminating against people who are {X}.

        Imagine a restaurant that does not want to serve alcohol. People who drink alcohol should ask the government to force them to serve alcohol?

        Since alcohol drinkers aren’t a protected class, no.

        You can certainly argue homosexuals shouldn’t be a protected class. You would be in good company. But that’s a different argument.

        I suspect you don’t object in general to the application of anti-discrimination laws. I say “suspect” because I don’t know you personally, and you may actually be consistently libertarian enough to oppose all anti-discrimination laws equally. For instance, imagine if this case involved the owners refusing to host an interracial wedding based on sincerely held religious beliefs. Would you still side with the property owners?

        Another difference between alcohol (or pork, in the case of Muslims) is that refusing to allow alcohol (or pork) to be served at a wedding ceremony doesn’t exclude anyone from having their wedding there. Those who like to drink alcohol don’t have to drink alcohol. So, prohibiting alcohol (or pork) on the property doesn’t exclude alcohol drinkers (or pork eaters) from having their weddings there. Refusing to host same-sex weddings effectively prevents homosexuals from having their weddings there. So that’s another difference.

        If there were a religion whose marriage ceremony specifically required alcohol (or pork) then the situation might be different. In that case, the ban on alcohol (or pork) might be seen as effectively discriminating against couples of that faith.

  • Lindsay Parks

    Buddy- Blacks are born black. Homosexuals are NOT born homosexual. No scientific test of any kind, has ever confimred this claim. The Bible says it is a lifestyle of choice. These people agitate, militate, demonstrate, and legislate, to force the rest of society (the OTHER 97%!) to “tolerate”. But their tolerance only goes one way. People must tolerate THEM. They have NO tolerance for the views of Christians, or what the Bible and the God of the Bible says about them.

    • buddyglass

      Blacks are born black. Homosexuals are NOT born homosexual.

      That may well be, but it doesn’t change what I wrote. That they employ homosexuals doesn’t mean they aren’t still discriminating against homosexuals.

      Christians aren’t born Christian. Should they not enjoy anti-discrimination protection?

      • buddyglass

        Side note: your response to what I wrote may be, “Okay; I’m fine with them discriminating against homosexuals”.

        All I’m saying is that when discussing whether they are discriminating in whom they serve their employing members of the protected class isn’t especially relevant. Hence the example of the restaurant that employs blacks but won’t serve blacks.

          • buddyglass

            I’m not even sure how such a thing would be “proven”. This isn’t a math. That said, discrimination has a certain legal definition. If you don’t serve blacks you’re discriminating against blacks, even if discriminating against blacks is something you consider necessary in order to “stay true to your Creator and His Holy Word”. It may be that, from your perspective, staying true to God’s Holy Word demands discrimination. If that’s the case, though, you should be honest and admit that that’s the case.

            • Lindsay Parks

              Buddy- you are now engaged in circular argument. There is NOWHERE in Scripture where there would be even the remotest hint for a Christian to deny their services to a black person. Being black is NOT a sin. Homosexuality IS a sin, and Christians are commanded by their Lord to avoid moral evil and sexual sin. Your argument makes no sense.

              • Jane Dunn

                Lindsay — I agree the Bible doesn’t provide a basis for people to discriminate on the basis of race. But, for most of the many decades of Jim Crow segregation, most white evangelicals believed that the Bible taught that integration was a sin. This argument was raised against the civil rights acts in the 1960s. The courts said that businesses and schools had to integrate anyway. Some private schools lost their federal tax exemption because they refused to integrate. The world did not come to an end.

                • Lindsay Parks

                  Jane- what WAS done then is not any kind of an argument or excuse for what SHOULD BE done now. We all agree that what was done to blacks in this country for years was egregiously wrong. But black civil rights cannot be equated to homosexual “civil rights”. That was simply my point. Homosexuals HAVE no special rights, under the God of the Bible, other than judgment (Romans 1, Sodom and Gomorrha), and the opportunity to accept the Savior. Laws abolished slavery. Only salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ can cure homosexuality.

                  • Jane Dunn

                    Lindsay — While I disagree with you about whether homosexuality is sinful, my point was only abut the discrimination laws. Denny’s point was about how terrible it was that the laws were requiring this business to offer its space/services to a lesbian couple in the same way it would offer them to a straight couple. you claimed it wasn’t discrimination. Just because you believe the Bible requires you to treat LGBT people a certain way doesn’t mean that what you’re doing or supporting isn’t discrimination, just like white Christians who believed that integration was sinful were discriminating against blacks.

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      Jane- you’re not disagreeing with me about the sinfulness of homosexuailty. You’re disgreeing with God. In the Bible, here are the descriptive terms used to describe this practive. Sin. Unnatural. Unseemly. An abomination. Confusion. Defilement. Uncleanness. You can argue whatever you wish. But please understand Who it is against Whom you’re arguing.

                      The apostles said it best. “We ought to obey God, rather than man.” It was in error for whites to take a stand against blacks, and blame it on the Bible. It is not an error for these folks to take the stand they did. They’re siding with the Lord.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Lindsay – I’m not disagreeing with God. I’m disagreeing with what you mistakenly believe God said. BTW, you still haven’t acknowledged that you want to be able to discriminate against LGBT folks because of what you believe the Bible teaches.

                    • buddyglass

                      I’m not disagreeing with God. I’m disagreeing with what you mistakenly believe God said.

                      That’s true if you’re right about her view being mistaken. If you’re wrong then you are, in fact, disagreeing with God. Just as she is if your interpretation is the correct one. Right?

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Buddy- True, but I wasn’t the one claiming to speak for God. I think major changes in understanding of biblical concepts take time to transition and during that transition people who are otherwise of true good faith may hold views that we later come to believe are abhorrent. That clearly happened with abolition, civil rights, gender issues, and other human rights. I believe it will also happen with LGBT issues, but I can’t prove it.

                      I am old enough to remember when way too many white evangelicals were openly and proudly racist, arguing that the Bible prohibited racial integration in part because of a belief that the Bible said that black people carried “the mark of Ham,” which they believed was a mark signifying sin. The notion that we will become a totalitarian state if the government enforces civil rights and public accommodations laws even in the face of people’s sincerely held religious beliefs was widespread then, too. We survived and are a better country for it.

                      I respect your efforts to focus on the conduct you believe is sinful while looking carefully at how we are to treat people even when we believe they are acting sinfully.

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      Jane and Buddy- first of all, Lindsay is a “he”. I am a family physician, 37 years in practice. I have taken care of MANY homosexuals and lesbians through the years- I’ve had several patients die of HIV/AIDS. I have never, nor will ever, turn away a patient because of his or her choice of sexual lifestyles.

                      Jane- you disagree that the Bible states that homosexuality is sin. It states it in both Testaments, multiple times. I cannot change your mind on that- I choose to believe the Word of God. It is as plain as the nose on your face.

                      But this case truly IS persecution…and you, as a lawyer, should know that these people are specifically targeting Christian family businesses, to force them out of business, and further their agenda. This is happening all over America. It is grossly unfair.

                      If I, as a Christian, open a B&B, I should be able to NOT serve homosexuals, because of my religious beliefs. I should not have to serve pedophiles, child molesters, rapists, wife-beaters, or drug addicts. I can forbid them from smoking. I can prohibit alcohol. But as a Christian, I am losing the religious rights and freedoms this country was founded on.

                      As in-your-face as this movement is, the LGBT population, in any and every demographic ever surveyed, is less than 4.5% of the total population. Go with just homosexuals, and in every study, it is less than 3%.

                      This IS the worst example I’ve ever seen, of the “tail wagging the dog”. These people agitate, demonstrate, militate, and legislate, to force the rest of us to “tolerate”. But their “tolerance” only goes one way- they will NEVER tolerate what the Bible says, and what Christians believe.

                      I have great sympathy for these bakers. They were targeted by militant people, doing what the Lord considers great sin. And they’re winning. It is just so wrong.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Lindsay – You say you are a family practice physician who has cared for LGBT patients. That sort of medical care is some of the most intimate service that one person can provide for another. Yet, you had no problem abiding by your professional ethics. Why should it be a problem for Christian business owners to provide commercial services to these same LGBT folks? They will survive just like you did. No one in their right mind believes that a business owner who provides a public accommodation to a customer is somehow endorsing that customer’s life any more than your treating LGBT patients means that you endorse everything about their lives. You keep proving my point.

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      You really have no point, Jane- except that you consistently argue against the Bible, the authority of the Word of God, and you basically ignore what it says.

                      As a lawyer, you should know that my being a doctor, is different from my owning a B&B. My job is not a job- it is a life. It is not an occupation- it is a calling. I am not allowed to legislate my morality on my patients. My patients know exactly who I am and what I stand for, and they still come. I have shown them love, and witnessed to them about salvation and the forgiveness of their sins through the finished work of Christ.

                      It’s a totally different thing if I choose to be a wedding photographer, and elect NOT to shoot gay “marriages” (which are NOT marriages anyway, as defined by God). If I own a 3-BR B&B, and choose that my beds will not be used for lesbian or homosexualy activity, I should have that right.

                      As the disciples said, “we ought to obey God, rather than men.”

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      Jane- PLEASE! , for the sake of all of us here, and for this discussion, PLEASE do not use the black civil rights argument as ANY legitimate comparison to the LGBT agenda. There is not a single parallel, there is not one iota of comparison, and there is NO similarity to slavery, the civil rights struggle of black people, and the injustices they have faced, to what militant lesbians and homosexuals bring on themselves.

                      Since there is NO comparison, please stop trying to compare them.

  • Johnathan Youngs

    It’s true that the government overstepped their Constitutional bounds, violated private citizens’ rights and discriminated against Christians. The nation is indeed slouching towards gomorrah.

    Nevertheless, I would have allowed it were I in their situation. To deny them them a venue for marriage is no different than denying chain smokers marriage. If you do that, you should also deny the morbidly obese. Ditto for those addicted to self-pleasuring. If you’re going to deny one habitual sinner a venue, you need to deny all habitual sinners.

    If you’re going to suggest homesexuality is worse than my other examples, then you’re suggesting that one is a super sin and the others are excusable sins. Though we know there are no super sins, if there were then our bodies tell us which sins are worse than others. A monogamous lesbian couple is going to outlive chain smokers and the morbidly obese.

    To allow fat people to get married on your property is not endorsing obesity. To allow chain smokers to get married on your property is not endorsing smoking. To allow rabid Chevy fans the same privilege is not dissing Ford. To rent space to lesbians is not endorsing lesbianism.

    Christian moral law is not only wasted on the world, it drives them away. Christ didn’t draw the lost by telling landowners to drive out the infidel. Neither did He tell Rome that their laws had to conform to Judaism. He ignored their laws and fulfilled His Law so that He could draw us, them, homesexuals and everyone else in by grace. Where’s the grace in all of this?

    • buddyglass

      First off: I’m with you on allowing the couple to host their party at the property. That said:

      To deny them them a venue for marriage is no different than denying chain smokers marriage.

      This logic is faulty. When two people who are engaged in unrepentant sin marry each other their marriage isn’t necessarily a celebration of and formalization of that sin. It’s just a marriage. When a same-sex couple marries it is a celebration of and formalization of their same-sex relationship, which is inherently sinful.

      Where I think the owners are likely inconsistent (and I say “likely” because I don’t know them and can’t say for sure what they’d do in a given situation) is in being especially reluctant to host celebrations of same-sex relationships but not celebrations of other sinful things. Say, divorces. “Divorce parties” are apparently a thing now. Or maybe someone being confirmed into a false religion. Or a pantheist celebration to “welcome the spirits of Spring” or some nonsense.

      The best litmus test would be a heterosexual couple wanting to throw a party to celebrate their having moved in together. If the property owners would host that party but not the same-sex couple’s thing then they’re being hypocritical.

      • Johnathan Youngs

        “When a same-sex couple marries it is a celebration of and formalization of their same-sex relationship, which is inherently sinful.”

        You make a good point I had not considered. So I agree that, for a Christian landowner, denying them is not the same is denying smokers.

        Having said that, the imperfect analogy was in support of a larger point. That is to draw sinners in by showing them grace. These landowners have contributed to pushing them away by showing them Christian moral law that they don’t recognize. That’s not the Biblical model and no one is ever saved that way.

        There is, of course, a time and place to draw the line. As stated from the outset, I think the government overstepped their bounds. These landowners should be able to live within their conscience.

        As for me, I still believe my conscience would have allowed me to rent the land to them. To rent them the land doesn’t mean I support what they’re doing on it. Barring intervention from the Holy Spirit, I’d use it as an opportunity to show love to those that wouldn’t expect it from me. Christ does that 24/7 365.

        • buddyglass

          Yeah. Nothing I can disagree with there. I’ll add that I don’t think it would be inappropriate for the owners to take the couple aside, prior to agreeing to host the party, and tell them about a better way. Affirm the human need for companionship and the very real, albeit misdirected, love they share, and emphasize that they’re loved by God, even while far away. But bear clear about the fact that He’s calling them to something different; something better and richer than what they’re about to celebrate. Even and including if that call is to a period (perhaps life long) of celibacy.

          I don’t expect the chat would go over well most of the time, but that’s out of their hands.

        • Johnny Mason

          “Barring intervention from the Holy Spirit”

          So why don’t you give these owners the benefit of the doubt? What if their conscience and the Holy Spirit are convicting them to stand on their faith and the truth. You imply that these owners are not showing love or grace to the gay couple, when in fact what they have done was the height of love. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.

          • Johnathan Youngs

            I do give them the benefit of the doubt in the sense that I believe they’re following their conscience. At the same time, they are NOT showing the gay couple grace. Law and grace are in opposition. John 1:17 shows us this juxtaposition…

            “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”

            Law is not the height of love. It is the height of condemnation. Paul tells us Law is a “ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones”. Is that what the gay couple needs? Yet another Christian wagging the finger of Law at them? Is that what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do?

            Homosexuals know very well what we think of their actions. I’m certain Jesus felt the same way about the sinful actions of the woman caught in adultery. Yet even He did not “lovingly” invoke Law. He showed her grace. She then called Him “Lord”, indicating a likelihood that she immediately recognized Him as Messiah and her personal savior. Only then, only *after* salvation, did He say go and sin no more.

            I don’t begrudge the landowners the right to do with their land as their conscience leads. However, I submit that the average Christian’s conscience is driven by Law and not lead by the Spirit of grace. We’ll win a lot more souls if we show grace first, let the Spirit do the work of salvation, and then say go and sin no more.

            • Johnny Mason

              Let’s say you have a friend who is dealing with addiction, particularly pain killers. And he comes up to you and asks for your pain meds. He needs to get a new hit. Now what is the loving and gracious thing to do? Is it loving and gracious to give him the meds and then to tell him go and sin no more? Is it loving and gracious to facilitate his habit? Or is the loving thing to do to say no.

              In the case of these owners, allowing their property to be used in such a way would be the equivalent of them approving and facilitating of a sinful practice, and that their involvement would be a sin. It would be the equivalent of giving the friend some meds to feed his addiction.

              • Johnathan Youngs

                To physically abuse your body is, of course, sinful. To break God’s Law or man’s law is also sin. It’s my opinion that there’s nothing in a homesexual marriage ceremony that does any of that. Neither does it facilitate it:

                -There is no physical abuse in a ceremony. The abuse most likely came before the ceremony and will most certainly come after. I don’t facilitate that abuse by renting land. Neither will I stop it by not renting the land.
                -There’s nothing in the Bible about how the state should define legal marriage. The state is within its moral right to recognize any form of marriage it wishes. Renting land doesn’t facilitate that either.

                Even though I wouldn’t facilitate immoral behavior by renting the land, it still might be seen as tacit approval of the associated immoral behavior. I would therefore need divine wisdom in making it clear that I don’t approve, yet neither do I judge.

                It’s never my place to judge those outside the fold. (1 Corinthians 5:12) It’s only my place to show God’s love that it might draw them towards Christ. What a wonderful opportunity a situation like this could be for sharing the gospel.

  • Don Johnson

    Mat 5:40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
    Mat 5:41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

  • Ryan Davidson

    Seemingly lost in all of this discussion is the Reformers’ rather pragmatic views regarding marriage. Calvin compared its spiritual significance to that of hair-cutting. Moreover, I see nothing inherently wrong with vowed same-sex commitments. After all, such vowed commitments were common among Christians at one point in time. We wouldn’t assume that an opposite-sex couple’s vowed relationship is merely a celebration of their sexual activity. Why then make that assumption about those in a vowed same-sex relationship? Then again, it strikes me that a lot of folks on this blog don’t have close relationships with any same-sex couples.

    Lastly, it’s worth noting that the couple in question has held out their business as a place of public accommodation. If you want to reap the financial rewards that come with being a place of public accommodation, you have to accept certain limits on the way you run your business. In New York, this means that you can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. If the couple feels compelled to discriminate against providing business services to gay people, then they’ll have to forego the benefits of being recognized as a place of public accommodation.

    • buddyglass

      I’m not an attorney, but it seems like it should be easy to get around this. Require people who want to host events at the property to purchase a “membership”. So it’s a private club, not a public accommodation. Do the same thing golf courses did in order to discriminate.

      • Jane Dunn

        Buddy – I am an attorney and the law doesn’t usually let you get away with form over substance. The private clubs that discriminate are more than just a one visit thing. Besides, such deception wouldn’t be a very good witness.

    • Richard Klaus


      Can you direct me to source(s) of your claims about the Reformers? Are you attempting to argue that John Calvin would have had no problems with same-sex marriage or civil unions? These ideas seem counter-intuitive so I would like to see the sources you’re using. Thanks.

    • Johnny Mason

      except they weren’t discriminating on sexual orientation. They were refusing to hold a same-sex wedding, which is different. The refused to host a certain type of event, a farcical event at that. Had two straight people wanted to host a same-sex wedding, then they would have been refused too.

      Let’s say the owners were black and some white people showed up and wanted to hold a Klan rally. The owners refuse. Are they discriminating on race?

      • Jane Dunn

        Johnny – Being a member of the Klan is not a protected class so it’s not discrimination to deny them service. It is discrimination to refuse to rent space to a same sex wedding if you would rent the space for a straight wedding.

        • Johnny Mason

          Jane, you are not being consistent. You understand that refusing the Klan rally is not animus towards white people, because they are refusing the event and not the racial makeup of the participants in the event. The same is true for gay mirage. The owners were refusing to host the specific event, irrespective of the makeup of the those attending the event.

          Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, It is the joining of the two halves of humanity; male and female, husband and wife, mother and father. What the gay couple wanted was not a marriage but something else entirely.

          • Jane Dunn

            Johnny – It’s not discrimination against the Klan because being in the Klan is not a protected status under the law. It’s not discrimination on the basis of race because the business would not refuse business to all white people. In the case of the lesbian couple, it is discrimination because the business rents its space for weddings for straight people but refuses to rent its space to gay or lesbian couples for their weddings. They may be refusing “the event,” but when they permit the event for straight people but not for LGBT folks, that’s discrimination against what are, in NY at least, people in a protected status. Just because your religious views mean that you don’t consider a same sex wedding to be a true wedding or create. True marriage doesn’t change the fact that same sex weddings and marriages are recognized by the state of NY.

            • Johnny Mason

              “because the business would not refuse business to all white people”

              And this business has not refused all gay people. They have hosted other events for gay customers. They just do not host same sex weddings. Your point only has validity if they were to host a same-sex straight couple wedding (they happen), but not a same-sex gay couple wedding.

              • Jane Dunn

                Johnny –

                If a same sex wedding occurs between 2 straight people, it’s a sham and irrelevant to this discussion.

                A business that offers some services to LGBT folks but doesn’t offer them ALL the same services they offer to straight folks is still discriminating in the same way that a restaurant would be discriminating if it served black customers but refused to allow them to order ALL the items on the menu that it offered to whites. When the business in Denny’s post offered wedding rental space to straight couples but not to the lesbian couple, it was discriminating even though it might allow gays to rent the space for other purposes.

                • Johnny Mason

                  Jane, they are offering male-female marriage ceremonies. The gay couple wants something else. To use your analogy, they want something not on the menu, and when they are denied it, they cry discrimination.

                  And what the gay couple wants is not a marriage, they union of a man and a woman. It is impossible for two dudes to get married. It is a sham, like you said.

                  • Jane Dunn

                    Johnny –

                    That’s just silly. They don’t advertise “man-woman weddings.” They offer “weddings,” but they refuse that service to gays and lesbians.

                    That you would equate the truthful, intentional, loving commitment of a gay or lesbian couple to the 3 straight idiots who were fraudulently trying to win a prize in the clip you posted earlier is sad and offensive.

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      And the reason WHY they advertise “weddings” and expect them to be male/female, is because that is ALL The Lord has designed in the Bible! Jane- you fit the hypocritical Pharisees of Jesus’ day perfectly. You are straining at every gnat, and swallowing every camel.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Llindsay – You can try again to insult me personally all you like. Do you think that’s really going to change my mind? I believe that your position violates what the Bible teaches. You believe the same about mine. Let’s leave it at that.

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      The reason it IS a sham, Jane, is that in the Bible, the ONLY marriage prescribed by God is one man and one woman. Several of us here are arguing Biblical values. You are arguing societal values. The cultures of mankind change constantly. The Word of God lasts forever.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Lindsay – Yes, the Word of God never changes, but our understanding of it does. Just ask the millions of white Evangelicals still living who were formerly segregationists who went to churches that preached segregation. Talk to folks who went to Bob Jones University before the 1990s. BJU argued all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the 1980s, that the Bible prohibited integration and interracial marriage.

      • buddyglass

        Disparate impact. Refusing to host same-sex marriage celebrations discriminates against homosexuals because those are the type of marriage they are most likely to pursue, and that heterosexuals are extremely unlikely to pursue.

        Imagine a barber who refused to cut hair that, naturally, has a very tight curl. That barber isn’t technically discriminating against blacks, but effectively he is. There are a few non-black people with hair that would cause this barber to deny them service and there are a few black people with naturally straight hair who the barber would serve, but by and large the barber’s policy results in him serving almost all non-blacks and serving very few blacks.

  • Lindsay Parks

    Jane- please tell me how I am mistaken about what God has spoken on this subject? Are you at all familiar with the Bible? Do you understand those words I used were directly FROM God’s Word? And yes- I would absolutely do exactly what this baker did. These people would not use anything I made, to “justify” what I know to be an immoral and ungodly union.

    • Jane Dunn

      Lindsay – Yes, I am very familiar with the Bible. Are you? Many of those same words are used for shrimp and lobster as well. Homosexuality was unknown in biblical times and to the extent the Bible refers to same sex conduct, it is prohibiting temple prostitution or some other kind of abusive conduct. BTW, you still haven’t acknowledged that you believe the Bible requires you to discriminate against LGBT folks.

      • Lindsay Parks

        Jane- it seems you’ve really never read the Bible. God rescinded His condemnation of unclean animals in the book of Acts. He NEVER rescinded His condemnation of homosexuality.. Temple prostitutes? Homosexuality is specifically condemned in Leviticus 18:22, many years BEFORE there were ever temple prostitutes, OR a Temple. And the statement “homosexuality is not mentioned in Bible times” is ridiculous. Sodom and Gomorrha were destroyed for sodomy! Remember the men of Sodom clamoring to “know” the men (angels) whom Lot were trying to protect? What do you think they wanted to do with them…play checkers? And yes- the Bible instructs me to discriminate against what God calls evil.

        • Don Johnson

          Lindsay, you may have read the Bible, but I think you are not interpreting it correctly.

          Acts 15 is answering the question whether gentiles need to be circumcised to be saved. There are 4 things gentiles need to do so they can have table fellowship with Jews. None of these decisions retract anything Jews should do, including not eating meat from unclean animals.

          Lev 18:22 applies to Israelites in the Mosaic covenant. In any case, there are lots of things that are abominations for Israel that are not for gentiles and vice versa. I suggest doing a word study or reading “The Bible Now” on abomination.

          In Sodom, the men wanted to rape, having sex with anyone by force is a sin.

        • Jane Dunn

          Lindsay – Try to insult me though you may, I have in fact read the Bible cover to cover. Suffice it to say, I disagree with your interpretation. We will not resolve this matter in the comments section.

          • Lindsay Parks

            Jane- I will end my comments this way…the US Constitution provides for the freedom and exercise of religious liberty. For the Founding Fathers to EVER think that these rights of religious liberty would be trumped by two homosexuals wanting to pervert the prescription for marriage given by God, and ratified by The Lord Jesus Christ, would have been simply unimaginable. To think how far this great country has slipped so low into this immoral cesspool, staggers the intellect. On every side, right has become wrong, and wrong has been made “right”.

            • Jane Dunn

              Lindsay – Many of the Founding Fathers owned black people as slaves and believed that the Bible permitted that. They would be just as appalled that the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s trump the purported First Amendment rights of segregationists who believe the Bible forbids integration by prohibiting businesses from refusing to hire or serve black people. Progress is hard sometimes.

              • Lindsay Parks

                Slavery is never referred to as a sin, or an abomination in the Bible. Jesus never spoke against it, and the NT gives instruction to both Christian slaves, and slave owners. Furthermore, the term “bondslave” was taken by Jesus to describe Himself, as a Servant, obedient to God. To use slavery as a parallel to homosexuality is ludicrous. This sin keeps one out of the kingdom of God, and out of Heaven. Huge, eternal difference. One is a social injustice. The other is the ultimate sin against God (Romans 1).

                • Jane Dunn

                  Lindsay – That’s what you believe now. Its not what many of the Founding Fathers believed or what many churches preached at the time. You’re proving my point.

    • buddyglass

      please tell me how I am mistaken about what God has spoken on this subject?

      I’ll take a stab at it. You’re right to state that God has forbidden intimate relationships between members of the same sex. Such relationships are sinful. You’re wrong to claim that believers are obligated to refrain from doing business with same-sex couples when they purchase items or services to be used in a same-sex marriage ceremony or reception for such a ceremony.

  • Jane Dunn

    Christopher – I think you’re generally correct, although I don’t think that’s a particularly loving response. Here’s what the NM Supreme Court said in the Elane Photography case:

    “Elane Photography and its owners likewise retain their First Amendment rights to express their religious and political beliefs. They may, for example, post a disclaimer on their website or in their studio advertising that they oppose same-sex marriage but that they comply with applicable antidiscrimination laws.” Para. 47.,687.pdf

      • Jane Dunn

        Christopher – I think love is also explained in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who didn’t insist on knowing the state of the injured man’s soul, or on proclaiming judgment on it, before taking care of his needs. LGBT folks aren’t going to stop being LGBT just because someone refuses to rent them wedding space, but refusing to rent them wedding space may make it more difficult for them to honor their commitments and sets them up for judgment and ridicule. How is that loving?

          • Jane Dunn

            Christopher – I’m sorry then. I don’t understand your point. I think both telling the couple you’re going to donate all the money to an anti-same sex marriage organization and refusing them services are unloving under both I Cor. 13 and under the parable of the Good Samaritan. You’re not going to change their mind and they’ve surely heard the judgment before.

            • Christopher de Vidal

              When I said “100% of the profits” I had in mind that you would provide them services. How else would profits be obtained from them? You might need to go back and more carefully re-read my comment, perhaps you’re reading too quickly or reading something that isn’t there?

              • Jane Dunn

                Christopher – Now it’s you who needs to go back and reread my last comment. Regardless of whether you (1) give them the lecture while giving them the services or (2) refuse them the services, neither is, in my view, very loving. Do you think that either option is going to change their mind?

                • Christopher de Vidal

                  When I said “tell the client that 100% of the profits will go to lawyers” I never had in mind nor said they’d be giving them a lecture. That was interpreted into my words. I don’t see how informing them how the profit will be used violates either 1Cor 13:4-7 or the story of the Good Samaritan. Or any other concept of love in Scripture for that matter.

                  It may actually cause a homosexual to change their mind about forcing a business owner to violate their conscience. And it may implicitly cause a homosexual to think twice about what the Bible says on the subject.

                  I certainly never thought nor said they would be denied services. That was interpreted into my words. Looks like it is still being interpreted into my words.

                  Jane, I’ve repeated myself several times. This conversation hasn’t been very fruitful and I don’t see it going anywhere. So you may have the last word. God bless!

                  • Jane Dunn

                    Christopher – You are continuing to misread my comments. I fully understand that you are NOT suggesting to refuse anyone service and that you are ONLY suggesting to give LGBT folks the lecture about donating the money. (That’s why I listed those two separate options with two separate numbers in my last comment.) I just don’t think your option of just giving the lecture is very loving. I think it isn’t in accord with I Cor. 13 at all. When telling us to love our neighbors Jesus, in the Good Samaritan story, didn’t include anything about converting people before you must love them. Most LGBT folks are all too aware of what conservative Evangelicals think about them and what they think the Bible says. I don’t think it will change any minds.

                    Separate and apart from all of that, and recognizing you are not suggesting refusing services, I think your lecture idea, while likely legal, is just as unloving as refusing them services.

  • Lindsay Parks

    And you have totally missed mine. HOMOSEXUALITY IS SIN. And any Christian has the religious freedom in this country to NOT have to be part or participator in it.

    • Jane Dunn

      Lindsay – Believe what you like, but if you run a business that’s a public accommodation, then you must actually accommodate the public without regard to race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation.

  • Lindsay Parks

    And you are wrong. A Jewish deli does NOT have to serve pork. A McDonald’s in Bangalore does NOT have to serve cheeseburgers. A gas station does NOT have to provide diesel for tractor- trailers. A Christian restaurant does NOT have to serve alcohol. Any facility may ban smoking. You’re still swallowing camels.

    • Jane Dunn

      Lindsay – All your examples are correct. But that’s not what’s happening in this case. Here, the business is refusing to provide to the lesbian couple the same service that they DO provide to straight couples.

  • Lindsay Parks

    And that’s because they’re CHRISTIAN’S, Jane! There are ONLY male-female weddings in the Bible- the ONLY marriages approved by The Lord! With every answer, you show less familiarity with what the Bible teaches. And Denny’s title uses the word “coerced”- the ONLY people in America who are being coerced to violate their spiritual and religious beliefs, are Christians! No one else has to face what Christian believers are facing. No one.

    • Jane Dunn

      Lindsay – I fully understand what they believe and why. You don’t seem to understand that their refusal to rent their space for a lesbian wedding is, under NY law, discrimination. BTW, some Muslims in this country feel just as “coerced” as you do. Christians are not the only ones. If you haven’t read or seen these issues for Muslims you might want to broaden your news sources.

      • buddyglass

        I could be wrong, but I think she gets that its illegal discrimination under New York law. She just doesn’t think that should be the case. Discrimination of this kind should, the argument goes, not only be legal, but federally protected as a matter of religious liberty.

        Playing devil’s advocate for a moment, there are some pragmatic factors that make the case for gays to be a protected class somewhat weaker (in my mind) than the case for blacks 50 years ago.

        Any anti-discrimination law has the potential to infringe on someone’s sincerely held religious beliefs. It falls to the courts to decide whose rights should trump whose. Do we safeguard the sincerely held religious beliefs of bigoted business owners who feel their faith demands that they refuse to serve blacks? Or do we safeguard the right of blacks to be full economic participants in society?

        In evaluating whether a class should be protected, some things that seem like they should be relevant:

        1. How great is the harm to an individual member of the class? The greater the harm the stronger the argument for protecting the class.
        2. How prevalent is the protected class? The more prevalent the class the stronger the argument for protecting them.
        3. How legitimate are the claims of those who say their faith obligates them to discriminate?

        In the case of discrimination against blacks under Jim Crow I’d answer these questions: 1. pretty great, 2. very prevalent, 2. not very legitimate.

        In the case of gays today, and especially in the state of New York, I’d answer them: 1. not very great, 2. not so prevalent, 2. slightly more legitimate than the claim w.r.t. race-based discrimination.

        So the case for homosexuals to be a protected class is somewhat smaller. Not least of which because they can hide in plain sight; an option not available to a black person. Note: I’m not necessarily saying homosexuals shouldn’t be a protected class; only that their case is considerably weaker than that of blacks in the Jim Crow south.

        • buddyglass

          Another consideration: mutability. As Lindsay noted, blacks are born immutably black, but homosexuals choose to be practicing homosexuals. Note my careful choice of words there.

          The more immutable the trait that defines a class the stronger (perhaps) its case is for protection.

          That said, religion is mutable (i.e. a choice) and most people agree it should be protected. So while immutability is neither necessary (religion) nor sufficient (physical unattractiveness) to justify protection, it does at least argue in that direction.

        • Jane Dunn

          Sorry, Buddy, but I disagree with almost everything in your last comment. I think Lindsay thinks it’s not “discrimination” if God is telling her to do it. I don’t think the discrimination analysis is any different for LGBT folks than it was for racial discrimination. I especially disagree that the size of a particular community had any bearing on whether they get legal protections. “Pacific Islanders” are a pretty small minority but they are still entitled to legal protection. Lastly, the idea that discrimination against LGBT folks isn’t as damaging to them as racial discrimination is to racial minorities is offensive. It demeans them and their families. most segregationists at least recognized that black families were actually families.

          • buddyglass

            I think Lindsay thinks it’s not “discrimination” if God is telling her to do it.

            I think he objects to the word “discrimination” because it has negative connotations. The “thing” that he says bakers should be able to do, though, is discrimination, even if he’s not willing to call it that. At issue is whether the negative connotations should apply. He doesn’t think they should and you do.

            I especially disagree that the size of a particular community had any bearing on whether they get legal protections.

            As a matter of principle I agree. In pragmatic terms, though, if the size of the community is vanishingly small then the “damage” from their being discriminated against is correspondingly small. The counter-argument here, though, is that the smaller the community being discriminated against the smaller the “cost” to those being forced not to discriminate. So maybe size isn’t relevant even in a pragmatic sense.

            the idea that discrimination against LGBT folks isn’t as damaging to them as racial discrimination is to racial minorities is offensive

            Eh. I could argue it’s offensive to blacks to compare the discrimination faced by gays today to what blacks endured in the Jim Crow south. Especially in the specific case of this wedding venue.

            So you can’t hold your wedding at a certain facility. What percentage of wedding venues refuse to host same-sex ceremonies? How many bakers refuse to bake cakes for same-sex ceremonies? In most places it’s trivially easy to find a venue / baker / photographer that doesn’t object to same-sex marriage. That doesn’t necessarily argue gays shouldn’t still be legally protected from discrimination, but it does weaken the case somewhat (IMO).

            • Lindsay Parks

              And just today, conservative news sites published an article about a woman in Colorado, who owns her own shooting range, who will refuse ALL Muslims from now on. She understands that not all Muslims are terrorists. But almost every terrorist is or has been a Muslim. She doesn’t want to train any, who might use their weapons training on Americans. Good for her! She has every right to do this, as these bakers had every right to refuse these trouble-making and litiginous lesbians. Their ulterior motives stink. They went after these folks to entrap them, and force them to close their business. It IS pure and simple, coercion. Political correctness has killed America.

              • Jane Dunn

                Lindsay –

                “But almost every terrorist is or has been a Muslim.”

                –Oh good grief, this is patently false. The guy who bombed the federal building in OK wasn’t Muslim. The guys who have assassinated the abortion doctors claimed to be Christians. The IRA was Irish Catholic. (I can’t remember the name of the Protestant terrorist group, but they weren’t Muslim either.) The Red Brigades were not Muslim. The Shining Path were Maoists. The Irgun were Jewish. The extreme fringe of the (IIRC) Earth First movement are American environmentalists.

                You referred again to the “bakers,” but again, this post had nothing to do with bakers. You’re not reading very carefully.

                “Litiginous” isn’t a word. And, no one, including the farmers in Denny’s post, is being persecuted.

                • Lindsay Parks

                  The shoe bomber was a Muslim.
                  The Beltway Snipers were Muslims.
                  The Fort Hood shooter was a Muslim.
                  The underwear bomber was a Muslim.
                  The USS Cole bombers were Muslims.
                  The Madrid train bombers were Muslims.
                  The Bali nightclub bombers were Muslims.
                  The London subway bombers were Muslims.
                  The Moscow Theater bombers were Muslims.
                  The Boston Marathon bombers were Muslims.
                  The Pan-Am flight 93 bombers were Muslims.
                  The Air France Entebbe terrorists were Muslims.
                  The Iranian Embassy takeover terrorists were Muslims.
                  The Achille Lauro hijackers and killers were Muslims.
                  The Beirut US Embassy bombers were Muslims.
                  The Libyan Embassy attack was by Muslims.
                  The Buenos Aires suicide bombers were Muslims.
                  The Munich Israeli Olympic team killers were Muslims.
                  The Kenyan US Embassy bombers were Muslims.
                  The Saudi Khobar Tower bombers were Muslims.
                  The Beirut US Marines barracks bombers were Muslims.
                  The Breslan Russian school killers were Muslims.
                  The first World Trade center bombers were Muslims.
                  The Bombay and Mumbai India bombers were Muslims.
                  The Sept. 11 2001 hijackers were Muslims.
                  The Oklahoma beheader was a Muslim.
                  The Oklahoma almost-a-beheader was a Muslim.

                  Good grief to you, too, Jane- what world do you live in?

                  OK- I transposed “baker” for “innkeeper”. Militant homosexuals put a baker out of business in, I believe, Oregon. They put a photographer out of business, in…Arizona? Now, inkeepers in New York.

                  And when you force a disgusting and anti-God lifestyle down the throats of simple, honest Christians who are trying to do their best, living their spiritual beliefs to the best of their ability before the Lord, and they get shut down by trouble-making and perversive people so that they have to give up their family business, you better believe they’re being persecuted!

                  And use any on-line dictionary. Litiginous is a word in all of them. And you’re a lawyer?

                  • Jane Dunn

                    Lindsay –

                    That you can name some Muslim terrorists neither proves your point nor disproves mine.

                    That you rely on on-line dictionaries speaks volumes, though not well. The correct word is “litigious,” not “litiginous.”

                    Try reading Dennys post again. They’re not bakers and they’re not inkeepers. They are farmers. With a barn.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Lindsay – You sound like that old SNL character Roseanne Roseannadana, who would always remark, when, after her rant, she was advised that she had gotten it completely wrong, “Never mind!”

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      Well, Jane- you’ve been wrong on most every point discussed here. These people ARE being persecuted- they were set up by these lesbians, entrapped, really, and you defend their behavior. You absolutely reject the right of these people to run their business as they see fit. You disagree that these lesbians were only interested in the shame of their fame, putting these good people out of business. You’ve obfuscated my reference to the woman in Colorado who doesn’t want to weapons-train Muslims, and you danced all over the globe with silly examples, instead of even acknowledging her right to do what she did.

                      But sadly, you’ve consistently proven yourself to be wrong on the most important thing you NEVER want to be wrong about. The Bible, Homosexuality is not a sin?

                      God, as He is ready to judge Sodom and Gomorrah for their homosexuality…

                      Then, the Lord said “because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrha is great, and THEIR SIN is very grave…I will go down..” (Genesis 18:20-21)

                      He did not say “their sins”. Their SIN was well-known, and to this day, the sin of homosexual sodomy is named after these men who made it infamous. The men of the town wanted to have sex with the angels. God says it is sin in Leviticus, Ezekiel, Romans, and 1 Corinthians; and both God (in Genesis) and Jesus (in Matthew) plainly stated that the ONLY sexual activity among human beings, condoned and designed by Heaven, was between a male husband and his married female wife. Anything else is SIN. NO OTHER SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS ACCEPTED BY GOD.

                      And litiginous IS a word, as stated by the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Lindsay –

                      Your invective has become repetitious.

                      The Collaborative International Dictionary of English is like the Wikipedia of dictionaries. It relies on volunteers. And we all know Wikipedia never gets anything wrong, don’t we!

                      “Litiginous” is not a word according to real, published dictionaries such the American Heritage Dictionary, the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, and, most importantly, Black’s Law Dictionary. The correct word is “litigious.”

                      None of this is convincing me that you understand the Bible or biblical interpretation very well.

                    • Lindsay Parks

                      Presenting us with a lengthy exigesis on whether or not a word is a word? Starining at a gnat.

                      Totally ignoring Genesis 18:20, where the Lord Himself says that homosexuality is a sin? Swallowing a camel.

                      Jane- you’re only interested in legal-speak. The entire basis for Denny to say that these fine people were “coerced” (persecuted, actually), is that they KNOW what the Word of God says, and want to live their lives in the fear and respect of the Lord.

                      They were targeted. They were entrapped. They were used as unwilling participants by 2 devious people. They stood for their moral values, yet you defend the sinners who entrapped them.

                      You refuse to accept what the Bible actually states, and how the entire canon of Scripture views homosexuality. Please don’t get me started on the entire new array of STD’s, that have arisen from homosexual behavior. In EVERY aspect, this lifestyle of choice is wrong.

                      These people stood up for what is right. For what is Scriptural. I agree totally with the point of Denny’s article. You don’t. So let’s leave it there. When you begin to honor the Word of God, then we’ll have a starting point.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Lindsay –

                      Your invective continues to be repetive.

                      Once again, I don’t “refuse to accept what the Bible states.” I refuse to accept what you believe the Bible states. Physician or not, you are not God.

                      I tried twice to end this discussion many comments ago, but you kept raising new arguments. Since we’re now back to where we started, I’m happy to stop here.

              • buddyglass

                who will refuse ALL Muslims from now on

                Or at least until she’s shut down for civil rights violations. As she should be.

                Out of curiosity, do you object to all anti-discrimination laws or just with the fact that Muslims and (in some places) homosexuals are protected classes?

            • Jane Dunn

              Buddy –

              I get what Lindsay and I disagree about.

              I still find your analysis in your last two points to be seriously offensive. We’re talking about people here, not statistical composites. Perhaps the damage to society isn’t as great if there are only a few people being discriminated against, but the harm to the people on the receiving end is the same regardless of how few or how many of them there are.

              Also, while it may be true that most LGBT folks could find other providers of wedding services, that doesn’t mitigate the stigma and damage to actual people from the existence of legally-condoned discrimination. Blacks in the Jim Crow south had black restaurants and black schools they could go to but, in Brown v. Board, the Court recognized the significant damage to individuals that came from the stigma of legal discrimination.

              If you haven’t already, you should read Brown. Google the doll study it references and look carefully at the short clip of the little black girls being asked to pick between the white doll and the black doll and say which one is pretty. And, if that doesn’t break your heart, Google the recent update of that study 50-some years later and look at the video of little black girls STILL saying the same thing. The internalized damage of the stigma of being discriminated against is not easily undone.

              • buddyglass

                the harm to the people on the receiving end is the same regardless of how few or how many of them there are.


                it may be true that most LGBT folks could find other providers of wedding services, that doesn’t mitigate the stigma and damage to actual people from the existence of legally-condoned discrimination.

                Sorry; I think it does [mitigate the stigma and damage]. If only a very small percentage of businesses discriminate against my class then the inconvenience to me is fairly small. That doesn’t make it right, but it does mean the impact is less than if a majority of businesses discriminated against my class.

                The doll study is indeed tragic, btw.

                • Jane Dunn

                  Buddy –

                  I don’t think the harm and the stigma come from the inconvenience. If it did, I might agree that if there’s only a small inconvenience then the harm isn’t all that great.

                  Instead, I think the harm/stigma arise when the discrimination is **legally condoned,** as it would be if there was a religious exception to the public accommodations laws or if the laws lacked protections for LGBT folks at all. It affects how people treat LGBT families, including their children.

                  If a religious exemption were permitted, or if there were no legal protections at all, LGBT families would be open to discrimination any time they patronized a business that’s a public accommodation. That might not be as big of a problem in most major cities, but it certainly would be in much of the south and in many rural areas. How degrading to take your kids to family night at the local pizza place and have them refuse to serve you because they didn’t want to “condone” or “celebrate” your family. In listening to LGBT folks discuss these types of experiences, I have come to understand that this can cause harm that’s similar to that exhibited in the doll study.

                  • buddyglass

                    I’ll grant that the situation in the rural South is no doubt very different than what a gay person would face in any major city, including in the South.

                    I’ll also give you that merely knowing that discrimination exists and is legally condoned isn’t nothing. I just think the damaging effects of that knowledge pale in comparison to actually being discriminated against, the odds of which are very low in many places.

                    • Jane Dunn

                      Buddy – When the law fails to include protections for LGBT folks, or where conservatives have pushed for and obtained a religious exemption so that they can refuse service to LGBT folks, that, in and of itself, is discrimination. Merely by the existence of the law all LGBT folks face discrimination. It’s not just when they are denied service.

                      And it’s not just in public accommodations. In most places in this country they still have no protections in employment or housing or any of the other things we all take for granted. The failure to protect is discriminatory and that discrimination harms all LGBT people.

  • mrben

    Is it not illegal to record a phone conversation without someone’s permission? (It certainly is in here in the EU/UK) Also makes it sound a lot like entrapment (although it wasn’t instigated by a law enforcement officer).

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