Gay Marriage Advocates: "Join or Be Jailed"

By Richard Nelson

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August 22, 2014

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There’s a surreal quality about the way same sex marriage advocates so ruthlessly pursue any and all who disagree. Personally I can’t remember in my lifetime a movement so obviously double-faced in its rhetoric and campaigning. For years, same sex marriage advocates such as Andrew Sullivan argued tirelessly that redefining marriage meant inclusion of all and exclusion of none. Religious objectors need not change their views or feel threatened, Sullivan and others said, since this an issue about bringing excluded sexual minoritites into the healthy institutions of marriage and family, not about enforcing a sexual worldview.

That pipe dream is vaporizing at an alarming rate. In Denmark, it is gone completely. Two years ago Danish lawmakers codified the new sexual orthodoxy by entitling same sex couples to get married in any church they choose, regardless of the clergy or congregation’s views. Pastors and priests have no say in the matter. They can decline to perform the service but in that case a local bishop must provide a substitute.

Is this imminent in the US? The answer depends on your angle of vision. Currently same sex marriage is not a federally mandated reality (though that will almost certainly change very soon). It’s difficult to forecast legal compulsion on churches in this issue when a good number of Americans and lawmakers are still opposed to same sex marriage, something that isn’t necessarily true in Europe. On the other hand, the incredibly explosive leftist drive to enforce Obamacare on places like Hobby Lobby could be a tip-off of the long term legal strategy of gay marriage advocates. 

One pretty jarring example of this is very fresh and very frightening. New York is currently fining a family for electing not to rent out their property for use in a same sex wedding. You read that correctly: A family-owned farm MUST be available to ANY for use in a wedding, or the consequences will be severe.

Because the Giffords’ family farm is open to the public for business, New York classifies it as a “public accommodation” and then mandates that it not “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation.

Of course the Giffords were not engaging in any insidious discrimination—they were acting on their belief about the nature of marriage. They do not object to gay or lesbian customers attending the fall festivals, or going berry picking, or doing any of the other activities that the farm facilitates. The Giffords’ only objection is to being forced to abide by the government’s views on sexuality and host a same-sex wedding. The Human Rights Commission has now declared this historic belief about marriage to be “discrimination.”

The Giffords must pay a $1,500 mental anguish fine to each of the women and pay $10,000 in civil damages penalty to New York State. If they can’t pay in 60 days, a nine percent interest rate will be added to that total. Like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Giffords must also institute anti-discrimination re-education classes and procedures for their staff.

Outrageous? Yes. Unconstitutional? Obviously. But is this the future? Quite possibly. Rehearsing the standard arguments against this type of legal targeting seems almost pointless. This is a movement taking no prisoners. Join or be jailed.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center