I’ve been thinking similar thoughts, but a Wall Street Journal editorial that I read today really put it very well.
The opinion piece — “Indiana’s Libertarian Moment” — by Bill McGurn makes the case that many of the strongest defenders of cake makers, wedding planners, etc. and their right to refuse to participate in a homosexual “wedding” on religious grounds are some of the very people — libertarians — who argued so powerfully for the right for homosexuals to “marry” in the first place.
They see that the very arguments that homosexuals were using to say that they should have the freedom to “marry” are the very arguments that also defend the rights of individuals not to participate. And they recognize that all of the fury over Indiana’s RFRA law (which I discussed a few days ago) is wrongly placed, wrongly directed, and wrongly founded — generally on grounds that homosexuals, themselves, used to advance their cause.
Mr. McGurn says what he says very well in his article, so I would encourage you to read it for yourself. However, I will quote a few passages here and add my own comments.
He uses Richard Epstein of New York University, whom he notes is “arguably America’s leading libertarian law professor,” as a case in point. McGurn points out that Mr. Epstein has argued that that American principles of freedom should mean that the government does not have the right to withhold marriage licenses from homosexual couples, but also…
[Epstein] further argues that the same freedom of association requires that the law not be used to coerce those who disagree with gay marriage. He notes too the asymmetry of forces here, with big organizations such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Wal-Mart denouncing the religious-liberty law while the owner of a small Indiana pizzeria became a national new story after she told a reporter that while she happily serves gay customers, she wouldn’t feel comfortable catering a gay wedding.
“Civil-rights laws are turned upside down when used to harass small businesses with minority viewpoints,” says Mr. Epstein. “These viewpoints need constitutional space between them and the relentless ambitions of an ascendant gay rights movement that seems to have quickly forgotten that its members were once on the receiving end of the unthinking and abusive exercise of state criminal law.”
McGurn notes comments from other leading libertarians in his piece. He highlights John Stossel’s comment that the homosexual “marriage” movement has changed its focus from “tolerance to totalitarianism” (some will understandably question whether it was ever just about “tolerance,” but let me put that aside temporarily). And his quote from the editor of Reason magazine, Matt Welch, who had also advocated from the right of homosexuals to “marry,” is just as strong:
“The bad news, for those of us on the suddenly victorious side of the gay marriage debate, is that too many people are acting like sore winners, not merely content with the revolutionary step of removing state discrimination against same-sex couples in the legal recognition of marriage, but seeking to use state power to punish anyone who refuses to lend their business services to wedding ceremonies they find objectionable.”
The point about the logical consequences of saying that the Constitution gives people the right to a wedding cake from the business of their choice is something I think I touched on in my last blog entry on this topic, but one which I would like to blather on further in a subsequent post if I write one. But let me stay focused (for once in my life?) on this topic for now.
Those quotes and comments from libertarians who supported homosexual “marriage” are powerful enough, but what I believed was really the kicker in McGurn’s article was how well he highlighted the hypocrisy showing itself in the homosexual “marriage” movement now that it seems increasingly to be the victor in the struggle over public policy. And I would add that it is a hypocrisy in more than the homosexual “marriage” movement, but the overall movement for increased “tolerance” for homosexuality in the culture, in general.
Rather than give more quotes (I don’t mean to rob the WSJ of traffic — click and go read it), let me summarize the points in my own words, even if Mr. McGurn’s are probably better.
So often in the past, many homosexual activists — seeking to defend a “live and let live” approach to their lifestyles — would argue, “What difference does it make to you if I am allowed to marry someone else of my own sex? How does my lifestyle impact you in any way?”
And now, we know the answer to that: “The difference it makes is that my business may be forced to close, my livelihood may be destroyed, and I may be forced by the state to pay thousands and even millions in fines unless I violate my conscience. The difference it makes is that the adoption service that my faith runs to help children may be forced by the state to close unless we violate our religious convictions. The difference it makes is that I could be fired for not agreeing with your position.” (On this last item, case-in-point, as McGurn implies: Brendan Eich, formerly CEO of Mozilla.)
In other words: When many in the homosexual acceptance movement said they were simply seeking the right we should all have to “live and let live,” it was a lie.
Not a lie for all of them. The Memories Pizza incident is demonstrating that. But for many, apparently it was just that.
The claim “It shouldn’t make a difference to you whether or not I marry someone of my own sex — it doesn’t affect you in any way” is not in any way compatible with “Participate in my wedding or I am going to sue you for everything you have, make the state shut your business down, and prevent you from ever working in this industry, again.”
Those claims are the opposites of each other.
The latter statement is now the reality. Was the former one ever a reality? Ever a sincerely held belief by those who made the claim? Will those making the latter statement now come to themselves and say, “Wow, I’m sorry! I’ve really contradicted myself, huh?” Or will they at least have the integrity to admit that the original claim was a lie to begin with?
McGurn puts it well when he points out that, for those who believe in marriage as it should be (my words, not his) — believers in what is now called “traditional marriage” — the question has changed. It is no longer whether or not the majority of society will continue to mirror their views. It is whether or not they will even be allowed by that society to live their lives and support their families in accordance with those views — in accordance with the dictates of their own consciences. Increasingly, it seems that the answer is “No, you won’t.”
Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” Anyone who does not see this reflected in these very days isn’t paying attention. These things will bring woe.