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Why is this woman being held personally liable?

[I]t is harder to say, when the cruel coat [of pitch] is produced, I do not sacrifice, than to obey the order, "Burn thy hand."

Epigrams of Martial. Believed to refer to Christian martyrs.

Alliance Defending Freedom has reported on the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a Washington State florist who is being sued for huge damages both by homosexual plaintiffs and by the Attorney General of Washington State. The lawsuit seeks to recover all of the legal costs for those who are suing her.

If that isn't bad enough, a little extra malicious detail is that she has received many requests for homosexual "wedding" flowers in an obviously coordinated effort to drive up her fines.

One odd aspect of the case is that a judge has ruled, agreeing with the Attorney General, the ACLU, and the homosexual plaintiffs, that liability extends beyond her corporation, which apparently is organized as an LLC. She is being held personally liable, and this could amount to personal ruin for her, given that the Attorney General is demanding that she pay the other side's legal fees if she loses. I was immediately curious about why she is being held personally liable and did some digging. Here is the judge's ruling.

The plaintiffs', AG's, and judge's argument amounts to this, as near as I can understand it: The non-discrimination law of Washington State was deliberately worded so as to tie in to the Consumer Protection Act of Washington State in such a way that anyone who violates the non-discrimination act is automatically personally liable under the Consumer Protection Act.

Normally, as Mrs. Stutzman's lawyers point out, the flower shop's organization as a corporation means that she can be held personally liable only if she misused the corporate entity to engage in fraudulent practices, which is not the case here. The judge replies that that doesn't matter, that he doesn't have to rule that a special "piercing of the corporate veil" is called for, because the law she has allegedly broken automatically removes corporate protections and renders anyone breaking it personally liable in addition to any corporate liability. ADF, her legal firm, alleges that this is unprecedented. The judge says, in response, that a supervisor was found personally liable in an employment discrimination case and that this constitutes a precedent of applying the non-discrimination law in this way. The claim on the part of the judge and the plaintiffs is that breaking the non-discrimination law is, by the intent of that law, per se a legally "unfair or deceptive practice" under the Consumer Protection Act.

Some homosexual activist apologists are arguing that the florist violated the Consumer Protection Act by being "fraudulent" in virtue of advertising that she performs wedding services while refusing to serve a homosexual "wedding." This is an utterly perverse argument, since she has been completely open from the first, not to mention the fact that repeated calls and demands have been made because homosexual activists know that she will not do their "weddings" and are trying to drive up her fines!

The judge's argument appears to be both more nuanced (in a sense) and more legalistic: It is not necessary, he argues, to show that she committed a specific act of fraud. Rather, he alleges, any violation of the non-discrimination law is automatically, by definition, an "unfair or deceptive business practice."

Now, I am somewhat interested in what my more knowledgeable readers have to say about this legal argument and the legislative intent of state non-discrimination laws.

But supposing the judge's purely legal argument to be correct, what does this tell us about non-discrimination laws, assuming that other laws are similar to those in Washington State? That they are set up, even more than some of us (I, for one) had previously realized, to be weapons of personal destruction aimed at anyone who breaks them.

This is a surprising, not to say a shocking, revelation, and the fact that it has not been more widely known leads me to believe that perhaps such laws have not been very widely applied in this way--to go after alleged discriminators for personal liability, including the legal costs of those suing them. There is an extraordinary and quite unnecessary vindictiveness in the Attorney General's pursuit of Barronelle Stutzman, but if he has the intent of the non-discrimination laws of the State of Washington technically on his side, this tells us that non-discrimination laws are wildly disproportionate and need to be revised. (I know. Fat chance.) I would not wish personal ruin even upon someone who was committing discrimination that I myself strongly disapproved of.

One thing we can be sure of: If this "sleeper" aspect of non-discrimination laws has been just waiting to be used, it will be used with the full vindictiveness of the homosexual lobby against all who oppose them. And "opposing them" means refusing affirmatively to participate in homosexual "weddings." Everybody who works in any aspect of the wedding business is a potential target for personal destruction.

And let's have none of the nonsense I have seen elsewhere to the effect that Stutzman was merely being asked to supply "materials" for a wedding and was trying to "control" the use of those "materials." If you know anything about how a florist works for most weddings you know that the florist provides a service for the event. As ADF explains, in order to comply with the non-discrimination law, since this is what she provides generally as a wedding service, Stutzman would have to "provide full wedding support for same-sex ceremonies, including custom design work to decorate the ceremony, delivery to the forum, staying at the ceremony to touch up arrangements, and assisting the wedding party."

That isn't just a matter of selling them flowers. And in any event, we have sunk low indeed when the right to destroy anyone who doesn't sell you flowers is cherished in our land. But here we are talking about much more than selling the flowers. We are talking about helping affirmatively to celebrate the event, which should lay to rest once and for all questions about whether Christians can participate in good conscience in these demands. Indeed, being a florist for a same-sex "wedding" is far more objectionable from a sexually traditional perspective than attending a same-sex "wedding," and (for now) most Christians with any pretense to orthodoxy on this issue would refuse to do that.

I fear that ADF and Barronelle Stutzman are going to lose this one.

Which leads to an interesting question: If you provide a wedding service--baking wedding cakes, providing flowers, wedding clothes, wedding coordinator, wedding music, the list goes on and on--what should you do?

As all readers know, I strongly reject the idea that Christians should drop out of civil marriage. We have argued that question endlessly with confused libertarians on this blog.

But it is a different thing to ask whether Christians should drop out of the wedding racket. I use the derogatory word "racket" not to cast any aspersions on bakers, florists, musicians, photographers, and tailors, but merely to point out that getting married is not the same thing as the wedding industry. There is no rule that says that Christians have to have a full-service florist at their weddings, a professional photographer, professional musician, or any of the other expenses that have come to be associated with weddings. In fact, the large sums of money that go to those things might well be better spent on the couple's actual needs as they get started in life. This is true aside from the homosexual "marriage" issue. Now that people of principle are being hounded out of the wedding industry, it might not be a bad idea to consider the following scenario: Christian businessmen stop offering specific, targeted wedding services and change their business model to offering more generic services which the customer takes away and uses without reference to the particular event. Christians who hear that a local baker no longer bakes wedding cakes for anybody buy more of his generic, non-wedding cakes as a sign of support. And the same for a florist. Christian florists announce that they no longer do weddings but that any member of the public can buy flowers without stating what the event is for which they will be used, take them away, and use them. No custom design work will be offered for weddings or romantic commitment ceremonies, no decoration of a wedding venue, and no delivery to a wedding venue. No wedding services whatsoever. Christians who are getting married and want flowers choose and buy flowers which they pick up themselves for their weddings as a sign of support to the conscientious florists who have ceased to offer targeted wedding services to the public. Photographers would just have to lose wedding and engagement business altogether, as would musicians, since there is no way to make generic stuff for people to take away for those industries.

Yes, the bakers, florists, photographers, etc., will lose money over this, and some will doubtless go out of business if they were heavily dependent on actual wedding services. But better that than losing your house and all your savings to pay for the lawyers representing vindictive people who have set out to destroy you. And better that than violating your conscience, treating homosexual "weddings" as normal, and putting on a happy face while you use your creativity and industry to help a homosexual couple celebrate their Big Day.

As I was preparing to hit "publish" on this report, I went searching for another link and learned this: The AG of Washington State has issued a press release on February 19 in which he offered Stutzman a way out. She can avoid being thrown to the lions if she will pour a libation to the emperor. Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he will settle his lawsuit for the sum of $2001 dollars, an agreement by Stutzman not to "discriminate" in the future, and no further appeals. Stutzman has declined.

By the way: Next time somebody tells you that homosexual "marriage" is increasing freedom, reducing government control of individuals, and doesn't harm anybody, you can just go ahead: Laugh in his face.

Comments (83)

I always wonder who are these people? I mean who says "Honey, lets get married and celebrate one of the most important days of our lives, but first lets see if we can't ruin someone who disagrees with us!" If a business refused to serve the wedding of my boyfriend and I because we are interracial I would disagree, naturally, but I would just go someplace else, I wouldn't force them to do my wedding. someone who disapproves wouldn't do a very good job anyway. What happened to the America where people respected other people's beliefs?

In the U.S., too many people truly believe that discrimination of any kind, now including refusing to help celebrate homosexual "weddings," is one of the most evil things you can do and deserves the harshest punishment. Presumably the people who have sued her view things this way. There is not the slightest sense of perspective involved. It is really pure hatred of anyone who is allegedly as "mean" as she is.

Greg Koukl of StR has discussed on his show some strategies for those in the wedding industry to avoid having to affirmatively decline to provide service for a same sex "wedding" event. The ultimate goal is to get the same sex couple to decide for themselves to seek services elsewhere for their event. Given the vindictiveness of some couples and now this ruling in Washington in which her personal finances are at stake and not just her business, clearly any such strategies are very risky. Getting out of the business entirely is clearly much safer and in the present climate perhaps more wise. Although, I personally like the idea of being defiant in these areas and trying to skirt the law with loopholes, but I am not in the industry and have nothing at stake.

I have read through the ruling of this case in Washington, it does mention that the defendants made a distinction between same sex orientation and the "wedding" event. The ruling stated that per the Supreme Court (no less) that there is no such distinction. I believe it said something to the effect of same sex "weddings" being intrinsic to gay identity. So to "discriminate" against the one is to "discriminate" against the latter. I think this raises an interesting "what if?". What if the two men requesting "wedding" related services were not in a homosexual relationship? It seems plausible, if not likely, that the wedding vendor could refuse and if sued not be found guilty of violating non-discrimination laws. So, we would have in effect two men asking for the same service, the business owner declining for the same reason, and in one case it is an illegal act that results in the ruin of that business owner and in the other case it is not. The only difference would be the nature of the relationship between the men.


Rachel, they're the kinds of people you see and hear about marching themselves up and down Folsom Street once or twice a year, with all their vaunted "pride" and abject degeneracy. Reprobate. It is only reasonable that those kinds of persons, given "equal protection under the law" to make a public spectacle of themselves and their inordinate, degenerate behaviorisms, would turn their burning lusts and hatred of one another, towards those they see as upholding anykind of moral standard of decency and right. In short, they're driven by hatred of the good and will stop at nothing to destroy it. (Pr. 6: 16-19)

What happened to the America that once respected differences of opinion? Well, let's see, first there was the discovery by the courts of what we call "Incorporation" hidden away by the framers in the fouteenth amendment. Wait, no, that's not it. First Horace Mann reformed education in Massachusetts following the Prussian model. Wait, no, that's not it. First so many immigrants were over-running America in the decades following independence that Noah Webster felt compelled to sound the alarm that they tended to carry with them "violent prejudices against arbitrary government," and that they "seem to make no great distinction between arbitrary government and a government of laws founded on free elections." Wait, no, that's not it. And etc.

It's the perfect storm, Rachel. It had to come this, and it's only going to get worse (a lot worse!) before it gets better, I fear.

As this issue has been in many news sites I have commented elsewhere and have been attacked verbally by homosexuals and liberals when I have stated an opinion. My personal opinion on this article and others similar is that the law is biased and the wronged couple did what most subscribers of the LGBT do, they set up a Christian business knowing full well that because of sincerely held beliefs of Christianity, they can get the political agitators to bring suit. The man had been friends with Baronelle for many years, and she supplied flowers to him without ever treating him differently,and the man also knew she was a very devout Christian. I cant imagine that he did not in any way shape or form know this, and after so many years of friendship(with friends like that who needs enemies!)cannot possibly not known that as a Christian she would not turn him down to do a wedding that was against her personal convictions. While it is reported that many others florists offered to provide services to him and his partner, some free of charge. She did not shove the bible down his throat, nor did she attack him , she simply and politely stated to him that it was against her beliefs to participate in a marriage that was not between a man and a woman. This law allows anyone to walk into a business and get a large settlement because they can. It also sends a message that if you do not subject to the will of the LGBT we will force you to, one way or the other. Where is the protection of the law to protect her freedom to practice her religion in her life and in a way that is fundamental to her life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Where is the protection of harassment and undue duress of being attacked by others who wish to continue to crucify with the government entities standing behind or shall I say hiding behind their benches. I have heard she is fighting back, and I pray she continues to do so. They offered a plea bargain with smaller fees but of course with conditions, that she pretty much deny her faith or lose everything, plus now a private lawsuit by her " friend and his partner, to make sure she is ruined totally and completely. I agree that a fund should be started through go fund me at the end of this litigation, but also agree it should not be set up until the case is settled for good reason as any assets she has acquired during this litigation would wind up in the hands of the enemy courts system and the greedy couple. They ruined a beautiful young lady here in NM for being a Christian Elane's Photography because of this stupid biased law. I found out a gay priest turned down my marriage because my husbands ex wife destroyed him by using the gay trump card with her partner to deny him even the right to visitation of his daughter. He lost his home, possessions, his handicapped daughter even though the State of New Mexico proved she was an unfit mother. So I hope and like you said fat chance, this law is overturned, or ammendments are made where this law is no longer used as a money making scheme, to come after one select group(Christians) because bottom line this law is for that purpose, to discriminate against Christians by gays..but of course nobody believes that..

Christian florists announce that they no longer do weddings but that any member of the public can buy flowers without stating what the event is for which they will be used, take them away, and use them

Would this work given malicious homosexualist's propensity for "oversharing"? The Golden Rule of progressivism has always been Disturb Thy Neighbor; so I see scenarios where two men show up fondling each other and loudly announce their intentions to "marry" and bring down the wrath of the State if you so much as look at them wrong.

I'd say this story gets filed as one of the more serious examples of modern Test Acts.

Yes, they'd probably try that. But I think that providing generic materials which customers use off-site in a way that you do not endorse does not present a very great conscience problem. At least not to me. That is presumably why liberals tell lies (or are just utter ignoramuses about wedding services) and act like that is what she was being asked to do here--sell generic materials which the customer _happened_ to intend to use for a homosexual "wedding." That is not of course the case, as anyone knows who has hired a florist to decorate a venue for a wedding. A florist service _for_ a wedding is really part of the wedding planning and ceremony support.

Some have suggested that a baker could bake a wedding cake on this same principle, but there I disagree if it really is clearly, visibly a _wedding_ cake. A wedding cake has a particular appearance and is specifically, clearly intended to celebrate a wedding. Therefore my parallel suggestion was that a baker could bake a generic type of cake and make it available to be taken away for events. No many tiers, wedding cake appearance, and no bride and groom on top, for example; therefore, no one can pressure him to put a groom and groom on top. Of course, a baker who did that would lose a lot of business from normal, legit customers who wanted to buy real wedding cakes for normal weddings!

I wonder why they never target Muslim-owned businesses with the same fervor. Could it be that they attack soft targets, which then points out how pernicious their so-called moral cause really is.

I dont see why a baker cannot simply make it as a matter of policy that all wedding style cakes have bride/groom figurines and are placed on pedestals inscribed with Genesis 2:24 or Mark 10:6-9. It would be an 'you can get any color you like as long as it is black policy'. Obviously this would not prevent a same sex couple from simply removing and replacing the figurines and figuring out how to cover the inscription, but hopefully it would dissuade them from asking for the services of that baker. Perhaps it also is a solution for the conscience problem because the cake as the baker made it clearly was not celebrating a same sex "wedding", it could only be re-purposed by others for that.

I imagine florists could have similar policies, such as all vases inscribed with one of those verses or something similar.

Another possible policy may be for bakers and florists alike to simply not do anything rainbow colored. A baker in Colorado has gotten in trouble for not baking a rainbow colored cake (http://kdvr.com/2012/07/30/denver-cake-shop-refuses-service-to-gay-couple/). I would like to think that had it been his written policy that he does not make rainbow colored cakes for anyone that the non-discrimination law could not have been used to get him. Though, I admit I am pessimistic enough to think that that is likely not the case.

"I imagine florists could have similar policies, such as all vases inscribed with one of those verses or something similar."

By itself, that's not going to do it, becuase the florist activity is not just a product. It's a hands-on service. As the quote in my main post shows, the florist was expected to confer with the couple on colors, check out and customize for the venue, go and deliver to the venue, decorate the venue, and assist the wedding party personally with their flowers. In other words, help actively to celebrate the event.

Presumably this is the service, or a service, she generally offers for weddings, which jibes with what I know independently.

I would like to think that had it been his written policy that he does not make rainbow colored cakes for anyone that the non-discrimination law could not have been used to get him.

Personally, I would like to think that a cake maker can decline any proposed cake-making contract that offends his sensibilities for ANY sort of reason. You want a back cake for the wedding? Sorry, I won't. You want a zebra-striped cake with orange polka dots for the birthday? Sorry, I won't do that. You want neon green stripes on the top tier, and muddy brown and tan swirls on the bottom tier? Sorry, I won't make a cake like that, pick something else. You want a cake that you plan to throw into the pool and make the guest of honor jump in after it? Sorry, get a different cake-maker.

Cake-making, along with flowers, photography, and painting, are forms of art in which the maker expresses a little bit of himself (or herself) when doing the making, and generally we think an artist has ARTISTIC LICENSE over his work so that it doesn't "say" something he is unwilling to say. That's the nature of the craft. If we want to descend into nihilistic materialism so far as to say WE DON'T CARE about any message in the art, the product is the product is the product and it stands alone apart from any "message", that will ravage the 1st amendment rather harshly.

Of course, gays don't give a s**t for any rights of people to harbor, much less express, an opinion contrary to their "right" to have everyone around them celebrate their hedonism. Constitution? What Constitution? I don't see no stinkin' Constitution.

If judges were interested in fair, they would allow the following preliminary statement by a baker or florist to COMPLETELY defuse the problem: "So, you might be interested in a wedding cake (flowers)? Excellent. I have made great cakes (floral arrangements) for many different people. However, I must advise you that like other professions such as doctors, interior designors, and composers, cake-making (flower arranging) is an art and a satisfactory outcome is a matter of fitting the baker (florist) to the customer just as much as fitting the cake (flowers) to the customer. Sometimes my artistic vision and the customer's vision just are not a good fit, and then I have to suggest that we won't achieve a great outcome together."

Yes, true, my suggestions were entirely about policies that would (hopefully) compel same sex couples to want to do business elsewhere. Which would mean they would have no grounds to file a lawsuit against the business. I am fully aware that it does not solve the real problem. I am not sure that there is anything a baker, florist, or other wedding vendor can do to avoid providing services for events against their conscience and not risk being found in violation of "anti-discrimination" laws (other than not provide wedding services at all).

I even assume it is quite possible the policies I have suggested would be found to be discriminatory policies akin to posting a sign saying that people wearing burkas will not be served. Actually, come to think of it, that would more than likely be the case.

Several years ago my husband searched all over town for an unfrosted chocolate cake for my birthday, because that was what I had asked for. At one bakery, he was momentarily pleased to hear that they had a newly baked chocolate cake just coming out of the oven with no frosting on it yet. However, they turned him away and refused to sell it to him, because they said it would sully their artistic reputation if word got out that they had sold an unfrosted cake. He had to come home and bake me a cake himself and refrain from frosting it.

I still smile at this story (and I believe he's boycotted that bakery since then!), but it does show that Tony is quite right about the artistic nature of these things.

On a more serious note, that was precisely the argument brought by Elane Photography, and it would fit with a lot of First Amendment jurisprudence against "compelled speech" and artistic expression. But when this was the issue, none of that mattered.

On a related note, the latest in anti-Catholic bilgewater is the song “Take Me to Church”. When I first heard this without knowing the words or the context I thought musically it was dreadful caterwauling. Then I kept hearing and was wondering why this lousy music was getting so much airplay. Well, turns out it is a PC Salvo against the Church. The composer repeats the hoary lie that the Church teaches people to be ashamed of human sexuality, and apparently (I haven’t seen it) the video features a homosexual couple being beaten up; the message being that teaching truths about Chastity leads to thugs engaging in violence (nevermind the Church’s clear teaching against unjust treatment of homosexuals.)

Gird your loins brothers and sisters. We are being ghettoized.

The more I have thought about it the more taken I am with DR84's idea of an aggressively heterosexual wedding cake, sold as standard issue for all weddings. However, just as I was warming to the idea I also remembered the concept of "signaling" in discrimination law. In general, a business can be accused and found guilty of discrimination if it engages in "signaling" behavior that is taken to discourage particular customers. Hence, a bank several years ago was told that its tellers couldn't display Bible verses because this would make non-Christian customers feel unwelcome and would hence be a form of religious discrimination. Surprisingly enough, the federal regulators relented on that particular case, but it shows the type of thought that takes place on the issue of signaling. It is pretty much undeniable that the standard-issue noticeably heterosexual wedding cake sold for all weddings would be deemed discriminatory on the grounds that it was a form of discriminatory signaling.

Ah, well it was a nice try. It wouldn't have helped the florist anyway.

Here's a question: Would Ferguson, the AG of Washington, have accepted as an agreement "not to discriminate" a promise to get out of the wedding business as a florist altogether in the future and only to do non-wedding floral arrangements except for those already scheduled? Would it have been a good idea or a bad idea (strategically? morally?) for Stutzman's lawyers to have made that as a counter-offer?

Christians should accept requests for same-sex wedding services and products while explicitly stating that all proceeds from the sale of services and products to these weddings will go to organizations that defend Christians suffering from homosexual oppression.

Stolen from either power line or hot air where I read it first.

"It is pretty much undeniable that the standard-issue noticeably heterosexual wedding cake sold for all weddings would be deemed discriminatory on the grounds that it was a form of discriminatory signaling."

I have to admit that I agree. It did seem like a good idea at the time. In reality it may just tip everyone off all the quicker that a baker does not want to bake "wedding" cakes for same sex "weddings" and invite a lawsuit.

The strategy that was discussed on Greg Koukl's radio show/podcast involved stalling tactics. Which involved simply asking the couple for information about their plans (i.e. date, venue, etc) and then telling them that you (the baker/photographer/florist/etc) would check into those things and that they can follow up with you. The purpose of asking for the info is to check to make sure there is an actual event being planned. The reason to leave the ball in their court is in the hope that they will not follow up. If they follow up and there you have determined there is no actual event, you have clearly non-discriminatory grounds to dismiss their request. If they follow up and there is an event, that is the most tricky situation, and the thought there was to ask the couple if they want someone who can celebrate their big day with them and then point out that that person is not you, while never saying you will not do what they ask. Ultimately the hope is that they will move on of their own accord, and have no grounds to sue because they ultimately said no to you instead of you saying no to them.

I was not aware of the signaling problem before, and now it seems likely this strategy could also be considered to be discriminatory signaling because the person clearly signaled that they did not want to create the cake, floral decorations or take the photos.


Anyway, I am not aware of any moral obligation for a florist to create wedding decorations. Seems to me that Ms. Stutzman could take that deal, and maybe should if it were on the table. Strategically, based on this discriminatory signaling problem, it may be the best way out for those in the wedding industry. If a deal like that became a precedent of sorts those in the industry may feel they can ride things out as long as possible (i.e. until they get their first request from a same sex couple) and not have to worry they risk losing everything they have.

is this a hill to die on? For a Christian, for a faithful local church is this a hill to die on? For a faithful pastor is this a hill to die on? Is there a glory of lost causes here?

Suppose Scotus determines that there is a constitutional right to same sex marriage later this year? Is this a hill worth dying on for faithful Local churches, faithful local pastors, and faithful Christians?

Speaking of a signaling problem, is there a problem if a Faithful Christian, pastor, and local church does not clearly signal opposition to homosexual marriage?

The state of Washington is acting like the lgbt Taliban against this Christian grandma florist. It could be more than just this state.

Liberal Pharisees say, "serve homosexual weddings for this is what Caesar says and you shall render unto Caesar what Caesar declares!"

What's going to get decapitated for the faithful Christian?

Speaking of a signaling problem, is there a problem if a Faithful Christian, pastor, and local church does not clearly signal opposition to homosexual marriage?

When I read that, the first thing that popped in my mind was an account (granted, I havent seen a source on it) of a church near a railroad track that led to a concentration camp in Germany. When a train full of prisoners rolled by, the congregation just sang hymns louder to drown out the noise.

If they follow up and there is an event, that is the most tricky situation, and the thought there was to ask the couple if they want someone who can celebrate their big day with them and then point out that that person is not you, while never saying you will not do what they ask.

I don't know if Koukl is aware of it, but we have a test case on *precisely* this strategy, and it did not go well. As I recall the details of the case, it was a family that ran a venue (an inn, I believe) in Vermont where wedding receptions could be held. The man said *exactly* this to the lesbian who called--something to the effect that he would not "be able to put his heart into" planning their reception because of his beliefs. But he insisted that he did *not* refuse to host the reception. They were fined. My recollection is that they were not driven entirely out of business and did not lose everything, perhaps because they only pursued appeals to a certain point and perhaps because those on the other side did not get to collect all of their legal fees from the defendants.

TUAD, I've heard the idea of accepting requests and donating the proceeds, but I have to disagree with that to the extent that the requests are for products and services that _clearly_ endorse homosexual "marriage." It is just wrong to make or produce such products and services. In essence, going to this "wedding" and smiling and decorating the venue and helping everyone with their flowers, or making beautiful photos of the lesbian couple kissing (if you're a photographer), or making a wedding cake with two grooms is _endorsing_ and _normalizing_ these perverse relationships. It would be like writing and publishing a sign saying, "Homosexual marriage is wonderful. It's all love, man." That would be wrong to do. It wouldn't become less wrong because one donated money that one made to some other cause. It would be wrong even to do it for *free*.

As I have said above, selling _generic_ products which someone else could take away and, in a place that has nothing to do with you, _use_ to decorate a homosexual ceremony, may be a different matter, depending on the social context.

But such a distinction cannot even apply to many wedding services, where the person involved is _helping_ with the wedding in a personal way--wedding coordinator, musician, photographer, florist-decorator, etc.

It would be like writing and publishing a sign saying, "Homosexual marriage is wonderful. It's all love, man." That would be wrong to do. It wouldn't become less wrong because one donated money that one made to some other cause. It would be wrong even to do it for *free*.

I agree. It would be well-intended consequentialism, but consequentialism nonetheless. I can understand it as a bluff (hoping the couple realizes the money will go to an organization they find objectionable and deciding to elsewhere) but even if I was comfortable with bluffing, if the bluff got called, I would be out of luck and have to refuse the gig.

One thing that has not been tried is mass civil disobedience. There are thousands of Christian bakers. Why not announce, as a whole, that they will not serve homosexual agendas? Put it in faces of the lawyers. We will flood the courts with lawsuits against us and shut them down. We should have done this from the start. The homosexual lobby has a united front. Where is ours? Judges have, amazingly, no concept of any higher law than their own. How sad. They have become little gods.

As I mentioned somewhere else, the conflict between the 1st and the 14th amendments (and aren't Christians entitled to equal protection as well as homosexuals?) has created an exploitable fault in the legal program that is the Constitution. Hackers use such inconsistencies in programs to gain access to the source code. I submit that a good analogy is the hacker analogy. The homosexual lobby are Black Hat hackers who have used a logical weakness in the Constitution to hack society and substitute their own malicious code.

The Chicken

Ah, well, don't blame the Constitution. Somewhat vague as the 14th amendment is, the idea that it treats homosexuals as a specially protected class is a joke in terms of con law with any seriousness about it. Of course, contemporary con law *isn't* serious. It's a postmodern attempt to make up leftist junk and wave a magic wand and say that it's "in" the Constitution. In terms of anything like objective meaning, one might as well say that the 14th amendment prohibits discrimination against mice or inanimate objects.

That doesn't mean the hacker analogy is a bad one, though. What the homosexual lobby has done is to take advantage of the "living Constitution" trend in constitutional jurisprudence and to exploit _that_ to insert their own malicious code.

But they started, even before their current push to get the SCOTUS to declare a constitutinal right to homosexual "marriage," by putting a lot of legislative non-discrimination items into place--state and local laws--which are, as they wish to apply them, in conflict with constitutional protections of religious freedom.

"One thing that has not been tried is mass civil disobedience. There are thousands of Christian bakers. Why not announce, as a whole, that they will not serve homosexual agendas?"

This is a hill to die on. Yes? Can a fight be a Light?

Has the fight for unborn life been a light to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus?

Can the fight for God's definition of marriage call some people to Jesus?

I hope I am not beating a dead horse here about cakes, but I have been re-re-thinking the aggressively heterosexual wedding cake policy. Perhaps instead of going that route, a baker could scale things back and simply not offer man-man and woman-woman figurines at all as opposed to making the man-woman figurine a mandatory "option" for a wedding cake. This does not solve all the problems, of course, but it may be sufficient to keep a baker out of hot water in some circumstances. Even in the present circumstances, it seems a stretch for a judge to find a baker guilty of discrimination for simply not selling a particular product (a same sex couple figurine).

Here is my problem with that solution: A wedding cake is different from any other kind of cake. It has a certain look and so forth, even if you leave off the figures. It has multiple tiers, sometimes even more fancy things like a fountain in the middle. You get the picture. As far as I know (people can correct me if I'm wrong) nobody buys something that looks exactly like a wedding cake, the only difference being no figurines, and uses it for a graduation party, for example.

There is also the delivery issue. If you say, "Okay, what's this event? Got it: It's Bob Smith's and Bill Jones's wedding at 1st Unitarian Church on 12th street on the 24th. Okay, what time do you want me to have the cake there?" you are treating the wedding itself, the event, as a normal thing and are turning up in your little delivery truck to cater to the event with a special wedding cake. So in those senses a wedding cake isn't a generic item, and there is a real degree of participation in providing it. If you advertise it as a wedding cake and somebody comes along and explicitly orders it for a homosexual "wedding," then to my mind that is skirting really, really close to endorsing the wedding, in a way that (IMO) would not be the case if you sold him a sheet cake and he happened for some surprising reason to use it for the reception after his homosexual "wedding."

At best that strategy would just reduce the odds a particular baker gets sued into oblivion.

The only fix is for the law to be changed, or at least the understanding of it.

Given the hopelessness of repealing anti-discrimination laws, perhaps the better strategy is to go after how the law is understood. From what I understand, these cases rest on same sex "marriage" being an inherent aspect of a homosexual identity. So that discrimination against the event is considered to be discrimination against the person.

I have wondered if we could break that association in people's minds between homosexuality and same sex "marriage" if we could not get the interpretation of anti-discrimination based on sexual orientation laws to be re-evaluated. Perhaps one could appeal to the law itself, which does not require a homosexual identity for one to same sex "marry". Examples of same sex "marriages" that do not involve homosexuality could also be cited (there was a recent infamous example in New Zealand). If push comes to shove, if we wanted to play their game, we could set up a bakery to "discriminate" against two men wanting a cake for their "wedding". These men; of course, would not have a homosexual relationship together. Granted, a judge could still rule that that constitutes either sexual orientation discrimination or even simple sex discrimination (and technically per their reasoning it would), but I would not bet for or against that kind of ruling.

Given the uproar over the straight men "marrying" in NZ, many gays and allies deemed that a mockery of everything they fought for. Perhaps we could even find common cause. I bet many a gay and pro-gay baker/florist/photographer would want nothing to do with a "wedding" between two (straight) men or women.

I realize all of this is a long shot and requires long term strategic planning with no certainty that it would. Nor would I imagine it is even plan A.

Lastly, how these cases of wedding vendors have gone does make me wonder if the common person is next. If anyone who holds a Christian view on sexuality should be concerned that their job may be on the line soon. Not to mention if this movement will stop or try to bring religious institution and even churches to heel. On that one, I doubt it and I will just hope precedent and the first amendment hold there.

Lastly, how these cases of wedding vendors have gone does make me wonder if the common person is next. If anyone who holds a Christian view on sexuality should be concerned that their job may be on the line soon.

Yes. See here:

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2009/11/speak_now_or_forever_hold_your.html

See also Brandon Eich, the fire chief in Atlanta, etc.

So, yes. They will absolutely come after your job as a common person if you hold the "wrong" views.

As far as the interpretation of the non-discrimination laws and the relation to homosexual "marriage," at this point in our polis, that is entirely left in the hands of the judges.

The claim that a "marriage" ceremony is intrinsic to identity and therefore that discriminating against the ceremony was discriminating against the person for his identity was dreamed up out of the back of the head of a judge in New Mexico, at a time when New Mexico did not even officially acknowledge gay civil unions. So the "commitment ceremony" in the lawsuit, which the photographer refused to photograph, was a purely private event, not even a wedding under the laws of the state, had no formal status in the state. In every possible respect the judge made it up as he went along to declare that this was required by the non-discrimination statute. And while he was at it ignored First Amendment precedent concerning compelled speech.

Yet _that_ reasoning is being cited now by the judge in the florist case in Washington State. I haven't even bothered to research how the opinion of a judge concerning a case in New Mexico comes to be precedent for a judge in Washington State, interpreting the laws of the State of Washington. Maybe it isn't precedent for him, but the Washington State judge just sort of felt inspired by it in his heart and therefore decided to cite it!

So it more or less doesn't really matter what the common man thinks on the connection between non-discrimination law and homosexual "weddings." The judges have the bit between their teeth and are going to tell all of us what we have to think and do, and we'll either obey or refuse and suffer the consequences.

"This does not solve all the problems, of course, but it may be sufficient to keep a baker out of hot water in some circumstances."

Legal, perhaps, but morally, no. Traditionally, there are 9 ways to be an accessory to a sin:

command
counsel
consent
provocation
praise and flattery
participation
silence
concealment
defense of the evil done

Baking the cake is a form of consent, participation, and silence.

Christians are required to resist baking the cake, if they understand the Bible, at all. The judge is a moral idiot, who can't seem to understand (or doesn't care) that moral law trumps positive law. He is imposing a law as if he were God. It is a form of idolatry. Am I being to harsh on the judge? I don't know.

The Chicken


Lydia, the one problem I have with your idea of Christian bakers, photographers, florists, etc., just not doing weddings at all is that this seems a step toward dhimmi status. Why should no Christian be able to do creative services for any wedding? Why should no Christian be able to be a pharmacist? Because that's the direction: how many people already say things like "if you don't want to sell x (abortifacients, say), then get out of the business of pharmacy altogether and do something else." But why should one have to give up a perfectly good, legitimate profession because of religious conscience? Why should Christians in this country accept being second-class citizens in subservience to the desires of the perverted few?

Certainly I recognize that such actions may be inevitable someday, the direction we are going. And after all, Christians have never had it so good as we've had here for so long; persecution is the norm. But I'd like to see the fight go on as long as possible and not start giving in yet, at least not wholesale. After all, this country was founded on the principle of freedom of conscience in religion.

Beth, I think if we start losing these cases wholesale in court (and I fear this is what is happening--the photographer case was a _very_ bad sign), then the pro bono legal organizations will no longer be justified in using their resources to defend them. Moreover, there simply won't be the money to pay the legal fees for the other sides for the appeals. Presumably Barronnelle Stutzman will go bankrupt if she loses here, and to me, the prognosis looks grim.

Because of the analogy to racial discrimination and the insistence that cooperating with these ceremonies is _required_ by non-discrimination, the judges are basically doubling down and are completely unwilling to apply a principle of religious liberty to refusing the services selectively. This is what I foresee.

However, I think it plausible that they would be permitted (oh, how gracious) to stop offering all wedding services while staying in business otherwise. After all, weddings are not the only events for which these services--photography, florist, baking, etc.--are provided.

You are right that it would be a kind of retreat, but not in itself a retreat against conscience. That is, it would not be a compromising of conscience. And hopefully it would not mean going out of business in these areas altogether but rather a change (albeit for some a radical change) of business model.

To my mind such a change would in many ways be better than what I'm pretty sure is going to happen: Namely, a lot of Christians continue providing wedding services and hope to fly under the radar. They just hope nobody will ask for such services for perverted "weddings." Then as we have homosexual "marriage" in more and more states (or SCOTUS imposes it on the whole nation), we get more and more cases like this one in which a Christian is outright ruined for her stance. At that point, I suspect the Christians will just quietly start providing the services for the homosexual "weddings" and reason that they don't have a choice, they are required to obey the law, they aren't _really_ endorsing the weddings, maybe they'll "have a chance to witness" (I've seen that one), and other such rationalizations.

Now _that_ would be the _wrong_ kind of retreat. And that would be dhimmitude of a far worse and more insidious variety, because it would be a moral capitulation and would involve, to some degree, corruption of the minds, principles, and consciences of the Christians involved.

In contrast, the sacrifice and the radical nature of cutting out wedding services altogether would, I think, be morally a shot in the arm. The people making this change in their businesses, and willing to risk and sacrifice for it, could announce it at church, giving the reason. They could put up a sign in their business that they are dropping wedding services. The idea would be, "We are using this way to be technically on the right side of the law, but we will not compromise our consciences or our principles."

In our churches now I see the far greater danger being complete capitulation on these issues, especially among young people. This would be a pushback against any such tendency.

NSA, here are your marching orders: Uncover the Masked Chicken!

We'll give that chicken something to squawk about!

"NSA, here are your marching orders: Uncover the Masked Chicken!"

Yeah, well I still won't bake a cake, although I might take the cake.*

The Chicken

*For you non-native English speakers, see here:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=take+the+cake

http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/take_the_cake

Speaking of the Atlanta Fire Chief case, that has got me thinking about the what ifs in regards to his discrimination case. I hope I am not raising the alarm too high here, but that seems like it could go badly if it ends up in the Supreme Court. That court has already accepted in the Windsor case, and I assume it will be further reinforced in the next marriage case, that his views on marriage and sexuality are discriminatory views based on nothing but hatred of homosexual persons. If this case ends up there, and they apply that reasoning to it, they may rule that there are no constitutional protections for traditional Christian beliefs (in their words, for discriminatory/hateful/homophobic views) at all for any government employee. Which, with respect to racist views I imagine is already the case, so this it seems hardly a stretch for this to be applied to "homophobic" views as well.

This is bad enough, but its seems plausible it could be even worse. That above precedent, in conjunction with ENDA style laws, and along with the discriminatory signaling leads me to wonder if it could be considered "discrimination" for an employer (government or private) to even knowingly employee someone who holds any viewpoint that the government has judged to be "discriminatory". This on the grounds that to employ such a person is in effect showing that the employer is ok with discriminatory views, which could be seen as a form of discriminatory signaling, which is already considered to be tantamount to discrimination.

I dont know what would happen today, but if a black man sued is employer for putting him under a known white supremacist supervisor, I would not bet on the employer winning that suit. I am not even sure the employer would win if the supremacist was just another co-worker because that could be found to be creating a hostile work place. Perhaps cases like this have even happened.


Your concerns are not ill-founded because of what I have referred to as the zero-sum game. Here's how it works: Christian views on homosexual conduct are deemed evil. Action or even (as we see with the florist) inaction based on such views is wicked discrimination and must be punished. Expressing such views is per se harmful to homosexuals.

It follows that, to the extent that this agenda wins, the Christians lose the right to act on, refuse to act on, or express their views. To the extent that Christians and other moral traditionalists have such freedoms, the homosexual agenda loses.

There is thus no win-win situation. It is strictly a zero-sum game.

What this means is that there is an irresolvable conflict between non-discrimination on the basis of religion and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and homosexual conduct. If an employer is going to allow Christian employees, supervisors, etc., to have, express, and act on their beliefs without discriminating against them, it is virtually inevitable that they will engage in action, inaction, or expressions that are deemed harmful to and hence discriminatory against homosexual fellow employees or customers. Conversely, if the employer strictly enforces the whole panoply of requirements and auras surrounding non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, he will have to discriminate against Christian sexual traditionalists as employees, at least insofar as they so much as open their mouths and let their views ever be known.

I expect this to be resolved in the wrong direction. Probably that conclusion in the wrong direction will not be to say that you can be fired for your Christian sexual views per se but that you can be fired for any expression thereof, on the grounds that the latter creates a "hostile work environment." So, Christians have to go into the closet on this issue or face loss of job. Just as in the case of Peter Vedala. Witch hunts against those who _might_ express such views or create such a "hostile environment" will doubtless be winked at.

In other words, I expect this contradiction to be resolved in the direction of permitting outright religious discrimination in the area of Christian views on sexuality.

Lydia from Minimal Facts post: "The problem is not lack of data or difficulty of data. The difficulty is exaggerated out of fear and timidity."

Lydia: "In our churches now I see the far greater danger being complete capitulation on these issues, especially among young people."

Lydia: "In other words, I expect this contradiction to be resolved in the direction of permitting outright religious discrimination in the area of Christian views on sexuality."

Lydia, given your expectation do you still disapprove of complete capitulation on these issues, especially among young people? The outright religious discrimination is not being exaggerated out of fear and timidity, is it?

I certainly disapprove of moral capitulation, absolutely. When I speak of complete capitulation on these issues, I mean coming to terms with homosexual "marriage" and treating it as normal. This will mean, ultimately, coming to think of it as normal. Which is gravely wrong, always, no matter what.


No, the outright religious discrimination is not being exaggerated out of fear. It is happening all around us and would be foolish for us not to recognize that it is happening. The question then is how we maintain our integrity and our witness. How should we respond?

"The question then is how we maintain our integrity and our witness. How should we respond?"

Hey! No fair! That's my question!!

Here's another question, suppose faithful Christians who maintain their integrity and witness are viciously smeared and slandered as homophobes and bigots who are to be shunned and marginalized. Can you still be Salt and Light when you're caricatured and asked to self-ghetto?

Can you still be Salt and Light when you're caricatured and asked to self-ghetto?

Yes. We will then become a "sign to be spoken against."

"He is despised and rejected of man,...and we hid as it were our faces from him. He was despised, and we esteemed him not."

They reviled and ridiculed Jesus. They said to him, "Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God."

It is _undeniably_ possible to be the Light of the World while being despised, slandered, and viciously mocked.

Too many in Christian circles believe that "being salt and light" means "being mainstream."

Our Lord begs to differ.

If Christian bakers, photographers, florists, etc. are forced to provide service for a gay "wedding" is it ethical for then to do a bad job? Its what I would expect, like taking really horrible photos or backing an inedible cake. Is this a legitimate form of protest or do you guys think it would be wrong?

Lydia, re your 9:29 response (wow, it's been a long day!) -- that makes sense to me. I'm not sure I yet fully agree, but I do see your point, and it's certainly where we may have to be at some time.

Being under persecution usually creates the greatest witness because only those who fully trust the Lord will be doing the witnessing.

Rachael, from my own perspective as a professional writer, your suggestion would not be an option for me, at least. My work is meant to glorify God as well as serve my neighbor, and if I'm going to do the work, it must be done for those reasons. Purposefully bad work in and of itself is an affront to God and an insult to the neighbor it is meant to serve. So if I can't do the work to His glory -- say, write an essay that celebrates gay "marriage" -- then I must not do the work at all, not just do it badly.

Rachael, there are a lot of aspects to that: First of all, if one took on the job at all, it would almost certainly send the wrong message to someone to begin with. That is, lots of people wouldn't know you were doing it as a protest, so it would just help to normalize the event.

Second, as Beth says, it would be a form of dishonor to one's own gifts deliberately to do a bad job.

Third, if you were obvious enough about it actually to make a statement or protest out of it, that would get you in just as much trouble as refusing. See the discussion above of "signaling." Non-discrimination law is fairly well-developed on all of these issues. For example, if a waitress gives egregiously bad service only to black customers with the approval of her manager, a discrimination lawsuit will be upheld. But if you _weren't_ obvious enough about it to get in trouble and just left it ambiguous (just did a somewhat less good job), then you are *really* seeming to legitimize the event. (See point #1.)

Rachel has a point though. This was mentioned before, I think by Scott. If photography is an art, and the artist in principle has control of the message he wants to send, imagine this scenario: the photographer has ALL of his customers sign an explicit "waiver" or whatever you call it, which acknowledges that the artist has absolute control over the content of the message and the manner in which he executes it. He even mentions the fact that some customers didn't like his art, his message, or his way of conveying the message, and they chose not to buy. The customer may choose not to buy the photos at the end, but that's the only option he has if he doesn't like the job. Then the photographer puts together a really horrid montage of photos that brings out the insanity of SSM, and that becomes his "work".

I am sure that the lawyers would have a field day. The photographer would find some lawyer from the ACLU-type entities to defend him because its a "free speech" issue. When all is said and done, though, "art" is in the eye of the beholder and courts that cannot manage to identify "indecent" in the concrete when there is no principle preventing them might be brought to accept the coherence of not choosing to figure between "discrimination" and "an artistic message" when there is a first amendment principle pushing them. They might not, but then they might. At least some of them might. There are a lot of judges out there, and they don't all fry up the same way on the issues.

Sure, for a short while people might mistake his "having cooperated", by doing the wedding shoot. But when the hullabaloo all comes out, nobody will be in doubt any more as to his moral status on the wedding.

The photographer would find some lawyer from the ACLU-type entities to defend him because its a "free speech" issue.

You'd think, but it wouldn't happen. Elaine Huguenin (the photographer) had clear First Amendment precedents on her side against compelled speech, artistic expression, etc., in the New Mexico case, and the ACLU did not defend her. Far from it.

By now all of the old civil libertarians have either died or become conservatives.

Lydia: "Yes. We will then become a "sign to be spoken against."

Beth Impson: "Being under persecution usually creates the greatest witness because only those who fully trust the Lord will be doing the witnessing."

Curious. It's possible for the mass of undiscerning Libs that they would just lump you both as being in the same peas in a pod with the Westboro Baptist folks. "You're both haters."

Would that bother you, by any chance?

Nope.

Lydia, thanks for clarifying what you mean by zero-sum game. I know I did not ask, but I have not fully understood what you meant by it before. It seems obvious to me that "marriage equality" as its advocates understand it cannot be achieved in full via legal recognition alone. So long as a significant portion of society is not on board there will be no "marriage equality". In other words, their (legal) victory will be hollow so long as many of their friends, families, and neighbors do not regard their union as a "marriage" and treat in full as such. I may even go as far as to say they will not have "marriage equality" as they want it so long as many churches continue to not celebrate same sex "weddings"...though I do not know what will happen when the battle gets that far.

I had been thinking that as bad as it is, at least it will be difficult to go after the common person who holds traditional sexual views. However, it has struck me it would not be overly difficult for someone to search for anyone on facebook who may have involvement in a church that is known to hold the traditional view, check to see if they list their employer on their profile page or even Linkedin, and then inform the employer that they are employing a "homophobic bigot". This strategy could be doubly effective if the list could be passed to a gay co-worker who could then take it to management and claim they are in a hostile work environment and are being discriminated against. I hope that I am way over thinking this, and I am not all suggesting this will happen. Just seems that the witch hunt possibility could have real teeth and be something far more serious than merely winked at, and ultimately, if it could go this far it seems the logical conclusion is that church will be effectively forced underground.

Given the consequences of the zero-sum game (for us), how relatively easy it would be to root out and/or silence Christians in public life, and the opposing sides agenda to get federal anti-discrimination laws against sexual orientation in the work place, what if we were able to strike a deal so that they get their anti-discrimination against sexual orientation and we get one for those that hold traditional views about human sexuality and marriage? I get that this is not a win-win solution, but maybe in the present it could be a draw. I cant even say I have reason to be opposed to sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws so long as they cannot ultimately be used against me or anyone else who believes as I do. My concern about this deal would be if a case ever made it to the Supreme Court that they may rule just the portion about it being illegal to discriminate against those that hold traditional views in the workplace to be unconstitutional because; of course, the constitution does not protect people from being discriminated against because they hold "discriminatory" views.

This zero-sum game is a dreadful game. If we win, they lose no freedoms. If they win, we do, and perhaps ultimately as many as they feel like taking. We will be at their mercy.

You'd think, but it wouldn't happen. Elaine Huguenin (the photographer) had clear First Amendment precedents on her side against compelled speech, artistic expression, etc., in the New Mexico case, and the ACLU did not defend her. Far from it.

Sure, of course that's true. The actual orgs like the ACLU have officially signed on to the "persecute Christians" bandwagon whatever their name or slogans say. But every now and then you get an independent type, a real radical who is completely willing to buck the trend and either act on conscience or just be an outlier, a thorn in the side of the "establishment", whatever establishment happens to be running right now. So, no, you wouldn't get the actual organization to come in, but an individual lawyer here and there.

And it doesn't really matter that much whether your attorney is some old radical left wing from the 60's whose "party" left them 20 years ago, or a bright shiny new guy from the ACLJ. The outcome really rests on the judge. There are way more judges than we should like who will kow-tow to the liberal anti-constitution version of things, but there are still SOME who would be entirely willing to try the case fairly and uphold good law. Judge Moore, for example. If we had a number of cases moving forward, at least SOME of them could be maneuvered into the courts of the decent judges.

I am not saying that I would take on a project like this myself - not unless my family was all grown, and I had already signed over most of my worldly goods to others and expected my practice to go down in flames. But there are a lot of people out there in different situations, and some of them might be in just the right position to do it: say, a 70-year old photographer who hasn't any real assets, and has early-stage Alzheimer's and knows he is going to be in a nursing home within 5 years - just enough time for the legal battles to work their way through.

TUAD - it wouldn't bother me, either. Lots of people thought the early martyrs were crazy and/or evil, and lots of others came to the Lord because of their witness.

Tony, maybe there are artists out there who would be willing to do bad art for a political reason. I have yet to meet any. For myself, if I were going to risk prison or fines, whatever, over my art, I wouldn't do so by creating a piece of junk. I would do so by refusing to bow to those who would force me to celebrate their perversity. The political principle of First Amendment rights is not, to me at least, *more* important than the artistic principle of excellence. If I might not be able to win a First Amendment case over my right to *refuse* to celebrate something, I'm certainly not going to take the same risk by doing my work badly.

what if we were able to strike a deal so that they get their anti-discrimination against sexual orientation and we get one for those that hold traditional views about human sexuality and marriage?

Given the meaning of anti-discrimination, this is literally impossible. The two are strictly incompatible.

I cant even say I have reason to be opposed to sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws so long as they cannot ultimately be used against me or anyone else who believes as I do.

But they always can. In the very nature of the case. Always, always, always oppose such legislation. Never think you can make a deal with it.

By the way, perhaps you are not aware: In law, "sexual orientation" includes sexual behavior. This means that if an organization is subject to such a law, they *must not* fire a person who is engaging in homosexual behavior. To the extent that, say, a Christian school or college cannot get an exemption from this (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't), they have to employ, say, a theology teacher who consider himself "married" to a man.

Such laws now routinely also include "gender identity," meaning that any institution, organization, or business subject to them must force all employees to call a man "she" if the man says that he now identifies as a woman. Everyone has to play along with the charade. This includes a school forcing girls not to complain about having a boy in their bathrooms and referring to the boy as "she."

There is _no_ compromise possible. None. The agenda is totalizing and evil and must be resisted en toto.

Some Christians thought they could compromise with "laws against sexual orientation discrimination" years ago, but there should be no excuse now.

Lydia and Beth,

Have you ever observed or read of some Christians who take some pains to distance themselves from Westboro Baptist folks when they're engaged with non-Christians?

On a related note, imagine Westboro Baptist folks using the same rationale as you, but using before you even thought to use it. Namely:

(Westboro) Lydia: "Yes. We will then become a "sign to be spoken against."

(Westboro) Beth Impson: "Being under persecution usually creates the greatest witness because only those who fully trust the Lord will be doing the witnessing."

Would that bother you, perchance?

Nope. I can let God sort it out. I also hope that, by His grace, anyone watching or listening to me would be able to tell there is a difference. And, in fact, as a believer, I distance myself utterly from WB as frequently as I possibly can. If I happened to personally know any of the family, I would pray for opportunity to witness to them if possible, but I would never, never, never, allow myself to appear to be aligned with them.

I myself have pretty much no interest in the whole "distancing" thing. Who cares what those Westboro people would say? I have nothing whatsoever to do with them nor they with me. So they "would say" something similar to what I have said in response to criticism. So what? They should be judged on what they _do_, not on what they say in response to criticism. And my actions should be judged on their own merits. Whether you are doing right or wrong should be the basis. You might as well point to any random person who is doing wrong and wouldn't accept criticism of his actions and ask me if it "bothers me" that that person would also not accept criticism! The question is whether the criticism is justified.

The homosexual activists think we're all bigots. Tell me something else I didn't know. If I let that bother me, I would let my witness to the truth be paralyzed.

Thank you Lydia and Beth for your forthright replies.

I just thought it was an interesting double whammy that would occur in this quite plausible scenario.

#1. Undiscerning Libs simply lump you in with the Westboro Baptists.

#2. And simultaneously, the Westboro Baptists use the same rationale as you do when maintaining their integrity and witness.

No, it isn't a double whammy. Those Westboro people are just disgusting weirdos. They have zero to do with me. Really. To my mind it is totally pointless even to think about them, much less to worry about what they would say or whether some liberal would compare me to them. A liberal might also compare me to Hitler. So what?

Seriously, I think you could stop bringing this up now. It's just...cluttery.

My job is not to be concerned with what the world thinks of me. My job is to live for the Lord.

I will very likely never have to face the kinds of consequences Barronelle Stutzman is facing. But I am concerned about the kind of world my children and grandchildren are (going to be) part of. I fear that Lydia is right (the battle over at least some things is already over) and they will first have stunted employment opportunities and finally become like most Christians in most societies across time. This shouldn't surprise us as much as it does, I suppose; having the political rights we've had here for so long is not the norm. Still, to have had this freedom all my lifetime and be part of leaving a worse legacy to my descendants discourages me.

Lydia, it's not cluttery. It goes to what Beth Impson wrote: "... I would never, never, never, allow myself to appear to be aligned with them."

Appearances, unfortunately, do matter.

There is an aphorism: "Perception is reality."

Beth, perhaps subconsciously, understands this. And she wants to be careful about appearances, perception, and perceived reality.

I'm not sure exactly what you are getting at, but yes, you are cluttering the thread. Perhaps you had better cut the cackle and come to the horses: Is there some particular thing that I am doing that you think is _wrong_ because of _appearances_? You know, last I checked, I haven't marched around at any military funerals displaying obscene pictures, signs saying that soldiers are going to hell, or signs saying that God hates homosexuals.

I don't regret a single thing I have said on this subject, and comparisons *by anybody* to kookballs doing those things are childish, illogical, and gratuitous.

So, y'know. Bag it, already.

"Is there some particular thing that I am doing that you think is _wrong_ because of _appearances_?

Not that I know of, no.

Thanks Lydia, I thought my idea was wrong but I wasn't sure why but your answer was perfect!

I am aware that in law sexual orientation includes sexual behavior. However, that concept is not intuitive to me. What seems more intuitive is that sexual orientation is merely what someone is sexually attracted to, not what they are, and certainly what they do is not what they are. If I knew nothing else about what was going on my main reason to oppose SOGI laws would be mostly that they seem unnecessary. They would be akin to anti-discrimination laws based on hair color. Which is still enough reason to be opposed (but maybe not this is the hill we die on opposed).

However, I am well aware of what is really going on and completely agree that these laws and agenda must be completely opposed.

I do wonder how many others out there have a similar intuitive understanding as me and are susceptible to being sucked in accordingly. I do not think it is just obvious that it being unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation means a florist has to decorate a same sex "wedding", or that the same law applied to workplaces may mean that "anti-gay" views (i.e. marriage is between a man and woman and sexual behavior is meant for marriage relationships alone) create a hostile environment and thus constitute discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation. However, I am fully aware that this is the case, that this is how these laws are being applied (or will likely be applied). I do not at all imagine I am the only one who does not find this obvious.

To bring it back to the OP...I do not think Ms. Stutzman broke the law as written. She most certainly did not break any moral law or treat anyone wrongly. She is entirely innocent in this instance. She only broke the law as interpreted by those that want to hurt people who believe as she does. People who ultimately want to inflict the maximum punishment they can get away with.

It's important to remember that it isn't _just_ a matter of interpretation. For example, the "sexual orientation" law in my home town *explicitly* includes sexual acts in the language of its definitions. That is what is _explicitly_ meant by "orientation."

So it's not as though these laws started out with some less objectionable meaning and then got warped in interpretation by judges. For the most part, they were intended this way from the outset.

_Possibly_ there was wiggle room on artistic expression and celebrating ceremonies. The laws don't explicitly address all possible applications.

But as far as including behavior--that is intended from the outset.

In fact, a lot of it is related to housing law--not wanting homosexual couples who are openly living together in a sexual relationship to have any trouble finding housing. That is the explicit intent of such laws from the outset. So if you have a house to rent, you have to rent to a homosexual couple.

It seems to me that to being primarily concerned about appearances, about how others feel about you, about who they may associate you with, with respect to being a witness to the truth is an argument against being a witness to the truth. That is a nonstarter.

As distasteful as the westboro baptist church is, we are kidding ourselves if we think the homosexual activists think we are less bigoted than they are by being less distasteful in our conduct. If anything, many think we are far worse. At least to them the westboro baptist folk do not hide their hatred. They believe we are just as hateful if not more so, that we *know* that we are, and we are simply being disingenuous and trying to hide it.

As I have been told by them, the worst kind of bigot is a polite bigot. The worst kind of bigot is the one who tries to justify their "bigotry" and wont own it.

"As distasteful as the westboro baptist church is, we are kidding ourselves if we think the homosexual activists think we are less bigoted than they are by being less distasteful in our conduct. If anything, many think we are far worse. At least to them the westboro baptist folk do not hide their hatred. They believe we are just as hateful if not more so, that we *know* that we are, and we are simply being disingenuous and trying to hide it."

Wow. Really? I had no idea. That is quite a piercing revelation, DR84.

"

As I have been told by them, the worst kind of bigot is a polite bigot. The worst kind of bigot is the one who tries to justify their "bigotry" and wont own it."

Seriously, you have had some pro-homosexual folks tell you that? That the "polite bigot" is worse than the Westboro Baptist folks to them?

Oh man, I can actually sorta understand their line of reasoning. Do you?

Yes, I have been told that.

I believe I have already shown an understanding of their reasoning. If you are asking if I think their reasoning is at all valid, no, I dont. In fact, I think it is unreasonable and even hateful. If you are asking if I care that they think the way they do. Yes, and no. I would rather they didn't, so in that sense I care. However, I am not going to change a thing to get them to come to a different conclusion, so in that sense, I do not care. I cant make people be reasonable and not hateful.

I believe there was at least a proposed anti-discrimination law that included sexual orientation that went as far as including merely be unwelcoming. Which I imagine means something akin to showing any sign you do not want to bake the cake, create the flower decorations, etc. that a homosexual couple is asking you to do. So one could be strung up on anti-discrimination charges for complying in a less than cheerful way. Not sure if this law passed.

I was not aware that it was common for sexual orientation laws to explicitly include behavior. I can at least understand the connection to housing (although I believe the reasoning is flawed), but jumping to weddings is bizarre. Even explicitly including behavior does not logically entail that leap.

Sort of random question, but I wonder if it would still be in violation of the law if a baker or florist declined a request for a homosexual "wedding" that was from a family member of the couple as opposed to from the couple. Would that still be seen as discrimination against the couple who never actually asked you for your services? If not, that sets up an odd scenario when the exact same act done for the exact same reason is a violation of the law in one instance but not another merely based on who asks for the baker/florist/photographer/etc's services. At the moment these seems like a pretty significant flaw in the application. Even if this would be found to be in violation of SOGI laws, exactly who is the injured party? How can a person who never sought the services of a business be injured by that business not serving them?


"I cant make people be reasonable and not hateful."

I know that you "can't" but I do applaud you for making a good-faith effort to persuade and show.

"In fact, I think it is unreasonable and even hateful."

DR84, the ardent pro-homosexuals think you have unreasonable and hateful reasoning, and you think they have unreasonable and hateful reasoning.

Let's say that you politely exit at this point. Because what else can you do? Then they chase after you, and they "get" you, just like they did Barronelle Stutzman. Would you do anything different from what she has done so far?

TUAD, what is it about Lydia's instructions that are unclear?

I just thought it was an interesting double whammy that would occur in this quite plausible scenario.

#1. Undiscerning Libs simply lump you in with the Westboro Baptists.

#2. And simultaneously, the Westboro Baptists use the same rationale as you do when maintaining their integrity and witness.

Oh man, I can actually sorta understand their line of reasoning. Do you?
DR84, the ardent pro-homosexuals think you have unreasonable and hateful reasoning, and you think they have unreasonable and hateful reasoning.

I was going to ask at an earlier point: "What are you pursuing? Are you suggesting, for example, that the fact that someone hates me is clear indication that I should have dealt with him differently? Or, is the fact that some Westboro people think the world is round an implication that thinking the world is round is a bigoted sort of thinking?"

But I retract the question, because you are clearly pursuing something inappropriately. STOP IT. Quit badgering DR84 and Beth by falsely creating a pretense that there might be some sort of reasonable doubt that maybe a person like Beth is "just as bad" as Westboro idiots. There is no reasonable doubt, and there is no moral similitude, and there is no reason to be asking the questions and insinuating the possibilities you are insinuating. The mere fact that the questions can be put into words doesn't make them worthwhile or even remotely reasonable. The fact that you insinuate instead of coming straight out and saying what's on your mind isn't "nice" or helpful, it is (as Lydia said) just detracting from the discussion. If you had an actual POINT to these questions (other than snarky insinuations), you should have already made it by now. Don't respond by defending your earlier comments, don't respond by digging deeper with more of the same, just stop it with the nonsense.

Tony, you have made false accusations. Please e-mail me for offline discussion about your false accusations.

No thank you.

Anti-discrimination laws are modern heresy laws, seen in that light it makes sense that the object is the ruination of the offender. If they could up the ante to capital punishment they would and probably will at some point.

I have been thinking about the suggestion that those in the bakers, florists, etc. that perform wedding related services back out of those aspects of their business. It came to mind that Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. I assume that a JW baker would not bake anyone a birthday cake accordingly. Obviously this does not run afoul of any anti-discrimination laws (at the moment at least). I believe this example is parallel with the baker, florists, and other who have not created things and performed services for same sex "weddings" on the grounds that it is against their religious beliefs to celebrate those kinds of events.

If one of the problems in this situation is the state infringing on an individual's religious freedom. Which I believe is clearly the case. It seems that the two choices, to either do same sex "wedding" services, or to back out of wedding services entirely, both infringe on that person's freedom. Both are ultimately acquiescing to the state's belief that a wedding and a same sex "wedding" are exactly the same kind of event celebrating the same sort of life decision. In either case, the person is accepting that they cannot celebrate the types of events they want and not the events they do not want to. However, I do see that celebrating a (opposite sex) wedding is not necessarily mandatory; whereas, it is mandatory to not celebrate a same sex "wedding". Not sure if that changes anything, but it does at least seem better to not do what you merely want to do rather than do what you must not do.

In addition to this, I have wondered if people in this industry could make their wedding services contingent upon being a club member. If that could simply get around the anti-discrimination laws entirely.

However, I do see that celebrating a (opposite sex) wedding is not necessarily mandatory; whereas, it is mandatory to not celebrate a same sex "wedding".

Precisely. Which is why this solution would be morally okay; the major problem is that it is very hard on the businesses financially if they are heavily dependent on "doing weddings."

I have wondered if people in this industry could make their wedding services contingent upon being a club member. If that could simply get around the anti-discrimination laws entirely.

No, not if you are a for-profit business offering services to the public. If the "club" in question is "discriminatory" in its membership and you make your services contingent on that club membership, then you are being discriminatory despite being a for-profit business. It would be like offering your paid services only to members of a whites-only club. That would be almost certainly considered to violate discrimination law.

NOw, if you offered the services for free, no problem. But that doesn't help anything, because who can afford to do stuff for free?

_Possibly_ there might be an out if the entire business were formally organized as a registered religious organization. I believe that in some states that requires that you be a non-profit, however. This issue came up with regard to the actual performance of weddings offered for a fee in Coeur d'Alene by actual ordained ministers. Eventually the local prosecutor decided that they did not have to perform these weddings because they had registered as a religious organization. However, it might have gone the other way, because they do charge a fee and are a for-profit organization.

No, I think you are allowed to run a purely private club that is not a religious organization, and still run it to keep out X, Y, or Z - even if those are discriminatory. You just will be saddled with all sorts of things where you WON'T be able to take advantage of benefits as if you had been an a-ok entity (like religious). I think that means that all money that passes through the club's hands is counted as "income" unless it escapes that for some other reason. And so on. Probably you could run the club as charging "dues" to everyone every year, and the wedding or birthday cakes are just a club benefit - maybe with materials costs charged as a separate item. Actually, in a decently Christian town that might be a successful economic model, kind of like pre-paid legal services, or pre-paid vet services, only run as a club instead of a "business."

No, I think you are allowed to run a purely private club that is not a religious organization, and still run it to keep out X, Y, or Z - even if those are discriminatory.

Right, I didn't mean there would be a problem with that. But I'm pretty sure that if you were a free-standing business, such as a florist, you could not say, "I do weddings, but only for members of x club." The florist business is not an aspect of the club. It's just a florist business.

So, sure, I don't see any reason why you couldn't have a "discrminatory" private club that paid for wedding flowers as a club benefit, but that doesn't help the Christian florist who wants to do weddings to make money without getting stuck doing homosexual "weddings."

I'm not even sure how you could run an actual florist business, and a bakery, and a wedding planning service, and...as strictly subsidiary wings of a private club, not offering services to the public. I'm pretty sure anybody who wants to make a living as a baker needs (in the fiscal sense of "needs") to offer at least *some* of his services to more people than just the members of a private club. And at that point he offers his services to the public and is covered by non-discrimination laws.

Well, I really don't know if this works, but here is what I was thinking: you have a baker in a town of 40,000 people, most of whom are Christian and most of whom don't want to tolerate the gay agenda on marriage, but state law isn't helpful. The baker says "I am forming a 'baking club'. It's a Christian club, only Christians and good morals allowed. Membership dues are $50 per year. Club membership has the benefits of a dozen "deluxe" cupcakes at any one birthday, and "DISCOUNT" prices on other goods and services, including wedding cakes, anniversary cakes, etc. As a club we also do charitable things - birthday celebrations for poor families, "Cupcakes for Cancer" victims, etc."

If you got the whole town to realize this is the only way they are going to keep a baker who lives their morals, you might get enough people to join in with their membership dues to form the core of going concern, that the other stuff as discounted is enough to run the thing.

The trick, as I understand it, is not that you have some kind of charge for the "ancillary" services, but that you DON'T offer services to the public. If everyone in town that you care to serve is part of the club, so much the better.

The club forms as a non-profit, and the baker isn't also a regular baker who runs a baking business offering services to the public? This is all he does is to act as, say, the CEO of the non-profit "Christian baked goods club"? Yeah, that would probably work legally if you could raise enough money at it.

But I don't think you could make enough money. And I'm _sure_ you couldn't also make enough money to support the Christian florist, the Christian photographer, the Christian caterer, and the Christian wedding musician, while none of them are running regular businesses serving the public but are just employees of the private Christian wedding club.

A more plausible model would be for all the relevant Christian-owned small businesses to stop offering wedding services for a fee to anyone, to raise their prices on other goods and services, and to use the extra money made by raising other prices to cover offering their services for weddings "at cost" (no profit, and no charge for their time, just the actual cost of materials) as a donation to specific churches--a charitable donation. _Maybe_ that would be considered legal.

I had a feeling the private club route would have issues. What I had in mind was that the membership fees would be enough to cover the expense of the services, but officially, the services would be free. Is it possible such a club could be run as a non-profit and the baker/florist/etc. get paid a salary? Perhaps a certain percentage of the membership fee could be donated to charitable causes.

Granted, even if this option was legally viable it would no doubt get the florist/baker all kinds of bad press and threats. Not that the bad press is necessarily a problem as that would clue in all the sympathizers.

I am sure this one is incredibly iffy, but I wonder what would happen if a baker or florist just played dumb. If they simply said they never had a clue the person wanting services for a same sex "wedding" was gay and that they only refused because they thought it odd someone was requesting wedding services despite not having a wedding. Why should we go along with their narrative at all anyway? I assume this could be an "ignorance of the law" is no excuse deals, but still, if nothing else it would give the judges fits. Also, I am well aware in Stutzman's case this was not an option, and assume this strategy could land someone in contempt of court.

I suggest the baker have a catalog of wedding cakes that he makes all of which are beautiful but plain (no signaling). A policy of no writing, no figurines and no custom anything for anyone (maybe just flavors). WYSIWYG. These are the cakes that we make and that's it. As long as you don't do any customizing for anyone, no one can claim discrimination.

I still don't know what I would do as a baker if someone came to buy a cake making it very clear that it was for a same-sex "wedding". I wouldn't like to be indirectly a part of that but it would not happen like that most times.

Usually the cakes have to be delivered, at least, to the venue. And the very fact that it is a _wedding_ cake (as opposed to, I dunno, a sheet cake) is a form of signaling. Wedding cakes are very distinctive and elaborate.

In the case of flowers and clothes the involvement is even greater. Not to mention a wedding planner, which is a type of service. (I'm wondering if the reason we haven't heard about a Christian wedding tailor or wedding planner yet is that there aren't any?) You have to be very hands-on. This came out in the suit against Mrs. Stutzman in Washington. The service she provides, which the Attorney General insists she provide for homosexual couples, is to customize the floral arrangements to the venue and to the colors of the wedding, to go to the venue, to assist the wedding party with their flowers, and even to stay while the ceremony is going on in case something is needed. Tailors have to have multiple consultations with the bride and groom and with the wedding party. It's all definitely part of celebrating the occasion.

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