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What The Bible Says - Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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Dear Friends,The other day, I walked into an Asian stir-fry eatery and was met with a row of touchscreens lined up in front of the kitchen area where employees were preparing the food. The normal conversation one would usually hear between customers and the person behind the counter was strangely absent. Instead, I found myself and two or three millennial-types silently staring down at the touchscreens and ordering our food with a series of finger taps. We even swiped our own credit cards on a little console that also printed out our receipts. Similarly, instead of going to the bank with a check to deposit and having a friendly interaction with the bank teller, we can now deposit our checks ourselves with the cameras on our phones.All of this technology has certainly made our lives more convenient in certain ways, but it also has a weird way of making everyday life seem robotic. We aren’t being “old-fashioned” when we feel that something vital is missing from our lives when the opportunities for friendly chit-chat are systematically removed from commonplace societal activities.The desire for genuine human contact isn’t merely a “nicety” that some of us choose to do from time to time. This desire was placed in all human hearts by our Creator. Think of how Jesus interacted with those around him. He didn’t sit on pedestal and heal people from afar—rather, he did not hesitate in holding children in his lap, touching lepers, and even spitting on a blind man’s eyes to heal them. This is the kind of God we have, one whose deepest desire is to reach out and touch us. We in turn desire to give and receive genuine touch. Never underestimate the power that a warm handshake or a friendly pat on the back can have. A sincere embrace of someone who is struggling can have an enormous impact. Even something as seemingly insignificant as a smile and a friendly “hello” has the power to immediately lift our spirits.It’s particularly important to not miss an opportunity to be both verbally and physically affectionate with our spouses and children, which strengthens the bond of our family units. Thank you for your prayers and for your continued support of FRC and the family.Sincerely,Dan Hart Managing Editor for Publications Family Research Council FRC ArticlesNew Brochure: How to Respond to the LGBT Movement – Peter SpriggThe SPLC’s Incursion into EducationWith vote against Brownback, Democrats abandon religious freedom – Travis WeberPresident is keeping his promises – Tony PerkinsFact-Checking Jimmy Kimmel on Christian Bakers: Two Big Errors, But Props for Trying – Travis WeberGeneration Z – Seeking Answers to Good and Evil – Travis WeberAn Ode to the Lincoln Memorial – Brynne KrispinPain-Capable Senate Vote: The One Percenters’ Club – Jay Sappington4 Unforgettable Thoughts On Marriage – Dan HartWith Cecile Richards’ Resignation, It’s Time for Planned Parenthood to Come Clean – Jay Sappington Religious LibertyReligious Liberty in the Public SquareJudge Rules Bakeshop Owner Doesn’t Have to Bake Wedding Cake for Gay Couple – Grace Carr, The Daily SignalNorth Carolina Settles With Magistrate It Forced Out for Not Doing Gay Marriages – Ken McIntyre, The Daily SignalMichigan Pastor Facing Death Threats for Offering Workshops to Teens Struggling with Homosexuality – Charlene Aaron, CBN NewsGovernor Cuomo Signs Executive Order Banning State Agencies From Doing Business With Companies That Promote, Tolerate Discrimination – LongIsland.comCalifornia Moves To Force Public Universities To Administer Abortion Pills – Kristan Hawkins, The FederalistMaryland city to church: Stop worship services or leave – Alliance Defending FreedomOhio high school rallies around prayer after outside group tries to ban it at events – Caleb Parke and Michelle Chavez, Fox NewsInternational Religious Freedom16,000 Christians Dead in Less Than 3 Years: Report Reveals Extent of Violence in Nigeria – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian PostImpressions of persecution – June Cheng, WORLDSudan government demolishes church just hours after service – J-P Mauro, AleteiaReligious Discrimination in Canada – Derek Ross, Public DiscourseUS Pastor Andrew Brunson Writes Heartbreaking Message to Wife From Turkish Prison – Stoyan Zaimov, The Christian PostOpen Doors Rebuilds Nearly 700 Christian Homes Destroyed by ISIS in Nineveh Plains – Samuel Smith, The Christian Post LifeAbortionBeyond Roe: A Global Roadmap for the Pro-Life Movement – Stefano Gennarini, Public DiscourseBrother of woman who died from abortion at Planned Parenthood: Abortion is not a safe procedure – Live ActionOnly Pro-Lifers Address Abortion’s Core Moral Question – Mene Ukueberuwa, National ReviewThe Emerging Pro-Life Majority – Rob Schwarzwalder, The Stream'Fetal heartbeat' abortion bill advances in Iowa Senate after contentious hearing – William Petroski, Des Moines RegisterMissouri House Passes Pro-Life Bill Requiring Parental Notification Before a Teen’s Abortion – Micaiah Bilger, LifeNewsAdoptionFive Reasons Adoption Shouldn’t be a Backup Plan – John Prather, The StreamPro-Life Advocates Celebrate: Lawmakers Pass Funding for Florida Pregnancy Support Network – Leon Aprile, Orlando Political ObserverBioethicsEuthanizing The Mentally Ill Just Lets Their Illness Win – A.D.P. Efferson, The Federalist FamilyEconomics/EducationTax Revenues Up Big After GOP Tax Cut – James Barrett, The Daily WireSorry, NYT: For Child Poverty, Family Structure Still Matters – W. Bradford Wilcox, Family StudiesThe Left Is Conditioning College Students To Hate Free Speech – John Daniel Davidson, The FederalistCampus Madness: Amid Uproar, Princeton's Class on Free Speech Issues Has Been Canceled – Guy Benson, TownhallMarriageThe Profound Spiritual Truth of Marriage – Dorothy Greco, RelevantHow To Prepare For Marriage And Make It Good Once You Get There – Melissa Langsam Braunstein, The FederalistShe Was Repulsed by Her Husband – Lisa Lakey, Family LifeJordan Peterson’s Radical Take on Marriage – Ashley McGuire, Family StudiesThe Eschatological Hope of Bearing Children – Ian Caveny, First ThingsThe Lost Decade – Mary May Larmoyeux, Family LifeThe Long-Term Benefits of Marriage: Evidence from the UK – Harry Benson, Family StudiesNo Matter How Anyone Tries To Glam It Up Or Brush It Off, Divorce Is Never ‘Over Easy’ – The FederalistWe Lost Our Baby, but We Didn't Want to Lose Our Marriage – Tanisha Garnier, Christianity TodayHow to Restore a Marriage Norm – Lawrence M. Mead, Family StudiesRankin finally pulls the plug on gay marriage – Jonathan Bell, The Royal GazetteFaith/Character/CultureRaising Gentlemen in a #MeToo World: Advice for Fathers – Patrick Fagan, Family StudiesWhy ‘Progressives’ Cannot Abide Dissent – Trevin Wax, The Gospel CoalitionThe Burdensome Myth of Romantic Love – David C. Dollahite and Betsy VanDenBerghe, First ThingsIs Life Ultimately Pointless? – Matt Nelson, Word On FireHuman SexualityIs America Running Out of Patience with LGBT Activism? – Glenn Stanton, Public DiscourseNine Decades of Promiscuity – Nicholas H. Wolfinger, Family StudiesWalgreens now allows bathroom use corresponding with gender identity – Rebecca Savransky, The HillStaggering Statistic Reveals How Many High Schoolers Now Identify as Transgender – Jason Hopkins, The Western JournalFive Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution, Part I – Mary Eberstadt, The Catholic Thing‘Dirty Dozen’ List Sheds Light on Sexualized Corporate Culture – CBN NewsHuman Trafficking510 Arrested in Sex Trafficking Sting; 56 Victims Rescued – Donald Kaufman, truthdigPornographyLet’s Ban Porn – Ross Douthat, The New York TimesAmmunition for the Fight Against Porn – Dieudonné Tamfu, Desiring God5 Ways Intimacy Will Suffer if You Watch Porn Together – Mary Rose Somarriba, VerilyHow One Family Is Taking A Stand Against Pornography and Sexual Exploitation in America’s Schools – Robin Paterson, National Center on Sexual Exploitation
The other day, Jimmy Kimmel responded to a California Court ruling affirming Christian baker Cathy Miller’s First Amendment right to not be compelled to create a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding.Here is a response to Jimmy Kimmel’s response, which I also presented on Facebook Live with our own Brynne Krispin (below).First, I commend Kimmel for trying to tackle the issue, and for acknowledging the judge’s ruling in favor of the baker “sounded reasonable.” That’s a start.But Kimmel then goes off track when trying to portray what happened.In his skit, he plays a waiter who quizzes customers at his hypothetical restaurant, asking after they sat down but before serving them: “Are any of you gay?” After one woman says yes, he informs her his chef can’t make her a salad because he “believes homosexuality is a sin” (while offering her a salad made yesterday before “he knew you were gay”)—wrongly implying that the California baker did the exact same thing.ERROR #1: Kimmel wrongly portrays business owners as refusing to serve people because they identify as LGBTThis is simply false. How many times do we have to say it?What Kimmel portrayed is exactly what is NOT happening in the California case, Jack Phillips’ case, or any other.Neither Cathy Miller nor any of the other Christians being dragged into court over this issue is quizzing customers to see who identifies as LGBT or not, and sending them on their way if they say they are gay. They are only drawing the line at creating items and sending messages which violate their conscience.Nor is the issue when the item was baked; Jack Phillips and others are happy to sell a person identifying as LGBT cookies, cakes, brownies, etc.—whether made yesterday or today. Rather, the issue is whether the person of faith is being conscripted into using their talents in service of a proclamation against their will.Indeed, in his brief to the Supreme Court, Jack Phillips clearly stated that he “would decline to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage regardless of whether the customer is a same-sex couple or a heterosexual parent purchasing the cake” (emphasis mine). Yet at the same time, he “would celebrate a marriage between a man and a woman even if one or both spouses identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual” (emphasis mine).In other words: this is not about the person; it’s about the message.ERROR #2: Kimmel tells the story of the potential customers, but not the business owners of faith.In doing this, Kimmel missed a big opportunity to tell the stories of business owners of faith like Jack Phillips and Cathy Miller—and how they are being harassed by government agencies and dragged into court over this issue right now.So what should Kimmel’s skit have shown?The waiter should have played the government and the customer could have played the wedding vendor, and it would have been largely on-point. Jack Phillips and others are simply seeking to stay in the marketplace (the table), yet the government is coming to them and telling them to get out unless they modify their Christian beliefs. This is also happening at the hands of the ACLU in Michigan, where Christian adoption providers have a seat at the table along with pro-LGBT providers. Yet the ACLU is suing the state to force the Christian groups to leave because of their beliefs.Kimmel’s own skit helps show this. Near the end, he referenced a Hindu chef who didn’t want to prepare a steak for a potential customer because of his religious beliefs. Now, just imagine if that Hindu chef’s job had been to simply prepare vegetable side dishes, and then one day all of a sudden his boss tells him to start preparing steaks—or be fired. Cathy Miller’s story is like this chef’s, and it is a story that needs to be told. If Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t tell it, we gladly will.
Torte Reform? CA Baker Wins First-Ever Case February 07, 2018 Here are three words you don't usually see in the same sentence: "religious liberty" and "California." But thanks to Superior Court Judge David Lampe, that's exactly what one Christian is celebrating in a battle over religious ...
Cecile Richards has announced she will resign this year as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America after 12 years at the helm.Under her leadership, Planned Parenthood has come under federal investigation by both the Department of Justice and the FBI for illegally selling body parts of aborted children. Two of Planned Parenthood’s California customers for those baby parts have already admitted guilt and have payed over $7 million in a legal settlement for breaking state and federal laws that prohibit the practice. But this is only one of many scandals during her tenure. Planned Parenthood has been convicted of Medicaid billing fraud in several states. It has failed to report suspected physical abuse of clients, covered up alleged prostitution pimps, and recommended that underage clients falsify documents, for example. And, tragically, women have died from Planned Parenthood abortions.Under her leadership, Planned Parenthood has consistently claimed that abortion is not their core business. This has again and again been exposed for the sham that it is. Even as the overall abortion rate in the U.S. declines, and their own client base shrinks, Planned Parenthood remains the abortion industry’s largest business, performing over 320,000 abortions per year, about a third of the nation’s annual total. Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Abby Johnson, who left the organization in 2009, wrote that being assigned abortion sales quotas was the beginning of the end of her relationship with the abortion giant.Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports belie Cecile’s claim that they are an essential provider of non-abortion services to women. In fact, their non-abortion services are in steep decline. Out of 9.5 million “services” provided in 2016-17, for example, only 7,762 were for prenatal care—a miniscule 0.0008%, which is an 80% drop since 2009. Adoption referrals were even more rare at just under 3,889 (0.0004%). Breast exams are down 64% since 2004 (these are the equivalent of self-exams—no Planned Parenthood center is licensed to do mammograms, despite Richards’ years of public assertions to the contrary). At an organization claiming to be the nation’s premier and essential provider of reproductive health care, that’s a remarkable failure to serve.During Richards’ tenure, Planned Parenthood has continued the veneration of its founder, Margaret Sanger, a leading proponent of racial eugenics, who saw Planned Parenthood (originally named The Birth Control League) as a way to prevent the propagation of “human weeds”—reproduction by segments of society she deemed deplorable and unfit to live. Today, 22 of Planned Parenthood’s 25 new abortion “mega-clinics” are strategically placed within walking distance of minority neighborhoods. And every year, Planned Parenthood awards their “highest honor”—the Margaret Sanger Award—to political leaders, members of the media, and others who promote the organization’s abortion business and support funding the organization with tax dollars.Meanwhile, Americans are catching on to the scandal of Planned Parenthood’s tax dollar revolving door. The organization receives a whopping half a billion dollars in tax money each year from grants and Medicaid reimbursements. Its political action arm in turn donates millions to the election campaigns of candidates who will vote for continuing the tax funding. “Your tax dollars at work.”Cecile Richards knows most Americans oppose paying for elective abortions with taxes, and she knows Planned Parenthood is poised to lose substantial tax monies in the coming months. Several states have already begun redirecting Medicaid subsidies away from Planned Parenthood to existing community health centers that provide more services than Planned Parenthood, but do not perform abortions. There have also been moves in Congress to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood’s business. With Planned Parenthood’s network of clinics shrinking (they have closed over 250 centers in the past few years) and their non-abortion services declining precipitously, there is no justification for the increased tax funding the nation’s largest abortion business has garnered each year for so many years. The money would be much better spent to support the over 13,500 community health clinics nationwide that provide a wider array of services to a much broader geographic and demographic swath of the population than the abortion giant does.Cecile’s resignation gives Planned Parenthood the opportunity to come clean and clean house.It’s a good time to come clean about the baby parts business some of their centers have been running out the back door, and clean house of anyone involved.It’s a good time to come clean about the central purpose of their business—performing abortions—and clean house of anyone misrepresenting that crucial truth. It’s a good time to come clean about Margaret Sanger’s eugenicist vision, and to renounce the practice of targeting communities of color.And it’s a good time for Planned Parenthood to stand on its own two financial feet instead of demanding that taxpayers provide over half a billion dollars annually to a business whose main product—abortion—is something Americans don’t believe taxpayers should pay for.Jay Sappington is a bioethicist, researcher, writer, educator, and policy advocate. He has worked with Heartbeat International and The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, among others.
I am not generally a fan of liberal Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. But after reading the entire transcript of the December 5 oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case (in which a Christian baker was found guilty by Colorado of discrimination for declining to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple), I thought one question she asked was especially insightful.Most of the discussion on Jack Phillips’ free speech claim centered on a question distilled by Justice Stephen Breyer. Baker Jack Phillips argues that his First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech was violated by Colorado’s application of its public accommodations law to him, but Breyer asked, “[W]hat is the line? . . . [W]e want some kind of distinction that will not undermine every civil rights law.”Kagan elaborated on that concern in a question posed to U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who was arguing in support of Phillips:JUSTICE KAGAN: General, it -- it seems as though there are kind of three axes on which people are asking you what’s the line? How do we draw the line? So one axis is what we started with, like what about the chef and the florist -GENERAL FRANCISCO: Speech, non-speech.JUSTICE KAGAN: -- and -- and, you know, everybody else that participates in a wedding? A second axis is, well, why is this only about gay people? Why isn’t it about race? Why isn’t it about gender? Why isn’t it about people of different religions? So that’s a second axis.And there’s a third axis, which is why is it just about weddings? You say ceremonies, events. What else counts? Is it the funeral? Is it the Bar Mitzvah or the communion? Is it the anniversary celebration? Is it the birthday celebration?So there are all three of these that suggest like, whoa, this doesn’t seem like such a small thing.1. “Speech” vs. “non-speech” in the wedding industryThe core of the argument made by Kristen Waggoner, the Alliance Defending Freedom attorney representing Phillips, related to the first “axis” Kagan mentioned. The courts have previously found that under the First Amendment’s free speech protections, not only may the government not punish an individual for speaking his own opinions, but the government also may not compel an individual to communicate a message he disagrees with against his will. Using his talents to create a custom wedding cake is a form of artistic expression which is protected as “speech” under the First Amendment, Waggoner argued. Doing so for a same-sex wedding would constitute a message of endorsement of a homosexual relationship and of same-sex marriage, which violates Jack Phillips’ religious beliefs. Therefore, the state of Colorado may not compel Phillips’ to create such a cake without violating his First Amendment rights.The justices demanded to know what other vendors providing goods and services for a wedding would or would not enjoy similar free speech protections. What type of commercial conduct constitutes “speech,” and what is “non-speech,” as Francisco put it? Waggoner suggested that the exemption would apply to a baker, florist, or calligrapher creating invitations; but might not apply to a hair stylist or makeup artist (more on that later).Yet I think Kagan’s other two “axes” (plural of “axis,” not “ax”) are also significant. Unlike Kagan, however, I think they make the case easier to decide, not harder.2. “Why is this only about gay people?”The second axis of line-drawing has to do with any distinctions between various protected categories. Is there a difference between “discrimination” that is based on sexual orientation (“gay people”), and that based on race, sex, or religion? Attorneys on the other side and the more liberal justices hammered on the race analogy—if we allow a baker to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, can he also refuse to bake a cake for a black child’s birthday?Now, before discussing the question of whether “discrimination” based on “sexual orientation” is the same as racial discrimination, let me state my own view that refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding does not constitute discrimination based on “sexual orientation” at all. Phillips’ principal objection stems primarily from his religious beliefs about the definition of marriage (that it is inherently a union of one man and one woman) and his beliefs about the appropriate boundaries of sexual conduct (that it should only take place in the context of a marriage so defined). This has nothing inherently to do with the “sexual orientation” of the individuals involved.Phillips would bake a cake for a wedding of two people who self-identify as homosexual—if they were of the opposite sex. And he would not bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, even if the individuals involved identified as heterosexual. If those examples sound absurd, it is only because in our time we have a cultural assumption that an indispensable purpose of marriage is the gratification of sexual desires. Yet that is an assumption about marriage that has by no means been universal in all times and all cultures, and the Court need not adopt it as a legal assumption today.The Colorado public accommodations non-discrimination law that Phillips was charged with violating makes no distinctions among its protected categories. But that is not the legal question at issue. Phillips is asserting a claim under the U.S. Constitution, which (if successful) would override a state statute. The question is whether the “discrimination” he is accused of gives the government a compelling interest in overriding that federal constitutional claim. Under federal court precedents, there is a distinction to be made between race and sexual orientation. Classifications of individuals on the basis of race are subject to “strict scrutiny,” which means that they can very rarely be justified. The Supreme Court has never said that classifications based on “sexual orientation” are subject to the same high level of scrutiny.I have argued elsewhere that the reason classifications based on race are subjected to the highest scrutiny is because race is, indisputably, a characteristic that is inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and in the Constitution. “Sexual orientation” does not meet the same criteria. In fact, its definition is not entirely clear, since depending on the context, it may refer to a person’s sexual attractions, their sexual behavior, or their self-identification, or some combination of the three. The three aspects of sexual orientation are also not always consistent in one individual at one time, or over the life course. A person’s sexual attractions may indeed be involuntary (I am not saying people “choose to be gay,” if “being gay” is defined based on attractions alone). However, a person’s sexual behavior and self-identification do not meet any of the criteria which justify strict scrutiny of racial classifications. For those who disapprove of homosexuality, it is almost entirely the conduct—not the attractions or even the self-identification—which is seen as problematic.I realize that in a 2010 case (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the 5-4 majority, “Our decisions have declined to distinguish between status and conduct in this context.” The “context” she referred to was a sexual orientation classification. (In that case, the University of California’s law school had denied recognition to a Christian student organization because they did not permit people who engaged in “unrepentant homosexual conduct” to serve in leadership positions.) “CLS contends that it does not exclude individuals because of sexual orientation,” reported Ginsburg, “but rather ‘on the basis of a conjunction of conduct and the belief that the conduct is not wrong.’” An analysis in the New York Times described Ginsburg’s sentence rejecting the distinction between “status and conduct” as a “time bomb” which could explode with broader implications in later cases (as it did in the later cases involving the definition of marriage).Justice Anthony Kennedy himself, however (despite having been the decisive vote in the decisions striking down both federal and state definitions of marriage as the union of a man and a woman), seemed to hint that he might be willing to defuse the status-conduct “time bomb” in the context of the Masterpiece case. Here is part of an exchange with David D. Cole, the attorney representing the same-sex couple, after Cole repeatedly asserted that Jack Phillips’ action was “identity discrimination”:JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, but this whole concept of identity is a slightly—suppose he says: Look, I have nothing against—against gay people. He says but I just don’t think they should have a marriage because that’s contrary to my beliefs. It’s not –MR. COLE: Yeah.JUSTICE KENNEDY: It’s not their identity; it’s what they're doing. MR. COLE: Yeah.JUSTICE KENNEDY: I think it’s -- your identity thing is just too facile. [Emphasis added.]Whether the court has distinguished between homosexual conduct and an “identity” or “status” as “gay” in prior decisions or not, the distinction clearly exists in the real world, and it makes sexual orientation different from race (or sex). It would be salutary for the Court to acknowledge that now.3. “Why is it just about weddings?”The third axis of line-drawing posited by Kagan has to do with the type of events which, hypothetically at least, might trigger a religious objection and therefore a religious or free-speech exception to anti-discrimination laws.However, it is clear that the liberty Phillips is seeking in this case has specifically and narrowly to do with weddings because of the nature of that event. He and his attorneys have repeatedly made clear that Jack Phillips regularly serves customers who openly self-identify as gay. His policy of not creating custom cakes for same-sex weddings therefore bears no resemblance to racially segregated businesses in the Jim Crow south, which either did not serve black customers at all, or would only serve them in physically segregated facilities.Phillips’ attorney Kristen Waggoner described his objection regarding weddings most succinctly in her final summation, when she said this:A wedding cake expresses an inherent message that is that the union is a marriage and is to be celebrated, and that message violates Mr. Phillips's religious convictions.This single sentence makes two distinct points. The “message . . . that [a same-sex] union is a marriage . . . violates Mr. Phillips’s religious convictions” (because his Christian faith teaches him that “marriage” can only be defined as the union of a man and a woman). In addition, the “message . . . that [a homosexual] union . . . is to be celebrated” also “violates Mr. Phillips’s religious convictions” (because his Christian faith teaches that homosexual relationships are sinful—that is, always contrary to the will of God).Neither of these objections, however, would apply to providing baked goods for a birthday celebration or a funeral reception for someone who identifies as gay, because neither a birthday nor a funeral sends “an inherent message” that marriage can be between people of the same sex, nor that sexual relations between people of the same sex are to be celebrated. Only a wedding (and potentially a wedding-related event, such as a shower or anniversary) sends that particular, and particularly objectionable, message.In fact, Solicitor General Noel Francisco seemed to me to at least hint at an argument for an even broader exemption than what Phillips’ own attorney, Kristen Waggoner, was requesting. Waggoner argued narrowly that the specific act of creating a custom wedding cake was a form of creative, artistic expression that merits free speech protection. Francisco, however, made repeated reference (seven times, by my count) to the wedding itself as an “expressive event.” This, it seems to me, would suggest that any participation in the celebration of a same-sex wedding—even if it involves less creative artistry than the creation of a custom-made cake—could constitute implicit endorsement of the message in support of same-sex marriage and in support of homosexual unions that is inherent in the event itself.The Three-Dimensional SolutionJustice Kagan’s concern was that drawing lines too broadly on all three axes she described would result in exceptions that would completely swallow the rule of Colorado’s public accommodation non-discrimination law. If we allow exceptions for bakers, what about other vendors? If we allow exceptions for sexual orientation, what about other protected categories? And if we allow exceptions for weddings, what about other events? If broad exemptions are granted in all three areas, then, as she said, “whoa, this doesn't seem like such a small thing.”I believe, however, that there are sound reasons for narrowing the exemption regarding protected categories only to sexual orientation—logically, because it involves primarily conduct, and legally, because it is not subject to strict scrutiny and is never mentioned in the text of the Constitution. As noted above, there are also reasonable grounds for treating a wedding differently from other events.With the lines drawn narrowly with respect to those categories, I think there would be room for the line regarding which vendors can claim free speech protection to be drawn a bit more broadly. I would like to see the Supreme Court adopt Solicitor General Francisco’s view of a wedding itself as an “expressive event”—and therefore extend the protection against “compelled speech” to any vendor who provides wedding services—whether baker, florist, or photographer, or calligrapher; or even chef, hair stylist or makeup artist.Such a decision would leave Colorado’s non-discrimination law intact, while still recognizing the elevated threat to freedom of conscience that arises in the narrow and unique situation of participation in celebrating a same-sex wedding.
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