gay marriage vs. religious freedom

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On June 4, the Supreme Court ruled in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, siding with Mr. Philips, the baker who refused to serve a gay married man (Liptak). The case exemplifies the conflict that exists between religious faith and same-sex marriage controversies in the United States. Religious people contend that the government does not require them to violate their values in order to make a living in their respective enterprises. In the other hand, there are same-sex partners who claim they are entitled to fair rights in public enterprises and should not be discriminated against because of their marriage (Liptak). While the court reaffirmed gays’ protection, the ruling was based on the protection of freedom of speech. Although such cases should await further elaboration from the courts, such disputes should be resolved tolerantly without disrespect to religious beliefs that are sincere while not demeaning same-sex dignities in the public.

In the wake of the passage of same-sex marriage laws in several states, many have introduced charters that exempt religious faiths that allow the citizens to make decisions in their workplaces, which may violate individual civil rights (Kazyak, Burke, and Stange). Although upholding the people’s religious convictions that oppose a transgender identity and a nonheterosexual relationship, the bill provides for exceptions in certain services provision of mental health care in Mississippi and refusal to place children in foster care families in Michigan, North and South Dakota. Still, controversial services such as the wedding-related have garnered the attention of media. The prevalence of bills and laws protecting religion and those in gay marriage underscores exposure to freedom contemporary debates, as marriages and religious rights are pitted against one another (Kazyak, Burke, and Stange).

The cake case revealed the court’s determination to protect the first amendment in the Constitution on the freedom of speech. However, it is yet to determine if refusing to provide services is protected by the law and offer when exceptions due to religion should be made (Liptak). Furthermore, non-discrimination laws, which are not protecting the gay citizenship, are wrong morally. On the other hand, insertion of religious exemptions also signals that it is morally permissible to exclude gays or lesbians. However, gay marriage is not considered a moral issue by the U.S administration given that morals are not the reason for making LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) laws. Therefore, morality should not be used in making an argument on legal judgements, which as a moral individual I concur with. Besides, morals change from one person to another but laws are equal to everyone (Pan, Meng, and Zhou).

Therefore, what makes gay marriage to be different from multiple crimes, substance abuse, prostitution, or gambling is not based on morality but an infringement on other’s rights (Pan, Meng, and Zhou). While some may think that gay marriage is wrong, the state cannot force any individual or religion to change what he or she believes in accepting the marriage of the same sex. As a result, there will always be diverse opinions on the contentious issue and having exemptions based on convictions. There are those who believe that not only is same-sex marriage morally wrong but also detrimental to the community if allowed. In the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, I believe that the baker was justified not to be involved in a practice that he does not believe in goes against his religious conviction.

Works cited

Liptak, Adam. “In Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Turned Away Gay Couple”. Nytimes.com, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/04/us/politics/supreme-court-sides-with-baker-who-turned-away-gay-couple.html?rref=0. Accessed 6 Sept 2018.

Kazyak, Emily, Kelsy Burke, and Mathew Stange. “Logics of Freedom: Debating Religious Freedom Laws and Gay and Lesbian Rights.” Socius 4 (2018): 1-18.

Pan, Po-Lin, Juan Meng, and Shuhua Zhou. “Morality or equality? Ideological framing in news coverage of gay marriage legitimization.” The Social Science Journal 47.3 (2010): 630-645.

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