Beware the Cultural Totalitarians

Brad Avakian, closet totalitarian

Brad Avakian, Oregon’s closet totalitarian

by James A. Bacon

Among my less useful accomplishments in life, I earned a Masters degree in African history at the Johns Hopkins University, an interdisciplinary program merging history and anthropology. Among the few useful perspectives I gained was an appreciation of the extraordinary plasticity of family forms throughout history and across the world. There are patrilineal societies (which are organized around the father’s kinship group) and matrilineal societies (organized around the mother’s). There are patrilocal societies (in which the wife moves in with the husband’s family), matrilocal societies (the husband moves in with the wife’s family), avunculocal societies (newlyweds move into the residence of the wife’s uncle) and neolocal societies (in which the newly married set up their own abode).

Don’t even get me started about polygamy (marriage between a man and multiple women) and polyandry (one wife, more than one husband). You get the idea. The traditional American family in which couples trace descent through the parents of both spouses and form their own residence is far from universal, and it is hardly the only form of marriage that is capable of raising children to become productive members of society. That’s why, as much as I revere my cultural heritage of marriage between a man and a woman, I don’t see gay marriage as leading to social disintegration. If you fear social disintegration, a far bigger threat is the American welfare state, which has substituted the nexus of government entitlements for the bonds uniting man and woman.

Unlike my conservative peers, I don’t get exercised about gay marriage, at least if it evolves organically from changes in social norms as played out in the legislative process. I do have a problem with gay marriage being imposed nationally by judicial decree by five Supreme Court justices. And I have a huge problem in which the proponents of gay marriage harness the power of government to squelch those who fail to truckle to the new orthodoxy. The political Left has a totalitarian instinct that is a far greater threat to the American way of life than gay marriage ever will be.

Emboldened by their success in legalizing gay marriage, the American Left has moved way beyond the proposition of equal rights for gays. Progressives are moving to impose their views on dissenters, including those who, for reasons of religious conviction, decline to provide floral, catering or other services to gay weddings.

The latest case in point comes from Oregon. According to the Daily Signal, a publication of the conservative Heritage Foundation, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to a gay couple. Their crime: refusing to make a same-sex wedding cake. His justification: “This case … is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.” Moreover:

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs. …

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.

Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate.

Thus, gay rights trump freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Avakian’s action is a national outlier now. But I fear it will become the norm. Many progressives, like Avakian, are closet totalitarians. They will not be satisfied simply to allow gays to marry — they will not rest until dissenting views are driven underground.

Could such a thing happen in Virginia? I hope not. But I can tell you this: While I support gay marriage, I will oppose with every fiber of my being any effort to extinguish the freedoms of religion and speech of Americans who oppose it.

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0 responses to “Beware the Cultural Totalitarians

  1. “I will oppose with every fiber of my being any effort to extinguish the freedoms of religion and speech of Americans who oppose it.”

    I admire that statement for the reason that it may be costly. Take, for example, what it cost the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Of the 56 men who signed the American Declaration of Independence:

    Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

    Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

    Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

    Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

    They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, what kind of men were they?

    Twenty four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; all men of means, well educated men, who signed that Declaration knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

    Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

    Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

    Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

    At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

    Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

    John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

    240 years later we have tin horn state tyrants destroying the business of bakers for exercising their religion.

  2. Perhaps an appropriate target for “freedom” day, eh?

    but some questions –

    when you get a business license – does it require you to serve the public without discrimination – i.e. the public accommodation law?

    if you do not believe in divorce can you deny service to those who have divorced?

    how about if you have killed another person .. and you firmly believe “thou shalt not kill”? can you deny service?

    how about if you perform abortions or tatoo womens rumps?

    the law also allows you to operate as a members-only club.. like the VFW or Knights of Columbus…

    in terms of SCOTUS – they did not allow mixed marriages – nope.

    what they did was say that if the government is going to accord you legal, tax and other rights as a “couple” – as is married joint.. or next of kin – that it could not dictate the kind of couple – equal protection.

    don’t get me wrong – I’m more than squeamish about the idea of two folks of the same sex being “intimate” but I’m a live and let live guy and I have thought for many years about how agonizing a life two folks who really love each other and who have been condemned not only religiously but legally.

    there is no polygamy.. there is no married thrice on the tax forms…

    what’s wrong with letting others live the life they want and being treated as equals in public accommodations ?

    by the way – out of a country of 330 million – how hard did they have to look to find ONE Cause célèbre baker? I bet it would have been far, far easier to find one that did not want to serve other races….

    oh.. and don’t worry – bakers who want to discriminate – they’re going to be recognized by a whole bunch of others besides those who would be discriminated against.

    Just let me know when I do not want to shop… that’s fine.

  3. *yawn*

    I imagine in 1967 there was someone mimeographing a newsletter about how he didn’t have any problem with interracial relationships per se, but the court deciding that states had to recognize them was too far because there was a Biblical interpretation about how wrong it was. Can you tell me the difference between Loving and Obergefell?

    Poor businesses, being forced to take all that filthy, sinful gay money after accepting public tax money from gay people to protect their businesses and build and maintain the infrastructure that enables their customers to reach them.

    I’m all for the freedom of religion: wear your traditional clothes, eat peyote, live without cars, keep your kids out of public schools, wear clothes of a single fabric, cover your body head to toe, take time out to pray five times a day, burn candles in the forest, sacrifice chickens, handle snakes, whatever. But that right doesn’t include being a discriminatory asshole, especially since nowhere in the Bible does it say, “And Lo, the Lord said unto them: thou shalt produce the baked goods for all the people of the land unless they be a man that lieth with man or woman that lieth with woman.”

    But speaking of religious freedom, it does say in pretty much every religion some variation of “thou shalt not kill” AND the 8th amendment guarantees protection from cruel and unusual punishment. Meanwhile, SCOTUS decided 5-4 that Oklahoma using an untested chemical cocktail that caused significant pain on the way to killing a prisoner was okay because – according to the majority opinion by Alito – it was only an 8th amendment violation if a less painful method of murdering an inmate had been identified and ignored.

    So, you have on decision that expands the rights of citizens to enter into the contract of marriage and that’s judicial malpractice because it forces people who would rather not from sea to shining sea to look at two dudes holding ring-banded hands.

    Meanwhile, the same court by the same margin decided that not only is killing people okay – which is somehow not a violation of all the religious people who pay taxes that fund prisons who kill people – but that it being torturous is also okay – despite cruel and unusual being right there in our Constitution and the 8th being just as much an amendment as the 1st – and that doesn’t rank.

    Your allegiance isn’t to people and their freedom, it’s to businesses and their ability to do whatever they want. Own it.

    • LOFL is always funny and refreshing.

      I suppose Bacon and company don’t remember a time in Virginia when shopping on Sunday was a desecration… worse only than those who would buy Liquor on Sunday..

      I had an older friend back then who insisted the Bible said it was even a sin to WORK on Sunday.. and it must have been true because the Govt actually enforced it – and GOD KNOWs what other sins his misguided flock might have visited upon themselveshad it not been for the govt helping GOD to keep them in the good graces of the Lord.

      • Needless to say, as an atheist, I have no sympathy whatsoever with restrictions on the conduct of commerce on Sunday. If certain denominations of Christians want to honor the Sabbath, then they’re free to do so. They have no right to impose their preferences on others.

        • funny – when those restrictions were removed – I never heard cries that the intolerant were forcing Christianity out of govt… and propelling us to a Godless society.. and all that rot.

          • Larry, when the restrictions were removed, no one was forcing anyone to do anything, indeed just the opposite — government compulsion was being lifted. But, of course, you’re a liberal, so you can’t tell the difference.

          • Jim – we have the same situation now – govt imposed laws and restrictions – essentially based on religious mores…

            and cries that if they are removed – it will lead to a “godless” society.

            for the baker.

            If you are going to use publicly-financed infrastructure and services to conduct commerce – you need a permit – a “term of service” if you wish.

            those terms of service say that you are not allowed to use your own personal beliefs in providing goods and services to others.

            what happens if this is not enforced? how does it work going up and down the supply chain? Do we then have furnace repair folks who won’t fix a furnace in a home inhabited by those who violate the beliefs of the furnace repair tech?

            where does it end?

          • Larry says, “If you are going to use publicly-financed infrastructure and services to conduct commerce – you need a permit – a “term of service” if you wish. those terms of service say that you are not allowed to use your own personal beliefs in providing goods and services to others.”

            That’s a valid point. It does get complicated. And I’d say that the case that the Kleins’ religious freedom is being violated is weaker than the case that their freedom of speech is being violated. Do you seriously support the cease-and-desist order forbidding them from explaining their view?

          • no.. that’s a sacrilege… irony intended! 😉

        • here’s my logic on God FWIW. Of all the living things in the Universe – there is but one – that essentially knows/learns right from wrong – terms of how one’s own actions can harm others.

          this is different from loving others as you can clearly see in many animals… who can develop affection … but even then – it may not be durable.. lifelong… friends

          And as a society we usually can agree on general principles of right and wrong.

          there are mentally ill that do not know…for sure…

          But where did that innate sense come from for most?

          they study this in kids – barely a couple years old…

          • The moral and ethical sense is derived from the human impulse toward altruism. While specific morals and ethics are the products of culture, the impulse itself is the product of evolutionary biology. Not all people share that sense to the same degree any more than they share the same intelligence, body type or other attributes. I believe there are natural-born sociopaths, liars, cheaters and free riders. But a large majority of any human population in any society has some sense of right or wrong.

            The problem in a complex society like ours is that getting people to agree on what is moral/ethical is pretty hard.

    • LOTFL, Biblical interpretations do not impress me. I do not revere the Bible as the revealed law of God. For what it’s worth, I think the so-called biblical injunction against homosexuality is total bunkum. But if fundamentalist Christians want to believe it’s so, that’s their right.

      Here’s what I find interesting about your point of view. When a fundamentalist Christian is willing to serve a gay couple in their store but draws the line at participating in their wedding, on the grounds that it violates his religious beliefs, you call him a “discriminatory asshole.” You don’t even acknowledge that they have rights of any kind. It’s not a matter of competing principles at play, in which one principle outweighs the other, you see it as black and white, right and wrong — and the discriminatory assholes are wrong. Moreover, you evinced no reservation with suppressing the Kleins’ right to even defend their point of view. They’re so wrong that they aren’t even entitled to free speech.

      If a gay couple wants someone to bake them a cake, they have many, many options. It’s not like they’ll go cake-less. The right to purchase a cake from a fundamentalist Christian who doesn’t want to serve them is a trivial one — in no way comparable to the discrimination in the marketplace experienced by African Americans — compared to the Kleins’ loss of free speech.

      • where was the “don’t impress me” logic when the Govt was/is forbiding stores to open and/or sell goods and services on Sunday?

        this is even true today… in places…

        where is the outrage?

        Never saw the posts outrageously decrying the top-down job-killing regulations of govt using the tenets of SOME religion – in – denying people from conducting commerce on Sunday?

      • Where did I argue that the gag order was correct? Care to point that out to me? Spin again, playboy.

        And maybe I need to read the article again, but I didn’t see the distinction being made between where the cake was being served. Since cake serving isn’t part of any religious ritual I’m aware of their grounds would be equally shakey as anything else. Now, if you mean the right of clergy not to perform any ritual they feel would violate their religious beliefs that’s another story, but again commerce =/= ritual.

        That they had other bakeries to patronize is incidental. Black people didn’t HAVE to eat at the counter of Woolworths, but denying them the right to was still wrong.

        And spare me the “You’re a judgmental absolutist!” argument until you’re willing to forego your own moral absolutism viz the “culture of poverty” you cling to so tightly. Everyone views certain issues in black and white, everyone. Pointing out that someone has a standard isn’t a particularly strong counterargument.

        Still waiting for you to explain the difference between Loving and Obergefell, by the way. Also how capital punishment is acceptable in a nation where religious objectors are coerced into paying for it via taxation is okay but being forced to bake a cake is the apex of outrage. Also why “rewriting” Obamacare from the bench by reading the whole law is the end of the sanctity of the court but ignoring the clear standard set by the 8th amendment is business as usual.

        • “Where did I argue that the gag order was correct?”

          I’m glad to know you’re not defending the gag order — that eliminates the biggest disagreement between us.

          Then the debate between you and me boils down to the right of religious people to abide by their beliefs in the commercial marketplace. And I admit that’s a complex and nuanced issue with pros and cons on both sides.

          At the same time, I think it’s a valid goal to protect peoples’ right to live according to their religious conscience. I recognize that that is not an absolute right. The descendants of Aztecs shouldn’t have a right to make human sacrifices. Descendants of puritans shouldn’t have a right to witches. One’s right to practice his/her religion ends when it interferes with someone else’s right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. So, yeah, I’m conflicted.

          What scares me is your dogmatic tone, your unwillingness to to concede that the other side of the gay rights debate even has a side (other than being motivated by animus) and your willingness to impose your values on others. I predict that the gay rights movement will morph from one fighting for equal rights for gays into one that demands increasing conformity of thought and seeks to de-legitimize anyone holding undesirable views. “Tolerance” for some people, not others — with LOTFL as arbiter of what is tolerated and what is not!

          • re: ” I predict that the gay rights movement will morph from one fighting for equal rights for gays into one that demands increasing conformity of thought and seeks to de-legitimize anyone holding undesirable views. “Tolerance” for some people, not others. And LOTFL is the arbiter of what is tolerated, and what is not.”

            where do you get this from? I’m just flummoxed as to why you think this…

            did you think that when the Civil Rights Act was passed?

          • LifeOnTheFallLine

            Again, all your language is basically accusing me of the dread crime of having my own ethical standards. It’s not compelling logic and I’m not impressed. Especially from someone who has no problem getting dogmatic himself when it comes to, say, how the people protesting the police killings of Black citizens comport themselves.

            I don’t care what people think about homosexuals in the privacy of their own homes or the motivating factors behind those feelings. It’s how they treat their fellow human beings that matters to me. I have no more problem calling someone a bigot because they use an interpretation of their religion to justify saying nasty things, denying services or being violent to LGBTQ people. And it’s no more an example of me being “intolerant” than saying I find men who use their religion to compel women to dress covered head to toe save for an eye slit misogynistic jerks.

            If having an opinion is equivalent to one imposing their views on others then I guess we’re all totalitarians at some point or another.

  4. Jim,
    All i can say is that you are extraordinarily brave! How’s life in the West End of Ricmond? Any more cruise vacations or trips to Barcelona or London? You have posted about them.

  5. And jim, after you got this useless degree from hopkins and were terrorized by liberal totalitarians, did you actually GO to africa? Have you ever been there?

  6. We have freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Please read Mr. Jefferson’ letter to the Danbury Conn.pastors. We have separation of church in this country.The Supreme Court has ruled that certain behaviors cannot rule out marriage. In the public sphere,commerce do otherwise is illegal.Religious beliefs are a private matter .They cannot be used to get around established legal precedent.Too often in the past religion has been used as an excuse to justify all types of behavior.Everyone many believe whatever they wish,but when those beliefs are contrary to adjudicated public policy that involves commerce or other rights the secular courts have the upper hand.

  7. The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

    IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good …

  8. re: ” Larry, when the restrictions were removed, no one was forcing anyone to do anything, indeed just the opposite — government compulsion was being lifted. But, of course, you’re a liberal, so you can’t tell the difference.”

    and that response is patently and demonstrably false and I call for Jim to re-think it… as well as how he frames the difference in philosophies.

    I have two issues here –

    how we view history and how we now label people’s political philosophies these days

    When the BLUE laws were done away with – it was opposed by the religious (I will not call them the religious right ) but the arguments from the Christians were, in fact, that the original laws were based on the Bible.

    There were complaints from religious folks that removal of the ban would lead to people being forced to violate their religious beliefs if their employer was going to open on Sunday and wanted them to work.

    the difference ? Today – the right explicitly seeks to blow the issue up into yet another key battle in an ongoing Culture War.

    taking something out of govt – that should never have been there to start with – is now characterized as intolerance towards Christians.

    take a look at a little history here – and REMEMBER this was at a time when the Founding Fathers were said to have explicitly wanted to get religion out of government.

    ” As Protestant moral reformers organized the Sabbath reform in nineteenth-century America, calls for the enactment and/or enforcement of stricter Sunday laws developed. Numerous Americans were arrested for working, keeping an open shop, drinking alcohol, traveling, and recreating on Sundays. Beginning in the 1840s, Catholic immigrants, workingmen, Jews, Seventh Day Baptists, free-thinkers, and other groups began to organize opposition. Throughout the century, Sunday laws served as a major source of church-state controversy and as an issue that drove the emergence of modern American minority-rights politics.”

    that’s the REAL HISTORY – of what folks on the right – now days are calling the repeal of – Intolerance.

    Now the second issue – Conservatives these days have re-cast the word liberal to be a pejorative – not a respectful difference of philosophy and even irrespective of fiscal conservatism but a marginalization of anyone holding that philosophy – a faux sophisticated way of … plain old nah nah nah name calling.

    So it’s no Conservatives vs Liberals. It’s Conservatives versus people with extreme views that have no legitimacy…. and thus deserve to be impugned.

    so my take on this is that this context to respond in proportional measure.

    anyone to the right of my view – is a nut job…

    got that Jim?

    My view is that characterizing the removal of an onerous and wrong religiously-inspired law – is not only not intolerance – it’s freedom for all of those ensnared in it’s punitive religious dictates.

    so when I point out that the issue over Sunday Laws as being motivated by obnoxious religion restrictions on people and I get told that I don’t understand because I’m a liberal….

    well .. Jim… anyone who does not understand MY view must be a nut job.

    the Baker deal is a a seriously strained made-up issue to start with. It’s bogus to the bone.

    There are numerous ways for a business to send a not-wanted customer packing… if they don’t want to serve them. But no – this had to be turned into a made-for-politics cause celeb from which the nut jobs could accuse anyone who is not with them on this – as the “enemy” of freedom … and other ignorant blather…

    Quite likely, it was a similar baker complaining a few years back that by allowing his competitors to open on Sunday – the govt was “forcing” him to choose between his religion and his livelihood – AS IF – the govt had no business changing God’s law.

    I point all of this out – that we are not seeing “new attacks” on religion – this has been a battle from the very beginning of the country. It’s just that now days – each one of these becomes yet another ” you guys are destroying the country” idiocy…

  9. Reasonable arguments on both sides can be made re: products and services for weddings. Key are the details. I respect both positions.

    What I don’t respect is a government official attempting to suppress freedom of speech. Such action, irrespective of the nature of the contents of the speech, is repugnant beyond words. The Oregon Governor should immediately fire Brad Avakian and, would be it within her powers, declare Avakian an outlaw – a person beyond the protection of law.

    BTW, did you see the results of the poll by USA Today and the First Amendment Center believe the media operate with an intentional bias?

    • re: ” What I don’t respect is a government official attempting to suppress freedom of speech. Such action, irrespective of the nature of the contents of the speech, is repugnant beyond words. ”

      please educate me on the specifics.

      re: believe the media operate with an intentional bias?

      you mean FOX and the echo chamber?

    • TooManyTaxes –

      I generally agree with your assessment on this Bakery controversy.

      Another issue is the administrative manner by which facts, judgements, fines and punishment of this matter have been determined and imposed. This is a Star Chamber Proceeding, contrary to our historic jurisprudence.

      Unfortunately, this horrific revival of medieval and early English and Spanish and Puritan inquisitions are spreading rapidly throughout our society. Witness the bloom of Chamber Proceedings at our universities.

      Here the University’s prosecutor, jury and judge are wrapped into a single individual or group that is typically ignorant of American Law, yet collects whatever evidence it wants, then issues findings of fact neither based on nor circumscribed by any reputable standard of law, and then these modern day hangmen hand down their randomly chosen punishments, all of it done often in the absence of an accuser, or the defendant or defendant’s counsel.

      Hence judgements now may be rendered on one person asking another “where that other person Is From” to unproven allegations of rape and sexual harassment rendered against vast hysteria driven epidemics of Rapes on Campus, all such illusions grounded in the most ephemeral of normal social interaction, conduct and behavior. Witness recent follies at UVA.

      All of this is part of our nation’s exploding hysteria and intolerance of “others.” Such pathologies have ruled throughout much of human history. This particular outbreak, if it continues at its current pace and direction, might well ultimately tip us into the abyss of a Blood Meridian nation.

      Everyone should read, word for word, deeply and seriously, all the Justices’ written opinions, majority and dissents, in Obergefell v. Hodges.

      Then, after such study, ask yourself are the four dissenting Justices so wrong and craven in their views that what is going on everywhere around us could not propel us into lawless violent times that occur so often in history?

    • A bureaucrat makes an overly-broad interpretation of an anti-discrimination law and issues a gag orders against the proprietors of that business in a country where gag orders and non-disclosure rulings are common and he should have the protection of the rule of law removed from him.

      But I’m the dogmatic one…

  10. What do you think a cease and desist order “from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation” is? Even a judge sentencing a convicted criminal permits the defendant to proclaim to a full courtroom and to the media “I’m innocent.” The Oregon commissioner is clearly violating the First Amendment applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment.

    How about a cease and desist order from the Commonwealth preventing anyone from disagreeing with the original post on BR? What is the difference?

    With 70% of the population seeing intentional bias, we are talking a much broader group that Fox News. I remember teachers in English class indicating a good journalist writes or delivers a news account that doesn’t allow the reader/listener to know what the journalist’s personal view are. The 4th estate across the board has clearly abandoned that target.

    • that’s not the typical description of a Judge…

      I don’t support what the Judge did but the implication that this is a govt official implementing policy does not truly represent the truth in my view and is part of how we choose to essentially misrepresent things now days.

      In terms of bias – I don’t ever believe a media source left or right – I go right to the reference… and if the reference itself is not a reputable authoritative
      source of facts.. and instead a known entity that has an agenda.. then it gets checked with other sources to see what is really true – what is cherry-picking and what is synthesized ….

      Second – if the media report is one that appeals to me – then I’m on double warning of being on guard to sucking up stuff that appeals to my own biases.

      People are lazy ..don’t want to put the time into ascertaining facts so they put their trust in media and proxies they “like” which is a terrible mistake.

      Huffington Post and MSN are as bad or worse than Fox… yet over and over I see both provided as references… as if they are trust worthy sources.

      Don’t rely on personalities or news media you prefer… take the time to find out facts… Any organization that shows bias – I write off as trustable.

      One also needs to know the difference between “news” reports and commentary as sites like Forbes invites both sides but it’s not the position of Forbes.

      Of course now days, we have folks saying things like Wiki are liberal “lie” sites…

      90% of agreement among scientists is not concurrence.. it’s a conspiracy.

      etc. etc.

      • Larry, this guy is not a judge. He’s the political head of a state agency. He’s no different than the appointees to head state agencies that Virginia governor appoint. In Virginia, Department of Labor & Industry reports to the Secretary of Commerce & Trade (Maurice Jones). From time to time, it finds violations of the statutes and rules it is charged with enforcing. Do you think it should also forbid the charged party from saying or writing anything about the charges against it; its defenses; or any citations entered?

        I see bias on all parts of the media. My point is: Isn’t it the mark of a good journalist when a reader/listener doesn’t know what the journalist’s own opinion is? If so, darn few “journalists” meet the mark.

        • If a bureaucrat makes and/or interprets and/or judges (applies law to facts) and enforces his judgement on other citizens to deprive any or all of those citizens of their property, livelihood, free speech, religion or thought, then that citizen and all citizens within the jurisdiction of that bureaucrat live in a lawless society, subject to the whims of a tyrant acting under the coercive power of a totalitarian government.

        • TMT – I need to know more about the role. I’m pretty sure that not any ole bureaucrat can issue a gag order..

          I’m suspicious about this until it is shown explcitly.

  11. The bakery issue is a made up issue.

    how many bakeries are there in the US?

    how many other businesses that serve the public?

    where are the groups that oppose this?

    How many bakeries in NovA or RIchmond or Virginia?

    come on – everybody and their dog should see this for what it is…

    Where’s the statement from WalMart or Costco?

  12. I find this all a rather phony issue. The Supreme Court has decided that Americans who are gay have a right to single-sex marriage.And before we get into even more repetition of the Declaration of Independence (both the Richmond and Norfolk newspapers forced them upon us on front page inserts), we should remember that the beauty of the American way is that it respects and protects the rights of minorities — be they African-Americans, homosexuals, whoever.

    The hard righters on this blog are trying to flip this basic aspect of American freedom on its head by trying to gin up an argument that by protecting the rights of a minority (gays) you are attacking the right to freedom of religion.

    This is utter nonsense. The more I have to read this drivel at Bacon’s Rebellion (and, please, no more pompous postings of the Declaration of Independence, I have read it many times and don’t need to be insulted into thinking I haven’t), the more I want to drop writing for it.

    It is such crap.

    • totally agree. You know you put “Oregon Baker Gag Rule” into Google and you know what you get?

      You get ever nut job website from here to kookamunga…

      I’m not kidding – go try it.

      and try to find out the specifics of the “gag”… seriously

  13. “This is utter nonsense. The more I have to read this drivel at Bacon’s Rebellion (and, please, no more pompous postings of the Declaration of Independence, I have read it many times and don’t need to be insulted into thinking I haven’t), the more I want to drop writing for it. It is such crap,” says Peter:

    For people like me who, unlike Peter, have NOT read the Declaration of Independence “many times,” and who don’t feel insulted if reminded of its very words, among the most important ever written down in human history, and for those of us who don’t consider it “nonsense, drivel, pompous, and crap,” to do so.

    And, given that it’s also now the end of the July 4th weekend that celebrates America’s independence, and our founders Declaration of it, here is its ending so as to complete its beginning that was earlier posted above:

    “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; (and)

    That they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

    And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

    • “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence: perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature.” G. K. Chesterton

    • I think you could use another re-read.

  14. I’d forgotten the part about the “the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” I wonder if schools teach about the French & Indian War anymore.

    • Yes, so had I, Jim, and much else of these incredible words.

      What an amazing piece of history. Books can be written about each phase, and many of these remarkable phases have received scant attention by historians and all of us. This is the Mother of all Original Sources, much of it neglected.

      Indeed, Hari Jones attention and sharp focus on, and truth telling about, such original sources is what make him such an incredible fine historian, and why I admired him so much.

      Regarding Hari Jones, see last comments on the article “Taking Down the Statutes” on this website.

  15. the Daily Signal? can you find a single reference from a centrist organization without an agenda?

    I’ve looked and it’s pretty slim pickings…

    Now if you want vitriol and outrage from the right -you have a gazillion choices. I mean any right-leaning organization in existence seems to have weighed in and you also have a few, far less , from the Huffington Post, etc.. but trying to ascertain really simple facts about the so-called “gag” is not easy. Anyone got a simple – non partisan reference?

  16. “The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty.

    Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a “liberty” that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect. Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the Government. This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic.

    I cannot agree with it.

    I have elsewhere explained the dangerous fiction of treating the Due Process Clause as a font of substantive rights. It distorts the constitutional text, which guarantees only whatever “process” is “due” before a person is deprived of life, liberty, and property.

    Worse, it invites judges to do exactly what the majority has done here—‘roam at large in the constitutional field’ guided only by their personal views” as to the ‘fundamental rights’ protected by that document.

    By straying from the text of the Constitution, substantive due process exalts judges at the expense of the People from whom they derive their authority.

    Petitioners argue that by enshrining the traditional definition of marriage in their State Constitutions through voter-approved amendments, the States have put the issue “beyond the reach of the normal democratic process. But the result petitioners seek is far less democratic. They ask nine judges on this Court to enshrine their definition of marriage in the Constitution and thus put it beyond the reach of the normal democratic process for the entire Nation. That a “bare majority” of this Court, is able to grant this wish, wiping out with a stroke of the keyboard the results of the political process in over 30 States, based on a provision that guarantees only “due process” is but further evidence of the danger of substantive due process …

    Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect. The history of religious liberty in our country is familiar: Many of the earliest immigrants to America came seeking freedom to practice their religion without restraint …

    Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice.

    Although our Constitution provides some protection against such governmental restrictions on religious practices, the People have long elected to afford broader protections than this Court’s constitutional precedents mandate. Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the
    majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.

    Perhaps recognizing that these cases do not actually involve liberty as it has been understood, the majority goes to great lengths to assert that its decision will advance the “dignity” of same-sex couples. The flaw in that reasoning, of course, is that the Constitution contains no “dignity” Clause, and even if it did, the government would be incapable of bestowing dignity.

    Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.

    The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved … The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

    The majority’s musings are thus deeply misguided, but at least those musings can have no effect on the dignity of the persons the majority demeans … And its disdain for the understandings of liberty and dignity upon which this Nation was founded can have no effect on the dignity of Americans who continue to believe in them.

    Our Constitution—like the Declaration of Independence before it—was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from—not provided by—the State.

    Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on “due process” to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the “liberty” protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society. I respectfully dissent.”

    JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE SCALI joins, dissents.

  17. I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full.

    I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy. The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me … It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.

    The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.


    Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best. Individuals on both sides of the issue passionately, but respectfully, attempted to persuade their fellow citizens to accept their views.

    Americans considered the arguments and put the question to a vote. The electorates of 11 States, either directly or through their representatives, chose to expand the traditional definition of marriage. Many more decided not to. Win or lose, advocates for both sides continued pressing their cases, secure in the knowledge that an electoral loss can be negated by a later electoral win. That is how our government is supposed to work.

    The Constitution places some constraints on self-rule—constraints adopted by the People themselves when they ratified the Constitution and its Amendments. Forbidden are laws “impairing the Obligation of Contracts, denying “Full Faith and Credit” to the “public Acts” of other States, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing the right to keep and bear arms, authorizing unreasonable searches and seizures, and so forth.

    Aside from these limitations, those powers “reserved to the States or to the people” … These cases ask us to decide whether 14th Amendment contains a limitation that requires the States to license and recognize marriages between two people of the same sex. Does it remove that issue from the political process?

    Of course not.

    … We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the Amendment’s ratification.

    Since there is no doubt whatever that the People never decided to prohibit the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue.

    But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law. Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the 14th Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the 14th Amendment ought to protect. That is so because “[t]he generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions . . . . ”

    One would think that sentence would continue: “. . . and therefore they provided for a means by which the People could amend the Constitution,” or perhaps “. . . and therefore they left the creation of additional liberties, such as the freedom to marry someone of the same sex, to the People, through the never-ending process of legislation.”

    But no.

    What logically follows, in the majority’s judge-empowering estimation, is: “and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”

    The “we,” needless to say, is the nine of us. “History and tradition guide and discipline [our] inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries.”

    Thus, rather than focusing on the People’s understanding of “liberty”—at the time of ratification or even today—the majority focuses on four “principles and traditions” that, in the majority’s view, prohibit States from defining marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman.

    This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government … A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.

    Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant. Not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America.

    Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single South-westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans, or even a Protestant of any denomination.

    The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges … But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not … And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.


    But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.

    The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003.

    They have discovered in 14th Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds—minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly—could not.

    They are certain that the People ratified the 14th Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.”

    These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.

    And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

    Their opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so.

    Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent. “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.”

    (Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say.)

    I could go on. The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational pop-philosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.

    Hubris is sometimes defined as overweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall. The Judiciary is the “least dangerous” of the federal branches because it has “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm” and the States, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.”

    With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.

    JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins, dissenting.

    • ALL I can say is that these two are arrogant blowhards ..who are apologists for keeping the govt involved in religion.

      the more you read their words -the more you realize how disconnected they are from reality – as well as the intent of the Constitution and Amendments with regard to equal protection.

      they are shameful.

    • And Scalia has no problem whatsoever with a small cabal of elitist judges overruling the people and their elected representatives – standing democracy on its head even! – when it comes to areas of law he finds icky.

      It is emphatically the duty of the Court to say what the law is. And Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts, just like Sotomayor, Kagan, Kennedy, Breyer and Ginsburg, have no problem overruling “democracy” when it suits their interpretive purpose. Would that all the Justices refrained from treacly paeans to the will of the people vis a vis the mean old elitisit judges when they found themselves on the short end of a vote in chambers.

      • There is a rich history of the kinds of decisions that folks on the right including SCOUTS say are not the role of the SCOTUS.

        to wit:

        List of landmark court decisions in the United States

        The following is a partial list of landmark court decisions in the United States. Landmark decisions establish a significant new legal principle or concept or otherwise substantially change the interpretation of existing law.

        Such a decision may settle the law in more than one way:
        distinguishing a new principle that refines a prior principle, thus departing from prior practice without violating the rule of stare decisis;
        establishing a “test” or a measurable standard that can be applied by courts in future decisions.

        In the United States, landmark court decisions come most frequently from the Supreme Court. United States courts of appeals may also make such decisions, particularly if the Supreme Court chooses not to review the case or if it adopts the holding of the lower court. Although many cases from state supreme courts are significant in developing the law of that state, only a few are so revolutionary that they announce standards that many other state courts then choose to follow.

  18. It is hard to reign in one’s sense of mirth, watching “LarrytheG” go “belly to belly and toe to Toe” with Supreme Court Justices Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas on the intricacies of Constitutional Law.

    This show should go on the road. “LarrytheG” declares both Justices “Arrogant Blowhards” as he clicks thought whikipedia researching “Gag Orders” and “Landmark Decisions” while rendering his own legal opinions.

    One is reminded of Professor Erwin Corey.

  19. A very interesting post, but I suppose the counterargument is this:

    Based on your post, there is no “rational basis” for laws or constitutional amendments that prohibit homosexual unions. As you state, “marriage” is a malleable concept and there’s no “proof” that one form is superior to another.

    If you accept that premise (there’s no rational basis for prohibiting homosexual marriage), then we get to this question: should a commercial (not religious) enterprise have the ability to not serve a customer without a rational basis?

    • As usual, yours is an interesting comment. Time permitting I’ll get something up on that.

    • Cville, On a philosophical level, I believe that people should be free to associate with whomever and conduct business with whomever they wish. I believe that is a fundamental right. If I think Donald Trump is a blowhard, to take an example, I should have the right to deny him admittance to my hotel, restaurant or hair styling establishment. I should have the right to exclude the KKK… or members of the communist party, or bald people, hairy people, ugly people or uncool people, if that’s my prejudice.

      Unfortunately, that philosophy has been perverted to justify racist practices, primarily against African-Americans. I believe that America’s original sin of slavery/Jim Crow is so strong and so demanding of remedy, that I am willing to set aside my philosophical conviction in this matter and support laws and constitutional amendments that outlaw discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity.

      I’m not sure that an analogous case can be made for gays. Certainly, gays have faced discrimination in the United States (and the rest of the world). But have they really faced rampant discrimination in the commercial marketplace? Have they been denied access to retail establishments? Maybe to a negligible degree but not enough to damage their lives in a way that is remotely comparable to what African-Americans have experienced. Perhaps a better question is this: Do gay people face rampant discrimination in society today? Is there some massive social inequity in the commercial marketplace that needs to be redressed? No, there’s not. Rather, we have gone to the other extreme — now some people demand submission to the new dominant norm.

      • so basically you support discrimination as decided by the person discriminating?

        or are you trying to redefine that is permissible and not permissible so that we allow some but not other?

  20. the fact that the dissenting SCOTUS have made their arguments along “traditional” lines and virtually ignored the equal protection issue says reams…

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