There’s nothing wrong with being gay. I have plenty of friends who are going to hell. —Stephen Colbert
HB 1264, sponsored by Representatives Jerry Bergevin of Manchester and Frank Sapareto of Derry met with a firestorm of opposition from the Gay Community along with religious and civil rights groups mouthpieces. The Union Leader intriguingly, made this a gay/straight issue through the context of their reporting, despite nothing in the bill making any direct (or even indirect) reference to any group respectively.
“This will lead to bigotry and discrimination,” said Roberta Barry of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, as reported in a Staff Report of the Wednesday Edition of the New Hampshire Union Leader. Barry goes on to assert, “It appears to legislate that you can pick and choose what laws to follow based on your conscience … Where does it stop? Will we be able to one day say, ‘It’s against my conscience to pay property taxes?’” Other opponents of the legislation likened it to, “Nazi-era laws,” and the “Jim Crow South.”
Woah! “It’s against my conscience to pay property taxes? Nazi-era laws? Jim Crow South? Pure demagoguery.
I decided then to actually look at the bill. I looked at the Bill, read it carefully and then read it again. I thought perhaps I had missed something. I thought I had perhaps missed, overlooked or failed to apprehend the section singling out gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals or whomever else is perceived to be included in that mix. The reason is that it simply is not there. The bill says marriage. not gay marriage…same-sex marriage or whatever term is correct and appropriate in the present era of paper-thin sensibilities.
HB 1264 states,
“[N]o person, including a business owner or employee thereof, shall be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual if the request is related to the solemnization, celebration, or promotion of a marriage and providing such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges would be a violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith.”
Let me be clear. Do I think the passage of such a law will likely result in some refusal or denial of services attributable to sexual orientation? more than likely. Do I think it will be systemic and widespread? Absolutely not. In fact, I think for every one business that turns away from the gay community, there are likely three other businesses willing and eager to count the gay community’s money to be as green as anybody elses’.
And such “discrimination” under this statute cuts both ways. If a gay couple owns a bed and breakfast, what is to stop that same couple from refusing honeymoon lodging to a hetero couple under a religious pretext? Or a gay baker who makes cakes?
I hold to the view that the State has no business “licensing” marriage. Marriage is a religious ceremony, not a civil one. In fact, I think my own state-issued marriage license is a sham. I am married to my wife because of the religious ceremony, not because the state gave me permission. So what is to stop me from denying services to people who obtain state-issued marriage licenses because I conscientiously object to the notion of the state sanctioning marriage?
I do not care what the gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual community thinks about my view point. After all why should I? they do not care about mine to the extent they call me a bigot and a homophobe? The reality here is that only those who fall in lock step with the gay, lesbian and bi-sexual community are truly “tolerant” while those whose views differ are, “intolerant.”
There are still many among us who marry, yet do not obtain a state-issued marriage license. The Amish and factions of Menonites are two such groups, for example. Show me a gay couple willing to sue an Amish community who refuses to provide some goods they hold out for sale because for religious reasons, they object?
How many Amish do we have in the Granite State? Probably no more than a few. But the larger point here is those who advocate for Gay rights, seek to do so by force of law, irrespective of religious object and they are the contemporary self-appointed vanguards in deciding who is tolerant and who is not. So where is the human equity in that?