back to article Dot-com intimidation forces Indiana to undo hated anti-gay law

Indiana's politicians are racing to "clarify" the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that has caused such a kerfuffle in the state. Technology giants like Apple, Salesforce.com, Oracle, EMC, Pivotal, and Angie's List led the charge against the law, which would have allowed business owners to boot out customers who …

  1. Graham Marsden
    Mushroom

    I wonder how they're going to know?

    Perhaps they could come up with some way for gay people to be easily identifiable, say a pink triangle sewn on to the clothing?

    (Can you pre-emptively Godwin an entire El Reg comments thread...? ;-) )

    1. Bakana

      Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

      No to the Pink Triangle.

      Rainbows.

      Next Problem: Gay Leprechauns...

      1. Ole Juul Silver badge

        Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

        You can always ask them, I guess.

        "If a gay couple non Christian came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," said the pizzeria's owner Crystal O'Connor. "We are a Christian establishment. We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything."

        There, fixed that. Yep, not discriminating.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

          Someone once said to me a good rule-of-thumb on discrimination is if you take the group of people mentioned and substitute the word "Jew". If the resultant text leaves your blood running cold you know it's bad...

        2. BongoJoe

          Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

          I am more concerned about pizza being served for the wedding breakfast.

          Refusal in this case is in the interests of good taste.

        3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

          "non Christian"

          I was thinking more along the lines of how I'd handle a non Pastafarian ordering pizza from my establishment ..... without the obligatory side of spaghetti.

          Infidels, the lot of them!

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

          Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act is NOT anti-gay, in the same way that the U.S. Federal No Child Left Behind is NOT anti-education. But both laws have unintended flaws that can be misused.

          In the same vein, can't the same Indiana law can be seen as anti-Christian and anti-Semitic when applied to Muslim-run businesses? DOH!

          Thank you, Iain Thomson, for your hyperbole in fanning the flames of anti-Christian bigotry. From the comments here, I see that you have been successful. Hope you're proud of yourself.

          I look forward to the downvotes of the self-righteously intolerant.

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Mushroom

            Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

            > I look forward to the downvotes of the self-righteously intolerant.

            You're an idiot. Who is agitating for the law? The people agitating for this law are the retarded sorts that think their liberty includes the right to oppress. They're like the original Puritans that landed at Plymouth Rock not because the Dutch were such poor hosts. Their "persecution" in England was probably also overrated.

            They came to America to be free to abuse those around them and isolate their followers from different ideas. They were much like a cabal of Mormon "fundementalists".

            Never mind the fact these idiots are acting in a blatantly un-christ-like fashion.

            These people actually need to crack open the book sometime.

            1. BillG Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

              >The people agitating for this law are the r******d sorts that think their liberty >includes the right to oppress.

              Um, @JEDIDIAH, that's a pretty bold statement. Most people seem to feel the law was just worded wrong. So you're going to have to supply some proof that what you ranted is exactly what the people wrote this intended, and this it isn't an "unintended consequence".

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

              The purpose of the law was to prevent the GOVERNMENT from forcing someone to do something that infringed upon their religious beliefs without also providing proof that the (a) the requirement was in the best interests of the state and (b) that there are no less-restrictive ways to do it.

              On the whole, I find nothing wrong with those sentiments - they are basically a direct extension of the US Constitution, and If you find something wrong with them then you are actually advocating state-sponsored oppression of religious expression.

              The law did not say that anyone could discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation - that was mostly FUD sown by those pushing for publicity and their own agenda. Businesses in the state of Indiana and most other states already have the ability to deny services to anyone they choose for whatever reason, and they aren't even required to tell you why they are refusing service. This law doesn't change that.

              1. dan1980

                Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

                @AC

                "Infringed upon their religious beliefs . . ."

                Huh? This is the kind of claim that is always trotted out but it is never explained how exactly one's religious beliefs are being infringed.

                A Christian (or anyone else) is free to hold whatever beliefs they want. But what they actually do is another matter altogether. It's perfectly legal to believe that all black people should be killed. But to actually go out and kill black people is, well, illegal.

                The fact that killing people is illegal, however, does not infringe those 'beliefs', and neither does the requirement to serve customers regardless of their colour or race or orientation.

                A Christian* can hold the belief that gay people are satan-worshipping abominations dedicated to ruining the great Christian traditions of the USA by 'recruiting' children to be gay. They are welcome to do so, but they can hold that belief while serving them pizza or selling them shoes.

                Religious freedom is the freedom of belief - of worship. It is the freedom to believe whatever you want and not be discriminated because of it. It is manifestly not the freedom to act however you want.

                Some people think that it is but those people are wrong. Indeed, the idea that a Christian florist could refuse to sell flowers to someone because they are a Muslim is discriminating on religious grounds - the very thing that people who support these types of laws allege is happening to them - that somehow the requirement to not discriminate is discriminatory.

                It's wrong-headed in every way.

                As a person, you can, of course, discriminate as much as you like. You can choose not to associate with gay people - or French people, or short people, or blond people, or people wearing red shoes, or not wearing red shoes, or people who listen to Enya (that's my rule, at least), or people who support whichever sports team you dislike, or who like mayonnaise on their fries instead of tomato sauce.

                That's your right. You can view those people as outsiders and teach your children that they are deviants who exist solely to destroy your way of life while reading to them from your holy book, quoting the passages that explain that all people under 5ft 8in are malformed and born of the evil god Marmaduke or the one that lays out which colour singlets one must wear on Thursdays and how sleeping on your side is a mortal sin that will be punished mercilessly by the Great Celestial Pig, Clive. You can preach it to your friends and hold services in your garage where you extol the virtues of Birkenstocks and administer the holy rites of anointment with cheese-whip and presentation of grey 8x2 Lego tiles to the righteous while the high priest, Joe from next door, carves the names of sinners into lemon cake.

                That is your religious freedom as an individual.

                BUT, if you own a business that services the public, then you must serve people without discrimination. If you really and truly can't do that - if your religious beliefs expressly forbid you from selling Gerberas to gay people or people called "Kevin" then so be it - you have the right to close your flower shop and no one will ever require you to tie ribbons around crepe paper for lesbians again.

                There are certain things in society that carry obligations. If you want to make home-made mayonnaise to eat while reading Alice in Wonderland and listening to Bananarama's greatest hits, played backwards - go nuts. I won't be coming over to your house any time soon and might recommend that the neighborhood children avoid your door on Halloween but you're free to do what makes you happy. If, however, you want to make some aioli for use as a dressing in your cafe, you have to adhere to certain standards to prevent people getting food poisoning from potential contamination with the raw eggs. If your religion, for whatever reason, insists that eggs be kept at room temperature for 3 hours to properly sancitfy the yolk, well, that's all well and good and you can do that in your own home if you want, but if you want to serve it at a cafe, the authorities are going to want a word with you.

                Now, this whole anti-discrimination is not so wide-reaching as it is sometimes believed and much is dictated on a state-by state basis, given that the federal law is fairly specific and limited in scope. My point is not about what any individual state legislation may or may not prohibit. What I am saying is that one's freedom of religion is a freedom to believe what you want, not act however you want.

                If you believe Norwegian people shouldn't be allowed to buy hotdogs because they're not Americans then that's fine but requiring you, as a hotdog vendor, to sell hotdogs to people of all races does not somehow breach your right to believe that.

                It's interesting that you talk of religious "expression". What does that mean, exactly? What, beyond the right to believe what you want, does the right to religious expression cover, and why should it trump the rights of other people to non-discriminatory treatment.

                Not to want to turn a tragic event into a facetious comment, but were the terrorist attacks of September 11 a group of Muslims "expressing" their religious convictions? If my religion teaches me that disobedient children should be beaten with a rod then how far does this freedom allow me to "express" that belief? Is battering my son somehow a protected right simply because it is a religious conviction?

                The examples that are given by people like Bobby Jindal - specifically the idea of caterers or florist being 'forced' to 'participate' in a gay wedding is interesting in that there is a clear distinction in his view between a restaurant serving diners and a caterer providing catering for a function.

                That is certainly a distinction, but I don't see how it is relevant. Restaurants and caterers are, generally, separate businesses. If you own a catering company then that is your job - catering. That job is providing product (the food) coupled with a service (the catering).

                The point of non-discrimination is that whatever service or product you provide, you should provide it on a non-discriminatory basis. Someone who owns a catering business made a decision to do so with an understanding of what that entails. They weren't forced to run a catering business and, running one, they certainly aren't forced to, for example, provide certain foods (e.g. a Jewish catering company isn't forced to provide lobster or bacon). BUT, having chosen to do so, they should run that business in a non-discriminatory manner, exactly as if they had decided to open a restaurant instead.

                I appreciate the distinction between the two businesses but simply do not accept that this provides sufficient reason to allow one to discriminate where the other cannot.

                And, if it does, why stop at religion? What is really and truly so special about that as a justification for discrimination? What if you're a racist? Cannot the conviction that black people are sub-human and unclean and should not be allowed to marry white people be just as strongly held by a racist as the conviction that two men should not be allowed to marry can be held by a Christian?

                Or a sexist? Couldn't my father have brought me up to truly believe that women are of less worth than men and that their place is at home; that they shouldn't have jobs and that their responsibilities are cleaning, cooking and raising children? If I hold that belief deeply and honestly - to the satisfaction of whatever test is applied - should I be allowed to refuse to sell a woman a car unless her husband is there to make the decision?

                This is the crux of the argument - that a religious conviction not only provides justification to be discriminatory where it would otherwise be unacceptable, but is a stronger and more important form of conviction than any other.

                Taking it on myself to speak for the non-religious amongst us - get over yourselves. There's nothing special about what you believe just because it was written in some books and intoned by robed priests or enthused at you by slick preachers in expensive suits.

                Those who claim that these laws are necessary to protect their "religious expression" are the same people who take it as a personal insult when some store decides to use Halal meat, or replaces its 'Merry Christmas' signage with 'Happy Holidays' to cater to Islamic customers and staff.

                They view everything as an attack on their religion, which they - of course - see as somehow special and to be protected above all other concerns. Because it's not "religious" freedom they care about - it's the protection of one particular set of beliefs. They view America as a 'Christian Nation' and claim that 'liberals' and 'moral relativists' and 'the gay brigade' are "forcing" their way of life upon them.

                No one is "forcing" anyone to "participate" in a gay wedding and threating to fine them if they don't. At least no more than the government "forces" people to have a drivers license and fines them if they don't. Which is to say that if you want to drive, you have to follow the rules. If you don't like the rules, don't drive. You don't get to drive without a license because your religious beliefs state that capturing your image on an identity card is tantamount to enlisting you in Satan's army, which will be commanded from the UN and ordered to take over the world during the tribulation.

                If you don't want to follow the rules that apply to catering businesses then don't start a catering business. You may well have the right to do so, but that right - like so many in society - comes with responsibilities so the choice is yours: be a caterer and cater weddings or don't. Just stop whining that your are being "forced" to do something against whatever belief you hold. You can't have it both ways just because "religion".

                1. dan1980

                  Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

                  Of course, what I have said above relates to any religious beliefs but I have mentioned Christianity most because that's what the proponents of the legislation mention, with Bobby Jindal saying, in one interview: "So I was disappointed that you could see Christians and their businesses face discrimination in Indiana".

                  No concern about Muslims? Jews? Hindus? Sikhs? Mandaeans? Bantu? Raëlians? Wiccans? Jains?

                  And what about Satanists - is Governor Jindal also concerned about them and their freedoms? Satanists surely need every bit as much protection as Christians. Indeed, being numerical much smaller, they arguably need MORE protection. No?

                  The point, again, is that freedom to believe something does not confer or imply the freedom to act upon those beliefs and, as the freedom to believe what you want has never been infringed or curtailed, there is no need to restore it.

                  What these people are saying is that they should have the right to be excepted from certain laws because they are religious and that is a different thing altogether.

            3. Dan Paul

              Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

              I beg to differ. It is YOU that need to be educated.

              The oppression of the Dutch and English Episcopalians against the Puritans is very well documented. This happened during the "Reformation" and adversely affected many religious denominations.

              Forcing people to reject their faith by law upon penalty of death is hardly "overrated" or "retarded" although posting your obvious lack of knowledge certainly is both.

              So the English and Dutch were no better than ISIS or BOKO HARAM because they tortured those who did not follow their ways.

              Try here http://history.hanover.edu/texts/engref/er86.html

              and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Puritans_under_Elizabeth_I

              The Puritans came here to avoid the religious laws of both countries, thus the eventual Freedom of Religion expressions in the Constitution.

              This country was officially founded as a Christian country whether you like it or not.

              And again you don't even understand your own examples when you mention the Mormons, who held radically different religious beliefs from the Christians so they moved from just outside Rochester NY to Brigham City and elswhere in Utah in search of religious freedom.

              I have quite a good understanding of this situation as I was one of 300 Catholics that lived in Brigham City, Utah in the late 1950's and we came from the Western New York area and ultimately moved back there. As long as we didn't try to force our ideals on Mormons, they didn't bother us. That's called "Tolerance", something that you and the rest of you bullys don't grasp.

              And Brigham City was rather "Fundementalist" Mormon as polygamy was fairly common.

              As I said before, your LGBT shouting and activism does not trump my rights to religious freedom. You are no better than Hitler and his minions if you think so. Put plain and simply, these laws protect us from your atheistic, bullying tactics.

          2. David Walker

            Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

            Yes, this law was exactly intended as such. And it's not self-righteous to point out that religious RESTORATION is a completely trumped up issue. There is nothing to Restore - the guarantee of religious freedom is only that - you can freely associate and choose a religion - and it's not been repealed. Christian paranoia about the erosion of the church usually gives examples like: not having civic government putting up nativity scenes, banning the ten commandments from hanging in court rooms, etc. But these are fallacious and non-facts - you can't restore something in government that is/was EXPLICITLY excluded by the Foundational documents. These things were NEVER supposed to be done in the first place and indeed - most of the Founding Fathers say as much:

            "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." - George Washington

            "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." - Thomas Jefferson

            'The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles. The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S."

            AND

            "[T]here remains [in some parts of the country] a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst."

            ― James Madison

            Restoration is a red herring. What these laws are about is a pathetically paranoid, anachronistic, aging, caucasian and increasingly impotent group of racist, homophobic, xenophobic people angry because there are too many blacks, too many minorities, too many gays, too many high school graduates, in an increasingly changing world and they use the facade of occupying the religious moral high-ground to attack others and to create laws they can hide their bigotry behind.

            1. Dan Paul

              Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

              You are the BIGOT, YOU are the Atheist, YOU are the THEOPHOBE, who hates anyone with faith because you are so dissatisfied with your life you have to attack others.

              YOU and YOURS go out of your way to mess with the rights of the religious. WE didn't start it.

              AND YOU don't ever get to tell me how to practice MY religion EVER! THOSE tenets are enshrined in the Constitution regardless of what statements you cherry pick from the founding fathers. Except we know there were way more than you chose for your examples.

              And even the "Separation between Church and State" is a direct result of the religious intolerance that England and the Royals fostered for centuries.

              1. dan1980

                Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

                @Dan (Paul)

                Okay, three things.

                One is the question of whether the country was, as you say, "officially founded" as a Christian nation. This assertion, essentially, relies on the proposition that when a small collection of Puritans landed (mostly) in New England, that that was the "official" founding of the country.

                Your opinion on the matter seems to be clear, but I would point out that you also hold up the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. So, is the important part the Pilgrims and Puritans who arrived in the early 17th century or the wars of independence and creation of the "United States of America" in the late 18th century?

                I think you might find that, while the Puritans (and Pilgrims before them) certainly established colonies, it would be a bit of a stretch to suggest that they, in any sense, "officially founded" the country. You don't specifically claim they did, of course, but your assertion about it occurs in your post about the Puritans rather than the one that mentions the Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

                Second, your statement that the Puritans left England to avoid persecution is not entirely accurate. Not entirely inaccurate, but missing some important subtleties that matter rather a lot. At the time of their migration, there had developed a measure of peace between the religious divisions in England and independent churches were already being established. There were also mainstream figures who were openly puritan. Which is not to say that there was not conflict, but that the conflict was not of the nature that some suggest.

                Further, one important reason for their emigration was that they were dissatisfied with the reforms occurring in England, though the specifics are somewhat more complex given that there were different groups with different sets of beliefs and goals. But, essentially, the main reason for their emigration was not to escape 'torture' but to set up their own colonies with their own specific sets of beliefs, following from the Dutch.

                Third, and this is the big one. The you do not have a right to practice your religion however you want. You have the right to believe what you want and, if you want to hold services in your front room dressed in turquoise shorts and wearing a dead fish on your head, then that is your right. BUT, that freedom only extends so far.

                If part of your religious PRACTICE is to sacrifice children then, well, you don't get to do that, no matter how old your holy book or how well-established your religion. You don't get a free pass by indignantly shouting "you don't get to tell me how to practice my religion".

                Now, you can't be told how you must practice your religion but the law tells you things that you can't do, regardless of whether a holy book or a preacher tells you to or not.

                So, you can't be forced to go to a particular church and preachers and priests and rabbis and muftis can't be forced to wear certain official robes or speak in latin. Nor can you be forced to pray to the god Set, nor forced to have your children circumcised.

                But, while you can't be forced to do something religious, you can be prevented from doing something religious - if it clashes with the existing laws. So, a woman can't be forced to wear a niqab or hijab when she goes out but she can be banned from walking around a shopping centre stark naked and no amount of appeal to religious freedom trumps the existing laws on public decency.

                This is the whole debate over Sharia law in non-Islamic countries - you don't get to beat your wife for being unfaithful and you don't get to flog or hang or behead someone because they said mean things about a religious figure.

                That's because beating, flogging, hanging and beheading people is against the law.

                So, while you have absolute freedom to believe as you want, the freedom to excercise your those beliefs is limited in practice.

                That limit is that you may not "excercise" your religion - i.e. perform (or refuse to perform) some action - where there is a compelling interest against that.

                Any practice that has sufficient (compelling) reason to satisfy such criteria is likely already illegal or regulated. Discrimination against people on the basis of race (in the context of businesses offering services) is legislated against and, while sexuality and gender identity is not a protected class federally, many states have enacted such provisions, thus providing the same non-discrimination protection for (e.g.) homosexuals as apply to other groups.

                Therefore, there are several main points around this issue.

                The first is whether having one uniform set of laws applying to everyone regardless of religion (i.e. not legislating based on religion) is a compelling enough reason to restrict the ability of people to discriminate against people based on gender and sexuality.

                I believe that one uniform set of laws that apply to ALL people, is a good thing and once you start - effectively - making or applying laws differently for different religious groups, why not allow Muslims to operate under Sharia law?

                The second is whether there is even a good religious reason to claim that providing flowers for a gay wedding somehow infringes upon a religious conviction in the first place. I appreciate that some people certainly believe that homosexuality is wrong, and a 'sin', and that the Christian Bible has passages that decry it but I can't remember the part where it is specified that one must not provide flowers to homosexuals getting married.

                Now, it's not for me to dictate what is and is not part of a person's religion but it would seem to me that if someone is claiming that providing flowers for a homosexual wedding is against their religion, then any test to determine whether the belief is "sincerely held" should probably ask our florist which dictum of their religion is being contravened by the action they are being asked to perform.

                To me, that would be a logical question because the very purpose of that test is to ensure that the objection is actually a religious objection rather than a personal prejudice masquerading as religion.

                The final point that is at issue is whether this should apply to businesses and, while it certainly does apply, I have yet to see one compelling argument that shows me why it should.

                Just like free speech, freedom of religious belief and religious practice is not absolute.

      2. Code For Broke

        Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

        Did you catch the historical drift on the pink triangle comment? It was quite good as-is, I thought.

    2. boba1l0s2k9

      Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

      If a business wants to deny service to anyone, for any reason: good for them. I'll be free to open an equivalent shop that accepts anyone and I'll advertise that I'm not a hater like that dreadful shop down the road. There's no reason to use government force to mandate that bigots lie about their bigotry by hiding it. Let them be open about their hatred for fellow humans, and let the rest of us try to change their mind through persuasion and financial incentives. Freedom demands that a private business owner should be free to choose not to engage in transactions with anyone, for any reason. If you think freedom requires that we force one private citizen to do business with another private citizen against their will, you are misusing the word: you meant tyranny.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: I wonder how they're going to know?

        If a business wants to deny service to anyone, for any reason: good for them. I'll be free to open an equivalent shop that accepts anyone and I'll advertise that I'm not a hater like that dreadful shop down the road.

        Which is why life was swell in the Jim Crow era, eh? Entrepreneurs were just rushing to open competing businesses that advertised their non-discriminatory policies.

        My word, but some folks are hard of thinking.

  2. Captain DaFt

    "We are a Christian establishment. We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything."

    "But, if they dare to think/believe differently than us, they can go to Hell!", eh?

    Odd, I thought the Cristian Ethic was compassion and tolerance to all people, regardless of their beliefs. Apparently some churches think differently.

    1 John 3:17 - But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

    Hebrews 13:2 - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    And finally (from me) The Golden Rule:

    Matthew 7:12 - So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

    1. Bob Dole (tm)

      Shh..

      Hush now and don't bring the bible into this. It's not like Christian's actually read that anyway.

      1. paulc

        Re: Shh..

        only the bits they like...

      2. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: Shh..

        "Hush now and don't bring the bible into this. It's not like Christian's actually read that anyway."

        Yeah, no fair bringing the original source documents in! Especially considering that they say very little about homosexuality and say A Lot against greed and lack of charity to the disenfranchised (widows and orphans).

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them

      Oh, but they absolutely do apply that. "I would love to engage in some fine adult action with a lovely lady but would abhor doing the same with some guy - SO YOU BETTER NOT WANT ANYTHING ELSE EITHER, OR ELSE...!". That rule doesn't work all that well without a crapload of caveats...

    3. Vic

      1 John 3:17 - But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

      Bill 1:1 - Be excellent to each other.

      Vic.

    4. tom dial Silver badge

      The Indiana (and Arkansas) RFRAs did not as originally passed, and do not as amended, authorize anyone to discriminate on any basis against anyone else. Nor did either of them lean toward or away from any religion or set of doctrines. They were equally applicable to Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others. While they certainly were passed largely on the initiative and with support of Christians, that mainly is because Christians far outnumber adherents to other religious doctrines; it is quite likely that they would have been supported by members of a number of others.

      Citing the Bible, apart from the fact that it has enough contradictions to "prove" nearly anything, may be relevant to the particular establishment and comment, but is not relevant to those who do not accept it as authoritative and of reduced relevance to those, Muslims for instance, or Mormons, whose scriptures have been expanded to include additional guidance.

    5. dan1980

      "We are a Christian establishment. We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything."

      Except that they are discriminating. Saying you will provide your advertised services to one person but not to another because you disagree with them is discrimination. That's just a fact.

      Whether it's legal or not or ethical or not is another question but it most certainly is discrimination.

      And (as I said above), how is that in anyway connected to the "right to believe in anything"? If Ms O'Connor can explain how "provid[ng] pizza" for the wedding of a "gay couple" infringes their right to believe that gay people shouldn't get married - or exist.

      "We are a Christian establishment"

      What? No. YOU are Christian. Presumably you try to hire Christian staff and your management style has - at least so you would claim - a basis in your Christian morality. (Turning away 'sinners' is definitely the way I remember Jesus acting - yep.) But you run a BUSINESS and, whatever you own, personal, beliefs, a business is not "Christian", any more than it can be said to be "melancholy" or to prefer the taste of roast chicken over fried or wears a size 10 shoe, but not a peep-toe (of course).

      I really am not sure why people seem to believe that the freedoms they enjoy as individuals are necessarily conferred upon businesses they run. To be honest, it's quite a strange assertion.

      1. Brennan Young

        Discrimination

        dan1980 "Except that they are discriminating. Saying you will provide your advertised services to one person but not to another because you disagree with them is discrimination. That's just a fact."

        Quite so.

        It's even discrimination if you do it for reasons other than that you disagree with them. You might discriminate against customers who have already received a free pizza as part of today's promotion by not letting them have another free pizza.

        Discrimination is not necessarily a bad thing. Gynaecologists 'sex discriminate' against male patients for very obvious reasons. Similarly with "prejudice". It's a "bad" word, but in reality we all make pre-judgements all the time, and could not really survive without doing so.

        Sometimes prejudices and discrimination are groundless. It takes a minimal level of humility to admit it. Too many people (including far too many atheists) fail to exercise this modicum of humility. Ultimately this harms the ethos of those people. (And they don't care, which says it all).

        What is wrong is not prejudice or discrimination, it is the failure to be aware of those prejudices, failure to understand the position of those discriminated against, failure to admit that the prejudices exist, or to continue to discriminate in the face of evidence which shows the basis of that discrimination to be fallacious.

        In this case, I would argue that you can't claim "being a Christian" as a sound basis for refusing service to homosexuals because Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality, not even in the apocrypha or the 'heretical' gospels. And as every non-conservative Christian knows, is documented in the New Testament as kissing his male followers, preaching love, acceptance etc.. The Old Testament makes reference to homosexuality, sodomy and crossdressing, and calls these practices "abominations", but Christians are categorically *not* bound by any of the laws in the Torah beyond the 10 commandments. Those laws - we are told in the NT - have been 'set aside' by the sacrifice of Christ:

        For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups* one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations.

        Ephesians 2:14-15

        *i.e. Jews & gentiles.

        BTW I am an atheist. And I still think the Bible is an interesting and worthwhile book.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > "We are a Christian establishment. We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything."

    In other words, "We won't serve gays but we'll serve everyone else".

    In what way is that not literally discrimination regardless of what you think of the morality?

    1. Tel

      Someone had better tell them that their pizzas are probably not kosher (according to biblical rules) and that they'd better double check to make sure their customers aren't divorced, or masturbators, or wearing clothes of mixed fibres...

      1. frank ly Silver badge
        Gimp

        @Tel

        I avoid controversy by refusing to wear clothes made of fibres.

        1. John Tserkezis

          Re: @Tel

          "I avoid controversy by refusing to wear clothes made of fibres."

          I go one further and refuse to wear clothes of any type. I couldn't possibly offend anyone now.

      2. Suricou Raven

        Now, I must correct you on this: There is nothing in the bible that forbids masturbation anywhere. Not a word. That's quite an ommission - considering how common it is, if God objects you'd expect him to mention it somewhere.

        You're quite right about the mixed fibers and divorce though.

        1. Anonymous Blowhard

          "You're quite right about the mixed fibers and divorce though."

          Hooray! I can still get a pizza!

          (I might have to be naked though, to avoid the mixed fibres thing)

          1. JEDIDIAH
            Devil

            > Hooray! I can still get a pizza!

            Only if it's a vegetable pizza. Meat pizzas are against the old dietary laws.

            It's likely that this entire establishment needs to be burnt to the ground for being unclean and not kosher.

        2. dorsetknob
          Paris Hilton

          Worshipers of the sky fairy will tell you Its a Sin to Spill / Waste the SEED of Man

          Roll on 2000 yrs and that translates to " No Masturbation"

          Paris because she knows what to do with it

          1. Suricou Raven

            The Onan thing. If you just read one verse, it looks like it condemns masturbation: Onan 'spills his seed upon the ground' and God smites him. If you read the full story you see a bigger picture. Family lines were vitally important in that society, so much that they practiced 'levite marriage' - if a man died childless, his wives would be inherited by his brother, who was then obliged to impregnate one and produce a child. This child was then considered the legal child of the deceased, ensuring the continuation of the line. In a time when many social duties were the specific task of a certain tribal line, and the vast majority of men inherited the occupation of their father, this really was important. Onan disliked his bother though, and out of spite he pulled out in an effort to avoid impregnating his inherited wife - an action that not only went against religious techings, but undermined the preservation of family lines and threatened the structure of society. That is why God smote him.

        3. Stuart21551

          You are right; the misunderstanding, I think, comes from a misreading of the Sin of Onan. Onan was smited, many believe, for spilling the seed; but it was not that that god smote him for, but for his refusal to impregnate his widowed sister in law. (Who, incidentally, was widowed by gods hand, but thats just a by the by -)

          Love my polycot shrts, but. ;-)

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        or wearing clothes of mixed fibres...

        Blasphemy (SFW, the rest of that site, not so much)

  4. Bakana

    Actually, it sounds like the Pizza shop has managed to make more Money from one afternoon of Bigotry than they would have gotten in several years of selling Mediocre Pizza.

    The fact that so Many bigots were willing to go on record (Do GoFundMe contributors get IDed?) as supporting these Bigots is a bit disturbing.

    1. Tel

      I would venture to suggest that the campaign on 'GoFundMe' breaks several of that outfit's terms and conditions. Perhaps someone (or a lot of someones) should make their displeasure at GFM known... it may be that the funding can be stopped before it gets to the destination...

  5. JustWondering

    I wonder ...

    ... what Christian Hoosiers would say if they were refused service on the basis of their religion?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Go to a Jewish or Muslim butcher's and ask him for a pound of pork burgers. Then sue him.

      1. handle

        False analogy, Anonymous Coward - you might as well say go to a butchers and ask for a pound of potatoes, then sue him.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What's a pound? Or do you mean 500g?

          1. Captain DaFt

            Da fuck? I pay a pound, I better get more potatoes than that!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Go to a Jewish or Muslim butcher's and ask him for a pound of pork burgers. Then sue him."

              This doesn't work because Jews don't even sell that to other Jews. They just don't sell it at all.

              However, I wonder just how far this bias would be tolerated if it was about raw money. For example, what about another 'mark' besides sexuality?

              Play along with me and imagine that in a fictional world someone has credit and was denied business based on their credit.

              If you must, replace the word 'credit' with 'sexuality' in that last sentence to help discern an opinion. So, is that discrimination or just good business?

              Anyways, at least the homosexuals are fighting it in the world of sex. Maybe someone will fight the other monsters someday.

      2. Jess--

        That would only work if he was normally supplying the same goods to other customers.

        The argument here is that the business in question is refusing to supply their normal everyday service to a particular group of customers based on their perceived sexuality.

        I wonder which wedding they would choose to cater for...

        Jess + John

        Jess + Jane

      3. dan1980

        @AC

        Now, if you were a butcher and you were being 'forced' to stock Halal or Kosher meat then that is not on. Likewise, if you were a Kosher butcher and were being 'forced' to stock bacon.

        And this is the thing. In the example of catering, no one is forcing a restaurant that doesn't offer catering to provide catering, nor are they forcing a catering company to provide catering for weddings.

        If one of the services you offer, as a business, is to prepare food, setup bain-maries and spirit burners, provide staff in uniforms and have those staff lay out and possibly serve the food - and to do so at a wedding reception - then that is all you are being asked to do. There is no service or product or facility you are being asked to provide that you do not currently provide.

        The only - ONLY - difference is the customer. In ALL ways that matter to the BUSINESS, the situation is identical - the same supplier orders, the same equipment, the same cleaning for the same uniforms, the same vans to bring it all and the same motions performed by the same staff to layout and serve the same food on the same plates with the same bad music playing in the background, and the same requirement to wait through the same bad speeches before you can serve desert and get the hell out of there.

        At no point in any of that, has anyone been 'forced' to do anything they do not normally do in the course of their job and, more importantly, nor has anyone - at any point or in the slightest way - been forced to believe anything they do not believe or discard any belief they do hold.

        But, at any rate, The problem is neatly avoided by the caters (or florist) saying that they do not do weddings.

        Providing a service to one person and then denying the exact same service to another person on the sole basis of sexual orientation is discrimination. However you feel about it is another matter, of course, but it is still discrimination.

  6. skeptical i
    Devil

    So to speak.

    "State Democrats ... decided to let [the Republicans' amendment] go to a straight vote by all state legislatures"

    Or maybe a straight-acting vote, eh? Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Error in the translation..

    Several sources report that what they said was They'll serve anyone walking in, but not cater a LBGT wedding as they don't believe in "gay marriage"... The average response was "who'd want a pizza parlor to cater a wedding".

    Conveniently, the whole thing was apparently misquoted about the time the GoFundMe was set up... So is there an intentional deception? A stupid knee-jerk? Or just plain bigotry? I think it's a stupid knee-jerk to get this pizza joint some Streisand Publicity.

    All this raises an interesting conundrum though... the Indianapolis 500 and their "signature song" which was until 2014 performed by Jim Nabors... who, per many articles, is gay. Which also makes me wonder how many race team sponsors will withhold sponsorship? Either way the sponsor gets free advertising, but the team only gets the money of the sponsor's name is on the car.

    But yeah, the law still stinks. Come to think of it, when I lived in Illinois and Ohio, we always avoided Indiana like the plague if we could.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Error in the translation..

      Indiana is just the border between Illinois and Ohio. Nothing much to see there anymore, except a lot of basketball hoops.

      1. Radelix

        Re: Error in the translation..

        And corn, lots of corn. Do not forget the post apocalyptic city if Gary. But yes you are not missing anything.

    2. Dan Paul

      Re: Error in the translation..

      People in Indiana don't have a problem with gays, just the shouty flaming ones that think they are better than everyone else. Jim Nabors never shouted he was gay, he just was. And he was as normal as anyone else. That's why he was "tolerated" by everyone, even Christians.

      The lesson is that you don't earn tolerance by being a jerk and pulling out the "I'm a flaming Homo" defense all the time when in reality, you were just being a mouthy putz in the first place.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    "GAYGESTAPO"

    "Stand tall! Keep fighting! Millions of good folks have your backs. If we don't beat back the GAYGESTAPO Christians will be back in the CAVES just as in Roman times!"

    By the sounds of things, if it weren't for the "GAYGESTAPO" as you put it, you would still be in the CAVES. How much of modern life is dependent on computer-based equipment? You know, those electronic things that are descended from Alan Turing's code-breaking machine?

    1. ST Silver badge

      Re: "GAYGESTAPO"

      Correction: "GAYSTAPO".

      That's all I had to add.

    2. AbelSoul
      Thumb Up

      Re: "GAYGESTAPO"

      The Reg already nailed said commentard succinctly and accurately by describing them thusly:

      ... said one moron

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If we don't beat back the GAYGESTAPO Christians will be back in the CAVES just as in Roman times"

    Ahh well, at least their bodies can catch up with where their minds appear to hang out.

    In spite of a positive outcome in rolling back rather unjust law, I'm personally extremely uncomfortable (as usual) that it's a few extremely rich people whose political muscle appears to have caused the backtrack. That smacks of economic bullying rather than than democracy; very much a double edged sword that seldom works for the benefit of anyone but the wealthy.

  10. Martin Maloney

    It's called freedom, folks

    A Muslim owns a print shop. Someone wants him to print posters of cartoons which disparage the Prophet. Shouldn't he have the right to refuse to do so?

    A lesbian produces custom T-shirts. She regards anti-gay bigotry as immoral. Someone wants her to imprint a T-shirt, “Gay Marriage Is an Abomination.” Shouldn't she have the right to refuse to do so?

    Someone has a home business, transcoding VHS tapes to DVDs. He has a religious objection to pornography. Someone comes in with a box of porn VHS tapes for him to make into DVDs. Shouldn't he have the right to refuse to do so?

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: It's called freedom, folks

      Your examples show people being asked to do something with specific individual requirements. This is different from serving everybody the same pizza. Or are you saying that you think Gays require different pizza from other people?

      PS: I should also add that in most jurisdictions a pizza shop is considered a public place which has some different legal requirements towards its customers than a contractor does.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        Or are you saying that you think Gays require different pizza from other people?

        More fruit?

        1. Hollerith 1

          Re: It's called freedom, folks

          'More fruit' -- how awesomely not witty.

      2. PassiveSmoking

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        "Gays require different pizza from other people"

        That so should be on a tee shirt!

      3. Fungus Bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        "are you saying that you think Gays require different pizza from other people?"

        Of course they do - the difference between straight pizza and gay pizza is that the gay pizza looks !!!FABULOUS!!!

      4. Dan Paul

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        A pizza shop is not a "public place" if it is soley owned and not part of a larger corporation. Any propriater has the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason.

        Here, the pizza shop in question is indeed soley owned by a Christian family who have the right to their own brand of religious beliefs. Anyone crying about discrimination is being an ass.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: It's called freedom, folks

          "Christian family who have the right to their own brand of religious beliefs. Anyone crying about discrimination is being an ass."

          No.

          Religion is what these dumb morons use as an excuse for their biggoted discrimination.

          What if someone said their religion meant they disapproved of anyone without blonde hair and blue eyes? Or what if it meant they disapproved of blacks?

          Or when you talk about freedom to hold religious beliefs, I assume we need to add "as long as they are Christian"?

          Yes, religion is an excuse for biggots. Did you see that flourist interviewed on CNN who said she would not serve gays because of her Christian beliefs? Yet when pressed, she would serve adulterers (even though that is one of the 10 commandments, whilst homophobia isn't) explaining it away as a "different kind of sin"

          So.... Biblical scholar able to prove her gods written words are incorrect, or arrogant person who is even more all-knowing than her god, or cherry-picking homophobic closeminded dumb arse?

          CNN video link: Why one Georgia florist won't serve gay couples: https://youtu.be/ZJTtENk2dMk

          1. dan1980

            Re: It's called freedom, folks

            @Jamie Jones

            Actually, that story about the florist and the admission that she would server adulterers is rather to the point here.

            The legislation required a test to satisfy the criteria that the religious belief is "sincerely held". When it comes down to it, and whatever the supporters and apologists may say, this law was about one thing: allowing otherwise unacceptable discrimination to be justified by religion. That's it.

            So, the test must exist to determine whether the discrimination (and it is discrimination by any definition) is actually based on religious convictions as opposed to religion being used simply to justify personal prejudices.

            That being the case, it would be my contention that to satisfy the test, one must show that they adhere to the other tenets of that religion, such as refusing to serve adulterers (if such a thing could be ascertained) or indeed simply people who weren't Christians, that essentially being the first commandment - the 'no other gods' bit.

            There are so many admonitions and instructions and teachings in the bible that one could choose from here and this is why the anti-homosexual obsession of some Christians (far, far from all, of course) would be laughable were it not so powerful a voice in US society (and elsewhere). For example, one could ask whether the florist would provide flowers for a wedding where the bride had not agreed to submit to her groom - as the head of the household. Or if they had had sex prior to their marriage.

            But that is just on marriage and sexuality. If your belief is really so true and strong it is to be taken as justification for discrimination then one would expect such strongly-held beliefs to run right through their own lives. This florist certainly would need to be submissive to her husband, for one, but there bible is littered with - frankly rather strange - specifics of conduct.

            Much of this is simply waved away as 'for the Jews only', which includes large swathes of our friend Leviticus. This despite the fact that that is kind of where the whole 'no homos' stance comes from. How serious, one must ask, can someone's faith be when they ignore parts of the same book (Lev) from which their professed justification for discriminating against homosexuals comes from.

            The bible condemns homosexuality, don't you know? Well, yes, but why claim that that part of the Old Testament is still applicable but the bits about what you can and can't eat aren't?

            1. toughluck

              Re: Old Testament

              @dan1980: Apostle Paul reasserted this in Corinthians, so it's not just the Old Testament. And if you follow the New Testament, you would understand how the Old Law was reinterpreted in light of Jesus's ministry.

              Note that this is about marriage. As such, Bible says marriage is limited to heterosexual couples. And sex outside marriage is a sin regardless whether homosexual or heterosexual. You can ignore this, but don't force Christians to ignore it.

              Otherwise, in your pursuit of tolerance towards homosexuals, you are becoming intolerant of Christians. And nobody said they wouldn't cater to homosexuals specifically, but rather wouldn't cater a gay/lesbian/etc. wedding. This is a marked difference.

              Suppose a Catholic is running a business (I don't want to meander around specific approaches to divorce in various Christian denominations). Not only should they have the right to decline catering a same-sex wedding, it goes further, including refusing to cater to a wedding of a divorced couple (if one or both were earlier a part of a Catholic marriage), because taking part in something they disagree with does make them appear as supporters of this idea.

              1. dan1980
                Thumb Up

                Re: Old Testament

                @toughluck

                Have an up-vote.

                We appear to disagree somewhat but you write well and there should always be room for sensible, intelligent and measured discussion.

                Where you say:

                ". . . taking part in something they disagree with does make them appear as supporters of this idea."

                there are two things that I . . . question. I think that's the best word.

                First is you where you say that people who are (to use the example) running a catering company would be 'taking part in' a wedding that they are catering. I suspect this is an issue of semantics but are the caters really 'part' of the wedding?

                In the instance specifically mentioned in the article, we have a pizza shop talking about catering a wedding. How much involvement would they really have that they could be said to be "taking part" in it or, as others have said, "participating"? Surely they would be doing little more than delivering the pizzas to the venue, right? Is that "participation"?

                I am not going to pretend I know how other people feel so I can only speak for myself and in my job, which is IT, I don't feel that I am "participating" or "taking part" in my clients' business activities by building and fixing servers and systems for them. Providing a clustered back-end for a chain of clothing stores did not make be feel like I was involved in selling lycra leggings and halter tops with annoying nuggets of inanity like "sweat is good" and so forth.

                Which brings me to the second part - that the provision of the service is somehow seen as an endorsement of the beliefs or lifestyle of the people you are providing the service for. This is something that I must confess that I don't understand. When I provided new e-mail and database platforms for a homeopath's practice, I did not feel that I was "support[ing]" homeopathy.

                I don't support it. In fact, I deplore it. It is provably false and while it may - at times - provide some benefit, that benefit is exactly the same as can be observed with a placebo, which is, of course, precisely what homeopathic medicine is. But worse than it simply chewing up money and resources that could be better spent, it actively fosters the belief that proven, scientifically-based medicine is not, in fact, the best remedy. Which it is - (again) provably. There are people who stop taking normal, scientifically-verified treatments in favour of, well, water. It is actually dangerous.

                But, as I said, I did not feel that my time spent meeting with the client, designing the system to fit their needs, liaising with vendors, testing, sitting next to practitioners while they tested the system and ultimately delivering a fully-functioning solution that allowed them to work more efficiently was some kind of endorsement for the activities they were engaged in.

                The reason being that the service I provided them was the same service I provided to another recent client whose business is to "connect investors with innovative start-ups" and actually a remarkably similar system to one that I helped provide for a group of real health professionals (actual doctors and all) who manage health programs for other businesses.

                Now, I do have some sympathy with this idea because I can imagine being a caterer asked to cater, say, a Klan event. I would be uncomfortable with that. However, racists are not a 'protected' class so far as discrimination is concerned but then neither is gender - at least not federally, though it is in many states.

                And, actually, this really hits at the heart of the matter because those traits that form the basis of protected classes in anti-discrimination legislation are traits that are, largely, inherent in a person. Thus, race is a protected class because one cannot simply choose to be a different race. Sure, you can emigrate from China to Somalia but even if you learn to speak the language fluently, take a local wife and renounce all claims to Chinese citizenship, you will still be of Chinese race because race relates to the physiological differences amongst the varied people of the world, which is why there is no specifically "US" race of people, they being physiologically much the same as the other Caucasian peoples.

                So the question largely boils down to one of whether gender identity and sexuality are inherent in a person or whether they are choices that one makes and may change, should one so wish.

                And be in no doubt - this is the core question. It would be utterly unacceptable for someone to suggest that one could call on religious freedom to discriminate against black people. And thus, you couldn't expect to claim a religious exception to allow you to refuse your services to a mixed-race couple getting married. So why, if refusing to provide flowers (as per the examples given by the supporters of this legislation) for a wedding between a white girl and black man would be considered unacceptable, should refusing to provide flowers for the wedding between a black man and a black man be acceptable?

                The reason is that some people still believe that homosexuality is a choice. The problem is that no credible, modern science has ever backed this up. Of course as an individual, anyone is free to ignore that and instead believe that it is a choice. But the laws that govern a modern, secular society (which the US, despite the protests of some apologists, most definitely is, or at least was meant to be) must - or should - be based on the best available verifiable evidence and research. Thus, if one is to deem race a protected class then one should also view gender identity and sexuality as a protected class because the best evidence available indicates that these traits are no more of a choice than whether one is born with brown eyes or blue.

                I have deviated from the main trust somewhat but this whole argument would be moot if laws followed science and evidence rather than religious pressure. I do not mean offence by that - each group is free to put their opinions and preferences forward - but science the best method to try and differentiate between that which we wish to be true and that which is actually likely to be true. And, indeed, simply professing something with conviction does not make it fact.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's called freedom, folks

          Here, the pizza shop in question is indeed soley owned by a Christian family who have the right to their own brand of religious beliefs. Anyone crying about discrimination is being an ass.

          Depends on the circumstances. In the example the proprietor gave, the customer is in no way enforcing their beliefs on the proprietor or any of their customers. They are simply customers. Nothing more. The purpose for the product (pizza in this case) is largely irrelevant. People don't have to know where it came from.

          If however, the gay couple wanted to hold the ceremony in the shop, then the proprietor might have some grounds as it could be seen that they are somehow endorsing the ceremony.

          The freedom cuts both ways too, in that country not only has the proprietor got "freedom of speech" to say "no", but the customer has "freedom of speech" to tell people they were told "no" and the reason they were told "no". If they cannot accept the latter reality, they should really not exercise the former.

    2. thomas k.

      Re: It's called freedom, folks

      IANAL but I believe that in all 3 examples the business owner is well within their rights to refuse.

      Refusing to accept a particular job is not the same as refusing to provide any service to an entire class of people.

      1. toughluck

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        @thomas k.: you're saying that refusing to accept a particular job is not the same as refusing to provide any service to an entire class of people.

        What about that "Sweet Cakes" case, where a baker from Oregon refused to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian wedding? They had no objections about serving gays or lesbians, I don't know, let's say cupcakes or coffee, but would not cater a wedding. Does that count as a particular job, or as refusing service to an entire class of people?

        By the way, it wasn't the only bakery in town. That area had some 18 confectioners that the couple hasn't asked. I can understand that if all 18 refused service, the couple could claim collusion and would have solid grounds for legal action. But in this particular case? I don't think so.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: It's called freedom, folks

          The general rule is to substitute 'gay marriage' for 'interracial marriage.' Should a business owner be allowed to refuse their service to interracial couples? Does his matter how strongly they believe interracial marriage is sinful and wrong?

          1. toughluck

            @Suricou: I honestly don't know how to reply to your question. However, let me ask if you know any significant religion that is opposing interracial marriage on religious grounds and decrying it as sinful?

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Straw man - it doesn't matter how big a religion is.

              1. toughluck

                @Richard 12: Doesn't it? In that case, I could set up a religion which I would be the only member of and I could claim anything I want to derail any argument that starts with "No religion does x", or "Every religion is y".

                1. Ammaross Danan
                  FAIL

                  You really need to read a dissertation about logical fallacies. You're referring to "reductio ad absurdum." Here's a starter poster: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/poster

            2. Suricou Raven

              The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's an offshoot of the Mormon church that still condemns and forbids interracial marriage. There used to be a great many churches that forbid interracial marriage, including the Mormon church itsself - almost all of them have now revised that position, but a few stubborn holdouts remain. The FLDS split from the Mormons over that issue and a couple of others, insisting that the majority of the church had compromised their teachings for the sake of modern social acceptability.

              1. tom dial Silver badge

                Correct, I think. The underlying question may be whether the country is big enough and open enough to allow an FLDS caterer to refuse to cater a mixed-marriage wedding (other than, perhaps, in the Short Creek area where all caterers might be FLDS members).

                Interestingly, the state of Utah, where (regular) LDS members are a very substantial majority of the voting population, seems to have threaded this needle with a rights + religious freedom law that has been noticed little, but is supported by the LDS church, Republicans, and Democrats, as well, it appears, as the LGBT community.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        IANAL but I believe that in all 3 examples the business owner is well within their rights to refuse.

        It can get complicated, though. See the Belfast "Gay Cake" case:

        http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/gay-cake-row-gareth-lee-felt-unworthy-over-ashers-bakery-refusal-to-bake-cake-31096066.html

        even though the bakery owner was quite clear that "Our problem with producing the cake we were asked to make last year was with the message, not the customer" they've still been taken to court by the Equalities commission. I don't envy the judge.

        It does seem that this case could hinge on the supplier having accepted the order and then cancelled it, we may end up with a situation where businesses have to make it clear in advance what they will & will provide. Seems likely only to make more lawyers rich.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: It's called freedom, folks

      It's complicated.

      The Indiana law was stupid

      Interference by Tech companies in Democracy is bad, even if cause is worthy.

      There does need to be consideration of conflicting freedoms.

      I should be free to refuse to promote Scientology while promoting my Pastafarianism.

      People should not be discriminated against because of who they are or what they believe, but they should not expect everyone to help them promote their viewpoint!

      I see my last comment on this attracted knee jerk hyper liberals who obviously didn't really read what I said, or perhaps I communicated it badly.

      Judge doesn't want to get set on fire. Reserved judgement on Cake case. Does the fact it wasn't JUST a cake but had a Homosexual supporting slogan and imagery cause a difficulty in the judgement?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: It's called freedom, folks

        "Interference by Tech companies in Democracy is bad, even if cause is worthy."

        Yes, that was my first take on the story too. What will "they" decide to object to next? A few very rich and powerful individuals have just caused a reversal of State government law-making despite many, many "normal" people making the same objections and who were ignored.

        This says much more about "might is right" rather than "right is might".

    4. Richard Jones 1
      WTF?

      Re: It's called freedom, folks

      I completely agree with those sentiments. If I ran a business I would not I want to know the feelings, beliefs, inclinations, or whatever of a customer. Normally I do not give a fig and never did care what people got up to in their 'private time'; and yes I had a few different folk of many different types work very successfully for me. The break point comes when they are asking me to participate in some way in their private lives, that could be a bridge too far in many cases.

      So would I go out horse riding chasing foxes? No.

      Would I go to a swinger's party? No.

      Would I contribute to a political or religious movement with which I did not agree? No

      Would I go on a march for anything? No; part personal choice part old age and health issues.

      Would I do work for a paying customer yes - but I would likely draw the line at adding political, religious, sexual or illegal slogans - there may be a few more restrictions, e.g. I would not want to supply bomb making parts either whoever or whichever cause they promoted.

      Have I mistakenly entered a gay pub? Yes but since we were a mixed group we drank up and left as it was clear that the regulars were not comfortable. Why stay and offend them?

      Selling nuts a bolts to a gay car repairer is normal business, though why anyone should need to know the sexual nature of a customer for such a transaction defeats me!

      It is when someone is asked to cross the line to support or promote something with which they do not agree that I would raise an objection - it fine to help them as a person, but NOT to support their cause. Why does everything have to be defined in terms of whether someone is this or a particular orientation? Should we introduce performers as the gay dancer/ singer/ whatever, or the seriously committed atheist/ Christian/ Jew/ whatever, heterosexual, monogamous father/mother of three kids, painter?

      NO!

      They are either a singer, dancer, painter or whatever who's performance you admire or you do not like their work. As someone else implied, since Alan Turing was a homosexual should we now bring Hitler back, because it was unfair to defeat him? Damned stupid to try, we should not mix private lives and work: neither should we chase down anyone because of their private lives. However, bawdy or lewd behaviour may well be liable to cause a breach of the peace so you enter a grey area of possible restriction, so we should all be considerate whatever the sexual background. Should a left wing council be forced to hire out a meeting place for a far right group, even though to do so would bring out the theatrical complainers and the rent-a-mob protesters?

      Sadly No and that cuts both ways.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's called freedom, folks

      You make the basic mistake of confusing someones identity with the actions they are trying to perform.

      Here is some more pertinent examples

      A mixed race couple want to arrange a wedding, however the owner believes the bible forbids such a union so won't allow it

      A black man is refused service because the owner believes in white supremacy

      We have right not to do things we find morally unacceptable, but not when it impinges on the basic rights of the individual involved and when it is based on prejudice against the person asking for the service. yes, we have the right not deal with say pornography, but that is a long stretch to say we will not serve pizza because of someones sexual orientation.

  11. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Mixed feelings...

    I have mixed feelings over this. On the one hand I'm glad big companies have stood up to this discrimination. But on the other hand..

    ..it's scary how a few words from a couple of rich people can make a legislature change their laws.

    Democracy: Yeah, we've heard of it.

  12. verbaloversupply

    "said one moron" - inappropriate

    I object to the final words of the article, attributing the quote to "one moron" is ridiculous! Moron is a mental age of 7-12, I think imbecile with it's narrower mental age of 7 or 8 is more appropriate.

    Cretin also has some merits. It has some comedic value as it's potentially etymologically linked to Christianity or Christ but accuracy with unintelligent but still human.

    Idiot (mental age of around 2) may sound better but saying this was just baby babble removes the intent from the actions.

    1. Jay Emmay

      Re: "said one moron" - inappropriate

      Christian itself WAS the insult (little Christ). For the record "cretin" is also an insult from Biblical times - comes from Crete where everyone was assumed to be... Well you can guess.

    2. nsld

      Re: "said one moron" - inappropriate

      Twat would work

      1. Stuart21551

        Re: "said one moron" - inappropriate

        "Twat would work"

        Them spell checkers sneak up on you sometimes -

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If everyone was allowed to run their lives by their own 'moral' compass (however off-kilter) we'd have absolute chaos.

    Perhaps the pizza chain owners would like so see their example extrapolated to A&E departments? After all if they have a right to deny a person service on the basis of their religious beliefs they cannot then assume everyone in the medical profession is Christian too and equally willing to treat them should one of them require emergency care.

    1. Suricou Raven

      My moral compass generates a list of people I should punch in the face. It's a short list, but not zero-length.

      I don't imagine it'd do much - I'm not very strong and have never been in a fight, so they'd probably shrug it off. But it's the attempt that matters.

      Top of the list is one Bryan Fischer, who has previously argued that all gay men seek to rape children in order to recruit them into the 'gay lifestyle,' and most recently made the news by giving a monologue arguing that the recent plane suicide was to be blamed on the pilot's secret homosexuality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This 'lifestyle' business always makes me cringe, whatever nasty little prejudice its applied to - if a phrase could ever say "Daily Mail", lifestyle in this context is probably it. For some reason every time I see it I can't help thinking of fitted kitchens or bedrooms.

        1. Suricou Raven

          It's a very deliberate phrase. It stems from a need to deny the existance of homosexuality as an inherent characteristic: If it were something people couldn't help, afflicting them by chance or nature, then it wouldn't be fair to discriminate against them. To do so would be no better than racism. So instead anti-gay campaigners go to some length to seperate the sexuality from the person. They do not talk about a person as a homosexual: They talk about someone who has 'chosen to live a gay lifestyle' or who 'struggles with same-sex attractions.' Present it as a choice, because it's a lot easier to condemn someone for a choice.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gaygestapo

    Mm! Anyone know how I can join? Leather, a bit of domination play, they had pretty sharp outfits..

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there no refuge?

    I had thought IT equipment to be asexual and religiously agnostic of themselves, merely doing exactly what their prejudiced programmers (perhaps in error) told them to.

    So why is ElReg taking sides in a simple row that is summarised as "My rights trump your rights because I say so"?

    If "bigot" is defined as one who is intolerant of the position/beliefs of others, then review the original article and the comments above. In almost every case the ones demanding "tolerance" from others, on pain of legal penalty, are themselves the ones most unlikely to be granting tolerance to others.

    Perhaps I had better get back to improving my hand at Victimhood Poker.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Is there no refuge?

      This has always been the conflict of tolerance: To what extend must you tolerate another person's intolerance? Or phrased another way, what happens when one person is granted the legal right to deny the legal right of another person?

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Is there no refuge?

      Your right to throw a punch ends before it hits another's face.

      I think that explains it.

  16. Phuq Witt

    Don't Fret, UK Bigots!

    You can always depend on your local enclave of mediaeval bigotry, Northern Ireland and its knights in Presbyterian grey armour, the Ulster Unionists, to keep that particular pot of outrage bubbling:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/search?q=The+%27Gay+Cake%27+Affair

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More gas please. My fire's going out...

    Seems like the comments are dying down, so let's throw some gas on the fire, shan't we?

    Science seems to point towards homosexuality not being biological, but instead psychological [1]. So they're not discriminating against something you're born with, as would be the case with e.g. race.

    [1]: http://www.narth.org/docs/hom101.html , http://genderwholeness.com/lds/understanding/what-causes-male-homosexuality/ , etc..

    P.S. Bible does prohibit public masturbation. Not explicitly, but covered by the verses on decent public behavior. Right next to bits on respecting the local government.

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

      Being gay myself, I have never felt that I was 'born this way'. I think we are shaped by a constellation of influence from the moment we are born, and by about, say, four or five, we have the personality and tastes and preferences we will carry through life. Studies of infant behaviour seem to show that newborns are sucking in a huge amount of data from the first second, and the complex mix of their own little personalities and the world around them keeps stirring around. Girls in pink...boys encouraged to act out...a parent yelling at the other...rewards for good behaviour as defined by a grandparent...it is all too complicated to parse, and from this maelstrom of input we become ourselves. I think our preference for being a certain type of person are set so early that it feels as if we were born with them, and they might well have been for all we can do to change them. 'Born that way' isn't a good basis for deciding whether something is unjustly being discriminating.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

      Not that load of bollocks again.

      You can find somebody claiming anything if you search hard enough.

      I pity you. It must be so difficult to maintain such a flawed and bigoted worldview.

    3. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

      "Science seems to point towards homosexuality not being biological"

      Who's science? The sites you reference seem to be a thinly disguised anti-gay organisations; not exactly well established scientific organisations with a track record of research into anything.

      And was your post just you masturbating in public? Shame on you!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

        Sources of sources, people. No second-hand data please.

        Although, those "propaganda" do seem to have THEIR sources rather well planted. Planted in dead-tree format publications unfortunately.

    4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: More gas please. My fire's going out...

      "Science seems to point towards homosexuality not being biological, but instead psychological [1]. So they're not discriminating against something you're born with, as would be the case with e.g. race."

      Well, Christianity is a lifestyle choice as well. Should I be allowed to throw them out of my pizza parlor?

      As to the nature/nurture argument: Science is pretty sure its both. Kinsey found that about 35% of the male population can be aroused 'both ways'. That appears to be the biological basis. From that point, it's psychological. You can marry a nice gal, raise 2.4 children and live in a house with a white picket fence. With only the occasional extra glance at the GQ models. Or you can march in the rainbow parade wearing assless chaps.

      The remaining 65% of us have no choice. We are stuck with the runny-nosed kids, PTA meetings and driving a minivan instead of a Miata.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting conclusions

    It's unclear to me that this law was intended to be an anti-gay means to discriminate, contrary to the claims. The revisions should make it clear that it is not and probably never was the intent.

    1. stringyfloppy

      Re: Interesting conclusions

      I agree. It was intended to allow anyone (in Indiana) to legally discriminate against anyone for any reason. So it covers all bases.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article until..

    The use of the word 'moron'.

    What is this, the Sun? How about objectivity? Yes, the comments are daft but if the reporter wants to voice their own opinion, that's what a blog is for, not a tech magazine to which they submit pieces.

    I agree with the comment but disagree with it appearing in a 'press' article.

  20. knarf

    Local Shop

    This is a local Shop for local people, we don't want a bypass here.

  21. MatsSvensson

    First they came for the Nazis.

    And I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Nazi.

    Then they came for the KKK.

    And I didn't speak up, because I wasn't in KKK.

    Then they came for the everyday hateful religious bigots.

    And there were no-one left to speak up for us.

    ...oh wait, here comes the GOP!

    Whew!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only they'd sold it as "workplace violence protection act"

    and spun it as allowing discrimination against legal concealed carry permit holders, and introduced by someone with a (D) in their title. Then it would have been the Greatest Legislation Evar and anyone pointing out that it could be misused to discriminate against SSM couples would have been told they're "paranoid" and been bullied to silence.

    Even if the exact same legislative wording was used, the Internet Outrage Hype Machine would have been mum.

  23. phil dude
    Joke

    Ideology is like turf....

    If you pound on it too long with the wrong shoes, it will be no good for cricket.

    P.

  24. stringyfloppy

    The amendments to the law really don't fix it enough, because since you can instantly become a legally ordained minister online, you can then discriminate against people for ANYTHING other than what the amendments specify. So you can discriminate based on people's taste in clothing, the size of their hair, or the fact that they're not from Indiana. The law should have to specify who you CAN refuse to do business with, not who you CAN'T refuse to do business with. F Indiana and Arkansas - we can live without those states.

  25. Greg J Preece

    "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," said the pizzeria's owner Crystal O'Connor. "We are a Christian establishment. We're not discriminating against anyone..."

    Errrr....yes you are. Your dumb beliefs might be the reason why you're discriminating, but discriminating you are. If you believed that black people were inferior, that wouldn't get you any further.

  26. Bruce Ordway

    Discrimination

    I must admit I like being surrounded by people who speak and think like I do. I've wondered if I we could accept a little discrimination in our lives. I have to remember how easy it is for me to feel included (for the most part). I'm a white male & grew up with plenty of liberal christian neighbors in a suburb.

    But discrimination will always lead to exclusion and violence, eventually. "My" people, who are otherwise warm and friendly (as I imagine Crystal O'Connor might be) just can't resist.

    .

  27. John 104

    Huh

    And I though the intent of the law was to prevent business owners from getting sued for refusing right to serve anyone. Once again the GLBT militants are on the hunt, and anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle for any reason is the target.

    I for one am tired of the reverse bigotry from this group. Its sad, really. I'm guessing that this is the 5% of the GLBT community that are militant in nature, tarnishing the rest of the club with their hate.

  28. Phil W

    Legislating for the zealots/stupid

    Obviously the amendment is a good thing but in many cases it's just made the bigots harder to spot.

    For the most part this amendment will only prevent businesses run by the stupid or extremely fanatical zealots who are unable to do anything other than talk about how they are "a good Christian business" from discriminating.

    The smart (I use the term loosely) ones will do what they've always done and make a convenient excuse such as "oh I'm sorry we can't cater your wedding we're already booked on that date".

  29. Stuart21551

    "will remove the right to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity"

    That's great! If I could stomach any religion, I would be LGBT!

    Under the RFRA, my pizzaria could still kick out any tea party, repug & christian bigots!

    Call it the law of unintended consePences, Mike!

    1. Phil W

      "I would be LGBT!"

      What, all four?

  30. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    This is the problem...

    This is the problem with some religious nuts in the US. Some of these people honestly believe things like they can discriminate against people based on some religious belief, and it's not discrimination, and of course say they love all people while espousing hate for whatever groups they think they have some kind of beef with. They don't get the concept of double standards either -- they will generally be so concerned that gays, or Muslims, or whoever are trying to take over the country --- but see no conflict between this and themselves wanting to take over the country and turn it into a "Christian nation" or some such. They don't seem to get the concept that they can worry about their own religious purity, and perhaps try to persuade others to join them, rather than trying to force everyone to conform to their views.

    Nobody is trying to require you to LIKE (insert group here -- in this case gays)... but if you are running a business, you are required to service them just like anybody else, and you really should. Think about the golden rule -- would you like to come in somewhere, and be turned away because of (for instance) your religious beliefs? I didn't think so.

  31. Brian Allan 1

    Serve Whoever You Wish

    Companies, stores, individuals don't have to provide service to anyone they don't want to, regardless of religion, sexual orientation, color, etc. I might not like the color of your shirt, the length of your hair, the style of glasses you're wearing; closed for business.

  32. DoctorNine
    Holmes

    History resolves the mystery...

    It's important to remember, that the US state with the largest number of KKK members in the 1920's wasn't in the South. It was Indiana. These industrious Indiana conservatives are merely upholding a longstanding tradition of state sanctioned oppression. If it was good enough for gramps...

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