Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gay Marriage Is Legal in Minnesota: Which means, if you are in the wedding business, you can't discriminate.

And they said it would never last.

Before it was legal.

Remember how marriage equality activists pretty much insisted legalizing gay marriage would not affect anyone, yet in every state where it is legal, businesses who refuse to provide services have been sued for discrimination - even when their objections are based upon religious beliefs.  In Minnesota the marriage law exempts religious institutions - churches - from any obligation to perform same sex marriages, and to my knowledge that is the case in other states.

Until this week I wasn't aware of any lawsuits against business owners for refusing to provide services for a same sex wedding.  Today there is this story from the local newspaper:

Hunting club owners settle, agree to apologize and pay for gay couple's wedding.

Two St. Cloud men getting married this month will have their wedding ceremony and reception paid for by a Little Falls hunting club after it initially refused to be the site of their wedding. 
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced the settlement Friday, the first of its kind since the state legalized gay marriage in August 2013. The owners of LeBlanc’s Rice Creek Hunting and Recreation Inc. agreed to pay about $8,500 to cover the upcoming wedding of Cole Frey and Adam Block, as well as apologize to the two men and comply with the state’s nondiscrimination law in the future. 
Frey, 20, and Block, 18, said Friday that they met last October and became engaged in November. In February, Frey said, he contacted LeBlanc’s to inquire about having the wedding at its clubhouse after his stepmother suggested it. He said he didn’t immediately reveal that he was marrying a man, and was told their desired date was available.
A few weeks later, Frey said, he went to sign papers and leave a security deposit. “That’s when they found out it would be between two males,” Frey said. “They told us they don’t condone same-sex marriage, and they wouldn’t be marrying us on their property.” 
Frey said he quickly contacted the Department of Human Rights. Posing as a potential customer, an agency investigator called LeBlanc’s to inquire about renting it for a same-sex wedding and received a similar response. 
Human Rights Department Commissioner Kevin Lindsey said his agency contacted the club and started settlement talks. Paul Rogosheske, the attorney for LeBlanc’s, said it was a case of misunderstanding state law. 
“They made a mistake and we did everything in our power to correct it,” Rogosheske said. “This couple is going to have a great wedding and I can assure you LeBlanc’s is going to be open to everybody.” - StarTrib

My opinion.

The happy couple are only 18 and 20 years old, still in school, they have their whole life ahead of them - they are too young to get married.  Why would they even want to?  I'm against it.

That said, gay marriage is legal.  If you have a business and provide goods and services, the state says you can't discriminate.  Granted, there is good discrimination and bad discrimination - the state doesn't see it like that.  (Churches are different - so far.)

Personally, I don't see baking a cake, printing invitations, arranging flowers, or providing a facility as supporting or not supporting marriage.  If a Catholic baker, or a Catholic hunting club owner does wedding/party business with non-Catholic wedding parties, even divorced and remarried wedding parties, I don't see the problem with renting facilities for gay weddings.  I'm against gay marriage of course, but f one provides goods and services to this party - the law says you have to do so to that party.  What if the club hosted gay hunters in the past?

I'd get out of the wedding business if it is such a problem.

That said, the two guys getting married lucked out.  They are getting almost $9,000 in settlement money, despite the fact they opted for a house reception after a military chapel ceremony, explaining:

 “We kind of came to the conclusion, anyway, that we didn’t want to have it there because we didn’t want to be associated with them in that way.” 
“It’s not my place if someone in their religion feels this is wrong,” Frey said. “But at the same time, it’s a feeling that people need to accept what’s going on and that this is becoming the norm.”
"We didn’t want to be associated with them in that way.”  Doh!  That's exactly why the owners of the club did not want to host your wedding.  Like I said, the boys are still in school - but I doubt they will get much smarter.

Justice is blind - and the State is deaf and dumb.

The Hunt Club 

1 comment:

  1. I continue to disagree with tis line of reasoning. Refusing to provide a service for a same sex marriage is not discrimination against individuals (i.e. against teh gayz)---it is refusing to participate or support, even repomtely, in a particular activity. I for one favor very broad latitude for business owners to refuse jobs for reasons of conscience. That includes not baking a cake for a KKK party, or catering for a Republican party event (or a Democratic party event), or printing posters for a protest event with which the owner does not agree, or for a same sex marriage if the owner does not agree with it.


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