You’ve heard the stories of the betrothed gay couples who’ve scoured the market for test cases waiting to happen – Christian photogs, bakers, florists and other vendors who politely tried to opt out of participating in ceremonies they don’t believe in. They were sued into compliance or bankruptcy, or both.
And now, in Canada – a Christian jeweler who actually made the rings for a lesbian couple, who were favorably impressed with his work…
…until they discovered he didn’t personally believe in same sex marriage. The idea of having their finely-crafted rings made by someone with impure thoughts – thoughtcrime! – sent them running to Big Gay Inquisition to smite the infidels.
Rod Dreher narrates:
Were this a Monty Python sketch and not a horrifying power play, the tendering conversation would presumably have proceeded like this: Customer: We are a lesbian couple who would like you to make us a wedding ring. Business owner: Okay. I do not support gay marriage, but I will serve you as anybody else. This, I understand, is how it works. Customer: You can’t deny me service simply because you hold different views from mine. Business owner: Indeed. I have no intention of doing so. Society is better off when our differences remain private. Customer: Okay, let’s do business. Business owner: Great. Customer: Your private views are disgusting. You can’t make me do business with you. Give me my money back or I’ll unleash the kraken. If this is to be our new standard — and time will tell — it would be useful to know what legal protection our recalcitrant firms will reasonably be able to recruit to their side. In both Canada and in the United States there already exists a pernicious imbalance in the supposedly free marketplace. If a browsing consumer doesn’t happen to like the politics or the race or the religion of a given business owner, he is quite free to decline to associate with it. Thus do some progressives like to skip Chick-Fil-A, an openly Christian business; thus do some conservatives prefer to avoid Apple, whose owner Tim Cook irritated them during the Indiana fight. By that very same law, however, it is strictly verboten for a business to discriminate against customers they themselves dislike — even if they feel that by fulfilling their legal obligations they will be violating their consciences. Are we really going to add to this already lopsided arrangement a general right to break contracts after the fact? Are we going to hand the integrity of our signed arrangements over to the whim of the mob? And if we are not, what are we to expect the government to do about those whose consciences now demand that they renege on their word?
Granted, it’s Canada.
On the other hand, it’s Canada – the prototype shop for all the stupid bits of social engineering leaking into the Western Hemisphere.