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The First Amendment, we are told, will protect religious groups from persecution for their views about marriage. Is the fate of Catholic Charities of Boston an aberration or a sign of things to come?
Seven years later, we have the answer: as of this writing, there have been at least 11 instances of wedding vendors and venues facing some form of recrimination—threats, boycotts, protests, and the intervention of state or judicial authorities—because they denied services for gay nuptials because of their faith.
(Sources: news reports including local television and the Associated Press.) ■ Wildflower Inn, Vermont: A lesbian couple sued the Wildflower Inn under the state public accommodations law in 2011 after being told they could not have their wedding reception there.
After six years and hundreds of celebratory confections, it wasn’t the economy, the stiff competition, financing, or any of the other usual road bumps of building a new business that caused Sweet Cakes by Melissa—a husband-and-wife bakery in Portland, Oregon area—to close its doors at the end of the summer.
Instead, it was the nationwide battle over same-sex marriage.
The final nail in the coffin came in August when the slighted lesbian couple filed an anti-discrimination suit with the state.
“The LGBT attacks are the reason we are shutting down the shop.
“Despite their relatively small numbers, radical homosexuals wield enormous power.
They dominate our cultural elite, Hollywood, television, the mainstream news media, public schools, academia, and a significant portion of the judiciary,” Thompson said in an e-mail interview.
Writing in the Weekly Standard, Gallagher saw the end of adoptions services by Boston Catholic Charities as a foreshadowing of things to come.
(To retain its license, Gallagher explained, the agency would have to abide by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which had been extended to married same-sex couples.) She couched her warning in the form of a question: This March, then, unexpectedly, a mere two years after the introduction of gay marriage in America, a number of latent concerns about the impact of this innovation on religious freedom ceased to be theoretical.
The Des Moines baker was called a “bigot” and faced a protest and Facebook boycott but refused to budge, citing her Christian faith.
(Sources: news reports including Washington Times and Huffington Post.) ■ Fleur Cakes, Oregon: Pam Regentin, the owner of the Mount Hood-area cake shop, refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple earlier this year, sparking another Facebook boycott in May.
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