To Discriminate means to recognize a distinction between things. I think that even the dimmest among us recognizes that red and green are two different colors and that some people have better voices than others and some people are better athletes than others. So we discriminate when we go to a concert, or an athletic event.
But discrimination also means to make an unjust or prejudicial distinction in the treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, sex, or age. I think that most people recognize that that type of discrimination is seriously wrong, but should it be illegal? As a Christian with a distinctly libertarian bent, I don’t think so, unless it advocates, or acts out violence.
But then, at an even deeper level, discrimination finds itself at the intersect between choices, and rights, and that’s where a lot of seriously wrongheaded thinking takes place, particularly as regards sexuality.
I’m straight, and I had no choice in that matter; it’s just what I am. But nearly 52 years ago I made a choice to end my single existence, and to get married. However, my choice was not automatically granted; I had to ask Meritha, (it was on about the 5th date and at first she thought I was joking), and she had to accept, otherwise I might still be single.
My heterosexuality was not a choice; but to be married was, and it was contingent on the acceptance of my choice by someone else. And even then, after I had Meritha on side, we had to choose when and where to be married; who to perform the ceremony; who to cater, and so on. And every one of our choices had to be agreed to by someone else, and every one of those individuals had every right to refuse our choice, on any grounds whatsoever.
Recently, the US Supreme Court upheld a Colorado baker’s right to refuse to bake a cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. It’s regarded as a victory for freedom of religion, but there are some questions as to how effective it will be in the long run. Because there is increasingly a lot of severely muddle-headed thinking around sexuality.
So again, here’s what I think. It’s not scientifically supported, but let’s allow that the same-sex couple in Colorado were both born gay and that they had no choice in their sexual attraction. But their “marriage” unequivocally represented a continuum of choices. First of all, who to marry. Once they were past that hurdle, who to perform the ceremony, where to hold the ceremony and the celebration afterwards. Then, who to cater the event, and who they chose to make the cake.
Every one of those was a choice, not a right, and for the marriage plans to go forward, those choices either had be accepted by the other parties involved, or a different choice made. I personally see no reason that those choices could not be refused on any grounds whatsoever, but for certain, a person should have been able to refuse them on the grounds of their freedom of association, or of conscience. Those are universally recognized human rights. Marriage is not an inherent human right, nor are the rituals surrounding marriage.
We need to start to think clearly about sexuality, because when you don’t you end up with situations like this.
Try to figure it out.
Then think of the child.
I’m Dave Reesor, and please let me know what you think.
** For more perspective, I wrote a blog about this issue a few years ago.