Anyone of a number of observations came to mind as I read through Mr Elfers’ and Mr Ferguson’s views and the editor’s overview.
I am a married 73 year old heterosexual white male. I was born during a time when Japanese citizens were interned during WWII. I grew up witnessing the civil rights movement. I remember the Kennedy, Nixon presidential campaign with some raising concerns about Kennedy’s appropriateness for the office because of simply being a Catholic. It was not until I was an adult that the last state (Virginia) saw the Supreme Court invalidate its laws prohibiting interracial marriage. I make these references as an example of past injustices to our citizens that at the time were rooted in what could be now described as actions based on “deeply held beliefs.” Now on reflection to most of us they seem so off target.
Mr. Elfers stated that the florist in question “would be in violation of her most deeply held beliefs,” if she had provided her services to the gay couple. So many human injustices in our past have been justified by people’s “deeply held beliefs,” and here we are in 2018 with yet another example of someone being denied the the simple courtesy of being treated with equality and dignity under the guise of religious beliefs.
In this day and age one would hope that we as a society would have to finally come to the realization and to recognize that all people regardless of ethnicity, religious or nonreligious affiliation and sexual orientation should be, at least in the public sector, afforded the same courtesy and treatment.
Can we allow someone to deny commodities or services to a fellow man because of “deeply held beliefs,” or might it be time, as courts have been doing the past few decades and again in this specific case, recognizing that all of us deserve equal treatment? Is it not time that we recognize that “deeply held beliefs,” sometimes are simply wrong?
I personally am so tired of scripture so frequently being quoted to justify a moral stance and I’m pretty sure this particular instance is once again an example of that. I find her actions a “violation” of the customers right to equal treatment and to me immoral. As Mr. Ferguson states, at least in this instance, the court agrees.