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U.S. Supreme Court rules all states must recognize same-sex marriages

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Rea Carey, left, kisses her wife Margaret Conway after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry.

Same-sex marriage is a constitutional right and must be recognized in all 50 states, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision released Friday morning. The majority summarized its decision thus:

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a character protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.

It was a 5-4 ruling with a familiar configuration of the four liberal justices plus Anthony Kennedy, the “swing” justice whose vote can often create a narrow majority and who wrote the majority ruling.

The ruling was rooted in the understanding that societies evolve and their understanding of marriage and of homosexuality do also. It used to be common in many states to have laws banning interracial marriages until the justices in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 ruled that such bans were unconstitutional. From Friday’s ruling:

The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. Changes, such as the decline of arranged marriages and the abandonment of the law of coverture, have worked deep transformations in the structure of marriage, affecting aspects of marriage once viewed as essential. These new insights have strengthened, not weakened, the institution.

It used to be common for states to outlaw sexual acts between members of the same gender, a practice that the court upheld as recently as 1986, but then overruled in 2003, the majority opinion noted. The court rooted its ruling in the constitutional principles of “due process” and “equal protection.” From the ruling:

This Court’s cases and the Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of the Nation’s social order. States have contributed to the fundamental character of marriage by placing it at the center of many facets of the legal and social order. There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle, yet same-sex couples are denied the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage and are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would find intolerable. It is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out of a central institution of the Nation’s society, for they too may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage.

The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central meaning of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.

The majority addressed the question of whether a marriage between a same-sex couple is legally different because of procreation:

This is not to say that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State.

The four most conservative justices dissented and each wrote their own explanation of why they disagreed. For the first time in his tenure, Chief Justice John Roberts read his dissent from the bench. From Roberts’ dissent:

This Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment.” [That’s from the Federalist Papers.]

Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.

Roberts explained and softened his opposition with this statement:

If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

Justice Antonin Scalia, followed the same logic as Roberts only, as one might expect, with a more colorful tone:

I join The chief justice’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.

The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me. The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes, and can accord them favorable civil consequences, from tax treatment to rights of inheritance. Those civil consequences — and the public approval that conferring the name of marriage evidences — can perhaps have adverse social effects, but no more adverse than the effects of many other controversial laws. So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage.

It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact — and the furthest extension one can even imagine — of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

Justice Clarence Thomas, also in dissent, endorsed Scalia’s arguments and added that the ruling undermined the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom by reducing the ability of religious institutions to define marriage.

Justice Samuel Alito repeated the main themes of the dissenters above and added:

Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences.

It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.

Comments (82)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/26/2015 - 11:42 am.

    Alito appears to be unaware

    that the word ‘marriage’ is not in the Constitution.
    And Thomas repeats the conservative saw that religious freedom means the right to dictate religious practices to others.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 06/26/2015 - 01:43 pm.

      Well, Paul..

      Apparently, from the weeping and gnashing of teeth that’s being displayed out on the interwebs in the comment sections of various rightie sites, Thomas isn’t the only one. I gotta say, sifting through all of the apocalyptic rhetoric, from the nation being dead to secession, leaving the US and overthrowing the government of a small country to form a purified Christian theocratic society, free of liberalism ( my personal favorite), calls for civil disobedience, violent acts, civil war and just plain cashing in on life to be with God… it’s been quite a morning.
      I have to go…I’m expecting frogs to start falling from the sky any minute now so I need to get a tent up as to not ruin my backyard party tonight. Nothing spoils a margarita like amphibian viscera.

      • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 06/26/2015 - 03:48 pm.

        moments ago…

        Demons poured forth from a crack in the earth in Loring Park. They’re here, so they told me, to assist in the mass conversion of heterosexual married couples to homosexuality. This is what Bible prophecy says anyway. And I firmly believe the Bible in all things.

        The demons were happy to sample one of my healthy smoothies. “You’d never guess it has kale in it!” I said.

        “Everything has a tinge of sulphur down there, so this is a real treat,” said the one in a black jumpsuit.

        The demons told me that, indeed, they had orders from their master to encourage all heterosexuals to leave their spouses and to embrace same-sex partners. I’m rather surprised at how quickly the Supreme Court decision has led to this, and also how quickly I’m being forced to abandon my deeply grooved heterosexual nature. But, if this is what Obama’s sharia law demands, who am I to judge? These things are in the hands of the Homosexual Agenda(TM) now and I’m merely human.

  2. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 06/26/2015 - 12:00 pm.

    Hello, My Name Is Inigo Montoyo

    I’m not sure Justice Samuel Alito understands the meaning of the word “dissent”. People are still free to dissent all they want about gay marriage. They can complain, vilify, grouse, and grumble all they want. There are two things they’re not allowed to do, however:

    1. Discriminate.
    2. Avoid consequences for their dissent.

    If you enter the public realm and start yelling that you think gay people are horrible human beings, then you have to expect someone else to yell back that they think you’re a horrible human being too. This ruling has changed nothing in that aspect nor on the discrimination front.

    At the end of the day, society will not crumble because gays get married. In fact it will be strengthened as more people settle down, put in roots, build families and equity.

    And that ain’t a bad thing.

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/26/2015 - 10:11 pm.


      I though churches can discriminate concerning who they will marry?

      I thought churches could discriminate concerning who they hire?

      Please explain the consequences for those churches who practice discrimination concerning who they marry?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/27/2015 - 10:18 am.

        Churches may discriminate

        on who they may marry.
        That’s a decision that directly involves religious practices. which the government may not regulate.
        Churches may NOT discriminate (at least on the basis of the applicants’ beliefs) on who they may hire; just on the applicants’ competence to do the advertised job.

        • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/27/2015 - 05:25 pm.

          WOW! Talk about a slippery sloap

          So churches must potentially hire those who fundamentally apposed to their morals – doctrine – covenants – and moral clauses.

          You are making Anthony Scalia sound like a prophet.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/28/2015 - 10:04 am.

            How about job function?

            With respect to the question of whether churches would be justified in exercising a “moral clause” when making hiring decisions:

            Does sexual orientation matter in the hiring of a person who will work in a church’s back office doing only clerical work (no public contact)?

            Does sexual orientation matter in the hiring of a person who sits at a reception desk and directs visitors to the right place (public contact but only in a “passive” sense)?

            Does sexual orientation matter in the hiring of a person who would teach classes (public contact in an “active” sense)?

            Does sexual orientation matter depending on whether the class was “How to solve trigonometric equations” vs a class on “How to live a spiritual life” (public contact in a “purely informational” role vs an “advisory” role)?

            I could potentially see where rulings could differ based on questions something like those I’ve laid out above. Please don’t treat this as something I’ve spent weeks thinking about – I haven’t. But these are just some of my initial thoughts on the matter.

        • Submitted by Sara Fleets on 06/30/2015 - 03:59 pm.

          Actually, churches CAN discriminate in hiring and firing. The Catholic Church does it all the time.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/27/2015 - 10:20 am.

        There may be social consequences (loss of congregants)

        for a church’s decision not to marry specific individuals; there are no legal consequences.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/29/2015 - 04:27 pm.

        Having grown up as a preacher’s kid

        I know that clergy can refuse any religious service to any person at any time for any reason, and that includes baptism, marriage, funerals, even Communion. Most Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod Lutheran churches will not administer Communion to non-members of their parish unless the individual confers with the pastor ahead of time with proof that he or she is a member of another church in the sane synod,

        For example, a church may restrict weddings to members only. A mixed Jewish-Christian couple of my acquaintance were married by a judge, because they couldn’t find a rabbi who would officiate.

        I’m not so sure about hiring. When I was job hunting in academia, I noticed that some evangelical colleges require professors to sign a statement saying that they believed a set of faith statements.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/30/2015 - 10:10 am.

          Teaching roles

          I’m still sort of thinking this through.

          I guess I can see where it would be considered critical that someone in a teaching role for a religiously-affiliated institution adhere to that religion’s dogma, because that person is going to be instructing others and have influence over them. Although – even there – I wonder if it differs in whether that person is going to be instructing on subject matter that is faith-based v.s. – say – teaching a course on trigonometry.

          But if a person was applying for a job at that same institution that would involve just filing papers in a back office or some such thing, then what would be the possible relevance of their belief system (or lack thereof)?

          Unless, of course, this is just about “We don’t want to associate with icky people that don’t believe like we do”. Which is entirely possible.

  3. Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/26/2015 - 12:00 pm.

    Good couple of days

    Who’d of thunk it. From the dark days of the marriage amendment’s introduction here to nationwide legality in what seems like an eyeblink. Interesting times to live in.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 06/26/2015 - 12:04 pm.

    Religous Institutions

    Justice Clarence Thomas is incorrect that the ruling will limit what religious institutions can and cannot do. If they didn’t want to perform marriage ceremonies for gay people yesterday, they don’t have to do it today either. In fact this ruling expands religious freedom as it gives churches the option to perform any married they so choose, regardless of where they live.

  5. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 06/26/2015 - 12:45 pm.

    Chief Justice Roberts & Justice Kennedy

    The Supreme Court’s majority has at last judged that the right of every adult to marry an equal partner of the same sex shall not be denied by any State.

    Chief Justice Roberts’s dissent is only partly right, at best. The new judgement of the Court’s majority may have nothing to do with MOST of the Constitution, but I think it follows reasonably from THIS part of it:

    “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    That’s from the Fourteenth Amendment, of course.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy has a scattershot aim when it comes to acting in the public interest. On the one hand, he gave us the Bush vs. Gore decision, struck down gun control with the DC vs. Heller decision, and killed campaign-finance rules with the Citizens United decision. On the other hand, he has twice argued against capital punishment, boldly citing evolving international standards, and he has strongly defended LGBT rights. The majority opinion in the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision belongs to Justice Kennedy’s best work. If he’s lucky, then this is what he will be remembered for.

  6. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/26/2015 - 03:06 pm.

    The litigation will continue…

    Can private religious schools refuse to hire practicing homosexuals or those who do not meet the moral codes, established by their deeply held religious beliefs?

    Will religious schools or para-church organizations be forced to close because they refuse to allow homosexual behavior in there admission practices?

    Will private accrediting organizations refuse to accredited religious schools who have moral codes, that they have held for years, that teach against the allowances legislated by the SCOTUS?

    Will private religious schools be bullied into conformity or closure for refusing the civil rights of those who do not meet their moral codes?

    We will soon find out who are the real “liberals” and who really believe in “free speech” and religious freedom. That is if the words of the constitution mean anything anymore.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2015 - 03:51 pm.

      To be continued

      1. That depends. Many private religious schools have morals clauses in their contracts that are routinely upheld by the courts. One problem with today’s decision is that it does not make clear whether sexual orientation is a protected class.

      2. Probably not, any more than they are now forced to close for prohibiting heterosexual conduct.

      3. Who knows? That is up to the private accrediting organization.

      4. If their denial of civil rights is based on their religious code, no. Unless by “bullying” you mean “denying tax exemptions so that there is no indirect tax subsidy for an institution whose policies violate public policy (review Bob Jones University v. United States before you answer).” If students stay away because they don’t like the policy, that’s just the marketplace deciding, isn’t it?

      5. Give me a break.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/26/2015 - 04:25 pm.

      Interesting criteria

      Why would one’s sexual orientation or behavior be a condition of employment? How would a prospective employer *know* that an applicant is hetero or homosexual?

      “…homosexual behavior in their admission practices?” Pardon me? When did sexual practices – presumably, according to current law, not engaged in by minors – become a criteria for *admission* to a particular school? I vaguely recall somewhere a mention of a right to privacy, but perhaps I’m mistaken. From whence does a religious organization’s or school’s “right” to query a prospective student about his or her sexual practices?

      I’ve no idea if private accrediting organizations will refuse to accredit religious schools that insist on practicing something other than “love thy neighbor as thyself,” but it’s an interesting rhetorical question. I look forward to *that* case coming before the SCOTUS, as well.

      Just a hunch, but refusing someone’s civil rights under the law and the constitution is nowhere endorsed by said constitution. I certainly hope religious institutions that continue their own form of bullying *will* be informed in no uncertain terms that bigotry may be practiced, but not legally.

      As has always been the case, you can say whatever you want, and feel free to disagree with the Court’s decision ad nauseum. What you cannot do is discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation. There’s nothing in today’s ruling that requires anyone to marry, against their will, a person of the same gender, so the same freedoms that we enjoyed before are still in place. They’ve just been expanded to include more people.

      I’ve no doubt that you’re correct in supposing that the litigation will continue. Today’s ruling suggests, however, that such litigation is unlikely to succeed, at least in my lifetime.

      • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/27/2015 - 01:59 pm.


        Ray – have you ever heard of “moral clauses” for religious schools and universities? Do private religious colleges have the right to “discriminate” against those who are “immoral” based on the schools religious values?

        “What you cannot do is discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation.” Of course you can. You stated that is proper. The question is who can discriminate?

        I hope you will express great toleration and help protect the religious rights and values of others. The “free expression” of religious values is at the heart of our democracy. Your classical liberal view should help champion the allowance for religious discrimination.

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 06/30/2015 - 05:36 pm.

          PLEASE Do these moral clauses apply to everyone

          Involved in such schools and universities? Do such institutions have a right to protect their immoral teachers from the criminal law in this civilized country? They have been disgracefully been protected for years.

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 06/26/2015 - 05:55 pm.

      I would think

      that religious schools already don’t allow for sexual behavior, homo or otherwise. That’s what you had in mind right – that suddenly there will wild sex in reckless abandon all over the halls of private schools because of the dreaded homosexual agenda.

      Your complete response is the reason this decision is so correct. The argument against same sex marriage was only based in anti-gay animus, and you nailed with your hypotheticals – congrats

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/26/2015 - 09:22 pm.

      Most of this screed

      refers to conditions for receiving public monies.
      Institutions that wish to support themselves can discriminate more in who they hire and serve.
      Public accommodations have to adhere to public standards.
      It’s not a question of moral codes or standards — it’s (as Eric Jacobsen pointed out) a matter of obeying the law as specified in the Constitution and spelled out by the Supreme court.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/27/2015 - 11:44 am.


      This group of commenters typically only believes that people should have the freedom to live their lives as they wish and associate with those that they wish to if those people agree with the commenters view of reality and morality. They are very similar to those on the Religious Right in that way.

      They will continue to lobby to make every citizen accept and/or participate in the homosexual lifestyle. They deem that life style acceptable and their is no room in their view for a different moral philosophy.

      I thought this was an interesting perspective on the ruling.

  7. Submitted by jason myron on 06/26/2015 - 04:15 pm.

    Just once

    I’d like to see the “deeply held religious beliefs” crowd apply that standard to all of the sins, not just the ones that happen to apply to people that they think are icky. Their hysteria over this particular “sin” just illustrates the abject hypocrisy and shallowness of their convictions.

  8. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 06/26/2015 - 05:25 pm.

    Perhaps It Would Be Helpful to Remember

    That “religious freedom” has often been described as “freedom of worship.”

    To the extent that institutions devote their lives to worship and bona fide religious activities of any stripe, they cannot, for the most part, be forced to change their standards in ways which violate their beliefs.

    As has already been decided, schools where devotion to religion is a core tenet taught by those schools cannot be required to hire personnel who violate their religious standards nor even to meet standard wage and hour labor practices.

    It’s possible SOME accrediting organizations will reject schools which do not accept LGBT students or staff, but if that’s the case, parallel organizations will, no doubt, spring up to create a system of accreditation for those schools.

    Let us also NEVER forget that the “freedom of speech” refers to your absolute right to say whatever you want without any prohibition or legal penalty (arrest and charge with a misdemeanor or felony) for saying what you want to say,…

    (this is NOT the case in many other countries, especially those where religious authorities make the rules),…

    it does NOT mean you can never be held responsible for the negative effects of your actions on others,…

    nor does “freedom of speech” mean that others are required to treat you or your organization with complete acceptance and equanimity if they find your speech and your actions disagreeable or reprehensible.

    With the POWER our society grants each of us in granting free speech,…

    comes the RESPONSIBILITY for us to use that power carefully and to recognize that we may certainly be held responsible for the negative consequences of the speech we utter,…

    whether through civil liability or through the reaction and rejection on the part of our neighbors who disagree with us.

    Freedom of speech absolutely does NOT mean we are entitled to say whatever we want and no one else is allowed to be upset or angry with us or reject our point of view.

    “Conservatives” have been on the handing-out-rejection-and-anger side of this equation for a very long time,…

    while feeling absolutely justified in inflicting suffering and forcing compliance on those who disagreed with them.

    It is the height of irony that they now seem inclined to claim “persecution!” when society seems to be moving in the direction of treating them in the ways they, so often and for so many decades (if not centuries), treated others.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/28/2015 - 09:53 am.

      ‘Relgious freedom’

      These words (as well as ‘freedom of religion’) do not appear in the Constitution.
      The Constitution is much more specific.
      It says:
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

      In other words, the government cannot declare any particular religion as the official religion of the United States (in contrast to Great Britain’s Anglican Church).
      The government can not tell you who to pray to, or how to pray to him, her or it.
      There is NO constitutional right to disobey any law that you feel is inconsistent with your religious beliefs: that would be a blank check to disobey ANY law.

      • Submitted by Steve Roth on 07/01/2015 - 12:55 pm.

        That nails it

        “There is NO constitutional right to disobey any law that you feel is inconsistent with your religious beliefs: that would be a blank check to disobey ANY law.”

  9. Submitted by Keith Kuckler on 06/26/2015 - 06:51 pm.

    I have been listening to a lot of the commentary about the ruling this morning. The question of whether schools, colleges, and, other instiutions that get public monies, may discriminate against same sex couples, will be an interesting process. I would argue, that, if you accept the public dollars, you have to provide the services no matter what you, or, your institution thinks about same sex marriages. Either accept the law of the land, or give up any public subsidies. This is a great day for this country, and, reminds us that the moral arc of history is long, but, that it bends toward justice.

    • Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 06/27/2015 - 07:38 pm.

      Please explain….

      Can donors who give to religious schools receive a tax deduction for their gifts to private religious schools who have moral clauses that teach that immorality (however they define it) is grounds for a students acceptance or dismissal from the school?

      Can recipients of the G.I. bill use these funds to attend private religious schools who have moral clauses (however they define it) is the basis becoming a student or being maintained as a student?

      Can donors to a church be denied a tax deduction for churches who practice “hate speech” as defined by you?

      Can students who receive public aid for a college education continue to receive such aid if their college has moral clauses that teach that homosexual marriage and homosexual sex (along with other moral issues) is wrong and these moral clauses provide the basis for who the private religious school employs?

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/27/2015 - 08:45 pm.

        The IRS

        would probably allow these tax deductions as long as the institutions were using the funds for educational or religious purposes (as opposed to political ones).

        Other government agencies might, at the same time, bring actions against these institutions for violating laws regarding unlawful discrimination, inciting violence, or other civil or criminal offenses.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/27/2015 - 10:34 pm.


        I don’t see the LGBT support team being big on tolerance. Many of them are the same people who want to force businesses to associate with and serve LGBT couples even though the owner had a strong religious conviction against that life style and the sexual acts that are likely part of it. Just like if folks forced a PETA supporting business owner to serve individuals that use animals for legal testing.

        And in those cases there are no government funds involved, so what would make anyone think they will allow the religious schools to avoid associating with, hiring and serving LGBT folks.

        I sure hope science catches up with this SCOTUS ruling sooner than later.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 06/28/2015 - 01:37 pm.

          Yes …tolerance.

          How intolerant of those gay couples to walk into a business and expect it to provide the same service that it does to any other paying customer. Are you suggesting that a business force potential customers to fill out a questionnaire to weed out any other sinful activities and the “sexual acts” that are “likely to be a part of it,” or does this just apply to gays?
          Finally, I hope you didn’t strain yourself reaching for your PETA/animal testing straw. I’ve read some wild ones in the last couple of days, but that one might take the prize.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/28/2015 - 04:57 pm.


            Should women business owners who strongly oppose businesses who “take advantage of women/girls” by coaxing them into stripping, porn, etc be forced to cater the porn associations year end celebration?

            Should a pro-organic anti-GMO business owner be forced to do business with Monsanto?

            By the way, no questionnaire needed. If there is an obvious and significant belief gap between the parties, both should be able to walk away from the deal. At least that is how I define freedom, though I realize you apparently have a different definition.

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/28/2015 - 08:00 pm.

              Civil Rights Act of 1964

              You might start here:
              to begin:
              ” SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin. ”
              Short of anarchy there is no such thing as absolute freedom.
              With freedom comes responsibility — some of these are spelled out in our legal code.
              This is how a functioning society works.

              No one is compelled to operate a given business.
              If the legal conditions for operating a given business (or working in it) are too onerous, one can try to find enough kindred spirits to change the law, or more immediately find another occupation.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/29/2015 - 02:53 pm.


              You are talking about opinions. Sexual orientation is not an “opinion.”

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/29/2015 - 10:39 pm.

                Please Prove This

                As we have discussed many times before, there is little to no evidence what LGBT is and how one could determine a person’s sexual orientation. It is a lot like religion in that way. You just need to ask the person to tell you what they believe about themselves.

                • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 06/30/2015 - 08:41 am.

                  And again…

                  How did you determine your sexual orientation?

                  You just can’t seem to figure out how to take your own experience and imagine that the very same thing happens for other people.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 12:30 pm.

                    Just the Facts

                    The LGBT supporters are trying to eliminate the freedom of association of other American citizens. In particular the religious right business owners who see it as a sin to support LGBT citizens in furthering their relationship and consumating that relationship.

                    Would you like to be forced to cater an anti-LGBT rally where you would need to see and hear things that made your skin crawl?

                    I think we should have a bit more to go on than the feelings of the participants, and RB’s source or 2 do not cut it.

                    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/30/2015 - 01:13 pm.

                      Freedom of association

                      That’s a new argument. Not a good one, but novel. The freedom to associate as a citizen is not the same as running a business. But I suppose it is confusing in the wake of Citizens United.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 10:57 pm.


                      Are you saying that you think every business should be forced to accept every customer who walks in the door and can pay the fee?

                      No matter who they are, what they do, how it could impact the business, etc.

                    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/01/2015 - 08:43 am.


                      That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that’s not a valid argument for businesses because businesses aren’t people. There are valid reasons businesses can deny services, but race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation aren’t included in those reasons. If a person wishes not to do business with people based on any of those reasons, then they don’t have to. They can accomplish this by not owning a business.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/01/2015 - 10:34 am.

                      In MN this is the case, but not so in other States.

                      Would you insist that people in other States be forced to comply with the will of MN?
                      What is your rationale that they bow to our enlightened will?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/30/2015 - 04:37 pm.

                      A Bit More to Go On

                      The default should be granting equal rights to everyone, and prohibiting discrimination. The burden of proof should be on those who would discriminate.

                      Of course, there are no credible “sources or 2” that hold sexual orientation is a choice. I have read what has been posted in other discussions here, and those sources are the kinds of things that give specious loads of misinformation a bad name.

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/30/2015 - 11:15 am.

                  As we have discussed many times before . . .

                  There is ample evidence that a person’s sexual orientation is not a choice. The only ones making the “little or no evidence” argument are those whose articles appear on websites with ads for miracle cancer cures Obama doesn’t want you to know about.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 06/30/2015 - 06:37 pm.

              Well, I’m still curious as to how you establish

              an “obvious and significant belief gap” when it comes to your average store front owner. Let’s assume the owner of a hardware store happens to have these “deeply religious convictions” that seem to have only trended since the same sex marriage debate became heated, is helping a customer in picking a choosing a new shovel. In the course of that transaction, the owner suspects, for whatever reason, that the customer is gay. Should he have the right to not sell him that shovel? Should he question him about his sexuality…perform some sort of litmus text to see if the customers sins are within the acceptable bounds of his convictions

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/01/2015 - 11:37 pm.

                Shovel Sales Blocked

                The only uproar I have heard about is when businesses refuse to take part in Gay weddings or be the Pediatric Doctor for a Gay / Lesbian couple. Jobs that require close involvement in the Gay/ Lesbian couples personal lives and activities.

                Have you heard of businesses refusing to sell shovels? And how would the business even guess the individual’s orientation?

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/02/2015 - 12:18 pm.

                  Now, Who Would Have Thought . . .

                  Sometimes, these things just fall right into one’s lap:


                • Submitted by jason myron on 07/02/2015 - 12:21 pm.

                  Why don’t you ask ths guy, John..

                  An East Tennessee hardware store owner decided to express his beliefs following the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage by putting up a sign that reads, “No Gays Allowed.”

                  Jeff Amyx, who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, Tennessee., about an hour outside of Knoxville, added the “No Gays Allowed” sign on Monday, because gay and lesbian couples are against his religion.

                  Amyx, who is also a baptist minister, said he realized Monday morning that LGBT people are not afraid to stand for what they believe in. He said it showed him that Christian people should be brave enough to stand for what they believe in.

                  “They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.

                  On Tuesday, Amyx removed the “No Gays allowed” sign and replaced it with a sign that says: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech & freedom of religion.”

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/28/2015 - 03:02 pm.

          Why bother with the science

          Just tell your conservative friends to put up the “No liberals allowed” signs on their establishments. It’s what they’re really looking for anyway, and will certainly make life easier for those of us uninterested in patronizing businesses owned by those sorts of folks. The problem is, you think it is some sort of hardship for us, that we are just itching to give you our money. The only ones that will be hurt for the most part are the businesses, throwing away revenue from roughly 50% of the population, but hey, by all means, cut off your nose to spite your face, I certainly won’t stop you. It seems that conservatism is hellbent on backing itself into the corner whereupon it simply becomes a separate society within our larger one. If conservative are OK with that, go for it, I’d rather not have to interact with them on a daily basis anyway. Go Galt, conservatives, as fast as you can!

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/28/2015 - 04:48 pm.

            I wonder

            If the successful Conservatives do go away, I wonder who would pay for all the programs Liberals like to create?

            You may get your wish as people retire.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/28/2015 - 10:15 pm.

              I think we’ll be ok

              Once they quit occupying the hills, we can put up new ladders to replace the ones they kicked down. That’s the problem with arrogance, it blinds one to the truth that one really isn’t all that unique or irreplaceable. Conservatives seem to have the best blinders in existence.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/29/2015 - 09:08 am.


                Many people become more Conservative as they work hard and become more well off. I mean they start to realize that they are paying a huge amount of tax for little additional benefit.

                And worse yet, they learn that no matter how many dollars they pay per year… There are a group of people out there who villify them for not paying more, and because they have more.

                • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/29/2015 - 09:22 am.

                  Declining Conservatives

                  I guess that’s why, as wages decline, there are fewer and fewer conservatives.
                  There is no John Galt.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 12:42 pm.

                    Pendulums 2

                    You are correct, things will shift to the Left until things rebalance some and more people have more wealth. Then those folks will get really tired of paying higher taxes to help carry the free loaders and things will shift right again. And so the pendulum will swing.

            • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 06/28/2015 - 10:48 pm.

              We’d do just fine

              The sad thing is a lot of conservatives actually believe those kind of simplistic models really explain economics on a large scale. In reality, economic growth and job creation is much better under Democratic leadship. And its the freeloading red states who take in much more in federal spending than they produce. Its no coincidence that Minnesota is the best state for business and Republican-run Wisconsin is circling the drain.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/29/2015 - 09:02 am.

                Circling the Drain

                I am pretty sure number 15 isn’t circling the drain.

                And in the Top 15, most of the States are Conservative in nature.

                Please remember that it is the Liberals who raised the Federal taxes and created all of those “free loading” programs. Most Conservatives would have kept more of those tax dollars and responsibilities at the State level.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 06/29/2015 - 03:00 pm.

              Here’s a news flash for you, John

              Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on being successful in life.

        • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 06/28/2015 - 11:00 pm.


          As someone else pointed out, you and some others here need to familiarize yourself with this country’s public accommodation laws, many of which came into effect when the same arguments you are making were made with regard to racial discrimination in the 50s and 60s. What you are advocating for is contrary to the values this country were built upon.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/29/2015 - 04:36 pm.

          I don’t understand the purpose of discriminating

          against GLBT customers.

          Does the business owner think that refusing to bake a cake will cause the couple to cancel their wedding?

          Does s/he think that they will stop being gay because s/he disapproves?

          Does the business owner think that God requires him/her to police the behavior of other people?

          Does the business owner think that God will blame him/her for not trying to stop a gay wedding?

          Is the business owner afraid of what his/her fellow fundamentalists will think if it is known that s/he baked a cake for a gay wedding?

          Or, more likely, does the business owner know that people who have refused to serve GLBT customers are treated as heroes and martyrs by the fundamentalist media and can make money on speaking engagements?

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/30/2015 - 08:55 am.

            I’d put my money on #3

            Despite their protestations to the contrary (“I don’t judge!”), too many of these people are all about policing the behavior of other people.

            As to your final point, I don’t know how many of them actually have expectations of making money. But I bet they really get into the idea of being heroes and martyrs among their own.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 12:38 pm.


            Not knowing your sensitivities, this could be challenging.

            Let’s say you were a caterer and someone from the KKK came to you and asked you to cater their annual meeting. Your efforts will aid the KKK members to have an enjoyable and memorable evening and further their good works. While catering you will be exposed to speeches that you feel are awful, demeaning, sinful, etc.

            Would you choose to cater the event?
            If yes, what is your rationale?
            If no, what is your rationale?

            What would you think / feel if you were legally forced to associate with, serve and spend time with these folks who’s behavior and beliefs you disapprove of?

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/30/2015 - 01:03 pm.

              Tender Sensibilities

              Just a point of clarification: You are aware that, in this state, it is illegal to discriminate against people due to sexual orientation? I trust you are also aware that there is no law against discrimination based on political beliefs?

            • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/30/2015 - 01:47 pm.

              There’s a real difference between the KKK and the LGBT community under Minnesota law. Public accommodations (businesses) cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The KKK has no such standing in state law (courts have ruled that their beliefs do not rise to the level of creed or religion). So folks are quite free to legally refuse to cater the KKK banquet if they see fit.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 06/30/2015 - 10:47 pm.

                Different Standing

                Why do they have different standing?

                As far as has been proven. They are just different chosen lifestyles. Both are deemed immoral by various groups of citizens.

                I realize that for the LGBT supporters, there is no question that it is an issue of physiology. However without some significant science to support that belief, I just think people should be free to associate and do business with those that they choose to.

                The LGBT folks want to be accepted as they are, yet the LGBT supporters keep insisting that others change. It is ironic.

                • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/01/2015 - 07:44 am.

                  That’s an easy one

                  Why do they have different standing?

                  That’s an easy one. It’s called “the law”. The “Minnesota Human Rights Act” to be specific.

                  You can read all about it here:


                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/01/2015 - 10:28 am.


                    That is the law in MN. My question is on what basis should every State and Citizen in the Union be forced to comply to the will of MN?

                    SCOTUS took a huge leap in forcing compliance. In essence, 1 non-elected Justice made the decision for >319,000,000 people. And provide little legal justification at that. I would prefer that the States / Citizens had become “enlightened” and tolerant when they were ready for it.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 07/01/2015 - 12:18 pm.

                      “1 non-elected Justice” makes lots of decisions. Bush v. Gore. Miranda v. Arizona. D.C. v. Heller. Citizens United v. F.E.C. NFIB v. Sebelius. Shelby County v. Holder.

                      Was it a problem then?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/01/2015 - 03:15 pm.

                      Not for Me

                      Did any of these try to force a major long term change into our whole society against the will of nearly half of the citizens?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/01/2015 - 04:03 pm.


                      Look at any of these decisions–I’ll bet more than “nearly half of the citizens” opposed the ruling in Citizens United, Miranda, Brown v. Board of Education, etc. More than “nearly half” would similarly have disapproved of the ruling in Loving v. Virginia, but it’s no longer polite to say so (over half would have disapproved through the mid 1990s).

                      On the other hand, a large part of Justice Taney’s opinion in Dred Scott v. Sanford was based on his reading of the consensus opinion in the United States at the time. There probably weren’t many voices dissenting from the Korematsu opinion either. I guess that means something, right?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 07/01/2015 - 05:42 pm.

                      We forget

                      It’s only an issue for conservatives if the “correct” 50%’s ox is being gored. If it goes the other way, it’s cause for a national holiday.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/01/2015 - 09:04 pm.

                      Yes, Matt.

                      If it’s a conservative victory of 1%, it’s a mandate. If it’s a liberal victory of less than 75% it’s illegitimate.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 07/01/2015 - 04:34 pm.

                      One decided a presidential election. One upheld the Affordable Care Act as being Constitutional. One completely upended how campaign finance law is approached in this country. One ended many protections for minority voting. Those are all rather consequential, don’t you think?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/01/2015 - 10:34 pm.

                      Point Taken

                      I stand corrected. Maybe we should insist on a least a 2 justice majority and make them work harder…

                      This knowing the ruling within ~1 vote would make me think that they are not interpretting the law, but voting their political convictions.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/02/2015 - 12:24 pm.


                      and from now on, baseball games need to be decided by at least TWO runs and football games by a touch down and not a field goal.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 07/03/2015 - 10:31 pm.


                      Are you implying that SCOTUS rulings and who wins a Baseball game are of equivalent importance?

                      Please remember that a super majority is required in politics for important long lasting changes.

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/05/2015 - 03:28 pm.

                      I’m stating quite clearly

                      that despite your continued attempt to somehow diminish the validity of the SCOTUS ruling by moving the goalpost, their ruling is just a valid and binding with a one vote majority as it is with nine. That is fact.

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/01/2015 - 03:29 pm.

                      What is your point here?

                      The Supreme Court’s ruling said that the “Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage
                      between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. ” It says nothing about “forcing compliance” with the will of any state. The Fourteenth Amendment, in case you didn’t know, applies nationwide and is an expression of the values of the American nation, not any state or states.

                      The issue of discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation is an entirely separate matter.

                      “I would prefer that the States / Citizens had become ‘enlightened’ and tolerant when they were ready for it.” And how would we decide that–wait for unanimity?

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/30/2015 - 04:32 pm.

              Sorry JA

              Love the post: We tolerate lefties, we tolerate nighties, even when their beliefs & behavior are way out of whack with our perceptions, expectations.
              Guess the magical word here is “Tolerance” how much of that special sauce is the question. (We do have a choice to walk away!)
              Couple quotes come to mind:

              “Some people drink form the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle,”
              “I am patient with stupidity, but not with those that are proud of it”

              There have been hypocrites, and false prophets since the beginning of time, there is no expectation that they will go away soon.
              Cater the event: Depends on the $ and present financial situation (Covers the rationale in both directions)
              Don’t think we are legally forced to serve the KKK.

  10. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/28/2015 - 09:59 am.

    A religioius school

    that teaches secular subjects is a business.
    It is not the -practice- of religion according to the Constitution.
    Thus, it is subject to the same government regulations (including tax exemptions) as any other business.

  11. Submitted by Jay Willemssen on 06/28/2015 - 07:57 pm.

    Public accommodations

    A lot of ignorant commentary could be avoided if certain people got off their mental couches and learned about what public accommodations laws are and why they exist.

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