July 16, 2013 (FRC) - When religious liberty collides with same-sex "marriage," something has to give. And usually, that "something" is Christians' rights. In this mad dash to redefine marriage in America, many in society are so focused on giving homosexuals their way that they aren't stopping to see who gets trampled underfoot. The real victims, who include children, religious business owners, and employees across the country, have been lost in a convenient storyline of inequality and discrimination.
While the media spills oceans of ink on the perceived injustice toward same-sex couples, very few reporters are telling the stories of Christians being hauled into court, before human rights commissions, and even their own employers for subscribing to a view on marriage that -- until last year -- President Barack Obama shared! In the meantime, wedding vendors from Washington State to New Jersey are trapped in the middle, wondering why their rights are suddenly less important than homosexuals'. When did it become acceptable to sacrifice the freedoms of conscience and free exercise of religion on the same-sex "wedding" altar?
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Never, if you ask most Americans. In a stunningly lopsided poll, U.S. voters universally supported the rights of companies like Masterpiece Cakes, Arlene's Flowers, Elane Photography, and others who turned down "wedding" business from same-sex couples -- and are now paying for it (usually literally). In a sharply divided country where Americans rarely agree on anything -- let alone social issues -- Rasmussen Reports found a shocking amount of consensus on the question of businesses' rights in the marriage debate. "If a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage is asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, 85% of Americans believe he has the right to say no." Only 8% disagree. That's as unanimous as it gets in the polling community. Obviously, some Americans -- in their haste to redefine marriage -- haven't stopped to make the connection between the homosexual agenda and the fallout for individual liberty.
And of course, the mainstream media isn't helping. These are the stories the liberal press doesn't want to tell. Like us, they understand that it puts a real face on the threat of redefining marriage. Suddenly, this isn't just about two people that love each other. It's about peaceful, decent Americans who just want to live out their faith in their daily life. And if Rasmussen's margin, 85% to 8%, is any indication, most people would agree that same-sex couples can't have their wedding cake and eat it too.
In a telling post, HotAir's Allahpundit, a same-sex "marriage" supporter himself, sees the potential for shifting the debate in these results. "[Even] a strong-form libertarian would say that the photographer has the right to refuse for whatever reason he chooses, religious or not... The big stumbling block here for gay rights activists is that their most compelling argument to opponents no longer applies: 'It doesn't affect you' is a good solid libertarian justification for legalized marriage, not so good when it means business owners will be forced to work with you whether they want to or not."
In the case of Arlene's Flowers, owner Barronnelle Stutzman had not only served gays and lesbians -- but employed them. As her attorney points out, this was never about discrimination but participation in a ceremony her faith expressly condemns. No American -- business owner or not -- should have to violate their beliefs to compete in the marketplace. So far, the Left has done a masterful job keeping these incidents quiet. But if the media won't tell the victims' stories, we must.
Reprinted with permission from FRC