Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins invited Todd Starnes of Fox News to discuss a federal appeals court decision [PDF] which upheld an earlier ruling that a Colorado baker violated the law when he refused service to a gay couple who attempted to purchase a wedding cake from him.
“It’s not much of a legal stretch to imagine the day when they will tell pastors the same thing, you will participate in these weddings,” Starnes warned.
Perkins agreed, saying that day “probably will come.” The court dispatched with the bakery’s religious freedom claims, citing a federal court ruling against a South Carolina restaurant that said it had religious objections to racial nondiscrimination laws that compelled it to treat white and black customers equally:
Finally, we reiterate that CADA does not compel Masterpiece to support or endorse any particular religious views. The law merely prohibits Masterpiece from discriminating against potential customers on account of their sexual orientation. As one court observed in addressing a similar free exercise challenge to the 1964 Civil Rights Act:
Undoubtedly defendant . . . has a constitutional right to espouse the religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens. This Court refuses to lend credence or support to his position that he has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of the Negro race in his business establishment upon the ground that to do so would violate his sacred religious beliefs. (Newman v. Piggie Park Enters., Inc.)
Likewise, Masterpiece remains free to continue espousing its religious beliefs, including its opposition to same-sex marriage. However, if it wishes to operate as a public accommodation and conduct business within the State of Colorado, CADA prohibits it from picking and choosing customers based on their sexual orientation.
Starnes and Perkins linked the decision to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, despite the fact that the gay couple’s lawsuit was filed before Colorado had marriage equality (they were married in Massachusetts). Instead, the ruling relied on Colorado’s nondiscrimination act.
Later in the program, Perkins asked Starnes about a recent move to update the guidelines regarding which naturalized citizens can decline to say the part of the oath of citizenship about “bear[ing] arms on behalf of the United States when required by law.”
As we reported earlier, ever since the “bear arms” line was added to the oath in 1950s, some new citizens have been exempt from saying the line as conscientious objectors; the new guidelines would simply update the process by which citizenship applicants are allowed to decline to say the line.
Starnes somehow managed to claim that this is further proof that “under the Obama administration, the Islamic faith is being given special accommodation while the Christian faith is being marginalized or set aside.”
He then went back to decrying the “bullying” by LGBT people who “assault” stores owned by Christians but are “not going after the Muslim bakers” and “the Muslim florists,” who he thinks would also refuse service to gay couples. Perkins agreed, saying that gay people aren’t “bullying” Muslims because they are afraid of violence.