Suppose I belong to a religion that demonizes people with red hair. In the sacred scriptures of my religion, people with red hair are seen as having the “mark of the devil” (even though people cannot help being born with red hair). I am taught this tenet from the time I begin my religious studies. I firmly believe it.
Suppose I open a business — a hall that people can rent. Can I refuse to rent to people with red hair because they offend my religious beliefs? In this country I cannot because all citizens have equal protection under the law. We are free to practice our own religions but not to discriminate against people our religion might arbitrarily vilify.
How is this different from the man cited in Greg Neolck’s Sept. 16 local view “Should voters uphold same-sex marriage law? No.” I quote, “an innkeeper in Vermont has been fined over $30,000 because of refusal to make facilities available for a same-sex wedding reception.” The man was breaking the law. I may believe that red-haired people are evil, you may believe that gay people are sinful, but we cannot discriminate against them.
Legalizing same-sex marriage is just another long-needed plank in the platform of equal protection under the law.