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Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs?

Opening Argument

natbarons
  1. What do you think?

    20 votes
    1. Yes - freedom of religion/services are not a human right
      60.00%
    2. No - leaves potential for misinterpretation of the constitution/homophobia must be stopped
      40.00%



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Status: Open Debate


Arguments

  • Yes, if they have the right to be married then people should have the right to not serve them.
    melanielustEmeryPearsonDrCereal
  • It's fair not to serve them for religious belief, but it's a thin line between that and discrimination 
    melanielustEmeryPearson
  • The way I see discrimination in businesses is this - In today's world, I find it hard to believe that businesses, especially in a capitalist economy like America, would turn someone away because of some belief.  I personally wouldn't throw away money just cause I did or did not like someone's lifestyle.  Businesses also have the right to refuse you service, even though that's normally reserved for rowdy customers or people not fitting a dress code.  I'm religious, but I'm fine with gay couples, and so I wouldn't have turned them away.  However, maybe it made the owners of the restaurant uncomfortable, so I don't think it's right to force someone to do something they aren't comfortable with.  In ending, it's my belief that market forces, namely demand, boycotts, etc, will drive a business to be more inclusive for more profit, and if not, then you wouldn't have truly enjoyed your experience at said business, so why bother getting mad that they wouldn't serve you?  Go somewhere else where you'll enjoy the time and money spent.  There are plenty of places to go.
    EmeryPearsonSonofasonMajoMILSdlGMGV
  • Of course.  The first amendment backs it up.  Now myself, it would depend on the business being served.  I would never cater a gay/lesbian marriage and probably wouldn't make a cake for one, but just flat out refusing service at a restaurant isn't right.  I don't agree with them, but it is their choice.  Just don't make me be a part of it.  
    EmeryPearson
  • Depends on what Circuit your state is in. Some court circuits have recognized sexual orientation as a protected class. In these districts it's illegal. If you live in a district that has yet to make that ruling, it's legal barring state law.
  • sadolitesadolite 35 Pts
    What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Political hacks refuse service all the time, no one seems to have a problem with that. Their politics is their belief.
  • SonofasonSonofason 68 Pts
    @melanielust
    I believe it depends on the type of business.  If it is a private company that is owned by the company's founders, management or other group of private investors, they should be permitted to refuse services to whomever they choose to refuse services to.

    However, public business do not and ought not have that same right to refuse services.  For example:
    Public hospitals are funded by local, state and federal funds. As a result, they ought not be able to and actually are not permitted to turn anyone away.  
    Private hospitals have the right to refuse treatment.


  • WokeWhaleWokeWhale 36 Pts
    @Sonofason Just to add on as well, hospitals contain doctors who have sworn the hippocratic oath. This means that their right to refuse service is effectively overrulled. But in the case of bakers or tailors or whatnot, the consumer is not entitled to their service. It is solely the choice of the business whether they would like to serve said consumer. But again, as you mentioned this should only apply to private businesses and not government or public businesses, such as perhaps national parks and their employees, or municipal facilities, as the taxes paid by citizens, along with other factors means that the business or facility cannot really refuse service unless the person is say, an extremely suspicious man holding a firearm. Just my two cents.
  • SonofasonSonofason 68 Pts
    WokeWhale said:
    @Sonofason Just to add on as well, hospitals contain doctors who have sworn the hippocratic oath. This means that their right to refuse service is effectively overrulled. But in the case of bakers or tailors or whatnot, the consumer is not entitled to their service. It is solely the choice of the business whether they would like to serve said consumer. But again, as you mentioned this should only apply to private businesses and not government or public businesses, such as perhaps national parks and their employees, or municipal facilities, as the taxes paid by citizens, along with other factors means that the business or facility cannot really refuse service unless the person is say, an extremely suspicious man holding a firearm. Just my two cents.
    Of course...I agree.
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    Depends on what Circuit your state is in. Some court circuits have recognized sexual orientation as a protected class. In these districts it's illegal. If you live in a district that has yet to make that ruling, it's legal barring state law.
    The law is much more nuanced than that.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • @DrCereal

    Of course it is, as you also have municipal and county laws to consider.
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    edited May 14
    @DrCereal

    Of course it is, as you also have municipal and county laws to consider.
    You have to first consider actual state laws. If a state doesn't have a law that makes sexual orientation a protected class, then it's irrelevant if the circuit court has or has not reviewed other states' laws that make sexual orientation a protected class.

    (Disclaimer: this is in the context of places of public accommodation.)
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • @DrCereal

    That isn't exactly true. Those discriminated against can then appeal based off their Constitutional rights. Even with no State law offering protection, you can respond with an appeal based on Title VII.
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    @DrCereal

    That isn't exactly true. Those discriminated against can then appeal based off their Constitutional rights. Even with no State law offering protection, you can respond with an appeal based on Title VII.
    Not when it comes to businesses.
    That would be very true if a public (i.e. owned by the government) establishment/institution denied them service based on their sexual orientation.

    A place of public accommodations has every right, unless the state has passed a law making sexual orientation a protected class within this context, to deny someone service based on their sexual orientation.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    @DrCereal

    That isn't exactly true. Those discriminated against can then appeal based off their Constitutional rights. Even with no State law offering protection, you can respond with an appeal based on Title VII.
    Sorry, Title VII?
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • DrCereal said:
    @DrCereal

    That isn't exactly true. Those discriminated against can then appeal based off their Constitutional rights. Even with no State law offering protection, you can respond with an appeal based on Title VII.
    Not when it comes to businesses.
    That would be very true if a public (i.e. owned by the government) establishment/institution denied them service based on their sexual orientation.

    A place of public accommodations has every right, unless the state has passed a law making sexual orientation a protected class within this context, to deny someone service based on their sexual orientation.

    This is not true. Businesses have already been ruled to be under the Public Domain unless they are operated as a club, such as with Boy Scouts.
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    DrCereal said:
    @DrCereal

    That isn't exactly true. Those discriminated against can then appeal based off their Constitutional rights. Even with no State law offering protection, you can respond with an appeal based on Title VII.
    Not when it comes to businesses.
    That would be very true if a public (i.e. owned by the government) establishment/institution denied them service based on their sexual orientation.

    A place of public accommodations has every right, unless the state has passed a law making sexual orientation a protected class within this context, to deny someone service based on their sexual orientation.

    This is not true. Businesses have already been ruled to be under the Public Domain unless they are operated as a club, such as with Boy Scouts.
    From my understanding, businesses are not held to this standard (i.e. the "constitutional standard") because they are not owned by the government.

    If they have been ruled to be under the Public Domain, could you point me to the ruling? I'm very interesting in this topic, and I would be shook if my understanding has been wrong.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • This will give you a better explanation, basically, if you serve the public, your a public accommodation. 

    Instances where businesses are clubs, such as Boy Scouts, they are not open to the public, but rather their member list. Therefore, not a public accommodation. 

    https://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2015/04/is-your-private-business-a-public-accomodation.html
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    This will give you a better explanation, basically, if you serve the public, your a public accommodation. 

    Instances where businesses are clubs, such as Boy Scouts, they are not open to the public, but rather their member list. Therefore, not a public accommodation. 

    https://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2015/04/is-your-private-business-a-public-accomodation.html
    I know what a place of public accommodations is, but my point was that there's no constitutional provision, unless you can correct me, that doesn't allow a refusal of service based on sexual orientation. (There not being one would mean that there are no constitutional claims that can be made if someone is denied service based on sexual orientation from a place of public accommodations.)

    Since there isn't one, and since federal law doesn't make sexual orientation a protected class (42 U.S.C § 2000a), the states have to pass public accommodations laws themselves to make sexual orientation a protected class. Such is the case in Colorado, thus Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • EmeryPearsonEmeryPearson 97 Pts
    edited May 14
    @DrCereal

    "but my point was that there's no constitutional provision"

    This hasn't been true since 1964. This changed with the Civil Rights act. Which made it a Constitutional right to access and use public businesses. As they are all public accommodations. 

    So in court circuits which recognize sexual orientation as a protected class under Title VII, you have Constitutional ammo against any place of business that discriminates based on sexual orientation. Sate law or not.

  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    @DrCereal

    "but my point was that there's no constitutional provision"

    This hasn't been true since 1964. This changed with the Civil Rights act. Which made it a Constitutional right to access and use public businesses. As they are all public accommodations. 

    So in court circuits which recognize sexual orientation as a protected class under IIV, you have Constitutional ammo against any place of business that discriminates based on sexual orientation. Sate law or not.

    The Civil Rights Act is a federal law. It wasn't an amendment to the constitution.
    The section of federal law I cited, 42 U.S.C § 2000a, was from the Civil Rights Act, and as I said in my last post, it does not make sexual orientation a protected class.

    The protected classes, as established by the Civil Rights Act, are: race, color, religion, and national origin. Sexual orientation is not a federally protected class.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • EmeryPearsonEmeryPearson 97 Pts
    edited May 14
    "The Civil Rights Act is a federal law. It wasn't an amendment to the constitution."

    it is interpreted that the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 derives its legal reasoning from the Constitution. Specifically The Commerce Clause under Article One, the 14th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment. You don't need an amendment to the Constitution to interpret or enforce it.

    So any state which resides in a circuit which has ruled that Sexual Orientation is a protected class under IIV, has sexual orientation protections. In the sense, that you may take a business to court and assert your Constitutional rights, even in the absence of a State law.
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    "The Civil Rights Act is a federal law. It wasn't an amendment to the constitution."

    it is interpreted that the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 derives its legal reasoning from the Constitution. Specifically interstate commerce under Article One, the 14th Amendment, and the 15th Amendment. You don't need an amendment to the Constitution to interpret or enforce it.

    So any state which resides in a circuit which has ruled that Sexual Orientation is a protected class under IIV, has sexual orientation protections. In the sense, that you may take a business to court and assert your Constitutional rights, even in the absence of a State law.
    The first article does not make sexual orientation a protected class.

    The first section of the 14th amendment states,
    "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 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. "

    The 14th amendment is talking about the federal and state government not places of public accommodations.

    The first section of the 15th amendment states,
    "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. "

    The 15th amendment is talking about the right to vote regardless of race. This has nothing to do with public accommodations.

    I therefore maintain that there are no constitutional claims that can be made in the event of being denied service by a place of public accommodations based your sexual orientation. Also, I think you forgot to read the bottom half of my post so I'll quote it here,
    "The protected classes, as established by the Civil Rights Act, are: race, color, religion, and national origin. Sexual orientation is not a federally protected class."

    EmeryPearson
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • EmeryPearsonEmeryPearson 97 Pts
    edited May 14
    "The first article does not make sexual orientation a protected class."

    Nor would it, only court circuits have been deeming sexual orientation a protected class.

    "I therefore maintain that there are no constitutional claims that can be made in the event of being denied service by a place of public accommodations based your sexual orientation. Also, I think you forgot to read the bottom half of my post so I'll quote it here,"

    Your personal interpretation does not supercede Circuit Courts. Even if you hold this opinion, depending on what Court Circuit your in, it would not protect you from legal action if you discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. 
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    edited May 14
    "The first article does not make sexual orientation a protected class."

    Nor would it, only court circuits have been deeming sexual orientation a protected class.

    "I therefore maintain that there are no constitutional claims that can be made in the event of being denied service by a place of public accommodations based your sexual orientation. Also, I think you forgot to read the bottom half of my post so I'll quote it here,"

    Your personal interpretation does not supercede Circuit Courts. Even if you hold this opinion, depending on what Court Circuit your in, it would not legally protect you from legal action if you discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. 
    Quote me one decision made by a circuit court that maintains sexual orientation as a constitutionally protected class.

    My "interpretation" was based off of 42 U.S.C § 2000a(a) which reads as following: "All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, 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."
    It is not my "interpretation" that this does not mention sexual orientation.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • To be specific, Sexual Orientation is a protected class in Circuit 2 and 7. 




  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    edited May 14
    @EmeryPearson
    I don't know if I've angered you somehow, but could you explain how my last post committed a fallacy, please?
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • DrCereal said:
    "The first article does not make sexual orientation a protected class."

    Nor would it, only court circuits have been deeming sexual orientation a protected class.

    "I therefore maintain that there are no constitutional claims that can be made in the event of being denied service by a place of public accommodations based your sexual orientation. Also, I think you forgot to read the bottom half of my post so I'll quote it here,"

    Your personal interpretation does not supercede Circuit Courts. Even if you hold this opinion, depending on what Court Circuit your in, it would not legally protect you from legal action if you discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation. 
    Quote me one decision made by a circuit court that maintains sexual orientation as a constitutionally protected class.

    My "interpretation" was based off of 42 U.S.C § 2000a, paragraph 'a' which reads as following: "All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, 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."
    It is not my "interpretation" that this does not mention sexual orientation.

    Hively v. Ivy Tech  was the ruling concerning the 7th Circuit, 
    Zarda v. Altitude Express was the ruling concerning the 2nd Circuit. 

    These rulings made sexual orientation a protected class in those circuits. 
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    @EmeryPearson
    I'm reading the decisions now and will post my response soon. Could you please explain how my post contained a fallacy? I'm concerned that I made an error, but I don't know what the error would be.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • EmeryPearsonEmeryPearson 97 Pts
    edited May 14
    @DrCereal

    Straw Man. A deliberate misrepresentation of my argument. 


    The first article was to assist in you understanding of why almost all private businesses are a public accommodation. Which was established with the Civil Rights act. Not to propose that the phrase 'Sexual Orientation' existed within the Civil Rights Act.

    As well as for the 14th and 15th amendment. I do not establish these to to be the Constitutional basis for the Civil Rights act, the supreme court does. The literal text, and how the supreme court applies it to the context of cases are entirely different. An amendment does not need to mention anything concerning the subject at hand to apply, so long as the supreme court has ruled it so.

    Nor did say it was definitely protected class, I stated it was a protected class in specific circuits.

    Just has the supreme court is the final say on Constitutional rights, Circuit Courts are the say until they do.
    DrCereal
  • DrCerealDrCereal 124 Pts
    @EmeryPearson
    Given all that has been said, I'm not going to bother myself with a long-winded refutation of your points.

    The decisions you cited
    1. talk about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which pertains to employment and not services provided by places of public accommodation and
    2. interpret the word "sex" as meaning both sex and "sexual orientation." (It's more nuanced, but I don't have the effort to explain.)

    The actual sections that pertain to services provided by places of public accommodations don't use - for whatever reason - the word "sex" in their enumeration of protected classes (Refer to my quote of 42 U.S.C § 2000a.) so these cases' interpretation of the word are not in any way relevant to places of public accommodation.

    As to the strawman allegations, I don't have the effort to try and analyze our prior arguments so sure, but I will state that it wasn't "deliberate".

    EmeryPearson
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • "1. talk about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which pertains to employment and not services provided by places of public accommodation and
    2. interpret the word "sex" as meaning both sex and "sexual orientation." (It's more nuanced, but I don't have the effort to explain.)"

    Private businesses are places of public accommodation unless they only service their memberlist. As such, it applies to the vast majority of privately owned businesses. Title VII applies to both consumers, and employees.
    DrCereal
  • averyaproaveryapro 124 Pts
    Everyone has their rights. Your religious beliefs should have no effect on the work environment. If you were gay and you saw a heterosexual couple walk in you wouldn't say "You don't have the same beliefs as me so I'm not going to serve you." That would never happen. Just because a couple is gay or straight that doesn't mean you should refuse to serve them. It's not cool and you just seem like a mean millennial. 
  • I am sick and tired of hearing about these Supreme Court cases. The owner of the business has full authority over what his business does. If that includes not serving gays, then leave it be. You shouldn’t sue him unless you’ve already paid for the cake and he wont give the money back.
    EmeryPearson
    Sovereignty for Kekistan
  • I am sick and tired of hearing about these Supreme Court cases. The owner of the business has full authority over what his business does. If that includes not serving gays, then leave it be. You shouldn’t sue him unless you’ve already paid for the cake and he wont give the money back.
    This is a falsehood. You can do this, but you may be held legally liable under state and federal laws.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 44 Pts
    I think "OK" in this context is somewhat ill-defined. If you are asking about the "moral OK", then it depends on the individual moral system. If you are asking about the "legal OK", then it depends on the lawmaking practices in the respective state. And if you are asking about the "economical OK", then there is an entirely different debate to be had.

    Let me address these from the libertarian point of view, which is closest to my personal system of values.

    1. "Is it morally okay?"
    I do not think so. I think your religious views should support your happiness, not take away from it. When a friendly same-sex couple asks you to serve them, but your religion says that you should refuse - does this religion work for you or against you? When you do refuse them service, what happens? They will be upset and either just sad, or angry and agitated. But if you agree to serve them, what happens? You won't be stricken by lightning, you won't burn in hell (if you could burn in hell for something like this, I would seriously question the reasonability of following a religion threatening its adepts with such drastic measures).

    2. "Is it legally okay?"
    Depends on the legal system. In the US, for example, in some states it is legal, and in some illegal.
    Should it be legal? I think it should - however, following the general structure of law related to public accommodation, it should be explicitly stated that same-sex couples can be denied service. Public accommodation in general implies that the business has to serve everyone, unless specified otherwise (through means of public advertisement). What some companies do to avoid having to explicitly discriminate against certain groups is proclaim, "The company reserves the right to deny anyone service". This gives the company a pretty negative publicity, but it does serve the purpose.

    3. "Is it economically okay?"
    Debates on this are still actively ongoing among economists. Is negative publicity among people disapproving of such practice offset by positive publicity among people approving of it? In general, it rarely is for large businesses, but it often is for small places expecting few customers: in this case, having few loyal customers maybe be more profitable than having a larger customer base consisting of indifferent individuals.
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