According to Colorado Sen. Pat Steadman, if one opposes, not civil unions, but merely a clause in the bill that would allow adoption agencies, on First Amendment religious liberty grounds, to refuse to place a child in a home with two mothers or two fathers, then such people:
“ . . . want them [gay people] in the back of the bus . . . There are bakeries that sell cakes and cookies and say it is against their religon if a gay couple wants to buy a cake . . . You never hear tales of pettiness or denial of service when it’s gold or platinum or diamonds that are involved . . . G-d told me to hate you or at least hate your sin . . . bakeries that serve the public aren’t supposed to look down their noses at one particular class of persons and say we don’t sell xxx cakes to you . . . Go inside your church, establish separate water fountains if you want . . . ”
Please, by all means, check the full transcript of Sen. Steadman’s remarks and you’ll see that, if anything, the selected quotes above actually understate the senator’s rage and disconnect from reality. If evidence were needed to back the theory that those who want civil unions do not merely want to enjoy rights for themselves, but want to transform all of society, Steadman’s approach is that evidence.
The matter boils down to two points: The definition of freedom of religion; and the definition of tolerance. The two points are related.
For a religious person to say, for example, he believes something that someone else finds absurd is precisely what the First Amendment protects. For an adoption agency to say that, on religious grounds, it will not place a child in a home with same-sex parents, definitely means one thing, and usually means a second thing. The one thing it definitely means is that, on religious grounds, the agency has no truck with homosexuality. The second thing that, in our society, it usually means is this: We have no objection to another adoption agency placing children as it sees fit; it’s just that we wish to preserve our religious-liberty interest to place children in accord with our religious tenets.
Now, we would call that stance a tolerant one. You do what you want, and let us do what we want. However, according to Steadman’s approach, that is an intolerant approach. Steadman is like ping pong, saying, in effect: You not only have to be tolerant of me doing as I please, but if you reserve the right to act differently yourself, then I throw it back in your face that you’re intolerant, and you should have no legal right to be.
This mentality is the opposite of the “live and let live” approach that many backers of civil unions favor. And from that mentality, it’s a short distance to locking irrational horns with bakeries, slanted noses, sellers of gold and platinum, etc. etc.
The Colorado legislature deserves a higher level of discourse.
Copyright © 2013 by the Intermountain Jewish News