Businesses have right to deny customers on religious grounds


Participating in homosexual activity is a sin against God, according to many Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other religious people.

This belief among some Americans has led to conflict in courts, schools, places of worship and even in business.

There are business owners who have strong religious beliefs and who also believe in the sinful nature of homosexuality. Sometimes, their beliefs lead them as far as to refuse service to those who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or queer.

In Washington, a florist refused to make a flower arrangement for a gay couple’s wedding. In Oregon, a bakery refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. The court’s decisions has been to penalize the business owners for infringing on the civil rights of the couples. This is a complicated case of choosing between personal beliefs and following the law.

Discriminating against a customer because of these characteristics is absolutely wrong and should not be tolerated in the United States or anywhere else in the world. But forcing a business owner to disregard their religious beliefs is equally wrong. This means that there has to be a middle ground.

In both of the recent cases of discrimination against gays, the business owners were specifically being asked to serve the LGBT couples’ wedding. The couples were not just attempting to purchase a cup of coffee or a pair of shoes. They were asking these businesses to provide a service for their wedding. By providing the service to the couples, the business owners will be supporting the wedding and thus going against their beliefs.

The goal of LGBT advocacy has been to create tolerance between both LGBT and straight members of society rather than to force people to change their views.

As the nation attempts to create tolerance among its citizenry, it is important to note that people’s religious beliefs must be allowed as long as they are not harmful to others.

By punishing the business owners for refusing to service the wedding of gay couples, the courts are infringing on the religious freedom of the business owners.

America boasts about its diversity of thought and religious expression; therefore, it is counterintuitive to punish private business owners for their beliefs when they are not physically or economically harmful to anyone. Punishing business owners for exercising their beliefs gives the impression that the job of the courts is to protect the feelings of citizens.

If the courts cannot stop the KKK from assembling, they cannot force business owners from exercising their religious freedom, even if it does make people uncomfortable. 

Our justice system cannot put the rights of one group of people above the rights of another. Both LGBT and religious business owners deserve to practice their lifestyles and beliefs and our justice system has an obligation to defend the rights of both groups.