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Author Topic: And So it Begins
Pyrtolin
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I don't see a meaningful distinction here. If you do not agree to comply with the basic public regulations, including non-discrimination that the public sets a requirements, the public is fully empowered to refuse to grant you a license to operate a business.

Operating a business that's open to the public is not a right, it's a regulated activity. On the other hand, freedom from discrimination is an established right.

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NobleHunter
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Is it reasonable to say that people have a right to engage in commerce? That is, to trade with others for goods and services they cannot otherwise obtain? If not 'inherently' then as a result of labour specialization?

I mean, it's obviously not permissable for a government to say someone can't trade at all. Such a person would be either a slave or dead (ETA: in a modern civilization, anyway and even supposing the person could create or gather the basic necessities of survival, they'd be one serious crisis away from death). On the other hand, regulation of commerce is one of the primary functions of government. Hrum.

[ June 03, 2015, 12:01 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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Fenring
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I don't see that the constitution guarantees the right to buy things (i.e. to consumer's rights), but it does guarantee not to enslave people; i.e. to mandate forced labor. On the other hand we can make laws that effectively do guarantee anything we like, including consumer protection, so long as they don't violate the constitution. That's why this is a tricky area, because something we'd like to do (inclusion, protecting customers, avoiding boycotts of classes of people) is not so clear-cut to achieve without stepping on other legal toes.

There is a big problem when discussing what "the government" can allow because even though government at various levels enacts business regulation ultimately business transactions are supposed to be voluntary agreements between persons. To make an analogy, the law can say you can't hit someone, but it can't say you have to get along or be friends. I don't see how one can make the case that it's the government's job to ensure that all business encounters are amicable, satisfactory, or even fair. Certain crimes such as fraud and so forth are banned, but within those parameters is seems to me somewhat brutish to suppose that if people don't behave the way you'd like to them to we should have the government force them to. Making people do what you say using the strong arm of others isn't a principle I would endorse, notwithstanding the fact that the idea of having a friendly and inclusive marketplace sounds good to me on paper.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Is it reasonable to say that people have a right to engage in commerce?
No- we have the _freedom_ to do so, within the regulatory limits we set by common agreement (ie: government regulatory authority) even basic transactions are nominally regulated in that we're supposed valuate and report them in public monetary units for tax purposes, even though that's hard to enforce and only really comes up if people are egregiously trying to evade income taxes via barter.

quote:
On the other hand, regulation of commerce is one of the primary functions of government.
Right. Saying that regulation is equivalent to prohibition is like saying the fact that baseball has rules and referees is equivalent to prohibiting people from playing sports. You also can't play, insist on on being a pitcher, and then claim that every other team has to bench their left handed batters because you have religious objections to left handedness and consider pitching to them to be encouraging their left handedness. Your freedom to believe that is certainly protected, but then it's incumbent on you to play a position that doesn't put you in direct conflict with others, rather than insisting that everyone else comply with your religious dictates.
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NobleHunter
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Engaging in commerce would be covered under the rights reserved to the people or the States.

It is in the interest of the government to prevent the market from being distorted by non-economic motivations. A population which is excluded from fair access (by which I mean access equivalent to their economic ability) to the market and the usual improvement that results is not conducive to social stability. Not to mention that social or cultural exclusion from commerce is likely to be accompanied by other forms of disenfranchisement, which the govermnent is enjoined to prevent.

Pyr, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by distinguishing between freedom and right. Phrasing it as being free to engage in commerce implies that it is something the government is permitted to abrogate. That it's a consequence rather than necessary condition. As I've said, unfairly burden someone's ability to trade one thing for another and a person's freedom quickly becomes very limited.

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Pete at Home
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The government has power to regulate commerce, provided that its regulations do not limit the constitutional (undefined) freedom to contract, and provided that regulations are reasonable, not invidious, and etc
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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I don't see a meaningful distinction here. If you do not agree to comply with the basic public regulations, including non-discrimination that the public sets a requirements, the public is fully empowered to refuse to grant you a license to operate a business.

I think there is a meaningful distinction between selling someone a pre-made product (say a standard cake to be used at a wedding) and attending the event as a photographer. While it is certainly reasonable to take the position that both should be regulated I think you do your argument a disservice by treating the two as equivalent.
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NobleHunter
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If there is a "freedom to contract" or right to commerce, I think the key question I'm circling around is how much *should* a government interfere with it. How do you say that this interference is good but this other one is bad?

Social contract or constitution based answers seem too descriptive. "The amount of interference that we have agreed upon is good and more is bad." The focus turns into what is the government permitted to do rather than what it ought to do. The US in particular doesn't seem to have a good way to ask "the government isn't allowed to do this but should it?"

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:

Social contract or constitution based answers seem too descriptive. "The amount of interference that we have agreed upon is good and more is bad." The focus turns into what is the government permitted to do rather than what it ought to do. The US in particular doesn't seem to have a good way to ask "the government isn't allowed to do this but should it?"

Why should anyone address the question of whether the government should do things it isn't permitted to do? It's like asking whether I should be allowed to commit burglary. There's a reason the government isn't allowed to do those things, it's not arbitrary. The idea that the constitution is just a suggestion that can be over-ridden by what people would like to do right now is very bad. If a given article in the constitution ends up being too much at odds with modern needs it can be eventually amended, but to ignore the constitution wholesale when it's politically inconvenient is something that will hurt the people far more than it helps them.
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NobleHunter
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Exhibit A.

The question should be asked because the government could be permitted to do such things. What the US constitution permits the government to do is too arbitrary (being the result of compromise and what was politically possible) to suffice as a solid framework for what a government should do. It's a reasonably good way of setting up a government, mind you, but not a good way of answering more theoretical questions about government.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Engaging in commerce would be covered under the rights reserved to the people or the States.


Which is why the government can act on behalf of the people (specifically, otherwise disempowered people) to protect that right by demanding that people cannot discriminate against them in commerce- categorical discrimination is an an active violation of individual rights.

On the other hand, while the goverment is certainly obligated to respect your freedom to practice whatever religion you want, it is not empowered to give you the right to impose your religious views on others by way of such discrimination through regulated activities.

quote:
Pyr, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by distinguishing between freedom and right.
A freedom is something that you are not prevented from doing. A right is a contract with a government that it will to infringe on a given freedom (negative right, eg: freedom of speech) or that it will actively work to provide freedom or access to a resource or institution (positive right, eg: right to a trial by jury)

It's important distinction to make, because3 a positive right trups an otherwise de facto freedom. People are free to engage in commerce but the government is empowered to regulate commerce to provide the positive right of people to conduct trade without being discriminated against. You have a right to practice your religion as you see fit, but you cannot claim that that freedom overrides the rights of the public to engage in trade without categorical discrimination. So the government can't force you to spiritually recognize something that you consider an invalid marriage, but it can protect the right of the consumer to use public credit (money) procure services advertized as being offered to the general public regardless of your biases.

quote:
Phrasing it as being free to engage in commerce implies that it is something the government is permitted to abrogate. That it's a consequence rather than necessary condition.
Yes. That's the nature of regulation of commerce, which the government is very explicitly empowered to do.

quote:
As I've said, unfairly burden someone's ability to trade one thing for another and a person's freedom quickly becomes very limited.
Well, sure. Power can be abused. That's what we have democratic elections of representatives and course systems with the power of judicial review as tools to keep the game balanced. In this case, the right of the individual to engage in commerce without being harmed by categorical discrimination far, far outweighs the right of merchants to limit the market by enforcing religious basis on potential customers.

(And, since it's been used here before, the freedom of assicuation is a negative right- it's a statement that the government canot prevent you from associating with those who you chose to. It is not a positive right: you cannot use to to apply government force to enforce discriminatory exclusion of others (especially as that would be a violation of their freedom of association)

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by yossarian22c:
I think there is a meaningful distinction between selling someone a pre-made product (say a standard cake to be used at a wedding) and attending the event as a photographer. While it is certainly reasonable to take the position that both should be regulated I think you do your argument a disservice by treating the two as equivalent.

I think the reasonable line is at participation. A photographer is documenting the even, and while they can direct peopel for that purpose, they are under no obligation to actually personally participate in any element of the ceremony (in fact doing so would tend to distract from their overall job). ANyone with a ceremonial role should certainly have the freedom to decline if they're not on board. I'd even go as far as to say that providing music for the service probably falls just that side of the line. But the reception is a party that just happens to follow a wedding- no element of it counts as a religious ceremony or should be able to construed as supporting the wedding if one sells a service to it; it's effectively just theatre if one does not believe the wedding was valid.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I think the reasonable line is at participation. A photographer is documenting the even, and while they can direct peopel for that purpose, they are under no obligation to actually personally participate in any element of the ceremony (in fact doing so would tend to distract from their overall job). ANyone with a ceremonial role should certainly have the freedom to decline if they're not on board. I'd even go as far as to say that providing music for the service probably falls just that side of the line. But the reception is a party that just happens to follow a wedding- no element of it counts as a religious ceremony or should be able to construed as supporting the wedding if one sells a service to it; it's effectively just theatre if one does not believe the wedding was valid.

How nice for you that you can determine all on your own exactly what specific actions at a wedding would be "participating" and which wouldn't, and which part of the event is "ceremonial" and which isn't. It's also convenient for this conversation that you've established that being at the wedding for a prolonged period counts for nothing at all. I guess this topic is way easier than I thought [Roll Eyes]
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
How nice for you that you can determine all on your own exactly what specific actions at a wedding would be "participating" and which wouldn't, and which part of the event is "ceremonial" and which isn't.
How nice it is for them to impose their religious standards on other people and take advantage of public sanctions and infrastructure in order to try to dehumanize people.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
How nice for you that you can determine all on your own exactly what specific actions at a wedding would be "participating" and which wouldn't, and which part of the event is "ceremonial" and which isn't.
How nice it is for them to impose their religious standards on other people and take advantage of public sanctions and infrastructure in order to try to dehumanize people.
I find it ironic that you repeatedly try to frame this as people with religious views trying to impose them on others when this does not even slightly describe what's happening, whereas you seem quite keen to impose your personal standards upon people with religious views in such a way that they would feel dehumanized. My goal is to understand where people are coming from and to find a way to understand how their position can be upheld in balance with upholding the position of others. You seem much more prone to dismiss any views that aren't "secular" (even though in practice this term becomes defined however is convenient to sideline people who don't conform to liberal PC culture) and to assess those views as inferior by definition. I would advise following the advice you have given so often, which is to really listen to what people are saying and not to filter it through your own world view and the way you'd like things to be.

I'm not even quite sure how I feel about the subject of religious freedom, but I do know that there is a basic rational core to that position regardless of how tenable it is to uphold in practice. There is likely significant chaff involved with the religious argument as well, but I try to provide an argument with the best and most rational position possible before determining to what extent it has real substance.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
I find it ironic that you repeatedly try to frame this as people with religious views trying to impose them on others when this does not even slightly describe what's happening,
You're suggesting that no one is being denied a service that a business claims to be selling to the public on religious grounds? That is an active religious imposition on the people attempting to procure the service and their right to be free to transact without such discrimination.

quote:
My goal is to understand where people are coming from and to find a way to understand how their position can be upheld in balance with upholding the position of others.
And, in this case, it's simple. If your religion prevents you from respecting the rights of theirs in a given field, then your religion prevents you from entering that field, not the regulation enforcing those rights. If you religious believe that you must allow rats to defecate in your wheat before baking bread with it, then the health department shutting you down is not an imposition on your beliefs. Just the opposite- saying that the law must support your business because of your beliefs is you imposing your religious on the community around you.

If you believe that you must exercise explicit bigotry in offering services despite laws that protect people from it, then you are welcome to hold that belief, you are not welcome to operate a business that violates the rights of others as represented in those regulations.

quote:
You seem much more prone to dismiss any views that aren't "secular"
I don't dismiss them. I state that it's a violation of religious liberty to use them argue that you should be able to impose your religious standards on others at the expense of their rights.

quote:
(even though in practice this term becomes defined however is convenient to sideline people who don't conform to liberal PC culture)
That is egregiously false. Please avoid asserting things that are purely made up.

quote:
and to assess those views as inferior by definition.
They are not superior or inferior. They are simply personal religious beliefs, and thus not the basis for legally violating the rights of others. People used it argue that it was a religious imperative that they deny services to black people, or to women as well, and the Civil Rights act makes it clear that people are protected from such bigotry. If you're not willing to bake a cake without rat droppings in it, then you should not offer cakes for sale because your religion, not the regulation, prevents you from doing so, in the context of regulations that prohibit such.

quote:
. I would advise following the advice you have given so often, which is to really listen to what people are saying and not to filter it through your own world view and the way you'd like things to be.
You may have had a point there, if this issue hadn't already been pretty clearly addressed legally decades ago by way of the Civil Rights Act. The requirement for businesses that publicly offer services to comply with nondiscrimination regulations is well established as not being a violation of religious liberty. It doesn't prevent you from believing what you want to believe and worshiping as you choose, it only prevents you from violating the commercial rights of societally oppressed classes of people by trying to use religion to justify bigotry.
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
Engaging in commerce would be covered under the rights reserved to the people or the States.

This is an outdated view. The federal government has the power to compel people to engage in commerce as ruled by the Supreme Court.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
How nice for you that you can determine all on your own exactly what specific actions at a wedding would be "participating" and which wouldn't, and which part of the event is "ceremonial" and which isn't.
How nice it is for them to impose their religious standards on other people and take advantage of public sanctions and infrastructure in order to try to dehumanize people.
RRefusing to participate in s wedding dehumanizes the participants?

If you must pull this hypeerbolic language out of your nethers, please at least make an effort to relate it to the subject at hand.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Refusing to participate in s wedding dehumanizes the participants?
Excluding them from publicly offered services on prejudicial grounds is dehumanizing. No one is asking for them to participate, only to provide the services on a non-discriminatory basis that they claim they offer to the public.
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Rafi
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It's not a publicly offered service.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
It's not a publicly offered service.

Just to clarify, I think what Pyr means by "public" in this context isn't "provided by the government", i.e. public program; he means provided by a private corporation/company by means of a public license and ostensibly open for business to the public.

That being said I agree that designating businesses as "publically offered services" either unintentionally makes them sound like something they're not (i.e. a service automatically offered to everyone by some public agency), or else is a deliberate attempt to forward the notion that any service offered by a business is automatically "owed" to the public, just by virtue of it being offered at all. Both possible interpretations have dangerous connotations, but the latter interpretations means that opening a business means signing up for indentured servitude (being required to serve whomever commands you to do so, albeit for the requisite fee).

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
It's not a publicly offered service.

You're saying that services are only available to paying members or a select private audience? That it's not a store that advertises its service to the general public?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Both possible interpretations have dangerous connotations, but the latter interpretations means that opening a business means signing up for indentured servitude
This is a manifestly false equivalence, unless you want to assert that regulatory compliance or following the law in general amounts to indentured servitude. It's been long established that limiting just such collusion to try to exclude a minority from the market is well within bounds of reasonable regulatory power.

[ June 08, 2015, 11:53 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
It's not a publicly offered service.

You're saying that services are only available to paying members or a select private audience? That it's not a store that advertises its service to the general public?
This statement again misunderstands why businesses now operate they way they do. It looks to us like "oh look, JC Penney is open to everyone, this is how business works" without realizing that large 'open for everyone' stores is a special case. The more general case is that a customer comes into a store, the owner being present, and the customer asks the owner whether he will agree to sell something from the store for a certain price. The negotiation over the price aside, the next step is for the owner to decide if he will sell or not. This is the "standard" situation, even though in practice in modern times we almost never actually see this case since the owner is overwhelmingly willing to sell provided the price is right. In fact, certain retail stores where the owner isn't physically present usually have a policy (i.e. statement of what the owner/board wants in their absence) to universally accept all customers and all offers to purchase if the price is accepted. But this is only so because they have decided that is what they want; it's not because some laws makes them.

But to find the legal truth you have to go to a small store, doing away with board policies and procedures and other bureaucratic red tape associated with big chains. In the case of the small store you have the owner and the customer, and in that case each transaction occurs only if the owner feels like it. If he wants to stay in business he'll likely agree to most transactions, but he doesn't have to. He can make a store rule that says "I only sell to people with a name starting with "L" today", and that would be totally legal. The only rule he cannot apply is to refuse to sell to a person for being part of a protected class, but excepting that special protection he can apply any kind of reasoning he wants.

Business are not "open to the general public", they are open to whomever the owner wants, and typically the owner/board wants it to be open to the general public.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
The only rule he cannot apply is to refuse to sell to a person for being part of a protected class, but excepting that special protection he can apply any kind of reasoning he wants.
Exactly. That's a regulation that the owner must follow if they are open to the public. And one cannot claim that a given minority being part of a protected class amounts to religious discrimination- that would be an imposition of their religion on the public at large.

quote:
Business are not "open to the general public"
The kind of businesses in question are open to the public- that's inherent in using commercial property and obtaining a license to do business with the public from the local municipal authority that regulates such, and why they have to comply with regulations that specifically stipulate that they cannot exclude people based on protected class identity. The fact that they can assert whatever business reason they want for excluding people outside those identities doesn't change the fact that they have applied for and are operating under a license to do business with the general public.

[ June 08, 2015, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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scifibum
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I think the actual legal question is what counts as a public accommodation. It seems likely to me that "attending a wedding and collaborating with the participants to produce meaningful photography" doesn't count as a public accommodation. There's an actual list of what is meant by this term:

quote:
Place of public accommodation means a facility operated by a private entity whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following categories –

(1) Place of lodging, except for an establishment located within a facility that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that actually is occupied by the proprietor of the establishment as the residence of the proprietor. For purposes of this part, a facility is a "place of lodging" if it is –
(i) An inn, hotel, or motel; or
(ii) A facility that –
(A) Provides guest rooms for sleeping for stays that primarily are short-term in nature (generally 30 days or less) where the occupant does not have the right to return to a specific room or unit after the conclusion of his or her stay; and
(B) Provides guest rooms under conditions and with amenities similar to a hotel, motel, or inn, including the following –
(1) On- or off-site management and reservations service;
(2) Rooms available on a walk-up or call-in basis;
(3) Availability of housekeeping or linen service; and
(4) Acceptance of reservations for a guest room type without guaranteeing a particular unit or room until check-in, and without a prior lease or security deposit.
(2) A restaurant, bar, or other establishment serving food or drink;
(3) A motion picture house, theater, concert hall, stadium, or other place of exhibition or entertainment;
(4) An auditorium, convention center, lecture hall, or other place of public gathering;
(5) A bakery, grocery store, clothing store, hardware store, shopping center, or other sales or rental establishment;
(6) A laundromat, dry-cleaner, bank, barber shop, beauty shop, travel service, shoe repair service, funeral parlor, gas station, office of an accountant or lawyer, pharmacy, insurance office, professional office of a health care provider, hospital, or other service establishment;
(7) A terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation;
(8) A museum, library, gallery, or other place of public display or collection;
(9) A park, zoo, amusement park, or other place of recreation;
(10) A nursery, elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or postgraduate private school, or other place of education;
(11) A day care center, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, food bank, adoption agency, or other social service center establishment; and
(12) A gymnasium, health spa, bowling alley, golf course, or other place of exercise or recreation.

http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_withbold.htm
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Pyrtolin
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That's the ADA, so not fully in parallel.

This is probably the baseline for the current protected classes and rulings based on them, with state laws possibly going a bit further:

http://www.citizensource.com/History/20thCen/CRA1964/CRA2.htm

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
It's not a publicly offered service.

You're saying that services are only available to paying members or a select private audience? That it's not a store that advertises its service to the general public?
Advertising generally is not the same as engaging in a business deal.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Advertising generally is not the same as engaging in a business deal.
It rained in Pittsburgh yesterday.

Anyone else want to chime in with completely irrelevant statements?

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Wayward Son
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Here's a good case for discussion:

Maryland DJ refuses to work a birthday party for a gay man.

He has nothing against birthday parties. However:

quote:
The company policy states that they are a “family friendly” firm and won’t play vulgar music, tolerate provocative dancing or be involved with strippers, “fortune tellers, psychics, or magicians.”
Or play if the honoree is gay.

Is this a religious objection or a bigotted objection?

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Fenring
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We're back to goods versus services on this one. This is a slightly weaker case than a gay wedding since the event itself is not about homosexuality, even though it might likely involve homosexual interaction of a cordial nature.

Overall even if I personally don't see the objection for a birthday party it's not really my call to say what services 'should' count as a religious issue. One mistake we might make here is to take a weaker example of a religious objection and to try to use it to show that religious objections in general are fatuous. The straw man benefits no one; we're best to focus on the strongest examples and see where the truth lies there. After that it becomes easier to deal with the grey zone in between.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
One mistake we might make here is to take a weaker example of a religious objection and to try to use it to show that religious objections in general are fatuous. The straw man benefits no one; we're best to focus on the strongest examples and see where the truth lies there. After that it becomes easier to deal with the grey zone in between.
Actually, Fenring, I don't see how it helps at all, because each side will extrapolate their strong examples into the weak one.

For instance, I think we can all agree that a minister cannot be forced into performing a gay wedding if it is against his religion. From this we can extrapolate that anyone should not have to participate in a gay wedding if it is against his religion. And from that we can extrapolate that making a cake for a wedding is the same as participating in the wedding.

OTOH, we can all agree that refusing to sell someone a cake off the shelf because you disagree with the other person's religious beliefs is wrong. From that we can extrapolate that refusing to sell a wedding cake from off the shelf for that reason is wrong. And thus, to refuse to provide a customized cake for a wedding is wrong.

Two strong examples used to come to different conclusions for a weaker example.

No, I would say that it is the weak examples where we can more easily see where the line should be drawn.

I'm glad to see that you basically agree that Michael Lampiris crossed the line in refusing to DJ a gay's birthday party. (Otherwise, why would you consider it a "straw man," since a straw man is usually an incorrect version of an opposing argument, while this is a real situation. [Wink] ) But he, I would imagine, is extrapolating from the "strong examples." A person can refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding. Therefore, he can refuse to play music for a gay birthday party.

Of course, he misses the distinction between "a gay birthday party" and "a gay's birthday party." [Smile]

I would say the gray areas are where the principles of the strongest examples get properly tested. Because if those principles are weak, that will be shown most clearly where the answers are not obvious.

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
each side will extrapolate their strong examples into the weak one.

Not if they're honest [Smile]


quote:
For instance, I think we can all agree that a minister cannot be forced into performing a gay wedding if it is against his religion. From this we can extrapolate that anyone should not have to participate in a gay wedding if it is against his religion. And from that we can extrapolate that making a cake for a wedding is the same as participating in the wedding.
You say this as if being a "minister" is religion-neutral and that a given minister might or might not have as his religious belief being against presiding over a gay wedding. Your use of the term "minister" is at fault here since you haven't specified a denomination. Let's say you had specified one that was against gay marriage or that otherwise simply didn't recognize it as being Marriage, as opposed to marriage. Saying that he refuses to officiate a gay wedding would then be equivalent to accusing a Honda dealer of refusing to sell you a Mazda. It's just not in his job description and isn't the service he offers; it has nothing to do with what he "agrees" to do. Your extrapolation above is therefore a straw man in itself, although if we wanted to do your point justice we could, perhaps, change the first step to be something simpler like "thinks marriage as originally defined is sacred."

quote:
I'm glad to see that you basically agree that Michael Lampiris crossed the line in refusing to DJ a gay's birthday party.
You would be wrong to assume this, since I specifically said that whether I see an objection here or not it isn't my place to dictate to someone else what constitutes the observance of his religion. I can say what I'd be ok with or not in his place, but I cannot say whether another person crossed the line in the 'grey area' of services rendered; that's why it's a grey area.

quote:
Of course, he misses the distinction between "a gay birthday party" and "a gay's birthday party." [Smile]
You may well be right about this, and it would tend to be my feeling as well. However assuming the sight of 'gay activity' made someone uncomfortable, and assuming it could be expected that there would be lots of gay kissing and other friendly activity at a 'gay's birthday party' it is completely foreseeable that the DJ would have to witness things that would disturb him. I'm not sure, mind you, whether this constitutes a religious objection or just a personal one, since it's not biblically forbidden to kiss someone of the same sex, notwithstanding the fact that kisses to one's lover can easily be seen to connote the desire or habit of going further. This is why I call this one a grey area even though I don't see a clear case for a religious objection. But again, it's not my call.

I just hope you're not using this weaker example of a religious objection to try to demonstrate that the entire idea of religious objections is dishonest.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
You say this as if being a "minister" is religion-neutral and that a given minister might or might not have as his religious belief being against presiding over a gay wedding.
I did use a religiously neutral term, since some religions do not have a problem with marrying gays. I did specify at the end of the sentence, though, "if it is against his religion," which I think is pretty close to "thinks marriage as originally defined is sacred." So I don't understand what you are criticizing.

quote:
However assuming the sight of 'gay activity' made someone uncomfortable, and assuming it could be expected that there would be lots of gay kissing and other friendly activity at a 'gay's birthday party' it is completely foreseeable that the DJ would have to witness things that would disturb him.
He already specified that he would not play for events that would "tolerate provocative dancing," so I would imagine he could have also requested that no kissing among the sexes be allowed. But he simply said, "We won’t be able to do it, we’re a Christian organization and it would go against our faith, I'm sorry." He himself did not specify witnessing anything. It was being part of it that would go against his faith.

quote:
I just hope you're not using this weaker example of a religious objection to try to demonstrate that the entire idea of religious objections is dishonest.
No. I did mention early in my post a religious objection I find completely justified, so I do acknowledge that there are such circumstances. And while I find that the owner's objection rather weak (more akin to hating the sinner rather than the sin, which brings it directly into bigotry), he also refuses to work in venues with "strippers...fortune tellers, psychics, or magicians." Which shows he is basing his standards on religious grounds. (OTOH, I doubt he would refuse a gig if one of those types were the guest of honor, and not practicing his or her craft at the time.)

I think this is a gray area that highlights when refusal of services on religious grounds is not justified, even though it may seem so at first glance, and help clarify that line.

Or, at least, start a good fight. [Big Grin]

[ June 16, 2015, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
I did use a religiously neutral term, since some religions do not have a problem with marrying gays. I did specify at the end of the sentence, though, "if it is against his religion," which I think is pretty close to "thinks marriage as originally defined is sacred." So I don't understand what you are criticizing.

I objected because even the notion of an unspecified minister being forced to marry gay people is linguistically muddy and incomplete. If a minister of a religion that doesn't recognize or accept gay marriage claims to offer Marriage services, this should not be confused with offering marriage services in the secular sense. The equivocation of "marriage" with "Marriage" is a common pitfall in discussions such as this. The former is some legal thing defined and recognized by the state, the latter is a religious institution that has nothing to do with government. Legally when someone is Married the state doesn't necessarily recognize it (e.g. I can't start my own religion and Marry people and have it be recognized), and likewise a state recognizing a kind of marriage doesn't mean a religion will view it as Marriage in their sense. Therefore when you talk of a minister being forced to marry gay people, you need to decide whether you mean marry or Marry. If you mean "Marry" then the sentence is totally incoherent, because Marriage is defined how it's defined for him and he cannot perform that service in a way other than how it's defined. It would be like "forcing" a lawyer to represent you by way of fixing the pipes in your house; it defies the definition of what services he offers and doesn't make sense. However if you want to speak of a minister being forced to "marry" a gay couple you can then get into the issue of whether the minister will accept the duty of performing secular civil ceremonies or not.

quote:
I think this is a gray area that highlights when refusal of services on religious grounds is not justified, even though it may seem so at first glance, and help clarify that line.

My point is that trying to draw the line in the grey area treads into defining a person's religion for him. It's true that in the long run a legal line will have to be drawn, but I feel like we're still at the point where many people dispute that there is any ground whatever for religious objections. While this more general issue is still contended I guess making cases for a specific example as not being reasonable runs the risk of sounding like presenting evidence against religious objection in the broad sense. Even if this isn't your intention that's the effect such arguments will probably produce.
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kmbboots
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Found this older article this weekend. It beautifully expresses the harmony between Catholicism and support for marriage equality

Why do so many Catholics support marriage equality? Blame the Catholic imagination.

quote:
Those who possess a sacramental view of the world often realize that any human person or relationship that brings love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, generosity or faithfulness into the world is a sign of God's grace. Perhaps this is the reason so many Catholics defend marriage equality: They have recognized these graces can come forth as much through same-sex couples as heterosexual couples. Those who have a Catholic imagination recognize that a couple's ability to enter into a marriage commitment is not contingent on their anatomies, but on the depth, strength and fruitfulness of their bond.

Given their sacramental view of the world, it is little wonder that so many Catholics dissent from the bishops' disparaging characterization of LGBT persons and same-sex relationships. The hierarchy's position simply does not do justice to the power of the Catholic imagination.


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JoshCrow
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Heh. "Catholic imagination" is a useful shorthand for "Catholicism is an important part of our identity but we just keep the stuff we like and make the rest up as we go along".

I wish people would just drop the pretense and the -isms.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
If a minister of a religion that doesn't recognize or accept gay marriage claims to offer Marriage services, this should not be confused with offering marriage services in the secular sense.
Which it can't be, because we're talking about a religious official, not a state official. No minister, priest, or other such official offers secular marriage services. The only offer a ceremonial religious service that is fully optional in the secular context. Whether a given priest is willing to conduct a ceremony is an internal discussion withing a given faith. People seeking civil recognition of marriage can do so from any tradition, or opt for a purely civil swearing of oaths before a justice of the Peace (PA, which supports quaker marriage, only requires that you submit a form signed by any two witnesses to your commitment that you choose). In fact, till recently, in most places, simply living together for sufficient time and declaring yourself to be married was sufficient (common law marriage) it used to be method most used by people throughout Europe.

There already has been no issue of trying to force Catholic Priests to perform Protestant weddings, Jewish Rabbis to perform Hindu weddings, Buddhist Gurus to conduct Islamic weddings.

quote:
My point is that trying to draw the line in the grey area treads into defining a person's religion for him
Which is a spurious point, because I'm not defining anyone's religion, just point out that you can hold whatever oppressive or otherwise harmful-to-others belief you like, freedom of religion does not cover using the law to coercively apply it to others.

Please stop repeating the blatant untruth that I'm trying to define anyone else's belief. I am not contesting what anyone else might believe, only pointing out that belief is not a carte blanche for any behavior as your assertions would effectively make it. The only thing that comes of this assertion is that you avoid addressing the point that there are limits to what religious freedom allows you to do to others.

I am not contesting anyone's belief. I am saying that what someone believes is legally irrelevant if acting on it it represents a violation of another person's rights or otherwise represents the violation of public health and safety regulations that server to effectively protects the rights of other people around you.

The rights of others to live by their own beliefs trups your rights to impose your beliefs on them or coerce them because of your beliefs.

You can feel free to believe that they're immoral, but if you've agreed to engage in regulated commercial activity, you must follow those regulations on that activity, including the ones that state that you can't use the power implicit in being a commercial provider of a service to discriminate against classes of people who would manifestly be harmed by that discrimination- particularly where such discrimination amounts to collusion with others with similar power and beliefs.

Believe what you want, but if you want license to offer goods and services to the public, your freedom of religion only extends as far as it does not represent a harm to the public through discriminatory exclusion in violation of regulations preventing it.

You may personally believe that baking a cake for a reception somehow supports sinful activity related to that reception, but legally that's not relevant. Their behavior that you believe to be sinful is none of your business. If you believe that your religion precludes regulatory compliance in regards to others, then you are self-excluding yourself out of conviction from that activity. Faith is something that sets a person apart from society- trying to mitigate that cost by forcing others to conform to your standards so that you don't have to make the effort to hold yourself apart is an active violation of the principles behind freedom of religion. Free to believe, not to impose.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshCrow:
Heh. "Catholic imagination" is a useful shorthand for "Catholicism is an important part of our identity but we just keep the stuff we like and make the rest up as we go along".

I wish people would just drop the pretense and the -isms.

I get that you may be unfamiliar with particular theological jargon but you have no call to be disparaging about what you don't know. If you read the article carefully, you might note that the term actually does have a specific theological definition. It is not something I made up. Or Googled it even. You are not in a position to judge the sincerity of the beliefs of more than half the Catholics in the US. Or Ireland for that matter.

And, ultimately, everyone keeps the stuff they like. I have no problem defending the stuff I choose to keep.

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JoshCrow
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I am in the perfect position to judge; having a working mind (and an imagination - in the usual sense of the word) is all that is required. On top of that, I don't doubt the sincerity of anyone on this subject. I believe people are 100% sincere about it. I just believe it is an act of cognitive dissonance (carried out my millions every day) to simultaneously select one's beliefs while also believing they come from an outside source.
Note - this says nothing about the quality of those beliefs, some of which are no doubt very admirable. In fact, the "selected beliefs" that move away from official doctrine tend to move in directions I agree with. I am critical only of the dissonance involved.

[ June 29, 2015, 08:19 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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