They Always Had the Choice to Refuse

Couple Fined For Refusing To Host Gay Wedding Close Venue | The Daily Caller

A Christian couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host a lesbian wedding on their New York farm has decided to close the venue rather than violate their religious beliefs.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford decided not to host ceremonies anymore, other than those already scheduled, Alliance Defending Freedom attorney James Trainor told The Blaze. ”Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run,” he said.

Good for them. I’m glad they had the courage of their convictions.

And see? The state did not force them to open their venue to gay weddings. They always had the option of refusing to do so, and getting out of the wedding business.

Which they did, rather than whining that the Constitution somehow guaranteed them the right to discriminate in a way that their competition was not legally permitted to do.

I respect them for that.

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


They Always Had the Choice to Refuse — 28 Comments

  1. The Constitution does not authorize the government to force citizens to do business with anyone. Everyone has a “right to discriminate”–freedom involves the right to make choices and distinctions in every aspect of life, so long as one does not compel others to ratify or emulate one’s choices. Instead of penalizing this couple for not wanting to do business with somebody, what should be advocated is the protection of the freedom and rights of all–which does not include the “right” to force others to do busines with you, lodge you, marry you, be married to you, etc.

    If Daily Pundit is opposed to the right to disciminate–i.e., to choose with whom one associates–does this mean it believes it should be illegal to ban commenters or delete comments at one’s blog? If not, why are some forms of freedom and the right to discriminate more worthy of protection than others?

    • The Constitution does not authorize the government to force citizens to do business with anyone.

      The constitution does not prohibit the states from making laws requiring that business that serve the public do so without discrimination.

      The states have done so in many, but not all, cases (gay rights, for example). And the power of the states and municipalities to do so has withstood constitutional challenge.

      If Daily Pundit is opposed to the right to disciminate–i.e., to choose with whom one associates–does this mean it believes it should be illegal to ban commenters or delete comments at one’s blog?

      You just can’t see past your dogma, can you? The laws to which I as a blogger am subject do not have any such requirement. It is possible (though not very likely due to First Amendment issues) that if such laws existed, they would be constitutional and I would have to either obey them, stop blogging, or pay the penalty for breaking the law.

      At least Alfred isn’t challenging the power of the state under the Constitution to make these law banning discrimination – he just think they infringe on the liberty of those who wish to discriminate. He’s right, they do. And as I keep saying, I approve of that, and am willing to make that specific trade. He doesn’t and isn’t.

  2. DP does not operate a business. It is a free association of people. In your world, is it OK to deny accommodations to blacks, to deny them food at the grocery store or restaurant. Use a different bathroom, drink from a different water fountain? That is discrimination and is against the law, rightly so in my view. It does not force you to have black friends.

    NO ONE IS FORCED TO DO BUSINESS WITH ANYONE. You can choose not to operate a business if it bothers you to do business with black folks.

      • Well, let’s be clear here WTQ.

        It is a fact that Cynthia and Robert Gifford do have the right to host wedding ceremonies on their property and to freely choose those they wish to offer those services to.

        If they choose not to offer to host a wedding for a particular couple for any reason, that is not denying liberty to that couple. No couple has the right to use the Gifford’s property without the Gifford’s express permission.

        It is also a fact the state is not only not protecting the Gifford’s right to offer wedding hosting services to whomever they choose, it is infringing it.

        And, it is the case that you find this proper and in fact advocate for the state infringing that right, correct?

      • “no, it shouldn’t be against the law.”

        I suppose the giffords can refuse to sell their property to black people as well.

        So, AC, just so I’m clear on your thinking – it is OK with you that we discriminate against people of color? Separate water fountains and all that? No service at the lunch counter?

        I assume you are around my age, and since you are from the South, you can certainly remember the sad state of affairs you grew up with, as I do.

        If your argument would be that the referenced state of affairs was government sanctioned, the same thing would happen were business freely able to discriminate.

              • PKB.

                Let’s try logic:

                1. I support the right of businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, whatever.

                2. I abhor discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, whatever.

                3. Because I support the right of businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, whatever, businesses do discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, whatever, which I abhor.

                4. My hands are clean. My support of the right to discriminate has nothing to do with the discrimination (which I abhor) that follows from the exercise of that right, (which I support).

                Which of these does not logically follow from previous givens?

          • AC, sorry for the late reply – working on Sunday on Labor Day weekend – there ought to be a law or something.

            I support the right of the individual to discriminate, but not the right of a business. You apparently believe the marketplace would eliminate the discrimination. You are wrong. There has never been a succesful elimination of pervasive discrimination in any country without the force of law. It is a thorny issue I will agree. But without the force of law the lowest common denominator will prevail. Anti discrimination laws are, IMO, the lesser of two evils.

              • Sorry for the confusion. It is your right to discriminate, you do not have to have friends of color or whatever. You do not have the right to discriminate through your company as it is against the law. As I said, the law in this case is the lesser of 2 evils, IMO.

                You are wrong. Anti discrimination law does eliminate discrimination. The South is a perfect example.

                • ‘Completely eliminate’ is redundant. ‘Eliminate’ means to: completely remove or get rid of something.(Don’t you just love arguing semantics.)
                  Yet the main thrust of your point about the South is obvious.

                • Barry, laws can either protect or infringe rights. It simply isn’t correct to say that one doesn’t have a right to act in a way that some law forbids simply because that law exists. Rights are logically prior to laws.

                  The fact that there are anti-discrimination laws does not mean that one does not have a right to discriminate.

                  Discrimination has been eliminated in the South?

      • I don’t care if you find some black people who agree with you, either, Alfred.

        Libertarians who prefer to live in a society at absolute war with itself, while practicing vile exclusions against others in the name of “freedom of association” should be forced – yeah, I said forced to live in that society. I am old enough to have done so. It is vile, disgusting, and an eternal shame and discredit to Libertarians who advocate it – which is exactly what you are doing.

        “Yes, it is discrimination. Yes, it is offensive.” Yes, I advocate it, or at least I advocate a situation that permits it at will and has the same ultimate effect as advocacy. And let me add: Yes, it is evil.

        Because you are advocating evil, you know. You think you have some sort of moral high ground here. Guess what? You don’t.

        UPDATE: Okay, that “evil” stuff is hyperbolic, and I apologize. I do stand with the contention that you don’t escape responsibility for the evils of discrimination that occur because of something you advocate, no matter how much you decry the discrimination itself.

    • Yes, Alfred, I do advocate the state infringing that right in these sorts of business discrimination cases, and I have so advocated as long as I’ve been running this blog, as you ought to know by now.

      And if you think you’re advancing your argument by accusing me of not being a “perfect libertarian” (by your standards, at least), well I refer you to my previous recent statement: “I don’t give a fuck.”

      I’m not a robot, and I don’t regard either Rand or libertarian dogma as inviolate to rationality.

    • He/she/it (don’t want to raise any hackles unnecessarily through “incorrect gender-designation”, y’know) doesn’t really seem able to comprehend or properly articulate the basic differentiation between principles of personal, individual liberty and freedom of expression and/or choice, and the voluntarily-assumed obligation to abide by lawful requirements in the conduct of a licensed, government-regulated business enterprise or to bear the consequences of failure to thereby abide.

      Libertarian or not, the law is the law – supposedly – as regards “doing business”, and the limitations are mostly pretty clearly spelled-out. Not at all the same thing when simple individual choices are involved.

      But then – unless your nom de plume is “evpick” – you already pretty much knew that, right?…

  3. “Simply because I choose to supply teenage boys with whiskey, gasoline, and gunpowder, how can anybody possibly blame me in any way for the conflagration that inevitably follows?” – A. Centauri

    See, this is the sort of pure quill Libertarianism that repulses most rational people. As a matter of dogma they support policies that are guaranteed to have ugly results, and then wish to be absolved of any responsibility for those results.

    Yet another reason that Libertarianism has about as much chance of being implemented in the real world as pure Communism, although true believers are always willing to give such things one more try.

      • I saw this coming a mile away, and was thinking about it on my bike ride today.

        Both you and evpick seem to aim your arguments at me as if I were a dogmatic libertarian, and any inconsistency you can find with dogmatic libertarianism – or Rand, for that matter – somehow discredits everything I have to say.

        I think about things, though, rather than just flinging some sort of bible at an argument. For instance: Gun grabbers are attacking the right to life via the right to defend your life. I rank that higher on the scale of liberties I’m willing to defend than I do the right to employ freedom of association as an implement to inflict abhorrent sorts of discrimination on innocent people.

        The Framers apparently agree with me, because while limiting the right of businesses to discriminate is not disallowed by the constitution, the infringement of the right to keep and bear arms is disallowed, and in the plainest of language.

        In general, I look for the greatest amount of liberty for the greatest amount of people, and I make rational decisions about the inevitable conflicts that arise between and among rights. In this case, I do support the RKBA as an adjunct to the right to life, while I don’t support the right of businesses doing business with the public to illegally discriminate based on race, creed, sex, sexual preference, or other irrational reasons.

        So, no, I don’t believe the gun-grabber argument is a valid approach.

        • But if your argument in support of right infringing anti-discrimination law is essentially

          I value the RKBA much more than the right to freely associate thus I support laws infringing the right to freely associate since allowing overt discrimination is a clear and present danger to civil society

          then a gun grabber’s justification for gun control laws of essentially

          Well, I don’t value the RKBA and, in fact, I consider it a clear and present danger to civil society thus I support laws infringing that right

          does seem equally valid (including not valid at all).

          I think you need a more compelling argument. I’m not saying that one doesn’t exist, only that I haven’t heard it yet.

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