Rabbi Michael Broyde’s defense of the Equality Act two weeks ago betrays a complete disregard for the implications and consequences of this proposed law. This nefarious act would severely hamper those of us who adhere to traditional religious values.
Rabbi Broyde asks rhetorically: “Should we allow Jews to discriminate in business against fellow Jews who intermarry? Should we be allowed, for example, to refuse to hire an intermarried Jew to paint our home?”
He is conflating two distinct issues. No, a Jew may not discriminate against an intermarried Jew at work. If an intermarried couple walks into a store to make a purchase, it should be illegal to deny the couple service. However, when it comes to hiring a private contractor who will enter my home, I have the right to make choices.
For example, Jewish law expects me to try to hire a Jew, preferably one who lives locally. I certainly have the privilege to favor a halachically-married Jew over one who has opted to violate a basic precept of our faith. And if someone has a “Shomer Shabbos” sign on his store, I absolutely will patronize his establishment over one that is open on Shabbos.
Yet, more critically, Rabbi Broyde’s example misses the point. The issue is not whether one has the right to deny service to someone who is, say, intermarried or homosexual. The issue is whether one is required to legitimize his non-halachic status or behavior by, for example, photographing his wedding.
Let us consider the famous Masterpiece Bakeshop v. Colorado case. Storeowner Jack Phillips refused to bake a unique wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The two men sued, asserting that the bakery discriminated against them because they were homosexual.
But the baker’s decision was not based on their homosexuality. Phillips would have gladly sold the two men any cake that they desired. What he refused to do, as a conscientious Christian, was bake a wedding cake that would highlight the fact that the two were of the same sex. That is not discrimination at all! He simply refused to bake a cake that championed what was, to him, a sin.
There is no doubt that had two heterosexual men decided to “marry” and asked Phillips to bake a wedding cake for them with two male figurines on top, he would have declined. Conversely, had a homosexual man and homosexual woman decided to wed each other, Phillips would have accepted their cake order. The issue for Phillips was not the proclivities of the couple; it was the nature of the ceremony.
If a Jew and a non-Jew wish to hire an Orthodox caterer for their wedding, the caterer can, and should, decline the job on religious grounds. I am certain that scenarios of this sort occur regularly. It would seem logical that a person cannot be forced to choose between maintaining his profession and violating a sincerely-held religious belief.
The Equality Act – passed by the House but not yet by the Senate – would do away with the caterer’s rights. If he declines to service an intermarrying couple, he would be in violation of Federal law. It requires little stretch of the imagination to conceive the dire implications if the Equality Act becomes law.
The LGBT lobby has convinced many lawmakers that if a person opposes absolute moral equivalence between heterosexuality and homosexuality, he is a hater. In other words, Barack Obama – who opposed same-sex marriage until 2012 – was until that time a hater, equivalent in all ways to those who supported racist laws against blacks during the era of segregation!
And the four Supreme Court justices who voted against legalizing same-sex marriage were also all haters. We must use all our resources to counter this vile notion.
Rabbi Broyde insists that “the LGBT community” is going to win this fight. Therefore, he suggests, rather than making enemies, we should “live and let live.” The problem is that the radical LGBT lobby will not live and let live. It is trying to force us to recognize deviant lifestyles as normal. We must never do that. We must not assume they will win, and we must not give up.