by Brandon McGinley
It has long been contended by proponents of the traditional definition of marriage that with the abandonment of that definition will come assaults to the religious liberties we have long taken for granted. Naturally, those predictions were pooh-poohed, even by many people who support the traditional definition; many people on both sides of the debate over marriage want the issue to begin and end with the legal boundaries of of the institution. But that was never realistic, as has played out across the country, and as is playing out here in Pennsylvania.
In the last week, two Pennsylvania businesses–a bakery and a bridal shop–declined to provide services for same-sex weddings. That these two incidents were announced so close to one another in time and space (the businesses are 40 miles apart) strongly suggests that these businesses were targeted to create PR buzz for House Bill 300, which would create special classes in state law for sexual orientation and gender identity–and would bar business owners like these from making decisions about what services they will render based on their religious convictions under threat of jail time.
As in all the other celebrated cases of wedding vendor “discrimination” against same-sex couples, these Pennsylvania business owners do not object the their customers as people. The Bloomsburg bridal shop owner specifically indicated that the family is happy to fit apparel for people who identify with the LGBT community, but that applying their craft to the celebration of a marriage that violates their beliefs is unacceptable. This is about marriage and whether the state’s redefinition of marriage must be assented to by all of its citizens regardless of their opinion of the matter.
For same-sex marriage activists, the work isn’t done until everybody agrees–or at least pretends to agree. “We’d love for every venue and wedding purveyor to be 100 percent supportive [of same-sex marriage],” said a vendor at NEPA PrideFest. And that’s the point of HB 300–to enforce uniformity across Pennsylvania on the question of the definition of marriage and of sexuality itself, which are, and ought to remain in our law, matters of conscience.