A bridal boutique in Bloomsburg Pennsylvania refused service to a Lesbian couple (Is gay marriage legal in Pennsylvania? Ah yes, as of May 20, 2014) because it would "break God's law."
Needless to say it touched off a round of criticism of the shop and reportedly some folks even placed malicious phony reviews of the shop on its Yelp Page. I didn't see any obvious phony negative reviews. The one negative review I did see sounded legitimate.
I did see a few "reviews" criticizing the shops gay stance and since you have to provide a rating in order to place a comment, I suppose one could argue that these are phony reviews.
However there only were four reviews, all of the 1-star variety. Three clearly related to the shop's gay marriage stance and there was one very negative review from six weeks prior cataloging a litany of issues with the shop's service.
But I digress.
As far as I know there is no anti-discrimination law in Pennsylvania that covers LGBT individuals so the shop is in the clear legally. They're not in the clear in terms of people refusing them business due to their medieval attitude.
Which brings me to reactions to the criticism, which appears to amount to the three negative reviews on the Yelp page.
According to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC), people criticizing the shop for refusing service are demonstrating "intolerance."
Yes Virginia, this is what it has come down to. Criticizing "intolerance" is itself "intolerance" if the bigot in question claims his "intolerance" is based upon his religious beliefs.
So what it all comes down to is the question "does an individual have the PRIVILEGE to discriminate based upon his religious beliefs?" Note that I refuse to call it a right as this sort of thing reeks of the privleges claimed by the Throne and Church during the Dark Ages.
In some cases we do extend that privilege to churches. So, to be consistent, should we extend it to individuals? Personally I don't think so. I'm not even so thrilled in some cases where it's extended to churches.
Now, one thing I found very interesting was a quote from the shop owner who reportedly said "providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God's law."
I'm not going to pass judgment on that opinion but the dresses WEREN'T for a sanctified marriage. They were for a CIVIL marriage. I think this is a safe assumption since any church that would sanctify a gay marriage wouldn't be recognized by the shop owner as a real church anyway.
This is something that Christians are apparently too simple minded to understand. When gay marriage is declared legal, we're talking about CIVIL marriage. Marriage is a legal institution that does not require religious sanctification. Churches are allowed to refuse to marry gay couples if it "violates" their religion in every state where gay marriage is legal.
I wonder if someone should point this out to the owner of the bridal boutique.