On April 15, an article titled “Religious Freedom or Discrimination: Pizzeria denies service to same-sex couple” was published in The Cougar.
In the article, opinion columnist Trishna Buch said, “Crystal is correct in saying that ‘anyone has the right to believe in anything,’ but individuals should not force their beliefs onto other individuals. The O’Connor’s refusal to service gay weddings is a subtle way of forcing their beliefs onto these same-sex couples.”
I believe it is wrong to assume that their “refusal to service gay weddings” is “forcing their beliefs.” As a gay male, I do not find it forceful at all. The O’Connors are simply stating their beliefs, and have every right as a business to refuse service.
While this is a form of discrimination, I do not believe a business should face backlash for discriminating against anyone, without physical harm present. Our First Amendment right in the constitution allows for Freedom of Expression and Speech, without physical harm. Is this not allowed for businesses?
What most may find shocking is that mental harm is well within the realm of Freedom of Expression because of an individual’s ability to leave a situation.
If a business presents a form of discrimination, as seen on the YELP profile of Memories Pizza, they will lose the business of those customers that disagree with their opinion. I do not believe RFRA should have been amended, as it would not have been a large deal had the media not blown it out of proportion. A business should have every right to refuse service to anyone they wish.
A nice comparison would be if someone asked to buy a pencil off you in class. You say, “I’m sorry, but because you’re gay, it is against my beliefs to sell you anything.”
What would does the person do? They would go to another person — or in this case, business — and give their money to the person. The original business has then lost the money they could have earned.
I hope you take these matters under consideration, because I, as a gay person, must recognize the rights of the business. A person does not have the right to go into a business — it is a privilege. They do have the right to choose which business receives their money.
Again, as a gay male, I do not feel as though this business was in the wrong and encourage non-homosexual people to continue to patronize the establishment.
Dalton Laine is a political science and economics freshman and may be reached at [email protected].
Disclosure: Dalton Laine is currently employed by the Center for Student Media and has contributed to The Cougar. He is not currently part of The Cougar’s writing staff.