How Sue and Jill’s Wedding Affects… the Knights of Columbus?
This latest of a string of similar stories from Canada over the past few years ought to be taken into consideration as the individual steps toward Rhode Island’s undemocratic importation of same-sex marriage are taken:
In 2003 [the Knights in Port Coquitlam, B.C.] discovered that their hall had been rented by a lesbian couple to celebrate their wedding. But as Catholics the Knights followed Catholic teaching and the Church opposes same-sex marriage. They offered to find another hall for the couple, pay for its rental and also for new invitations to be printed: Sorry for the bother and all that and I’m sure you understand.
Not quite. The couple in question decided to take their oppressors to the provincial Human Rights Commission, who ruled last year that the women should be compensated for “undue hardship.” Representatives of the complainants said that the punishment was too mild and that they intended to appeal the ruling.
Which only goes to prove that those silly old Neanderthals who oppose gay marriage are being fanatical when they say that their rights are being questioned. …
The fact is that no priest, rabbi or imam is going to be forced at bayonet-point to perform a gay wedding. That, however, has never really been the issue. As one of the leaders of the gay community said to me on television, “We’d never demand that someone conduct a ceremony, but if they oppose the law I do think we should question their charitable status.”
In response to some comment box sarcasm from Jay, perhaps I should elaborate on what is actually wrong — even insidious — about this sort of “progress.”
The extreme idealization of anti-discrimination that has become fashionable, particularly on the Left, undermines what is perhaps the most fundamental principle required to ensure a civil, pluralistic, and free society: that differences can and should be addressed, perhaps resolved, in realms other than government as much as possible. It is a thinly veiled totalitarianism, indeed, that insists that citizens are entirely free, as long as their public behavior accords with the reigning belief system.
Jay’s sarcasm is a wonderful example of the sort of non-government pressure that can be brought to bear in the social sphere as an effective means of phrasing an issue so as to encourage social change toward a particular worldview. Of course, Jay’s specific commentary is also a wonderful example of the perils of wielding such rhetoric: when it is expressed in terms of social pressure, rather than legal reasoning, one can reasonably wonder whether its proponents actually believe in freedom at all.