San Antonio Ordinance Could Hurt Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

by Katrina Trinko

From my piece today:

The ordinance would prohibit bias toward people on account of sexual orientation. Opponents are concerned that opposition to same-sex marriage or other viewpoints about homosexuality would be considered bias. 

“If you, for instance, oppose same-sex marriage, that’s going to be interpreted as opposing someone based on sexual orientation,” explains Jeff Mateer, general counsel for the Liberty Institute, an organization that focuses on religious liberty. 

If the ordinance passes, the city cannot contract with any business whose owner is deemed biased. Nor can city-council members or appointed public officials speak in their official capacity in a way that suggests bias, according to the Liberty Institute.

Read the rest here. Personally, I’m very sympathetic to the reality that many gays and lesbians have faced hostile attitudes, and that’s not right. (My friend Joshua Gonnerman has written eloquently at First Things about the need for Christians to treat gays and lesbians like family, and to be concerned about the bullying that s many of them had faced.) But making bias — which can be defined broadly — against sexual orientation against the law seems to lend itself, without much trouble, to making it illegal for a city council member to say he doesn’t agree with same-sex marriage in certain situations, or for a business owner to be considered biased because he doesn’t explicitly state he doesn’t discriminate against people on account of their sexual orientation. It’s all too easy to see how this San Antonio ordinance, if passed, would jeoporadize religious freedom and the ability to speak out about one’s beliefs, including about homosexuality. 

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