Chris Cuomo Doesn’t Get How Religious Freedom Works

by Andrew Johnson

CNN’s Chris Cuomo couldn’t wrap his head around why a photographer’s religious beliefs would be violated if he was compelled to work at a same-sex wedding. After all, it’s not like the photographer is being asked to marry another man.

In an interview with Kellie Fiedorek, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that aided in the creation of the controversial Arizona bill protecting businesses’ freedom to provide services in line with their religious beliefs, Cuomo badgered Fiedorek “to be honest” about the bill’s motives, which he claimed was to discriminate against gay customers.

“How is that a substantial burden,” Cuomo asked about the photographer working a same-sex wedding. “How is it a substantial burden to my Christianity to take photos of a gay marriage? If I’m against, I don’t marry another man.”

Fiedorek clarified that the bill’s purpose is to protect businesses and individuals from taking part in events they oppose based on faith or beliefs, but does not allow them to deny services to someone at an establishment such as a restaurant or coffee shop. Fiedorek said that in America people shouldn’t be compelled to use their talents to endorse what violates their beliefs. To illustrate the principle, she said we would not accept that a Muslim be compelled to offer his services for a Koran-burning event or a black person to photograph a Klu Klux Klan rally. “Tell me that you’re not analogizing Koran burning or the KKK to gay marriage,” a shocked Cuomo asked, “Do you really see those as the same thing?” 

Cuomo ultimately claimed that Fiedorek was opposed to tolerance, and called on her to “own that proposition.” “You want to enforce intolerance, counselor — that’s what it seems like you’re doing to me, and it seems pretty obvious,” he said. She pushed back, charging that forcing someone to participate in something they oppose is not tolerance.

The supposedly straight-news, objective anchor closed the segment once again voicing his opposition to the bill.