Should Wedding-Related Businesses Be Allowed To Refuse Service To Same-Sex Couples?

Same-sex marriage has been legalized in the state of New Hampshire for two years, but a bill before the state legislature could allow businesses, like caterers, florists, and dress shops, to refuse their services to these couples.

The bill’s co-sponsor, state representative Frank Sapareto, says he created the legislation so that members of the clergy would not have to perform ceremonies that don’t fit in with their particular beliefs. But others point out that men and women of the cloth are already not legally obligated to marry same-sex couples, or any coupling for that matter.

According to Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, MA:

The proposed text says no person, including a business owner or employee, should be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges for wedding services in “violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith.”

The bill also would protect against lawsuits arising from refusal to provide those services.

Opponents of the legislation claim that it would effectively allow business owners to discriminate against couples, regardless of sexual orientation, whose religious beliefs aren’t their own.

“All discrimination is wrong and should not be codified in state law,” said Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein, using the example that under the proposed law, “A Protestant baker could refuse to bake a cake for a Catholic wedding.”

As for those who oppose the legislation, Representative Sapareto says, “They’re completely intolerant.”

NH bill would allow refusal of services to gay couples [EagleTribune.com]

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  1. Ben says:

    History will not look well on these bigots.

    • tbax929 says:

      That’s true. While I wish they were more tolerant, I have a hard time thinking it’s okay to force them to do business with same-sex couples.

      I’m gay, so don’t mistake my comment as a personal issue with gay couples. But I think in a free market you let private companies make the decisions they make and trust the public to do business, or not do business with them, on their own.I don’t think you need to legislate it.

      This is the age of the internet, and word spreads quickly. I think boycotts and bad press are way better ways to get companies to do the right thing.

      • Marlin says:

        So what happens when there is only 1 place?
        Same reason pharmacies can’t decide if you should be able to fill your birth control or any other med.

        Not everyone lives in a large city with several or even dozens of options.

      • MMD says:

        Boycotts and bad press can be very effective, but preexisting non-discrimination laws should also be enforced – if not expanded upon!

        • Akuma Matata says:

          Why would you want to do business with someone who doesn’t want to do business with you? As consumers, we discriminate every day for various reasons. Why shouldn’t it work in the other direction? Why does the reason for the discrimination matter?

          • MMD says:

            I see your point, and I certainly wouldn’t *want* to do business with a bigot. If I were gay and planning a wedding, I imagine I’d be pretty turned in to the possibility of discrimination and would probably go out of my way to avoid dealing with bigots (using online vendors, non-bigoted local vendors, etc.).

            But a law like this actively condones bigotry. Laws can’t force a bigot to stop being bigoted, but we can’t make excuses for bigotry through legislation, either.

            • Akuma Matata says:

              I totally agree that this law is ridiculous. My point is you shouldn’t need this or any law to begin with. I shouldn’t need permission from gov’t to decide who I sell my products/services to, and for what reasons. My reasons are what they are, and as a private citizen, it is my right to freedom of association, both as a buyer and as a seller.

              • Thalia says:

                And you’d keep this rule if the law is applied so that Christian vendors refuse to work with Jewish couples, or racist vendors refuse to serve Black customers except at the back of the bus? Because that’s what this is about.

              • OmnipotentMLE says:

                Ok what if it’s the only tuxedo rental place with in a 25 mile radius and they say they won’t do gay weddings (or interracial weddings or interfaith weddings). In a perfect world, there would be another tuxedo shop where they would serve you, but when you get into rural areas, it’s not always feasible. Also, could all the bakeries in the county make a “gentlemens agreement” not to sell wedding cake that will be used at a gay wedding.

                Businesses can not open themselves to the public, and then set preconditions over who they will serve. They don’t have to cater to a particular industry that they’re not interested in (for instance, selling two groom or two bride wedding toppers), but they can’t turn down a customer who comes into their store, puts down good money and says, “can I please have one of those?” based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

                As for doing business with someone you know hates you, I can see how that would be unpleasant, which is why Iive in an urban area with lots of options. If I wanted to live in a small town in Northern Maine with only one general store, then I would just learn to ignore the owner who hated me for some reason beyond my control. He still couldn’t deny service to me without a valid reason.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        tbax929, that’s essentially my take on it. I’d also have to wonder how poor of a job a business would do when they are forced by the state to do it.

      • Lisse24 says:

        While I agree with you that private businesses should be allowed to do business with whom they choose, and that a law should not force two entities that dislike each other to do business together, I also do not believe there should be a special law protecting businesses in this one case.

        • El_Fez says:

          This means that we’ll get back to “No Coloreds” lunch counters, too?

          • Lisse24 says:

            Except this bill isn’t talking about what was deemed “public accommodations” in the 1964 bill, but it’s dealing with the realm that is commonly known as “private business.”

            Nice try, though.

      • mehitabel says:

        >I have a hard time thinking it’s okay to force them to do business with same-sex couples.

        maybe if you substitute “black” or “Jewish” for “same-sex” maybe you’ll see what’s wrong with your statement.

        >in a free market you let private companies make the decisions they make and trust the public to do business, or not do business with them, on their own.

        the futility of this utopian-libertarian approach has been so abundantly refuted in so many industries over the last ten years that it’s incredible that anyone could still advocate for it. mortgage companies, left unregulated, will commit fraud, health insurers will let people die, etc. Even Allan Greenspan admitted he was wrong to expect money people to self-regulate.

      • zippy says:

        The principle that the non-discrimination laws are based on is that if you want the benefits of the public marketplace (to get customers), then you serve the public on a non-discriminatory basis. I believe that there was pretty prominent court case that held that a landlord advertising in a newspaper with a completely public readership could not discriminate, but if he had advertised only in his church newsletter (for example) then he could limit tenants to only those of his own faith.

        So, a wedding business could decide to only advertise through the church newsletters of those faiths that don’t do same sex marriage. Of course, they would be limiting their customer base, but that’s kind of the point.

      • rmorin says:

        People opposed to this don’t really get that you can’t legislate tolerence. If you force bigoted people to serve those they hate, who exactly wins?

        Woohoo a gay couple just got a wedding cake, but they also gave hundreds of dollars worth of business to someone who (potentially) hates them. If store owners were able to decline their business at least it would be out in the open, so then everyone gay or straight can make the choice knowing they discriminate for that reason. It should be the same way for race or religion, as long as it is not run by the government. I don’t see how making hate and bigotry more subversive makes us more tolerant as a society.

        • kennedar says:

          I kind of agree with you, but I wish there was a list somewhere of companies that refuse to do business with same sex couples. We are about to drop a ton of money on a couple of catered events (not wedding related) and I would like to be able to ensure that I am not giving cash to a business that discriminates. If a same-sex wedding is not good enough for you, then neither are our (totally not controversal) events.

        • Robert_SF says:

          Off topic: I really appreciate your proper use of the phrase “you can’t legislate…”. Too many people have said that line about a subject, thinking it means that it’s improper to mandate a behavior through legislature, when it means what you used it for: behavior can be legislated, but the beliefs behind it cannot be (morality, tolerance, etc.).

          On topic: wedding services (other than the legal certification by a State representative) is not an essential service like food, medical treatment, or shelter provided by the free market….so the State has no interest in ensuring those services to those who would like to do business with those providing the service. So the State cannot outlaw discrimination for any reason for those non-essential services…not to my knowledge at least….want a drink at a bar…they should be able to refuse you for any reason. Want surgery…nope, no discrimination allowed. Want to buy clothes from a local shop…they can base their reason not to sell to you for any reason…want a hotel room, they should have to serve you…unless there is some stratification of hoteliers, such as inns, hotels, long-term residences, etc.

          And this perspective is coming from a gay man as well…

          • whylime says:

            In an ideal world, people would have options. One bakery won’t make you a cake, vote with your wallet and go to another. A dress shop, won’t sell you a wedding dress, go find one that will. But what if there are no other options? What if you’re in a small town (where you’re probably more likely to see systematic prejudice), and there’s only one cake shop, and they won’t make you one? Just do without?

            Like it’s easy to say that about luxuries like wedding cakes and dresses. It’s easy to say that only essentials like food, shelter and medical services should have to be required to serve everybody. But what about things that are more in the gray area? What about internet access? What about financial services? What about clothing stores? What about restaurants?

            It’s an extremely slippery slope, and opens the door for all types of discrimination.

      • Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

        And what would you say if you were Black and this same business refused you because they felt that by having you, a Black couple as customers, was a violation of their personal beliefs? No one would tolerate that behavior/business practice in 2012 and the same should apply to gay couples.

        Civil rights are civil rights. I don’t understand how this is even a thing.

    • Charmander says:

      Yes, they should be able to because after all, this is a free country, But we should shame these assholes in some way.

      And truly – I would much rather work with wedding business that cater to my needs, If I were gay, I wouldn’t want to purchase products or services from a company that would discriminate. It sucks, but I think there are worse things to worry about.

    • cecilsaxon says:

      Believe it or not some folks are morally opposed to the union of same sex couples in any capacity. If one shared a similar foundation where morals are not subjective one would have to agree. Since today it is far more common for morality to be relative to one’s own experience and more often than not tied to what is prevailing in the media at the moment a dissenting view is understandable. Then again without a society bound by common social convention, we are doomed as a nation. We are simply following the life cycle of every other failed political and social institution that has come before us. We are not “evolving”, we are dying.

    • smo0 says:

      This is the time for businesses to come out and say they WILL do business with same sex couples and put these other businesses …. well out of business!

  2. demona667 says:

    I thinks it’s just stupid. People are human beings and money is the true american god.

    • homehome says:

      True, but businesses should be allowed to serve whoever they want no matter how bigoted their views may be. I make it a point to not shop at business that have these views, even if they don’t relate to me. If I was getting married to my gf, if I knew the company had a no same sex marriage thing, I wouldn’t even consider them if they were best. I know how it feels to be discriminated against so I won’t knowing do it or knowingly support companies that do it.

      • PunditGuy says:

        I have to ask — would you be personally affected by such a policy? As a dark person, I don’t like the idea that a business can just decide to not do business with me for any old bigoted reason. It’s not always convenient or even possible to do business with someone else.

        • rmorin says:

          So as “a dark person” as you described yourself, you’d rather give money to someone who hates you, then know they hate you and just make a different choice?

          • PunditGuy says:

            I had a racist landlord in college. Didn’t know it when I signed the lease (everything was handled by a lackey). Was I happy about it? No. Was I going to break my lease and find another apartment? No. I got the service I paid for.

            If I pull up to a gas station in the deep south and I need gas, I don’t give a rat’s ass if a portion of the proceeds from my purchase go to the local KKK — I need gas. And it pisses me off that there’s a sizable number of people in this discussion who think it’s just fine and dandy that the racist gas station owner should just send me on my merry way, and I’m a little less pissed off — but still a little pissed off — that there are people saying that I shouldn’t give the racist my money.

            I want a service in exchange for money. When I’ve got the luxury of only buying from people who think the same way I do, that’s great. When I don’t, I still need the service.

      • icykold says:

        Then I would also assume you think its okay to go back to the ‘good ol days’ when bars and restaurants could hang ‘Whites Only’ signs?

        Replace ‘same-sex’ with ‘Black’….see why its wrong? Even if the whole freaken state hates ‘Blacks’ it does not mean that private business can discriminate.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          As opposed to now where they don’t hang the sign but you still know which bars are ‘white-only’?

          The law can’t eliminate bigotry, and it’s immoral for them to try.

          • Thalia says:

            Are you with the Paulites thinking that Civil Rights laws were morally wrong? Because that puts you in a very small minority of people who think that discriminating is a civil right…

            • rmorin says:

              When you make a law in this country you are limiting absolute freedom in a certain way in order to get a more favorable outcome. Civil rights laws (in the case of private businesses only) do not accomplish tolerance or equality, and in fact legally mandate that bigots deceive those they hate into getting their money.
              This is about putting a thin veneer of tolerance all the while allowing bigotry to continue to fester under the surface. Problems do not go away by sweeping them under the rug. If people were allowed to discriminate in private businesses their hateful views would become apparent and people can be more aware of how business owners truly feel about others. Very, very, very, few businesses would be able to survive with open discrimination policies. The ones that do, likely are already discriminating and getting away with it.
              Thus in limiting the freedom of association and not providing any positive outcome, civil rights laws make little sense. This is not being racist in the least, this is simply stating that in the case of private businesses civil rights laws are not effective, and perhaps even harmful.

        • rmorin says:

          So you’d rather have racist owners profit off of black people, while still subversively hating them?

      • whylime says:

        But this only works when you have a options. Like it would be great to only deal with businesses that don’t discriminate, but what if you’re in a small town, and there’s only one shop that can provide the services you need? What if you have to drive hours out of your way because the one shop in your town is run by bigots?

        I have the luxury of living in a big city, where I have enough options to avoid bad businesses. Not everyone else does.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    I understand religious reason can be crazy, but businesses???

    don’t they want the money?

  4. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “A Protestant baker could refuse to bake a cake for a Catholic wedding.”

    Newsflash: that could already happen. Unless you’re a government agency, you as a business owner have the right to choose whom to provide your services for. At the very most, all you need to do is post a sign in the window saying “this establishment reserves the right to refuse service to anyone.”

    • tungstencoil says:

      Not true. You cannot refuse service based upon a protected category or disability. Newsflash: you can’t refuse service to a person due to race.

      However, all you really need to do is fake another reason.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Precisely. All you have to do, when asked why you wouldn’t serve this black/gay/religious/crippled/politically-motivated person is say “eh, just don’t wanna.”

        Maybe that drives you into bankruptcy from public backlash or something. But hey…that’s your thing.

        • MMD says:

          Or all of the legal judgments you lose when you get sued repeatedly for discrimination.

          • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

            Yeah…most state and Federal housing agencies have many decades of practice in discovering and proving a pattern of discrimination, even when the landlord thought they were being crafty by saying “Oh, I just didn’t choose them, I didn’t even notice they were [insert skin color here].” It’s pretty simple once you get a large enough sample, and they do not need to prove intent, just a pattern of actual discrimination based on who is served and who is not.

            • HSVhockey says:

              Max, Housing is the exception here. That practice rarely if ever is against food or retail establishments. Housing is kind of sacred since low income people need an affordable place to lay their heads, but they have plenty of choices for restaurants and shopping.

          • HSVhockey says:

            Yes because there are so many lawyers out there willing to waste their time trying to sue a mom and pop store that can fall back on “They weren’t wearing shoes, Their kids were causing a ruckus, etc” to “prove” it wasn’t racism. Proving this so called “pattern of discrimination” people talk about in any business that you can’t take a snapshot of the effects. Such as in housing, a building that is 95% white people living there + a bunch of racial complaints should be easy. Whereas a restaurant with all white people dining there + racial complaints isn’t as easy to prove unless you do some sort of sting operation.

            • HSVhockey says:

              Let me try this sentence again:

              Proving this so called “pattern of discrimination” people talk about, in any business that you can’t take a snapshot of the effects at any time, is very difficult.

              /slightly less idiotic

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Er, no.

    • Don't Bother says:

      I came here to post the same thing.

      If they want to ride that train to bankruptcy, good for them. It’s their business.

    • HSVhockey says:

      Which pretty much makes this one of the more useless laws ever thought up.

      I don’t need the government to tell me who I can and can provided service, through my PRIVATELY OWNED business, to.

      • MMD says:

        Then I guess you shouldn’t be in business, because you obviously don’t know how it works.
        “Private” doesn’t mean you get to opt out of society and its laws.

        • HSVhockey says:

          Come down to Alabama and see the Civil Rights Act of 1964 being enforced at Joe Redneck’s Diner… (I’m not condoning the racism, in fact it sickens me but it is out in the open).

          • Akuma Matata says:

            I’d rather have it out in the open than hidden… at least I know what I’m walking into

          • Straspey says:

            If it wasn’t for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the State of Alabama would still be able to have a law making mixed-race marriages illegal – which means that if YOU fell in love with a woman who was of a different race than yours, and you wanted to get married – you would be forced to move out of the state of Alabama…leaving behind your homes, families, friends, business associates, etc – in order to be able to live your own PRIVATE LIVES together in peace.

            It’s a lot more than eating at a redneck diner, you know.

          • MMD says:

            And that is why I said in an earlier thread that existing laws need to not only be enforced but expanded.

      • Straspey says:

        Your PRIVATELY OWNED business is subject to numerous and varied federal, state and local regulations – such as health code and zoning restrictions (you can’t run your PRIVATELY OWNED strip club within a certain distance from a school) – liquor license requirements, fire and safety codes, food-handling and sanitary regulations —

        And no — you can’t refuse to serve a gay couple in your establishment for the very same reason that you can’t refuse to serve a couple of mixed races.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Is sexual preference a protected class now, at the federal level? I thought it was state-by-state, with most states not assigning protections to them.

          • ARP says:

            Not at a Federal level, many states and even more towns have these ordinances.

            • Straspey says:

              True – it’s still fuzzy at the federal level – however, many states have passed their own laws regarding this issue. I live in New York, but below is an excerpt from the statute in the state of Oregon:

              ******************************************************************

              The Rights of Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual People

              Protections Against Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation in Housing, Public Accommodations, Jury Service, Education and Real Estate Transactions.

              State law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing or places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants or other businesses. In all but a few circumstances, landlords, businesses and education institutions may not refuse to serve you or sell or rent to you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity…”

              ************************************************************************

              Most of the regulations regarding sexual orientation center on discrimination in the hiring and the workplace. I believe the gentleman above could not refuse to hire a prospective employee for his “privately owned” business based on the applicants sexual orientation and/or marital status.

          • longfeltwant says:

            It’s unclear, actually. Sexuality is not explicitly listed in federal law, but there is some general language which some people think will soon be used to cover sexuality. We’ll see.

          • RandomHookup says:

            Sexual orientation is protected from discrimination in New Hampshire.

        • HSVhockey says:

          You letter of the law folks make me laugh. I invite you to come visit great Alabama where the racism is right out in the open. I’ve seen it happen, in front of cops, by cops (refusing service to a friend of mine obviously because of the color of his skin).

          You people that think that the Civil Rights Act of ’64 gets enforced against anybody except *maybe* a large business or somebody who is overtly being racist (like a no n-word sign in the window, BTW seen that too) are kidding yourselves.

          BTW I never said it was a “right of the shop owner” but since that law is almost never enforced, it nearly becomes a “do this but don’t get caught situation, with the attitude of the gubment not going to tell me my business.”

          So DICK Tracy, I bet you never speed or do anything else the government tells you not to do?

          • Straspey says:

            So basically, what you’re telling everybody here is that you’re a blatant racist and bigot who lives in a community which supports that type of concept – even as you blatantly violate the law.

            That’s fine.

            And, btw – I wasn’t the one who screamed in caps insisting that the government can’t tell me what to do.

            • HSVhockey says:

              Are you mentally deficient in some manner? First off, since when is putting two words in capital letters for emphasis screaming? Second of all, did you even read my post? How the hell do you get that I’m a blatant racist?

              You know what, don’t even answer those questions toolbox. Go find somebody else to bait.

          • sirwired says:

            What you said was: “I don’t need the government to tell me who I can and can provided service, through my PRIVATELY OWNED business, to.”

            It sure SOUNDS like you are saying that you have the right to deny service to anyone you don’t like.

            The government, can, does, and should, make some limited requirements upon businesses providing a public accommodation.

        • cf27 says:

          As a general rule, businesses can refuse to deal with whoever they want for any reason they want, with a few exceptions. One of the exceptions is race. Sexual orientation is not one of the exceptions. (Your state’s or municipality’s laws may vary.)

          Now, it’s usually bad business to turn down customers. And, businesses that regularly do that will eventually be forced to close down because they can’t compete with those that don’t turn down customers. But, it’s not illegal.

      • El_Fez says:

        Lets see how well that privately owned business excludes them darkies. That’ll go over well.

    • sirwired says:

      This is 1000% untrue. Religion, like race, creed, national origin, gender, and disability, are illegal to discriminate against if you are a “public accommodation” (i.e. store, restaurant, etc.)

      You can post whatever sign you want, but that does not give you the power to discriminate in an illegal fashion.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        The customer you refuse would have to be able to prove you did so based on their gender/race/disability.

        Also – sexual orientation is not a universally protected class at the private business level yet.

        • sirwired says:

          First, I never stated that sexual orientation was a protected class at this time.

          Second, I didn’t say that it would be easy to prove. I was rebutting the statement that: “Unless you’re a government agency, you as a business owner have the right to choose whom to provide your services for. At the very most, all you need to do is post a sign in the window saying “this establishment reserves the right to refuse service to anyone.””

          No such right exists for many classes of discrimination. (i.e. a Protestant refusing to serve a Catholic as part of a routine business transaction.)

          • crispyduck13 says:

            I think we misunderstand eachother. I was making the point that discrimination based on a protected class characteristic is very easy to do, especially if you post a “refuse service for any reason” sign. When I was in college I had a lot of money due to an inheritence. I went to this super classy stationary place in a very nice neighborhood to buy a nice card for my friend’s wedding. I was wearing clean but extremely casual clothing and flip flops, it was very hot. I was completely ignored by every sales person, and watched as other wealthy looking customers were helped. Could it have been because I was a woman? Or because I am Mexican looking? Maybe I was giving out a lesbian vibe that day? Or was it simply because I looked like a typical broke college student? Who knows, but no business owner is dumb enough to say “Hey Mexican, no white skin/dick/straight no service. It just doesn’t (usually) work that way in the real world.

            “You can post whatever sign you want, but that does not give you the power to discriminate in an illegal fashion.”

            Yes you should follow the law but any able bodied person has the power to break that law. Getting caught and punished is another matter.

  5. dulcinea47 says:

    Sure, go ahead and put a sign in your bakery window that says “no gays.” See how much business you lose.

    • kc2idf says:

      Hear me out:

      All of these businesses should be able to refuse service to same sex couples, and anyone else they oppose as well, because you have to ask yourself if you really want to:
      (a) give money to someone who hates you
      (b) eat food “lovingly” prepared by someone who hates you and
      (c) trust what should be one of the most memorable days in your life to someone who hates you.

      If they can refuse service, then that’s great! Those who want to, will do so, and you can support a business that wants your money, won’t poison your meal, and will at least try not to ruin an important occasion.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Yeah seriously I wish they would, it would help me figure out where not to shop. Survival of the most business savvy.

    • kennedar says:

      I, as a heterosexual woman, would love to see these signs. It would tell me which businesses to avoid giving our money to. If they are going to discriminate, they should have to make it obvious so that the rest of us know not to do business there!

    • B2BigAl says:

      And this is exactly why no business, or person, should be compelled to do business with anyone they don’t wish to. I would no sooner force a christian or Muslim establishment to serve gays, than I would a black owned establishment to serve a klansman. It’s freedom of association. If the community decides not to tolerate their behavior, then they will decide their fate as a business. We don’t need the gov passing more laws to regulate decency.

  6. Marlin says:

    “violation of the person’s conscience or religious faith.”

    So I can put up a no black, women, etc… sign and it would be legal.

    Hahahahahaa… let me guess… republican?

    • dragonfire81 says:

      Yes, Saporeto is a Republican.

    • FreshPorcupineSalad says:

      But they DO put up signs that say “We reserve the right to refuse any sale.” They are usually located by the door, go ahead, see for yourself.

      • bonzombiekitty says:

        But they don’t actually have that right. Anti-discrimination laws don’t allow public accommodations to refuse service to someone based on various protected classes. What those classes are, however, vary from state to state and sometimes town to town. Additionally, it can be hard to prove discrimination, but it’d depend on the specific case.

      • Marlin says:

        As I already wrote to your other dumb post…

        “Don’t be so obtuse.”

    • TravelWithDignity says:

      Race is not a personal choice. But religious views are. Unless you can wake up one mornign and wish to have more melanin, then your point is a bit off.

      • kenj0418 says:

        “Unless you can wake up one mornign and wish to have more melanin.”

        Every morning I wake up with a painful sunburn still hurting from the day before. Damn my ginger genes.

      • Thalia says:

        Religion is a personal choice, and a protected class.

  7. deathbecomesme says:

    Business can refuse service to anyone (long as they don’t cite race/religion/sexuality as the reason). They can just say “Sorry, we are too busy/booked that date. Im sure another caterer can accommodate your needs. Thank you”

    The flip side to that coin is the consumer also has the right to voice their concerns/protest

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Sexual preference isn’t a protected class in most states but you’re right, a business can simply say “sorry, we’re booked up” and nobody would ever now.

      I wish businesses were more upfront about their bigotry. It would make it easier for me, as a consumer, to avoid them.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Until you get a large enough sample to show a pattern of discrimination.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’m sure those lawsuits happen all the time in the wedding planning industry.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I saw it as a kid. We went into a Hotel and got a room. When a black family came in behind us they were asked if they had a reservation and turned away. I don’t believe we got the last room.

  8. dragonfire81 says:

    The ones who OPPOSE this mandate are intolerant?

    Umm, ok.

    Personally I think a law is not needed here, just let the businesses decide who they will and won’t do business with. There already are discrimination laws covering most of this anyway.

    • Ben says:

      You don’t know what “intolerant” means.

    • kobresia says:

      I find it to be an interesting paradox, one that is very obvious in my hometown.

      The citizens are so intolerant of intolerance that there were a few acts of vandalism committed against folks who dared show their support of an anti-gay amendment to the state constitution.

      Also downright silly are the religious folks who scream that they’re being religiously persecuted because there are laws passed prohibiting them from bullying, discriminating against, and persecuting their usual victims.

      I suppose it makes me a hypocrite, but I’ll admit I’m intolerant of intolerance, and experience schadenfreude whenever bad things, including acts of vandalism, happen to bigots. Better on the side of hating on the haters, than being a hater on people whose only offense is a trait that’s beyond their control.

    • Eliamias says:

      I know. I read this and thought that this had to be an Onion article. There are no words.

  9. Riroon13 says:

    I have no problem with a business refusing to serve gay couples.

    Free enterprise kicks in here, however, and I can imagine business catering to gay couples specifically popping up to serve the market.

    Think of it: If you were a gay couple planning to get married, would you rather give your money to some bigot who is only serving you because Johnny Law tells him/ her to? Or would you rather give the money to a business that wants to serve you and is more familiar with your particular needs.

    This is an easy filter to keep the money away from those that don’t care fou you anyway.

    • RandomHookup says:

      What about restaurants refusing same sex couples? What about doctors? Where would you draw the line?

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I just wish bigots were more open about their beliefs. As it is, when they are forced to serve someone they don’t like they either give terrible service or lie about being booked up. If Company A hates gay people, I’d much rather this be out in the open, so I can avoid them.

        One of the nice things about living in the south is that bigots are pretty open about their beliefs. Up north, there are just as many but they hide it better. If black kids try to enroll in their schools, they don’t call them the “n-word” they either just move or petition the school board to redistrict.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Here’s what I heard about regions and race:

          * In the South, they dislike blacks as a group, but like them as individuals

          * In the North, they like blacks as a group, but dislike them as individuals.

          I’m a Southerner who has lived in the North for a long time. I’ve seen some truth to this.

          • axhandler1 says:

            Wow, I never even realized it, but there is definitely truth to that statement. I’m a northerner who spent 5 years in the South, and I would agree with you.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            Wow, that’s a great way of putting it. Thanks!

          • Potted-Plant says:

            This is very true. I knew a good ole’ boy who would rail against blacks in the abstract, but if he thought his long-time neighbor (who was black) needed anything, he would be over there like a shot offering help. Sometimes people are better than the rhetoric they spout.

    • pgr says:

      Unfortunately NH is full of narrow minded (republican) bigots like yourself.

      • jenniferrose76 says:

        As a NH resident, I want to clarify a few things.
        First off-there is bigotry and intolerance EVERYWHERE. There are also amazing people trying to make strides against said bigotry/intolerance everywhere, including NH. Please don’t paint every resident of this state with your overly broad brush, especially considering our state is one of only 6 that allows gay marriage.

        Secondly, this bill is meeting a vast amount of opposition from most of the residents of this state-even people who aren’t exactly waving a rainbow flag think Sapareto is a douche to even bring this bill forward. And those of us who are supporters of gay rights are absolutely horrified by this bigoted “lawmaking.”

        Thirdly, our state has voted Republican, but it has also voted Democrat, as indicated here: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/states/new-hampshire.html .

        In short, pretending that one asshole touting a really horrendous bill is a solid indicator of all of us is really short-sighted and narrow-minded. That would be like me saying that all moms in Florida are murderous sociopaths, because Casey Anthony was from there. Maybe do a little fact-checking before you decide to make an obtuse and ignorant statement about an entire state.

  10. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    So people who oppose the legislation are ‘intolerant’?

    Pot, meet kettle, etc. Not that this bill really changes anything; after all, businesses already have the right to refuse service for all kinds of reasons, up to and including “I don’t like your face.”

  11. Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

    ianal – isn’t already perfectly legal to not bake a cake for a Catholic if you are a Protestant? Is that not exercising some form of freedom of religion?

    • sirwired says:

      No, it’s not. Things like catering services are “public accommodations” and therefore it is illegal for such businesses to discriminate for any one of many reasons, such as race, religion, gender, disability, etc.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      No, it’s not legal. However, in practice they can just say “sorry, we’re all booked up that day” and it would be fine.

      I’d much rather they have a posted “No Catholics” sign, so I would know to avoid the place.

  12. sirwired says:

    ‘As for those who oppose the legislation, Representative Sapareto says, “They’re completely intolerant.”‘ Oh, the irony.

    Translation: “How dare you not let me legally protect my bigotry! My particular brand of bigotry should be immune from the law!”

  13. Eyeheartpie says:

    Isn’t it great how conservatives want less regulation, unless it’s something that helps them discriminate against people who don’t share their religious beliefs?

  14. Rebecca K-S says:

    Not okay. Sexuality should be added to the discrimination in public accommodations laws.

    • tbax929 says:

      I agree with this. But since it currently isn’t, I oppose this law. The free market and court of public opinion will take care of businesses that practice intolerance. If they want to cut off their noses to spite their faces and miss out on an opportunity to make more money, that’s fine with me. There are plenty of other establishments that would only be too happy to take my filthy, lesbian money.

      • pop top says:

        “The free market and court of public opinion will take care of businesses that practice intolerance.”

        Not trying to snark on you but the free market supported all of those “Whites only” businesses during the Jim Crow era. I’m not sure that we wouldn’t have a ton of people celebrating the fact that the restaurant they’re eating in won’t serve Blacks, gays or Muslims.

        • George4478 says:

          And the free market also supported businesses who didn’t have those signs. In a population of millions is it surprising that both kinds of businesses were able to survive?

          Free market doesn’t mean that businesses you don’t like must go away; it means businesses that you do like will be available, if there are enough of you to support it.

          • Talmonis says:

            And the south was (is still in some places) a hateful hateful place. The “Whites only” signs are not something to be proud of. So you say they should just open their own business? With what money? When the bank can say “Hah, I’ll never lend to you, you’re black”, there is no way you’re starting a business unless you were born with the money to do so. Or if the state of Alabama can say “Why should we grant you a zoning permit, you’re black and we don’t like you” and shut you down there. These things HAPPENED back during the Jim Crow days. The fact that libertarians look at this and smile at the “free market” at work just blows my mind.

            • Velvet Jones says:

              No, that is not free market. As the above poster said, what happened in the south and in parts of the north was a distortion of the free market. In the south businesses were often legal prohibited from serving both races. In places were they were allowed to, social pressure in the form of violence and intimidation often prevented businesses from doing so. Trying to say that it was failed libertarianism is laughable.

          • zippy says:

            Not in many areas of the South. Businesses that were known to serve blacks were often vandalized, the owners refused bank loans and other services. The bigots knew that if some businesses saw value in providing service to everybody, they would have an advantage over them, and so discrimination had to be universal and enforced through social pressure.

        • Akuma Matata says:

          “Not trying to snark on you but the free market supported all of those “Whites only” businesses during the Jim Crow era.”
          That’s factually inaccurate. Jim Crow Laws were in place to force segregation on the populace. It didn’t matter if that bus company wanted to have just 1 ticket counter to serve everyone… they were legally required to have 2 separate counters. It systematized bigotry and racism.

    • RandomHookup says:

      In New Hampshire, it already is.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Ah, I’m not familiar with most of the state level PA laws. So it seems like this law is… illegal?

  15. Storie says:

    You know what? Screw ‘em. I don’t want to give them my money anyway. I’d rather a business just say “no, we won’t help you,” rather than deal with catty comments and a half-ass work ethic.

    They should take the bill a step further, though, and require businesses to post publicly what populations they’ll refuse to serve. I don’t want to waste my time getting quotes from vendors only to have half of them leave when they find out I’m marrying a dude. You don’t want to serve Gays, Muslims, Purple People Eaters? Then put a sign in your window, and let the free market vote with its dollars.

  16. tungstencoil says:

    I have two minds about this:

    On the one hand, the Libertarian in me thinks all private businesses have the right to conduct their business as they see fit, including not serving people for any reason whatsoever. Yes, any reason at all.

    On the other hand, we don’t live in that world… and if we’re going to enforce that businesses must not discriminate based upon things like race, religion, disability, age, gender, than we should include sexual orientation as well.

    • KlueBat says:

      It would be an interesting social and economic experiment to see a town temporarily allow businesses to discriminate on any basis they so choose. Race, sex, religion, disability, or whatever.

      I would be interested to see how many businesses took advantage of this and how the town reacted to said businesses. Of course the most interesting bit would be to see if the discriminating or non-discriminating businesses did better during the trial window.

      I know that this will likely never ever happen, but the libertarian in me likes to think about these things.

    • MMD says:

      Libertarians: “Any law that’s not specifically designed in my self-interest is bad!”

      I’m glad you recognize that we don’t live in that world and that we never will.

      • Velvet Jones says:

        Glad to see you showing you complete ignorance of libertarianism. Stop listening to MSNBC.

        • tungstencoil says:

          No, I’m not, and no I don’t.

          Libertarianism is actually a fairly vague term, but I’ll go ahead and bite here:

          I made that comment from the point of view that I think it isn’t the government’s place to dictate what kinds of service a private business should provide. This would include who they server or when. So long as their providing of said services don’t infringe upon others individual rights, we’re good.

          You’d argue (I think) that the socially liberal aspect of libertarians would cause them to put the individual right of the patron above the right of the business owner. Fine – that’s a point to argue, but I would reply that it isn’t the role of the government to enforce such social norms.

          • Don't Bother says:

            He/She referring to MMD.

          • Bsamm09 says:

            That wasn’t a reply to you. But good response though.

          • Velvet Jones says:

            Yes, I was referring to MMD’s comment. You know how I know that Libertarianism is the truest and purest form of government? Because it is hated by both sides of the mainstream. Neo-cons despise it with a passion, as they really want big government and absolute power, despite their claims to the contrary. Liberals hate it because it takes government out of the picture and seeks to eliminate their nanny state. I was listening to Glenn Beck attack Ron Paul with all of his might the other day. He basically called Paul the anti-christ. Yet the same attack speech just as easily could have been delivered by Rachel Maddow. They all hate freedom, they just seek different ways to enslave you.

            • Talmonis says:

              Truest and purest? I think not. Government’s primary purpose it the well being of it’s citizenry. Libertarians believe that the only purpose of government is to enforce contracts (which, if precedent has anything to do with it, will only be against the poor), property law (same) and National Defense (so nobody can take their money…).

      • Don't Bother says:

        I think you’ve described pretty much any political stance there…

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        If a business doesn’t like “my kind”, I’d rather them be open about it instead of giving crappy service or lying about being booked up. If they openly posted about which groups they don’t like, then it would allow me to avoid them, even if “my kind” is on the OK list.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      “On the other hand, we don’t live in that world… and if we’re going to enforce that businesses must not discriminate based upon things like race, religion, disability, age, gender, than we should include sexual orientation as well. “

      You assume, incorrectly, that laws against discrimination are actually successful at reducing discrimination.

    • sirwired says:

      Anyone has the right to refuse service for any reason?

      What about doctors? You are a wealthy black man traveling about. Every doctor in a town you happen to be visiting is a bigot. You start suffering from a heart attack. Do those doctors have the right to stand silently while they watch you die, solely because your skin is the wrong color? In what society would that be acceptable behavior? Is that what Libertarians truly think?

      We do not allow certain categories of discrimination in “public accommodations” for good and proper reasons.

      • tungstencoil says:

        Yes I do, in principle. Sorry that that doesn’t work for you. Your “what-if” scenario isn’t terribly realistic.

        If I’m going to espouse my entire political philosophy on the matter, I would add that I believe that the government has an intrinsic responsibility to provide some forms of licensing and regulation (arguably un-libertarian of me, depending upon your libertarian flavor). One of those would, indeed, be medical services. You shouldn’t be able to call yourself a surgeon unless, well, you’ve been educated, trained, and licensed. With that would come requirements that you don’t discriminate.

        In your world – to take it to an extreme – a mom & pop own a bed-and-breakfast in an historic home… they wish to upgrade, and are forced to spend hundreds of thousands extra to make it completely ADA-compatible. This is fair and just? They can’t say “no thank you – that’s not our market”?

  17. yungjerry703 says:

    I have a friend that owns a bridal shop. She told me that most bridal shops in the area discriminate against anyone that isn’t having a straight marriage. She loves the business it brings her and her customers loves her in return by referring her shop to their friends.

  18. WhoLikesPie? says:

    If the businesses want to refuse service to someone then who cares, they’re a private business. They probably wont survive if they’re picky though, so in the end it’ll work itself out.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Well, the problem with that idea is that it assumes there are other options that would become more popular. I mean, I live in the suburbs of a huge city, so there are lots of choices for me when it comes to, say, bakeries. But some of my friends live out in rural areas, and there may only be one bakery in town. So, unless they either want a cake from a box mix and canned icing, or to drive for up to two hours, they *have* to use that one bakery for special occasions. Now imagine that the bakery has the right to refuse service? Free market competition isn’t likely to work out that problem, because there’s no competition. That’s where legislated bigotry really causes a huge problem.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Your friends would prefer really crappy service from a local baker who hates them (or just being lied to about being booked up) vs. being turned down entirely?

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      Except we tried something like that before. It ended with engrained racism and one group unable to get similar levels of services. Power and wealth gets concentrated further and a given group unable to make any progress. If group X is a minority, and the majority group Y have no problem discriminating against X then few services will be available to group X. Example: Banks are owned by whites, and whites don’t have a problem discriminating against blacks, then blacks can’t get a loan to start a new business.

  19. KlueBat says:

    1930 called. They want their ignorance fueled hate back.

    • LadyTL says:

      To be fair it never really went away. It just shifts to whichever group it is deemed socially acceptable to hate against.

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Which is apparently now ‘fat people'; especially ‘fat people on airplanes’.

  20. Cat says:

    As an ordained Universal Life minister, I will gladly marry anything to anything else for a $100 donation to my church. Times are hard, tithing (We call it “tipping”) is down, and our facilities have fallen into disrepair. We currently need to upgrade our Fire … ur, Holy Water fountain.

    • Velvet Jones says:

      Hey, nice to see fellow ULC minister on here. Same goes with me. I’m actually registered with the county as available for service. So far no one has ever called me to perform a ceremony. I did offer to officiate my friends wedding, but him and the wife went to Vegas instead.

      • El_Fez says:

        We should have a club or something. I’ve been ordained by the ULC for years now! I wonder where I put my certificate?

  21. psikic says:

    So……. it is OK to protect the rights of the customer and it is also OK to ignore the rights of the merchant? Got it.

    • MMD says:

      You don’t understand the legal obligations of the merchant if you’re trying to make that point.

    • incident_man says:

      Discrimination should never be legal, no matter who would be discriminated against. According to your logic, we might as well quit fooling around, cut out all the bull$hit, and go back to the time of the Inquisition.

      • Akuma Matata says:

        “Discrimination should never be legal, no matter who would be discriminated against.”
        As a consumer, I discriminate every single day. I decide what products/services I’m going to purchase and who I’m going to purchase them from. Should what we do every single day be illegal?

        If I’m out on a sales call and I get a bad feeling about this prospect, should I not be allowed to turn down that business? Shouldn’t freedom of association apply whether I’m a buyer or a seller?

  22. PhillipSC says:

    please let them! I’ll be happy to photograph it!

  23. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    Private businesses reserve the right to refuse ANY sale regardless of reason.

    • Marlin says:

      No they do not. Don’t be so obtuse.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      Try refusing to serve a black person at your business, and see how fast you get sued.

      The issue is that sexual orientation is not a protected class, but people want it to be.

    • KlueBat says:

      Actually, they don’t! Three are countless accommodation laws on the books that say a business cannot refuse service based on Race, sex, religion, military service, or disability status.

      • Akuma Matata says:

        as if those laws prevent discrimination based on those factors… haha. Instead, people will simply hide their discrimination under some other banner that isn’t currently illegal.

  24. aloria says:

    Let those businesses dig their own grave if they want to. The amount of Internet/community shaming will take care of the problem:

    http://gawker.com/5832200/bridal-shop-refuses-to-sell-a-lesbian-a-wedding-gown

  25. chucklebuck says:

    Man, throwing “conscience” in there along with religion seems like it opens this up to anything.

    “Sorry, but I can’t in good conscience cater a wedding for X, because someone who was X did something bad to my family once”.

    (Where X in this case is “a politician”)

  26. Rebecca K-S says:

    Hot damn we’ve got a lot of (bad) amateur lawyers up in here!

  27. balthisar says:

    It’s the 21st century. As soon as a company tries to do this, they’ll be featured on the Consumerist and boycotted. That’s a better solution than making yet more new laws.

  28. CubeRat says:

    I can see this bill passing and see it really doing nothing. If passed, in a few years, it would be repealed and laughed about as one of those silly laws of bygone eras.

    There are plenty of businesses out there who will scramble and fight for the business opportunities that can be identified. There are bakeries, florists, party planners, etc that will do an excellent job and that will be rewarded by gaining more business. This is capitalism. As long as there is no law that says ie ‘Gay couples can’t order from Catholic bakeries’, I don’t think it will do anything other than cause public condemnation of any business that actually said, “no, we don’t serve gay couples’.

  29. and_another_thing says:

    _Finally_ atheists won’t have to put up with religious claptrap.

    :P

  30. Wiggs says:

    I live in NH, and our current legislature (which was steamrolled by the Tea Party in the last elections on a “jobs” platform, about which they’ve done exactly nothing to date, instead choosing to attempt to legislate their own morality. I don’t know what we’re going to do when we lose our progressive Governor next year…) is a complete embarrassment.

    I’m really hoping that the people of my state have figured out what a terrible mistake we collectively made, and intend to throw out all of these idiots this year. A guy can hope, right?

    • cmdr.sass says:

      “our current legislature (which was steamrolled by the Tea Party in the last elections on a “jobs” platform, about which they’ve done exactly nothing to date”

      NH now has just about the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 5% while the national average is currently 8.5%. Prior to the election the NH unemployment rate rate was up around 7%. Whether his has anything to do with the legislature is left as an exercise for the reader, but it is factually incorrect to say that the job situation has not improved

  31. Bsamm09 says:

    I submitted this last night (don’t know if they read my submission though) and I thought it would get over 250+ comments. I doubt I’ll be wrong.

    FWIW It’s pretty clear my political leanings from my posts on here I am fiscally conservative and like to see businesses succeed. One thing I never understood is why you would openly not take someone’s money as a business owner. Race, sexual orientation, gender etc discrimination by businesses is stupid. The only thing that matters is if their checks don’t bounce.

    The only thing I care about a customer doing after the sale is complete is praising my business and referring everyone they meet. Don’t care who you sleep with at night or anything else for that matter.

    • Rachacha says:

      I worked for a business that did not refuse business, we just made ourselves uncompetitive in pricing to encourage certain clients to go elsewhere. We were a service oriented business and our services typically took 2-3 months to complete. There were some clients that complained about everything and it took our staff 3-4 times more hours to complete these clients projects when compared with others because of all the complaining and running to senior management over non issues. For future jobs we increased our cost estimate by 3-4 times to compensate for the additional resources required with this client. If he accepted the proposal we covered our costs, and if he went elsewhere we were happy as we had room to work on projects that were more profitable.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        I agree 100% with that. I am in a service industry also and we sometimes have to “fire” difficult clients by raising our hourly rate.

  32. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Torn. I think businesses should generally have a right to refuse service, but there is a fine line. I certainly don’t think they should be able to refuse service based on race. I would think a restaurant refusing to serve a gay couple would be way out of line as well. But I don’t immediately condemn them for refusing to cater their wedding. I would have to think about this one long and hard. I am not exactly a gay marriage supporter, but I don’t condemn the idea either.

  33. Sian says:

    How does it make any sense? I don’t carry if somebody is marrying their dachshund, if I’m running a bakery and they want a cake for the event, their money is as good as anyone else’s.

  34. energynotsaved says:

    Wasn’t there a post not long ago where the caterer included lots of pork for the Muslim couple? I wondered at the time if that business was simply expressing their opinions of Muslims.

    I think I’d want a caterer who actually wants my business and won’t work to destroy my event. I’d rather know a business isn’t friendly to “my kind of people” so I can avoid it.

  35. MerlynNY says:

    If business are going to do that then all couples getting married (same sex or otherwise) should avoid them like the plague. We’ll see how fast they change their minds when the have zero business.

  36. Cicadymn says:

    People are so intolerant of the intolerant.

  37. vliam says:

    Anyone that would deny their services to you based on prejudices, is not someone that is worthy of your patronage.

    It’s a problem that solves itself.

  38. Jules Noctambule says:

    I’ll be more than glad to pick up all that extra business. Hell, my newest ad specifically targets that market and if it offends the religious bigots and keeps them out of my shop, all the better.

  39. teamplur says:

    People already have the right to refuse service, but for something stupid like this is not OK. If certain bussinesses don’t want to cater to SScouples, they should just be rude assholes and make their opinions clear without refusing to provide service. That should be enough that a SScouple might want to spend their money with someone who isn’t a total ass, or if they have no other options, use them anyways, then sue for a refund for providing shitty service. Win-win?

    • theblackdog says:

      if they have no other options, use them anyways, then sue for a refund for providing shitty service. Win-win?

      Then they end up on Consumerist with all of us saying to the OP “Why the hell did you book them anyway?!”

  40. TravelWithDignity says:

    A wedding is an incredibly personal event even if it involves many people and multiple services. I worked in the wedding industry for >5 years as a cinematographer for wedding films. Being involved in an event that one believes is personally very wrong and an affront to ones religion by force, simply because someone else wanted you, is not a free association.

    Because weddings are primarily a religious issue, the choice to be a vender should also be a religious issue. Your presence is blessing and affirming the wedding and the participants of the wedding. But unlike guests attending the wedding, a vendor also has a fiscal tie to the wedding, so depending on the value and priority given by the couple, a vender may have even more to do with a wedding and its function than most guests.

    But that also means I think the states should get out of the wedding business altogether and quite the shell game of allowing vs not allowing different kinds of weddings. Weddings are a personal religious event and should be treated as such.

    No one can be forced to attend a wedding they believe is wrong (for whatever reason). Likewise, no business should be forced to attend a wedding, video a wedding, take photos of a wedding, make the dress for a wedding, provide catering for a wedding, etc etc, if they believe that the couple mock their religious beliefs.

    Yes this means people will get offended. Get over it. You do not have a guarantee of never being offended. Other people have the right to free speech and they can say things you don’t like. And others have the right to practice what ever religion or non-religion they want, so you are not free from being offended that Tom Cruise eats his baby’s placenta as a part of his belief in science fiction writer Ron L. Hubbard’s religion Scientology.

    • philpm says:

      Weddings are a personal religious event and should be treated as such.

      The ceremony may be a personal religious event, but marriage as an institution is not. It is a civil contract used to determine property, custody and inheritance rights. What people do about the ceremony is their business, but marriage is still controlled by the government.

      • TravelWithDignity says:

        just because the government controls the paper document that is registered for tax, custody,visitation, property purposes does not mean that the ceremony has anything to do with that document.

        • Thalia says:

          Which is why the Catholic Church can refuse to marry someone who is not catholic, or not the right brand of catholic, or yes even not the right race.

          But can the wedding dress maker refuse to make a wedding dress because the bride happens to be a different race from the groom? The law currently says no. It doesn’t specify regarding sexual orientation but then, neither does this law.

      • little stripes says:

        And not all wedding ceremonies are religious. I have plenty of atheist friends who had a ceremony but it wasn’t at all religious.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      Weddings are supposed to be religious? News to me! I thought they were a legal ceremony. Guess I did it all wrong.

      • TravelWithDignity says:

        no. this is where most get it wrong. The wedding ceremony is religious. The signing of a wedding certificate which often happens in the county court house lobby is the legal process.

        There is no requirement to have a wedding ceremony in order to be married.

  41. maruawe says:

    A business can under federal law refuse to do business with a customer for any reason..
    so it will be their decision an a case by case basis… But to refuse to do business because of a gender basis may be questionable. But they can refer back to federal law that gives them the right to refuse service to a customer..

  42. axiomatic says:

    Bigoted companies have every right to be bigoted just as you have every right to let everyone know they are bigoted.

    Do I find their bigotry awful. Absolutely! But there is no law stating you can’t be a dick.

  43. hansolo247 says:

    I think that the businesses should be free to serve whomever they choose.

    With that said, if a business wants to refuse service to people, then they can lose business and another will take their place. It makes no business sense to limit your market unless you are just a downright terrible person or don’t like money. I’ve also consulted my Rules of Acquisition, and my conclusion is that profit is profit, no matter where it comes from.

    When you put laws in place (and jail time for people that don’t obey? How much will it cost to enforce?), you’ll just need to put more laws on the books saying they have to do it with a subjectively-defined smile and subjectively-defined enthusiasm.

    Racism and sexism has no place in a society, but I look upon proposed laws like this in an equally bad light.

    • Greg Ohio says:

      The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. No one goes to jail for it, although they are occasionally sued. The vast, vast majority of business owners obey it without issue.

      There’s a conflict between two rights: (1) to be a bigot, and (2) to enjoy freedom from bigotry. The latter has superceeded the first for 48 years.

      Note that Sapareto is lying about what he’s protecting. Churches and ministers are still able to refuse whomever they want. Bakers, caterers, hotels, restaurants, etc. are not.

  44. crispyduck13 says:

    Last time I check homosexuals are not yet a protected class (a la women, minorities, disabled, etc) in the private sector so (I think) business already have the right to refuse service. Churches have the right to do or not do whatever they want in terms of services. For example I wanted to get married at my childhood church, but because my husband is not Greek Orthodox and he was not interested in converting the priest wouldn’t marry us. We found a lovely outdoor venue instead. They denied my request and it’s legal for me to marry in this state, there is no legal basis for me to sue. Employment discrimination is another thing, and New Hampshire in fact does protect sexual orientation.

    I don’t understand what it is this hilariously named ‘Sapareto’ is trying to accomplish here. If I were part of a lesbian couple and a business refused to take my money for services related to my wedding, I would not sue them, I would paper the fucking town with the story so that all the other homosexual couples know to not waste their time and take their money to a business that actually deserves it.

    It doesn’t really say whether the problem of discrimination lawsuites are a big problem up there, so maybe this is another “pass it before it’s really an issue” law (lots of those lately huh?). Someone can’t bring a case in civil court to sue a business for refusing to serve them unless they are part of a protected class and can prove the business tossed them specifically because of their race/gender/etc. Even then I don’t know the details, do private businesses still retain the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason? Does this vary by state? Doesn’t this Sapareto idiot know this already?

    • mischlep says:

      Depends on the state and such. In New Jersey for example, sexual orientation is a protected class and a church that agreed to make a boardwalk pavilion open to the public for rentals in exchange for a development permit was sued when they prevented a gay couple from renting the pavilion for a civil union ceremony.

      http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/judge-rules-favor-same-sex-couple-discrimination-case

    • RandomHookup says:

      There is no real right to refuse service to “anyone for any reason”. In NH, the protection for sexual orientation extends across, not only employment, but public accommodation. Now, one can argue if some of these businesses meet the definition of public accommodation, but a restaurant or hotel, for example, just can’t refuse to serve a same sex couple.

      • TravelWithDignity says:

        there is no context under which a private wedding ceremony can possibly be construed as a public service. Each wedding is entirely unique unless you go to the drive through chapel of Elvis in Vegas for a wedding.

        • RandomHookup says:

          There’s a difference between the ceremony and the service offered. A wedding chapel open to the public might very well be considered a “public accommodation” under the law (IANAL, so I can’t be certain). A church can certainly refuse the service as they aren’t open to the public and have a religious exemption under most laws. If you are restaurant and have a room to rent, you probably can’t refuse to rent it to a mixed race couple (you may have other reasons…)

          • bonzombiekitty says:

            You are more or less correct. There was a case in NJ where a same sex couple was suing a church that refused to allow them use of a gazebo that was owned by the church. The couple’s argument that even though the gazebo was owned by a religious organization, it has let it be used by anyone, regardless of whether or not they belonged to said church, for a fee so that makes it the gazebo a public accommodation. Therefore, since the NJ equal rights law put sexual orientation as a protected class, they could sue. The NJ supreme court agreed, ruling in favor of the couple, specifically laying out why they considered the gazebo a public accommodation and does not fit the religious exemption.

  45. Rachacha says:

    The simple solution would be for citizens of NH to walk into the state house loaded with signs reading “Gays only” and plaster them above every drinking fountain and restroom door. For even a greater effect have the signs read “Whites Only” and cross out whites and replace with gays.

  46. ancientone567 says:

    Well separation of Church and state so you can’t fix that. Stores have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. However, it may come back to bite them in the ass.

  47. Mrs. w/1 child says:

    You could always cite other reasons for not accepting business. A popular excuse when not wanting to deal with someone without having them screech and wail “DISCRIMINATION” is to say you are too busy or don’t have the staffing level at this time.

    Example:
    Person: Hi, I would like to make an appointment to discuss my upcoming commitment ceremony. (Please note heterosexual couples have “commitment ceremonies” if they are not traditionally religious, so no weeping and gnashing your teeth about how gay people are so discriminated against.)
    Business Owner: What date have you chosen for your ceremony?
    Person: We were thinking sometime in June because we are nudists who worship the god June and that is the best month to hold our nude ceremony. Ya know, good weather and our god June gives extra sparkle magic points in the afterlife for commitments made in June.
    Business: Sorry, this summer is already fully booked so we wouldn’t be able to host your ceremony.

    See how easy and polite that was? I think instead of laws, we need a return to civility. Oh, and special interest groups need to understand that you can’t force people to do things they don’t want to. You can only piss off people and suffer the (admittedly subtle) backlash against those same special interest groups. Feminism – I’m looking at you!

  48. Firevine says:

    Answer to headline: Yep. A business should be able to refuse service to anyone they wish.

    I personally, couldn’t give one rat turd if two guys or two women get married. It affects my life zero. I am pro gay marriage by virtue of there not being laws dictating either way. If church A doesn’t want to marry gays, and church B does, let the gays go to church B. I think this whole ordeal is asininely silly. I want a repeal of marriage license laws too actually. The government should not dictate who can marry who. Also, I personally think most of the gay folks I have met have been pretty cool. I’ve got no problems with them.

    If a business wants to refuse service to social group X, let them lose the money, and get the negative reviews on Yelp or whatever.

  49. lunasdude says:

    OK, Full Disclosure here. I’m gay and I do not believe that ANY business or Religious organization should be forced to accommodate ANYBODY, unless there getting Governmental funding in any way or the law states they have to accommodate you.
    IF they are a totally private business then no, sorry, right to refuse for whatever reason they chose within the law.
    OTOH: there is absolutely no need for this law, it is far reaching and WILL cause some business to purposely discriminate just because they can.
    One last thought, most Gay people are “DINKS”, (double income no kids) and they mostly have more disposable income, so bushiness would be STUPID to turn away cold hard cash.

    • RandomHookup says:

      So you are okay if a restaurant or retailer refuses your business because you are gay?

      • lunasdude says:

        No, but he would have the “right” to because it’s his private business.
        History has shown when Gay people try to “force” people to deal with them if they don’t want to it always backfires.
        Example pushing for gay marriage during the 8yrs of George Bush’s administration got us 28 states that have Anti gay marriage laws where there were none before.
        I’m more for working with people then forcing people to accept gay marriage no matter what.
        You push Americans we tend to push back.

  50. powdered beefmeat says:

    If someone was against same sex marriage why couldn’t they just say “sorry I’m booked.” Why make a law? If you don’t mind then by all means cater to the needs of your customer. It just seems like a waste of time. Mr. Sapareto needs to focus on real issues.

  51. soj4life says:

    It will only invite people to discriminate against people for any reason they want to. Half of Mississippi does not think the races should mix, I bet a bill down there would cause a drop in Interracial marriage.

  52. jono_0101 says:

    im not going to be able to read all these comments, and im sure someone must have said it by now, but the thing i dont understand is that if there is a business that doesnt want to serve gay people, black people, etc., why would someone that fits that class of people want to patronize their establishment? even if the law forces the restaurant owner to serve you, hes probably just going to rub his balls all over your food and spit in your drink, with no other provocation (like being an asshole, which will usually accomplish the ball rubbing). why would you want to force someone to serve you when you know you are going to get subpar service on your food, wedding arrangements, customer service, or whatever that particular business does? im not saying its right or that i support bigotry in any way, i just dont understand why people would want to give their money to someone who hates them and STILL not going to treat them like the rest of their customers

  53. Meghanp91 says:

    In Canada you can’t do that, you’ll get taken to court. My high school English teacher is gay, and he and his partner were barred from a florist who refused to sell to them because of their sexual orientation. He took it to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, sued them, and he won. They had to close the business.

  54. HogwartsProfessor says:

    No one is forcing them to do business with anyone. But legislating their intolerance is intolerable. When are people going to get their collective heads out of their asses about this stuff? I am so tired of living here with all this SHIT floating around. The US is turning into a giant toilet bowl.

  55. Gambrinus says:

    Sure, they should be allowed to refuse service. They should also be able to be boycotted.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Maybe they should be forced to put out a sign: “We really don’t want to do business with gay people”.

  56. HogwartsProfessor says:

    No one is forcing them to do business with anyone. But legislating their intolerance is intolerable. When are people going to get their collective heads out of their asses about this stuff? I am so tired of living here with all this SHIT floating around. The US is turning into a giant toilet bowl.

  57. sumocat says:

    I think businesses should post signs at their entrances, in clear view, detailing exactly what types of people they will not serve, similar to the perfectly legal “No Pets” signs. That way I won’t make the mistake of patronizing any businesses with any such signs.

  58. 0t says:

    Sorry but for some of us this is a deep religious issue… if a private business wants to provide a service to someone, that’s their business, and if they don’t, that’s their business. People will vote with their feet one way or another, but do realize that just as their are plenty of people who will walk away from such business, there are plenty of people who would go out of their way to support them on this particular issue.

    That’s why I’m glad that the NY law allows opt out exemptions for religious reasons.

    • little stripes says:

      “Sorry but for some of us this is a deep religious issue..”

      So your religious views are hate and bigotry? Good to know!

      Do you wear mixed-fabric clothing? Are you fucking without being married/ Do you eat shrimp? If so, you’re one heck of a hypocrite!

    • little stripes says:

      And you realize that refusing service to black people was once considered a “deep personal issue”, right? Bigots such as yourself are on the wrong side of history. How proud you must be of your disgusting hatred!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      We’re turning into Iran. They run everything by religion. And look how backward they went when the fundamentalists took over. Faith is fine; being an ignorant bigot and using God to back up a bunch of hateful bullshit is not.

      Before you say anything, RELIGION IS A HUMAN CONSTRUCT. I don’t think God cares too much or gay people wouldn’t even exist. Also, it’s not a choice for most people. Go look up some research and blow the cobwebs out yer brain.

  59. jiarby says:

    Small sign in window:

    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone… especially people who do stuff we don’t like, or that smell funny, and especially people that act weird.”

  60. ThunderRoad says:

    Add a requirement that any business refusing to serve same-sex patrons much place a sign in 144pt font on their door indicating such.

  61. Kuri says:

    Well, on the one hand, I would never feel right forcing a business to do business with whom they do not like.

    On the other hand, they would have to be idiots to refuse the money that the legalization of same sex partnerships would no doubt bring in.

    On a third hand, I would rather not a business be forced to do business as they might intentionally do a half assed job, for instance a sub par tasting dinner that sends people fo the bathroom, or sneaking insults onto the cake.

  62. MJDickPhoto says:

    I am sorry if I sound like a bigot on this, but I agree with the business.
    We Reserve the Right to Refuse Business.

    I wouldn’t work with a client that didn’t speak english, got the reason that they wouldn’t know what I was telling them to do, so it took 3 to 4 times as long and I lost business, meaning lost money.

    I would do 1 to 2 non fluent photo shoots vs 8 to 10 that were fluent in the same 2 hour period. which ones do you think I made money on?

    I would think this specific issue could be more challenging to provide for situations like this. from a business stand point, I really understand. if you know how to handle a certain situation and know where to put what, then you know how to make sure your client is happy. if you are doing business just for the money, you will not give your all, thus not pleasing the client. if your client is not happy, the negative word of mouth is detrimental to your business, thus lowering your bottom line.

    • little stripes says:

      So you’re a bigot, then.

      “I don’t mean to sound racist, but…”

      Same thing, different words.

      You do realize that no, you cannot refuse service on the basis of discrimination, right?

    • PunditGuy says:

      “I wouldn’t work with a client that didn’t speak english”

      “That” is for objects. “Who” is for people. “English” as a language is always capitalized.

      You may want to learn a thing or two about that language that’s so important to you.

  63. RvLeshrac says:

    Exactly the same reasoning that was used to justify slavery and the holocaust.

  64. GarretN says:

    Next thing you know, businesses will be allowed to discriminate against people not wearing shirts or shoes. This doesn’t need to be legal or illegal, people forget that there are other ways to handle things outside of a court of law.

    Stage a legal protest outside of their store, make international news, start your own cake shop, I’m sure there are plenty of ways to deal with this. You can’t outlaw jerks, nor should you.

    This is not the same as saying someone should tolerate that behavior. If you don’t think its right, by all means, be mad as hell, do something about it. Plenty can and will support you, plenty will probably support the other side. It’ll work out.

    I was never a huge spongebob fan, but recently I was watching an episode with my kids, and Patrick said something like “Who did this to you spongebob? Tell me and we’ll handle this like men — we’ll sue ‘em.”

  65. cecilsaxon says:

    Gay folks sure do get a whole lot of attention and press to address their grievances. If nothing else Gay lobbying efforts rock!

    If I had a business that offered a service for a fee I would sell that service to anyone that would pay. I would not care if they were marrying a fudgesicle, I would bake them a cake, print a banner, make frilly crap with their initials on it or whatever else wedding related businesses do.

  66. SWILK3RS says:

    A private business should reserve the right to refuse service to anyone they want. This doesn’t make the bigotry and intolerance right but nonetheless should be respected as a freedom. Why would you want to give your money to a business that would do this anyway?

  67. scifiguy1228 says:

    I can see this extending to pharmacists not supplying the morning after pill due to religious beliefs. That happens already, but a bill like this would make it illegal to sue the pharmacy. Slippery slope…