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"Tomaras,Deborah" <[log in to unmask]>
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Thu, 2 Apr 2015 16:52:54 +0000
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I agree with Wendy, as well.

I doubt that many people would currently defend the "freedom" of a business to refuse to serve at inter-racial weddings, or African-American weddings. Or at wedding of the Irish, or Japanese-Americans, or Jews, or many other groups that have been discriminated against in the public (and private) sphere throughout our country's history.

Interestingly, in the not-too-distant past religion was also used as part of the justification of the enslavement and later segregation of black people. I hope that this country can collectively move beyond the hiding of bigotry behind a more socially acceptable façade.

Deborah Tomaras
Library Cataloger
South Portland Public Library
482 Broadway
South Portland, ME 04106
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207-767-7660 x6

The views expressed in this email are my own, and not necessarily representative of South Portland or the South Portland Public Library

-----Original Message-----
>>> Wendy Knickerbocker<[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>4/2/2015 11:52 AM >>>
The First Amendment, and the rights that it gives us all, is intended to protect the public sphere--not individuals per se. We all have the right to believe (or not) and to practice (or not) as our own consciences dictate. Yet no single person's conscience can dictate conditions in the public sphere, where we all dwell equally. The Indiana RFRA gives *corporations* the right to refuse services according to their religious beliefs, which is not part of the federal act. When businesses (either as corporations or individuals) can choose whom to serve, they are not conducting business freely in the public sphere. (As was ruled for the restaurants and other entities doing business in the public sphere in the South in the 1960s.) Since Baronell Stutzman is a florist doing business in a state where gays will be having weddings, then she should not arrange flowers for
*any* weddings, or hire someone else as a flower arranger, someone who doesn't object to handling the weddings that she cannot in good conscience participate in. Her religious beliefs do not trump the religious beliefs of the couple getting married. Her right to do business is not covered by the First Amendment. To have tolerance and equality for all in the public sphere, public enterprises must be equally available to all.

Tolerance should indeed go both ways. We all must participate, to protect the freedoms of us all.
Wendy Knickerbocker, Castine
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