This morning, I published a piece at The Gospel Coalition titled “Three Reasons Why Religious Liberty Laws Don’t Discriminate.” In my original post, I had three major points for why religious liberty legislation is unlike invidious discrimination.
- Invidious discrimination is an action that is legally required.
- Invidious discrimination is an action that is systemic.
- Invidious discrimination is an action that is irresolvable apart from government intervention.
I want to add a fourth reason.
Invidious discrimination is an action that is irrational. Invidious discrimination makes arbitrary, non-meaningful distinctions between persons. For example, regarding race, it makes no rational sense to segregate or discriminate against a class of people because of skin color. That is invidious. Skin color is irrelevant to what makes a person a fully integrated person. A person is a person regardless of skin color. In the cases involving bakers, florists, and photographers, they’re objecting to a false belief about marriage—namely, that two persons of the same-sex can form authentic marriages. It would be irrational, for example, for a baker to deny services to an interracial couple because a) the Bible doesn’t prohibit interracial marriages; b) interracial couples form real marriages. What makes the distinction very stark is that bakers, florists, and photographers object to the notion that gays and lesbians can enter authentic marriages, not who can marry since that is limited to complementary persons and based on sound reason and logic. This is not ultimately a question of who can enter marriage, but what marriage really is. And it isn’t irrational to believe that only men and women can form authentic marriages.