There is some outrageous outrage being expressed all over the internet because of Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Let it suffice to say that a whole lot of people think you shouldn’t discriminate against people because they are gay. Okay, I can agree with that, in general. But, “in general” isn’t where we usually have a problem. A problem usually comes up in specific.
The Indiana law, and the other RFRA laws, do not allow a person or business to discriminate or refuse service to a gay person under normal circumstances; the laws provide some protection to allow a person or business to refuse service in specific cases where doing so would violate their religious conscience. In other words, a business owner can say, “I’ll gladly do a photo session for you, but don’t ask me to affirm your gay marriage by attending your ceremony and taking your actual wedding photos.”
To illustrate this concept further, let us consider a hypothetical case where a gay couple wants to hire a surrogate mother. Two gays rent a womb. Actually a quick internet search will reveal it’s not all that hypothetical. There are women who hire out their bodies to produce children for others. They are small business owners who provide a valuable service. If they offer this service to someone, can the state force them to offer it to anyone?