Religious liberty advocates win in court of public opinion
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 7/24/13, 01:42 pm
While support for same-sex marriage seems to advance on every front, freedom of religion and association still carries weight in American public opinion, according to a recent Rasmussen Poll.
The poll asked participants, “Suppose a Christian wedding photographer has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage. If asked to work a same-sex wedding ceremony, should that wedding photographer have the right to say no?” The Christian Broadcasting Network reported that 85 percent of respondents said the Christian should have the right to refuse service, and only 8 percent disagreed.
The poll, conducted earlier this month, included 1,000 adults surveyed by telephone.
The Wisconsin Gazette reported the poll also showed a majority of Americans support private businesses’ and organizations’ right to set their own standards on a host of issues, including a higher drinking age in bars, dress codes in Jewish delis, and the beliefs of leaders in college campus organizations.
It’s a pertinent question and an encouraging result, especially for Christians facing challenges to their freedom around the country. Changing laws have forced Christians to confront the discrepancy between their beliefs and new anti-discrimination policies, with varying results. Mirroring the question in the Rasmussen poll, a Christian photographer in New Mexico is fighting fines for refusing to chronicle a same-sex wedding. The New Mexico Supreme Court heard her case in March but has yet to issue a ruling. A florist in Washington was sued in April for refusing to decorate a homosexual wedding. And the ACLU took a baker from Colorado to court in June for refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual ceremony.
As businesses around the country wait for precedent-setting rulings, there is some comfort in knowing the court of public opinion isn’t entirely against them, even if no one knows where the nation’s high court court stands, at least not yet.