Consumer issues will remain after Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling

Reporter Linda Greenhouse had this op-ed in yesterday's New York Times about issues that have arisen and will remain if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on gay marriage. She notes a "a pipeline’s worth of cases in which florists, bakers and owners of wedding venues are invoking claims of conscience to shield them from having to do business with gay men and lesbians." And she notes a bill pending in the Virginia House of Delegates that would permit any licensed business, private or public, to refuse service to gay or bisexual people because of “religious or moral convictions” held by the business owner “with respect to same-sex ‘marriage’ or homosexual behavior.”

At Slate, writer Mark Stern writes that the Virginia bill would have broad application:

Because the bill applies to both private and public enterprises, and because these enterprises almost always need some kind of “license, registration, or certificate” from the government, its reach is essentially endless. University professors could refuse to teach gay students; doctors in state-run hospitals could refuse to treat gay patients. Hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and bars could simply put up a sign reading “No gays allowed.” Police officers and ambulance drivers could refuse to aid not just gay couples, but also gay individuals. County clerks and DMVs could turn away gays at the door. Public school teachers could kick out gay students. Daycares could refuse to look after the children of gay couples.

On the other hand, this Washington Post article discusses a range of Virginia legislative proposals to ban discrimination against homosexuals.

As Linda Greenhouse observes: "However the justices proceed to resolve the increasingly audacious claims of religious conscience in a post-Hobby Lobby, post-marriage equality world, it’s safe to predict that politicians will be confronting these issues under the glare of a public spotlight. [Politicians] who expect the Supreme Court to give them a pass from having to take a stand are in for a rude surprise."

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