Heritage Foundation Scholar Ryan Anderson broke from the mold at an LGBT summit hosted by The Atlantic Thursday to defend the rights of small business owners who refuse to serve gay weddings on religious grounds.
“Rather than balancing of rights, I say everyone should have equal rights,” Anderson told the crowd. “The Baker is free to bake cakes in accordance with her beliefs and same-sex couples are free to get whatever cake they want from whatever bakery wants to bake it.”
While the U.S. Supreme Court has granted same-sex couples across the country the right to marry, some activists say they are still being denied fundamental rights. Small business owners with more traditional religious convictions have been caught in the crosshairs.
Two of the more prominent examples of gay rights and private business conflicting involved a baker and florist. Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips and Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronelle Stutzman both refused to participate in gay wedding ceremonies because of their religious beliefs. Both have provided services to gay individuals in the past, but were opposed to providing services to a gay wedding ceremony.
After significant public backlash, the government order the small business owners to participate in gay wedding ceremonies. Anderson, though, recalled when he was denied the ability to speak at an event because the hotel hosting the event disagreed with his defense of traditional marriage, and defended that decision.
“They should be free to run their hotel in accordance with that belief,” he said. “My right to speech, free speech right, doesn’t mean anyone else has to give me a podium or write a speech for me.”
“I think if you’re going to be a hotel and host public events, like this theater, I would tend to think what you want to do is find the best speakers on all sides,” Anderson added. “But I’m not going to force them to do this. I think they have the right to do the wrong thing.”
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