As I have mentioned before, heterosexual supremacists are starting to recognize that the kulturkampf over marriage equality is almost over, and the forces for equality are winning. As a rearguard action, they are trying to change the argument from whether marriage equality should be enacted to "how can religious people be exempted from having to interact with legally married same-sex couples and acknowledge their existence." This shift is reflected in the fights over religious exemption amendments to marriage equality statutes that have been enacted in Delaware, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Illinois and Minnesota this year. It also explains why there is currently a case pending before the United States Supreme Court which revolves around the question of whether the refusal of a New Mexico religious photographer to provide services to a lesbian couple for their commitment ceremony is violating the Land of Enchantment's public accommodations statute.
Now in Oregon, the group that was preparing to fight the marriage equality initiative is filing their own initiative to "protect [the] religious freedom" of private citizens serving in non-governmental capacities from being published for "declining to solemnize, celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support" a same-sex marriage or commitment ceremony.
The full text of the initiative is:
I would vote against this initiative if it qualified for the ballot, but I'm not sure that I am completely against a carveout in public accommodations law to allow religious people an exemption related to marriage equality ceremonies. However, I would only support an exception limited to this one area. The problem is that I am sure the religious extremists who are circulating this initiative would make the argument that if you are willing to exempt religious people from public accommodations law for the purpose of marriage ceremonies, why not also do so for other areas like housing or other "intimate" services like manicures, massages, etc.? Once you have a carve out for one area of public accommodation how would you prevent the accommodation from being extended to various other areas?
After all, in the grand scheme of things, if you are a religious person and you are offering your services to the public, that means that you are going to offer services to people who may do things that are completely anti-thetical to various aspects of your religion. Why is it that religious people want a carve out for not supporting same-sex marriages, but not for people who are getting married when the bride is pregnant, or the couple is interracial or for couples who violate some other religious principle. It is very hard to believe that this initiative is motivated by a desire to protect religious freedom and not a desire to protect religious-based homophobia.