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September 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM

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Photographer refuses gay-wedding business

Gay to gay: Drop the case

I agree with George Will’s editorial column “A tangled web of conflicting rights” [Opinion, Sept. 16], except the last statement, which suggests that gay people can restrain the bullies within our ranks.

As a gay individual, I don’t have the ability to restrict the misguided actions of another gay individual anymore than straight people can restrain other straight people. However, it is my duty as a gay person to inform the straight community that the gay plaintiffs in the case cited do not represent the vast majority of the rest us of gay people, who only want to live harmoniously with you as equals. It is my hope that the legal case in question fails, and I think it should.

There are many legal arguments pro and con, but the upshot is that the gay plaintiffs were not harmed in any material way other than having their feelings hurt, so shouldn’t be entitled to legal recourse. They could have easily found another photographer who, in fact, would have provided better service given the circumstances.

Why would a gay couple want a right-wing conservative performing such an intimate service in the first place? It’s not like someone wouldn’t rent them an apartment, or sell them a car, or let them into an amusement park. I’m a gay accountant. I would not want to be compelled to provide my services to an anti-gay group because that would help them, and I wouldn’t want to help them no matter how much they offered to pay me.

My gay-person advice to the gay plaintiffs in this case: I don’t know all the circumstances of the case, but ask yourself if this is hurting us more than helping us. If the former, then take one for the team, be the better person in this dispute and drop the case.

— Steve Davis, Seattle

The link to Referendum 74

I’m not sure if the column by George Will opposite the full-page Times endorsement of gay marriage on Sunday was a “coincidence,” but it simply points out the fallacy propagated by those who claim that gay agenda stops with marriage.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Will, the fact that a family business is being attacked for invoking its freedom to make decisions based on religious conviction is clear.

For those who still believe that Referendum 74 is simply about love and will not restrict freedom of religion, I’ll make you an offer: If R-74 passes, and five years from now my church is still allowed to limit our pre-marriage training to marriage of a man and a woman, I’ll write a letter of apology.

— Craig H. Chapman, Redmond

No sympathy for bigotry

George Will’s column attempts to justify discrimination committed against a gay couple. Elaine Huguenin and her husband refused to photograph the couple’s commitment ceremony because they disapprove of gay unions and because they claim it is against their religion. Will’s conclusion is that bigots should be left alone to discriminate and they should not have to do anything that makes them “uncomfortable.”

If Will’s position were accepted, minorities would be left unprotected. We would return to the days of segregation, restrictive covenants in deeds, and the inability of many Americans to find equality in housing, employment, education and public accommodation.

Some bigots like to use religion to justify their discrimination. But taking photographs of a lawful social function can violate no one’s religion. It is instead an attempt to punish others for not accepting their values or for being different.

The state has a legitimate interest in stopping prejudice and bigotry that spread hate and divide the country. When individuals live in a community, they must comply with laws designed to protect all of that community, including sexual minorities. I for one have no sympathy with arguments designed to defend those who spew hate and discrimination.

— Lawrence Siskind, Bellevue

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