Letters to the Editor

Discriminating against LGBT citizens

Re A.J. Delgado’s Feb. 25 column, ‘Live and let live,’ only if you agree with us: This column raises dangerous and divisive reasoning aimed at discriminating against LGBT citizens, their friends, neighbors and family members under the guise of religious freedom.

In this column, a supporter of gay marriage asserts gays just don’t know their place by demanding they be served equally as the rest of society.

Baronelle Stutzman violated a state law — the Consumer Protection Act by — openly discriminating against her long-time client based on his sexual orientation. She argued making flowers was a religious, artistic expression, and being forced to provide floral arrangements at his wedding violated her religious freedom.

So, marriage, a life-affirming activity by a gay person, infringes on her religious freedom. She would serve gays, but not the married ones due to “her relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Consequently, a long-time client was turned away while planning one of the most important days of his life because of his desire to marry the person he loved.

This conflict is about dignity.

Dignity, historically denied many others. It’s a flashback to the 1960s Woolworth counter where four black men were denied food service. While they could have found food elsewhere, that action led to one of the most memorable protests of the civil-rights movement.

And where would this flawed logic end? Can I deny service to people who do not speak English because my God wants us to speak English? Can I deny service to people of color because my God believes they are “unnatural”?

Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. It’s alive and well in America. Repackaged, it hides in arguments about religious freedom behind the black robes on the Supreme Court. It lives and breathes in institutions of higher learning.

For this reason there is a separation of church and state, which protects my inalienable human right of dignity. Our founding fathers were never concerned with freedom of religion; they were horrified and sought “freedom from religion.” And to that I say, Amen.

Damian Pardo, former board chair, SAVE, Miami