Conservative Christians have told judges that providing services for same-sex weddings violates their religious freedom. So far, courts in Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, and Kentucky have disagreed with them.
Can the wedding service providers eventually win in court? Here's how experts weighed in. Answers are arranged on a spectrum from “yes” answers at the top to “no” answers at the bottom.
“We’re absolutely on the right side of the law on these cases. We’re probably going to see lower courts deciding different ways, but the Supreme Court has already twice found that First Amendment rights trump sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws.”
~Jeremy Tedesco, attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom
“Most of these cases involving Christian business owners have arisen on the West Coast and more liberal-leaning areas of the country. They have not fared well, but most are still in play. I hope that we will see better results in other geographical areas.”
~Roger Gannam, attorney, Liberty Counsel
“The best bet for these religious objectors is to seek accommodation in the political process. They’re not likely to get a specific exemption in statewide law unless they bargain. In Utah, for example, laws protect LGBT individuals and religious objectors.”
~Robin Fretwell Wilson, professor, University of Illinois College of Law
“Exemptions for small vendors from providing personal services directly for a wedding when other vendors are available would protect providers’ religious conscience without undermining access. Even so, courts thus far have been reluctant to recognize them.”
~Thomas C. Berg, professor, University of St. Thomas School of Law
“Society’s compelling interest in preventing discrimination will likely trump religious freedom arguments, judging from how civil rights laws have been applied. This will likely be the case even in states with Religious Freedom Restoration Acts or strong free-exercise protections.”
~Charles C. Haynes, scholar, First Amendment Center, Newseum
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