By Tony Perkins
At W.W. Bridal Boutique, it isn’t unusual to see two women shopping for wedding dresses. What is unusual is two women shopping for wedding dresses for the same ceremony. That’s the predicament Victoria Miller found herself in as the owner of the Pennsylvania shop. When a lesbian couple contacted the store for an appointment, Victoria explained that she couldn’t help the women find gowns for a ceremony that violates her Christian faith. Right now, an employee explained, the Bloomsburg store doesn’t service same-sex weddings.
Instead of showing the tolerance their movement claims to practice, the women turned to social media to bully the shop — trashing its online reviews and sparking a city-wide firestorm. Miller, whose orthodox beliefs are in the bulls-eye, isn’t backing down. “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do,” she told reporters, “and providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”
Obviously, W.W. Bridal Boutique isn’t the only wedding dress shop in town. These women could have easily taken their business elsewhere — but chose to retaliate instead. That’s because, at its core, this isn’t about accommodation. It’s about forced acceptance. When religious liberty clashes with homosexuality — as it has from bakeries to flower shops — the storylines are all the same: conform or be punished.
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In Bloomsburg, liberals are so determined to avenge this couple that they’re convening a special meeting of the city council to consider passing a law that the lesbians could use to sue. Unfortunately, this intolerance is exactly what’s driving the wave of ordinances that target similar family business owners in Baton Rouge, Houston, and San Antonio. Rather than let consumers decide the fate of businesses that don’t concede, the government is dictating marketplace values. When the people do have a voice, as they’re desperately seeking in a marriage debate that’s been hijacked by the courts, they vote on the side of W.W. Bridal.
Just last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, locals decided overwhelmingly (13,685 to 8,184) to repeal a new law that gave health benefits to same-sex partners. “It sets a financial precedent,” said the local Tea Party group, “that will be difficult for the city of Chattanooga taxpayers to sustain long term.” Not surprisingly, the story got very little media attention. No one — least of all the mainstream press — wants to admit that Americans aren’t nearly as supportive of this agenda as the courts and newspapers would have you believe. Unfortunately, that also means the Left only has one option for imposing its agenda: harassment.
Back in Pennsylvania, Victoria Miller continues to be a target. “As a fellow Christian, I’m ashamed of people like you,” one commenter wrote. “We are taught to love our neighbor regardless.” Unfortunately, culturally intoxicated believers like this one have a misguided (and convenient) view of Christ’s calling. Real love doesn’t mean you facilitate people’s desires that are both harmful to them and society. It means speaking the truth in love.
As Rev. Franklin Graham has said, biblically orthodox Christians should love homosexuals — and all sinners — enough to warn them. “Now, if you don’t like that, don’t get mad at me,” Franklin told the pastors at FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall conference. “I didn’t write the rule book. Almighty God wrote it, and it’s a sin against Him.”
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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