April 3, 2014

Linda Greenhouse concedes that there is "an instinctive appeal" to the "notion" that "photography is an expressive medium."

But this notion — this instinct — that expression matters when society at large has decided to compel expression: She tells us to "consider the implications; florists and bakers are in court raising similar claims."

Bakers?! Isn't that like calling a fashion designer a seamstress? The "bakers" who are resisting government compulsion are wedding cake decorators. At some point, wedding cake decorating is an art, and maybe Linda Greenhouse thinks it's a low art, but please sit through this laborious demonstration of how to make a classic rose, by Toba Garrett, author of "Wedding Cake Art and Design" before using this kind of work as an example of an absurd implication of respecting photography as an expressive medium.



And I insist as well that before you look down your nose at "florists," that you sit through all 20 minutes of this demonstration of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement:



Am I supposed to respect Linda Greenhouse's hackneyed legal-journalism expression in the commercial enterprise that is The New York Times? Consider the implications!

Where is the low and where is the high when it comes to expression deserving of freedom from government compulsion?

Greenhouse writes this insidious and actually quite disgusting sentence:
The notion that photography is not just any old business has an instinctive appeal, until you consider the implications; florists and bakers are in court raising similar claims, and the list of objectors and their objections would certainly grow if Elane [Photography] prevails.
A notion is a lightweight mental sensation. Instinct pulses from our lower brain. We may have these notions and instincts UNTIL we "consider... florists and bakers," but "consider" implies some serious contemplation, and Greenhouse's use of "until" suggests that she thinks that the instant we see the names of those lowly occupations — florists and bakers — we will shake off the notions and instincts and know that the "expression" template is wrong. But she hasn't considered it, and she doesn't expect her readers to consider it. She is whipping up snobbery for people who are engaged in expressive work.

And that saddest part of it is that Greenhouse wants us to reject negative attitudes about gay people. She's interested in their expression and their freedom, but why should we care about them and not photographers and flower and cake designers? The answer seems all wrapped up in a snobbery Greenhouse is displaying. The elite people have determined that gay people are not to be looked down on anymore.

But freedom of expression at the mercy of the good opinion of the elite is not freedom.

I was going to end this post with that line, but I'm stunned by Greenhouse's next phrase: "Despite its free-speech garb, the religious essence of Elane’s argument is clear...." This is horrifying, for at least 3 reasons: 1. The quick disparagement of expression rights as a flimsy coverup ("garb"). 2. The failure to recognize the interrelatedness of expression and religion — religion is expression and expression is often about or motivated by religion. (There's a reason free speech and freedom of religion were written into the same constitutional amendment.) 3. The most important speech is speech that has a core of deep and true belief, so if there's religious essence seeking protection under free-speech garb, the reasoning that begins with "Despite..." is garbage.

121 comments:

Real American said...

yes, we are free to do what we're told.

rhhardin said...

The most important speech is speech that has a core of deep and true belief, so if there's religious essence seeking protection under free-speech garb, the reasoning that begins with "Despite..." is garbage.

A quip expresses without pretense.

Anonymous said...

It takes the notion of artistry — something a Times writer holds at or near the same level of holiness as being gay — for said writer to comprehend that the government forcing expression might not be such a great idea. The only way to get this reactionary form of liberal to comprehend anybody's rights is to put them in the form of a special protected class. Being gay trumps everything! Wait -- there's potentially an artist involved? Hang on just a minute.

David said...

Free speech for me but not for thee.

The elitist way.

For very slight solace, remember that for centuries second rate self important people like Greenhouse have been rapidly forgotten. Or maybe it's no solace at all, because the damage they do can linger, and nobody is quire sure where it came from.

rhhardin said...

The reason that bakers don't do gay wedding cakes, and photographers don't do gay weddings, is that they're doing something they empathise with so as to enjoy the process.

Somebody might be good at weddings because he spots special moments between man and woman, enjoys capturing them.

It's not narrowly expressive but can be an art.

You get something out of it to look at the product.

I was noticing that Anne Hathaway is good at the double yes, a yes to her man and then a yes that says yes to that yes.

And the movie maker puts it in.

David said...

For that matter, is the New York Times still a newspaper? Or is it a how to manual for yuppies, complacent upper crusters and other wannabes of that ilk?

I still read the Times, or parts of it, but no longer is it my first read, and often not all. I see more than enough to be struck by how much of the paper is now given over to low quality thinking and urban consumerist fluff.

rhhardin said...

Richard Epstein says you want antidiscrimination when there's private or public violence that prevents competition from serving the market, not otherwise.

Go to somebody who does gay weddings. The yellow pages are full of possibilities.

You do better with somebody who likes it.

Unless your goal is to stamp out everybody who disagrees with your political truths. Which I think Epstein calls evil.

Kevin said...

I've always said I really don't care one iota either way about gay marriage.

UNTIL a business gets sued out of existence for not being willing to provide services for a gay wedding. Or, and this is coming, (you know it and I know it) a church/minister/priest gets sued out of existence for not enthusiastically providing services to gay marriages, even though it goes against their religion.

Mike said...

You are on a roll lately, Ms. Althouse! This is a fine example of you taking Greenhouse's output (I will not call her writing "art") far more seriously and thinking much deeper on "the implications" than her. It would seem ironic, given her credentials as a columnist, a/k/a a "thinking piece" producer, but her type of corporatist ethic is far too common nowadays.

PS - I like the new profile picture because you are not gazing off the page (or monitor, as it were). This present iteration of the Author Photo is comely and not over-serious.

SJ said...

Somehow, I get the feeling that the supporters of Same-Sex-Marriage are not simply looking for approval.

They are trying to do to their opponents what society and law has done to selling of cigarettes and smoking of tobacco.

They are trying to turn the full weight of social and legal pressure onto people, to shame those who disagree into silence.

Mike said...

To support and amplify Kevin's post (@ 1:57):

The Gay Mafia has already succeeded in pushing Catholic Charities out of the adoption business in Massachusetts, because they would not place children in households with single-sex marriages. The Gay Mafia (and many Liberals) would rather the children NOT be adopted than to "live and let live." Unfortunately, this Balkanization of services, such as "only Black families should raise Black children" has gained purchase in our society. It is the politicization of envy and a despicable trend, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

More evidence that Greenhouse gas levels are rising.

MnMark said...

The new kinds of government coercion that we're going to see in the years ahead are going to be chilling.

The Left successfully imported a new population that can be counted upon to vote for socialism. At some point they'll have a Supreme Court full of Kagans and Sotomayers and an unbeatable electoral majority.

And they're going to have to use all that power because it takes a whole lot of coercion to try to contort a society into the forms of "equality" that progs believe in.

Already we're being forced to buy a product whether we want it or not. Forced to do business with people we don't freely choose to. Forced into silence by a leftwing version of McCarthyism that will get you fired if your political opinions are "racist", "sexist", or "homophobic".

This country is already soooo far from being "the land of the free" anymore...freedom has nothing to do with it when you have progressive fundamentalists on a crusade to make an "equal" society. It's going to be real bad.

DKWalser said...

Unless your goal is to stamp out everybody who disagrees with your political truths....

Make no mistake about it, this is the goal. They are after conformity, not tolerance. And they don't mind enforcing conformity with the full weight of the government.

Hagar said...

Linda Greenhouse is with Justice Breyer; individual rights of free spech and religious expression cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the collective will.

Anonymous said...

"They are after conformity, not tolerance."

Which is why it is the height of foolishness to ever accept it when someone tells you they are after tolerance. They are not.

They want acceptance. Conformity. Tolerance is just the road they are paving.

Jim said...

There is an instinctive appeal to the notion that journalism is an expressive medium. There, FIFY.

Todd said...

rhhardin said...
Richard Epstein says you want antidiscrimination when there's private or public violence that prevents competition from serving the market, not otherwise.

Go to somebody who does gay weddings. The yellow pages are full of possibilities.

You do better with somebody who likes it.

Unless your goal is to stamp out everybody who disagrees with your political truths. Which I think Epstein calls evil.
4/3/14, 1:55 PM


They not only want to stamp out the opposition, they want those who remain to be enthusiastic supporters of "the cause" (sort of regardless of what the cause is, as long as it is a liberal cause).

Tank said...

We're one heart attack from all these 5/4 cases going the other way. Scary.

mccullough said...

She should have used raiment for garb. Raiment connotes fancier clothing. So a despite would be appropriate. If the legal arguments aren't a bit dazzling, then why worry or write about them.

darrenoia said...

Call it a pipe dream, but 9-0 in the Hobby Lobby case (a la Hosanna Tabor — it could happen) would be the greatest thing to happen to American in a long time.

nigel bruce said...

AA sure is giving out some spankings today!

paul a'barge said...

Linda Greenhouse? Did someone say Linda Greenhouse

Spare me.

Larry J said...

SJ said...
Somehow, I get the feeling that the supporters of Same-Sex-Marriage are not simply looking for approval.


It isn't acceptable to have no opinion on gay marriage. You must not only accept it, you must celebrate it. You should throw your own gay pride parade every week and march in it proudly carrying a sign. Anything less than total celebration is considered homophobic and is grounds for them to try and destroy your career/

OKCupid may be in the business of love, but the online dating site has anything but tender feelings for Mozilla and its newly-appointed CEO.

In a letter published Monday on OKCupid.com but viewable only to those who try to enter the site using a Mozilla Firefox Internet browser, the company called out CEO Brendan Eich's past support of Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that aimed to ban same-sex marriage in California.

"Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies," the letter reads in part. "[W]e wish them nothing but failure."

You can see a screengrab of OKCupid's message if you click here, but we've also reproduced it in its entirety below:


"Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure."

DKWalser said...

Professor - It was the freedom of expression issues that has bothered me about the lower-court decisions in these cases. How could the trial court not see that forcing a photographer (or, even a lowly cake decorator) to engage in speech was a violation of these individual's 1st Amendment rights? How could the appellate courts allow the trial courts' error to persist?

If the lower-courts' interpretation of the Constitution is to be believed, school children and exotic dancers have more 1st Amendment protections than do wedding photographers and cake decorators -- all because the photographers and cake decorators work for gain (the exotic dancers take their clothes off for free?!) and are therefore subject to the city or state anti-discrimination laws. One of the trial courts explained that the issue involved the conflict of two constitutional rights -- free expression and freedom from discrimination. (Where is that freedom from discrimination right found in the Constitution? It seems to be missing from my copy.) The court had no trouble in resolving this conflict in favor of freedom from discrimination.

So, in the past couple of years, we've learned that the 1st Amendment prevents schools from requiring students from wearing uniforms with slogans, such as "Don't do drugs". That would violate the students' 1st Amendment rights by forcing them to engage in speech. We've also learned that wedding photographers, cake decorators, and florists' 1st Amendment rights against being forced to endorse same-sex marriages are trumped by the couple's anti-discrimination rights. The contrast makes my head spin.

Sigivald said...

Anyone that doesn't think photography is expressive is welcome to explain why anyone hires photographers in the first place, for one.

It's baffling to even suggest the idea that it's not an expressive medium, if you've paid any attention at all, ever, to photographers going on and on about the aesthetic differences of lenses, film, lighting... let alone the issues of composition.

Pogo is Only Mostly Dead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
damikesc said...

Nothing will insure people will support gay marriage like forcing them to do things in support of it. People love being made to do things. Really.

Why a decorator doesn't do a terrible job on the cake is confusing to me.

Hagar said...

Linda Greenhouse has Pauline Kael's notebook.

Richard Dolan said...

Freedom is the opposite of 'one size fits all' nannyism. But nanny knows what's good for you and for all of us. She's from the Gov't and she's going to make sure your life is better than your own miserable instincts could ever carry you. So toe the line, respect your betters and do what you're told -- and decorate the damn cake while you're at it.

The Greenhouse view of society and an individual's freedom of action in it ultimately plays out like an episode of Upstairs, Downstairs, for those who remember that series. The lower sorts need to know their place.

MnMark said...

If I was into necrophobia, bestiality, coprophobia, pedophilia, or any of the other various sexual perversions, I'd be pretty jealous of the homosexuals. They have managed to make the pursuit of their particular perversion look like some kind of holy crusade of justice.

gspencer said...

Would Greenhouse be okay with the idea of compelling a portrait artist, the kind using oils and brushes and easels, do a sitting for a homosexual couple?

DKWalser said...

The law can't force you to do anything you don't want; just take it private...

You have a strange definition of "private". A private photography business refuses to engage in a private transaction between the private photographer and a private couple and you say the state gets to force the private photographer to take pictures of a private ceremony because, had she accepted the job money would have changed hands. By that definition, no business is private. Everything is public and subject to government control.

I don't think entering commerce should force one to give up his or her constitutional rights. If that were the case, we could have shut down Playboy long ago.

Pianoman said...

I've done several weddings for friends and family, and I don't charge for those gigs. If I'm playing for someone I don't know, then I get paid like anyone else.

So what happens when my wife's cousin, who is a strong SSM advocate, decides to get married to her live-in girlfriend? Can I be compelled to play the service for free?

Is my situation somehow different from the bakers and photographers? If so, then why?

(Somehow, I think the answer is going to be "Because Shut Up")

Johanna Lapp said...

I definitely want the memories of my wedding day to be styled and captured by someone under duress.

It would be lovely, I'm sure, to have photos from an artist who can see the love light in my beloved's eyes and capture it with fondness, sensitivity, taste and infinite empathy.

But I'd gladly sacrifice those cherished memories to force some lesbiphobe Christian troglodyte to knuckle under and eat shit.

On every anniversary, I can page through that album and cherish the triumph of my spite. Because that's clearly the foundation for along and happy marriage.

MnMark said...

Don't be whipped into fear.

Homosexual rights supporters never seem to be able to tell the difference between being repelled by something and being afraid of it.

Is anyone actually *afraid* of homosexuals? I doubt it. Homosexuals are not fearsome.

But if the activists recast the natural human repulsion towards a sexual perversion as "fear", they can ridicule the person and avoid the argument.

If a homosexual activist is having trouble understanding that, imagine that a coprophile said to you, "oh, you're a coprophobe. You're just afraid of people squatting over your face and taking a crap. Hey man, don't be whipped into fear!"

Then to top it off, imagine the coprophile insinuating that your "coprophobia" suggests that are probably a closet coprophile yourself.

DKWalser said...

That is a hobby, not a business.

Your wife is not bound by anti-discrimination laws and can choose to make cakes for whomever she pleases. They're gifts, not business products.

Don't be whipped into fear.


I'm not fearful. I'm asking a serious question (which you're not answering). Why doesn't the 1st Amendment protect business people's freedom of expression rights? How can a mere statute trump the Constitution? My point about my wife's hobby was that my close observation teaches me that cake decorating involves a lot of expression. It's not a mechanical task that is virtually devoid of expressive content, so I don't think you can dismiss the 1st Amendment argument by saying there is no "real" expression that would be burdened by requiring a cake decorator to accept all customers.

MnMark said...

If I was into necrophobia, bestiality, coprophobia, pedophilia, or any of the other various sexual perversions, I'd be pretty jealous of the homosexuals. They have managed to make the pursuit of their particular perversion look like some kind of holy crusade of justice.

Keep it classy, Mark.

Are you suggesting that there is something "unclassy" about sexual perversions involving feces, children, dead bodies, or animals?

How judgmental of you! They just want to get pleasure with what they *love*! You hater!

Ann Althouse said...

If you respond to a commenter I always delete, I have to take your comment out too, but DKWalser said:

"Please help me understand why a neutral rule requiring public school students to wear uniforms with the slogan "Don't do drugs" is a violation of the students' 1st Amendment rights yet an ordinance that forces a cake decorator to use her expressive art to endorse a same-sex wedding is NOT a violation of the cake decorator's 1st Amendment rights. It may not be any more difficult to make a sugar rose for a same-sex wedding cake, but its also not any more difficult to put on a shirt with a slogan than it is to wear one with out a slogan. So, the difference CANNOT be found in the difficulty of the the task. If school children cannot be forced to express an innocuous slogan by merely wearing a shirt, I don't see how a cake decorator can be forced to make a cake specifically for a particular wedding. Perhaps you could explain the differing treatment for me.

"Full disclosure: My wife decorates cakes. She doesn't do it professionally, only for family and friends. Each cake takes more than a week. The colors, design, flavors, and decorations are each selected to create a unique celebration of the couple's union. She puts a lot of her heart and soul into each cake. It may not be high art, but the cakes are clearly expressions of her love for the couple. That wouldn't change for her if she were to accept commissions for her cakes. (She was offered more than $3k to make a cake for the friend of a friend. She said no. Had she said yes, would her 1st Amendment rights evaporated?)"

Ann Althouse said...

"Your wife is not bound by anti-discrimination laws and can choose to make cakes for whomever she pleases. They're gifts, not business products."

Stay amateur and they'll leave you alone, but professional artists are subject to repression?

Fritz said...

Linda Greenhouse should be offered a fee to write an anti-gay rights screed, and then be compelled to do so by a court.

khesanh0802 said...

@ Hagar

I have been waiting for Pauline Kael to appear. Says it all. Congrats!

gerry said...

Can a cake baker/decorator turn away a biracial couple, because artistically the fancy flowers on their cake takes something more out of the artist's soul than designing a cake for two white people?

Race is not the same as sexuality. Race is not the same as behavior.

Race cannot be immoral. Behavior can be immoral.

If one fails to abhor a government that can force people to condone immoral behavior, to participate in celebration of immoral behavior, one has become morally incompetent and frighteningly illiberal.

Anonymous said...

""Your wife is not bound by anti-discrimination laws and can choose to make cakes for whomever she pleases. They're gifts, not business products."

Stay amateur and they'll leave you alone, but professional artists are subject to repression?"

Judging by your previous comment, I take it this means you always delete Mary?

I'll keep that in mind. I think I may have knew that already, but had forgotten.

ALP said...

rhhardin said:

The reason that bakers don't do gay wedding cakes, and photographers don't do gay weddings, is that they're doing something they empathise with so as to enjoy the process.

Somebody might be good at weddings because he spots special moments between man and woman, enjoys capturing them.
*****************
This 1000x! Wedding photography is much more than lining up the members of the party and snapping a few group photos. The photographer must embed themselves in the entire event, from the behind the scenes prep up to the time the newlyweds leave the scene! Is it really that hard to understand that a deeply religious person might not want to spend their day at a SS wedding?

Why why why WHY would you trust the job to a photographer that doesn't really "get" what is going on? WHY?

DKWalser said...

I still fail to see the techical difference in lighting, shooting the joy in a heterosexual groom's face vs. a gay groom's face on his wedding day. Is there a special filter needed to hide the devil horns sprouting from the head of the latter?

Who gives a flip about the technical differences in photographing one type of wedding over another? The question is why government has any say in which weddings a photographer may or may not shoot. If I'm understanding your conception of the 1st Amendment protections correctly, those protections only exist outside of commerce.

I find that formulation absurd (which is why I have a hard time accepting you believe it). It's absurd because it would mean that successful artists - novelists, poets, sculptors, filmmakers, photographers, and, yes, cake decorators have no 1st Amendment protections. The Amendment is only protects hobbyists. It's like the Olympics, once you lose your amateur status, the government can regulate your speech.

R. Chatt said...

If the photographer/cake designer were true artists primarily concerned with "self expression" they would have expressed themselves through their art. What artist would not revel in the opportunity to freely express themselves in a paid commission?

But they did not do that because the fact is that they have turned these art forms into businesses requiring them to produce pleasing results for their customers, regardless of whether they like the customer or not.

I once worked as a picture framer -- that could be considered a form of expression as well because framing has a huge impact on the visual experience. We never ever turned down work because we had a problem with the art work we were framing. Why? Because it was a business. We always did the best work we could regardless if we hated the artwork or not. That's called being a professional.

Birches said...

Some animals are more equal than others...

madAsHell said...

More evidence that Greenhouse gas levels are rising.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

DKWalser said...

Professor - Thank you for preserving my comment. I'll try to avoid responding to that particular individual in the future.

Ann Althouse said...

"So Althouse supports gay marriage coerced on states that voted them down, but then complains when its supporters further demand the coercion spread to quash other freedoms."

Government — the state — must respect individual rights. I'm quite consistent about that.

Your point might make some sense if individuals were being forced to gay-marry.

Make a distinction between what is done to the individual and what is done to the state or you've made a horrible mistake.

Take away that mistake and you should see how very right I am.

Pianoman said...

Technically, it's a "side business" for me. It's not a "hobby". I am required by law to purchase an annual business license in my city, and I file Schedule C for my music gigs.

Therefore, I am "in business" as a musician.

So I'll try again: Can I be forced, by law, to play for a same-sex wedding?

If so, how does this square with the 13th Amendement?

If not, then what is the difference between me and a wedding photographer?

Pogo is Only Mostly Dead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd said...

@Althouse, so what is the practical recourse? Force the photographer or baker to "perform"? What if the results are not what you deem acceptable? Are they now subject to hate crime laws? Or do you sue them after the fact for "discrimination and/or emotional distress" or some such? Would the civil rights division get involved? If this is a discrimination issue, then it should apply to all including those in the "arts" equally but again, what is your recourse if you don't approve the results?

ALP said...

Johanna said:

"But I'd gladly sacrifice those cherished memories to force some lesbiphobe Christian troglodyte to knuckle under and eat shit."
****************
I was struggling to put together a similar sentiment - but I don't have to since you've done a hell of a job with that sentence. Fabulous!

I also suspect that some SS couples getting married hire TWO photographers: one gay friendly to do the "real" job. The second is the hapless conservative photographer that gets raked over the coals just because they can.

Johanna Lapp said...

R. Chatt: As a picture framer, you would take any job for money? No lines that, as a professional framer, you would not cross? Rape porn? Snuff porn? Kiddie porn? Peeping-tom cameras? Race hate? Threatening images?

And therefore no professional framer could legitimately draw a red line of conscience where you would not?

garage mahal said...

So I'll try again: Can I be forced, by law, to play for a same-sex wedding?

It does seem absurd. People turn down gigs all the time. Do you need to give a reason?

Obviously a cake decorator shouldn't be forced to design a vulgar cake.

It seems like the reason given for declining one's services is the sticky point.

R. Chatt said...

What if it's a Muslim photographer and he doesn't approve of Christians or Jews? Can he/she exert the right of self expression?

Marty Keller said...

The fascist/communist totalitarians of the last century always co-opted art. Who controls the medium controls the message. The pomo soft fascists at the NYT and other elements of the leftist nomenklatura drool over the prospect of exerting similar control over both content and expression. It's a real race now to see if we will let them prevail in the long run.

Real American said...

the Gaystapo is out of control. if you disagree, DISAGREE, with them, you're not allowed to make a living. Fuck that shit and fuck them.

Lydia said...

Greenhouse is a pernicious airhead. There was actuallly a thoughtful piece on the photography case in the NY Times last November which provided more information about the photographer and what she does than I've seen elsewhere, like this:

"In asking the Supreme Court to hear her challenge to the law, Ms. Huguenin said that she would 'gladly serve gays and lesbians — by, for example, providing them with portrait photography,' but that she did not want to tell the stories of same-sex weddings. To make her celebrate something her religion tells her is wrong, she said, would hijack her right to free speech."

and this:

"Ms. Huguenin says the government should not be allowed to compel her to say something she does not believe — that same-sex weddings should be celebrated. For the same reason, she says, she would not want to work on a fictional film about a same-sex marriage even if the actors were straight.

Most courts, to say nothing of serious photographers, agree that photography is expression entitled to First Amendment protection. Ms. Huguenin composes and selects images, arranging them in picture books that tell the stories of memorable days. But there are stories that she does not wish to tell."

How can that not be seen as an "expressive" activity?

Birches said...

Google Kaley Cuoco wedding cake if you don't think cake decorating is an art.

richard mcenroe said...

Mozilla just fired Eich to placate the gays. I just dropped Firefox.

Gahrie said...

A rational person, rather than forcing a business to do something, or sueing them if they say no, would merely find a business that was willing to do what they wanted, and then tell all their friends to avoid one business and use the other.

chickenlittle said...

Todd said...
@Althouse, so what is the practical recourse? Force the photographer or baker to "perform"?

Yes dammit! And lump it. That's what I'm hearing here. But it's bad for gay political optics and will eventually accrue to a majority negative opinion.

Michael K said...

"n a letter published Monday on OKCupid.com but viewable only to those who try to enter the site using a Mozilla Firefox Internet browser, the company called out CEO Brendan Eich's past support of Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that aimed to ban same-sex marriage in California."

This whole gay marriage thing is opening a very nasty can of worms. The CEO of Mozilla responded that they have clients in other countries that abhor gay marriage and, for that matter, homosexuality. This may come to a purely American business that tows the line of the gay inquisition and another business using Indonesian and Indian programmers and other employees. Is that what the Inquisition wants ?

The CEO donated $1000 to Prop 8. The gay mafia harassed waitresses who donated $5 to the same cause. They may have lost their jobs if the employer was cowardly enough.

This will have ramifications far beyond West Hollywood and New York City.

PB Reader said...

The English language is poorer and our time is wasted by people who cannot be concise. They must equate complexity and convolution with intelligence.

richard mcenroe said...

"Stay amateur and they'll leave you alone."

A: What factual basis have you for that assertion, Ann?

B: And why should anyone have to pass a political correctness test to do what they love professionally?

Michael K said...

The Mozilla CEO has now resigned so the gay mafia got their pound of flesh. I wonder how many programmers and staff will lose their jobs when he opens another company in another country that is more tolerant ?

John said...

If you like, I could rant about wedding cakes and that horrible chewing gum they all seem to be covered in these days.

Hasn't anyone heard of frosting?

But that is by the by.

I too find it amazing that a baker could be forced to bake a cake against their will for a gay couple. That is the progressive society we live in though. Sigh...

Would this work as a solution if I run a bakery? I print up the following:

I will follow the law and bake wedding cakes for all comers.Your order will be accepted without question.

I need to inform you that I believe that marriage is a blessed sacrament between one man and one woman. The blessedness of the event inspires my creativity and artistic abilities.

Weddings that are not one man/one woman will not inspire those abilities. The cake will be of high technical quality but will have about as much inspiration baked into it as a Little Debby cake purchased at Walmart.

(Signed) John R Henry

By signature below, the purchaser agrees that they have read and understand the above.

Signed ___________

Would I be in danger of getting hit with a hate speech suit?

Or perhaps a sign in the shop:

We do not believe in SSM. We will bake your cake but here are some other bakers in the area who do believe in SSM. We recommend that you check them out.

As several others have pointed out, I have no real beef with SSM. My beef is with being forced not to merely tolerate it but to love it.

Fuck the fascist queers.

The majority of you non-fascist gays and lesbians I have no problem with.

"The Management"

John Henry

tolkein said...

If you can lose your job because of past political donations, how can publishing individual donations be allowed going forward? Are employers allowed to ask about political donations as part of their hiring process? The example of the CEO of Mozilla should be chilling for free speech expression in the future

Deirdre Mundy said...

First of all - I'm a professional writer. I write for clients, they pay me. On the other hand, I'm not much of an 'artist.' Or, when I'm making 'art' I'm not getting paid.

So, in Greenhouse's opinion, could I be forced to take on a client who wanted me to write something that I found morally abhorrent, just because I'm not an artist but a mere craftsman? Is my speech only protected if it's somehow special and artistic? I missed the part of the constitution where only sufficiently arty speech was protected.


Secondly - It's true that my anti-gay marriage beliefs are religious in nature (I think there's also natural law involved, but lets leave that aside for now.)

But what about Greenhouse's pro-gay-marriage beliefs? Is there a scientific basis for them? If you're being PURELY RATIONAL and not allowing for any religious or spiritual beliefs, why should any form of non-procreating pair-bond be given special status? From a purely Darwinian perspective, how is gay marriage a good thing?

Doesn't Greenhouse's preferred government position amount to choosing one religious/spiritual/irrational belief (Gay marriage is sacred!) over another (Gay marriage is not marriage!)? So, why isn't forcing the photographer to participate in Greenhouse's religious ritual contrary to the first amendment?


The problem seems to be that Greenhouse cannot separate laws from feelings. Perhaps she should stop writing legal articles and write novels instead.

RecChief said...

@Althouse - I'm surprised at your apparent surprise for the tactics of the Left in this country

Skeptical Voter said...

R. Chatt said:

"We never ever turned down work because we had a problem with the art work we were framing. Why? Because it was a business. We always did the best work we could regardless if we hated the artwork or not. That's called being a professional."


Out at the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada, they never turn down business even if they don't like the "client" --er "john". That's called being a professional.

I mean that's where your argument leads.

There's a whole tricky area in the public accommodation cases where certain businesses literally have to take on all comers. But there remain a wide range of businesses that are not yet, and should never be, treated as public utilities or common carriers.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Tolkien- I suppose we need to include "political activities" as a protected category?

I fear that the Gay Rights crowd has decided to take a page out of Robespierre's book. Perhaps, if they can bear the Eurocentric history, they should also take a look at how Robespierre ended.

The 'raze, burn, and salt' school of politics often inspires a backlash. Better to be humane in victory.

Big Mike said...

If it was me, I'd lace the wedding cake with syrup of ipecac. Good thing I don't know how to bake a cake from a mix, much less make a rose from frosting.

Not that I have anything against gay marriage (though I continue to regard the word "marriage" as being less about being married and mostly about sticking a thumb into Christian eyes), but I have a lot against legal compulsion.

EDH said...

I still think the "You're Going to Burn In Hell" wedding cake, as an act of civil disobedience, if you will, brings into focus that wedding cakes are speech and artistic expression, and what Greenhouse is advocating is not only about limiting speech, it's about compelling speech.

Michael K said...

"how can publishing individual donations be allowed going forward? "

This is why the left is so hostile to the PACs that don't have to disclose donors. They want to try to drive them out of the political arena, leaving only George Soros and Tom Steyer.

Anonymous said...

"I once worked as a picture framer -- that could be considered a form of expression as well because framing has a huge impact on the visual experience. We never ever turned down work because we had a problem with the art work we were framing. Why? Because it was a business. We always did the best work we could regardless if we hated the artwork or not. That's called being a professional."

What if the artwork showed child pornography, or a light-hearted depiction of barnyard bestiality.

What then?

Ann Althouse said...

"We never ever turned down work because we had a problem with the art work we were framing. Why? Because it was a business. We always did the best work we could regardless if we hated the artwork or not. That's called being a professional."

But that was your choice, and perhaps you were never confronted with something that bothered you a great deal. What if someone wanted to frame Nazi memorabilia? What if someone wanted to frame a picture he took of your teenage daughter naked?

cubanbob said...

But this notion — this instinct — that expression matters when society at large has decided to compel expression: She tells us to "consider the implications; florists and bakers are in court raising similar claims."

If it can be copyrighted it's an expressive medium.

Thought experiment: if a gay couple for whatever reason chooses to engage a Christian photographer to shoot their wedding and the photographer refuses and said couple push the matter as a discrimination issue thus forcing the photographer to take the pictures you could have a situation where the photographer can refuse to give the couple the pictures as the photographer has a copyright on the pictures. The photographer is the author of the work and until he/she signs a work-for-hire agreement or otherwise assigns the couple the copyright what you have in principal is a Mexican standoff. Come to think of it the same applies to a baker. The threshold for a unique expression for copyright purposes is very low.

Pianoman said...

@garage: It does seem absurd. People turn down gigs all the time. Do you need to give a reason?

I guess I could lie, and say that I'm busy every single day for the next year. Why should I have to do that? I'm not allowed to tell the truth?

The act of attending a wedding is endorsement of it. I consider playing for a wedding to also be an endorsement. What if I don't want to endorse your wedding, but I want to endorse a different wedding? Can I be compelled to endorse a SSM wedding?

It seems like the reason given for declining one's services is the sticky point.

So if I say the reason I'm not doing it is that I don't feel like doing weddings anymore, I'm in the clear. But if the reason I'm not doing it is because I don't endorse SSM, then I have violated someone's civil rights.

To protect myself legally, I'll be forced to lie, in other words.

You know what? Ann is right. I'll just declare to the world that I no longer want to be paid to play weddings. Then I'm in the clear, because I'll be an "amateur".

Lucien said...

Let's play law professor & make up hypotheticals. Suppose someone is in the business of doing something that expressly involves the expressive use of speech, like writing & performing wedding toasts or poems.

Is their freedom not to speak in any specific instance undone by revelation of their motive for declining to do so?

Does it make any difference whether their declination is motivated by secular or religious considerations?

Ann Althouse said...

"'... the state — must respect individual rights.' Except the right to define 'marriage.'"

You need to distinguish government power from individual rights, which are superior to government power. The state may seek the power to restrict marriage to those who fit the traditional idea of marriage or the dictionary definition of marriage, but that cannot beat the individuals' rights, which are what have won here, so there is NO exception. It's completely consistent.

"And your new right comes with shackles, as you are discovering."

No. I am supporting rights in both situations, and I'm being strong on rights, consistent on rights, and I am trying to teach you about rights. This is my work as a law professor, and I intend it quite staunchly.

"'Make a distinction between what is done to the individual and what is done to the state or you've made a horrible mistake.' Only on paper. No one cares about that, however. They make it up as they go along."

I am using my digital paper to hold their metaphorical feet to the fire. This is my agenda, I devote myself to it every day, and I am quite hardcore about it, and will fight to the end.

"You may be correct as you've laid out in a rational argument, but the world works differently than that."

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

"'Take away that mistake and you should see how very right I am.' And that's where Greenhouse trumps Althouse."

I'm not going to help you with your dismal depression. I think you are so intent on suppressing gay people that you don't even want to think accurately or care about the fact that some people really do care. It must suck.

Pianoman said...

Lucien: You should differentiate between those who express their art freely, versus those who are paid to do so.

Apparently that's a big deal.

R. Chatt said...

FWIW, a lot of "art" in the past blurred the line between the sacred and the profane. This is not actually a new idea or theme. There are plenty of artists who have struggled with rejection because their personal beliefs conflicted with prevalent attitudes. The artists usually weren't religious enough for popular opinion.

This current controversy is just a variation in the opposite direction with the "artist" being more conservative than the patrons. Perhaps the wedding photographer should advertise as specializing in heterosexual weddings, as was already suggested, as a disclaimer. I don't know if that's legal but it would also alert many people to their forte as well as their weakness.

Bottom line, if you open a public business you are obligated to serve the public and that includes LGBT.

Furthermore, the Bible says nothing about gay marriage, the prohibition is towards gay sex. So that would entitle religious people to lots of discrimination: a hairdresser to not cut the hair of a gay or lesbian, a landscape designer to not create a garden for a gay or lesbian, all because their religion forbids their customers' sexual activities.

I don't think there is a one size fits all forcing people to do something they find offensive, and on top of that people's attitudes change. "... where is the political movement to insist that devout Catholics do not have to cater the second weddings of previously divorced people?" asks Andrew Sullivan. He continues, "It seems to me that the acid test for the new bills being prepared by the Christianist right with respect to religious freedom and marriage is whether they are discriminatory against gays and straights alike. Currently, they don’t begin to pass muster on that front. Until they do, the presumption that they are motivated by bigotry rather than faith is perfectly legitimate." (http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/02/19/religious-liberty-or-anti-gay-animus/)


cubanbob said...

No. I am supporting rights in both situations, and I'm being strong on rights, consistent on rights, and I am trying to teach you about rights. This is my work as a law professor, and I intend it quite staunchly. "

I'm not trying to be provacative regarding gay rights-I have gay relatives and don't wish to see their rights diminished but the artistic-expressive matter is also a matter of intellectual property rights.

Michael K said...

"I think you are so intent on suppressing gay people that you don't even want to think accurately or care about the fact that some people really do care. It must suck."

I don't give a shit about gay marriage and I have no intention of "suppressing" them. I have spent hours sewing up their anuses after a night of fun and have had to tell quite a few that they had AIDS back when there was no treatment.

Several of my friends were gay doctors who died early in the epidemic. Marriage as an issue came up more recently and I believe it is a fad related to concerns about fidelity among male gay couples. One very nice nuclear engineer told me he couldn't possibly have AIDS because he had been in "a committed relationship" for ten years.

It was sort of like the woman Christian Scientist with breast cancer. She said, "Not only do I lose my breast but I lose my religion."

I suspect I have had my hands in the bellies of more gay people than you know, Ann. The SSM issue will bear bitter fruit internationally.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And I insist as well that before you look down your nose at "florists," that you sit through all 20 minutes of this demonstration of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement

This version is shorter.

Joan said...

Superb post, Professor A. Thank you.

Pogo is Only Mostly Dead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ALP said...

And another thing....

Can someone explain at what point cakes and wedding photos became REQUIRED for actually becoming legally hitched? For a wedding to happen - you need:

An approved wedding application to prove you are able to marry the person (not a relative nor already married)

And an official with the authority to wed the two people.

Finally, in some states, you need a witness.

That's it. If you can't find an official willing to do a SSM - well THAT's a problem. But not getting a cake from a specific place? How does that get in the way of getting married?

Doesn't the cake thing boil down to an item for the RECEPTION, not the wedding...the legal act itself?

Michael K said...

"(you should retire already, dr. mike. try to find some joy in your remaining years and let sick patients find better care... haven't you made enough yet to get out and do what you enjoy?)"

I have retired although I doubt they will find better care. My students seem enthusiastic so I continue. You have a nice day, hon.

I can see why she deletes you.

n.n said...

Normalization of one dysfunctional behavior, no matter how well-intentioned, to the selective exclusion of others, has created a moral hazard which will need to be reconciled. The progressive adoption methodology proposed by Professor Volokh et al is only valid in a homogenous population where there exists an overwhelming consensus or coercive force. It's not a coincidence that homosexual behavior was normalized through executive and judicial decrees. This issue has not been settled.

Birches said...

Wow, that's super depressing about Mozilla. How can someone be held hostage for something they did 6 years ago? Back when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agreed with him? Anyone have a better browser to recommend?

Pogo is Only Mostly Dead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YoungHegelian said...

The modern Left loves to overload its analogies. What we morally once owed to the blacks we now owe to women, to Latinos, to Native Americans, to Asians, etc. and now to the LGBT crowd.

The big problem with this approach is that once an analogy overloads & "breaks", the social world doesn't just return to the status quo ante. Oh no, as Marx would be the first to them if they ever read him, when that thesis combines with that antithesis to give you a synthesis, the world has irrevocably changed. What was before cannot be again.

When the discourse of "the oppressed group" becomes socially unworkable, it won't just be the last oppressed group added to the list that'll get deleted. The whole edifice will come tumbling down. "Oh wait, if being force to take pictures of gay weddings violates free speech & right of free association, what about all those onerous & unworkable EEOC regulations?"

But the Left never understood that the Perfect was the enemy of the Good, from its birth in the French Revolution onward.

Patrick O said...

"Soviet math."

There goes Pogo again with his insane anti-communist rants.

Darleen said...

How can someone be held hostage for something they did 6 years ago?

Because same-sex "marriage" advocate agenda was never really about so-called "marriage equality".

Those nicely starched shirts with the rainbow shoulder patches are such a wonderful shade of brown, don't you think?

Michael K said...

" Anyone have a better browser to recommend? "

I don't know anything about his plans but there is a big world that doesn't like gay marriage. It is almost as intolerant as the gay lobby. Charles Krauthammer once said of Rupert Murdoch, :he found a niche market that had 50% of the population." Another browser could find 80% of the world population as a niche market.

I'm a libertarian and, in spite of the nice lady's comment, I really don't care about gay marriage. To her credit, the hostess seems to notice the tension between tolerance and freedom.

Michael K said...

"I will be removing Firefox from every computer I own. I encourage every reader of this site to do the same."

It's begun.

JPS said...

Birches:

"How can someone be held hostage for something they did 6 years ago? Back when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agreed with him?"

Because they didn't mean it, and their supporters know it. It's sort of like Bill Clinton signing a law that it was US policy to seek regime change in Iraq. All depends on who's doing it.

(Darleen sort of beat me to it….)

Doug said...

@Birches - Google Chrome. I switched from Firefox two years ago, more's the pity. I would take such great pleasure in uninstalling it right now.

YoungHegelian said...

"I will be removing Firefox from every computer I own. I encourage every reader of this site to do the same." .... It's begun.

This will be the nail in the coffin for Firefox, which is losing in the browser wars. The Mozilla Foundation was having a hard time holding on to the programmers needed for new releases in any case.

Firefox doesn't just appear like Internet Explorer on a PC. It's got to be installed, and by someone who wants it & knows where to find it. In other words, because some geek took the time & effort to install it.

While probably a good chunk of the IT community probably supports SSM (geeks generally lean libertarian of some stripe or another), they'll find the idea of dragging some guy's past politics out into the open & firing him because of it morally abhorrent. Most of all, most of them know that they, too, hold non-PC thoughts that could be used against them in a pinch, and this hits too close to home.

Birches said...

We have Chrome, but my spouse and I like to use different browsers so we can stay signed into stuff on "our" browsers. Chrome was his; Firefox was mine.

I just downloaded Opera. I'll try it out.

Michael K said...

I used to use Opera a lot. Maybe it's time for a look again.

Darleen said...

I uninstalling Firefox and going to give Maxthon a try.

Anonymous said...

"We have Chrome, but my spouse and I like to use different browsers so we can stay signed into stuff on "our" browsers. Chrome was his; Firefox was mine. "

Funny, my wife and I do the same exact thing. I use chrome, she uses firefox.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said "You need to distinguish government power from individual rights, which are superior to government power."

Unless, of course, a Helen Lovejoy-esque "think of the children" angle can be invoked, right Professor?

gerry said...


No. I am supporting rights in both situations, and I'm being strong on rights, consistent on rights, and I am trying to teach you about rights. This is my work as a law professor, and I intend it quite staunchly.


What about pedophile rights?

Bruce Hayden said...

If it can be copyrighted it's an expressive medium.

Cuban Bob beat me to it. Original expression is required for copyright protection. This is black letter IP law. And photography, in particular, has long been accepted as having sufficient original expression to qualify for copyright protection. So, how can you argue that an activity has enough expression for copyright protection, but not free expression under the 1st Amdt?

Bruce Hayden said...

Problem with dumping Firefox is that the major competitors have their own problems. IE (aka Internet Exploder) is owned and controlled by the Evil Empire. You see it in a lot of little ways, including its frustrating tendency to switch its default browser back to Bing. But does anyone really trust Google either?

On PCs, I am a lone time Firefox user, partly because of its ability to be customized. But that has its downside, as all the recent upgrades keep making many of the add ons incompatible. Most recently, The Session Manager is broken on my desktop machine, and I have to enable Java whenever I try to use the USPTO's PAIR and EFS systems. I am using Chrome a bit now on my laptop, and it is my primary browser on my iPad. It still seems to have stability problems, and isn't as customizable yet as Firefox. And, I use IE on my Windows machines when Firefox and Chrome don't work.

AntiBathos said...

The Obama legacy is that modern liberalism has reconnected with its fascist roots. Christians, Jews, climate denialists, meat-eaters, heteronormative breeders, tea baggers must be exterminated for freedom and diversity to flourish.

Jason said...

Nice Dalek cake!

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Bottom line, if you open a public business you are obligated to serve the public and that includes LGBT."

Bottom line, laws are being passed that require that.

The question is, will there be a backlash against forcing people to act against their faith as a precursor to engaging in commerce.

The Phil Robertson case in the not so distant past would seem to indicate that there is some potential for one. On the other hand, most of the people who dominate politics, business, and arts in our society see people who are against SSM as immoral bigots who deserver whatever they get. Civil rights be damned.

In a pre-internet age, this would already be a done deal. But now the hoi polloi can bypass the cultural gate keepers and are able to discover they are not alone.

darrenoia said...

It seems so self-evident that this compulsion of speech is abhorrent to the constitution that I wonder how left-wingers can argue themselves into thinking it's a good idea. All the reverse-polarity analogies in the world don't seem to open their eyes.

In trying to understand how otherwise sane people could support this kind of conscription, I notice the near inevitability that given enough time (and it never takes long in any debate), they will invoke a comparison to Jim Crow and the African American struggle for civil rights. It's clearly not an accident. They sincerely (if erroneously, in my view) believe that the cause of gay marriage, unheard of and unremarked in the history of the world before perhaps 20 years ago, has risen to the same level of civil rights struggle as African Americans engaged in half a century ago.

So, to the gay rights crowd, the baker turning down the gay marriage gig is pretty much equivalent to separate lunch counters and water fountains. Never mind that the Jim Crow laws were actually laws, enforced by the government, that needed to be overturned, and that the baker is simply an individual trying to abide by his conscience. The Civil Rights era showed us that individual consciences are sometimes wrong, and sometimes the government is justified in steamrolling them. If it was true in those cases, it must be true in these cases as well. Once again, a minority group finds itself subject to being treated differently than it wishes to be treated, so once again, government force must be invoked to compel people not to discriminate.

It boils down to whether you believe that any and all forms of discrimination ought to be subject to government compulsion, or whether freedom of conscience should trump that in all but the rarest and strictest cases. It seems obvious enough to me that it should be the latter, but the leftists clearly feel otherwise.

I wonder if they will have a leg to stand on when the government decides somewhere down the road that religious believers themselves are a protected minority class, and any university that receives public funding will have to make every effort to ensure that minority religious beliefs are represented in science departments.

Jupiter said...

"Make a distinction between what is done to the individual and what is done to the state or you've made a horrible mistake."

Jim Crow was a system of racial discrimination, enforced by laws and government policies. The way was open for the federal government to strike down those State laws and end those State policies. Instead, the federal power was used to attack the individual rights of free association and private property.

In particular, the invidious distinction was created, between property used in business and property otherwise employed. The full implications of this grotesque travesty are yet to be explored, but the exploration proceeds apace. Althouse, you make money from this blog. That makes it nothing more than a public convenience, which you operate at the sufferance of the State. By what right do you delete comments? How dare you choose who you will or will not serve?


I am thinking about looking into Opera myself, except, some faint voice of reason keeps asking, what is the point of boycotting free software?

Anonymous said...

So the Elane case was supposed to have been on the SCOTUS agenda yesterday - YET no news anywhere! What happened?

jaed said...

Sullivan:
[...] where is the political movement to insist that devout Catholics do not have to cater the second weddings of previously divorced people?

Is there a political movement to insist that devout Catholics do have to cater the second weddings of divorced people?

I might be leading a sheltered life, but has any previously divorced couple insisted that a devout Catholic must cater their wedding, bake cakes, take photos of the ceremony, etc.? Anyone been sued? Has any court ruled that devout Catholic cake decorators who fail to fully and enthusiastically comply with such requests face jail time?

Is this actually a thing, or is Sullivan making stuff up again?

More interestingly, does anyone who believes that cake decorators and photographers should be threatened with closure of their business, jail, and so on for refusal to service same-sex weddings also believe that similar consequences should befall devout Catholic who refuse to provide services for the wedding of divorced people? (Recalling that their religion teaches that marriage after divorce is no marriage at all, and therefore that such a ceremony isn't something they can participate in in good conscience.)

Why or why not?

Anonymous said...

darrenoia said...

Call it a pipe dream, but 9-0 in the Hobby Lobby case (a la Hosanna Tabor — it could happen) would be the greatest thing to happen to American in a long time.

Not going to happen. The three "Justices" lacking a Y chromosome worship the State, and will have no Gods before the State.

However, we might have 6 - 3, with Breyer saying the Federal Government did not select the "least restrictive" method to advance their "compelling interest".

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ann, but your distinction makes no sense.

You want to "marry" your sister, your same sex lover, your dog, a 12 year old, or three people at once? Go right ahead.

You want to force the rest of us to honor your "marriage", and pretend your "marriage" is just as valuable to society as is a normal heterosexual marriage to another adult who is not related to you?

No you're imposing on OUR rights.

You want to force your company to give you the benefits they chose to give heterosexually married couples? No you're trampling on the rights of the people who run the company.

You want to force the State government to give the tax breaks previously reserved for heterosexual married couple, to same sex couples? How is that a matter of "individual rights"?

We have a huge pile of sociological evidence that heterosexual marriages benefit society, and as such it makes sense for society to give those marriages benefits.

We've got zip showing the same sex marriages give society the same benefits. So, lacking those benefits, why in the world should we give any?

You want to call yourself "husband and husband"? That's a matter of your individual rights.

You want to force me to pretend that you're really married, and that I should consider your marriage valid? Now you're trampling over MY individual rights.

But that's what you're supporting.