Treat Same-Sex Couples The Same

by Lucy Kratman Lion’s Roar Staff Picture this; You get home from work, a tough day as a working American. Walking through the door, your girlfriend is there to greet you, taking your coat with a smile and kiss. At your feet, Coconut the dog yaps at your feet because it’s been so long. Guided to the couch by her arm, you sit and absentmindedly listen to the TV while Coconut eagerly eats his food. Coming to sit beside you, your girlfriend suggests going out for dinner. Excited, you agree. Pulling your coat on and taking her hand, the pair of you walk towards the car with a promise to Coconut to be back soon. The drive is short, the way clear. It’s a new restaurant, one many of your friends have recommended but with your work schedule alongside hers, the two of you hadn’t been able to go. You walk in, hand-in-hand, and ask the host for a table for two. The man seems startled before breaking from his stupor. He asks to hold on a moment, walking into the back. A moment pasts and the host returns, a woman behind him. “A table for two?” she asks, glancing at your intertwined fingers. “Yes, please.” your girlfriend pipes up. The woman’s nose scrunches, eyes narrowing. “We don’t serve homosexuals here. It’s against my religion personally and as the manager here, I am allowed to refuse service based on my religious belief.” It’s something most take for granted, going into a restaurant to enjoy a nice meal with the one they choose to share their life with. The situation you’ve just read and put yourself into may have been a simulation but it’s not uncommon. Thus raises the question: was the manager correct? Does she have the right to refuse service based on religious belief? A common solution some may suggest was that the same-sex couple could just find somewhere else to eat, order, or request services from. However, a survey administered by CAP to LGBTQ people in order to find out how difficult it would be to find that alternative service such as wedding attire showed that 1 in 5 LGBTQ people said it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to do so. While the Constitution does promise freedom of religion under the First Amendment, it also promises the right to marry under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause. Furthermore, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Justice Arthur Goldberg states in the civil rights case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S, “Discrimination is not simply dollars and cents, hamburgers and movies; it is the humiliation, frustration, and embarrassment that a person must surly feel when he is told that he is unacceptable as a member of the public.” Being a sexual minority already chalks up enough strife, even discounting the constant discrimination and lack of validiy given from society. It’s a luxury, one heterosexuals don’t think about, going out into a society that doesn’t scorn you for something you always were. Thus, once again, the question is posed; Is it O.K to refuse to serve same-sex couples based on religious beliefs? The question is simple enough to answer – No. All people, no matter their sexual orientation, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, equally in every way. Doing this allows for the world to be better, shining light on those who are oppressed and asking ‘What can I do to make a difference? What can I do to make them feel welcome and comfortable?’ Simple – seat them at a table, make their wedding cake, allow them to live their lives.