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While the author argued carefully and forcefully for allowing conscientious objections to facilitating or providing services for same-sex marriages, it still seems that the better position to take in practice and in principle would be to forbid such objections. First, to turn attention to practice: as the earlier commentator, dan, pointed out, conscientious objections would work best in highly populated areas, for in such places, there are plenty of options for one's nuptial service providers. But suppose there are just two florists in a sparsely populated area, and further suppose that both object to providing flowers for one's ceremony. There are then serious questions about A) how inconvenient is too inconvenient for one to look elsewhere and B) which of the two florists would be forced to ignore her objection, should it prove to inconvenient for the couple to look elsewhere. For question B, I suppose that there is no non-arbitrary way of resolving that issue. Of course, the practical problems raised are small in comparison to the principled reason for forbidding conscientious objections: protecting equality concerning sexual orientation is just plainly more important than respecting individuals' personal views about sexual morality. We recognize that people have the right to be treated fairly and roughly equally; conversely, people do not hold the right to be a law unto themselves. The author rightly endorses something close to my view, given that he allows for the equality concern to override the conscientious objection when the former cannot otherwise be satisfied. What prevents him from taking the more clear-cut position? If we admit that the equality concern overrides the conscientious objection business, why can’t we also see that the very process – the process of shopping around for someone to be accepting and filing a lawsuit should that task prove difficult – illustrates one’s status as a second-class citizen and negates any claim about one’s alleged equality in reference to others who don’t have to undergo such things? What seems to prevent the author from taking my view is that he actually believes that there is something oppressive about making people treat same-sex couples equally. He writes, “it will be at best a wash for civil liberty if same-sex couples and their allies henceforth oppress traditional believers in the way that traditional believers and their allies have historically oppressed same-sex couples.” First, it strikes me as ridiculous to suggest that, without a measure to ‘protect’ conscientious objectors, traditional believers would be oppressed in a way at all comparable to the ways same-sex couples have been oppressed. But more importantly, allowing people to think, say, and write as wish having while expecting them to comply with laws that guarantee equality across the spectrum of sexual orientations is not oppressive. We have the similar policies regarding race and gender. Why not here?
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