Alexandria Echo Press
To the editor:
To the editor:
A small-time web page designer refused to make a page for a gay couple planning their wedding, in violation of Colorado's nondiscrimination law. Now the U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the designer should be granted a faith-based exemption. While I fully support the right of all Americans to determine for themselves the sex that they want to date, marry and live as religious freedom is a fundamental right and the high court should protect it.
I harbor no prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people. I'm a person of sincere faith, Jewish, who believes that everyone is created in the image of God, irrespective of their sexual orientation. I have family and friends who are a part of the LGBT community. I co-founded the Prairie Equality Initiative to fight the isolation that LGBT people often face in rural west-central Minnesota. Yet, I also support the entire Bill of Rights, including religious liberty.
We have a long history in this nation of making faith-based accommodations and exemptions to rules and, while we are not anarchists, it would be easy to exempt self-employed and small-time businesses from having to contract with any gay or straight couple planning their special day. These accommodations would not harm public health or safety and would apply equally to all couples.
More pressing challenges face the LGBT community than not getting your first choice for a wedding web page designer. Federally, civil rights laws do not expressly cover LGBT Americans. Locally, LGBT youth often lack a basic support network for coming out and there are still nations that actively work to persecute LGBT people.
Going to court against a small-minded web page designer shouldn't be the priority for the LGBT community. Let us work together to protect both religious liberty and LGBT rights.
Edward TJ Brown
Parkers Prairie, MN
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