Memories Pizza and the RFRA

Memories Pizza and the RFRA

Huge outcry over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and a business called Memories Pizza. At issue is the pizzeria owner's stance that they're more than happy to serve anyone who enters their restaurant but would refuse to cater a homosexual's wedding.

While religious people claim these laws are about protecting religious freedom, they're making a serious mistake. By framing it in that manner it forces supporters to defend their beliefs in increasingly tenuous circumstances: "God also says adultery is a sin -- so do you deny your goods/services to adulterers?". What supporters should be focusing on are their private property rights, of which exclusion (discrimination) is a fundamental component. If the property is mine then I have the right to exclude who I want, when I want and for whatever reason I want. The "why" of my exclusion is irrelevant.

A company policy that refuses to cater homosexual weddings is no different than a policy that refuses service to someone with no shirt and/or no shoes. Since I have no right to the goods or services for sale at that business I have no standing to claim harm. This pizzeria's policy harmed exactly ZERO people (excluding the owners as a result of the nonsense reaction).

I disagree with the owner's position and while I believe it to be economically foolish, I'm under no obligation to purchase their services, and I could also recommend to other people that they stay away. That said, it's their business and they have the right to hold their views for whatever reason they hold them.

Update - Consider the following two examples:

  • I'm a photographer who specializes in Jewish events. A Catholic wants to hire me to shoot his wedding. I refuse because I don't do Catholic weddings. I just discriminated against this person on the basis of his religion.
  • I own a bar that serves homosexuals. A hetero wants to enter my establishment and I refuse entry. I just discriminated against this person on the basis of his sexual orientation.

According to the law, I've illegally discriminated against the Catholic and the heterosexual. Does anyone truly have a problem with either instance? How about the people discriminated against? What harm were they caused? So they find a different photographer and drink at a different bar. Who cares?