The events surrounding the signing into law of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act provide an interesting test case to see if boycotts, or threats thereof, can successfully induce policy changes. I find this an interesting analogue to the ongoing debate whether Western sanctions, particularly “smart sanctions” imposed on Russia, can have an impact.
As Michael Hiltzik has discussed, there have been cancellations of conventions, musical events, and incipient expansions. The most well-known example of a boycott that apparently subsequently induced a change in behavior involved the chain of events that occurred after Governor Meacham’s rescission of the decision to designate a Martin Luther King holiday in Arizona.
In 1990, after Tempe’s Sun Devils Stadium had been awarded the 1993 Super Bowl, Arizona voters rejected a ballot measure designating Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday. Within hours of the vote, the NFL rescinded the game, costing the state an estimated $100 million in economic impact. (The game was played at the Rose Bowl instead.)
This article discusses at greater length the reversal by Arizona voters that brought the Superbowl to Arizona in 1996. In the end, the boycott apparently worked, although that outcome took years to unfold. The article cites an ASU Business School estimate of the economic impact of obtaining the Superbowl at $305.8 million. It’s this experience that Hiltzik (and Koplowitz/IBT) attribute to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a similar bill last year.
This suggests that the real impact of the Indiana law might unfold over time, in opportunities for growth foregone rather than in tangible losses now. Indiana can probably kiss goodbye to any chance of attracting a large-scale relocation in an industry with a good record on gay rights, such as technology or entertainment. By their nature, however, these losses will be hard to connect directly to the law, unless it’s specifically cited in a corporate decision.
L. Libresco at FiveThirtyEight recounts the evidence and is not as sanguine on boycotts having the intended effect. That being said, I do think that the chances for effecting a discernable change in policy is greater than one might think at first glance. Taking a cue from the recent example of sanctions on Russia, it seems to me the relevant question is not the impact relative to gross state product, but rather how the costs are imposed on key constituencies within the state economy.
In the older literature on the efficacy of economic sanctions, the rule of thumb developed by Hufbauer and Schott et al. was that one needed to inflict an economic loss equivalent to 2% of GDP in order to have some degree of success. If one made an analogy to affecting state economies, one would be hard pressed to conclude that boycotts could inflict a 2% of gross state product loss. Indiana’s nominal gross state product in 2013 (latest available data) was $317 billion, so 2% would be $6.4 billion.
I don’t think that’s the relevant metric. To the extent that businesses are highly mobile between states, and can relatively quickly locate operations and activities in alternate states, the costs on specific groups could be sufficiently high to motivate enough lobbying to alter state policies. That is exactly the idea behind “smart sanctions” in the case of Russia, where many of the sanctions targeted individuals and specific firms, rather than the entire economy (see  ).
Now, the effectiveness of sanctions in the case of Russia was magnified by the underlying decline in the price of its primary export, oil. In the case of Indiana, the vulnerabilities are not so clear. On the other hand, Indiana’s growth prospects as measured by the Philadelphia Fed’s leading index have been dimming since early 2014, and the leading index now indicates slower growth than all of Indiana’s neighbors (this reading is from the December numbers).
The decision by the Governor of Arkansas to send legislation similar to Indiana’s RFRA back to the legislature signals that the costs of boycotts can be perceived to be measurable to groups with effective lobbying power.
Update, 4/2 10AM Pacific: McBride and Durso at the Center for American Progress estimate the six year (cumulative) cost at $256.4 million (current dollars).
This tabulation is apparently expressed in terms of lost revenues. What is relevant is the lost profits, wages and taxes relative to counterfactual; it’s possible that a lost convention is replaced by another, for instance.
On the other hand, the estimates do not incorporate multiplier effects.
Update, 3:45PM Pacific: Here is Governor Walker’s comment on the Indiana RFRA (Buzzfeed):
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday much of the outrage over Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act comes from “people who are chronically looking for ways to be upset about things.”
I don’t trust any analysis of the Super Bowl’s impact. I’ve seen a number of studies and they fall into 2 groups: puff pieces designed to hype the benefits and exposes of the reality. I’d say it’s much more the prestige issue of being reminded that the Super Bowl is somewhere else than actual economic loss. I would, in some ways, equate this with Hollywood tax credits: they look great on paper and bring prestige but they end up as net losers economically and once the prestige wears off you are confronted with the reality of the cost.
As an example, most of the Super Bowl puffery I’ve read doesn’t even allow for what might have happened otherwise. Kind of like counting the calories you burn at the gym without considering that you would have burned calories doing something else, getting fixated on the gross and not the net. Arizona in February is an attractive destination for the weather. As is New Orleans. And most other Super Bowl locations. The net change is what? I haven’t found any really good answer to that.
But I don’t discount the loss of prestige factor.
I’ve read a bunch of work about the S. African boycott and it doesn’t look like it had an economic effect, though it had a cultural one. It’s hard to value that.
If Indiana loses industries with a strong record on gay rights, it may gain industries with a strong record on religious freedom.
Regarding Russia, there are also economic losses outside of Russia. China may be the big winner.
‘…it may gain industries with a strong record on religious freedom.’
Hey, none of that opportunity costs stuff here, Peak. Whaddya think, this is some kind of economics blog?
Patrick R. Sullivan: It is conceivable that Indiana could become a magnet for the kind of individuals and companies that would like to be able to deny service to certain individuals. However, it strikes me that this is a possibility that is in itself not without ramifications, as it would then strengthen the signal to yet other individuals what Indiana stands for.
I am still waiting to hear you admit you were in error regarding depth of the downturn in Canada vs. US during the Great Depression. As you recall, you stated unequivocally:
And this statement is wrong.
Do they want to deny services to certain individuals or deny services to certain behaviors?
Historically, many societies controlled some behaviors, perhaps, for good reasons.
Society should accept everyone, but that doesn’t mean it should accept every behavior.
Some people cannot accept “marriage” is something other than between one man and one woman.
peak, if that is the case then “marriage” should not be supported one way or the other by the government and taxes. but as long as the government wants to provide certain “benefits” with respect to marriage, they cannot discriminate.
What are those religious industries?
A single chicken restaurant chain does not qualify as an industry.
If Indiana loses industries with a strong record on gay rights, it may gain industries with a strong record on
Fixed that for you.
I’m pretty sure the market for fundamentalist churches and Christian bookstores in Indiana is already saturated, anyway.
For the effectiveness of boycotts, begin with the one that gave us the very word. It was organized by Michael Davitt and the Land League, with the support of Parnell, against an absentee landlord and his agent, one Capitian Boycott. It did several things, including drawing concessions and leading to reform, but it also helped rally and create political movements. The effects of a boycott are not limited to the economic.
Scott Walker is right about this. But he’s putting the point too politely, which of course he must do since he’s running for President. Since I’m not running, I’ll just say it more directly: the ignorance, bullying, and hypocrisy was staggering in this case. Let’s go through it.
Ignorance: Activists hysterically claimed that Indiana’s RFRA law would allow people to discriminate. But that’s completely false and shows their deep ignorance of these laws. Indiana’s RFRA was modeled after the Federal version, which was sponsored by Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy, and signed by Bill Clinton in the early 90s. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was passed in reaction to a Supreme Court decision that was led by Justice Scalia. Since the early 1960s, Justice Brennan (supported by the ACLU) had developed a legal standard that said that when there is a conflict between a first amendment right and a statute, the statute could not prevail over the first amendment right unless the government was pursuing a compelling interest with the statute and there was no other way to achieve that compelling interest. However, in 1990, a Scalia-led coalition rejected that principle in a case of an American Indian being fired for using Peyote (which he claimed was part of his religion). The Left was outraged and decided to codify the Brennan principle in statute. Thus, the federal RFRA was born.
The reason that states are passing their own versions is that the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal RFRA does not apply to the states. But many states want to codify the Brennan principle rather than leave these decisions completely up to the discretion of the judiciary. The federal and state RFRAs do not mandate that anything in particular happen. Rather they define broadly for the judiciary the standards they should follow in adjudicating particular cases.
Why all the outrage over Indiana? It’s not clear how all this got started but one reason seems to be the idea that Indiana’s RFRA is fundamentally different from the Federal version in that it explicitly allows its use in private suits. However, those people don’t realize that this point were never clear in the Federal version. The federal appellate courts are split on whether the federal RFRA can be used in private suits, with four appellate courts having ruled it can. Amazingly enough, even the Obama Justice department asserted that the federal RFRA could be used by a corporation as a defense in a private claim.
Moreover, Indiana does not even have a state wide law preventing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (although a couple of cities do.) Therefore, the RFRA can’t be used as a defense against sexual orientation discrimination because in almost everywhere in Indiana, no one can bring a discrimination complaint in the first place! What about in places where there are local ordinances? Could the RFRA be used to discriminate there? In theory, yes, but in practice, no. The judiciary has consistently ruled that discrimination laws are a compelling interest of the state and people have not succeeded in defending themselves against discrimination charges by invoking RFRAs. For example, in Elaine Photography vs. Willock, a photographer did not succeed in using New Mexico’s RFRA to avoid a fine for refusing to photograph a gay wedding. There is no reason to think that Indiana would be any different.
Bullying and Intimidation Despite the fact that the RFRA is not a tool to discriminate, the Left went into full battle mode, threatening boycotts and economic harm. In one case, a christian owner of a pizza shop answered a hypothetical question from a reporter who wandered in. The pizza shop was forced to shut down temporarily because of all the threatening emails, phone calls, etc. A teacher in Indiana got suspended after a tweet that asked who would join her in burning down the pizza parlor. Bullying is a common tactic of the Left, which we saw on full display in the case of Reinhardt and Rogoff.
Hypocrisy Prominent businesses condemned Indiana while they themselves manufacture their goods in countries with abhorrent human rights records, frequently travel to those countries, and sell those goods in other countries in which the penalty for homosexuality is death.
To answer the question posed in this post: Do economic boycotts change policy? Of course, they sometimes do, especially if they are bullying and dishonest. Indiana has already modified its RFRA to exclude its use in private suits and to explicitly carve out discrimination statutes. The Indiana legislature had no problem doing that since they know the RFRA was never designed to be a discrimination tool. But the proper question should be why we should tolerate the tactics that led to that change. People who engage in ignorant intimidation should be condemned and their own hypocrisy called out.
rick, hypocrisy at its fullest indeed. why did the state of indiana pass the bill to begin with? pure political gamesmanship. it was all about the conservatives in the state touting their position. it was a provocative move pure and simple. and it backfired. and the charge was led by corporate leaders, concerned with their ability to work and turn a profit in the state of indiana. the left did not go into “full battle mode, threatening boycotts and economic harm.” businesses spoke up and clearly demanded that they would not conduct business in a state that allowed discriminatory practices of their employees. it was a stupid political game by the governor and conservative legislature, and they were finally called on it (as well as in other states). again i reiterate, the governor was completely in the wrong and was challenged on the point. eventually he recognized his mistake-a rare concept for a conservative politician indeed. wrong is wrong, period.
Another fact-free, argument-free rant from you.
No, these RFRAs are not designed to discriminate. One way to see that is to compare with Kansas, another mid-western conservative state that passed an RFRA before Indiana.
Governor Brownback signed HB 2203, which was Kansas’s RFRA, in 2013. If you look at the text, you can see that it’s very similar to Indiana’s. One very telling piece of text defines substantial burden to be “not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties, or exclusion from government programsor access to government facilities.” There is a very real motivation for that language, the case of Mary Stinemetz.
Mary Stinemetz was a Kansas resident on medicaid who needed a liver transplant. However, she was also a Jehova’s Witness and her religion forebad the use of blood transfusions. There is a liver transplant procedure that could be done that is bloodless, but it was not available in Kansas. The procedure was available in Omaha, Nebraska and was actually cheaper. Stinemetz asked Kansas medicaid to approve the out-of-state operation, but they refused. She then brought a religious liberties suit. Because Kansas had no RFRA at the time, Stinemetz’s fate was up to how the court interpreted the state and federal constitution. The lower court ruled against her. The appelate court, in Stinemetz vs. Kansas Health Policy Authority ultimately applied RFRA principles and ordered Kansas to grant the out of state operation in 2011. But by then, it was too late and Stinemetz died in 2012. Had Kansas had an RFRA in 2010, she might have lived.
It was well understood that the Kansas RFRA was not a basis for discrimination, being passed to guide religious liberty disputes such as the Stinemetz case. Some House conservatives in Kansas understood that very well and wanted an explicit bill that would allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, since the Kansas RFRA did not provide that. That’s why they subsequently attempted to pass in 2014 an explicit bill that would have allowed businesses in Kansas to refuse to serve gays. This was a true discrimination bill. As the New York Times reported, conservative Republicans in the Senate joined forces with liberals to kill the bill.
rick, thanks for the background information on kansas, but my comments were directed at INDIANA and not kansas (which has its own universe of problems). and the indiana bill was discriminatory, and would allow a bigot to defend his actions on legal and religious grounds. this is why citizens and business leaders around the country came down so hard on the indiana governor, who initially denied this aspect of the bill-probably to cater to a certain voting block. it was an embarrassment to watch his, and other conservatives, respond in defense of a bill that provided cover to bigots. as i said before, at least he finally admitted his ignorance and proceeded to make changes to the bill. but only after significant pressure from the rest of the country, who do not want to support a bigot society. it was a political ploy to appease the far conservative right, and it backfired. big time.
a secondary comment on your kansas monologue, you are then in favor of laws that force the state of kansas to pay for medical procedures performed in another state if the patient demands, against the wishes of the state of kansas?
I brought up Kansas to show you that there are real life cases in which an RFRA is useful. But of course that went right over your head. And you continue to repeat your dogmatic, fact-free, argument-free talking point, while not responding to any arguments I made against it.
In answer to your question about Mary Stinemetz, I don’t believe we should tolerate discrimination against Jehova’s witnesses anymore than I think we should tolerate discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation. If I thought RFRAs were tools for discrimination against anyone I would oppose them. RFRAs are rather tools to prevent discrimination. Mary Stinemetz had a very strong religious belief about blood transfusions and told Kansas medicaid that she would be willing to die for that belief. We know she was sincere since she did die for that belief. The appellate court decided the case correctly in my opinion when it invoked RFRA principles. Kansas medicaid was not pursuing any compelling state interest when they refused to accommodate her religious beliefs. It seemed that nothing more was going on with Kansas other than mindless bureaucracy–they had a rule and they were going to follow it. Unfortunately, since Kansas did not have an RFRA, there was no guidance for the courts and the lower court invoked the Scalia-led decision in Employment Division vs. Smith (the decision that set aside the Brennan principle and led to the federal RFRA) to reject her first amendment claims.
rick, if my religious convictions allowed me to have a liver transplant, but not from a black (choose your minority) female in kansas, would you support my position? if the only eligible donor was in another state, would you support transporting me to another state and having the transplant there while kansas picked up the cost?
your gripe is with the bureaucracy, and i can fully understand that position. the unfortunate woman had a choice and she made it. she was not denied the opportunity to have a transplant. i find it fascinating a person with your view of limited government would support a mandate that the state of kansas should be forced to spend money in another state when a medically safe alternative existed in the current state.
but to respond to your criticism on my commentary, i was discussing explicitly the situation in the state of indiana. and the motives for that piece of legislation were not honorable. they were political. and they were bigoted. if you cannot accept that criticism of the process so be it. remember the governor and legislature were both warned prior to the law it contained deficiencies, but they ignored those requests and pushed ahead anyway, in a rather provocative manner as well.
From several articles over the past day:
A crowdfunding page in support of Memories Pizza, the Indiana pizzeria that drew criticism this week for saying it wouldn’t cater gay weddings, has raised nearly $500,000 in 24 hours. A GoFundMe page was set up this week after the restaurant’s Yelp page was flooded with negative reviews.
…one of the pizzeria’s co-owners told a local news affiliate that “[i]f a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no.” Memories Pizza said they would continue to serve gay customers that came into their store.
The GoFundMe page was set up by Lawrence Jones…the company had received threatening phone calls and messages on social media….quickly met its initial goal of $25,000, and, at the time of this writing, has amassed more than $493,000…in order to “combat the leftist hatred” that other commenters have left there.
Co-owner Crystal O’Connor: “I don’t know if we will re-open,” she said when asked about the backlash the business has received. She also said her family is considering leaving town. “We’re in hiding, basically.”
“We’re very hurt and confused,” she added. “We stood up for what we believe. We said we would serve anyone who walked in the door — even gays — but we would not condone a wedding, we would not cater for it because that’s against our religious beliefs.”
“We’re very hurt and confused,” she added. “We stood up for what we believe. We said we would serve anyone who walked in the door — even gays — but we would not condone a wedding, we would not cater for it because that’s against our religious beliefs.”
sad thing is she has a complete lack of awareness to her discriminatory behavior. clueless.
Standing on principles when there is little risk.
Since RFRA was passed by Bill Clinton, I wonder when the all-things-Clinton boycott will begin!
I say again: you continue your fact-free, argument-free rant without responding to any of my points. You say
“and the motives for that piece of legislation were not honorable. they were political. and they were bigoted. if you cannot accept that criticism of the process so be it.”
Where’s your argument establishing that? I could accept the criticism if you deigned to provide some evidence and argument and if you responded to my already-made arguments as to why this isn’t true.
I think it’s telling that you are not willing to respect the religious beliefs of Christians. That’s a very common problem with progressives, who are often very selective about whose beliefs they are willing to tolerate. But then you take it a step further, creating a hypothetical in which you propose a nonsense case that has racial overtones, so that you can continue to insinuate without evidence that Christians are bigoted and want to use RFRAs to promote their bigotry.
But real Christians are not at all like that. A good example is Chosen 300 Ministries vs. The City of Philadelphia and Mayor Michael Nutter. This was a very recent case involving Pennsylvania’s RFRA in which a local Baptist ministry felt that they were called by Christ to feed the homeless wherever they are found, which in practice meant outdoors. The city of Philadelphia passed an ordinance requiring any feeding to be indoors. Chosen 300 Ministries brought a suit under the RFRA, claiming that their religious beliefs were being violated. Chosen 300 prevailed in that RFRA suit. When you read the evidence, it’s clear that the city didn’t really have any compelling state interest in enforcing such an ordinance.
Hardly the Christian bigotry that the zealots would have you believe, is it? But, since you apparently think it’s OK to allow a Jehova’s Witness to die rather than accommodate her religious beliefs, I won’t be surprised if you also think Philadelphia should have prevailed.
rick, typical of your narratives to make false statements. i said absolutely nothing about Christians being bigots. i am a Christian myself and believe in the goodness of my religion. but i do have a problem with bigots using Christianity as a defense for their behavior. you should feel the same way. Jesus did not discriminate. As a Christian I do not have a need for a poorly written RFRA as was produced in Indiana. You continue to deflect the criticism away from the main point, which was the law written and passed in Indiana allowed for bigoted behavior and as such was not acceptable. The poorly written law had nothing to do with Kansas or Pennsylvania-you are simply avoiding the inconvenient truth of the Indiana law. Once again your claim of “Christian bigotry” is patently false and typical of your dishonest arguments.
on the other hand, if one belongs to a church that accepts gay marriage, I assume you fully support the request that the state legally acknowledge the gay marriage performed in that church? or are you being selective in your religious accomodations?
There you go again. I ask you to justify your statement with some facts and argument, but instead you just repeat your statement again, saying: “You continue to deflect the criticism away from the main point, which was the law written and passed in Indiana allowed for bigoted behavior and as such was not acceptable.” Any reason for this statement? Anything at all? Maybe your astrologer told you this? I’m so starved for even a slight argument from you that I’ll accept anything at this point.
I think it’s pretty funny that you deny that you think Christians are bigots and then immediately make an argument that they are bigots. You say that “Jesus did not discriminate” and that you “do have a problem with bigots using Christianity as a defense for their behavior.” OK, since Christians, following Jesus, would not discriminate and would not be opposed to gay marriage, etc., then it follows that Christians who do have a problem with gay marriage are bigots. That’s clearly what you are saying, just as I alleged.
Sorry, Baffles, but there is another explanation: it’s their religious belief. Let’s take just one example. The Catholic Church has consistently opposed same-sex marriage as sinful. In modern times, we can see that from Pope Pius VI’s encyclical Huminae Vitae right up to the present Pope, Francis. Pope Francis is quite liberal in general. In fact, it’s rumored that he is going to put out an encyclical on climate change this year. But, when commenting about same sex marriage legislation in Argentina, he had this to say:
“In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family. At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”
“Let us not be naive: This is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
“[T]oday the country, in this particular situation, needs the special assistance of the Holy Spirit to bring the light of truth on to the darkness of error, it needs this advocate to defend us from being enchanted by many fallacies that are tried at all costs to justify this bill and to confuse and deceive the people of good will.”
“I invoke the Lord to send his Spirit on senators who will be voting, that they do not act in error or out of expediency, but according to what the natural law and the law of God shows them.”
“We look to Saint Joseph, Mary and the Child Jesus and ask that they fervently defend the family in Argentina at this particular time. We remember what God said to his people in a moment of great anguish: ‘This war is not yours, but God’s’: defend us, then, in this war of God.”
If you didn’t catch that, the “father of lies” that the Pope mentioned is Satan himself. Remember, this statement is coming from the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion people.
Unlike you, I do not adhere to any religion. I believe the Pope is very wrong about his sincerely held religious belief (and he’s wrong about climate change too.)
I favor civil rights for gay people and I support gay marriage. But if we want to live in a pluralistic society that can tolerate points of view that we disagree with, we should not label people bigots who have sincere beliefs that we might (violently) disagree with. We have to find ways to accommodate disparate people’s religious beliefs while at the same time be able to resolve inevitable disputes in a rational way. RFRAs are one attempt to do that.
rick, there you go again with dishonest commentary. there is a distinct difference between calling Christians bigots (which is your statement, i never said that) and calling a Christian who discriminates a bigot. discriminatory behavior is just that, discriminatory. if it is defended by the cover of religion, it is still discriminatory. lest you forget, we had generations of people who justified the outlaw of interracial marriage through religion. they were wrong, discriminatory, and bigots. or somebody can take your position, and defend discrimination as acceptable, because it is a strongly held belief.
on the indiana issue, the governor was warned that this legislation allowed for discrimination. he chose to pass it anyway. he approved of a law that allowed for discrimination, intentionally. if that does not bother you, then at least we know where you stand in defense of discrimination.
Nope, I said “so that you can continue to insinuate without evidence that Christians are bigoted.” I didn’t say that you called Christians bigots. So, I’m talking about your second statement, which you are not denying. My point is that you believe that Christians who believe that homosexuality is morally wrong are bigoted. And, according to you, Christians that believe it is sinful to contribute in some way to homosexuality, are bigoted. That is a position of intolerance. It’s important to distinguish religious belief from bigotry–but you can’t seem to do that.
You took a tiny step towards an argument, with your use of the passive voice. You said the “governor was warned.” Who warned him? Why should we believe who warned him? People are “warning” people all the time about policies they disagree with. What specifically about the Indiana bill permitted discrimination?
“My point is that you believe that Christians who believe that homosexuality is morally wrong are bigoted.”
nope. you can believe whatever you want. but you cannot discriminate. if you do then you are acting as a bigot. period. as sarah said, you can put lipstick on a pig…
rick, i find it baffling that an educated person such as yourself would actually defend a position that permits discrimination. that is a hollow existence.
“Activists hysterically claimed that Indiana’s RFRA law would allow people to discriminate. But that’s completely false and shows their deep ignorance of these laws.”
Wow rick you’re clairvoyant and can see into the future! maybe you should be an economist
Clairvoyant? Where did I predict the future? I merely pointed out the facts and law surrounding RFRAs.
Given the Pope’s quote, I have to assume that if he were asked to officiate at a gay wedding he’d refuse. If the government passed a law requiring clerics to officiate at gay weddings, he’d cite his first amendment rights and refuse to comply. But that means he’s a bigot in your eyes, After all, according to you, the Pope can believe whatever he wants. But if he discriminates, then he’s acting as a bigot. Freedom of religion in BaffledWorld only applies to thoughts, not to actions.
If you want to call the Pope a bigot, that’s your right under the first amendment as well. You mentioned you are a Christian–hope you are not Catholic.
rick, if he (or another cleric) chose not to officiate an interracial marriage would you endorse his action? again i reiterate, discrimination is discrimination, period. you either tolerate discrimination, or you do not tolerate discrimination. if an official wants a state granted permission to conduct a legal ceremony, they should not discriminate. if you are happy to only perform a ceremony recognized by the church, but not the state, i am not going to argue with you. the state will not recognize that union legally. but if you want state given responsibility, you cannot discriminate. again i reiterate, discrimination is discrimination, period.