Letter to the Editor: Forced compliance is a dangerous precedent


Recently, Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, proposed House Bill 773, which was eventually approved by the House by a 56-41 vote margin.

This bill prevents any government entity from punishing an individual who acts in accordance with a deeply held religious or moral belief that insinuates the idea that marriage is an institution solely shared between a man and a woman. That piece of legislation has garnered significant opposition from the left, and even the right for what they consider to be legal discrimination.

Many attribute this ideology to the rise of youth political participants, which may very well be true. I myself am a millennial who isn’t even old enough to purchase a bottle of Jameson, and I once considered legal protection of those practicing their religious beliefs in any capacity to be a civil rights issue, but I was challenged to consider the implications of compelling individuals to deviate from their moral or religious beliefs against their own will.

I now myself challenge the youth on both sides of the political spectrum to consider what exactly they are asking for. Hypothetically, if a homosexual bakery owner was approached by the Family Life Council to provide pastries for a local meeting of the group, I would not expect that business owner to rationally comply with the request,  being as they would be supporting that cause through their goods and services. Just as you wouldn’t expect that situation to unfold in favor of the Family Life Council, you shouldn’t expect a bakery owner who opposes same-sex marriage to cater the wedding reception of a same-sex marriage.

The belief that one should not be forced to serve those who oppose his or her moral values is not exclusive to the religious, it is a secular idea that can be applied to any type of situation when one feels uncomfortable allocating resources toward what he or she believes to be the opposition of his or her goals. Forced compliance of moral values in the capacity of same-sex marriage is a dangerous precedent for government coercion whether or not you agree or disagree with the practice.

Kyle Gregory Ford, Woodstock