The cases that have come up relevant to the Arizona debate involve small-business people declining to provide their services to gay couples at their marriage ceremonies. A New Mexico photographer won’t take pictures. A Washington state florist won’t arrange flowers. An Oregon bakery won’t bake a wedding cake. It’s easy to see how offensive these decisions were to the gay couples involved. An entirely understandable response would be for the couple to say, “I’m sorry you’re so narrow-minded and I hope you evolve one day. In the meantime, I’ll take my business elsewhere.”In other words, in Mr. Lowry's world, if a restaurant decided they wanted to throw out a gay couple, that couple should then offer thanks to the market and just go somewhere else. It isn't the government's role to protect the civil rights of people. If a business owner's God didn't like black people, for example, he could simply throw them out and put up a sign saying "no blacks allowed for religious reasons" and then let "the market" sort out the rest. If a Muslim business owner didn't want to serve Jewish people, just go somewhere else, Jews. I presume Mr. Lowry would appreciate some sort of app or website that kept a catalog of which businesses do business with which groups of people. That's the sort of society he wants to live in. Which was exactly how things were before the Civil Rights Act. Pretty shocking.
The market has a ready solution for these couples: There are other bakers, photographers and florists. The wedding business is not exactly bristling with hostility to gay people. If one baker won’t make a cake for gay weddings, the baker across town can hang a shingle welcoming all couples for all types of weddings. This is how a pluralistic society would handle such disputes. Instead, in the cases mentioned above, the gay couples reported the businesses to the authorities for punishment.
The question isn’t whether businesses run by people opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds should provide their services for gay weddings; it is whether they should be compelled to by government.
But more importantly, why is it that Mr. Lowry seems to think that it is the government's role to protect the rights of business owners? The government shouldn't protect a customer's right to be treated fairly. Instead, that should left up to the market. But a business owner's right to treat people unfairly, why that should be protected by government statute! No free market needed.