Providing those dresses would break God’s law

You know how the more theocratic of religious types expect to be able to impose their views on everyone else without the converse happening to them? Simon Brown at AU knows how.

W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pa, and the Inne of the Abingtons – they tried to class it up with an extra “e” – in North Abington, Pa., each recently refused to offer their services to same-sex couples.

Victoria Miller, who co-owns W.W. Bridal, cited her religious beliefs to justify this discrimination.

“We feel we have to answer to God for what we do, and providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law,” she said.

Ok I just have to stop and interrupt here for a second, because I can never let that kind of thing alone. It’s beyond my capabilities.

How the hell does Victoria Miller know that? How does she even think she knows that? How does she think she has good reliable universalizable intersubjective reasons to think she knows what “God’s law” might be?

She doesn’t know that, because she can’t, because “God” is inaccessible. There is no unbroken chain of transmission leading all the way back to a reliable communication from “God.” All she has is a long tradition, much of which has changed over time. Talk of “God’s law” is basically just an excuse for imposing ugly squalid prejudices on other people. Victoria Miller doesn’t in the least know that “God” has communicated a “law” that forbids her to provide dresses to women who want to live together as a couple.

To proceed – the businesses got some bad online reviews, which may or may not have been related to their refusal to provide services to same-sex couples.

Operating on their default setting, which is anger, several fundamentalist figure heads lashed out at what they claim is “intolerance” of Christian beliefs.

“Obviously, W.W. Bridal Boutique isn’t the only wedding dress shop in town,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who seems to support the idea that intolerance should be tolerated. “These women could have easily taken their business elsewhere – but chose to retaliate instead. That’s because, at its core, this isn’t about accommodation. It’s about forced acceptance. When religious liberty clashes with homosexuality – as it has from bakeries to flower shops — the storylines are all the same: conform or be punished.”

Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University, offered similar remarks. On his radio show, Staver said the Inne was “attacked with false reviews not based on the quality of the Inne’s service” purely because of Antolick’s religious beliefs. Of course he had no evidence that any reviews were actually inaccurate, and it’s clear some reviews had nothing to do with LGBT issues.

Some would point to these comments as evidence of the Religious Right’s hypocrisy, or proof that they can dish out negativity but can’t take it when it’s directed at them. Both are true. But the really important points here are that the Religious Right believes it has the right to discriminate against people no matter what and that no one should challenge anything they do.

And what do they base that belief on? The belief that it knows what “God’s law” is. That belief has no rational basis whatever. It has nothing but centuries of mindless obedience, which is not at all the same thing as a rational basis for belief.



  1. footface says

    Also, to state the obvious, no one was condemning the shop owner for her religious beliefs. People were criticizing her for what she did.

  2. Havok says

    “…and providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law,”

    I imagine that to this person, a sanctified marriage MUST be between a man and a woman.
    Which would mean that any marriage between two women would not and could not be sanctified, which means she would not be breaking God’s law (even in her own mind) by providing the dresses.

    It astounds me that these people refuse to draw any distinction between marriage as a secular institution, and marriage according to their religion.

  3. Claire Simpson says

    Here’s what gets me – it is none of the store’s business what you are planning to do with the items you purchase there (possibly illegal activity notwithstanding but IANAL). If I go to a wedding dress store to buy wedding dresses because I like to wear them in my everyday life (making me rather strange and much wealthier than most people) or to a fancy dress party or cut it up and make clothes for my cat, it really is nothing to do with the store. When you purchase something, you are entitled to do what you like with it after you have paid. Since when do businesses get to dictate where you can wear clothes you purchased from them? Can I set up an atheist clothes store and forbid Christians from buying my clothes and wearing them to church because it violates my beliefs? Was it like this after the anti-miscegenation laws were struck down? Did businesses that provide wedding support services discriminate (or try to) against customers who didn’t meet their racial standards?

  4. says

    That’s a good point. I was so annoyed by the “God’s law” bit that I didn’t even notice that part.

    But that’s what all this nonsense about pharmacists being allowed religious “exemptions” leads to – people inventing new ways to meddle with others via their shopping decisions. Maybe the two women went shopping for dresses together (which seems likely enough) and so the staff or owners decided to make it an occasion for imposing their bigotry on their hapless customers.

  5. wannabe says

    Do they also refuse service to pregnant brides? Or women marrying after divorce? Those things they can legally do.

    Inquiring minds, etc.

  6. steve84 says

    No matter if it’s a civil or religious marriage, selling a dress doesn’t “sanctify” anything.

    It’s also a really stupid move from a business standpoint. She turned down the chance to sell two dresses at the same time.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    Godslaw – thinly sliced strips of raw god, typically served with a mayonnaise sauce; common ingredient in word salad.

    wannabe @ # 5 – never mind pregnant or divorced: if WWBB wants to claim biblical standards, they need to perform virginity tests. Initially, and at each fitting.

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