The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Businesses should not be allowed to refuse service to homosexuals for religious reasons.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/11/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 807 times Debate No: 78571
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




I am arguing that no business should be able to discriminate against customers on the basis of the customer's sexual orientation. This should apply regardless of the business owner's religious and personal beliefs.


-Burden of proof is on the pro.

-Be civil

-I would appreciate it if we refrained from debating schematics as I am inexperienced and would like my first debate to be about the issue and not any wording errors I may make in my inexperience. However, this is not a rule, merely a request.


Round 1- Acceptance

Round 2- Pro Argument, Con Argument and Rebuttal

Round 3- Both Argument and Rebuttal

To be clear, I am not arguing that a business should be forced to sell "gay" products. I am simply arguing that any product which a business would sell to a straight person, the business should sell to a homosexual one as well.


I have accepted the debate challenge.

I will be arguing on the premises of religious freedom, which applies more heavily to smaller businesses, as they are more family oriented and are generally more likely to implement religious ideals.

I will also be arguing on the basis of free trade, which also amounts to government and its inability to legislate if service can or cannot be denied for any reason.

Burden of proof is not shared, as there is no statistical evidence incorporated into this debate. I would use some sources though.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the debate challenge.

To be clear, I intend on debating this in the realm of American politics.

My first argument will address the two points which you mentioned in your acceptance.

First, religious freedom is not applicable to refusing service. I agree that the First Amendment to the US Constitution does guarantee citizens the right to religious freedom. However, the United States Supreme Court had ruled that this does not extend to the practice of beliefs which may harm others or violate laws. In Reynolds v. United States, Reynolds was charged with polygamy. He argued that it was his religious duty as a Mormon to be polygamous and his right to religious freedom made any law against polygamy unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled against him, finding that religious freedom did not apply(1). I believe that this principle can be extended to apply to discrimination against homosexuals. An interesting part of the Supreme Courts decision read, in part, that if they allowed Reynolds to violate the law for religious duty, what was to stop someone from claiming that human sacrifice was a religious duty(1). If religious freedom is cited for allowing discrimination against homosexuals, what is to stop an organization such as the Klu Klux Klan from claiming that their religion compels them to discriminate and persecute black people? Just as one would not be allowed to cite religious freedom as a reason to refuse to serve a Jewish customer, one should not be allowed to cite religious freedom as a reason to refuse to serve a homosexual customer.

Your argument claiming free trade is invalid. The government does have the ability to control if a service can or cannot be denied. This power was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Heart of Atlanta Hotel v. United States. The Heart of Atlanta Hotel refused to rent out rooms to black customers, in violation of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964(2). If the government has the power to force the Heart of Atlanta hotel to provide service, it has the power to require businesses to serve homosexual customers.

Finally, I would like to be clear on one point. The company has the right to refuse to produce a certain product. For example, company's cannot be forced to make a wedding cake topper with two men. However, the company should be compelled to provide a wedding cake if a homosexual couple orders one. The product is exactly the same, only the client is different. A company should not be allowed to chose not to serve that person on the basis of sexual orientation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 already made it illegal to refuse service to someone due to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin(3). Sexual orientation should be an included protection. The government certainly has the power to make it illegal. They just have to pass the bill.





I want to remind you that this is based on subjectivity and then later reaffirmed by the Constitution.

There is no way to deny that legislating religious freedom compromises the Constitution, and that is exactly what is being done.

If your religious freedom impedes on another citizens right to life, liberty, or property, then it shall not be allowed. You have no right to someone else's property or their service, without their permission. To force a party to service you without their will is not an idea created on the basis of personal liberty.

Your entire argument is preposterous and based around the assumption that if the federal government has the ability to do something, they should do it, which is certainly not the case. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was good in a moral sense, but not in a rights sense. No one has the inalienable right to your service without your consent, and there can be no federal entity that can force you to do a service, unless you commit a crime, which forces you to forfeit some rights. The statement based upon polygamy is also religious freedom, and there are quite a lot of polygamists in Utah, due to its high Mormon population. I find it easy to believe that our Supreme Court would do something unconstitutional, as they did in June during the gay marriage ruling. The 1st Amendment guarantees us all religious liberty.

The entire point of rights is opportunity and the freedom to expand. You are not given an excess of rights because you will use them all, it is there because you should not be locked in. Not every religious person would deny service based upon any reason, whether it is religion or sexual orientation. There is no quick way of telling sexual orientation unless you are told directly. On the other hand, denying to make a cake due to you not agreeing with gay marriage is perfectly fine and is protected by the 1st Amendment. This is all a matter of religious freedom, something that is being compromised heavily in this country due to political correctness and the federal governments inability to leave people to their own desires, rather then legislating all of it.

We here are not discussing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as it does not include homosexuals as a protected group. If it is your property, your materials, your service, then no one has the right to it unless you give permission.

Also, the Civil Rights Act does not prohibit the denial of service due to sex.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for continuing the debate.

To be clear, I did not assert that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to homosexuals. I does not. I was simply making the point that it is within the government's power to address this issue.

I feel that I have sufficiently proven that the federal government has the power to legislate this issue. I will instead address your point that I did not sufficiently prove that the government should. Despite your personal opinions, the Supreme Court's decisions are the interpretation of the Constitution. Therefore, as long as the law is not made with religion in mind but made for the public good, it does not violate the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment.

By opening a business, you give implied consent to service the public. You choose what products you sell. You choose at what price you wish to sell those items. You choose where you wish those items to be located. You can choose everything about how the business works. However, you do not choose the customers because it does not affect your business. You argue that people have a right to free trade. I agree, in the sense they should be able to control everything that affects their business. The sexual orientation of a customer does not. The customers money is not worth less because they are homosexual. The customer doesn't force the business to pay money because they are homosexual. Business is all about the bottom line, and serving homosexuals does not affect that bottom line. What if I chose to open a business, and before anyone ordered, I asked them which party they supported. If they said Republican, I would refuse them service. Would that be something you support? I say no, because, just like serving homosexuals, it does not affect the business's bottom line.

Calling the refusal to serve homosexuals religious freedom is misnomer. It is, and should be called, discrimination against homosexuals. Calling it religious freedom is like calling a Klu Klux Klan rally an exercise in freedom of speech instead of calling it racism. Even if you claim religious freedom, the argument is weak. The Bible forbids you from committing an act of homosexuality. It does not forbid you from talking to, selling to, being friends with, or even going to the wedding of someone who is homosexual. The Bible actually says that God is the only one who should judge. Who are you to judge homosexuals and refuse them service?

The First Amendment reads, in part, "No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"(1). Since the Bible does not condemn those who serve or socialize with homosexuals, there is not even an argument that a law prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals would even remotely violate the free exercise of Christianity. The Bible in fact reads "You shall love your neighbor as yourself"(Mark 12:31)(2). Does this not mean that you should not refuse service to anyone if you would not refuse service to yourself? It is not your place to judge anyone. Discriminating against homosexuals is impossible without judgement.

In conclusion, discrimination against Homosexuals should be made illegal for two reasons. First, serving homosexuals does not actually affect your ability to run a profitable business in whatever way you like. Second, religious freedom is an invalid argument when the Bible does not support discrimination. As a matter of fact, I would say the Bible actually tells you not to discriminate. Congress has the ability to stop the discrimination. Stopping this discrimination does not prohibit the free exercise of your religion nor your right to free trade. Homosexuals did not choose to be homosexuals. It's time to stop discriminating against people because they happened to be born just a little bit different.




Your approach to this is very holistic.

Let me use the bakery in Oregon as an example. Those bakers were fined for 135,000 because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding, as that interfered with their religious views. The 2 women sued for "emotional damages", and since Oregon has a law prohibiting complete religious freedom, they won.

There is no need for checking the background of a person, whether it is religion or sexual preference, but that is the point of freedom. There is no need for hate groups, there is no need for Nazism, there is no need for Satanism, but that is freedom. Freedom and liberty is about expansion, the ability to be despicable, and not face legislated consequences.

I personally do not believe in gay marriage. I believe the government should stay out completely, but I personally do not believe in gay marriage. I believe that people that follow a faith should not be forced to comply with gay weddings unless they serve the public, as you cannot discriminate as a public worker.

A private business that denies service to gays is most notably a small family owned business, not a large corporation, as news will spread fast and boycotts will occur.

Your argument states that it does not affect the businesses bottom line. In the end, that is correct, as money from homosexuals or heterosexuals is the same money. However, being forced to provide service to homosexuals will affect the one providing the service.

The point of privatization as well as liberty is that you are not forced into doing something that is against your will. As homosexuals do not have the right to other's property or service, denying them these would not affect their inalienable rights. Forcing a person to provide service in their own establishment against their will is a direct violation of your liberties as well as religious freedoms.

You also state that the Bible says not to pass judgement. Disagreeing is not judgement, that is argument.

"Gay marriage/same-sex marriage is a perversion of the institution of marriage and an offense to the God who created marriage. As Christians, we are not to condone or ignore sin."

"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." - Genesis 1:27

In the end, I need sufficient and biological evidence that homosexuality is chosen or is a sexual preference that you are born into. This preposterous claim has not been proved false nor correct by scientists, so I will choose not to accept it, since there is not sufficient evidence.

Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by PericIes 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had more convincing arguments. Pro's first section of arguments was almost entirely about whether or not the government COULD do something, rather than whether or not it SHOULD do something. Pro's second argument was better, but he made some logical errors. He assumed that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution is infallible, he claimed that instances of open prejudice and instances of free speech were mutually exclusive, he assumed that anyone claiming a religious aversion to catering to homosexuals would do so based off of Christianity and not any other religion, etc. Con was simply more grounded in facts.