Last month, the potential conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty prompted death threats, arson threats, and the temporary closure of a small-town pizzeria in Indiana. The restaurant’s owner had admitted to a reporter that she could not cater a hypothetical same-sex wedding because of her religious beliefs (even though she otherwise serves gay customers in her restaurant). Threatened with violence over her unpopular religious belief, the owner was forced to close the restaurant, uncertain if she could ever reopen.
Leading up to oral argument in the same-sex marriage cases, it was reasonable to wonder whether the Indiana episode was evidence of an irreconcilable conflict between same-sex marriage and religious liberty. If so, then a Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage might leave no room for religious diversity of opinion about marriage. As a result, individuals, businesses, churches, and other religious organizations could face a world in which having unpopular beliefs about marriage would trigger a range of punishments.