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Ben Boychuk

is associate editor of City Journal, where he writes on education and California politics. Previously, he served as managing editor of the Heartland Institute's School Reform News and the Claremont Review of Books. He is also a former editorial writer for Investor's Business Daily and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, California. Reach him at

Boychuk writes a weekly column for the Sacramento Bee and Scripps-Howard News Service. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the New York PostNational Review Online, the Korea Times and newspapers across the United States.

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GAY PATRONS TRONS Christians pay price for ‘progress’

By BEN BOYCHUK 

Manhattan Institute’s City Journal
M
y fellow columnist Joel Mathis is entirely too glib. Conservatives have been warning for years that gay marriage and religious liberties could not coexist. One or the other would have to give, and the loser would most likely be the First Amendment.

The reason is straightforward: If resistance to same-sex marriage is founded only on animus and there can be no rational basis for believing marriage is only a union between one man and one woman, then your religious beliefs — no matter how fervently held — won’t matter one whit.

And so notice the language Joel used: “If the government won’t compel service … .” Why not simply say the government should compel service? And if you don’t like it, maybe you shouldn’t be in business at all.

Of course, Indiana’s original law compelled neither service nor patronage. Pay no mind that 19 other states have roughly similar laws. And ignore the fact that the law didn’t explicitly grant business owners license to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Who needs facts when we can have a national freakout?

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the federal government’s and California’s definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman was unconstitutional, Joel and I argued about what the decision would mean for religious liberties. I made the case that it was only a matter of time before what we know as “freedom of religion” would be whittled down to “little more than the freedom to worship whatever deity you choose in a special building one day out of the week.”

Writer Rod Dreher a few years back came up with the Law of Merited Impossibility, which holds: “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”

And they’re getting it good and hard — for progress! 

Reach Ben Boychuk at .