Seriously? The Gazette has the temerity to tell Lee Stafford and his partner to go somewhere else to get married, even though they are a protected class under Iowa civil rights law, and marriage equality is law in Iowa? (“Pick the right fight,” Oct. 16 editorial). Would you have defended Richard and Betty Odgaard if they had denied access to their services to a mixed-race couple if they professed Christian identity, a white supremacist ideology? Would you have defended the Odgaards had they denied service to a mixed-faith couple, again claiming religious reasons?
Stafford’s lawsuit is not “over the top.” The Gortz Haus is not a church. The Odgaards derive benefit by offering services to earn a profit from the general public. In return, they are governed by public accommodations law, which defines illegal discrimination as a civil tort.
The Gazette editorial is poorly reasoned, and seems to be an attempt to seek compromise in a situation where compromise is impossible. The Odgaards violated the civil rights of Stafford and his partner. Stafford is seeking recourse through the courts, a right which is guaranteed him under the First Amendment.
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