What if two gays want to rent a womb?
There is some outrageous outrage being expressed all over the internet because of Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Let it suffice to say that a whole lot of people think you shouldn’t discriminate against people because they are gay. Okay, I can agree with that, in general. But “in general” isn’t where we usually have a problem. A problem usually comes up in specifics.
The Indiana law, and the other RFRA laws, do not allow a person or business to discriminate or refuse service to a gay person under normal circumstances. The laws provide some protection to allow a person or business to refuse service in specific cases where doing so would violate their religious conscience. In other words, a business owner can say, “I’ll gladly do a photo session for you, but don’t ask me to affirm your gay marriage by attending your ceremony and taking your actual wedding photos.”
To illustrate this concept further, let us consider a hypothetical case where a gay couple wants to hire a surrogate mother. Two gays rent a womb. Actually, a quick internet search will reveal it’s not all that hypothetical. There are women who hire out their bodies to produce children for others. They are small business owners who provide a valuable service. If they offer this service to someone, can the state force them to offer it to anyone?
If a surrogate mother declines to rent her body to produce a child for a gay couple, for whatever reason – say because she does not believe that gay couples should be parents because their children will be deprived either a mother or a father – can the state force her to do it? What if a hetero couple requests her services and she gets bad vibes from them and thinks they will make awful parents? Can she be forced to provide them a baby?
I don’t know what the heck Hillary would say about this one. For people who think a women has such complete authority over her womb that she can freely murder a resident human being, it must cause a few brain cells to clash to consider whether a woman also has the right to refuse her services to a couple because they are gay.
It seems right that state laws should confirm a gay person’s right to rent a room from Marriott, but wrong that the state laws should enforce that same person’s right to rent a womb from Mary. So what does that say about the state compelling the baker to make a gay wedding cake? Where do you draw the line? I know where I draw it, and the RFRA laws are making a good-faith attempt in that direction.