If it’s okay to refuse service to Sanders, many think it is logically consistent to refuse service to a gay couple.
But such arguments contain an incredibly dangerous assumption: that the morals behind refusing to serve LGBTQ people are the same as the morals behind refusing to serve Trump administration officials. They’re not.
The idea that no one set of morals can point to a universal truth is called moral relativism, and it’s a tactic the Trump administration relies on repeatedly to justify policy that hurts marginalized groups, and then to silence dissent with calls for “civility.”
…Contrary to what many elected officials have said, religious morals often have little basis in fact or data. And there aren’t many anecdotal or emotional stories that justify opposition to LGBTQ people as a group, for instance, unless they’re stories from people who already have a bias against LGBTQ people. Despite that, the effects of giving legal recognition to morals that oppose being LGBTQ results in violence against those people, persistent workplace discrimination, and higher rates of depression and suicide.
Not only is there no factual basis for Phillips’ morals to oppose same-sex marriage, his sincerely held beliefs have a negative impact on people. Unlike Phillips, Wilkinson’s moral decision was the result of recorded evidence that shows Trump administration policies have hurt people, and that Sanders has defended those policies. The Red Hen’s decision to deny Sanders did not contribute to a larger system of violence against an oppressed group. Sanders, in fact, holds the power, and the only result of Wilkinson denying her service was that she didn’t get to eat dinner at that particular restaurant.