Va. Republicans vow to defend religious liberty after SCOTUS marriage ruling

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jul 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-08 18:56:00-04

RICHMOND, VA -- After a recent Supreme Court ruling, same-sex marriage is recognized in all states, and so far thousands of same-sex couples have walked down the aisle.

A concern among many in  LGBT community is what protections they are offered, as discrimination laws differ state to state. Essentially, gay marriage may be legal, but one could potentially be fired from a job for marrying their partner.

The concerns among Virginians also comes after state Republicans vowed to defend religious liberty in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling. Specifics on what "defending" religious liberty means so far have not been made public.

"We should do everything we can," said Victoria Cobb with Virginia's Family Foundation.

Cobb says bakers and photographers should not be forced to participate in gay marriage ceremonies if it goes against their religious beliefs.

"It's not unlike the African-American baker asking them to bake a Confederate flag," Cobb said. "Is that what we want for society?"

Cobb says conscience clauses currently exist for some counselors in Virginia and she believes those clauses should be expanded.

In the baking community this subject has become a hot topic after bakers in Colorado and Oregon began fighting orders to participate.

"Some bakeries chose not to do cakes for same-sex couples," Graham Haddock, owner of Cakes by Graham in Richmond said.

Haddock says he would never turn a gay couple away.

"We had a gay couple on Saturday," Haddock said.

Peter Johnson with the Richmond Business Alliance, a chamber of commerce for the LGBT community, said the need to "review" religious liberty laws are unnecessary and will hurt business.

"Expanding or reviewing our religious liberty laws are not needed," Johnson said.

Johnson says he and his partner plan on marrying one day and fear the talk of discrimination could mean some places could say no.

"It breaks my heart that the spiritual community often discriminates against the LGBT community," Johnson said.

Johnson says it is important to note that of the thousands of gay marriages that have taken place in Virginia so far, there have been no reported cases of discrimination.

Haddock says if a business would wish to discriminate it just means more business for bakers like him who just wants to bake.