Imagine leaving a 70’s theme party with your girlfriend, after a night of lots of dancing and more than a few moments of poor attempts to replicate John Travolta’s moves from Staying Alive. You’re tired, sweaty, a little tipsy, and a bit peckish. On your way home, you decide to stop at a local diner that stays open late.
You’re wearing tight pants and an open polyester shirt as per the party’s requirements, and a rather garish necklace. You walk in during a conversation you’re having about that guy you saw at another table who looked more like a reject from a drag show than anything else. “And did you see the makeup he wore? Incredible! Even I wouldn’t look sexy in that getup!”
The two of you take a seat and browse the homemade, laminated menus that were stashed on a chrome holder at the edge of the table. In the midst of deciding whether to get your hashbrowns tossed with onions and tomatoes, you’re interrupted by a woman who acts as if she owns the place. She’s wearing some kind of perfume that’s a mix of roses, petunias, and cigarettes. Her face is a little leathery, and there’s no hint of a smile on it.
“Hey you,” she says, “We don’t allow that kind of talk here.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” you reply, “We were just talking about the party we just left.” You go back to looking at the menu. Tomatoes and onions are looking pretty good. Maybe you’ll have the bacon.
“Looks like you left a little too soon. Drag club, wasn’t it?” She folds her arms and scowls.
“Uh, no…” you try to respond. She doesn’t give you a chance.
“Listen, we don’t recognize the rights of homosexuals. You need to leave. Now.”
“But I’m not gay,” you say. It’s a futile effort. You put the menu back on its holder, realizing that this conversation isn’t quite over. Your girlfriend is completely, utterly speechless.
“Seriously? You expect me to believe you’re not one of them?” She points to your outfit. “No straight man would ever wear that kind of shirt or…” She looks a little more closely at your face. “What is that? Glitter?”
“You’re making a mistake,” you say. “I’m straight.” Which is the truth. You are straight. Your girlfriend is right across the table. The two of you have even talked about getting married soon. Hell, you might even propose next month.
“Yeah, and I’m the pope. Here’s the deal, toots,” she hasn’t budged an inch. Her arms are still folded. “Because of my deeply-held Christian faith, I do not believe in, approve of, nor accept any form of homosexual activity.” It’s as if she recited a script from memory. “Since you obviously didn’t see the “straights only” sign on the door, you can read it again. On. Your. Way. Out.
At that moment, you decide exactly what she can do with the tomatoes and onions.
“And take the beard with you,” she says as a parting shot.
Think it can’t happen? If certain members of Congress have their way, this is exactly what could happen all across the country. In fact, The Iowa state legislature tried to pass such a law this year that would have allowed exactly this kind of scenario to happen. According to KCRG, an ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, the bill was thankfully doomed from the start:
American Principles in Action, a 501(c)(3) organization, said the proposed act, House Study Bill 50, is needed, but was doomed because it focused on same-sex marriage. The bill would have allowed Iowans with “sincerely held religious beliefs” to discriminate against same-sex couples.
“Iowans must have their religious liberty protected,” said Shane Vander Hart, the group’s communications director. However, HSB 50, which failed to get out of subcommittee, was not written in a way to accomplish that.
A federal bill called the “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act” would have banned any same-sex marriage ceremonies on any property under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense. Apparently it’s promoting “religious freedom” when anti-gay legislators want to restrict freedoms for LGBT soldiers. It also would have said that chaplains were not required or forced to perform any ceremony for a same-sex couple if they didn’t want to.
Never mind the fact that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell already prevents chaplains from marrying anyone they don’t want to. But hey, since when do Republicans care about facts?
The current policy states that chaplains may perform ceremonies for same-sex couples. Not that they must. But then, comprehension isn’t a skill that bigots are know for.
While the hate groups and Christian impersonators out there bitch and moan about the “slippery slope” that marriage equality will ultimately lead to, we have a clear distinction about the slippery slope that they want. We don’t even have to guess. They’ve been very public about it.
- They want businesses to be able to decline services to same-sex couples.
- They want to be able to condemn, bully, and berate LGBT people due to their “deeply held religious beliefs.”
- They want Christian “counselors” to be able to condemn LGBT people with utter contempt due to their “deeply held religious beliefs.”
- They want corporations to “remain neutral” while they work tirelessly to strip basic rights from LGBT Americans.
- They want employees to be able to shout out to fellow employees that they will “go to hell” because they are “not right in the head” without getting fired. After all, it’s a deeply held religious belief that gays are not right in the head.
- Ultimately, they want gays to be in prison. After all, it was the law of the land to be able to pass sodomy laws until 2003.
- But let’s be honest really. They’d rather see us dead.
So don’t be surprised when you start seeing “Straights Only” signs pop up on businesses around the country. This is indeed a slippery slope that will happen if we don’t stand firm for basic rights for LGBT Americans. The far right has been very public about these things — and they are openly calling for every one of these policy changes to take place.
When they are denied these “privileges,” then they get their nose bent out of shape about “activist judges” who just happen to be correct in their rulings. After all, there’s that pesky “equal protection under the law” clause in the 14th amendment that we just can’t seem to shake.
Frankly, I’m becoming more and more convinced that “slippery slope” isn’t even a valid analogy anymore. For it to be a “slippery slope,” it’d have to be something that is an unintentional consequence.
These people are waiting to throw us off a cliff. Which brings me to a very, very simple question:
Why the hell are we voting for these people? We can remedy that this november by not voting for anyone who will push for this anti-equality agenda of hate.
If they win, we lose. And we lose big.