Marriage equality, or what many people call “gay marriage,” is going to become a nationwide reality by this June. Every single legal analyst that understands the 14th Amendment knows this. It’s a simple matter of equal treatment under the law. Civil marriage for same-sex couples is not a religious matter, so states are required to treat same-sex couples with the same respect and dignity as opposite-sex couples.
Naturally, anti-gay organizations are doing all they can to make this into the ultimate “end of the world” scenario where the country will go into a licentious meltdown of homoerotic depravity. Or something. State legislatures across the country have been convinced that they need to pass “religious conscious” laws that give people with “deeply held religious beliefs” the right to refuse to treat same-sex couples with dignity and respect (but it’s not about discrimination, they say).
Remember that phrase: Dignity and respect. This is, in all reality, the very thing that same-sex couples have been working for over all this time. We want to be treated with dignity and respect — the very same dignity and respect that every other couple gets when they are counted as a couple. Why is that so damned controversial?
Since every other argument against LGBT equality has been discarded, the only one left that’s gaining any traction at all is the “religious belief” card, which is being taken to such ridiculous extremes that it very thinly veils the deep anti-gay animus that lies underneath.
For example, Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) together penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that used Chipotle’s decision to remove pork from its menu due to animal welfare standards as an argument that Christians be given the same right to refuse service to people they don’t like for “religious reasons.” Naturally, they didn’t mention same-sex couples, but only an idiot would deny that their intent was screaming between the lines.
In a similarly outlandish statement, perennial Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee implied that forcing a for-profit business to cater to gays is just like forcing a Jewish deli to serve bacon-wrapped shrimp.
While these arguments are an attempt to sound reasonable in their discussion, they fall apart under even minor scrutiny. Let’s face it, they’re absolutely ridiculous.
Choosing to not serve a particular product (pork, in both the Chipotle and Jewish Deli examples, as well as shrimp) is a decision to not serve a particular product.
Chipotle doesn’t serve pork to anyone. Anywhere. They’ve removed it from their menu. A straight person can’t get pork. A black person’t can’t get pork. A rich white person can’t get pork. You just can’t get it.
A Jewish deli doesn’t serve pork or shrimp to anyone. They don’t serve these foods to Christians or Jews. They don’t serve them to Baptists or Catholics. They don’t serve them to straight or gay people. They just don’t have it on the menu.
Compare that to wedding cakes. A gay wedding cake has the exact same ingredients as a straight wedding cake. They might even have the same decorations. The only difference is whether or not the baker with his buttercream bigotry (as my friend Michael Vernon Hunt describes it) decides to refuse service to an entire class of people. Because Jesus. Or something.
Make no mistake. These people want to keep the right to discriminate against gays, refusing to treat them with dignity and respect.
If you don’t believe me, consider our lovely anti-gay best friend Mat Staver.
Staver runs the particularly nasty anti-gay group Liberty Counsel, which regularly mounts anti-LGBT crusades at any opportunity, including in various court cases (and lost most of them).
Staver’s latest column on BarbWire, a site run by his BFF Matt Barber, has taken their anti-gay crusade to a new level, declaring that they should engage in civil disobedience in the event of a pro-LGBT ruling from the Supreme Court this June.
“Merely because a legislature or a judge passes a law or issues an opinion does not make a law just. “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a dangerous doctrine indeed,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, “and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” To cite an extreme example, if you lived under the Nazi regime and the law required you to not hide or aid a Jew in any way, would you comply with Hitler or obey God? To obey Hitler, you would have to disobey God.”
To keep from treating same-sex couples with dignity and respect.
Exactly how would they engage in this “civil disobedience?”
- Would the heroic “Christian” stand with their peers to blockade courthouses to keep same-sex couples from entering into legal secular marriages?
- Would there be a mass refusal of “Christian” insurance salespeople to sign same-sex couples together? (See how long they keep their jobs!)
- Or would this steadfast “Christian” nurse heroically keep a woman from the deathbed of her dying wife?
I put quotes around the word “Christian” because such actions would clearly not be that of someone who truly follows the teachings of Jesus, who welcomed everyone.
I really can’t see how any of these scenarios (or any other scenario) would result in these “civil disobeyers” being seen as heroes. Well, unless Todd Starnes at Fox News got a hold of them and does his usual mass distortion of facts to give them martyr status. (That’s something he does frequently.)
There is absolutely no doubt that these efforts have the goal of keeping LGBT people under the thumb of anti-gay religious dogma. For the most part, though, these quotes are all about raising money from their fellow bigots to pay for more money-beg emails and mailers.
They need that money to file lawsuits and fight to keep LGBT people at bay from the “evil” of getting fair, equal treatment under the law. They need that money to pay for propaganda videos that paint “the homosexuals” as a radical, Christian-bashing bunch of sex-driven maniacs.
For the rest of us, we must be vigilant in our efforts to educate, and put these kinds of hateful neanderthals in the deep, dark, distant past, where they belong. Let them build their camps around the smoldering remnants that were once the burning pyre of institutionalized bigotry.
We’ll get along fine without them as we move forward into the lands of true liberty and justice — for all of us.