No, This Issue Is Not Going Away

The New York Times takes a look at the simmering issue of local authorities forcing small business owners to sell their services on behalf of gay weddings, or else. And the hurt feelings of high-minded LGBT customers who can’t abide allowing service providers not to be forced to bend knee to them. As David Boaz tweeted:

The conservative Christian site, in turn,

decided to call some 13 prominent pro-gay bakers in a row. Each one denied us the right to have “Gay Marriage Is Wrong” on a cake and even used deviant insults and obscenities against us. One baker even said all sorts of profanities against Christians…

The libertarians at put this in perspective:

Shoebat is kind of his own worst enemy in trying to perform this experiment. … But while it would have been better for a more articulate person to have performed this experiment, it’s instructive nevertheless. If bakers are a “public accommodation” as is argued, there’s no reason for them to refuse to make these cakes or cookies or what have you. The bakeries would not be saying “Gay marriage is wrong.” They’re just selling a cake to somebody who believes that. Just as making a gay wedding cake is not an endorsement of gay marriage. It’s just fulfilling a customer’s orders.

To which I’ll add, progressive authoritarians who think this issue is settled, and that those who are appalled by what’s happening should just let it go, because when progressives are giving the orders people should do as they are told, will see that this is very far from over. Worse, that it will continue to besmirch the right, proper and still ongoing effort to secure the freedom to marry.

11 Comments for “No, This Issue Is Not Going Away”

  1. posted by Houndentenor on

    Is the right ready to cut a deal so that gay couples have full legal marriage rights in all US states and territories in exchange for not making them bake us cakes? If that’s a deal they are prepared to make (and I mean a real deal not a vague promise), then I’d take that deal. If not, then I don’t want to hear about the poor beleaguered anti-gay bakery owners. Personally I’d never sue over someone not making me a cake. I’d just go to another bakery or go without cake. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if they feel that way I wouldn’t want their cake anyway. And I’ve said that all along. But since this is coming from people who aren’t for gay rights of any kind (not just marriage) I have a hard time finding any sympathy. This is just a talking point that they’ve found to turn the tables and pretend that gays are the “homofascists” persecuting the poor, defenseless “Christians”.

    Meanwhile in Plano, Texas ministers are meeting and still going after the “equal rights but not special rights” bullshit that I thought died at the end of the 1990s.

    • posted by Mike in Houston on

      REMINDER: When Christian groups call for boycotts, that is a righteous use of the free market in order to preserve morality, marriage, family, and the American way. But when LGBT people remind businesses of the law or criticize a business that discriminates based on sexual orientation or gender identity, THAT is homofascist intimidation, intolerance, bullying, economic terrorism, a stifling of religious liberty, and an attempt to deny the freedom of speech. And don’t you forget it….

      Just paraphrasing Stephen here…

  2. posted by Lori Heine on

    Few issues have shown the blatant cynicism of power-politics better than this one. The authoritarian bullies on the Right have but one gambit left–portray themselves as victims, and crusade for all that’s holy by baking wedding cakes and taking pictures. Just when this really is all they’ve got left, and their arguments before courts around the land have been exposed as pure silliness, we have…what…

    They’re enemies of the state because they’re violating public accommodations laws! Defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory! And the game goes on, into its 150th overtime.

    Now anti-gay bigots get to portray themselves (quite credibly, to many people) as martyrs. They’re out of ICU and back in a regular bed upstairs–all thanks to the authoritarian left, which can’t survive without them. What was important was never equality for LGBT Americans, it was power, power, power for the frauds who claim to represent us.

    The Kool-Aid drinkers who believe everything the statist left tells them will argue on and on about why wedding cakes are public accommodations of importance equal to ambulance service. Those on the right will rant with great fervor about the need to save themselves from boxcars and arena full of lions.

    Everybody else will think that both the statist right and left are made up of damned silly asses. This is a win for libertarians and independents, too.

  3. posted by Mike in Houston on

    You’re right, Stephen — this issue is NOT going away.

    As long as you keep cheerleading for segregated lunch counters for LGBT people, your allies in the Christianist right will keep going… after all, what’s the difference between not selling a cake and not serving a gay family at a restaurant… or providing them cab service… or not selling them a car… or medical services.

    You continually denigrate LGBT citizens who are merely trying to participate in the marketplace like anyone else… but then again, I guess you really do believe that LGBT people (including yourself) are “less than”… it’s the only explanation I can come up with.

  4. posted by Lori Heine on

    “Is the right ready to cut a deal so that gay couples have full legal marriage rights in all US states and territories in exchange for not making them bake us cakes? If that’s a deal they are prepared to make (and I mean a real deal not a vague promise), then I’d take that deal.”

    So would I, and so would a hell of a lot of other people. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could focus on that?

    I read somewhere that the history of American politics has been about mass hysteria. Nowhere has that been more clearly or colorfully displayed than in the LGBT issue.

    • posted by Houndentenor on

      While the bigot baker issue is getting some play, the real freakout is over trans women in the ladies’ room. that was the issue used in Houston to freak out people who ought to have more sense and is being used now in Plano (pretentious Dallas suburb…wait isn’t using pretentious and Dallas together redundant?). It’s revolting. I guess they figured out that gay people have too many allies, but trans people not so much. I understand the argument about public accommodations but going after mom and pop businesses is always going to make for bad PR and our “leadership” ought to know that.

  5. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    The issue is not going to go away so long as there is political advantage to conservative Christians and so-called “libertarians” joining forces to keep the issue alive as a unifying issue for Republicans. We will be seeing and hearing a lot more about bakers and florists and photographers.

    The handful of business owners who are unwilling to serve gays and lesbians on an equal footing with straights will be served up to the citizenry as victims of oppressive, authoritarian homosexuals determined to extract “payback”.

    So be it. It is, perhaps, the only possible issue that can unify conservative Christians and so-called “libertarians” in common cause over “equal means equal”, and the issue will be kept alive and kicking through the next election cycle.

    But it is not a serious issue, and it has nothing to do with “religious freedom”.

    It is not a serious issue for two reasons:

    (1) First and foremost, the proposed laws that can pass constitutional muster (that is, laws that are issue-neutral and class-neutral) add nothing to the court decisions to date, which require the government to demonstrate a “compelling interest” in regulating the action in question, and to demonstrate that the law regulating the action is the “least restrictive, or least burdensome” to religion, before the government can “substantially burdern” a person’s religious belief and/or practice.

    (2) Second, but telling, the commentary by religious conservatives and so-called “libertarians” is either so over the top (e.g. “boxcars”, “Robspierre” and so on) or so ludicrous and dismissive (e.g. David Boaz and his seemingly endless supply of moronic twits) that it cannot be taken seriously by anyone who thinks that freedom of conscience is worth protecting. Fear-mongering and gay-bashing is what dominates the discussion from the proponents of so-called “religious freedom”.

    It has nothing to do with “religious freedom” because it is all about gays and lesbians, and same-sex marriage. Not a single proponent of the proposed laws is willing to own up to the fact that an issue-neutral and class-neutral law would extend “religious freedom” to business owners who have religious objections to inter-racial marriage, inter-religious marriage, inter-cult marriage (the technical term for marriage between two Christians of different denominations), remarriage after divorce or any of the myriad of other forms of marriage to which a business owner might have religious scruples.

    Stephen’s discussion of IGF is a good example. His rhetoric is often heated to the point of hysteria, and notwithstanding all the words he has written on IGF about this issue (over 20,000 and counting, by my rough estimate) he has never once (as far as I know) mentioned extending “religious freedom” protections beyond the bakers, florist and photographers who have religious scruples about same-sex marriage.

    The courts can and will handle it over the course of the next few years, and it doesn’t make a lot of difference, one way or the other, whether the issue becomes the new “Save our Children” or “Sanctity of Marriage” battle cry of the Republican Party.

    Gays and lesbians will take some lumps, just as we did when social conservatives were determined to convince the American people that we were hell bent on destroying the bedrock upon which America is built, but I think that it is worth remembering that Americans have an uncanny ability to see through hyped-up issues. In the long run, for all the sturm und drang, level heads will prevail.

  6. posted by David Boaz on

    Sure, my tweets are moronic, but is one or two a day really an endless supply? But thanks for following!

  7. posted by Don on

    It’s really not that hard to understand what is going on. After decades of spectacular meanness and unrelenting lies about us (molesting children, destroying the family, etc.) they are asking LGBT to be magnanimous. Every single one of us. The amount of abuse we have endured at the hands of these people is enormous. Rather than focusing on the handful of us who are suing for cakes and wedding venues, I see the tens of thousands of us who are taking our business elsewhere quietly and am amazed.

    There are no angry protests with hundreds of us standing outside a bakery blocking people from going in. The fact that there is so very little revenge going on is amazing to me. And the fact that the sore losers are actually taking swipes at us really illustrates how little they understand Christianity. Where are the good Samaritans? Is there a single national church leader saying “we should be good sports?” I can’t think of one. And yet, there are calls to be good winners.

    Kinda makes me wonder.

    • posted by Jorge on



      It looks like you’ve been following some depressing news elsewhere, Don.

      I wonder why this is? Maybe gays are Republican wingnuts–wait, wait, most of us vote Democratic.

      Is there a single national church leader saying “we should be good sports?” I can’t think of one. And yet, there are calls to be good winners.

      Edward. P Martin, the National Chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting after the BSA vote. The Committee before the vote, too. “We felt that the Catholic Scouters selected as voters could, in good conscience, vote either for or against the Resolution.” One priestly blogger also made a remark pointing out that the Boy Scouts of America are the only national secular organization in the country that even promotes abstinence (although that person was overall not very enthusiastic).

  8. posted by JohnInCA on

    People that don’t want me to exist are upset that in some places a public accommodation has to serve me but that non-discrimination laws don’t extend to non-enumerated viewpoints.

    Forgive me if I can’t be arsed to care.

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