Matt Welch writes at the libertarian magazine/website reason.com:
Gay people and gay rights activists should be among the first to recognize the critical link between open-mindedness and ending discrimination. It’s difficult to fathom in this historic year of 2015, when the Supreme Court may be on the verge of legalizing gay marriage nationwide, but gay rights advocates were almost hopelessly outnumbered in living memory. For decades, just about the only glimmer of hope came not from courtrooms but in the arena of public debate. …
But as the longtime minority view [on gay marriage] tips into what is looking like a permanent majority . . . Too many activists are now emboldened by their newfound political power to compel obedience and hound heretics rather than continue their incredibly successful long-term efforts at persuasion.
Driving the Kleins [owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery] into bankruptcy seems an odd tactic for changing their minds. Unless the goal is no longer about opening hearts, but rather enforcing new social norms by making examples out of nonconformers. …
But openness is also a condition of mind and a habit of discourse. Abandoning it in the face of victory will create as yet unimagined self-inflicted defeats. If we want to keep “open-minded” as a compliment, we need to make sure we don’t replace one set of intolerant laws with another. And we had better nurture a culture that appreciates the opportunity to debate, rather than driving disfavored opinion into the closet.
This blogsite pays so much attention to the issue of government action/lawsuits/mob threats against small businesses that don’t wish to provide services to same-sex weddings, based on the owner’s traditional religious beliefs, because it may be a bellwether of the next great civil rights struggle in our country—the right to dissent from the majoritarian view of the progressive state, and the corresponding right to be left alone and not to be coerced, by threat of punishment, into activity that violates religious conscience.
The magazine Welch now edits, he points out, “was editorializing in favor of gay marriage as early as 1974,” so this is not an issue of gay rights opponents suddenly discovering liberal (in the traditional sense) values. It is, instead, a matter of being consistent in defense of classical liberal values.
As the Cato Institute’s David Boaz tells The Federalist:
… mainstream libertarians have been generally supportive of gay marriage and the right of private individuals not to be required to participate in ceremonies that offend them. Cato has filed amicus briefs in gay marriage cases, also filed an amicus brief in the Elaine photography case out in New Mexico, and also in the Hobby Lobby case. I don’t know if there’s been a case in Indiana that would be relevant. People at Cato have defended the right of private individuals—and even reasonable large businesses like Hobby Lobby—to not support policies or participate in ceremonies that are offensive to them. It seems to me that libertarians have defended liberty on both sides on those particular issues.
More. We’ve seen it all before: Pagans persecute Christians, then Christians gain control over the state and persecute pagans; Catholics persecute Protestants, then Protestants gain control and persecute Catholics; the old guard persecutes the revolutionaries, then the revolutionaries gain control and persecute the old guard. When will they ever learn?