Today's Daily Caller offers a helpful, sneaky workaround to religious nondiscrimination laws that would require the many, many conservative cakemakers and florists among the blog's readership to violate their religious beliefs by getting paid to provide a service to same-sex weddings (which: bad, because: gay). And thank goodness. We all need a good workaround once in awhile.
One workaround that I could sure use is one that allows me to, without social penalties, abstain or excuse myself from socially interacting with bigots without making it a whole big thing. Bigots who believe that if businesses can't refuse to serve gays because of religious beliefs, then they should damn well take advantage of their freedom to express their disapproval of The Gays while performing the service for which they are paid. Here's The Daily Caller's David Benkof with a smart set of hypotheticals:
Should it be legal for a baker who opposes gay marriage to write in icing on all the same-sex wedding cakes she bakes, "Marriage = One Man, One Woman" instead of "Mazel Tov Adam and Steve" or whatever?
- Could a photographer legally show up to a gay marriage wearing a large button emblazoned with the Bible verse from Leviticus 18:22 prohibiting same-sex relations?
- Must the government tolerate a Christian caterer asserting "This is not a real wedding" to every guest he serves?
- Could a wedding band change the lyrics of a song like "Born This Way" to "Not Born Gay," or from "I'm Coming Out" to "Please Go Back In" with no statutory repercussions?
If LGBT supporters answer "no" to the above questions, then it becomes perfectly clear they are intent on silencing dissent, not equal public accommodations. If their answers are "yes," then traditionalists have an easy out when a couple – or the government – forces them to celebrate an event they abhor: just follow one of the suggestions above.
So... Benkof's solution to what he claims is a sort of ideological persecution is simply act like a dick. It's a genius plan that can't possibly backfire in the age of Yelp reviews and social media. Step 1: Begrudgingly agree to perform service at gay, gay, gay event. Step 2: Perform service, but be a real dick about it. Step 3: ????? Step 4: PROFIT! FREEDOM WINS!
But aren't people obliged to fully honor contracts? Sure, but no business should be strong-armed into signing a contract that demands expression of any specific idea. And if a government does currently make every wedding vendor accept all commissions? Well, that's a great argument for the recent controversial laws to protect people from being forced to serve gay weddings.
Great point, dude, except serving cake to a couple of women who just celebrated a legal union is far less "enabling" of gay marriage than a bodega owner selling condoms to a single woman at 2 am is "enabling" drunken premarital sex, and you don't see conservatives writing glib thinkpieces about that. A wedding can go right the fuck on without a cake, and it would be absurd to suggest that religious shop owners should be allowed to discriminate against customers because of how they choose to express their sexuality, right? You walk in, you hand the clerk money in exchange for a good you wish to purchase, and they don't get to dictate how you use the product on the way out.
But Benkof's argument seems to be that if people who use megachurch shouting as justification for acting like shitheads to people who are just trying to get married simply act like toddlers throwing a tantrum, rather than alienating everyone and presenting themselves as even less sympathetic than they already appear to a public that overwhelmingly supports gay rights, they'll eventually get their way and make a point that really makes ya think. Because America.
Well, two can play that game. By that, I mean: if anti-gay marriage folk think it's okay to ruin people's weddings by acting like Olympic-level chodes, then it is your patriotic duty, as a gay-friendly person, to refrain from being friends with these people, or even socially interacting with them at all. Shun 'em. Shun the hell out of 'em. Do not talk to them. Do not text them. Do not call them (well, do not call anyone unless it's an emergency because calling is for Olds, but especially do not call them). Do not send them a Facebook invite to your friend's comedy show to a bigot. Do not go into their stores (if you do go into their stores, loiter and stare at men's crotches while making predatory mouth smacking sounds as a way to deter customers). Don't kiss bigots. Don't left-swipe bigots on Tinder. Don't take off your pants around bigots. Don't show bigots your boobs. Don't blow bigots. Don't date or marry them. Don't let them put sperm in or around you. Make conspicuous bigotry a truly socially self-destructive behavior. If you ever find yourself sharing a space with them, use that opportunity to tell them that you disagree with their lifestyle. In tee shirt form if you've got time to plan.
I know some of you have moms or dads or grandparents or Paula Deens who cling to old timey bigotry, and of course I'm not suggesting that anyone rend their family over a simple disagreement over the humanity of others. But what's stopping you from responding to your mother's phone goodbye — "I love you," — with a strategic "Meh, same, but I don't know why you've got to be such a jerk about gays, mom"? Nothing. Take every opportunity to express your belief that your mother is wrong, just as Benkof suggests business owners take every opportunity during the time they're "forced" to "endorse" a "gay" "life" "style" to express their disdain. Handwrite "even though we strongly disagree about homosexuality" on your Father's Day cards. Between lines in the rendition of "Happy birthday" sung to your conservative coworker, stage whisper "being gay isn't a sin." You know. The tasteful, polite personal expression of a non-maniac as guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
In fact, why not apply the Benkof Method to every person in your life who believes something that you don't? Tell the happy folks spilling out of church onto the public, nondenominational sidewalk on Sunday morning that you don't believe in God. Loudly inform parents pushing strollers through a public park that you believe their decision to introduce more humans into the global ecosystem was narcissistic and selfish. Yell "THAT DOESN'T WORK!" at a person praying with rosary beads on a taxpayer-funded bench. Just because they're allowed to express their beliefs in public spaces paid for by your hard-earned government-stolen funds doesn't mean that you need to just let them without telling them that they're wrong. Plan your next gay pride parade for right outside the nearest Catholic cemetery. You have every right to. It's a free country.
But don't limit your anti-bigot self-expression to the ideas I've listed here. Get creative. Make buttons. Plant flowers in the shape of a squirting graffiti dick pointing at your conservative next door neighbor. Only by being a complete and utter asshole can we win this long-fought culture war.
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