Jeremy Hooper writes an interesting post about the fringe anti-gay’s most recent bullying efforts against Equality. I think the world of Jeremy, and the bottom line of his post is right on the money:

Bake us only the by-the-book cake that you show in your display case. Fine. But you cannot run a public accommodation that is perfectly happy to sell a wedding cake to Gene and Pat when they place an online order but refuses to complete the transaction when Gene and Pat, both male, come into the store to claim the purchase. That is called discrimination. And it will always be called discrimination no matter what novel phrases the anti-gay far-right dreams up to make their movement seem like something other than what it so clearly is.

But that said, this new effort by the homo-haters can not be explained away as easily as he tries, and I think most of his post misses an opportunity to discuss what really needs to be said about this bullying effort. The homo-hater’s newest ploy- they call or visit a bakery and demand a cake with a clearly hateful, rude, and anti-gay message on it; they exclaim discrimination when the bakery doesn’t want to fill the order, and publicize the heck out of it while playing as if they are the victim. Here’s a link to a news story of a recent “attack” of this type.

When I first read about this happening to a Colorado baker, I was a little alarmed. I thought, “Oh no, this baker screwed up.” but after some thought, I realized that my knee jerk reaction was wrong. The baker was entirely in the right and fine. The baker has faced a discrimination complaint, but if it is presented properly, I believe the complaint will be dismissed as unfounded. However, Jeremy’s explanation should not be used as their defense.

Hooper tries to claim that this is all about “product.”

A request to make a cake with an anti-gay message is a question of product. Bakeries, like all businesses, are perfectly free to choose their product lineups. They are perfectly free to limit said product in a which that makes sense for their skill level, facilities, time management, or reasons for being in business.

Bakers are asked all the time to take a sheet cake, and write something on it for a party or other gathering. It is a part of what they do.  In a way, the rude cake homo-haters are not doing anything out of the ordinary– standard business.  The problem comes when they attempt to make this a pro-gay or anti-gay issue, and a bigger problem happens when the baker sees it as a pro-gay or anti-gay issue.

This isn’t about what a business offers. Bakers write on cakes al the time. And if we get caught up trying to say this is about product and what a baker offers, we are doomed. And that is exactly the reason the anti-gay zealots are taking this course of action! It is designed to shift the focus away from what anti-discrimination cases are all about, and try to refocus the dialogue to be about what does and doesn’t constitute free speech AKA religious liberty.

The real issue facing gays and lesbians who seek to buy a wedding cake…

…is that requesting a wedding cake from a baker isn’t a pro-homosexual message. It isn’t even a pro- same sex marriage message.  It is simply a request for a service provided by the vender. In a big way, non-discrimination ordinances and laws aren’t about message or speech at all. They don’t set the standard such that a business has to honor any request they receive. Non-discrimination laws simply say that a business cannot refuse you because of who you are based upon a set of criteria that, in some states includes sexual orientation.

In the case of the homo-haters and bakeries who say no to writing anti-gay messages, these venders are not refusing them because the requester is straight or even because they are Christian. They are refusing the request because the anti-gay zealot is being a jerk, and a rude jerk at that.

Hooper is writing specifically about Ryan T Anderson. Blogger, David Badash has a post about a similar effort against the Colorado baker which I think does a better job capturing the real issues here without falling into the Far Right’s trap as Hooper does.

The homo-hater agenda is…

I keep using this phrase–homo-haters— intentionally. These zealots aren’t really expressing or supporting general objections to LGBTQ Rights. Their efforts are entirely and completely about two things.

  • First there efforts are about muddying the issue of non-discrimination and perpetuate a myth of Christian persecution. They see value are generating propaganda that suggest that the LGBTQ Movement is trying to silence Christians.  If they can propagate this myth, they hope to turn public opinion against gay people, and they believe they can stop the LGBTQ movement based on public opinion. In the case of the Colorado baker, the homo-hating complaintant is just waiting for the final ruling on the complaint to come down, and if that goes against them, be ready for a media blitz blaming what they will call the intolerant pro-gay persons.
  • Second, the effort is to confuse the public about the role of non-discrimination protections. As I mentioned above, the effort is designed to muddy the waters surrounding what is religious liberty and free speech. Non-discrimination protections say that businesses which operate in the free market system can not discriminate based on a small and distinct set of criteria, such as a persons race, ethnicity, sex, and religion. Some states protect people based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

Non-discrimination protections are the single most important set of legal/civil protections needed by members of the LGBTQ community. The Far Right zealots know this and they need to disrupt them in any way possible. Anyone who cares about non-discrimination protections in general, and LGBTQ protections specifically, needs to care about these attack efforts. Any success by the Far Right to confuse the public and shift the discourse to “Religious Liberty” is damage to the very notion of democracy, and sets the stage for years and years of battling in and out of the courts.

via Deflating the anti-gay rights latest gotcha! – Good As You:: Gay and Lesbian Activism With a Sense of Humor.

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