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01/20/2014

Deceptive movement doing costly disservice to its flavors-of-the-week

by Jeremy Hooper

As you might have heard, that Oregon cake-baking couple that denied a cake to a lesbian couple has been found in violation of state nondiscrimination law. As you might expect, they are being extremely defiant:

"We still stand by what we believe from the beginning," Aaron Klein told KATU. Sweet Cakes owner: 'The state is hostile toward Christian businesses' [KATU]

I'm not surprised to see the couple acting feisty and recalcitrant. I expect it. It's exactly how all of the people in these kinds of situations react to their inevitable setbacks.

And why do they react that way? Easy: they have a host of groups and cheerleading media outlets who will tell them what they want to hear, even if it completely off the mark in terms of the law. Special interest groups who use them for fundraising will tell this couple that they are on a righteous path because these special interest groups stand to make a handy profit from telling their supporters that this is just the beginning of a very real "threat." Conservative media outlets that are eager to repurpose these groups press releases with little alteration will offer this couple a few minutes of attention because they know that this "victim" routine tends to work on the far right. And of course one of the handful of anti-LGBT legal groups will take this couple on as clients because the impression of putting up a strong legal front against those pesky gays and their equality will convince a few potential donors to finance future legal experiments. Later, rinse, repeat.

But this couple should know that many of these same people who are filling their ear with convenient words are actively working to mislead them. I don't mean these folks are themselves duped into believing that private businesses can just up and flout fairly enacted nondiscrimination laws without penalty—I mean these folks know better and are simply lying to the couple in order to keep them in the spotlight for the cynical ends that I laid out above. There are so many people on the other side who decided sometime around the time of Prop 8 that these tales of supposed woe were going to be their new front in the fight against marriage equality, and they began an aggressive search for anyone willing to play the needed roles. But a great many (if not the majority) of those who have masterminded this strategy know, whether deep down or right there on the surface, that their attempt to convince America that business owners have the right to flout fair nondiscrimination law by doing nothing more than claiming they are religious is, in fact, a charade.

I really do think this couple should know this, regardless of what they think of me, my rights, my family, and my pastry consumption. After all, these organizations and outlets will likely be fine, continuing to operate for many more years to come. It's the small business owner who will be harmed with only some proven-wrong press clippings to show for it.

Believe me or not, bakers. But ask yourselves which one of us has a reason to lie to you: (a) An already-married gay man who lives in one of the most progressive cities in America, where things like this are not even a debate, or (b) the various groups that routinely send out fundraising pitch letter bearing your name?

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**By the way, the bakery owner at the heart of this Oregon story, Aaron Klein, has admitted that he simply doesn't want gay people to be seen as normal. In fact, he feels so strongly about this, that he wouldn't even let his kid see the Bully movie: Oh the irony: Anti-gay bakery owner attacked 'Bully' movie; gay acceptance is 'a LIE,' 'communist mind set' [G-A-Y]

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