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03/06/2014

Show us even one LGBT group who hailed this stylist as a hero, NOM!

by Jeremy Hooper

The National Org for Marriage's (former?) Communications Director Thomas Peters was beating the drum earlier this week, and now NOM itself is trying the idea on for size. Here's the gist, per NOM Blog:

Nom Email 2014-03-04 Fundraising HeaderYou may have seen an article that has recently been circulating online about a story from 2012 in New Mexico, where Governor Susana Martinez was given the boot by her hair stylist. Why? As the stylist, Antonio Darden, proclaimed on a local news station, because of her support of marriage! In his own words:

Because of her stances and her views on this, I told her aides no. They called the next day, asking if I'd changed my mind about taking the governor in and I said no.

So here's the real question: where was the outrage over this!?

When a professional photographer declined to photograph a same-sex ceremony that violated her religious beliefs, she was accused of discrimination and punished by the government. Yet apparently discriminating against a supporter of true marriage — the Governor of the State, no less — is perfectly fine.

I wonder if Gary King, the state Attorney General, ever considered doing what his counterpart in Washington State is currently doing: prosecuting a floral shop that declined to be involved in a same-sex wedding? Or is discrimination simply a one-way street that doesn't apply to supporters of marriage?

What did the New Mexico Human Rights Commission do? Did they investigate the denial of service as they did with Elaine [sic] Photography when those marriage supporters didn't want to photograph a same-sex ceremony?

Did they move to protect the rights of individuals from discrimination and harassment for simply believing that marriage is the union of one man and one woman?

Of course they didn’t! It's an embarrassing double standard. And it's only going to get worse unless ordinary citizens like you and me stand up to them!


[NOM Blog]

Two things:

(1) I personally think the stylist should've cut her hair. While the causes of equality (which the stylist supports) versus discrimination (which businesses like Elane Photography want to make a "right") are and will always be different, I actually do believe that, in most cases, a gay vendor must equally serve a customer despite his or her political views on an issue like marriage. If a stylist wants to deny an anti-equality governor, I think he or she must come up with a valid reason (or lie really well). I don't think this opposing marriage equality can be the one, pointed reason for denying service. Many progressives and legal scholars would indeed agree with me.

(2) and most importantly: NO. LGBT. ORGANIZATION. HAILED. THIS. STYLIST. AS. A. HERO. You didn't have the Human Rights Campaign fundraising off this guy. You didn't see GLAAD writing glowing puff pieces about the stylist and his case. You didn't find Lambda Legal trying to launch a lawsuit based on this guy's story, and you didn't see Sens. Franken and Gillibrand cosponsoring a bill designed to protect this stylist's "freedom." This was a tiny news story, like so many tiny news stories, that came and went. No one in the LGBT movement saw it as a rally cry.

That second point is the big difference here. While people on our side of this issue might agree or disagree (or fall somewhere in the middle) with my first point, the major distinguisher here is that there was no concerted hailing of this stylist, as if her were a martyr for the cause and representative of an entire population of persecuted people. Regardless of individual opinion inside or outside the LGBT political space, the LGBT political movement made no attempt to politicize or build a new phase of our movement around this idea that gay businesses should turn away customers at whim. The anti-LGBT movement is absolutely doing that with the flip idea of turning away LGBT customers whenever you feel too religious to serve them.

NOM desperately wants to turn this into a "double standard" situation because NOM knows that the American public, here in the wake of the crushing defeat of the Arizona bill, is not buying its movement's attempt to sell business discrimination as a "religious freedom" matter. NOM is trying to trip us up in order to make their own chain of tripping seem less noticeable. They're looking for a "gotcha!" because we've so clearly got their number. They need us to be hypocrites because hypocrisy is one of their political movement's definitive traits.

It was a nice try, I guess. But you lose again, NOM. You must be getting used to that by now, right?

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