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You don't have to pounce on every less-than-pro-gay retailer, anti-gay conservatives!

by Jeremy Hooper

A lesbian couple in Canada went to a jeweler to purchase a pair of wedding rings. After a pleasant transaction, the couple put down a deposit and the jeweler began work on the rings. A short time later, a friend went to the same jeweler and discovered a posted sign that read, "The sanctity of marriage is under attack. Let's keep marriage between a man and a woman."

Both the couple and the retailer agree that both parties were polite throughout their dealings:

The lesbian couple say: "They were great to work with. They seemed to have no issues. They knew the two of us were a same-sex couple," [Nicole White] said. [CBC]

The retailer says: “They’ve never been disrespectful in any way, or rude or hateful towards us, and we’ve done exactly the same. We’ve never, ever disrespected them in any way in that sense, directly. I think there seems to be a confusion,” he said. [Telegram]

Both the couple and the retailer believe that the retailer has every right to hold whatever beliefs he wants:

The retailer says: "I have been posting different aspects of my religious beliefs the last 11 years, and I've never had one single problem with any of my customers," he said.

"It seems to be a Canadian right to post what you believe."
The lesbian couple says: "I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion. But I don't think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business." [CBC]

But both have agreed that a refund is the proper course for reasons that both seem to find understandable:

The lesbian couple: “The ring symbolizes love, and just knowing that that’s the sign that they have up there — every time I look at my ring, yes, I’ll think of us, clearly, but also everything we went through. So I don’t want my ring from there anymore. I just want my refund,” Nicole White told The Telegram Saturday. [Telegram]
The retailer: “We understand now that these attacks have nothing to do with Nicole or Pam they have been really nice and just want their money back to go buy elsewhere so we are giving them their money back.” [Telegram]

It's a very cut and dry situation. I can't imagine any opposite-sex couple would want to spend the rest of their lives with a cherished love token that forever reminds them of controversy. And since the parties came to an amicable agreement, this is actually a pretty good example of how these things can play out. The retailer knows he can't deny goods to paying customers on the basis of sexual orientation, and he never tried. However, everyone now knows where he stands on same-sex marriage and can make future consumer choices accordingly. The lesbian couple is now free to choose an alternative that is happy to serve their love. It's resolved.

Except it's not among anti-gay conservatives in America, who are starting to seize on this Canadian story to score points here at home. Writing for the American Conservative, Rod Dreher is making it sound as if the lesbian couple acted like screaming bigots, and is framing the whole thing as a lose-lose for Christians:

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 At 7.06.02 PmYou understand, of course, that this is not about getting equal treatment. The lesbian couple received that. This is about demonizing a point of view, and driving those who hold it out of the public square. Just so we’re clear about that.

I bought some olive oil not long ago at a tiny grocery store owned by an Arab Muslim immigrant. If I find out that the merchant supports ISIS, am I entitled to declare my jug of olive oil tainted, and demand a refund? Is a fundamentalist Christian permitted to send her osso buco back to the kitchen if she discovers that homosexual hands cooked it? Of course not. Some delicate snowflakes are more delicate than others.

I’m sorry that Esau Jardon gave in to this intimidation, but I suppose if you are a small businessman, you have no choice once the mob turns on you. It does indicate, though, the next phase in the March of Progress. You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.

FULL: Heads LGBTs Win, Tails Christians Lose [American Conservative]

This is such corrosive way of framing this. Intentionally so, just so we're clear.

It hits all of the conservative staples. Make the gay people seem angry? Check. Make the business owner seem persecuted? Check. Intentionally ignore the fact that some things, like wedding rings, hold a special significance that most everyone would like free of stigma and controversy? Check, check.

In truth, the business owner very much agreed on his own volition (no one forced him) to give the money back. No one involved has anything other than polite things to say about what went down between the two involved parties. Unlike Dreher, the business owner hasn't made any glib comparisons to osso buco or olive oil in order to undermine the symbolism of an engagement ring. Again, this is actually an example of a Christian getting to live out and express his faith and of a same-sex couple getting the understandable choice to take business elsewhere, where no one actually violated the law in doing so. It's the kind of thing that probably happens more than we know all across North America, with resolutions that never make headlines (and therefore never drum up the outside voices who so often muddy things).

I know that conservative Christians of the anti-gay persuasion are on constant lookout for anyway they can sell what they so desperately want to be their "Phase Two" of a culture war battle to which they seem dangerously addicted. But kids, seriously—you're starting to overplay/tip your hand!!

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Video: Tony Perkins tells pastors they 'may have five years' before being 'dragged kicking and screaming from your church'

by Jeremy Hooper

Tony Perkins gets paid, and handily, to scare people into believing that LGBT people are terrible and that our rights are some sort of homegrown nuclear bomb. He drums up fear and people give FRC money. Fiscal goals are met, and Tony gets raises.

With so many losses on his watch, Tony is ramping it all up. Because he "loves people," y'all:


Tepid applause. Maybe the tide is changing even within that very room? I mean, surely some of them have to be realizing, after all of these years of Tony's dramatic predictions failing to come to fruition, that the emperor has no clothes. Right?

If not, they might want to start pushing back. If you think the Christian church has a faltering reputation now, just wait until pastors start following Tony's command to "resist unrighteous and unlawful government." The optics of that negligent and unAmerican crusade of Tony's own design will be what truly leads people "screaming from your church"—but it won't be because of anything gay people are doing.


*FYI: This is the same conference that Sen. Cruz addressed

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What to even say about Josh Duggar?

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 At 9.06.44 PmAs someone who has written about Family Research Council Action Executive Director Josh Duggar and the way he has used his TV fame to subjugate the rights of LGBT people (among others), I feel like I have to say something about this sad and disturbing news:

Josh Duggar Admits Molestation; Resigns from Family Research Council [TMZ]

But what to say, really?

I could focus on the jaw-dropping fact that someone who has these skeletons in his closet would take a job where he puts himself in a place of judgement against the rights and welfare of others.

I could focus on my longheld unease with the way they media portrays the Duggars as just some sort of fun, light-hearted kicker story, even as so much other stuff comes out.

I could focus on the Family Research Council's truly inadequate statement on this development, which focuses only on the fact that this came to light rather than that it happened (and how different the standard would be if it were a gay parent rather than Josh).

I could focus on the fact that Josh insists his lesbian aunt "chooses" her "lifestyle" while seeing no need to even acknowledge his own literal "lifestyle choice."

I could focus on whether or not TLC knew about this and gave it a pass, the same way they've given a pass to all of the Duggars' anti-LGBT activism.

But instead, I'm going to focus on the victims, who very well might have suffering quietly this whole time while the Duggars seize TV fame (and the profits attached). We know there are victims; these are not just allegations. We know justice went unserved; Christian "therapy" and prayer was the only corrective. And we know that no one—not Josh, the Duggar parents, his wife, nor FRC—have seen any need to even mention them or what they went through at Josh's (admitted) hand.

So since they won't think of them, I will.

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GOP prez candidates lining up for NOM-sponsored event in Iowa

by Jeremy Hooper

At this point, the so-called Family Leadership Summit has one national sponsor: the National Organization For Marriage. And of course since the Gran Old Party can't break its (self-defeating) obsession with stopping gay people from getting married, no fewer than five of the party's announced and presumptive primary candidates have already signed up for the July 18 event, with more sure to come:

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 At 2.30.45 Pm [The Family Leader]

Interestingly, this will happen after the Supreme Court's decision, which is sure to change the conversation in seismic ways. With the American public already showing record-breaking support with every new poll, it's the height of ludicrousness for the Republican party to keep beating this defiant drum against all sense, demographic research, and wall-writing.

It's almost as if they're secret members of the "Ready For Hillary" crowd.

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Video: Ted Cruz tells viciously anti-gay Family Research Council he's got their back on anti-gay discrimination

by Jeremy Hooper

Yesterday I told you about some of the extreme speakers who Sen. Ted Cruz is joining/courting at this week's "Watchmen on the Wall conference. Here now, a pertinent part of his speech to the Family Research Council crowd:


I love this "mandatory gay marriage" schtick he keeps doing. Not sure where we're all going to find the time to attend so many ceremonies.

Normally I would suggest that Cruz, a GOP presidential candidate, is pandering to the extreme far-right gathered at this FRC event. But when it comes to Cruz, I think he might actually be to the right of some of them. These seem to be his peeps.

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Scouts prez seeks long overdue end to offensive stigma

by Jeremy Hooper

The news of the day:

The president of the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday called for an end to the group’s blanket ban on gay adult leaders, warning Scout executives that “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be,” and that “any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”
KEEP READING: Boy Scouts’ President Calls for End to Ban on Gay Leaders [NYT]

Gates did say he'd like religious organizations to remain free to set their own policies for leaders within the local troops that they control. Which would make it kind of like marriage: a policy that allows for gays and lesbians, but where religious organizations are still free to deny access. The burden would be on folks within that religion to open hearts, minds, and doors.

This concession should make social conservatives happy. But it won't. Because nothing does when it comes to us and an America that includes us.

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FRC prays against Dan Savage 'spewing upon our nation'; I'll let Dan make that joke himself

by Jeremy Hooper

From the Family Research Council's latest round of prayer targets:

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 At 8.02.47 Pm

Whoever at FRC wrote "spewing upon our nation" in a post about Savage was clearly trolling his or her employer.

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Sen. (and prez candidate) Cruz to join extreme anti-LGBT activists at Family Research Council event (#WOTW15)

by Jeremy Hooper

Flip Benham refers to gay rights as "the Devil's agenda":

Kenyn Cureton believes that gay people are "poor, deluded souls" who are "simply pawns in the hands of their malevolent master" (i.e. the Devil):

"Who do you think is ultimately behind the efforts to advance the radical homosexual agenda, indoctrinate our children, and ruin our military, now? Who's behind the efforts to get God out of government, Christ out of culture, and faith out of public life? Who's behind it? Well, I think we've got a pretty clear answer. [laughter] The Devil is behind it! So, the real enemy…it's not the poor, deluded souls who are advancing these ungodly agendas—they're simply pawns in the hands of their malevolent master. They need to be set free by the grace of God in the person of Jesus Christ—amen?…As you think about this battle in which we're engaged, you need to think about who the real enemy is that we're fighting against here, and that is, the fact is, we're up against the organized, mobilized, demonized forces of hell itself. And really, to the victor goes the prize of the America our children will inherit, so this is a fight we dare not lose. Amen?"

E.W. Jackson claims there is a "direct connection" between homosexuality and pedophilia:

*Source: Faith 2 Action 4/6/10


Frank Turek claims that gays and "radical Muslims" both "hate Western civilization, both hate Judeo-Christian natural law values that our Constitution and particularly our Declaration of Independence were founded on, promotes the idea that gay people are embracing harmful, "illegitimate" and "changeable" behavior on par with that of sociopaths, alcoholics, or even gay bashers, likens same-sex marriage to human/beast marriage, and gives ridiculously anti-gay lectures against gay "behaviors," which he links to alcoholism:

Those are just four of the voices who Senator Cruz will be joining when he attends the Family Research Council's upcoming Watchmen On The Wall summit.. Full program below:


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