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How do you even talk with a movement that insists we 'cannot coexist'?

by Jeremy Hooper

The Alliance Defending Freedom, the pro-discrimination legal group at the forefront of most cases wherein an anti-gay–minded person cites his or her "religious freedom" as valid reason to ignore fairly enacted nondiscrimination polices that apply to LGBT people, has written yet another post on sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) laws. ADF sums up its position in the headline:

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The "cannot coexist" line is used twice more in the post and its attached video. There is no discussion to be had; ADF simply insists that "SOGI laws threaten individuals and business-owners, both for-profit and nonprofit, who want to live and work according to their faith. Passing these laws puts every American’s religious liberty at risk."

What are we supposed to do with that? The request is not for us to respect actual religious freedom (which the LGBT and progressive movement very much does), to limit the scope to public accommodations and those that receive public funding, or to find some way for people who condemn certain kinds of people and our supposed "lifestyles" to live together with the millions of people who fall with their condemnations. They are literally saying that laws that protect LGBT citizens in public life cannot—CANNOT!—exist. They won't have it.

Which tells you about all you need to know about this movement and their nonstop attempts to turn their license-to-discriminate cause into a "religious freedom" matter. What it really is is an attempt to "put us in our place." This movement, including (and especially) the ADF, has lost and lost big for the past few years, and they are sick of it. They know they are not going to win on marriage, just like they didn't win on hate crimes and Don't Ask Don't Tell and other fights. This "religious freedom" fight is an attempt to subjugate behind a veil of faith. They are playing to and exploiting the American public's general desire to live and let live by twisting LGBT people's fair accommodation into a threat against them. And even though LGBT people almost unanimously support the very same protections that keep people of faith (including anti-LGBT people of faith) from being turned away whenever they try to make their way through America's communities, these opponents are determined to craft a country where our very same and very basis measure of respect (or even just tolerance) is taken completely off the table. We "cannot coexist" unless LGBT people agree to live in and pay taxes to a country where businesses can reject us and our families simply because of who we are.

This mirrors some of American history's darkest moments. The future will shake its head with the same disdain.

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