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Maggie Gallagher forfeits right to ever again talk about gay-related 'slippery slopes'

by Jeremy Hooper

In a piece in which she tries to make Jon Stewart look silly for questioning the businesses that want to exclude gay customers, and tries to make the GOP presidential field look more electable if they are more anti-gay, longtime marriage inequality activist Maggie Gallagher poses this question of gay consumers everywhere:

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[Pulse 2016]

"Why not ask gay couples [to] buy a cake next door instead?"

Now, if we were talking about one gay couple and one cake, that might be a negotiation worth having. If this were Gilligan's Island and a theoretically gay shipmate had a choice between a theoretically homophobic Ginger and theoretically pro-gay MaryAnn, then the small tribe of castaways could likely hash it out over coconut martinis around the campfire.

What Maggie Gallagher wants, on the other hand, is the ultimate slippery slope. Why just cake? And why just gay people, for that matter? If business owners across America win this newfound "right" to cite "religious freedom" whenever they encounter a customer whose otherwise perfectly in-line request runs afoul the business owner's abilities for the sole reason of the customer's sexual orientation, then there is no way to limit that newfound exclusion. Frankly, I don't see any way our longhand body of nondiscrimination law could hold up under that sort of setup. One could very easily insert many other biases into Maggie's couplet of questions that I highlighted above. If the kinds of policies that Maggie is pushing the GOP presidential candidates to back were to make it into law, it's no stretch to envision the many different types of business owners who would come up with novel ways to sidestep their chosen, public-accommodating, "all-comers welcome" duties in order to flout nondiscrimination policies in the way(s) that they prefer.

I know activists like Maggie don't like to talk about other, easily recognizable forms of discrimination because they insist that this time—this time!—it's different and the side opposed to greater protections actually got it right. But if they want to get away from those connections, this is a funny way of doing it.

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