Friday, February 14, 2014

Here We Go Again ...

When Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig, the couple had a number of reasonable ways to respond.

They could have tried to persuade Phillips that his position was unreasonable and that smart business owners do their best to increase, not decrease, the amount of money they bring in.

They could have exposed Phillips in the press, on social media -- heck, even with public street protests; why not have their wedding on the sidewalk out front? -- likely costing his business, Masterpiece Cakeshop, a good deal of revenue not just from same-sex couples but from pretty much everyone who disapproves of that kind of bigotry.

They could have found a competing baker with fewer hangups and boosted THAT baker's business at Phillips's expense.

Instead they turned Phillips into a martyr, using the power of the state to deny him exactly the same freedom of religion and association that principled opponents of marriage apartheid have been seeking on behalf of LGBTQ people for years.

They also objectively perpetuated anti-LGBTQ discrimination by sending it into hiding: Now instead of flying their homophobia flag way up high where it can be seen and appropriately responded to in the marketplaces of both money and ideas, people who don't want to bake cakes for, rent hotel rooms to and so forth to the non-hetero-monogamous will just say "sorry, our schedule is full that week" or "we don't have any rooms available."

And as far as the dangerous and capricious state power Mullins and Craig invoked in achieving that ugly outcome is concerned, here's one of the results. And here's another. Neither of these laws would be needed in anything resembling a free society.

It took a lot of work to make anti-marriage, anti-family politicians look like the good guys on the side of freedom and all that is right and good (and they most definitely are not the good guys on the side of freedom and all that is right and good), but Mullins and Craig brought the production off with style and panache.

Thanks a heap, assholes. It's probably not possible to derail the train of marriage freedom and social tolerance, but you gave it the good old college try, didn't you?

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