— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) February 25, 2014
Marc Tracy looks at how the politics around gay rights have changed:
Now, in 2014, reports Politico, the reaction to an Arizona bill that would allow businesses to refuse to serve gay people is this: “top national Republicans just want the issue to go away.” If Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer doesn’t veto the bill, the consensus is that the issue will weigh down Republicans throughout the country who would have to answer for why their party is associated with such an obviously distasteful law.
When even Gingrich demurs, you know the Christianists have jumped the shark. In a sign of their intellectual desperation, check out this piece, “Against Heterosexuality”, in the theocon magazine, First Things. It echoes the far left in denying that homosexuality exists apart from a social construction, which they want to deconstruct. The piece aims to take the debate back to the nineteenth century, before the very concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality were forged. Well, at least they are trying to be consistent.
On the new “religious liberty” bills proliferating around the country, it’s also worth noticing the deep rift in the Republican coalition. Big business is adamantly against this kind of thing. Here’s Delta Airlines taking a stand:
As a global values-based company, Delta Air Lines is proud of the diversity of its customers and employees, and is deeply concerned about proposed measures in several states, including Georgia and Arizona, that would allow businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. If passed into law, these proposals would cause significant harm to many people and will result in job losses. They would also violate Delta’s core values of mutual respect and dignity shared by our 80,000 employees worldwide and the 165 million customers we serve every year. Delta strongly opposes these measures and we join the business community in urging state officials to reject these proposals.
I can’t help but wonder, when I hear about Christian businesses boycotting gay weddings, is how many of those businesses also refuse to take photographs or bake cakes for other marriages that don’t strictly conform to Biblical codes.
I suspect many, though not all, who object to gay marriage actually do have a specific problem with gays and lesbians. (I’ve known Catholics like that too.) And while I don’t want the state coercing anyone to bake cakes, I do think people with hateful views towards gays should be subject to shame and, more importantly, persuasion.
Millman makes related points:
The principle of non-discrimination is plainly in conflict with the principle that people should be free to deal with whomever they damn well please, and not with anybody else. Both principles are weighty and valuable. …
There is nothing wrong with adjusting the balance of equality-versus-freedom. Of course, as the Arizona law suggests, doing so may get you a lot more than you bargained for. But adjusting the balance only to permit discrimination against married gay couples transparently singles out those couples as uniquely unprotected. It’s practically a textbook example of invidious discrimination in law. If you want to adjust the balance, you have to adjust the balance generally. You don’t just make an exception for people you don’t like.
Beutler zooms out:
As America grows more liberal, conservatives are retreating into a variety of interlinking, but isolated subcultures and, when necessary, making or manipulating law to insulate themselves from contact with the masses. Like a cultural manifestation of Going Galt. Welcome to white America’s waiver society.
We’ve already belabored the right’s parallel argument that religious owners of businesses should be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. That argument’s much more widely accepted on the right than is the recent push for state-based anti-gay “rights” bills, but it’s actually identical in construct to the argument that religious individuals and businesses ought to be free to discriminate against gay couples or any number of other people.