So Arizona passed the “turn away the gay” bill and it went to Governor Jan Brewer’s desk where she vetoed it yesterday. Although the bill was never enacted into law, it’s led to a lot of discussion about religious freedom, bigotry and wedding cakes. Personally, I am against this bill. I believe that it legalizes discrimination and sets people apart when we need to work together. Not just in our own communities, but the United States. But when it really comes down to it, the negative effects will far outweigh anyone’s “religious freedom”. The people that this law will hurt will be minorities and people who are already disadvantaged.
There is a reason why this law is called “turn away the gay”. It’s because the people whom wanted this bill to be enacted wanted the right to legally discriminate against people who don’t follow their religious belief that homosexual relationships are wrong. Even if that person isn’t a member of their religion at all. While some people think that baking a cake for a gay wedding means that you condone and approve of gay marriage, it means nothing of the sort.
If you sell someone a knife and they go on to stab someone to death does that mean that you approved of that murder? Hell no. You did your job and sold something to the public. Baking a cake for a gay wedding doesn’t mean that you’re a LGBT ally. It means that you’re a wedding cake baker who baked a goddamn cake. Being an ally takes a lot more effort than that.
However, the people who will be hurt by this is the LGBTQIA+ community, who already face discrimination and bigotry at every turn and currently don’t have equal rights. Christians want to make it sound like that if a gay person can’t get something from a homophobic business then they can go anywhere else to get it. But in a small town, where resources are limited, this means that finding other arrangements is at best an inconvenience and at worst an impossibility.
If small towns, which are, unfortunately, not known for being progressive, decide to get every Christian business owner together to ban anyone not cisgender and cissexual, this means that about 85% of business could be off limits. When faced with this kind of discrimination I can see a lot of people wanting to move. Not just the people of the LGBTQIA+ community, but allies as well. This means that small towns could in fact become microcosms of hatred and bigotry.
People want to claim that everyone has a right to discriminate because of their religious convictions, but the fact of the matter is that when you go into business to serve the public… YOU NEED TO SERVE THE GODDAMN PUBLIC. This might mean making a cake for a gay couple. Don’t like it? Close your doors. No one is forcing you to do anything.
I’ve heard conservatives talk about the tyranny of the “gay agenda” and how everyone is being forced to go along with gay people, but that’s just bullshit. You can be an ignorant bigot all you want, there is simply more backlash against it. You don’t get to be an asshole and have everyone talk nicely about you. Discrimination and bigotry are bad things and decent people have to speak out against them if they are finally to be eliminated from society.
Another thing that annoys me about this issue is that the claim of religious freedom isn’t consistent. If someone wanted to run their business by the laws of the Christian Bible, then they need to do some more research. Restaurants won’t be able to serve shellfish as they are an abomination. Clothing stores couldn’t tell mix-blend fabrics. Tattoo parlors would have to close completely. All businesses would require their female staff to take time off during and after their periods when they’re “unclean”. No business could put a woman in a position of authority over men.
Are businesses going to do this? Of course not. Because this shit is crazy. But banning gays? Hell yeah! That’s against the Bible.
I might have more sympathy for religious freedom if it was consistent with the entire Bible that their laws are supposedly originating from. But its not. What they want to do is cherry pick from their scripture and align themselves with the currently recognized leanings of their politicized faith.
But really, we’ve done this before. Back before civil rights, people thought it was part of their freedom to deny people of color the ability to sit at their lunch counters. Do we remember what happened there? This is the same thing, just with a different minority.
When someone opens a business they are making a pledge to serve the public. If they don’t want to do that, they should close their business down. A gay person’s money is just as green as anyone else’s and there’s no reason why someone from a minority that already has enough problems should be discriminated against because someone else’s religious view point. Part of being a community is not flat out refusing to work with people because they do something that goes against your religion, even if they don’t have the same religion. America needs to focus on inclusiveness and compassion.