Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CT Christians want a separate, but equal, gay-free economy

The Hartford Courant is reporting that a venomous faction wants the state of Connecticut to endorse religiously-motivated (read: antirational) prejudice by passing protection for business owners who want to withhold services from gay couples seeking support for the marriage process -- bakers of wedding cakes, wedding photographers, DJ slings of the "Chicken Dance," and so on: all the contractors whose collective work make matrimonial ceremony so impressive and expensive:
The Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Church and the Family Institute of Connecticut are asking the state legislature to create what they are calling a religious liberties exception [to allow businesses to turn away gay couples seeking gay marriage services] when it codifies the ruling that legalized gay marriage here. The effort was turned back in the legislature's judiciary committee, but proponents are hoping it will be brought forward on the Senate floor. A vote could come later this week. [from the April 21st Courant article]
I have no problem with this, as long as they make their case for bigotry on non-religious grounds. Presumably, they can call Yahweh to the stand to testify before the relevant court, or to the table to address the legislators in session? As long as their argument for discrimination does not aspire to transmute Biblical nonsense into legal action, why not? It's a free country. Discrimination against the Christian community has already cost them the Miss USA crown; what other indignations must they endure?

And in this free country, don't we have a history of workable solutions to the problem of an enlightened population wanting not to do business with a polluted minority? I propose we implement the lessons of history and establish a separate-but-equal faith economy, where those who take their moral cues from ignorant and badly edited treatises passed down from the deprived antiquity of certain desert cultures will be free to exchange silver for services in the small business way without ever tampering with their deeply-held and privileged belief that some kinds of love are disgusting.

The rest of us can pity their minority, but be comforted by the protection this solution affords the constitutional rights of all citizens. The division of the economy into two camps -- the Rational Ethical, and the Holy Homobigoted -- ensures through separation equal protection under the law.

I'm being unkind; I believe there are many decent people who oppose gay marriage, for reasons they do not understand and could not defend in earnest discussion. Conversation, outreach, kindliness, and education will go a long way toward curing them of their received prejudice. As for the homobigot leadership -- if they choose to segregate themselves in pockets of hate, what right have I to force them to mix with the general population? As long as they don't raise children (that is, abusively inculcate their offspring into a tradition of indefensible homobigotry) or vote (that is, allow their poisonous irrationality to contravene the political will of other, less delusional citizens), then they and I have no quarrel. Otherwise, quarrel we have. And quarrel I will.

And quarrel I do, with campaigns like that featured at http://www.actnowct.org. I pity their fear, and scorn their efforts to disguise irrationalist bigotry as laudable faith.

NB: The above commentary is provocative and satirical -- which qualities I do not think are sufficient to advance a serious discussion of policy between disagreeing parties -- but it does accurately convey my response to this campaign -- bafflement and outcry. If you run a business that's open to the public, the law does not protect discrimination of any kind, religious, racist, or other. I am willing to share my point of view, informed as it is by knowledge of state and constitutional law and by a surprising (even to myself) grasp of secular ethics, with any interested parties. In good faith, I extend this invitation to members of the Knights of Columbus Connecticut State Council, the Hartford Catholic Archdiocese, and/or the Family Institute of Connecticut, with whom I have shared this commentary by email.