Stop the Gay Marriage Bullying

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Jul 31, 2012 8:35 AM
Just a week after the eruption of the Chik-Fil-A controversy, now a bakery in Denver is being picketed and protested and denounced because its owner declined to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

This bullying has got to stop -- not only because it's wrong, but because it's un-American.  The only way a country as large and heterogenous as ours can survive is if we are willing to tolerate beliefs and assumptions we don't share (trust me, conservatives have to do it every day whenever we turn on MSM or go to the movies).  The store owner explained that he is happy to bake for gay people generally, but gay marriage violates his beliefs.  It would be wrong for people to picket businesses that choose to support gay marriage; it is likewise wrong to picket a bakery because its owner doesn't want to bake a cake for the ceremony (especially when there are many, many other bakeries happy to oblige).

That's especially true because for many (if not most) of those who disapprove gay marriage, those beliefs are based not on mindless antipathy, but rather on centuries of Christian religious teaching.  The stance reflects no hatred or unreasoning fear of gay people (i.e., "homophobia"); it has simply been (and remains) part of many people's mainstream religious belief in this country for as long as it has existed -- and freedom of conscience must and should be respected here.  

As I am a conservative, many gays (and their most militant straight advocates) won't listen to me, but I wish someone that they would listen to -- President Obama? -- would explain to those who "punish" people who don't believe in gay marriage that this bullying is counterproductive to their cause.  It changes no minds, and it only results in greater animus and division.

For those who can't understand why so many Americans can't just "get with the [gay marriage] program" a la President Obama, there is insight to be gained from Professor Jon Haidt's analysis of innate moral foundations -- and how they differ between liberals and conservatives.

Let's hope that those who have made "tolerance" their rallying cry will display some.   In an earlier struggle that bears some (but far from complete) resemblance to this one, African-Americans -- led by Dr. Martin Luther King -- attained their objectives (as they well should have!) not through intimidation and bullying, but through the moral force of their arguments and the dignity of their comportment.  Only those with no argument to make must resort to cruder methods.