When the history books are opened on their hologram desks, or whatever we’re using 50 years from now, this Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling will be remembered for legitimizing homophobia.
If we aren’t already, Americans of the future will be ashamed of what the Supreme Court justices have wrought: an ignorant lecture on how we all better be nice to the bigots.
The ruling issued today goes on and on about how the mean people at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission were dismissive of the notion God ever said it was OK to turn away gay customers.
I don’t mean to be condescending, especially since that now apparently means I could lose my rights, but when so-called religious people argue that my marriage is a sham, I take it personally. Justice Anthony Kennedy and his courtesy police will surely haul me away for saying it, but I don’t have a lot of patience left for religion turned into a weapon.
In his opinion, written on behalf of the court, Kennedy took great umbrage over a Colorado civil rights commissioner saying the following during its hearing on the baker's complaint:
“Religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be … we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use — to use their religion to hurt others.”
Kennedy trots out that quote as if it were some kind of smoking gun of impropriety. Here’s the thing: All of that is correct.
Kennedy is mad about the hard truth implied in that quote, which is that discrimination against LGBT people isn’t “religious-based.” It’s based in animus and ignorance.
I know Kennedy and the Supreme Court doesn’t like us to say it, but I am going to keep calling out fake religion — at least as often as pastors call me damned.
Did you know that kids who undergo so-called conversion therapy are many times more likely to kill themselves? This notion that God condemns gay people to hell is not only wrong, it’s dangerous, and I don’t care what the Supreme Court says, I don’t respect it. In fact, anyone who is “neutral” on the question of my damnation I expect will be frowned upon by history books.
“His dilemma was understandable in 2012,” the court wrote of the bigoted baker asked to create a wedding cake for this same-sex couple. But will it be understandable in 2062? I doubt it.
I imagine the kids in those future classes bewildered by how anyone could stand aside as a religious hairstylist refused me a trim, or a religious sandwich artist refused me a veggie sub. Or how anyone could be turned away at a lunch counter for marrying the person they love.
Justice Elena Kagan in her concurring opinion has an important footnote on this particular business transaction. It's not that the baker refused to create a "same-sex wedding cake." They hadn't even discussed the design. This baker, Jack Phillips, had a same-sex couple in his store, asking for a wedding cake, and he refused to sell a wedding cake. It's not like they asked for two grooms standing on top, or all rainbow, or even "Happy Gay Wedding" written in frosting.
Then the baker offered to sell them cookies — assuming, I'm sure, that they wouldn't be eaten during the wedding. Then he'd have to call them "same-sex wedding cookies" and refuse service.
The justices have gotten this one wrong, because they're locked in their legal minds. They have failed to put themselves in the shoes of that gay couple or any future gay couple who just happens to be out shopping and has that moment of wondering whether the man behind the counter looks welcoming.
Still, the justices get it right, at least in one way. Today, not everyone understands that anti-LGBT views aren’t religious-based. We are all still pretending. We’re required to act like this stuff isn’t crazy.
We are all still expected to “tolerate” bigotry, as if it might be justified — by God himself.
That’s the harsh reality of what it means to be LGBT today. If I call that idea bullshit, I’m the one who is considered a meanie. Today it got worse, and history books will remember that.