A rational call for tolerance

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2013

We have won the war over equality (though the battle rages on) and we must now begin to think of what kind of victors we shall be. Will we demand the spoils of war, or will we help rebuild and respect local and individual cultural mores. Will we be tolerant with those who have disagreed or who continue to disagree?

Orson Scott Card has recently illustrated the most absurd end of the spectrum of responses. His call for “tolerance” is nothing more than a demand that those who won the war now enrich those they defeated.

But there may be other who do deserve tolerance, or at least autonomy. Bart Hinkle, in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, makes a case for such.

It was a great day when the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and threw out a California case that could have undermined gay marriage in the Golden State. On that day, gay and lesbian citizens won something profoundly important: acknowledgment of the right to live as they choose, without interference from others who think they know better.

Now the question is: Will gay and lesbian citizens acknowledge that everybody else has the same right? Some certainly will. But others are challenging the notion – and thereby undermining the case for their own hard-won victory.

It’s a thoughtful piece and worth consideration.

David in the O.C.

July 15th, 2013

I posted my VERY lengthy response on their website ;-)

For me personally, I have no problem with a religious baker not wanting to make a custom-order wedding cake for me. I’ll just find a non-bigot to make my cake… and I’ll post a not-so-friendly review of their position on Yelp and my Facebook page. Problem solved. I’m not going to waste my time trying to force these religious hate-mongers to make me a cake against their will; nor would I want a cake made by a hate-monger in the first place. But I do think the public has a right to know that they DO discriminate against gay people.


July 15th, 2013

So, Tim, you oppose laws meant to ensure Public Accommodation?

I knew you were conservative, but I had no idea you wanted the country to return to the 1950’s when blacks weren’t served at lunch counters in white establishments.

I certainly don’t expect one of our own to suggest to the rest of us that we allow ourselves to be treated as 2nd class citizens in demanding our rights to be treated as equals in public accommodation.

“Public Accommodation”: you know, like expecting that businesses that serve the public – like cake bakers – be required to treat us like anyone else. Bakers aren’t charities, and they aren’t religious institutions. They don’t bake out of a religious devotion to Marie Antoinette.

No, of course you’ll argue that this is not what you meant to say, but that’s the entire thrust of the argument in the fetid article you chose to champion. It may be dressed up in reasonable-sounding language, but it is an implicit call to roll back 60 years of civil rights progress.

Following those arguments (“we should be allowed to associate with whomever we choose”, and that anything else is a “one-way street” that is implicitly intolerant) is either mind-numbingly stupid or disgustingly cynical. Following this logic, you’d have us surrender our right to employment non-discrimination, and roll back any rights we’ve won in equal treatment in housing. After all, bosses should be allowed to hire whom they please, even if they don’t like the gays. And landlords? Get rid of the blacks and the Jews and the gays – we don’t want to be forced to associate with them, and by forcing us to do so, you’re taking away our property rights.

That’s been the Conservative line for a century, and it’s repugnant. Those espousing it should be ashamed of themselves – and yes, Tim, I mean you.

The right to Public Accommodation is the bedrock of the post civil-rights era of a more level playing field, but hey, now that we’ve won our right to marry, we should be charitable and give up the rest of our rights — you know, to be more palatable.

It’s never been about “the freedom to do whatever we wanted with whomever we wanted whenever we wanted – as long as it’s consensual”. It’s about equal treatment under the law.

Sorry, I just don’t hate myself enough to be that hungry to satisfy the conservative masses. If you want to be an Uncle Tom, please, do it on your own time.

Priya Lynn

July 15th, 2013

“On that day, gay and lesbian citizens won something profoundly important: acknowledgment of the right to live as they choose, without interference from others who think they know better.

Now the question is: Will gay and lesbian citizens acknowledge that everybody else has the same right?”

I thought that was a pretty dumb question until I read Andrew’s response and saw what it was really about.

Of course gays and lesbians acknowledge that everyone has the right to live as they choose, but its just bullsh*t plain and simple to say being asked to serve all of the public in anyway interferes with a person’s right to live as they choose.

It is absolutely absurd to suggest that its any sort of imposition to ask a business person to do something for a gay or lesbian that they’ve done hundreds or thousands of times for other people without giving it a second thought. There is NO equating the imposition on a person who is denied service with being asked to do the same thing you’ve always happily done one more time.

If you make your living off of the public you have an obligation to repay the goodwill of the public in helping you succeed by serving ALL of the public.

An atheist in the States doesn’t have the right to refuse service to a christian, there’s no way christians deserve special rights to ignore the laws that everyone else has to follow.

Now I now there’s a lot of BS’ers out there that will claim its impossible for a gay or lesbian in a small town to be denied a service they can’t easily get elsewhere. To those people I say: You are a fool and a liar, no honest person in their right mind would deny that that can and WILL happen if there are no anti-discrimination laws in place.

Tolerate the intolerance of those who would refuse service to anyone for reasons other than being abusive? No Way!

Sparky (@Sparkyu1)

July 15th, 2013

So tolerance means “denial of goods and services”?

Would you accept White only shops? Man only businesses?

How far do you go? We’ve had hotels, shops, bars, bakeries, taxis, civil servants, restaurants, cafes and hospitals try to deny services to people for being GBLT

Which are acceptable bigotries in your eyes and which not? And do you extend the same to other marginalised groups?


July 15th, 2013

By the way – my comment doesn’t speak to whether I want someone who hates gays to do my wedding cake – that feels stupid and it feels like courting trouble, and of course we’d rather give our money to someone who supports our community.

But the principle of the article suggests that by refusing to tolerate that kind of treatment we’re the intolerant ones – and that cannot be allowed to pass — that’s just offensive.

Lastly, consider smaller towns where maybe there’s just one baker. Or where there are three and they’re all are anti-gay. I guess you’re pretty comfy where you are. How nice for you. Not everyone is so fortunate. To speak to those who would argue the practical “why would I do business there” angle – not everyone has the choice.


July 15th, 2013

Priya, I put in my 3rd paragraph before reading that you got there first. Jinx!

Priya Lynn

July 15th, 2013

Andrew, I saw that happened as soon as I saw your comment.

I just find it outrageous that people are claiming it won’t be any problem for gays and lesbians everywhere to find an alternate business to provide them service when an anti-gay business refuses it to them. Do they think we’re stupid?! Do they think we haven’t seen the history of Jim Crow?!
Give me a break!

Bose in St. Peter MN

July 15th, 2013

My struggle with this is that the request for tolerance appears to be that these businesses seem to want to discriminate quietly without ever being named publicly.

A bakery wants to keep accepting higher-end custom orders from inclusive, gay-friendly families, for example, without ever admitting that, in their heart of hearts, they’d rather not serve gay or inclusive families. It’s not just about marriage, they’d like the option to turn away a request for a custom princess birthday cake if the 8-y/o it might be celebrating is named “Brian” instead of “Briana”.

But, here’s a hint: Self-defined Christian bookstores have existed for a long time. They don’t get the option to block people from entering their store, or approaching the cash register with an item and the cash to purchase it, because they’re wearing a yarmulke or a hajib.

And yet, no matter how few Muslim customers drop in at Christian bookstores, it’s not hard to argue that, as a matter of being a competent, thoughtful, business owner, the bookstore owner should sell the Bible or the Christian book to her Muslim customer without a fuss.

My bottom line to businesses: Post a NOM logo or whatever works for you on your front window and your entry door next to the Chamber of Commerce or BBB sticker. Spell it out in more detail in a framed placard on your wall and at your website that you’ll follow the law, but you’re happiest doing business with hetero Christians, reluctantly compliant about serving the rest of your customers. And of course, you can always go the bookstore route, naming the business as faith-based, and/or insisting that every product leaving your shop will include visible faith-based symbols.

Those kinds of steps will generally keep businesses in good favor with the customers they really want to serve, and out of court.

Jeff Matchan

July 15th, 2013

It’s not “a thoughtful piece that deserves consideration.” It’s a mindlessly bigoted piece that should be called to the carpet.

Tim, I really expected better from you.


July 15th, 2013

As a sometimes conservative thinker, and someone who’s been on the side of strategic thinking when it comes to making our points, I do see that, behind closed doors, I’d say to couples “If you can avoid it, don’t do this, it gives fuel to our detractors, and it looks petty”.

But in the public square, we are forced to defend the gay couple’s right to PA because of the repercussions. If we allow others to frame this argument, or to succeed in either asserting that religious orientation trumpts Public Accommodation, there are series of consequences.

It starts with killing ENDA. From there, we give credence to the argument that employers should be allowed to cherry pick coverage for their employees based on their whims ideological standpoint (“got HIV? well, that’s just God’s punishment, and your insurance at this company won’t pay for that”).

When you consider that race and religion are already cemented in status as “suspect classes”, but sexual orientation is on the cusp of being so-categorized, it’s particularly pernicious. Effectively, this article suggests “you got what you wanted, stfu”, and by no means try to equate your status with those of other minorities.

Or maybe it’s merely the thin edge of the wedge to overturn PA for all minorities – who can say.

Either way – once PA stops applying to us, you can kiss equal housing laws goodbye as well.

So now we’ve covered a roof over our head and food in our mouths and access to doctors when we’re sick… But hey, we can get married so at least we won’t suffer alone, right?

And no, sadly, this is precisely the kind of thing that Tim has been bringing to this site: a continuing call for self-abnegation by others in our community in order satisfy his need to be more palatable to his conservative fellow travelers.

Ben In Oakland

July 15th, 2013

Let me put the issue this way.

If you have a problem with public accommodation laws, whether for religion OR sexual orientation– or for that matter, any other category– then you should work to get those laws repealed.

Whats NOT acceptable is to try to find exceptions to those laws. that merely underlines why we have those laws in the first place.

Ben In Oakland

July 15th, 2013

I just posted this as a comment ot that article;

This article has nothing to do with marriage at all, and is hardly a rational call for tolerance. All it is, is this: a claim that some kinds of discrimination are perfectly fine, and that the victims of bigotry and intolerance should be bigger than the people who have been attacking them for years or decades or centuries.

The people who wish to discriminate in public accommodations against gay people can do so in states where there are no laws protecting gay people against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But if they are going to claim it is about their religious beliefs, we have laws at every level of government that say such discrimination is not going to be legally tolerated. Why is this OK for this particular class of people, but not OK for Jew or Christian.

In a Canadian decision on whether marriage commissioners could refuse to perform marriages for gay people– they can’t– one of the judges made a really interesting point in her opinion:

Justice Gene Ann Smith said the religious objection was secondary.

“These marriage commissioners are not themselves compelled to engage in the sexual activity they consider objectionable. Their objection is that it is sinful for others to engage in such activity,” wrote Smith.

“It is therefore arguable that the interference with the right of marriage commissioners to act in accordance with their religious belief … is trivial or insubstantial, in that it is interference that does not threaten actual religious beliefs or conduct.”

Imagine that! The religious lives and practices of the Religious Right don’t automatically include the lives and practices of other people who don’t share their beliefs? It’s so sane.

Let me put the issue this way.

If you have a problem with public accommodation laws, whether for religion OR sexual orientation– or for that matter, any other category– then you should work to get those laws repealed.

What’s NOT acceptable is to try to find exceptions to those laws. that merely underlines why we have those laws in the first place.


July 15th, 2013

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

This tiresome nonsense that religious dislike trumps civil rights law is an issue settled long ago, and settled in favor of the law.

Every effort to grant exception to the law is, in fact, an effort to gut the law. I don’t know how more concisely or more accurately that can be said.

The article is not “a thoughtful piece and worth consideration.” It is pure crap.


July 15th, 2013

While I appreciate the sentiment of your post Tim, I don’t believe the driving point of the article you reference is analogous with the equality we have been seeking.

Prop 8 and DOMA effectively said; “You marry who we say is appropriate to marry or you don’t marry at all”.

In that vein, a better example of ‘reverse intolerance’ would be to have the cake maker shut down for not selling to the gay couple. Thus they sell to everyone or they sell to no one.

Now as a Christian, I don’t believe refusal of services to be an expression of faith. If that were the case, then the Priest and the Levite would have been the heroes of the Good Samaritan story. I think refusal of services is more of an expression of hypocrisy then faith. Unless they can demonstrate that they have not offered services to previously married couples, people of a different faith, people who are no longer virgins, etc.; then their moral ground is fractured.

Ben stated it best above, either the law applies to everyone or it applies to no one. If “Masterpiece Cakeshop” wants to make a statement by refusing services to a gay couple; then the gay owned flower shop down the road can refuse services to a Christian couple. The knife must cut both ways.

More importantly then all of that, true tolerance flows from grace. Tolerance mandated through policy is simply compliance.

With that in mind, the request for tolerance by O.S.Card, and now Bart Hinkle, is even more profound. They do not tolerate us at all; they simply must comply with current policy. If that policy did not exist, or would ever be overturned, rest assured they would not show us the grace they so adamantly demand from us. They are now, unfortunately for them, at our mercy.

The grace that we can show them, (and I hope as a gay community we do) is to not ‘enforce’ the policy of ‘compulsory tolerance’. If, for no other reason then to show them the grace they never showed us. But, having said that, grace given upon demand, is no grace at all.


July 15th, 2013

The Christian bookstore example is a bit different: the content of the books is going to promote Christianity, so if anything, from the shop owner’s perspective, the non-Christian customers need their wares the most.


July 15th, 2013

Sandhorse – I think you stated with elegance precisely my attempt to distinguish between private and public discussion of this issue in your last paragraph. That is quite beautiful.

I think the question is whether or not we are perceived as going out of our way to punish our foes (rather than promoting our legitimate self-interests) – doing so, especially when it’s not a zero-sum situation is destructive to all concerned.

But achieving our right to marry was not part of a bargain or some kind of quid-pro-quo with anti-gay activists.

The accord was with the whole of society to assume the same roles and responsibilities as everyone else – a bargain we made when we became citizens under the law, worked at our jobs, paid our taxes, served in the military, and followed the other laws of the land.

In that light, it is a misdirection to reduce the question to anti-gay and pro-gay. It is unreasonable to trade one right to equal treatment for another right to equal treatment to achieve some sort of equity between pro- and anti-. As part of the grand bargain between gays and the whole of society, full equality is what redresses the omissions committed against those who have otherwise fulfilled their side of the deal as citizens.

We are not obligated to avoid controversy or strife — as Sandhorse put it, to show grace – but it is certainly wise to do so. It not only offers a positive view forward, but it reduces the strength of our opponents points of view. But that cannot – must not – be confused with an obligation “to accept less”, and any call to do so unfortunately puts us in the position of having to retrench.

Richard Rush

July 15th, 2013

I’m wondering how the following would play out:

Let’s imagine a scenario where NOM’s persecution team is working overtime into the night inventing new lies for their next salvo against us. They are getting hungry, so they make a phone call to a local pizza shop that delivers, but the shop owner tells NOM that they won’t sell them pizzas because NOM’s mission conflicts with their sincerely held conviction that persecuting gay people is wrong.

Would NOM strongly and publicly defend the pizza shop, or would they invoke “the divine right of kings Christians” to be uniquely entitled to flout public accommodation laws?


July 15th, 2013

Richard, your post just made me realize; we HAVE been tolerant! And long before Card or Hinkle’s please for tolerance.

There have got to be literally hundreds of gay owned and operated businesses in the US. Specifically: bakeries, floral shops, photography shops, and general party/event supply shops. I cannot recall one instance where a gay operated business has refused service to anyone, much less a Christian. With perhaps maybe the gay-supportive bistro owner who refused to serve that anti-gay politician. But that hardly qualifies and even if it did, it’s more of an exception then the rule.


I agree. It’s going to be a delicate balance and I hope ‘we’ choose our battles wisely. But for better or worse, at the end of the day, we are all individuals, and we’ll all react differently to discrimination.


July 15th, 2013

Sandhorse, I don’t expect everyone to think strategically and leave alone the anti-gay businesses for the sake of avoiding unnecessary conflict. Being disrespected like that is an intensely personal experience that can create visceral reactions. It’s a classic case of a situation in which I can suggest how someone else might best react, but realize fully that my ability to follow my own advice might be… “limited”.

But I will absolutely resist calls – including Tim’s calls – to accept myself as lesser in exchange for receiving some portion of my due measure of equality – the false bartering with anti-gay activists rather than the recognition that my relationship is with our broader society, and the scales have yet to be evened.

I find Tim’s posting even more offensive than the original article because of its context – the notion of a gay columnist positing this as the “positive, reasonable alternative” – as though such a stance is in our best interests – is both morally and intellectually bankrupt, and, practically, disasterous. Beyond taking it personally, it offends me on behalf of my friends who are racial or religious minorities who don’t have to worry about which bathroom they use, or where they choose to eat or what part of town they’re allowed to live in or who will deign to hire them. It offends me as an American. The elevation of this article by one of our own in a forum precisely intended to counter anti-gay rhetoric is a classic wolf in sheeps clothing.


July 15th, 2013

Note: no one has the right to be free from offense.

But that doesn’t equate greeting it with silence or tacit approval.


July 15th, 2013

Ditto to Andrew’s posts. If our goal was to extend “tolerance” to those who have denied our rights, then we could have just refrained from seeking them in the first place. Our goal is equal rights under the law. That includes the right to be extended equal treatment in public accommodations.

Gene in L.A.

July 15th, 2013

The simple answer to Tim’s question is that insisting the new laws be upheld is not “demanding the spoils of war.” We were at pains to explain to the opponents of equality that equality was all we wanted, not the “special rights” they accused us of wanting. Now that the law reflects equality, allowing some people to violate it is a step backward. As a minority we can’t afford any backward steps.


July 15th, 2013

“But it will cease being absurd to suggest that requests for tolerance are actually demands for approval – and that those who claim to celebrate diversity actually insist upon ideological uniformity.”

Wait. Is this a surprise to anyone? We are demanding acceptance. Why should we have anything less?

A belief that views homosexuality is wrong is in itself morally wrong — it’s a belief that should change. And social pressure should be brought to bear on those who have such beliefs until they do change.

There’s nothing nefarious about trying to change people’s minds.

As for anti-discrimination laws, are you against all anti-discrimination laws, Timothy Kincaid? Or just ones for gay people?

Do you know Hinkle’s position on that?


July 15th, 2013

sorry, i just threw up a little in my mouth.


July 15th, 2013

Wow, that’s amazing… 5 minutes ago there was a posting from Tim which stated (close paraphrase) here: “‘No, of course you’ll argue that this is not what you meant to say…’ No, that’s pretty much exactly what I meant to say… as I’ve noted in many other posts, my political leanings are pretty libertarian”…

And now it’s gone.

Oh, Timmy, at least have the courage of your convictions. Why not put that back up so we can see what you really mean to say.


July 15th, 2013


“Richard, your post just made me realize; we HAVE been tolerant! And long before Card or Hinkle’s please for tolerance.”

I can think of two publicized cases where someone was refused service because of their conservatism – one was a gay hairdresser in AZ who stopped doing Jan Brewer’s hair and the other was a straight ally cafe owner who refused to serve the TN legislator behind the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – but in both cases the action was taken because of something specific the individual had done, not the group they belong to, so it wasn’t actually discrimination (e.g., it wasn’t “I won’t serve Republicans,” it was “I won’t serve this Republican because of one law he is promoting”).

Otherwise, you’re pretty much dead on. The anti-gay side never stops to consider the waiters, the doctors, the taxi drivers, the flight attendants, the pilots, the hotel clerks who are LGBT and whom they expect will serve them without the slightest hesitation, no matter what the LGBT person’s deeply held moral and religious convictions. I learned of a really harsh example of this from a bartender at the Hyatt hotel in Sacramento. It’s directly across from the state Capitol, and the “Yes on 8” people had their victory party there in 2008. Several members of the hotel’s banquet and bartending staffs were gay or lesbian and they had to work the event. You can imagine the kinds of comments that they heard – which were not just offensive to the gay and lesbian employees, but also most of the straight ones, who had voted “No” on the proposition in overwhelming numbers. The General Manager was apparently appalled at the “Yes on 8” crowd’s behavior, but they were paying customers with a contract, so what could they do.

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2013

Andrew, yes for a moment I gave in to the temptation to respond – though I do try to keep out of the comments on threads in which I am the author. I deleted it. It really is unfair to have my position both above and below the fold, so to speak.

And my views about non-discrimination laws are no secret.


July 15th, 2013

I don’t know what your views on anti-discrimination laws are, Timothy. Until you stay otherwise, I’ll assume you support them for everyone but gay people, since that’s typically the position I see aired. It’s certainly implied by the piece you link to, which mentions no other use of anti-discrimination laws than in cases of anti-gay discrimination.


July 15th, 2013

The linked article is a good example of chutzpah, coming from a state (VA) where: (1) ssm is illegal, via constitutional amendment; (b) same-sex civil unions are illegal, via a constitutional amendment; and (c) anti-discrimination protections do not apply, in any form, or gay or lesbian citizens. So neither the author (nor Timothy) need worry at all about gay or lesbian Virginians persecuting anti-gay small business owners, forcing these “victims” to sell goods that might somehow be construed as recognizing a same-sex marriage.

I understand the libertarian argument against public accommodations laws. But surely it must be applied to all such laws–which ban discrimination on basis of race or gender or religion–and not just the portion of the laws that ban discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

Timothy Kincaid

July 15th, 2013

oh dear… I’m failing to resist temptation to comment. Dammit.

I understand the libertarian argument against public accommodations laws. But surely it must be applied to all such laws–which ban discrimination on basis of race or gender or religion–and not just the portion of the laws that ban discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

I agree. I support ENDA not because I support non-discrimination laws generally (I don’t) but because to single out gays as being excluded from the laws institutionalizes an invitation to discriminate.

Nevertheless, the principle here is that whether or not there are laws which prohibit discrimination, it is up to us how we will apply them. And to demand that someone bake a cake, take a picture, prepare a tax return, carve an ice sculpture, choreograph a dance routine or any other individual-based service that a person doesn’t want to do is – in my opinion – oppressive and heavy handed and comes from a mentality of authoritarianism.

There, I’ve broken my rule. Oh well. I’ll keep it to just this one.

(though I’m rather sure it will be difficult to resist)


July 15th, 2013

Tim, I think you stayed within your boundaries by merely clarifying information not in evidence within the piece.

I appreciate you explaining your boundaries – that is important. I am a little uncomfortable with the write-and-remove thing. It gives you a degree of “thank god I can take that back” that posters like us are not afforded – and have sometimes really wanted, and it’s a little dishonest in a way. You said what you said and you meant it. The fact that it was, IMHO, pretty damning just kind of cemented things.

That said – I’m not going to craft this into a message that begs for response. Just take that under advisement. If you cave to your impulses, IMHO it shows more integrity to leave it up.

Ben In Oakland

July 15th, 2013

Timothy, where I w3ould agree with you to some extent is here.

The antidiscrimination laws exist, and generally, I think they are a good idea. But even as a gay man who has been the object of antigay behavior, I generally speaking wouldn’t seek to enforce them, unless they extremely egregious violations.

job discrimination is certainly one place. Another is if I were to make a reservation at a hotel, expect to have a room, and upon arrival be told that “we don’t serve your kind here.” Another is going to a restaurant, not doing anything untoward, and being asked to leave because “we don’t serve your kind here.”

But there is another side to this I think also needs to be looked at. I will go to the example of Elaine Photography.

I’m was a wedding photographer myself for 30 years. And from my experience, the couple that sued Elaine I suspect was trouble from the start. Any astute photographer learns to recognize people like that. Elaine didn’t. Likewise, an astute event photographer knows that the only face a client, or even a potential client, should ever see is friendly, pleasant, polite, and caring, no matter what you might feel about it. Telling people that you don’t approve of them or their lifestyle (I’m using the word consciously here) is not a way to make them happy. She went out of her way to tell them that she, as a christian and a heterosexual, was simply better than they were. So on top of everything else, Elaine was rude.

As a wedding photographer, I can tell you there are plenty of people whose weddings I do not want to shoot. I would be very foolish to tell them why. You just say you’re booked, and you refer them on, if you can.. Not that I would do so for illegal reasons, but because I flat out don’t like them, or think they will be trouble, or difficult to deal with. I even shot Mormon weddings–- though at this point, were I not retired, I would probably donate the money to marriage equality in honor of their wedding and let them know that I did.

Nevertheless, there is something else to consider here. Elaine, a wedding photographer in New Mexico violated a law that said that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is illegal. The same law that protects blacks, whites, and even Christians.

As a Jew, I reject the Christian story, and as a thinking human being, I reject Biblical morality. This bothers the religious beliefs of no one but the most rabid fundamentalist, nor would any but the most clueless dare say so in public for fear of rightly being called a religious bigot. But let me say that I’m gay and reject just this tiniest part of conservative Christian belief, and suddenly, religious beliefs are offended, the people who hold them are “persecuted”. What is the difference?

Does Elaine do Jewish weddings or Hindu weddings? Theoretically, if she does not, she could cite her religious beliefs as the basis for her opposition. Why this different?
It amazes me that religions disagree about the nature of God, and their history is written in blood. But gay people–well, they finally have it right. So, to say that she is entitled to reject these women as clients because they are gay, but not entitled to because they are Jews, represents a logical inconsistency.

The word bigotry comes to mind, a bigotry that any gay person knows exists. Just because it is your religious belief and it is about gay people, doesn’t make it right.

And that is really the point of public accommodation laws. Be a bigot all you wish, but please be a smart bigot, not a stupid one. Stupidity is generally not rewarded in the business world.


July 15th, 2013


So why is that people like you never articulate that argument? (about “individual-based” services — I’m not sure what it even means, because I’ve never seen it articulated).

Instead, we just get a list of situations where anti-discrimination laws have been applied to protect gay people from discrimination, and a claim that this is “intolerant” or a violation of people’s freedom.

Have you fleshed out what this “individual-based” service thing means enough where it could be codified into law? Has anyone who supports your position done so?

Or you just want to leave it to the discretion of whoever enforces the law? Which of course will mean that the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws will be reflected by the prejudices of our time, with gay and lesbian people being unable to claim their protections when the enforcer is anti-gay.

I’m reminded of when a Judge refused to marry an interracial couple:


So many of our opponents are throwing a fit over the possibility that some county clerk or a judge would be “forced” to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple, against their beliefs. But where were they to defend this racist judge?

The reason they weren’t there to defend him is because, as they actually admit, they see anti-gay discrimination as a legitimate form of discrimination, but they agree that racial discrimination is not legitimate.

A view you’ve seemed to have internalized to some extent.


July 15th, 2013

While ENDA is an anti-discrimination bill, it’s not a public accommodations bill, which is the issue raised by Hinkle in his column.

Again, I can understand the libertarian argument against public accommodations bills. But, as this excellent piece from Ken White at Popehat (http://www.popehat.com/2013/07/09/a-few-questions-about-the-socially-acceptable-range-of-discrimination/) points out, it’s a little suspicious that critics of these laws, such as Hinkle and, it seems, Timothy don’t demand their repeal (or non-enforcement) when the public accommodation discriminates against blacks or Jews or women. Maybe we should have a society in which bakeries can refuse to serve gay people but must serve blacks or Jews or women, but I don’t really see a principled argument for this position. Certainly Hinkle’s description of such a society as based on “tolerance” isn’t accurate.

(The Elane Photography case seems a little different in this regard, since it raises a First Amendment question of whether photography is protected expression and therefore shouldn’t be covered by public accommodations laws. However broadly we want to interpret the 1st amendment, though, surely a business selling someone flowers or a cake doesn’t constitute speech.)


July 16th, 2013

I grew up in the church. I am still in the church. I’m a fairly liberal Christian, but much of my family is not. Nobody’s interpretation of the Bible says that you can’t bake cakes for people whose religions differ from yours, or for homosexuals, or whatever.

Baking a cake is not endorsing someone’s marriage. If you’re a pastor, I 100% support your right not to solemnize any marriage you don’t want to. If you’re a church, you don’t have to take any members who don’t fit into your theology, and that’s fine with me. But cake-baking is not religious exercise.

There are churches where people genuinely believe that black people can’t be members. I support them in that. If a member of one of those Christian Identity kinds of churches is a baker, I don’t support any notion that would allow them to refuse to provide a cake for a wedding for a black couple. So, I can’t support the same for people who refuse to serve gays and lesbians.

They can come back to me when they’re willing to produce a genuine religious text that says they can’t do this.


July 16th, 2013

So typical of Tim again. Always on the side of oppressors and championing a society that just can’t function.


July 16th, 2013

And the second that so-called “Christian businesses” truly live by their “convictions”, I may start taking them seriously. But that means no services to adulterers, liars, divorced people, remarried people or people who had pre-marital sex. Until then it’s just the usual despicable cherry-picking.


July 16th, 2013

“It’s a thoughtful piece and worth consideration.”

No, it’s not. It’s just a rehash of all the sloppy arguments for one segment of the populace — “Christians” — to hold itself above the law. To turn that around and claim that disfavored groups are “intolerant” if they don’t accept the continued discrimination of others is nothing more than sophistry.

I happen to favor anti-discrimination laws because they have proven to be necessary, Ron Paul and the “free market” notwithstanding. (Full disclosure: I also consider libertarianism to be morally bankrupt and completely divorced from the ideals and realities of the social contract.) To take the position that someone’s personal religious beliefs — which have nothing to do with me — trump everyone else’s rights to equal treatment is egregious, at best. This country was not founded on “every man for himself,” but on “for the common good.”

You may gather from this that I find the idea that I should tolerate someone’s attempts to discriminate against me ludicrous. You’d be right.


July 16th, 2013


A “christian” business is an oxymoron that cannot exist. For if it did exist it would not be around long. To be a christian business they should and would have to give away all of their profits to the poor and we know that is a poor business model.

That is why I am tired of places like Hobby Lobby saying that they are a christian business and that is why the owner’s religious beliefs trump the religious beliefs of the employees.


July 16th, 2013

I honestly have never been more disappointed in you. This was not a “thoughtful piece”. This was a hit piece, one that deliberately conflated anti-discrimination laws with marriage equality. Christ, it flat-out says “as gay marriage gains ground, such cases will likely flourish”. Given that anti-discrimination laws are ENTIRELY UNRELATED to marriage equality laws and that bigots like Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher seek to confuse the issue on a daily basis, for you Timothy, to declare Tony Perkins’ main argument as “thoughtful” is really beyond the pale.
If the author of this “thoughtful” piece wants to argue from a purely libertarian mindset, let him also argue that a cake shop should have a right to refuse a heterosexual interracial couple (and call them “abominations unto the lord”) and that a Muslim florist should have a right to refuse a Christian customer, and that a black restaurant owner should be able to refuse white customers and so on. I know that’s the stance Timothy takes, but that’s not the stance this “thoughtful” author takes. His stance is identical to Tony Perkins and to Orson Scott Card. Namely, that the wider acceptance of gay marriage will lead to more persecution of Christian business owners and that we gays should exercise tolerance by acknowledging that religious people get a special right to discriminate against us exclusively.
Your reason for supporting ENDA:

“because to single out gays as being excluded from the laws institutionalizes an invitation to discriminate”

should be the exact reason why you repudiate this author, Timothy.


July 16th, 2013

Had we settled for status quo after the Anita Bryant fiasco of the 70’s, would we experience the “luxury” of having this dialogue today? That was, at the time, considered a major victory which pales in comparison by today’s standards. (P.S. Call me intolerant if you wish, but I, because of personal convictions, still don’t drink orange juice.)


July 16th, 2013

Why is anyone surprised at this? It has been perfectly clear that this has always been Timothy’s opinion. He has never been anything but a shill for right-wing causes.


July 16th, 2013

Timothy, your excuse about not responding in the comment section is absolute bullshit and you and I both know it. Having a history with you on this site allows me to call you out on your LIE. You have gone back and forth with me, Priya Lynn and others in the comment section a hundred times, and yes, in articles YOU wrote.

Your call for us to accept discrimination and second class status is disgusting. I thought some of your views putrid in the past, but this is mindblowingly vile and vomit inducing. You can be satisfied for being less than in the public square if you wish to, and that’s your right, but to insinuate that the rest of us are somehow wrong for not tolerating that treatment is foul.

And your utter hypocrisy on supporting ENDA while saying these public accommodation laws should be disregarded based on freedom of association must have you left tied in a knot. How, from your “principled” stand, you can say you support equality laws because without it it institutionalizes discrimination is laudable at best, and ignorant. Your support of this mans ideals helps institutionalize discrimination as well. You were against anti-discrimination laws before you were for them while still being against them. You have now taken a position on every side of the issue. You stand for everything but stand for nothing. Utterly disgusting. And every reader here should look to the mUltiple articles posted by you on this site to see that your week-kneed argument that you have some principle against replying to the comments on your own articles is absolute bullshit. I, and many others have been the object of your derision and replies on many many articles you have posted. Be a man and own up to the truth. Unless of course this is a new policy for you, then how convenient.


July 16th, 2013

Not laudable, but LAUGHABLE, at best

Have to turn off auto correct

Jimmy Green

July 16th, 2013

I see Timothy is reverting to his default libertarian fantasy world. The existence of gay libertarians is one of those riddles wrapped inside of an enigma…etc.

BTW here is an email exchange I had with this paragon of virtue Timothy so admires. Notice he ducks all my points and tries to shift the discussion to affirmative action, just like all conservatives do…

Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 21:26:47 -0400
Delivered-To: ugalaw97@gmail.com
Subject: Anti-Discrimination law
From: jim green
To: bhinkle@timesdispatch.com

Do you oppose all anti-discrimination laws – i.e., 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on race, religion, sex, national origin (but NOT sexual orientation) or just when it comes to gay people?

Also, would you be so sanguine for those poor wedding cake companies if they refused to serve jewish weddings? Or is it just gay people who have to suffer the indignation of being singled out for discrimination?

Finally, it takes some chutzpah for a (presumably) hetersoexual writer to tell gays and lesbians that they should just suck it up. It is not surprising though as ever subordinated group has been told the same thing by so-called moderates. I assume you have read MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail where he scolded the white liberal christian establishment of his era for their admonitions against the civil rights protests. Here are some choice excerpts:

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

Religion is no excuse for bigotry. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

A Very Disappointed Reader,

Jimmy Green

From: “Hinkle, Bart”
To: jim green
Subject: RE: Anti-Discrimination law
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 11:52:19 +0000

Thanks for your note, Mr. Green. Those are good questions. Here are some in return: Do you think the government should forbid the many education scholarships available exclusively to minority students? How about affirmative action generally? Do you believe the nation’s 43 women’s colleges should be forced to accept men? Should a Jewish caterer be forced to provide services to a Klan meeting? Do noble objectives justify the use of violence?

Perhaps you’ll find my column urging repeal of Virginia’s marriage amendment more to your liking:


All the best,

A. Barton Hinkle

Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages

Richmond Times-Dispatch

300 East Franklin Street

Richmond VA 23225

(804) 649-6627


Twitter: @ABartonHinkle

Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 12:03:27 -0400
Delivered-To: ugalaw97@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Anti-Discrimination law
From: jim green
To: “Hinkle, Bart”

Nice try but you completely avoided my question but I will answer yours:

1 I am actually ambivalent about affirmative action – I do not think it is constitutionally mandated but whether it is unconstitutional per se is question that is unclear, although the current conservative court seems to be inching in that direction. My personal opinion is that the Court should weigh whether the intent is motivated by animus and in most cases I would say limited, remedial affirmative action is not motivated by animus towards whites but in redressing imbalances as a result of both historical and current discrimination against minorities. However, the current court seems to be moving towards a more bright line rule that intent is irrelevant and that any distinctions drawn based on race are per se unconstitutional. I think that opinion is a bit myopic but honestly, it is a principle that I could live with.

2. I do actually believe that gender segregated public institutions is wrong and I concur with the Court’s decision in US v. Virginia that found VMI’s all male policy unconstitutional. As for private institutions, I would support removing the current exemptions in the Civil Rights Act for private educational institutions as I believe gender should be held to the same level as race as far as public accommodations. As I am sure you are aware, historically women’s colleges formed out of necessity because most state and private colleges only admitted males so they were not formed with discriminatory intent. However, since it is now illegal to discriminate against women in admissions I see no current justification for the continuation of single sex institutions, whether for or against women. This would equalize current anti-discrimination law between race and gender – i.e., Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HSBU) have long admitted students of any race and have managed to maintain themselves without much disruption. Removing this exemption would also alleviate existing discrimination against transgendered students, which some private colleges have unfortunately engaged in recently.

3. Nice try with the Klan bit (are you sure you aren’t getting your talking points from Maggie Gallagher?) but as I am sure you are aware being a member of the KKK is not a protected category under current anti-discrimination laws. Unless you are equating Gays and Lesbians to KKK members, which I hope you are not, your argument is inapposite. That is why I used Jewish weddings in my initials email to you because religion is a protected category under current law. My point was to illustrate the absurdity of allowing exemptions for religious bigotry.

Now that I have kindly answered your questions, I would like an answer to mine. Do you oppose all anti-discrimination laws or just when they apply to gays and lesbians?


Jimmy Green


July 16th, 2013

Thanks for posting that, Jimmy. Please let us know if he responds. However, given that he completely avoided the questions you asked the first time, it’s unlikely he ever will. And we know why, don’t we? Because he believes that religious people should have special rights to discriminate against gays exclusively and to deny them that right would be “intolerance”. I can only assume he also advocates abolishing the law in the 21 states that forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Or, as Timothy put it, “because to single out gays as being excluded from the laws institutionalizes an invitation to discriminate”.


July 16th, 2013

Rob, maybe he’s trying to turn over a new leaf or be a better editor. It’s true that typically editors post a single response – if at all – to editorials, rather than participate in a ron-dori style defense of the piece against all comers.

Maybe this is a new thing. Whatever. I don’t reject that, what I rejected was making a statement and then making it invisible after reading further and realizing that it boxed Tim into saying things that are actually pretty ugly – like thinking it’s okay to turn blacks away from lunch counters, and the 1950’s American had the right idea — because, in fact, that’s the direct implication of what was said, and no, that’s not a mischaracterization. I guess Martin Luther King was a Commie or something.

The problem I think a lot of people who fancy themselves “libertarians” have is that they’re honestly not very bright, and they lack a decent foundation in history, social science, and, sadly, logic.

They cannot, for example, distinguish where the boundaries they seek to establish actually lay, or between which parties contracts exist. They see things in simplistic binary terms of black and white, state v individual.

They also see the world as it’s most convenient to them. They either cannot see or deliberately avoid contemplating the communal parts of their lives that make their daily life possible, like roads, law enforcement, rules, regulations, and all the things that keep your tap water from containing poop and your hamburger from containing horsemeat or kitty cats, that keep your bank from calling you up and saying “sorry, we lost your deposits and gave away your social security number… our bad, good luck”, or the guy who builds your house from saying “gee, i was an insurance agent last week but I figured this week I’d give carpentry and electrical work a try – was I supposed to disclose that to you before your house burnt?”.

See, being a “libertarian” is “the new cool”. Being a gay libertarian is even better. Toss in an off-beat religious denomination – especially one that kinda sorta conflicts with either being gay or libertarian, perhaps left-handedness, and one or more trendy conditions (I believe Asbergers and food allergies are “in” right now), and no, astrological signs are super-paseé (after all, there are only 12, how unique can that make you?), and voila, a person suddenly becomes Interesting.

Tell you what. Re-prioritize. Put thinking first and ego-feeding second, and the columns will get better, I promise.

Ben In Oakland

July 16th, 2013

Jimmy, I was going to write to the guy, but you saved me the trouble of being annoyed with nonresponses.


July 16th, 2013

To answer Mr. Hinkles questions:

Re: minority scholarships – no, because those are private organizations (which per SCOTUS have the rights to determine membership – they are not subject to Public Accommodation because they are not public). Their money is theirs to do with what they will; in some contexts it could be perceived as equivalent to an expressions of speech or values, offering additional First Amendment rights.

I do not agree with affirmative action in employment – employment should be merit based, strictly. In education, diversities of many kinds on campus are necessary; there should be an appopriate mix of students, where race might be one of many considered. Socioeconomics, not race, should be considered when redressing institutional injustices on an individual basis.

Yes, I think the nation’s 43 women’s colleges should be forced to accept male students, and vice-versa, provided they are not required to alter their curriculum to do so.

The Jewish / Klan issue is a question of speech, not identity or religion. Speech is not protected in business transactions – merely suspect categories like race, religion, gender, etc. If a Jewish caterer refused a goyem on the basis of their religion, that’s one thing. But they are allowed to refuse business to people on the basis of their speech or actions provided those are not strictly rooted in the suspect class. Gays getting married is directly tied to their class membership. Klan membership is speech-based, and although the subject matter is race, the membership is not necessarily stemming directly from race — that is, not all whites or all Christians are Klam members.

Re: Noble objectives? It depends. The defeat of Nazi Germany was a noble objective. On the other hand, violent 60’s radicals had it wrong. The question is overly vague & poorly constructed.


July 16th, 2013

And before Timothy tries to ban me for calling him a liar based on his assertion that he doesn’t comment on his own articles, here is a list of articles written by him in which he decided that he wouldn’t follow his own policy and decided to comment in the comment section (and I left out the ones in which he acknowledged an error and said he fixed it):

SCOTUS RULING: no standing on prop 8
June 26

June 26

June 26

July 1

July 3

July 10

Either you have a policy to not comment or you don’t. Lying to your readers that you have a policy that is demonstrably false is wrong, especially if its only a policy in which you are pilloried for your views.

Timothy comments but only when it benefits him.

Honesty is imperative if you really care about your reputation. But maybe he doesn’t.


July 16th, 2013

Jesus, Rob. Maybe take it down a notch or three? Timothy’s decided to try to not get into combative back-and-forths with people who comment. He doesn’t always succeed. Obviously, it’s different if he’s just shooting-the-shit in the comments section.
(And now here’s where you go back into archives and find examples that counter what I just said. Have fun).

Jim Burroway

July 16th, 2013

Timothy and I both have very limited amounts of time. What little time we have can be spent roughly two ways: 1) we can spend a lot of time going back and forth in comments for the tiny, tiny minority (on the order of 1.4%) of readers who bother to comment, or 2) write more stuff for the other roughly 98.6%.

In contrast to past behavior, we have elected to focus on #2 more heavily going forward than #1. That’ll benefit the overwhelming majority that doesn’t care about the comments section, and it’ll benefit you, too, because it will give you more content to argue over. :-)


July 16th, 2013

Not at all Ryan, Timothy has chastised me in the past for making assertions without the proof of those assertions. I was instructed to back up my assertions with facts, and did so.

You might believe that it’s fine for the author to delete his own comments from the timeline and then use an excuse of “having a policy” but that’s only okay if that policy actually exists. Which from his postings is proven to only be a policy he engages when his above the fold article is particularly indefensible and contradictory.

And no, it’s not different if he decides to shoot the shit in the comment section if he has a policy to not comment on articles he posted. One can’t use the policy as an excuse to NOT answer the hard questions if one has no problem violating it for the easy ones.

It’s fine if you believe a policy should be self serving and beneficial only when the article posted is so onerous that its almost impossible to defend. Integrity has to mean something.

And, again, I was instructed by Timothy himself to post back up of any assertions I might make in regards to him, and I do so because HE demanded I do so. If that’s an issue for you, take it up with him.


July 16th, 2013

Rob is a little intense here but he has a point. Policies aren’t suggestions. If one has a policy, you can cite that as an assurance that such things do not happen. In this case, by saying as much, it’s at best misleading.

The fact that Rob’s been raked over the coals for reference facts sounds like Tim’s being hoisted on his own petard here, and for that I have very little sympathy. It sounds like another example of not considering the long-term implications of a “policy” for the immediate satisfaction of a short-term rhetorical point. Point-Rob.

Jim Burroway

July 16th, 2013

Let me add this:

This is not a new “policy.” Rob decided to create a “policy” out of whole cloth and provide “evidence” that Timothy violated a policy of Rob’s imagination. Go back to Timothy’s comment. You will not see “policy” in there.

What you will see is that Timothy has decided to articulate what he called a “rule” — a personal rule, perhaps modeled somewhat after one I decided to adopt, unannounced publicly but shared privately, around the first of the year.

That doesn’t mean we’ll be out of comments altogether. We’ll still be around, commenting from time to time. And we’ll still be monitoring them, both to ensure that they stay true to the spirit of our actual Comments Policy, and also because we do learn from your comments. Even from commentors who criticize us. (And besides, y’all are much better typo-cathers than WordPress.)

But since, as Timothy pointed out, we already get our say in the main posts, we would prefer that the comments section be mostly about you, rather than us.

So if we decide not to follow up in comments, it would be a mistake to take that as an “aha!” Likewise, too, if we do decide to comment. It’s not either/or, a restriction that Rob took it upon himself to impose. Rob, Timothy was not lying. You owe him an apology.


July 16th, 2013

Jim, when Timothy decides to call it a “Rule” that’s effectively HIS policy, we can dither over the meaning of rule versus policy, but they do mean the same thing. We were not discussing the policy the BTB has in regards to comments, but the policy or “rule” that Timothy states he is holding himself to.

As such, I hold Timothy to his stated rule on comments, it’s his rule, I did not make it up out of whole cloth as you infer. Ban me or block me if you wish, but I would have never mentioned the lie about not commenting if Timothy hadn’t said it was his rule. I do apologize for calling it a “policy” when in fact it’s actually a “rule”. Maybe someone else can explain the difference, as I don’t see one.


July 16th, 2013

Also, Jim, please note that in the past, when asked to apologize, I did in fact apologize because I felt that I was indeed wrong, and as such a public apology was required. But I think this is not one of those times. While I enjoy reading this site, I will not apologize when I do not feel I have done anything wrong. And what good is it to state that you have a rule when in fact you don’t hold yourself to that rule. If one doesn’t then it really isn’t a rule then, is it? It was an excuse because he got caught posting a comment and then deleting it, a luxury no one else on this site has but you guys.

Jim Burroway

July 16th, 2013


Climb down and catch your breath, and stop being so damn legalistic. He mentioned a “rule.” Think of it as short for “rule of thumb.

And we don’t ban people for being jerks. But you still owe him an apology.

Jesus! “Lighten up, Francis.”

Jimmy Green

July 16th, 2013

I side with Rob on this one. Timothy can be very antagonistic and self-righteous to liberal commenters, especially Rob and Priya. It is one of the reasons I rarely comment on this blog although I have been reading it for years now.

It especially galls me when he defends anti-gay people or policies and then screams “liberal oppression” like Rush Limbaugh when people rightfully object in the comments.

He also straddles the line sometimes on ex-gay issues, especially when they involve evangelical christians. For a while I just thought he was a gay christian from an evangelical background who was just reflexively protective of his faith. However, now I am convinced it is just another manifestation of what I consider, at best, a naive libertarian conception of free will – the idea that unrestrained liberty is the highest value and trumps other competing values like equality or justice. In the ex-gay context, this is reflected in the bogus argument that ultimately being gay is a choice since we have some magical right to “self-determination” regardless of what nature determines or it reduces sexuality to pure behavior (so celibacy is considered or minimal sexual contact with the opposite sex determines sexuality regardless of desire). Strangely, even some muddle headed liberals and libertarians subscribe to a similar principle where they make a distinction between sexual orientation and sexual “identity” – i.e., you can have be sexually attracted exclusively to the same sex but still “identify” as straight. This concept of flexible identities as pure social constructions untethered to natural instincts (both gender and sexuality) is still popular in the humanities and some parts of the softer sciences (sociology mainly). It is also the theory behind Warren Throckmorton and Mark Yarhouse pseudo ex-gay Sexual Identity framework. Hell, even some pro-gay psychologists like Lee Beckstead in Utah is supportive of this non-sense. The idea that “religious identity” is equivalent to sexual orientation or “sexual identity” is just repackaged ex-gay pseudoscience. I worry sometimes that Timothy’s libertarianism clouds his judgment when it comes to people like Throckmorton and how psychology should handle conflicts between religion and sexuality.

I long ago gave up arguing with either evangelicals or libertarians since it always ends up back at first principles – non-aggression for libertarians and biblical literalism for evangelicals.
Both worldviews are in my opinion empirically falsifiable and thus do not provide a sound basis for public policy and certainly have no place in science.

Both Theism and Libertarianism also subscribe to what philosophers call “libertarian” or contra-causal free will, which modern philosophy rejected after the Enlightenment as basically religious wishful thinking. Most philosophers are either compatibilists or pure determinists as they rightly recognize that such things as human nature, genetics, physics, etc. constrain what individual humans can control or determine.

On a more positive note, I will say I was very impressed with his critique of Ritch Savin-Williams (and to a lesser extent Lisa Diamond) as he picked up on what I consider a dangerous trend in some pro-gay researchers who are ideologically opposed to any research that privileges nature over nurture. Sociology is the last of the social sciences that has a strong component of anti-positivism, anti-empiricism and other unscientific norms, such as some social learning theories that were falsified years ago by modern genetics. Thankfully, there has been a backlash in the last decade in sociology with the resurgence of quantitative statistics and the integration of biological and evolutionary theories. There is a place for qualitative studies but scholars like Savin-Williams and Diamond have a bad habit of drawing bold conclusions from frankly poor datasets. For Ritch-Savins and to a certain extent Diamond, it comes down to his utopian dream of a post-gay world where fixed sexual identities will eventually dissolve into some sort of magical sexual fluidity. It is just a rehash of the old freudian universal bisexuality or “Polymorphous perversity” that has no place in modern science.

It is strange how sometimes the extreme left and extreme right can come together to reject evolutionary science when it conflicts with ideology. I am an old school lefty who cheered when Alan Sokal debunked post-modernism in the 1990s. I have absolutely zero tolerance for Queer Theory, think Foucault was a over-rated obscurantist, and am embarrassed at the shoddy historical work done by first wave of social constructionist historians – Jonathan Ned Katz, Jeffrey Weeks, David halperin, and even George Chauncey.

What is ironic is that Timothy fails to see that his above critique of Saville-Williams undermines, correctly in my view, his allegiance to libertarian free will. Maybe there is hope for him yet…

Long story short – I just ignore his more overtly political posts.



July 16th, 2013

That´s when the comments are better than the original post! Reading all of them.


July 17th, 2013

Jim, thanks for the clarification, and for jumping in. My initial posting about the “self-comment policy” debate – which I shortened (because I can very longwinded) started with “maybe we’re starting on a new leaf” – and it sounds as though making limited engagement in the comments thread a part of the personal rule of the editorial staff is precisely that. I wish I’d left that in precisely to leave open that possibility.

Lately I’ve been tasked with establishing a series of actual Policies here at my job – so I’m very sensitive to distinctions between policies, guidelines, rules, procedures, and work instructions. “Policy” is something of a magic word, obviously. It should be invoked prudently by whomever chooses to do so. In this thread, Tim mentions no “policy”, so forgive me for taking sides on that particular point. Instead he pointed out that he tries (and given the provocations did remarkably well) to eschew thread engagement. It’s not easy having the bulk of your readership greet your post with pitchforks and torches and yet holding your tongue.

One last question, and this is for the editorial board generally: what is the position of the board on redactions? Specifically, the redaction of a comment on the editorial thread by an editor using tools available to him that are not available to us. We all occasionally wish we could withdraw comments; it feels unfair to allow the editors – who already control so much – to be able to pretty up their content while not affording the peanut gallery the same. This site has always awed me by it’s willingness to retain printed statements in cross-through rather than pull content down to demonstrate integrity as to what was originally posted… it’s something I find courageous and a sign of great integrity. It was in that spirit that I found the comment by Timothy and subsequent removal of that comment (before anyone could see it?) very disappointing.

David C.

July 17th, 2013

@Jim Burroway

Might I suggest that in the future, when there is a strong showing in the comments, where many valid points are raised about an author’s position on some issue, that a follow-up article be penned addressing the salient points found in the commentaries.

Returning to the point here, the remarks above are almost overwhelmingly against allowing any kind of discrimination in the interest of getting along with our past and present adversaries. Most of the arguments offered are compelling and it would seem, at least to me, that it might be helpful to address some of them directly in another essay by the same author.


July 17th, 2013

By the way – knowing that the Editors will basically not (or will rarely) comment on threads they have authored will change the dynamic somewhat – it effectively closes the communication with the Editor and opens it up to the floor, but only the floor, for us to discuss amongst ourselves. I’m very curious to see how that plays out from a conversational dynamics point of view… when everyone agrees, for example, will we still have the same degree of robust discussion? (And, on the other hand, might we also avoid useless flame wars?). Let’s see where this takes us, I’m truly curious.

Oh, and Jimmy Green… that’s a heck of a 12″… diploma you’ve got going on there. Couldn’t follow the name- (or theory- dropping), my background is in “hard science”, but it’s nice to see academics brought into play here.


July 17th, 2013

“No, it’s not. It’s just a rehash of all the sloppy arguments for one segment of the populace — ‘Christians’ — to hold itself above the law.”—Please don’t label that segment “Christians” without some adjective thrown in there separating the subset of Christianity which wants such special privilege from the rest of us. It’s not even true of all the anti-gay ones.

“And what good is it to state that you have a rule when in fact you don’t hold yourself to that rule. If one doesn’t then it really isn’t a rule then, is it? It was an excuse because he got caught posting a comment and then deleting it, a luxury no one else on this site has but you guys.”—Why do you pretend that people may not, at their own discretion, choose to make exceptions to rules or policies or whatever similar word you like that are their own personal, internal ones? Why, in your view, must a rule be hard-and-fast, absolute, in order to exist? For example, on Facebook, as a rule (so to speak) I do not Like or Share items which include a request, demand, or guilt trip about being Liked or Shared. I object to such posts on principle… yet there have been occasions where I either couldn’t resist or where I didn’t notice that part. What neutral term would you call such a thing? And is it really rational to call someone a liar merely for using a word slightly more loosely than you would do yourself, in a situation such as this where the intent is clear?


July 17th, 2013


Hence the sarcasm quotes around “Christians,” which is something I do consistently when referring to that particular subset.


July 17th, 2013

First, nearly all the gay-hater businesspeople have no religious doctrine that supports their bigotry. Where is it written that baking a cake for someone could result in your not going to heaven? Why should MY access to services be limited by the capriciousness of someone who is unlikely to have read his own holy books (and certainly not in their original languages)?

Second, there’s a Big City slant to defending the gay-haters; “go somewhere else if they won’t serve you”. The booking you made as “Pat and Pat Smith” may be at the only B&B in your chosen rural retreat. A music festival may have booked up all hotel rooms, etc. There are real consequences to discrimination.

For the defenders of discrimination, here’s real life that didn’t make it into the “42” movie:
““We were bruised when we arrived in Montreal,” Mrs. Robinson remembers. “We had been mistreated and subjected to everything that racism can do to a couple.”
Hence the newlywed’s trepidation as she approached the door on de Gaspé to rent an apartment. She warily walked up the five steps edged by the same wrought-iron bannister that exists today. “One of the most difficult things in the forties for black people was to rent anything, anywhere,” Mrs. Robinson recalled.
A French-speaking woman opened the door. Then she offered her the apartment and invited her in for tea. “Instead of slamming the door in my face she said ‘Welcome,’ in English. I was totally shocked.”” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/jackie-robinsons-wife-remembers-a-welcoming-montreal/article11602715/

Finally, I’m a fan of Comments sections where the participants are civil and respectful. 15 commenters shine a light on an issue from a slightly different angle than the original author. The author(s) should not be excluded from the exchange of views by Royal Decree.

BTW, I don’t like the term “gay-haters” but use it in reaction to those who don’t like “homophobes”. Alternative suggestions welcome.


July 17th, 2013

There is nothing in any constitution or law that says I have to be a nice person treating everyone with courtesy and consideration. So I will use my right to that freedom and deny goods and services to anyone named Kincaid.

I run the only insurance agency in town so you can’t get car insurance or insurance to protect your property from theft or damage.

Yes these are extremes but that bake shop, florist or photographer require and use public services paid for by taxes and gays pay taxes just like everyone else.

If you can’t run your business giving civility to everyone, shut the damn thing down and crawl back under the rocks with the rest of your cockroach relatives.


July 17th, 2013

I find it objectionable on a site supposedly dedicated to the pursuit of equal rights to have a post which describes a plea for gay people to content themselves with being discriminated against as “rational.” On the one hand, I am grateful for BoxTurtleBulletin for calling attention to the absurd editorial, but its own editorializing in favor of such nonsense is quite upsetting. I value the good reporting that BTB has done, especially on the abuse of children by reparative therapy, but the conservative–even reactionary–editorializing by Timothy Kincaid is disappointing, not just because I disagree with the political perspective, but because it undermines the entire premise of our movement.


July 17th, 2013

Jim, while I think you are the voice of reason around here, and I do appreciate that, I feel that your interaction with Rob here has distracted the thread from what I consider the real issue.

For a blog writer to come in and make comments that he subsequently deletes shows a lack of intellectual honesty.

Intellectual honesty is what first tuned me into this site years ago. My first comment here was to provide a link to back up someone’s claim after it was requested.

As Andrew said initially, you either have the courage of your convictions and stand by your comment, or you don’t. Or, in the spirit of fairness, you give readers a self-delete button too.

I came to this thread late and because I wasn’t there to see what Timothy wrote, I will never know what it said. But the subsequent argument has left me with a less-than-favorable opinion of what goes on at BTB.


July 17th, 2013

So if a baker should be allowed to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, should a doctor be allowed to refuse emergency medical service to a gay patient?

Either you are a business offering your services to the public or you are pursuing a hobby.

If you don’t want to invite me to your privet book club, that’s your right; if you refuse to sell books to me in your bookstore, that’s not.

The article Timothy highlights uses honeyed language to promote a truly offensive idea.

Ben in Oakland

July 17th, 2013

Hueman, I don’t like the word homophobe, for the simple reason that so many homophobes say “well, I’m not afraid of you. Nananana booboo , stick your head in doodoo.”

My usual comment is, “I prefer to use the term homobigot.”


July 17th, 2013

If you are holding your book club in a privet, you’re going to be very uncomfortable… http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/privet?s=t&path=/


July 17th, 2013

I prefer “anti-gay”. It describes the sentiment, not the motivation.

It’s a mistake to purport to get into someone’s head, because it gives them an opportunity to respond and re-shape the argument. For example, not all anti-gay people are “afraid” (homophobe) of gays.

“Bigot” is also a problem. For most people it’s got a specific definition with a “high bar” of behavior. All someone has to do is turn “opposition to” into “bigot” (e.g. pro-gay = “anti-Christian bigotry”), or alter their anti-gay rhetoric to carry the same substance with pretty words (“pro-marriage” instead of “anti-gay”), and they can bamboozle the public, and then we sound hypersensitive and lose the argument.

Take a lesson out of their playbook – reduce their argument to behavior, not identity. In this case it happens to be true – being anti-gay is a choice.

Jimmy Green

July 17th, 2013

Thanks Andrew…Another reason I rarely comment online is that I have a tendency to compose essays rather than more readable comments. I think majoring in both history and philosophy and then going to law school all reinforce this bad habit.

Congrats on being a scientist though – you guys have my total respect. I think the human race’s greatest accomplishments all flow from the Enlightenment and the scientific method. Science, although not perfect by any means, is our only real chance to survive and flourish on this planet. Superstition and magical thinking, either from the Right or the Left, is the enemy of reason and progress.

Also, I agree on the use of “anti-gay” – it avoids the psychobabble that underlies the theory of homophobia and as you said, reduces their argument to behavior and avoids the apple cart of competing identities.




July 17th, 2013

Sorry for the typo. Sigh. Where’s the “Edit Comment” button?


July 18th, 2013

Oh, Jimmy, I did that for 10 years and then I got a real job that actually pays my mortgage. Call me a sell-out, I totally and happily cop to it. How we don’t value our graduate students and academic research scientists in this country is a topic for another site and another day. But damn am I glad for the education, the rigorous training, learning to think – and write – critically (if rarely briefly) and the experience.


July 19th, 2013

Hunter: OK; I see now, and apologize. It’s a sore spot.

“I run the only insurance agency in town so you can’t get car insurance or insurance to protect your property from theft or damage.”—There’s always the lizard or the checkout lady. Things like bakeries, though, or worse, a wedding gown, really have to be taken care of locally.

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