And you won’t do what, exactly?

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2015

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Lately I’ve been hearing a lot from the anti-gay activist world about how they are revolting, rebelling, standing up, and refusing to comply with the anticipated determination of the US Supreme Court that states must give their gay citizens the same rights as heterosexuals. And today the usual carnival of loons ran a full page ad in the Washington Post pleading with SCOTUS to not force them to choose between the state and the Laws of God.

Most of the expected names are there: Phil Burress, Elaine Donnelly, the Wildmons, the Benham brothers, Franklin Graham, Mat Staver, Alan Keyes, Harry Jackson, Jim Garlow. (It was amusing, however, to note that some names like Linda Harvey and Matt Barber didn’t make the cut.)

Together they warn the Court that “we will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.” They “pledge obedience to our Creator” and affirm their definition of marriage.

They whine and wail and throw words about, but they fail to do one thing: tell anyone exactly what it is that they won’t do.

Will they refuse to recognize the validity of our marriages?

That’s fine with me. They can refuse to recognize Ronald Reagan’s marriage to Nancy because he was divorced. Or refuse to recognize Maggie Gallagher’s marriage to Raman Srivastav because they are ‘unequally joined together’ due to different faiths. Perhaps they can even find former Texas Senator Phil Graham’s marriage invalid because his wife is of a different race.

I really don’t care what marriages they believe to be illegitimate. And no one’s standing in their way; they can believe whatever they like.

Will they refuse to officiate at my wedding?

Okie-dokie. The First Amendment protects their right to conduct their sacraments as they choose, and nothing SCOTUS says this month will impact that in the slightest.

Or will they refuse to bake me a cake?

While some here may disagree, I don’t really care if Elaine Donnelly stands in her doorway screaming, “No cake for you!!” I prefer my cakes baked with love and sweetness, not anger and bitterness. Besides, in most of the states that this collection of harpies come from there are no non-discrimination provisions that protect LGBT people. They can refuse cake, flowers, pizza, or any other trappings that they wish and the only thing hurt is their bottom line.

I’ve got to say that I’m used to vague empty rhetoric is the political sphere; but this word salad lacks all meaning whatsoever. Someone please tell me how they are being forced to “choose”? And they are going to refuse to do what, exactly?


June 11th, 2015

Timothy, it isn’t what the particular signatories will do, but what they expect their followers to do to “defend” marriage. Most signatories are not in any sort of position for their opinion of anyone’s marriage to have legal ramifications. But, they may have followers who will refuse to bake cakes, take pictures, or serve pizza (at least in states where such actions would actually be illegal; of course, such actions would technically have been illegal prior to marriage equality reaching that state, as demonstrated by most cases). They may have followers who are required by the state to operate in some official capacity in registering a same-sex marriage (although, as NC recently demonstrated, even this isn’t guaranteed by SCOTUS’s impending ruling). So, it isn’t the signatories who are putting their lives and livelihoods on the line to “defend” marriage in the trenches of day-to-day life, but their faithful followers, the nameless, faceless masses of faithful, who will risk unemployment and social ostracization in the name of the institution of marriage. And the signatories will be damn grateful to any and all willing to sacrifice their own personal comfort simply to keep gay marriages from being recognized by the WHOLE nation (and keeping the signatories employed, in the process).

For some reason I keep being reminded of Middle Age, European kings and queens, telling their dirt-poor citizens to be grateful they don’t have to bear the burden of the crown. How noble.

Ben in Oakland

June 11th, 2015

One has to applaud the persistence of as certain class of so called Christian in believing that whenever the bible says something inconvenient, it must mean something else entirely.

“…this week’s open letter to the Supreme Court asking the justices “not to force us to choose between the state and the Laws of God.”

As usual, you can count on the Baptists of the homo-hating types never to read their bibles, or at least make an attempt to understand them. Oh wait!!! This is about homohatred. One need not be consistent on that subject.

Romans 13:1-2: “All of you must obey the government rulers. Everyone who rules was given the power to rule by God. And all those who rule now were given that power by God. 2 So anyone who is against the government is really against something God has commanded. Those who are against the government bring punishment on themselves.”

The very same letter to the romans that allegedly condemns gay people! Imagine that!!!

Who said: “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s? And render unto god that which is god’s.”

No one important to a certain class of so-called bible-believing so-called Christians.


June 11th, 2015

I’d agree with Nathaniel.

I’d add that pastors, “moral leaders,” spiritual authorities who concoct this nonsense and publish it do—in fact—grant followers tacit permission to carry it out.

Refusal to bake a cake is not the same thing as the murder of Matthew Shepard, but they rise from the same source: permission to hate, granted by authority.

The appalling acceptance of that refusal opens the door to the next (and greater) refusal, and the next, and the next—each of them “permitted” and each of them “accepted” by their target.

“The only thing hurt is their bottom line”? Give me a break.

Mark F.

June 11th, 2015

Give ME a break, please. I honestly don’t care if some Bible thumper refuses me service. I know that’s hard for you to understand, but I don’t want to compel someone to serve me. I don’t want these imbeciles to get my money. Period.


June 11th, 2015

I’m far more concerned about the hospital staff that might refuse access to the same-sex spouse of a patient, or the teacher who will publicly shame the child of a same-sex couple rather than wedding vendors who refuse to be decent human beings.


June 11th, 2015


As if discrimination is kept in neat little compartments. One thing never leads to the next. The sense of permission never expands.

Give me a break.

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2015


You have my official permission to hate anyone you like.

Priya Lynn

June 11th, 2015

I think Nathaniel greatly overstates his case. Extremely few anti-marriage bigots are in a position to refuse to back a cake, provide flowers, etc. For virtually every American citizen they are in the same position as the signatories to this letter, there is nothing they can do to “refuse to recognize” any same sex marriages.


June 11th, 2015

Priya, you are absolutely correct (although Soren456 raises a more interesting, and more frightening, possibility). But for me, the more important point is that while the signatories (and most of their followers, as you correctly indicate) have nothing to lose by making this “threat,” they do have followers (however few) who could actually suffer consequences. So, our brazen signatories prove to be cowards hiding behind those who do have something to lose. They have bamboozled the gullible into thinking their bigotry is courage, and their law-/oath-breaking activities are noble and holy. How many are hurt, who they are, and how badly is ultimately immaterial, so long as the signatories themselves get to claim a victory for their cause.

Ben in Oakland

June 11th, 2015

Well, nathaniel, if their followers “get hurt”– whatever that means, I’ll try not to lose any less sleep over it than I’m not already going to. I don’t wish them harm, but I don’t wish them well. If our culture goes the way it appears to be going, then they are simply people who are too stupid to think for themselves, or too looking-for-trouble to avoid it.


June 11th, 2015


I so often wonder “what would Timothy do?” when I’m faced with a situation in which I can cause pain if I want to. If it mattered, I would be a relieved to have my hesitations now ended.

And here’s some relief for you: you are nowhere near an authority figure of any sort to me, so you need never worry about dispensing permissions to me, or wonder if they arrived in time.

Unfortunately, if you also believe that the dynamic of tacit and perceived permission to carry out acts of hatred and bigotry is some sort of joke (as apparently you do), you are bankrupt.

Sir Andrew

June 11th, 2015

Well, those anti-gay activists ARE revolting, so no argument there.


June 12th, 2015

I never understand why everyone wants to conflate same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws. They’re very separate issues. It’s not as if you’ve ever needed a civil marriage license to buy a wedding cake. They could refuse to bake you a cake either way SCOTUS rules.


June 12th, 2015

Wow. Elaine Donnelly is still trying to prove she’s relevant. I thought she was only interested in keeping gays out of the military. This woman and her defeated/defunct cause mean absolutely NOTHING to me.


June 12th, 2015

Of course the signatories to this “declaration” are not in a position to do anything about marriage one way or the other. As many have noted, the purpose is to incite their followers to do anything they can to be obnoxious to same-sex couples.

What I’m seeing, however, is the subtext in this and the other anti-marriage efforts, now that nationwide recognition seems to be in the offing*: it’s part of the concerted effort to place a certain brand of “Christians” above the law, allowing them to decide for themselves which laws they will follow, all under the guise of “religious freedom.” That’s going to backfire, I think, and badly, but it’s going to take time.

* I saw a poll yesterday indicating that 65% of Americans expect the Court to rule in favor of same-sex marriage. I can’t quite shake the feeling that the justices (or at lest, the conservative wing) are sitting down saying, “OK, how can we stick it to them?” After all, this is the court that gave us Citizens United (“Corporations are people”), Hobby Lobby (A business owner’s religious biases take precedence over his employees’ rights), and is doing its best to gut the Voting Rights Act.


June 13th, 2015

Hunter, I can’t help but comment on that poll result. For weeks now the media have been claiming that SCOTUS would invalidate all marriage bans. Then they act surprised when their audience believes them. And worse, they treat it as evidence for the inevitable outcome. Then they scratch their heads over why John Stewart is the most trusted name in news reporting.

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