BY JENNIE MCNULTY
The recent signing of The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, is causing quite a stir. I’m not a political expert but, as far as I can tell, the law’s alleged intent was to keep people from having to receive rainbow colored communion wafers. Nobody wants a rainbow colored body of Christ. They’re supposed to be white just like Jesus.
OK, actually, this is serious. Indiana’s new law allows people and public businesses to use the excuse that their religious beliefs have been “substantially burdened” by dealing with us heathen gays. So, they don’t have to. And, should they be sued, this law “restores their religious freedom.” Love the sinner, just don’t do business with them.
The governor, the lawmakers who drafted Indiana’s version of this bill and other Fox News-watching folk, all claim that this Act does not sanction discrimination. But, if Bubba, from Bubba’s Wedding Blossoms, doesn’t want to do the flowers at a gay wedding, he can use this new law to say no. And, technically, businesses can now put up a “No Gays Alowed” sign (I’m assuming they’d spell it wrong) to keep us out of their establishments. They’ll not have us substantially burdening their creed. Who knew we were so heavy?
In fact, one Indiana pizzeria, “Memories Pizza” has already said that, should gay couples want them to make pizzas for their homo nuptials, they would not. Because, it’s what Jesus wouldn’t do. Well, that is a blow. I guess poor Bruce and Michael will have to settle for caviar and champagne. A gay wedding without pizza? That’s like a think tank without a Kardashian in it.
The Federal Religious Freedom act (and those of most of the other states that also have this law), contains language that does not allow it being used to discriminate. Indiana’s does not. Indiana does have laws to protect against discrimination, but sexual orientation is not one of those classes protected.
So, how can this happen at a time when gay marriage is becoming legal all over the country and the LGBT community is seemingly making great strides toward equality?
It’s because of that really. This is a political tantrum. “Fine! Some of you are allowed to marry now then we’re gonna do this! We’ll show our constituents we’re the same bigoted folks they elected.”
Fortunately, many of our allies as well as huge corporations have stepped up and spoken out. Indiana is being ridiculed on the late night shows. The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook (who is gay), wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post, harshly criticizing the bill.
Marc Benioff the CEO of Salesforce (the largest tech employer in the state) cancelled all events planned in Indiana and told employees they would not be asked to travel there. The proposed $40 million expansion of the “Angie’s List” headquarters has been put on hold indefinitely. (And, hopefully, the governor’s office was given an “F” on their site.) My personal favorite response, although it may not pack the political punch of a tech company not bringing a $9 million convention to the state, came from Stephen King who tweeted: “Indiana’s Freedom Restoration Act is gay discrimination, pure and simple. You can frost a dog turd. But, it’s still a dog turd.”
Frosted feces aside, it’s great to see this support and the speed with which it came. But, it’s really a wake-up call for us. We need to remain diligent and aware in our path to equality. Those that hate us will use any tactic they can think of to keep us from getting the rights to which we are entitled. And, if they can throw God into it, that’s even better. It’s not hate if it’s done in the name of God.
So, should we get the federal right to marry this summer, remember: it’s not over ‘til the fat lady sings a Melissa Etheridge tune in a rainbow dress at a gay wedding in Indiana catered by Memories Pizza. Wait, check that. Let’s nix the pizza and go with the caviar and champagne. And, we’ll let Bruce and Michael plan it. I mean, seriously, who does weddings better than gays? Well, maybe Jesus. That “water into wine” trick makes him the ultimate wedding planner.