As for the case for allowing fundamentalists to discriminate against anyone associated with what they regard as sin, I’m much more sympathetic. I favor maximal liberty in these cases. The idea that you should respond to a hurtful refusal to bake a wedding cake by suing the bakers is a real stretch to me.
Yes, they may simply be homophobic, rather than attached to a coherent religious worldview. But so what? There are plenty of non-homophobic bakers in Arizona. If we decide that our only response to discrimination is a lawsuit, we gays are ratcheting up a culture war we would do better to leave alone. We run the risk of becoming just as intolerant as the anti-gay bigots, if we seek to coerce people into tolerance. If we value our freedom as gay people in living our lives the way we wish, we should defend that same freedom to sincere religious believers and also, yes, to bigots and haters. You do not conquer intolerance with intolerance. As a gay Christian, I’m particularly horrified by the attempt to force anyone to do anything they really feel violates their conscience, sense of self, or even just comfort.
»MEB says: A compelling (though the excerpt was cherry-picked: Sullivan actually finds the alleged victimization of fundamentalists “a grotesque inversion of reality”) argument, except that his case for a compassionate modus vivendi was also present against the civil rights movement and Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Was the latter likewise unwise for not first winning the bigots’ hearts and minds? What ruling against discrimination hasn’t itself been found to discriminate against the discriminators?
Also, Sullivan, who once wrote a book called “The Conservative Soul,” would laugh if you called him liberal. He’s far more idiosyncratic than he is liberal.