It’s February break, and this year my family is lucky enough to escape the cold and the snow for the warmth of the south. This morning, we got up earlier than usual and had a happy morning together anticipating our exiting trip. The dark winter months have taken their toll on our daily interactions, and we were eager to spend some quality time together as a family.
We got to the airport about two hours early, and after speeding through security, we were sauntering toward the nearest Starbucks kiosk. As we passed under a series of those ceiling mounted televisions all tuned to CNN, we heard snippets of the topic du jour:
“What these people have to understand is that we are not required to celebrate their gayness.”
It was one of those debate segments where an agitated white man pontificates about whether members in the wedding industry can legally deny services to gay couples.
“I mean, it’s like this couple saying to a baker you need to make me a divorce cake and if you don’t I’ll sue you. A baker should be able to say, ‘I will not help you celebrate your divorce because that is not a cause I believe in or one that I believe should be celebrated.’ It’s just absurd.”
Of course this isn’t the rhetoric I was hoping my children would be subjected to moments before we head to sunnier pastures. I simply wanted a chai latte and maybe a pastry or two. And here we had to listen to some conservative hide his discrimination behind a guise of civil liberties.
The problem with this age-old argument is that we aren’t talking about a baker who makes a living providing divorce cakes to recently liberated married folk. If a baker is in the business of making wedding cakes, he can’t deny equal services to different customers. If he made a divorce cake for one couple and then refused the same service for another couple who was part of a marginalized group, perhaps we’d be looking at some legitimate civil rights lawsuits. And so the same should be the case with the baker who consistently makes beautiful cakes celebrating two heterosexuals tying the knot who refuses to provide equivalent services to a gay couple.
I’m sure if I had continued listening to this yahoo on CNN continue his logical fallacies, I would have heard the suggestion that if we require bakers to make gay cakes the next step is that they’ll be required to make a cake for someone who wants to marry her dog. This is one of my favorite anti-gay marriage arguments. If we let two consenting same sex adults make a lifelong commitment to one another, the next thing that will happen is that people will start marrying their dogs.
This is clearly absurd. Dogs cannot consent to marriage, and the last time I checked they don’t share the same Constitutional rights as American humans. I know the assumption comes from the idea that two men or two women marrying one another is just so insane to some people that bestial marriage isn’t that far removed. To these people though, I say turn on a television or read a book. There are so many clearly boring representations of gay marriage these days that the practice may even appear normal to some of these doomsday decriers. Of course those can be written off as mere fiction. So I’d invite these people to come visit my family for a day to see how mundane life in the suburbs as a gay family can be. We are not having rampant sex with our animals, we aren’t out trolling the schoolyards for new recruits, and we aren’t hitting on the husbands in our neighborhood. Our lives are fairly normal, driving to soccer practice, dance recitals, and homework clubs; struggling to sustain a conversation with one another when we’re lucky enough to have a meal without the children present; and enjoying this wonderful and insane life of married bliss and family frenzy that even twenty years ago seemed like an elusive dream. Granted that our quest for normalcy is a lot more difficult thanks to people like the champion of zealot bakers everywhere, but we do our best and on the surface life is as vanilla as it can get.
We have just as much in our life to celebrate as the Joneses next door, and what right does a baker have to say that they don’t believe in us? We exist, and you’re going to have make us a pretty fabulous goddamn cake, okay?