Strangely, an important detail was omitted from the recent news coverage of the shuttering of an upstate New York farm that would not rent its venue to a same-sex wedding.
The lesbians who lodged a human rights complaint tape-recorded the conversation in which they were politely told the venue doesn’t host same-sex weddings – although anyone is welcome to hold a reception there. (The taping, mentioned in an AP story last November, was easily accessible to reporters.)
Clearly, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin were looking for a fight. Who knows how many wedding site proprietors the lesbian couple audiotaped until finding one that declined?
Is the LGBT community so hell-bent on imposing its view of marriage that it’s comfortable with stings to punish any business that doesn’t embrace same-sex nuptials? (And don’t say it’s OK because of discrimination – the businesses in these cases virtually always serve LGBT customers; they just object to contributing to a ritual they oppose.)
This isn’t the only vigilante LGBT activism. Several gay and lesbian advocates have gone incognito, sometimes using hidden cameras, within churches and organizations to expose “anti-gay” methods and agendas. One gay reporter even disguised his identity to attend a confidential support group for men “struggling with chastity.” He recorded the statements of a traditionalist pastor acknowledging attraction to men, and revealed them in a 3,000-word exposé. Even if the pastor was hypocritical, surely all anonymous, confidential support groups deserve privacy.
Has the gay-rights debate really fallen so far into the gutter that the media yawns at such vigilantism? Because traditionally religious people like me could certainly employ similar methods to uncover LGBT practices that are embarrassing, unsavory, and even illegal. Examples:
1) Same-sex couples present their marriages as indistinguishable from heterosexual ones. Yet when asked (try it), most LGBT people won’t agree that sexual fidelity is an essential part of marriage – and vast numbers of male-male marriages incorporate consensual adultery. Very attractive, traditionally religious men could attend gay events, and flirt with married men until the “free Fridays” or “if I can participate” rules of their marriages are captured on tape. Those recordings can then be posted on the Web to discredit the pretense that gay and straight marriages are essentially equivalent.
2) If gays “out” traditionalist businesses and people they condemn, we could “out” closeted LGBT people in positions of influence in politics, business, Hollywood, and the media. Thus, one could reveal the sexual proclivities of a closeted judge who, let’s say, issued a landmark marriage decision while pretending to be objective. We can show the self-interest of a closeted CEO at an immense technology company for whom the gay agenda is the Apple of his eye – and who supported a six-figure company donation opposing a traditional-marriage initiative. And we can unmask the clear bias of a silver-haired TV host who, perhaps, spent more than 11 years putting a positive spin on gay news from the anonymity of the closet.
3) We could send young adults armed with hidden cameras to organizations for gay youth to document sexually explicit advice given to underage teens that would make most Americans blush.
4) Despite broad acceptance of gay sex, some men still violate public sex laws, especially in restrooms. One could participate in the ritual of tapping feet toward adjacent toilet stalls to arrange sexual liaisons – and then snap photos of those men, post them to the Internet, and contact local police.
Why aren’t such stings already occurring regularly? I think it’s because traditionally religious people just want to be left alone – and are happy to leave LGBT people alone. Few traditionalist organizations, churches, and journalists have pursued “low blows” to undermine the gay community’s respectability campaign, despite opponents who use any means necessary to implement their policy objectives.
None of these vigilante activities would be terribly difficult to pull off. In fact, I could arrange them myself and report the results in the Daily Caller. The PR value would be immense. But I would prefer a truce, in which gay marriage is decided in the public square and the legislative process, without attempts by either side to “punish” their adversaries. Clearly that’s not going to happen – so maybe we do need a little vigilantism ourselves.
A battle of mutual sensationalist stings and scandals will not end in victory for the gay community, whose “we’re just like you” campaign has convinced too many Americans that same-sex marriage does no harm. If the battle escalates, that illusion wouldn’t be too hard to crack. Yes, a few traditionally religious florists might be exposed for being steadfast in their beliefs, but many more gays and lesbians would be, simply, exposed.
David Benkof is a freelance writer living in St. Louis, and a frequent contributor to the Daily Caller. Follow him on Facebook, or E-mail him at DavidBenkof@gmail.com.