A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Category: Gay Rights

Live From the Frontiers of Knowing What’s in the Bill You’re Sponsoring

by evanmcmurry

Ohio’s version of Arizona’s religious liberty anti-gay bill is now being held up by—wait for it—some of the lawmakers who sponsored it. In this case, rather than fearing that the bill will hurt business or make the state look bad, the Ohio lawmakers (one of whom is a Democrat) seem to have been genuinely unaware of discriminatory aspects of their own law (portions of which were copied word for word from the AZ version).

It’s becoming clear that this “religious liberty” issue is really two issues: a) an explicitly anti-LGBT legislative issue, and b) a state legislator competency issue.

Toward A Unified Field Theory on Public Homophobia

by evanmcmurry

Two prominent figures stepped in a bad pile of homophobia  this week. Howard Kurtz lambasted Jason Collins for hiding an ex-engagement about which the basketball player actually wrote quite candidly; and noted horrible person Niall Ferguson advanced the, um, idea that Keynes’s homosexuality explained his economic theories.

Kurtz’s post wasn’t homophobic, but it partook in the minority response that sneered at the brouhaha of an athlete coming out; from calling it a distraction to pointing out that it was no storming of Normandy, the more homophobic sides of our discourse sought to belittle Collins’s confession so as to marginalize it, and Kurtz’s dismissive post was very much in this key. Ferguson’s strange little tirade more openly availed itself of anti-gay sentiment, but equally to marginalize the ideas of its subject.

What unites both events above and beyond their homophobia is their complete wrongness. It’s strange for something to be objectively, unequivocally wrong these days. We’re so used to two (at least) irreconcilable versions of reality that are less dialectic than repulsive to each other, that it’s kind of shocking to encounter a reality unified by a single judgment. Kurtz was wrong, blatantly, inarguably, wrong. Ferguson was wrong, blatantly, inarguably wrong*. There are no other sides to either story, which is why one man was fired and the second is in full, ass-saving retreat.

But more interesting, in both cases, the homophobia seems to be stepping in for some gap in the men’s logic. Contrast their statements with Chris Broussard’s. Broussard advanced a straight-up anti-gay syllogism: gays are walking in sin, sin no bueno, ergo gays bad. This is logic that concerns only homosexuality; any references to any other issue, like religion, are in service of the initial argument. It’s also a more traditional brand of homophobia, one steeped in ye olde heteronormative* values. As one commenter put it, the whole thing sounded very 1994.

But neither Kurtz’s nor Ferguson’s arguments directly concerned homosexuality. Kurtz seemed miffed over our culture’s aggrandizement of gay figures, almost as if they got a moral pass by participating in the identity du jour; his argument was more with liberalism than homosexuality. Furgeson, meanwhile, was railing against Keynesian economics. Neither could make his case based on evidence or reason, so reference to homosexuality was stitched over the bare spots like a patch. Whereas Broussard’s logic was wrong only in reference to its argument about homosexuality, Kurtz and Ferguson were doubly wrong, both in their original arguments and in their recourse to homophobia to make it. This suggests a sort of symbiosis between homophobia and illogic; the two are feeding off each other in a more complicated way than they did back when the majority of society thought gay marriage should be illegal.

This is important, not in the least as it concerns how we respond. Conservative commentators have rallied around Kurtz, claiming he’s been railroaded for picking on the left’s new sacred cow. This is nonsense; Kurtz’s error was indefensible, which is why you didn’t see a single reputable journalist or publication second-guessing his firing. Meanwhile, I’m sure the darker corners of the internet are already ginning up some narrative of Ferguson being bullied by the PC police, even as Ferguson himself has issued an unqualified and detailed apology. In both cases, the defense of the men has and will focus on the aspects of their logic that concerns homosexuality, and not their initial, flawed arguments. In short, even in the defense of the men, reference to homosexuality, this time in its supposed elevated moral status in liberal culture, will be used to mask their original illogic. Recognizing the connection between bad argumentation and use of homophobia is essential to combatting the attempts to make homophobes into victims.

Fortunately, the presence of homophobia in crack-brained ideas suggests its increasing marginalization. In the same way that once-common anti-semitic ideas now appear only in fringe theories (“The Jews are engineering gun control”), homophobia, at least as part of a public discourse, is inching its way out of the mainstream. The further it gets, the more it will be a recourse for illogical or incoherent ideas; the more it comes to be the vehicle for those ideas, the more reality will be unified in dismissing both the ideas and homophobia, as we saw twice this week. This is a good thing.

* See Blake’s post for details.

** Oy.

Howard Kurtz Is Having A Worse Day Than You

by evanmcmurry

Welp, that was quick. The only question now is whether anyone will try to gin this up into Liberal Media Blacklists Those Who Stray From Narrative when it’s clear Kurtz was fired for blatant unprofessionalism, or whatever you call “writing a hit piece without reading the article you’re criticizing.”

Note the irony inherent in the title of Kurtz’ TV gig, “Reliable Sources.”

Republicans Eat The Lunches They Deserve

by evanmcmurry

In Dana Milbank’s piece detailing the inability of tea party congressmen to do anything to renovate their image, we find this nugget, literally:

House conservatives met Wednesday for the latest installment of their “Conversations with Conservatives” luncheon series, but they took their places on the dais without sampling the Chick-fil-A sandwiches and nuggets on offer.

Good Lord, still with the Chick-Fil-A! Guys, I hereby absolve you of holding up your end in this particular cultural tug-o-war. You have my permission to eat better, non-fried lunches, and nobody will accuse you of supporting sodomy. Jesus Christ.

The Worst Point About Gay Marriage You’ll Read (Today)

by evanmcmurry

Everybody and everyone is taking batting practice at Megan McArdle’s attempt to spin gay marriage into a bourgeois victory that’s somehow the nanny state in action, or something. (“The sexual revolution is over. And the revolutionaries lost.” Dang.) Amazingly, there’s a still a pitch left to hit, so I’ll swing:

The 1970s were an open revolt against the idea of the dutiful pair bond, in favor of a life of perpetual infatuation. The elites led the way–and now they’re leading it back. Compare Newt Gingrich or John McCain to the new generation of Republican hopefuls. Jindal, Ryan, Christie, Rubio . . . all of them are married to their first wives. Jindal met his wife in high school, Christie in college. By their age, McCain was preparing for his first divorce, and Gingrich was just a few years from his second.

As Gin and Tacos points out, give those four shining specimens of elite masculinity a few more years and we’ll see who’s still married to whom. But more to the point—I thought gay marriage was supposed to be ruining the institution of marriage. Now it’s stronger than ever? Was the whole moral panic over the traditional definition of marriage really because Newt Gingrich couldn’t stop throwing it into women who weren’t his wife(ves)?

Update: Prop 8 Oral Arguments

by evanmcmurry

Here’s SCOTUSBlog’s update as of a few minutes ago. Remember, at this time in the ACA oral arguments, Obamacare was doomed.

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 11.27.09 AM

Is Paul Clement Secretly A Dumb-Dumb?

by evanmcmurry

We’re all having a great time (and rightfully so!) over the new DOMA briefs from the anti-gay marriage groups arguing…something pertaining to marriage, unintended procreation, and the state’s interest in enforcing shotgun marriages (see Gin and Tacos and Wonkette for funnies).

But lost in all this: it’s Paul Clement making these arguments.* Clement is one of the most renowned constitutional litigators out there!

Or at least he’s supposed to be. Clement had a moment last spring when he seemed to knock both the Obamacare and SB 1070 arguments out of the park for the conservatives. Especially after Donald Verrilli whiffed both oral arguments (I still want to bring Verrilli a glass of water), Clement arose as the superior rhetorician, single-handedly plucking Obamacare from constitutional inevitability and Arizona’s immigration law from certain defeat, mounting a successful last stand against Obama’s overreach not via vitriol but calm, cool logic. He was crowned King Orator before the decisions were even handed down.

But then those decisions were handed down, and the rest is history. The world was so consumed by the drama of the Court’s rulings—Roberts is a librul! Obama bullied SCOTUS!—nobody bothered to revise the judgment of Clement’s abilities; he snuck out the back with his provisional crown still on.

That Clement is slinging some embarrassing slop in the DOMA case is probably just a sign that no good arguments against gay marriage remain. (As djw points out, one of the unintended benefits of deciding these matters in the court is making bigots actually construct logical arguments to support their prejudices, with the predictably absurd consequences you see before you.) But at some point, we need to start wondering whether Clement actually is the inestimable constitutional warrior we’ve made him out to be.

* And we’re paying him to do it!

Chuck Hagel’s Anti-Gay Past Says Good Things About Our Progress On Gay Rights

by evanmcmurry

Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense is drawing a lot of criticism from the gay community and progressives in general, due to Hagel’s anti-gay record in the Senate and his characterization of James Hormel as “aggressively gay,” a charge “as homophobic as it was bizarre,” in one critic’s words. I get this, and I get why gay-rights groups that just pounded pavement to get Obama reëlected would feel outrageously betrayed.

But! Hagel’s comments are 14 years old. If it seems cold to say that fourteen years absolves bigotry, consider the fourteen years gay rights have had. Here’s the trajectory of public approval over gay marriage—which, while not a perfect proxy for public sentiment over homosexuality, is a pretty damn good one—in the time since Hagel’s remarks:

Support for same-sex marriage doubled in the last fourteen years, a remarkable transformation in an even more remarkably short period of time. The same shift happened over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, with the biggest change coming from men exactly like Hagel: only 16% of conservatives supported gays serving in the military in 1993; by 2008, that number was 59%.

This is not to say that there is some sort of statute of limitations on homophobia. It’s merely to say that the world with relation to gay rights was a very different place fourteen years ago, one in which Hagel’s remarks would have been the norm. It’s fantastic that that’s changed, but it means one out of every two people with whom you’ve had a gung-ho conversation in the past year about legalizing gay marriage was, quite recently, closer to Chuck Hagel’s view than they were to yours. Meanwhile, three out of every four conservatives who just a decade-and-a-half ago objected to gays in the military have rightfully changed their minds, but changed them sometime after the first Spiderman came out. Penalizing past bigotry in the context of such rapid cultural change seems counterproductive.

Hagel shouldn’t get a pass on this. As Secretary of Defense, he’s obligated to uphold the law, which is no longer Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and we have every right to know if he will admit gay service members enthusiastically or reluctantly, along with a host of other issues. But I see his role proceeding more along the lines proposed by Richard Socarides in the New Yorker: the specter of a Republican war veteran leading military integration might actually increase acceptance of gay rights—provided, of course, Hagel’s one of the conservatives who has actually changed.

(If you have other reasons to dislike Hagel, and it sounds like they exist, by all means filet the guy.)

That Chick-Fil-A Defender From The Atlantic Was Just Outed

by evanmcmurry

Well fuck me running. I spilled 2,300 words on Jonathan Merritt’s absurd defense of Chick-Fil-A yesterday, only to pop open my computer machine this morning and read this:

Jonathan Merritt, the son of famous evangelist James Merritt, has become a prominent evangelical blogger, writing for, among others, USA Today and The Atlantic (where he most recently wrote about his support of Chick-fil-A). Turns out he’s, as Queerty puts it, also “a deeply conflicted gay man” who just got busted for canoodling with gay blogger Azariah Southworth.

Well, that explains the oddly bad logic of Merritt’s defense of Chick-Fil-A; seems like Merritt might have been using an argument about the efficacy of boycotting an anti-gay organization to paper over something else. (Why the Atlantic published it is a different story.)

You know what would make this better? If he talked in that awful new-agey evangespeak that manages to blame the other party for his behavior while remaining sanctimonious about the nature of the sin. Hit it:

Joe.My.God’s Joe Jervis posted a rundown of the relationship between Merritt and Southworth that occurred in 2009. Merritt says he and Southworth began emailing and sexting each other after Merritt wrote an article saying “that Christians must love people who experience sexual brokenness.”

There it is. Gays, J-Mer would like to have a text you with about your sexual brokenness, for your own good of course. Please be as explicit as possible.

Merritt says he saw a Christian counselor to sort through his childhood and “what I believed God wanted for me. I also began to acknowledge to myself that I have sin in my past, sin for which I accept responsibility. Inappropriate texting, inappropriate actions are inappropriate no matter who the other party is. These were my decisions and no one else’s. It’s from my brokenness, that I feel I can now be transparent, honest, and authentic about these accusations. Those close to me know I have actually been planning to share the story of my brokenness for some time. Because it is part of my spiritual journey. And because it underscores the power of the Gospel to transform lives.”

The only piece missing from this is the CFA connection. I’m not one to psychoanalyze from a distance [a-HEM], but I’ll throw down A Flea In The Fur Of The Beast‘s annual budget that Mr. Merritt’s first experience of sexual brokenness happened at a Chick-Fil-A, and his continued patronization and defense of the organization is a way of both returning to the thrill of the original act and flagellating himself for his transgression. The “legendary” sandwiches were just cathectic.

To pile on the sadness, Donald Perry, vice president of public relations at Chick-Fil-A, died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday. All in all, Dan Cathy really seems to have opened a portal of awfulness around his company this week. If Mr. Cathy had a time machine, do you think he would go back and respectfully decline to answer the Baptist Press‘ question about same-sex marriage?

ADDENDUM: Merritt has tried to soften the church’s stance on homosexuality as well, accusing evangelicals of using “clobber scriptures” to unnecessarily condemn homosexuality, for which he took some heat from his own side. So good on him for that.

Also, from blogger Joe.My.God:

This morning JMG reader Dwight tipped us that Merritt will be making a “special announcement” at the Georgia church where his father, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is head pastor and where the younger Merritt had been scheduled to continue a four-week series of sermons.

Update! A Special Message This Sunday, July 29
Join us this Sunday for a special and heartfelt message by the Pastor and Jonathan Merritt. Services are at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.

Merritt’s Twitter feed has been uncharacteristically silent since Southworth’s revelation. I’ll have an update on his “special announcement” when it’s available.

Behold The Dumbest Article On Chick-Fil-A And Gay Rights You’ll Ever Read

by evanmcmurry

Jesus Christ over rice with white sauce, why is this Chick-Fil-A thing so fucking difficult? As I explained the other day, if you don’t like Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy’s stance on gay marriage, don’t eat at the place. HOWEVER, you also don’t get to defend the head of multi-billion dollar corporation who is actively prohibiting a civil right by crying about the intolerance he’s facing from those choosing not to eat at his restaurant. Dan Cathy has the right to express his opinions, and we have the right not to eat at his chain because of those opinions. Why is this so hard?

Now meet Jonathan Merritt, writing in the Atlantic, who apparently just cannot stand the indignation directed at Chick-Fil-A. Hit it:

Dan Cathy, president of one of America’s largest express fast food chains, has been frying more than chicken filets this week.

Great lede! Ha ha ha…it’s funny cuz presidents of companies don’t actually work.

The Chick-fil-A executive infuriated gay and lesbian groups when he again defended his company’s anti-gay marriage position in an interview this week with a Christian news outlet.

And infuriated a lot of other people. This is gonna blow your mind, but more than gay and lesbian groups care about gay and lesbian rights. I hope you won’t make that mistake for the rest of your article.

Not surprisingly, his comments were met with fury by those who support same-sex marriage.

Better.

The company was labeled a “hate group” by many on Twitter and in the blogosphere, and drew promises of boycotts from notables including The Office star Ed Helms. Meanwhile, Americans who patronize the chain’s 1,600 locations were left wondering what to do. Should they swear off the legendary chicken sandwiches to support gay rights?

Chick-Fil-A’s sandwiches are not legendary. They’re better than they have a right to be. But let’s not get carried away.

Or could they eat one of the filets anyway, knowing their dollars would be but a drop in the bucket for a chain that has more than $4 billion in annual sales and donated a pittance to groups they may disagree with?

I don’t think you’re quite getting the point of boycotts. Part of the goal of a boycott is to financially impact the company so as to compel change in its policies. The other part is individually seated: if you are gay, or have a gay family member, or a gay friend, or just an active conscience, you are likely see the prohibition of same-sex marriage as a deal breaker, in the way that many saw segregation as a deal breaker, and choose not to eat at places that oppose same-sex marriage, out of a personal conviction not to contribute to something to which you strongly, almost molecularly, object. Over time, as friends say, “Hey, let’s go eat at Chick-Fil-A,” and you say, “Let’s eat somewhere else, I don’t want to support a place run by bigots,” your objection becomes a means of spreading your opinion. A friend of yours who may not have taken the issue of same-sex marriage that seriously now has cause to reflect that someone does take it seriously enough to make changes in daily habits over it. You don’t have to bring down the company to make a boycott effective.

Or, to put it more simply: if you were gay, would you ever eat at a Chick-Fil-A again, knowing its owner thinks you should be denied a basic human right? You probably wouldn’t, and your financial impact on the company wouldn’t sway you one bit. The same goes for people who know and care about gay people. That’s the point, or at least the motive, of a boycott.

I’d argue the latter — and this has nothing to do with my views on gay marriage.

Of course it doesn’t.

It’s because Chick-fil-A is a laudable organization on balance, and because I refuse to contribute to the ineffective boycott culture that’s springing up across America.

BOYCOTT THE BOYCOTTS! You see what I was JUST saying about the moral weight of withholding support, even when it doesn’t have a financial impact, as a means of spreading opinion? Thanks for backing me up on that. And in the same paragraph!

First of all, Chick-fil-A is not a hate group. In a statement released yesterday, company leaders made their commitment to equal service clear, “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

Well, that settles that. A corporation would never, ever dissemble in an official statement.

As a native Atlantan, I’ve dined at the chicken chain more than I’d like to admit over more than two decades and even interacted with its leadership team. I’ve never witnessed any customer refused service or even treated differently.

First of all, gross. Second of all, I’ve eaten at a lot of Denny’s in my road-tripping life, and never seen them discriminate against African Americans. That doesn’t mean they don’t do it. Merritt’s relying on a sliver of anecdotal evidence to characterize the behavior of a corporation he admitted a few paragraphs ago was so big it couldn’t be brought down by a concerted boycott. If Chick-Fil-A is bigger than a movement, it’s bigger than Merritt’s personal interactions with it, no matter how numerous.

On the contrary, Chick-fil-A is known for offering world-class customer service to each person that walks through one of the restaurant’s doors.

Where the fuck are these Chick-Fil-As this guy’s eating at?

Additionally, the organization gives millions of dollars each year to charitable causes — and not just to “pro-family” groups. It funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children’s camp. It has provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start. (On Friday, the company provided free meals for Aurora, Colo., policemen.)

Good on them. Fair point.

And the company’s leaders claim to do all of this out of convictions rooted in the Christian faith. Anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of the company should know that it does not hide its commitment to biblical values. Its corporate statement of purpose since 1982 has begun, “To glorify God…”

Again, it’s their business, though you’re going to regret this paragraph later on.

Given this, that anyone was surprised by Cathy’s statements is, well, surprising.

You said earlier, “not surprisingly.”

Like many conservative Christians, he does not support gay marriage.

Bigots, too. A lot of bigots don’t support gay marriage. I wonder what a Ven diagram of conservative Christians and bigots would look like. Couple of circles making out, prolly.

I’m flummoxed that so many consumers are so quick these days to call for boycotts of any company that deviates from their personal or political views. For one thing, boycotts rarely cause actual pocketbook – rather than PR — damage. Most consumers don’t care enough to drive an extra mile to get the same product from someone else. 

Actually, a lot of people these days are driving the extra mile for food products based on moral concerns. It’s called the foodie movement. Wanna see a Ven diagram of foodies and people who support gay marriage?

And that’s especially the case for companies as large as Chick-fil-A, which has prime locations on many college campuses where there is little head-to-head competition.

Ha! Wanna see a Ven diagram of college students and people who support gay marriage? This potential boycott is looking bigger and bigger.

But my bigger question is this: In a nation that’s as divided as ours is,

Stop it.

do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed?

I don’t know, douche, WHY DON’T YOU ASK THE PEOPLE WHO CAN’T GET MARRIED?

And is this really the kind of culture we want to create?

Nope. We want a culture in which two people in love can marry each other. Thanks for asking!

Culture war boycotts

Ah, there it is.

cut both ways and are much more likely to meet with success when prosecuted by large groups of people, such as Christian activists, who are more numerous than gays and lesbians and their more activist supporters.

Srsly? Merritt, who do you think’s winning el culture war? And not to put too fine a point on it, but they’re called “rights” because that word means one group more numerous than another can’t deprive that second group of the integers of citizenship. You just summed up exactly why the issue of same-sex marriage is so pressing that it calls for concerted actions like boycotts. Good job.

Gay and lesbian groups were famously rankled when pro-family activists reacted against Kraft for posting a photo of an Oreo cookie with rainbow-hued filling last month in honor of Gay Pride Month, and also when similar groups protested JCPenney for announcing lesbian talk show host Ellen DeGeneres would be its next spokesperson.

So should the 45 percent of Americans who oppose gay marriage opt for Chips Ahoy! instead of Oreos?

Hmm. 45 is less than 50. What was the percentage of people who opposed gay marriage a few years ago? 57? Really? You guys are getting less numerous by the minute.

Should they begin shopping at Belk instead of JC Penny? If they did, it wouldn’t make any more sense than the endless failed calls for liberal consumers to boycott Urban Outfitters, because its owner is a conservative and Rick Santorum donor, or to not order from Domino’s Pizza, because it was founded by a Catholic conservative who helped fund anti-abortion causes.

Would that be Domino’s Pizza, the chain that recently ran an entire ad campaign based on the premise that it sucked so much it was reduced to running an campaign admitting it sucked? I don’t think abortions are the worst of Domino’s problems anymore.

On both sides of our latest culture war divide,

It’s not a culture war, dude. One side wants rights, the other wants to deprive them of rights. Your side calls it a culture war because you think it makes the petitioning for rights sound frivolous. Again, you’re losing that battle.

we must learn to have level-headed disagreements without resorting to accusations of hate speech and boycotts.

Deal! You give us gay marriage, and we’ll call off the boycotts. Oh, wait, that undermines your point.

As Josh Ozersky argued on TIME Thursday, “businesses should be judged by their products and their practices, not by their politics.”

Said the guy from TIME who can legally marry.

I agree: I don’t care how my dry cleaner votes. I just want to know if he/she can press my Oxfords without burning my sleeves.

Said the guy from the Atlantic who can legally marry. Also, nice class blindness.

I find no compelling reason to treat sandwiches differently than shirts.

That’s because you eat at Chick-Fil-A. Dear god, what do your shirts look like?

From a business standpoint, some might say Cathy’s comments were imprudent if not downright dumb.

Bigoted, too. You can be bigoted from a business standpoint. Unless your point is that business concerns automatically exclude moral concerns. In which case, Chick-Fil-A’s merit badge for Christian-based charity work goes out the window, too.

But in a society that desperately needs healthy public dialogue, we must resist creating a culture where consumers sort through all their purchases (fast food and otherwise) for an underlying politics not even expressed in the nature of the product itself.

Earlier you knocked people for not knowing about Chick-Fil-A’s Christian core: “Anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of the company should know that it does not hide its commitment to biblical values.” Told you that you were going to regret that. More at the end of the article on this point. 

If white meat’s not your thing, try the Golden Arches.

STOP EATING FAST FOOD!

But if you want a perfectly fried chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A, will be happy to serve you — gay or straight. In this case, those who boycott are the ones missing out.

On marriage. We’ve been over this. That’s the point of the boycott.

Well, that was fun. Now: there’s a hidden binary in Merritt’s article that undergirds all of his fried-chicken logic: Christianity is moral, in Merritt’s world, and gay rights are political. He’s fine with holding up Chick-Fil-A as a laudable corporation for its Christian-based charity work (and rightly so), but then doesn’t think they should be held accountable for the bigoted views of the owner. The former is an example of a “laudable organization,” the latter an example of “underlying politics;” he’s obviously miffed that a lot of people didn’t know about Chick-Fil-A’s religious foundations, but doesn’t think people should pay one minute’s attention to its stances on anything else. Merritt clearly thinks that religious concerns have a legitimate role in business but that political ones do not, and he also clearly thinks that the gay rights movement’s non-voluntary inclusion in the “culture war” makes it political, and therefore irrelevant to Chick-Fil-A in a way that its religious motivations are not.

A debate can be had over those points, though Merritt would lose on both counts. The gay rights movement is not political, it’s moral, and, to the extent that it concerns how a human defines his or herself and is intrinsically changed by how he or she is defined by society, it’s practically existential. The idea that one’s sexual orientation is somehow less crucial, or less legitimate, than one’s faith, is specious in the first and last instance.

But if Merritt wants to have that debate, it would at least be interesting and generative, as opposed to the above article, which is stupid and stultifying. So, Merritt: any time, any place. In the meantime, good luck boycotting the boycotts.