alright alright, i'll hit the religious conscience laws. as you may know, i've defended such laws many times, but let me try to describe why i regard the current situation as ridiculous. so, first off, the laws are mere provocations, or responses to getting swamped by gay marriage all of a sudden. they are an attempt to carve out a little zone of legit homophobia (and yet they trap me, for example, because i cannot not affirm the actual text of the law.) it's a manufactured issue. but then the insane outrage about it, which i've heard from a lot of people, is very silly, and i could not possibly oppose such laws until you show me that they will create great actual burdens on actual people. that someone had to switch florists one time for their wedding is not going to get it. and if that's what you're outraged about: shelve it.
charles blow appears to think a situation in which there's one pizzeria in indianapolis that won't cater a gay wedding is similar to one where people are systematically excluded from education, or voting, or basic social recognition. really it makes it a bit hard to take you seriously on other matters. if no actual significant burdens are imposed on anyone, then there can be no argument against permitting people to act according to their religious convictions. i do want to point out that, though it's easy to sort of make all oppressed groups equivalent in their oppressedness, many gay people are, for example, bourgeois white men. the chances that no one will cater the wedding of, or in general leap to provide the widest range of services to, bourgeois white people are slim and none.
capitalism might not have cured jim crow, but it's doing fine with this. the basic thing is that people want to sell you stuff, ok? the chamber of commerce and wal-mart and apple show you that this is not really going to be an actual problem. but andrew cuomo etc is grandstanding to the max, and i'm telling you that all anyone i know wants is to be enraged by the right in a self-congratulatory ecstasy. try to find an actual reason though, ok?
anyway, i'm irritated that the right is using a principle which i do regard as sacred - the right of individual conscience to secede from the demands of the state or to refrain from activities which violate it - to get me nodding along with an underlying bigotry. i'm irritated at the left for relentlessly blowing this small thing up and using it as a club. really, i'm just sick of our politics, which never asks what's true or false or good or evil, but only how people can be manipulated to join up by defining and hating an enemy. in that situation, there's no difference between symbolic and substantive issues.