On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage between two people of the same sex may legally marry in all 50 of the United States of America. It should surprise nobody who knows me that I am in agreement with this ruling–although I’ve never exercised the right to marry anyone, I’ve also never been in the position of having to question, or have anyone else question, whether I have this right. I’m glad that a right that I’ve always taken for granted is extended to all Americans. My right to marry whoever I might wish to is in no way diminished by extending the same right to anyone else.
At the most personal level, I don’t have a horse in this race. But I want to think for a moment about the outrage of those who are adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage, especially those who do not want to be tainted by providing goods or services for the weddings of those men who wish to marry men, or women who wish to marry women.
Apparently, there are bakers, jewelers, florists, and caterers who are more than happy to have gay and lesbian customers for any event or occasion other than the one in which those customers make a lifelong pledge to the person they love most. The baker is happy to provide donuts for the office meeting, the jeweler to provide a First Communion gift for a niece, the florist to arrange and deliver flowers for a mother’s birthday, the caterer to serve lunch for a fundraising party.
But not the wedding.
And these tradespeople are in a conundrum, because while they’re happy to take “gay” money for every other occasion, they draw the line at The Wedding.
I think they should simply put a large sign in their windows, indicating that they do not provide goods or services for the weddings of same-sex couples. The same sign should be in every consulting area, and near the cash registers.
The sign doesn’t need to be as crude as this (which should be made professionally, and I hope is only a temporary measure). It should be tasteful. And no person who wishes to marry a partner whose sex is the same as their own should attempt to force such a merchant to provide goods or services for a wedding.
No, make the point, not by forcing those who object to same-sex weddings uncomfortable, but by keeping them exactly where they are comfortable. But keep them even more comfortable.
Stop buying your gay donuts from the baker who won’t do a cake for your wedding.
Don’t buy your gifts from the jeweler who won’t sell wedding rings to you and your partner.
Get your mother’s birthday bouquet from a different florist.
Cater your events with a business that doesn’t scrutinize who eats their food or why.
Don’t force someone to behave badly to you just to make a point. You’ll make the point more clearly and convincingly when you don’t hand the merchant money who doesn’t want it at a particular time in your life, and you don’t hand that merchant money–at any time in your life.
And you explain to your colleagues why the donuts are in a box from another bakery.
Or the catering bill is issued from a different firm.
Or the card on the flowers is from a new shop.
And if your friends are really your friends, they’ll stop handing their money to those who have treated you badly.
It makes the point. Maybe not as quickly or dramatically. But in the way that matters most.