Since the Supreme Court's landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision earlier this summer, the Religious Right has been desperately scrambling for any talking point that would allow them to stay relevant in the national conversation. According to Politico, it looks like they've hit on one:
"A number of religious conservatives told POLITICO that the key to winning...upcoming legislative and legal battles will be employing tactics refined by the same-sex marriage movement that recently defeated them...
'[LGBT activists] did a good job of making the stories of peoples’ lives front and center and saying, ‘Look at how these people are affected,’' said Travis Weber of the Family Research Council. Groups like Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign used social media to promote popular gay and lesbian celebrities’ viewpoints and encouraged Americans to look to their LGBT neighbors asking for acceptance.
Conservatives should follow suit, Weber said, by highlighting the stories of religious individuals he said had been “demonized,” pointing to businesses like Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an Oregon bakery that was fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding wake for a lesbian couple, or the Odgaard family, who shut down their Iowa bistro after a legal battle over their refusal to host a same-sex wedding. These cases, he believes, can serve as the same sort of compelling hook that Justice Kennedy used by putting James Obergefell’s heartfelt story of losing his husband at the beginning of his decision."
Like millions of unpopular groups before it, the Religious Right is trying to reinvent itself. It hopes to be recast as a bastion against the "discrimination" and "persecution" of those who are in fact discriminating against same-sex couples for religious reasons. Wrapped in the cloak of stirring words like "civil rights" and "religious liberty", conservative Christians hope to storm the halls of court and state houses across the country.
What will they find waiting for them there? Americans United and Protect Thy Neighbor, of course. We look forward to reminding all comers that those who deny services to others based on religious beliefs are the ones doing the discriminating, not the other way around.