What’s the world coming to when a hate group leader like Tony Perkins can’t lie without remorse and get away with it? Tony Perkins claimed on Face The Nation this weekend that bakers and florists are facing jail for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings. Joe has the screengrab:
Politifact decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and research the situation:
Have there been bakers who have laid down their wire whisks and refused to bake a cake for a gay couple and hauled off to jail? A florist nervously piecing together a floral arrangement under the threat of a cop? We decided to investigate.
And of course, the answer that came back was “LOL, of course not.”
After the Supreme Court rulings about gay marriage, Perkins said, “We’re already seeing bakers and florists and photographers forced to participate in same-sex marriages under the threat of law and in some cases even jail.”
We didn’t find cases where people were forced to participate against their will. However, if vendors refuse service, there are consequences. There are 21 states that forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation. Vendors who refuse service there could face legal actions and fines.
The “jail” part of Perkins’ claim is an exaggeration. We couldn’t find any evidence that a vendor had been sent to jail or that any legal authority had threatened jail time. In some states, if a business owner loses an anti-discrimination case and refuses to comply with an order, the owner could face jail, but we found no evidence of that ever happening. One state, Colorado, specifically took action to remove the threat of jail.
Joe points out that these sorts of anti-discrimination laws predate marriage equality in every state where there has been this sort of conflict. But let’s be clear. If you read Politifact’s entire piece, you’ll see that none of this is about religious freedom, or about any Constitutional guarantees that the Religious Right ever had. This is simply about the Religious Right being forced to come down from their throne and abide by the same laws as everyone else. This is why they are ever so pissed, because they (laughably) think they’re better than everyone else. They don’t care about “religious freedom.” If they did, they’d be fighting for those pastors who do want to perform gay weddings, and they’d be fighting for Muslims’ rights to build mosques wherever zoning laws allow. Tony Perkins cares, rather, about Fundamentalist Christian Supremacy. He’s never going to get the theocracy he’s clearly wanted ever since he bought David Duke’s mailing list, so he has to content himself with convincing the rest of the fundies that they’re all victims, that they’re all oppressed, and that they’re all about to become martyrs for their faith.
In fact, he’s so pissed that he followed up on the Politifact report with this whine:
The media, in a desperate attempt to downplay the persecution Americans will face for opposing same-sex “marriage,” is resorting to lies from its own “fact-checkers.” They understand, as we do, that it’s harder to vilify someone when you see them suffering for living out their faith. And for dozens of men and women, that suffering is taking place in the form of more than jail time. For them, the nightmare is already here in the form of thousands of dollars in fines, lawsuits, public humiliation, boycotts of their businesses, death threats, and vandalism of their property. This is the real intolerance. And one day, no amount of shoddy journalism will be able to hide it.
“Ugh, the ‘liberal media,’ with its ‘fact-checkers’ and their ‘facts.’ Why won’t they just let us be martyrs?! Why doesn’t anybody care about us?! I’m so scared that if we shut up, people will literally forget that we exist! What happened to Real America, where bigots like us were coddled and burped on a regular basis?! Waaaaaaaaaah!”