Openly gay LGBT activist Tim Gill, who has poured $422 million into the homosexual movement since the 1990s, recently told Rolling Stone why he won’t allow Christians to opt out of participating in same-sex weddings.
“We’re going to punish the wicked,” Gill told Rolling Stone. After the 2015 Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage across the country, Gill turned his activism apparatus against religious freedom restoration acts (RFRAs) and toward a legal mentality that would penalize Christians, and anyone else in business, who refuse to participate in a same-sex wedding.
“In the wake of Obergefell, … some donors and activists declared victory and moved on,” Rolling Stone‘s Andy Kroll explained. “But Gill insists the LGBTQ civil-rights movement is far from finished: In 28 states, it’s still legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations like restaurants, hotels and restrooms.”
It may not be surprising to see Rolling Stone so misrepresent the situation like this (see “UVA rape scandal”). But the record needs to be set straight: The “public accommodations” push is exactly the line LGBT activists use to undercut Christians’ freedom to opt out of serving same-sex weddings.
Concrete court cases reveal the falseness of this “discrimination” narrative. A Washington state florist and Oregon bakers were fined for refusing to serve same-sex weddings, but they each gladly served the lesbian and gay people who requested wedding services. In both cases, they refused to serve a wedding, fearing that such service would be a public endorsement of something they believed a perversion of marriage.
Under Obergefell, same-sex couples can get married. But a wedding ceremony is still a private event, and people should not be forced to celebrate it, if such a ceremony is opposed to their convictions. This isn’t just an issue of religious freedom — it also involves free speech and free association.
But public accommodation laws have become a cudgel by which LGBT activists attempt to force people to violate their consciences. Indeed, an LGBT group in Ohio actually announced plans to try to force churches to host same-sex weddings on their property. A Christian farmer and his wife in Michigan were excluded from a farmer’s market because they posted on Facebook that they would not host a same-sex wedding on their own property.
In March, the ACLU sued a Sacramento Catholic hospital, even after the hospital helped a transgender patient find another hospital at which to have “his” hysterectomy. The ACLU’s lawsuit makes it clear that this debate isn’t about access — it’s about forcing people to violate their religious convictions.
Last month, the Supreme Court announced that it will consider the case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who also refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Like the Washington florist, the Oregon baker, and the Michigan farmer, Phillips gladly served LGBT people, he just would not endorse a public event which violated his beliefs.
Since these people gladly serve LGBT people, their cases do not involve discrimination, but free speech, free association, and free exercise of religion. A Muslim singer would not be required to sing at a Christian Easter service, so why should Christian bakers, florists, farmers, and churches be forced to endorse a wedding they disagree with?
For the gay megadonor Tim Gill, it’s a matter of “punishing the wicked.” In his interview, Rolling Stone‘s Andy Kroll summarized that “the election of Donald Trump, who claims to support gay rights but stocked his administration with anti-LGBTQ extremists, has only emboldened those looking to erase the gains of the past decade.”
Who are these “extremists“?
The people surrounding Trump are the stuff of nightmares for the LGBTQ community – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has donated heavily to anti-gay causes; as a congressman, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price voted for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and called the Obama-era protections for transgender people “absurd”; and Vice President Pence is, of course, the archnemesis of the LGBTQ movement. Gill tells me, “I don’t expect massive progress on gay rights in this administration.”
What do these people have in common? They’re conservative Christians in government (something Sen. Bernie Sanders seems to think shouldn’t be allowed to happen). Since when did it become a crime to dissent from the LGBT agenda?
Naturally, Rolling Stone omitted any mention of Trump’s support for transgender people on the bathroom issue, his Department of Education’s ruling that teachers who use the “wrong” pronouns to refer to transgender people would be disciplined, and the reported advocacy of his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner in watering down the religious freedom executive order the president signed.
Cries of “extremist!” and “discrimination!” obscure the very important issues in these debates, and liberals crying wolf on such matters has resulted in actual violence in the past.
The liberal Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has long branded conservative Christian organizations as “anti-LGBT hate groups.” In 2012, a man named Floyd Lee Corkins II broke into the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC), aiming to shoot and kill every person in the building and lay Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches near their bodies.
Corkins pled guilty to three felony charges: transporting a firearm and ammunition across state lines, assault with intent to kill, and committing an act of terrorism while armed. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. During an FBI interrogation, the shooter said he targeted FRC because it was listed as an “anti-gay group” on the SPLC website.
James Hodgkinson, the man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a baseball practice, “liked” the SPLC on Facebook, and the SPLC had repeatedly attacked Scalise on its “hate list.” Despite these events, Democrats and many media outlets have continued to attack Christian groups like Alliance Defending Freedom as “hate groups.”
Gill’s view of “punishing the wicked” helps to explain how the LGBT movement can continue with this rhetoric in the face of the First Amendment, Trump’s centrist position on LGBT issues, and the terror that has resulted from “hate” labeling.
In an interview last year with PJ Media, Christian author Eric Metaxas warned that in such cases an “activist government effectively establishes a religion … by taking very strong positions on ultimate questions like the human person, on sexuality.”
Gill’s intent to “punish the wicked” sounds quasi-religious, and his movement’s zeal would put many churches to shame. But that does not make him right, by any stretch of the imagination.