By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
Since last Friday’s “303 Creative” SCOTUS decision, which legitimized discrimination against LGBTQ people by allowing them to be denied service, I like anyone in our Community who was paying attention, have been livid, sickened, and terrified by it and it’s implications for our future. My outrage over their decision has only grown as more details regarding the plaintiff’s court filing in the case came to light.
We’ve now learned the Court ruled on an improper “hypothetical case” i.e. the alleged “request for service” never happened; the man named in the filing knew nothing of the web designer until the verdict, not to mention he’s straight, married ten years, and a web designer himself. The attorney who litigated the case for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) (an Evangelical Christian organization denoted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-LGBTQ hate group”) and filed the false documents with the Court i.e. committed perjury was none other than Sen. Josh Hawley’s wife.
After The Dobbs decision last year, it became clear the conservative justices on the Supreme Court have their knives out for LGBTQ civil rights, so this decision, while shocking, was not surprising. What’s beyond the pale though is the Court knew this case was hypothetical but still chose to hear it, defying all legal standards and practices. Additionally, the ADF concocted the case out of whole clothe with no qualms about lying to the court in order for their case to be heard and adjudicated – this from Christians who so believe God’s word is law, they persecute LGBTQ people; but clearly don’t believe God’s Commandments apply to them, specifically, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”
Political pundits and law experts on cable news and the internet giving analysis of the decision and its ramifications, have been pointing out that it came on the last day of Pride Month. What no one seemed to have noticed is it also came four days before our country celebrates its founding. With the 303 Creative decision, LGBTQ Americans are now second-class citizens; and our nation’s legal system did it to us in the most unethical, deceitful way.
What’s more, they’ve only just begun tearing away our hard-fought equality and civil rights from us in a country which 247 years ago today declared to the world that “all men are created equal.” To put a fine point on it for all the hate filled Christian homophobes, America also declared our unalienable rights are endowed by their Creator.
Related post: “In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776/Incongruous, July 4, 2022”
This combination of hypocrisy, lies, and deceit used to strip away LGBTQ equality, then simply ignored in furtherance of that objective by the Supreme Court of the United States has left me completely appalled and thoroughly disgusted. The last four days, I’ve been asking myself, “why the fuck should LGBTQ people celebrate the Fourth of July?” At least we’re not Uganda??? Not for nothing, but Evangelical Christians have been exporting their brand of extreme anti-LGBTQ hate to Uganda and other parts of Africa for nearly a decade, because they couldn’t get a foot hold in America until now, so just wait a few years.
In my personal struggle with facing a holiday celebrating an America that is currently bent on minimizing me as a person and our Community out of existence, I was reminded of great words that were once spoken about the Fourth of July, ones far wiser, more insightful and sharper than I could ever hope to write by a man born into slavery, Frederick Douglass.
On the 76th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 18852, Douglass was asked to speak on the meaning of America and its achievements. Instead, he spoke truth to a nation about what America means to oppressed, enslaved people. Here is James Earl Jones reading the beginning of Douglass’s remarks from that day.
Read Frederick Douglass’s full address: “WHAT, TO THE SLAVE, IS THE FOURTH OF JULY”
To be clear, I am not for a second equating the trails, tribulations, and setbacks of our LGBTQ Community to the suffering and degradation of millions of enslaved African Americans for 250 years. Rather I am equating Douglass’s revulsion at nation which in 35 words laid out what they claimed to be so plain and clear as to need no explanation, yet acts in the utter antithesis of its founding principles.
In addition to the SCOTUS decision, there are 491 anti-LGBTQ bills pending in statehouse across the country and 67 have been enacted. One of the two major political parties has essentially embraced anti-LGBTQ hate and discrimination, whether in statement and deed or by silence. One of the leading candidates for their Presidential nomination in 2024 just released an attack ad against the former President that is so homophobic even The Log Cabin Republicans publicly denounced it.
Conservatives in statehouses, in Congress, and in fast growing new hate groups like Moms for Liberty are proud to be onboard the anti-LGBTQ hate train, firing up its engine, and barreling it down the tracks across America with the blessing and protection of the Supreme Court. Still feel like a star spangled, red, white, and blue Fourth of July celebration? If so, maybe think about it this way. For LGBTQ people today, America is a lot like eating potato salad that’s been sitting out at the barbeque too long. It still looks great, and if you’re lucky it’ll only leave a bad taste in your mouth; though, it’s more likely to make you sick; but keep eating and it will kill you.