We forgot to mention that I attended GOProud’s happy hour this weekend at the Right Online conference in Minneapolis. You know, GOProud, the “gay Republican” group loves Ann Coulter and supports anti-gay candidates. They’re usually known for hosting boring parties, but I actually had fun at their hotel lobby shindig. So what if they didn’t have an open-bar? I simply grabbed a four dollar glass of Coke and learned three very important things:
1) The very friendly Jimmy LaSalvia graciously took time out of his busy mingling to take photos with me and three others, all who had blinding camera flashes. His bright tan seemed inappropriate so early into the summer and his sandy blonde hair reminded me of a California surfer.
“Your blog calls me Farrah,” he told me.
“Really?” I asked, “As in Farrah Fawcett? Why is that?”
“I dunno,” he responded, “I guess it’s because of the hair.”
“It’s just sour grapes,” I replied. “You have amazing hair.”
And he did. Not a single strand out of place.
Later on, someone told me that older, over-tanned gay men sometimes get called “Mermaid’s purses.” Apparently a mermaid’s purse is a shark’s egg sack that gets washed up on the beach and left to crack and dry out on the sunny shore.
“That’s retched,” I said, thinking I’ll have to remember that.
2) Of the eight people I met my entire 90 minutes at the GOProud Happy Hour, I met not a single gay person nor a single bonafied member of GOProud. Everyone I met identified as straight and said that they came to show LaSalvia support.
I asked where Chris Barron was—because despite any political disagreements I might have with the man, I still wanted to see his washboard abs—someone told me “He’s home with a bleeding ulcer.”
“Ouch!” I said, imagining poor Mr. Barron, lying shirtless on the couch, a forlorn arm thrown across his sweaty brow, badly in need of apple juice and a nurse’s touch.
Everyone also had perfect teeth.
3) I had in-depth conversations with three different happy hour attendees: a drunk young woman who had glitter-bombed herself earlier that afternoon and still had sparkling confetti on her name tag and breasts, a large dark-skinned man who believed that states banning marriage equality will eventually suffer economically, and a very friendly Mormon father who wanted to know more about New York’s Marriage Equality Bill.
In short, all three of those people agreed that they would support marriage equality with religious protections for “conscientious objectors”—namely, legal exemptions that religious organizations to refuse accommodating gays on “moral grounds.”
I’ve already said that I don’t the government forcing churches to do anything. If marrying or adopting to two homos offends them, fine. Don’t force ’em to do it. I support the idea for two reasons:
a) It takes the wind out of the sails of anti-gay orgs who say that their stances against marriage equality iare based on religious freedom. Want religious freedom? Fine… now you’re free to discriminate openly against queers and we’re free to keep drawing attention to that fact. You can’t get sued (yet), but you can get smeared in the press.
b) As time marches on, it will become less and less socially acceptable for religions or anybody to discriminate against queers. Religious exceptions may let conservatives breathe easy about “freedom of religion” for now… but as more and more churches accept LGBT congregants and pink dollars, the day will come when even those exemptions will get dismantled in order to stay culturally relevant.
So could “religious exemptions” be the conservative middle ground that allows queers and Republicans to finally move forward together on this issue? I would have asked Chris Barron, but as I said, he wasn’t there.
Poor, hot, suffering, sexy Chris.