From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:
Coming to Wisconsin?
“Hello. This is Tom’s Limousine Service. We take you where you want to go in style! How can I help you?”
“Hi, Tom. This is Tyler Jones. I’m looking to book your services for my wedding on Saturday afternoon, September 13. My fiancé and I want you to take us and the wedding party from the park where we are getting married to the reception. The park is in Waukesha and the reception is in Milwaukee. Can you do that?”
“Sure, Tyler. I have a limo available for that day. I just need some information from you. How many in your wedding party?”
“Well, let’s see. There’s John and me and then Steve, Chuck, Scott, and Hank.”
“Ok. That’s 6 guys. And how many girls in addition to your bride?”
“ Oh. None. John and I decided we wanted all men in the wedding party.”
“Um, well, uh, so you are marrying John? Wow. This is difficult for me, Tyler, but I’m going to have to refer you to another limo service in the area who will give you the same price I would. I’m happy to make that call for you right now.”
“What?? You just told me you had the day open and a car available. Why are you now telling me you won’t provide a limo for me and John? Oh, I get it. It’s because we’re gay, right?
“Well, not exactly. It’s not because of your sexual orientation. It’s because this is a wedding. That takes it to a different level. But again, I’m happy to call another limo service who I am sure will be pleased to have your business.”
“I don’t want another limo service. I want yours. You’re one of those Christians, aren’t you, who believe marriage is only for a man and a woman. You are fine with discriminating against me just because I happen to love a man. That’s just great. I guess there really are homophobic, hateful bigots who just can’t stand the idea of men being in loving and committed relationships.”
“Look, I’m not judging you about who you love; I am just saying I can’t provide you limo service your wedding. But, hey, let me call Sam’s Limo Service. He’s a great guy and will give you an excellent price and service. “
“I don’t want Sam’s Limo Service. John and I want you to provide the limo for our wedding. Since you’re telling me your religion is standing in the way of my happiness, I guess we’ll just have to see where this goes.”
“I’m sorry you’re upset. It’s true that I run my business according to Christian principles. That doesn’t mean I hate you; it means I disagree with you on marriage. This is America. Surely we can just agree to disagree, and I can refer you to another limo service.”
“No, we can’t just agree to disagree on this. I have a fundamental right to marry whomever I want and according to Wisconsin’s law, you as a business must provide me with what I want—and John and I want limo service for our wedding. Would you provide service for a black man and white woman? Probably not since your silly Christian beliefs have hate and discrimination built into them. Now I really understand why the state of Wisconsin added sexual orientation as a protected class to our laws. Without them and with people like you in business, we’d be treated just like the blacks were before the Civil Rights laws were passed. Black, gay, whatever…we’re all the same. I’m born gay; you’re born straight. You’re saying you can marry who you love but I can’t. We’ll see what the courts say about that!”
“Tyler, again, I don’t hate you and you are free to love anyone you want. But how is it right for you to try to force me to violate my beliefs about marriage, especially when I have offered repeatedly to refer you to another guy who does limo service. I’m asking that you respect my beliefs just as you want me to respect yours.”
“I’m through with this conversation, Tom. You’ll be hearing from John and me—and our attorneys. In the meantime, you need to go to some diversity training and learn how to treat people. You can’t go around hating gay people and discriminating against them just because of your outdated, narrow religious beliefs. And by the way, in case you haven’t noticed, across the country guys like you have been losing, man. Losing their businesses, losing in court, losing money…because just like you, they are so narrow-minded and bigoted. We don’t tolerate that kind of stuff in Wisconsin and America any more. We’ll see you in court!”
It hasn’t happened yet in Wisconsin, but the above isn’t at all far-fetched. What are you willing to stand up for? What price are you willing to pay to stand for the truth?