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Prop 8, DOMA, and South Carolina Cupcakes

This has been a big week in both religious and legal circles. As the US Supreme Court took up Hollingsworth v Perry (the Prop 8 case) and US v Windsor (the DOMA case), the Jewish community began their celebration of Passover and Christians were in the midst of Holy Week preparations for Easter. As I wrote when the scheduling of these cases was announced in January,

Some might call the connection between the SCOTUS calendar and the Jewish and Christian religious calendars a mere coincidence, but being a pastor, I can’t help but see a little divine humor at work. As BLAG will soon find out, trying to make arguments in defense of injustice during two powerful religious commemorations of justice is hard to do.

The oral arguments have generated a lot of tea-leaf reading, and Erwin Chemerinsky captured my own reaction to the presentations before the Court on Tuesday and Wednesday:

What was most striking to me was how very weak the arguments are for denying gays and lesbians of the right to marry.   The central argument advanced by Chuck Cooper, defending Proposition 8, is that marriage is primarily about procreation.   But Justice Kagan pointed out that heterosexual couples always have been able to marry without needing to show the ability or desire to have children.   Gay and lesbian couples will have children – by adoption, artificial insemination, and surrogacy – whether or not they can marry.  Justice Kennedy made the point powerfully:  there are 40,000 children of same-sex couples in California.  Shouldn’t their parents be able to marry?   There is no logical link between marriage being about procreation and that being a reason to deny the right to marry to same-sex couples.

Mr. Cooper was asked and could not explain how any heterosexual marriage is hurt by allowing same-sex marriage.   Nor was any other credible basis offered for denying marriage equality to gays and lesbians.

Best of all, this absence of a credible basis for legal discrimination is spreading. Deep in that liberal hotbed of South Carolina, a cupcake bakery has been getting a lot of press recently. It started when they won the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” competition, but now they’re making the evening news for making “Equality” cupcakes that celebrate marriage equality. Those who take umbrage at the notion of equality have been voicing their disgust for Cupcrazed Cupcake Bar, but their outrage doesn’t concern the bakers too much:

“When people say they were never going to shop in this store again or they had issues with it, it really doesn’t bother me because they can go somewhere else,” said owner Heather McDonnell.  “There’s plenty of people out there who will eat cake so if I’m not the shop for them, oh well.”

The store sold out of the marriage equality cupcakes twice on Thursday.

Yum. And, to borrow a phrase, it gets better:

We can make cupcakes with whatever you would like – we are doing plenty of crosses this weekend! Jesus lovers love gays, too. I would know. I’m allowed to pray where I want, marry who I want, and vote for whomever I want – just like everyone else should be able to. I don’t believe “equality” is a mistake, either.

Neither do I, Heather. Neither do I.

Maybe this partly explains why in the special election for the SC-01 House seat, a recent poll gives Elizabeth Colbert Busch a slight lead over that staunch defender of marriage, Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford.

ECB’s campaign seems to echo the owners of Cupcrazed Cupcake Bar, as earlier today their twitter account retweeted a message from a proud South Carolinian, @TonyEquality: “It’s Not Holy to Hate. Happy Easter. #LGBT #Gay #MarriageEquality

Now that’s a sermon.

Happy Easter, blessed Passover, and Merry Springtime, everyone.


h/t to Cupcrazed Cupcake Bar for the wonderful photo of a batch of their even more wonderfully tasty political statements.

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I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

And Preview is my friend.