Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Political Mercury

No pizza for you!


There’s an old saying about men older than 40 who have never been married: either they aren’t attracted to women at all, or they like women too much.

Aging player or gay? That’s the question.

Of course, there are other categories that explain advanced-age singledom: career firsters for one, or bad breakers, guys who have just been colossally clumsy or inept at love, a short-bus Casanova.

It’s not always easy to identify the reason why you see a man eating fries at a restaurant by himself, or perhaps with just one other man. I suppose there are even some straight, single men who buy flowers — just because.

This must be terrifically frustrating for the social conservatives who — when they aren’t building arks in Kentucky, illegally connecting their doubles-wides to utilities in Arkansas or coloring mustaches on photos of President Obama — are trigger itchy to run gays out of small businesses in Indiana and other backwaters based on their religious beliefs that homosexuality defiles the Bible.


How can you tell for sure if a dude, or two dudes, who go into the now-famous Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, are gay?

It’s so much easier being a racist. Don’t like blacks or Hispanics? What racists see as the unbearable brownness of their being is generally evident — although with all the interracial dating these days, your garden-variety, genealogically challenged bigot might be surprised to learn the customer he embraces as Whitey White actually descends from darker lineage.

Yes, many gays are Fire Island obvious.

But there are those people — and we all know them — who fly under the gaydar. You just don’t know.

So let’s say in your religious zealotry you go ahead and take a flier, make the judgment call, and assume some well-dressed man with a 30-inch waistline and impeccable manicuring is a homosexual. “No pizza for you!” — you, the Godly restaurant owner, tell the suspected Sodomite.

Here’s the thing: What if you are wrong? What if the dude isn’t gay? What if he lost the love of his life, a wife, a beautiful woman, to cancer, and he just likes to dress well, because, sometimes, if you look good, in spite of the gnawing inner pain, you can trick yourself into some fleeting happy moments.

What’s more, let’s say the single man even agrees with the gay haters — that such a lifestyle is an abomination. And now he is being called gay? Denied his pepperoni, too?

There ought to be a remedy. Better yet, there ought to be a law.

Any self-respecting state with a Religious Freedom Restoration Act needs to include a “False Fag Accusation” amendment, one that allows a person mistakenly identified as gay to throw one punch, just one — which should be specifically defined in code as a right hook — at the person who ascribes the erroneous sexual orientation to him.

Whether the punch misses, or breaks a jaw, or knocks out the wrong-pointing business owner, should be of no relevance.

This only makes sense.

If “statesmen” in Indiana and elsewhere are going to take a grade-school-recess approach to the issue of diversity in 21st century America, they shouldn’t shrink at the prospect of a few bloody noses.

Surely, if Jesus, in his day, were mistakenly taken for a gay man, he wouldn’t have turned the other cheek. He would have responded with a punch-thrower’s resolve — although with that hole in his hand, the haymaker wouldn’t have had the force to leave more than a light facial blemish. CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who resides in Carroll. He and his family own and publish newspapers in Carroll, Jefferson and other neighboring communities.

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