Friday, August 9, 2013

GAYS, GUNS AND COFFEE: Protect Your Cappuccino and Defend Gay Rights?

On August 7, 2012, gay rights activists organized a national Starbucks Appreciation Day (later changed to National Marriage Equality Day) in recognition of the company's support for same sex-marriage and to counter the national "Chik-Fil-A Appreciation Day" also held last summer, organized by anti-gay activists (Hate Appreciation Day: A Sad Day in America).

Today, August 9, 2013, gun rights advocates organized a Starbucks Appreciation Day in recognition of the company's policy to let people carry guns into their coffee shops in states where it is legal to do so. (Some of  the gun advocates plan to bring their guns into the Starbucks in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were gunned down and murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.)

Bring your guns. Protect your coffee. Support gay rights?  

Starbucks certainly has wide appeal.

Of course, the issues aren't necessarily mutually exclusive; I'm gay, and I own guns. (Although I see no need to have a gun along to enjoy a shot of espresso.) But most gun rights activists I know are not very supportive of gay rights and equality. (The National Rifle Association (NRA) broke ties with a law firm when the firm announced their decision to not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of Congress.)

While attending a work-related reception I once confronted a handful of NRA executives for making offensive homophobic remarks.

I was there representing a conservation organization. When they learned I was a Marine they assumed I was like them, one of the "good ole' boys," and they invited me into their conversation. They were speaking strongly against gay marriage and making crude, sophomoric jokes about it. A little while later, the conversation turned into derogatory remarks about the wildlife protection policies of former U.S. Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt who was there to give a speech later that evening.  One of the NRA guys, trying to be funny, said: "I bet Bruce Babbitt is gay."

"You think so?" I asked.

"Probably," the guy said, shrugging his shoulders and laughing. He didn't mean it as as compliment.

"I hope so," I said, "Because that is one smart, attractive older man I could definitely fall for."  (It's true. I could.)

They all looked at looked at me briefly, seemingly confused and uncomfortable, and then just silently walked away.

It often seems that people who are most vocally adamant about thinking they are patriotically defending the Constitution and the Second Amendment think that the Constitution starts off with, "We the white, male, Christian heterosexuals" instead of "We the people." They're far more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands.

But today, as they go gun tote'n off to Starbucks, I want to thank them for their support of marriage equality.

Personally, I think I'll leave my guns home and go to Butterfly Herbs.

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