COMMENT: I no more believe in the existence of a God than I do fairies in the garden. Yet, I will vigorously defend anyone's right to wholeheartedly believe in either of them. Whatever floats their boat. I take people as I find them. Even if some Christians have not often taken me as they find me.
Over the years my gayness has prompted many Christians to feel free to tell me the error of my ways. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard the old "hate the sin, love the sinner" line, I'd be rolling in cream and Jodie Foster would be licking it off me as we speak. I like brains and beauty, thanks.
But, no, I'm in my 19th year of unwedded bliss with someone even more amazing, and there's not a drop of cream in the house. Nor will we be ordering a wedding cake any time soon.
But if, by some miraculous turn of events, we were to change our minds about partaking in such an historically heterosexual construct originally designed by the church to facilitate women becoming the property of men, we now know that Kath's Devine Cakes in Warkworth is not the place to go.
I reckon I know six things about Kath. She's a baker of beautiful cakes, is literate, and a devout Christian. Oh, and she's also extremely polite. Her email to two women, who inquired about getting their wedding cake made for their nuptials, revealed much.
"I do not wish to offend either of you and I thank you for letting me know that it is a same-sex wedding," she wrote.
"Even though as individuals you are both fabulous and amazing people, I must follow the integrity of my heart and beliefs. Our Government has legalised same-sex marriages, but it is not my belief that it is correct, therefore I will not support you and cannot make your wedding cake for you."
Can't say it more candidly than that, really. Which means the fifth thing I know about her is that she's honest. A rare commodity these days. Not to be sneezed at.
The sixth thing? Well, I reckon she's a bigot. But, hey, there's lots of it about. And posting about Kath's bigotry on Facebook, and talking to the media, only serves to fuel the other side of the bigotry coin. You know, those who loudly reckon she's somehow evil personified.
Those who encourage abuse towards her. Those who can't see that people are allowed to follow their own beliefs and ethics.
I'm fine with all of it. Why? Because if I wanted to get married, I'd rather know our cake baker feels the way Kath does. Better that than having her accept our order, then sneering behind our backs, while only thinking of the money. The world's full of that. What it's not full of is people prepared to follow their personal belief systems, and say no to the money. Not much of that about. Not much at all.
And, sure, if your local muffler dealer starts with the anti-gay carry on, and refuses to fix your leaky exhaust, then that would be bad. But, I doubt the muffler dude gives a toss. As Kath's refusal to serve was directly related to two women marrying each other, it feels more like a direct hit rather than some untargeted homophobic shrapnel spray.
For the two women involved in this, get used to bigotry. You shouldn't have to, but you need to. Kath will not be the first, or last, killjoy you ever meet. There will be many more on the bumpy road to gay wedded bliss, and beyond. Not everyone will approve of your every move and, in the end, you're just another young couple in love. Happy nuptials!
As for the cake, mark my words. There will be a willing baker along any minute more than happy to take your gay dosh. They may even get to appear backlit angelic by taking no dosh from you and taking the marketing kudos instead. Would that be more acceptable to you than Kath's unwavering moral code?
Because life sure is complicated these days. Who and what we think of as bad sometimes means we can't see the good for the trees. My hope for Kath is that she does not receive too much hateful discrimination via online harassment, for exercising her right to discriminate. Abuse won't change her mind.
And we all know what the Human Rights Act says about discrimination, but we also know that a person has a right to exercise religious freedom and beliefs. The Act needs some serious work. Or none. Whatever.
My advice? Let's all just put on our big girl pants and throw our heads back and laugh at the state of our world, and all who reside in her. And eat cake.