I agree with all of this. Boycotts are where my principles become conflicted in all of this. I support his right to his opinion, and I support the right of people to opt not to do business with him if they don't like his points of view. The problem is simply that it's so easy for a personal boycott to become an orchestrated campaign nowadays, and when that happens it's rarely based on anything rather than emotion aroused by dubious interpretations. It's inciting the mob to sharpen their pitchforks when the mob is not known for asking why.
I remember many people boycotting Chik-Fil-A because their owner has supported some "anti-gay" causes. I get it, I suppose, but I like their food, so I'm not boycotting them. I don't see it really accomplishes anything.
But this is the problem with "boycotts", at least for me. They're one note, and basically tied to the cause du jour. I was lucky enough to meet Truett Cathy, and he is far more than any "anti-gay" beliefs he might have. He taught Sunday school for 50 years. He gives all his employees Sundays off - whether they worship or not - just to be with family. He has given almost $25 MILLION in scholarships to deserving kids. He has fostered underprivileged children for the better part of 30 years.
His big crime? His "anti-gay activism"? An interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, where he said "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman". He said nothing derogatory about gay people, he didn't say they were immoral, or anything like that. He simply said he believed marriage was between a man and a woman.
If you can't have an opinion, what's the point of the Constitution?
This was published later, after the hoopla: "Cathy himself hasn't changed his own views on same-sex marriage. As he told the AJC: “I think the time of truths and principles are captured and codified in God’s word and I’m just personally committed to that,” he said. “I know others feel very different from that and I respect their opinion and I hope that they would be respectful of mine.”"
I don't have to agree with it, but I think shutting down his business is a rather draconian "consequence" for voicing his opinion.
One thing I will add is that "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman" is a denouncement of gay marriage. We don't live in a vacuum and his statement really can't be seen as anything other. You already know I'm on your side on this, but you suggested, probably inadvertently, that his remarks were innocent and I can see people feeling personally threatened by them.
As for the last, yes, but there has to be SOME room for honest discussion. Denouncing "gay marriage" isn't an indictment on gays themselves, and it's not necessarily a rejection of "equality". We impose restrictions on things all the time. There's a whole slew of people I can't marry - legally - and "my desire", or who I'm sexually attracted to, doesn't factor in. I can't marry another guy, neither can George Michael. I can marry any woman on the planet who is above a certain age, not first cousins, able to give consent, and not otherwise married, and so can George Michael. I can't marry anyone I choose, I can't necessarily marry the person I love, and neither can George Michael. We have "equality".
I would never advocate AGAINST gay marriage - honestly, as much as I dislike myself for this, it's really gotten to the point that I couldn't care less about "how marriage is defined" - but we have to stop extrapolating out and assuming all these hidden meanings where none exist. Other than being mildly annoyed at overly queen-like behavior (as a general proposition; I don't like divas either), I don't even think about someone's sexuality. I don't want them thinking about mine, why should I think or care about theirs? Hell, my daughter's god parents are a lesbian couple. If asked, I would do everything in my power to legally acquire all the rights that a person might have "via marriage" for a gay client, to make them whole. So it's not about "equality", necessarily, it's just that "equality" was determined to be the "best argument" (though even then, it's really not; the best argument for gay marriage is "gender discrimination", but that doesn't put butts in the seats). Google "argument for gay marriage" and you get a lot of ad hominem arguments that don't go to the subject issue. Stuff like "it should be legal, because otherwise it's uncivilized". Wha? And we let Snookie into our living rooms, and we're worried about being "civilized"?