Opinion: Columnists

Conn Carroll: How to fight the left-wing hate machine

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Judging from the oral arguments in the two gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court this week, it appears the federal Defense of Marriage Act will be ruled unconstitutional on federalism grounds, and that the court will punt on California's same-sex marriage law, effectively allowing every state to define marriage as it wishes.

That is not good enough for the progressive movement. Progressives want marriage to be redefined in every state to include same-sex relationships. And they will not stop there, either. As the court was listening to oral arguments Wednesday, progressive blogger and former Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee member Chris Bowers wrote, "The step after victory in legal LGBT rights will be social ostricization of those who oppose it."

Don't think for a second that Bowers' desire to punish those who disagree with the progressive agenda is an isolated case. The Center for American Progress, or CAP, the nonprofit organization founded by President Clinton's Chief of Staff John Podesta, has also labeled anyone and everyone who opposed redefining marriage as a bigot.

Of course, the progressive stance against bigotry has nothing to do with principles and everything to do with politics. After all, less than a year ago, President Obama opposed redefining marriage. Neither CAP, nor Bowers nor any other major progressive entity was devoting resources to calling Obama a bigot. It was an election year, for Pete's sake.

CAP is not content with name-calling, either. The group has led progressive efforts to ostracize anyone who disagrees with it.

Take the Boy Scouts of America. Like any large nationwide organization, it has its flaws, but it still provides countless community service and leadership opportunities to almost 3 million boys nationwide. Because BSA does not allow gay adults to become Scout leaders, the BSA must be isolated and punished.

Earlier this month, Chipotle was set to sponsor a Scout-O-Rama fundraising event in Utah. CAP sprang into action, organizing a pressure campaign to get Chipotle to drop its sponsorship. Within 24 hours, Chipotle ended its sponsorship of Scouting entirely.

Same-sex marriage is not the only issue progressives are looking to punish and isolate people over. Companies that have dissented from progressive views on health care have also been attacked. This October, Darden Restaurants -- the parent company of the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other chains -- announced it will be shifting as many of its employees to part-time status as possible in order to avoid Obamacare's expensive health insurance mandates.

CAP again took action leading a negative public relations campaign that labeled Darden as "another example of employers prioritizing profits over employees' satisfaction and well-being." Two months later, CAP celebrated the fact that Darden's profits had fallen by 37 percent.

Not long after that, Darden partially relented, announcing that while it would not be moving current full-time workers to part-time status because of Obamacare, more of its future hires would be part-time. Denny's, Applebee's, Taco Bell and Papa John's have all faced similar attacks from left-wing groups over the exact same Obamacare issue.

So how should conservatives respond to liberal efforts to label all opposition to progressive ideology as bigotry? One California Chick-fil-A owner may have the answer.

Gay marriage activists have been attacking Chick-fil-A for years because to the company's donations to Christian charities that believe in traditional marriage, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And last year, the anti-Chick-fil-A tantrum reached a crescendo when company President Dan Cathy told a radio station he opposed gay marriage.

Knowing this, when gay marriage supporters held a rally near Corey Braun's Chick-fil-A franchise in Rancho Cucamonga this past Monday, Braun saw an opportunity. He gave the protesters dozens of free entree tickets and invited them to get to know Chick-fil-A better.

"We serve everyone. We're happy to serve the community, and this was an opportunity to have this group come in and show them our hospitality regardless of their beliefs, sexual orientation or whatever," Braun told the Los Angeles Daily News.

Republicans should keep Braun in mind as they try to rebuild their party's image.

Conn Carroll (ccarroll@washingtonexaminer.com) is a senior editorial writer for The Washington Examiner. Follow him on Twitter at @conncarroll.

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