Gay rights are civil rights. The parallels are obvious, and we have yet another example.
Last weekend, Alix Genter, a lesbian bride in New Jersey, was refused the purchase of a bridal gown because the store owner realized Genter was going to be marrying another woman. (Same-gender marriage rights are not yet recognized in New Jersey, but the state's discrimination policies include sexual orientation; these policies apply to any businesses serving the public.) So, of course, now the folks at anti-gay hategroups like NOM and FRC and AFA will have yet another case they can claim is an attack on "religious freedom." (Sorry for the hate quotes, but what they are asking for is NOT religious freedom, but special rights—the right to discriminate against people—for conservative Christians.)
When I first saw this story on NewJerseyNewsroom I immediately found the store owner's statements amazingly offensive. Let me show you the quote and then I'll explain why I take offense (if it is not glaringly obvious to you as well):
According to Gothamist, store owner Donna Saber learned Genter was gay because she had crossed out the word "groom" and written "partner" on the paperwork.
Saber did not deny the account. Saber said that writing the word "partner" was basically a provocation, needing "to show that she's different...They get that way."
First, the store owner is getting upset that her customer is telling the truth. Rather than lie and put down her future wife's name as a "groom"—which she clearly is not—and rather than hiding the truth, Alix Genter was honest. As a Christian, would Saber rather have a person lie? But that's not even the really offensive part.
Saber uses the phrase "They get that way." Hm. "That way." "Provocative." What she's really saying is Alix Genter got "uppity." Further, using the term "they" is a hair's breadth away from saying something similar to "you people" or "those people." These are terms and phrases that were used to object to civil rights for African Americans, and they are now being used against gays and lesbians.
And this is when I get frustrated with people who say that "gay rights" are not "civil rights." The parallels are obvious, but some people will always feel justified claiming that someone else is "those people" and therefore deserve to be treated less equally.