While I tire of some of the anti-gay tirades that often seem just a finger’s click away on so many conservative websites, I’m all for free speech. Even when the goal of the speech is to suppress the free speech of companies which see fit to advertise at gay events.
So instead of attacking anyone’s right to free speech, I’ll defend the right of Home Depot to offer children’s crafts workshops at a gay event. That is a classic case of free expression, and even though it is clear that the children at the gay event might very well be “exposed” to the “homosexual agenda,” a crafts workshop strikes me as politically and sexually neutral. Unless, of course, they’re showing children how to make sex toys, which I doubt, because that would have been pointed out by the people who are yelling about Home Depot. At minimum, these people include my regular emailer Matt Barber, who accuses Home Depot of facilititating exposure and corrupting children:

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel tells OneNewsNow the home improvement store is facilitating the exposure of children to sinful behavior.
“Out of some kind of notion of political correctness and being tolerant, Home Depot is contributing to all of this,” he notes. “They’re contributing to the corruption of children, and they need to answer for that.”

How exactly is Home Depot contributing to the corruption of children who attend such an event with a crafts workshop? Does he really believe that there are any children who would attend a gay event because it had a Home Depot workshop, and then become corrupted? Sorry, but I don’t find that credible. More likely, I think Barber dislikes the fact that parents (most likely gay parents) are taking their children to gay events. That is of course none of his business, so he is trying to blame a large corporation simply for its presence at an event he does not like. As to how the children are corrupted by being there, I’d be willing to bet that they already know exactly what a gay pride event is, and know what homosexuality is. What kind of corruption does he mean? Sex with children? I doubt that, or else he would be complaining about pedophiles stalking kids at conveniently placed Home Depot crafts workshops. Maybe he’d rather insinuate that than hurl such an unfounded accusation at the company. So I don’t think his complaint involves sex with children. Rather, I’m left having to conclude that he must mean that his definition of “corruption” means simply not agreeing with Matt Barber’s religious views on homosexuality.
Similarly, I think that when he complains of children being “exposed to debauchery,” he doesn’t mean they’re nude orgiers but rather that they’re simply seeing publicly self-acknowledged gays:

Many parents are already outraged and are taking action, according to Barber. “I would tell parents to go tell Home Depot that they don’t appreciate it and that if they continue it, they’re going to take their business elsewhere,” he adds.
Barber says that will help drive a message home to company officials that in the interest of political correctness, they are driving away business and alienating a large percentage of their customer base who do not appreciate children being exposed to debauchery.

Even if we assume for the sake of argument that seeing gays equals exposure to debauchery, did Home Depot really do that? The gay event is there regardless of Home Depot, and I think the idea that anyone — child or otherwise — would actually attend an event because a particular company advertised there, is simply preposterous.
(“Hey, did you hear that Bridgestone Tires is a sponsor of this week’s concert in the park? Wow, let’s go!”)
Yes, the tire company is also a culprit. So, by the way, is my favorite — and I do mean favorite — airline!

Other corporate sponsors of the Nashville event included Southwest Airlines and Bridgestone Tires.

As it turns out, the outfit which ran the avove story has a history of being mad at Southwest Airlines for advertising at gay events. That’s because they don’t see advertising as advertising, but as a “stamp of approval”:

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council, says choosing to sponsor the festival was an “irrational business decision” by Southwest and SunTrust because homosexuals are only about two percent of the American population.
Sprigg believes that SunTrust and Southwest are wrong to think they can gain a competitive advantage by putting their stamp of approval on an immoral event.

Once again, I think the event (the “Capital Pride Festival”) is considered immoral simply because they consider any gay event to be inherently immoral. (It would not matter if the group was called the “Gay District Attorneys Association.”)
I’m not sure they really care about the percentage of the gay population or how it might relate to a corporate marketing decision either. There are many groups which don’t account for large percentages of the population. Whether gay flyers (and, of course, pro-gay flyers) are outnumbered by anti-gay flyers is obviously something for Southwest to consider.
What I like about Southwest is that they are the only airline which seems to encourage a sense of humor in employees. When I flew to Seattle, an obviously gay employee had most of the plane in stitches with his wisecracks over the mike, and deliberately comic misstatements of the rules. It doesn’t cost anything extra to do that, and if hiring such a person constitutes approving of debauchery, I’m all for it. I hate traveling. Really. Air travel has become such an unpleasant drag that little things like comic debauchery can help tremendously. Southwest is also casual about boarding, and I like the boarding by groups, print -your-own-boarding-pass, at-home-online, policy.
But while I’m on the subject of flying, I do have one complaint about something I think involves real debauchery.
I refer to the recent crackdown on seat pockets. According to the Southwest crew (and I realize it is not their fault), there has been a recent change in FAA policy regarding the seat pocket in front of you, and airlines are having to inspect for compliance. Because books, ipods and food are suddenly considered dangerous, you are no longer allowed to put them — or anything — in the seat pockets. I checked and found several discussions online, with complaints like this from “DanTheMan39”:

Here’s a first for me…
On a recent Skywest (UA Express) flight, I turned off my cell phone and stuck it in the seat-pocket in front of me once the cabin door was shut.
The flight attendant walking up the aisle happened to notice what I did, and informed me that I would have to take my cell phone out of the seat pocket because it was not an FAA approved storage area. She said that I could hold it in my hand if I wanted, or store it in my luggage, but it could absolutely not go in the seat pocket and insisted that it was due to FAA regulation.
Nearby passengers were told the same thing for waterbottles, books, even an ipod.
I know the seat-back pocket is not FAA approved for “carry-on luggage”, but a small cell phone or an ipod hardly count as luggage. They are smaller than the magazines that are placed in the pockets to begin with!

And this, from “mahasamatman”:

We got the same deal this weekend flying back from Burbank. Apparently, Skywest has been fined for allowing anything other than a magazine in the seat back pocket. Your government dollars at work…

Oh yes. Under the new administration there’s obviously plenty of money to spend on new and frivolous enforcement tactics.
I realize gay debauchery might be annoying to some, but personally, I find government debauchery much more annoying.
Why do these debauched bureaucrats get to spend my money harassing me, anyway? Why must I be forced to finance their sick lifestyle?
And what about the effect this will have on the children? Do we really have to facilitate their exposure by going through their seat pockets?