The Catholic owners of “Joe’s Hardware” in Atchison, Kansas are defending themselves against a federal lawsuit that accuses them of violating equal protection laws because they refused to sell a same-sex extension cord to a customer last month.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit is Flip Rosco, a poodle trainer from Greenwich Village. During a press conference announcing the lawsuit, Mr. Rosco caused some initial confusion when he was asked what he was doing in Atchison in the first place. “Looking for a Catholic hardware store to sue,” he proclaimed, to a few raised eyebrows. “Love wins,” he quickly added, which seemed to satisfy the assembled crowd.
Joe and Abby Smith, the owners of the family-run hardware business and long-time members at St. Agnes, the local parish, were caught completely off guard by the allegations. The Smiths are adamant that they didn’t discriminate against anyone.
“I remember when this fella came in to the store,” recalled Joe. “I asked him if I could help him find anything. He gave me kind of a sly look and said he wanted to buy a gay extension cord. I told him we didn’t carry those but maybe I could special order it, and that’s when he started screaming at me that he was going to sue us. It’s just crazy. What the hell is a gay extension cord anyway?”
Abby Smith was just as upset. “This whole thing just came out of nowhere,” she said. “We just want to serve our customers and practice our faith. Up until now, we’ve been able to do both without any problem. Now we’re looking at legal fees, a long court battle, and goodness knows what else. Maybe even jail.”
“Probably jail,” added Justice Anthony Kennedy. “But it’s okay because at the heart of liberty is the right to define your own concept of existence, of persecution, of your prison cell, and who knows, maybe even elimination for the greater good if you keep trying to exercise your religion instead of just worshiping your God in private like a good citizen.”
Supporters on both sides of the issue have taken to social media to debate the moral, constitutional, and electrical merits of plugging the kitchen into the living room.