When Rob Port declared last week that it's a legitimate business decision for establishments to enforce mask mandates, I agreed. But then he veered off the rails (into more familiar territory) by comparing mask requirements to the gay wedding cake case in Colorado.

Swing and a miss! Actually, one is a potentially lethal public health issue while the other involves discrimination comparable to the refusal of Woolworth's to serve black customers at the lunch counter in 1960.

The tally thus far:

  • Deaths by COVID-19: 150,000
  • Deaths while frosting a cake: 0

The freedom of religion argument doesn't wash either unless you’re willing to crack the door to state-sanctioned racial discrimination based on your deeply held religious beliefs.

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Trust me, Jesus will forgive you for putting two grooms on a cake.

The Supreme Court ruling specifically rejected Colorado's handling of the case, but the larger picture is that all businesses tacitly enter into a contract with local, state and federal governments when they're licensed, pay taxes and use legal tender during transactions, and that contract includes abiding by nondiscrimination laws — treating everyone equally.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota (banjo music), the Republican calendar is stuck on 1969, the year Manhattan police raided an LGBTQ nightclub, triggering the Stonewall Riots.

News reports exposed a North Dakota Republican platform direct from the Inquisition that opposes LGBTQ equality — including gay marriage — and brands gender identity bills as “protection to voyeurs who wish to 'prey' on members of the opposite sex.”

Translation: If you’re transgender, it's probably a criminal scam to perv out in bathrooms. But why do bathroom and locker room sex crimes always seem to involve Republican lawmakers? Heck, North Dakota Republicans even endorsed a convicted voyeur for state office.

Adding to the hypocrisy, last week Republican standard-bearer and devout Christian President Donald J. Trump wished a child-sex-trafficker well in her upcoming trial. He forgives her. And will pardon her if she keeps quiet.

The Treatise on Morality continues: Anti-discrimination laws “empower those practicing LGBT(Q) behaviors to assume positions of mentorships of minors often over objections of parents, influencing their emotions and thereby recruiting for their lifestyles, also noting that “Many LGBT(Q) practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large.”

Put them in the Iron Maiden! Purge those brainwashing gay teachers, coaches, ministers, police officers, first responders, soldiers, doctors, and legislators. Your neighbor. Your sister. Your brother. Your daughter. Your son. Tell them that they aren't allowed to love who they love. Go ahead, sanction the bullying of gay students. That's the message.

And the claim that homosexuality is potentially lethal? True. You could die at 21 bound to a barbed wire fence like Matthew Shepard.

Some Republican politicians publicly rejected the discriminatory platform, but that was damage control after it went public. After.

Please. Let's not pretend that this isn't who this party is. This language has been part of the state platform for years while Republican legislators have crushed multiple bills that would simply protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination.

The Party of Personal Freedom long ago mutated into the Morality Police, busybody church ladies obsessed with discriminating against fellow citizens, intent on governing genitalia. Haters dominate the Republican Party, and the rest are too timid to stand up to them when it matters.

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.