Which is worse, producing a bill to diminish the rights of a vulnerable minority in the cynical hope that it wins you votes - or producing a bill  to diminish the rights of a vulnerable minority that you know will go nowhere - in the cynical hopes of winning votes?

The correct answer is both.

Welcome to Northern Ireland in 2015, where thanks to a bill crafted by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - and supported by the Catholic Church - gay people could soon be expected to surrender their legal equality at Belfast International Airport arrivals terminal. 

Thanks to DUP minister Paul Givan, 33, a new so-called "conscience clause" bill narrowly targeted at the gay community could allow businesses to refuse to serve them for fear it would "endorse, promote or facilitate a same-sex sexual relationship in violation of his/her faith identity."

A shorter term for it is legislative gay bashing. 

Bake a cake for a gay couple and you're not just baking a cake, according to the DUP you're marching at the front of a pride parade. Provide a gay couple with some flowers and according to the DUP you might as well throw glitter and gay marry them on your doorstep.

The discrimination is so apparent that Givan, a creationist who believes the world is no more than 6000 years old, has hardly troubled to deny it. 

In an Orwellian appeal to tolerate his intolerance he told the press with a straight face that it comes down to a choice between a society "that can make space for difference or one that is intolerant."

Northern Ireland should make space for businesses that sincerely believe that gays are hell bound sinners only fit for eternal fire, apparently. Telling gay people they are a special class of sinner that must be avoided by public accommodations for fear of spiritual contamination is not in Given's opinion hostility or homophobia, it's a sincerely held religious belief.

But that's just putting God's blessing on your decision to be an condescending jerk. Because what theocratic mindsets like Given's can't seem to grasp is that these "Christian" businesses are selling cakes and flowers, not their personal approval of events or the people involved in them.

The people who run and work in these “Christian” businesses are free to hold whatever opinions they like but their actions must conform to the law. No one has the right to ignore equality laws they don't like. No one has the right to ignore any laws they don't like. 

And if the DUP see the need for a "conscience clause" to discriminate against gays why stop there? Why not start discriminating against Catholics or Protestants who are in biblical error too? I mean that went so well the last time, didn’t it? 

It's hard to believe, after four decades of sectarian conflict, that the DUP and the Catholic Church together support discrimination against another minority - but sense goes out the window when “sincerely held religious belief” comes in the door.

Critics say the bill has no chance of becoming law and is in fact is just a cynical ploy by Givan to inspire his base leading up to the elections. If that's true it means he's throwing red meat to voters he thinks are bigoted enough to fall for it - and if that's true it's hard to know who he's showing more contempt for - the gay community or his own voters. 

In just 48 hours more than 100,000 people signed a petition launched here in the US in opposition to the DUP bill. 30,000 signed a similar one in Northern Ireland. 

But with people like this in charge of their society, the toughest job in Northern Ireland must be to work for its tourist office. 

By showing total contempt for the ordinary decencies of modern life no wonder so many young people want to flee the place at their earliest opportunity and more and more ethical tourists agree to take a pass. 

100,000 potential US tourists have just learned to associate Northern Ireland with crass intolerance and homophobia.

Neither are good for business.

Irish organization in St Louis strongly denies claims that Irish musician lost his job because he had a black boyfriend.Getty Images/iStockphoto