There’s a fine line between love and hate, but even a finer one between genuine hatred, as seen in David Duke and Bull Connor, which really is toxic, and the kind ginned up to delegitimize arguments by making it seem toxic when it is at worst just controversial.

It was Al Gore in 1999 who first played the Duck Card, telling a group of black ministers that conservatives who used the words ‘color blind’ were really like hunters in duck blinds, lulling black voters into states of non-vigilance to mow them down quickly once they took flight. The issue du jour was affirmative action, which one could oppose for two reasons: because one hated blacks; or because one felt an institutionalized double standard went against the American ethos and hurt those placed in situations in which they would fail to compete.

The issue today is gay marriage, which one can also oppose for two reasons: because one hates gays; or because one follows Biblical teachings about the nature of marriage and thinks the traditional male-female model has served mankind well.

Those in the second groups have always vastly outnumbered those in the first, but it has been the tactic of their opponents to link the two groups together and treat them as one, implying that all who oppose them are genuine bigots and outside the realm of acceptable discourse.

The question in play in Duck Card part deux concerns Papa Duck of "Duck Dynasty," the A&E television reality series, and whether he belongs in group one, as progressives say, or in group two, as his defenders would have it. On this question, the evidence seems to be mixed.

In a sermon given three years ago (which A&E surely knew of before he was hired), Papa Duck (real name Phil Robertson) said things about gays almost as bad as those routinely said on MSNBC about Tea Party members and other conservatives. But in the interview given to GQ that caused all the trouble, he seems to have mellowed a bit.

True, he grouped gay sex with bestiality as an unsavory practice, but he also linked both to male/female adultery, a far more widespread and commonplace practice, one favored by many stars of stage, screen and Congress — but then said it wasn’t his business to judge them and left it to God to sort it all out.

On the other hand, the evidence is not mixed at all on the high hatred quotient of many gay activists, who have outed themselves as masters of malice aforethought in their efforts to disrupt the lives and dismantle the livelihoods of people or vote or who think the wrong way.

In 2012, gay rights organizations tried to boycott and otherwise savage the Chick-Fil-A fast food restaurant syndicate because its owner and founder was a donor to social conservative causes, pressuring city officials to reject its requests for franchises.

After Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, passed in California in 2008, the losers waged war on its supporters, scanning public lists for names of its donorsand forcing the directors of the Los Angeles Film Festival and the California Film Festival to resign after bloggers had posted their names on the Internet. Restaurants run by donors were disrupted by mobs who terrified patrons. Churches were targeted. One whose members collected petitions was defaced by vandals. Mobs collected at the Mormon Temple in Los Angeles, shouting out, "Mormon scum."

Nothing like this, needless to say, has come from "Duck Dynasty."

Who are the real haters, you sensitive liberals? Don't duck the question: It's you.

Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."