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Gay Rights Laws Limit Our Freedom

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:18 pm - April 10, 2009.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay Politics

If you want to know why I oppose laws banning private employers from discriminating against gay people, all you need do is read an article in today’s Washington Post.  In “Faith Groups Increasingly Lose Gay Rights Fights,” Jacqueline L. Salmon finds:

Faith organizations and individuals who view homosexuality as sinful and refuse to provide services to gay people are losing a growing number of legal battles that they say are costing them their religious freedom.

The lawsuits have resulted from states and communities that have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those laws have created a clash between the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of religion, religious groups said, with faith losing.

Um, Jacqueline, can you please tell me where you found that “right” to be free from discrimination.  I’ve checked the constitution and sure didn’t find it there.  Now, in reviewing that august document, I did see this in the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (emphasis added).   (And through the Fourteenth Amendment, that also applies to the states.)

Ms. Salmon cites a number of examples where individuals, organizations and entrepreneurs were fired for, fimed for or barred from refusing service to or inclusion of gay people.  Now, I personally think these groups are wrong to so exclude gays, but they’re not requiring me to buy their product or participate in their activities.

At the same time, if a gay group wanted to exclude Christians from its membership, it should be free to do so.  Their right to do that would come from the First Amendment’s clause on “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” and also possibly the Ninth Amendment.

But, these constitutional protections don’t seem to be a barrier to gay groups in their zeal to reduce the freedom of private individuals and organizations.  They are prevailing in courts according to Ms. Salmon “because an individual’s religious views about homosexuality cannot be used to violate gays’ right to equal treatment under the law.”

Say what?  That’s not equal treatment under the law.  That’s using the law to limit individuals’ freedom, just as it would be if Christians used the law to mandate that gay organizations include ex-gays or that gay businesses serve the Christian Coalition.

It would seem that Jennifer Pizer, director of the Marriage Project for Lambda Legal, agrees.  She says, “We are not required to pay the price for other people’s religious views about us.”  I mean, the plain meaning of her words is that we shold not being required to to patronize companies owned or operated by those who believe homosexual behavior is sinful.

But, for some reason, I think Ms. Pizer wants to force individuals who hold such viewpoints to act against their conscience.  For her “not required to pay” has a different meaning altogether. It means not allowed to act on their religious views in the marketplace.

Now, like Ms. Pizer, I don’t share the religious views of those who contend acting on our homosexual impulses is sinful, but nothing requires me to purchase the products of those who hold them.  Just as nothing should bar private entrepreneurs who disagree with them from serving fundamentalist Christians.

Private employers should be free to discriminate against such individuals if they choose.

We should be free to choose where we purchase our products and whom we serve.  With an increasing number of corporations not merely adopting non-discrimination policies protecting gay employees but also offering domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples, it’s clear private corporations recognize the benefits of reaching out to gay people.  My own financial planning group held a special reception geared to gay people.  And if fundamentalist Christians are upset, well, too bad.  They can take their business elsewhere.

Personally, I think it’s folly for any business to discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation or their faith.  Their prejudices deprives them of clientele and thus income.  But, that’s their choice.  It’s their business.

I suggest we repeal such non-discrimination laws and let the private sector work these things out.  As the record shows, it’s been doing a pretty darn good job.

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36 Comments

  1. Bruce,

    How many Republicans support removing employment and public accomodations protections on the basis of religion? Zero.

    Comment by Tom in Lazybrook — April 10, 2009 @ 5:49 pm - April 10, 2009

  2. So if you support the rights of Baptists to fire all their Gay employees, do you support the rights of other business owners to fire people because they carry guns onto their property?

    Comment by Tom in Lazybrook — April 10, 2009 @ 5:50 pm - April 10, 2009

  3. Um, Tom, I wrote the post, not Bruce. If had read the post, you’d know the answer to your question in #2 is “Yes.”

    And you’re wrong in your first comment. I know a number of Republicans who favor such elimination. Gosh, you do make assumptions about Republicans and they continue to be wrong. Par for the course for so many on the left.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — April 10, 2009 @ 6:00 pm - April 10, 2009

  4. Um, yeah Tom I do.

    I stayed at an apartment complex where alcohol was banned, and it was in the lease. If I didn’t agree with it… I’d have moved somewhere else.

    Duh.

    Comment by The_Livewire — April 10, 2009 @ 6:00 pm - April 10, 2009

  5. I’m an economic libertarian and a social conservative. As such, if a business owner wants to fire an employee for being gay, for carrying a gun, or for any other reason … I don’t like it… but it’s less onerous to let the business owner do so than substitute the heavy hand of the all-powerful state telling employers who they can and can not employ.

    The market will find jobs for good employees, and employers that deny themselves the services of talented employees on the basis of discrimination lose out on the economic benefit of their productivity.

    Comment by V the K — April 10, 2009 @ 6:02 pm - April 10, 2009

  6. I’m an economic l-i-b-e-r-t-a-r-i-a-n and a social conservative. As such, if a business owner wants to fire an employee for being gay, for carrying a gun, or for any other reason … I don’t like it… but it’s less onerous to let the business owner do so than substitute the heavy hand of the all-powerful state telling employers who they can and can not employ.

    The market will find jobs for good employees, and employers that deny themselves the services of talented employees on the basis of discrimination lose out on the economic benefit of their productivity.

    Comment by V the K — April 10, 2009 @ 6:02 pm - April 10, 2009

  7. Sometimes freedom means letting people do things you don’t like.

    Comment by V the K — April 10, 2009 @ 6:03 pm - April 10, 2009

  8. Ultimately, the power that the federal government has for this kind of behaviour comes through the commerce clause. It’s the foundation of all of the civil rights legislation of the 1960′s. If individual behaviour and prejudice affects the flow of interstate commerce (that is to say, businesses that use products from more than one state to serve customers, even if they are only from one state), then the federal government has the power to regulate it. There’s a fascinating set of opinions from the Supreme Court on the nature of protected class statuses. That may be what Salmon was alluding to when talking about the right to be free from discrimination.

    Of course, this kind of federal regulation is only appropriate when it involves the flow of commerce. That, however, can be interpreted in very loose, hilarious ways!

    Comment by Scottland — April 10, 2009 @ 6:17 pm - April 10, 2009

  9. Why do we even have a Constitution anymore? Liberals just ignore it anyway.

    Companies are forced to hire people they don’t want to hire, but those people are free to discriminate against the company.

    The freedom of association is a God given right, protected by the constitution. There is NO right to force someone to associate with you. Indeed, the latter contradicts the former.

    I swear, I could go through the Constitution article by article providing examples of how liberals violate every clause. The only clauses they don’t regularly violate? The ones that don’t exist!

    Comment by American Elephant — April 10, 2009 @ 6:20 pm - April 10, 2009

  10. What’s your take on the fluidity of the constitution? Even Scalia has admitted to be a ‘faint-hearted originalist’. I concede that creative interpretation of the constitution has potentially negative consequences; John Yoo’s understanding of the commander in chief powers isn’t my understanding, but I’d be more flexible than the likes of Hugo Black(A strict textualist, as the Korematus decision demonstrates), if I was in a position to make such decisions.

    Comment by Scottland — April 10, 2009 @ 6:39 pm - April 10, 2009

  11. There’s several communities around here (central Florida) that won’t allow you to move in unless you’re 55+. Nobody bats an eye. I want to say that there’s a whole town, somewhere around palm beach, that has such a prohibition.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 10, 2009 @ 6:42 pm - April 10, 2009

  12. And, to take up your challenge, AE, how do liberals violate article 1, section 4?

    Comment by Scottland — April 10, 2009 @ 6:51 pm - April 10, 2009

  13. Can you name any Republican elected official that has introduced legislation to remove religion from employment protections?

    Comment by Tom in Lazybrook — April 10, 2009 @ 7:06 pm - April 10, 2009

  14. And, to take up your challenge, AE, how do liberals violate article 1, section 4?

    You’re kidding right? When DON’T liberals violate Article I, section 4? which reads, in part…

    The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof

    Every single election cycle, Democrats go to court to challenge the duly written election laws prescribing the times, places and manner in which elections will be held. They demand that all the polling places stay open late, they challenge the locations and the manner.

    When one of their candidates is losing in the polls after the deadline for entering the race has passed, they go to court to force the state to allow a more popular Democrat to run instead in violation of the duly written election laws.

    When their candidate loses an election by a couple thousand votes, they find activist judges to make the state count ballots in a way that favors their candidate but violates the states election laws and the Constitution of the United States…..and on and on and on…..

    Holy cow! I don’t think the internet has enough space to catalog all the ways Democrats violate Article I section 4! I can’t remember an election in which they didn’t.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 11, 2009 @ 4:05 am - April 11, 2009

  15. Tom writes:

    Can you name any Republican elected official that has introduced legislation to remove religion from employment protections?

    No Tom, Republicans aren’t ignorant enough of the Constitution to propose amending it with legislation. Liberals, on the other hand, apparently think nothing of it.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 11, 2009 @ 4:10 am - April 11, 2009

  16. I suggest we repeal such non-discrimination laws and let the private sector work these things out. As the record shows, it’s been doing a pretty darn good job.
    Oh yes, because blacks in the South were doing just fine before the civil rights laws were passed.

    Comment by torrentprime — April 11, 2009 @ 4:16 am - April 11, 2009

  17. Oh yes, because blacks in the South were doing just fine before the civil rights laws were passed.

    What are you talking about, TP?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 11, 2009 @ 6:08 am - April 11, 2009

  18. AE, thankyou for that very broad answer that didn’t provide any examples or take into account the very next line of the clause:
    but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.

    Are you saying that every time democrats (or republicans) challenge an election, there has been no legislative action that has allowed recourse for those particular processes?

    Comment by Scottland — April 11, 2009 @ 7:11 am - April 11, 2009

  19. And, as an additional question, if the state legislature has passed election laws that, for instance, have the practical affect of limiting certain communities ability to vote, due to unequal distribution of polling sites, can’t any concerned individual go to court and challenge those laws under the 14th ammendment? What’s so egregious about bringing the courts in?

    Comment by Scottland — April 11, 2009 @ 7:27 am - April 11, 2009

  20. Now you want to regulate a companies’ ablity to fire whomever they want?
    One man’s regulation is another man’s injustice.

    Comment by James Sherman — April 11, 2009 @ 7:58 am - April 11, 2009

  21. from Federalist 78: ‘If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution…The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts.’

    Comment by Scottland — April 11, 2009 @ 8:58 am - April 11, 2009

  22. Elections are public and political. What we seek to limit is government intrusion into regions that are private and economic. Do try and keep up.

    Comment by V the K — April 11, 2009 @ 11:58 am - April 11, 2009

  23. But of course. And as I said earlier, government intrusion into the private and economic is very much based on the commerce clause. It has served as a profoundly effective route to national power, and it has been interpreted extremely broadly by the courts. If an organization uses products from more than one state, such as a restaurant buying toothpicks from another state, then the federal government has the power to regulate the behaviour of that organization, including the processes by which is hires staff and serves consumers. I mean, that is my understanding of elements of the constitution, and I appreciate that some clauses are treated as more important than others. What clauses would you stake opposition to such government activities on?

    Comment by Scottland — April 11, 2009 @ 2:04 pm - April 11, 2009

  24. President Obama spoke, America is not a Christian nation, thus obliterating our Judeo-Christian heritage and values as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, and implied in the Constitution. Obama having said that has open the door for every piece of radical left legislation that shoves their agenda down the throats of those who oppose them. Denominstions whose doctrine is opposed to homosexuality should not be forced to hire or be prohibited from firing a gay employee. Liberls want it both ways. They were the most vocal in the denouncing sexual abuse by RC clergy. The object was to destroy the authority of the Catholic Church, just as they destroyed parental authority by making teachers gestapo agents to have students inform on their parents. Thus, the school replaced the parents as the churches become subject to the government.

    Comment by Roberto — April 11, 2009 @ 2:17 pm - April 11, 2009

  25. President Obama has spoken; America is not a Christian nation. With those word he has obliterated our Judeo-Christian heritage whose values are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and implied in the Constitution. Certain Christian groups whose doctrine claims that homosexuality is a sin should have the right to not to hire a gay or lesbian and to fire said person because the gay lifestyle is incompatiible with their doctrine. By the same token a gay business should not have to be forced hire a Christian who is opposed to the lifestyle of the ownership and staff. The radical left wants to force its agenda down the throats of the opposition. It was the left who was so vocal about sex abuse in the RC Church. It wasn´t concern for the victims as much as it was about diminishing the authority of the church; much the same as they did to usurp parental authority by turning teachers into gestapo agents having students inform on their parents so that the school authority replaces parental authority.

    Comment by Roberto — April 11, 2009 @ 8:38 pm - April 11, 2009

  26. Scott,

    Some examples, Al Franken getting courts to order the unequal treatment of ballots (in violation of Minnesota statute, federal law and the constitution), courts allowing Frank Lautenberg to take the place of Torricelli on the ballot long after the statute mandated filing deadline had passed and ballots were already being printed — simply because Democrats forced Torricelli to pull out because polls showed he was going to lose…

    None of which has ANYTHING to do with congress or the next clause.

    Its simply cheating. Which is what Democrats do.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 12, 2009 @ 2:39 am - April 12, 2009

  27. Just looked at the NJ Supreme Court opinion for the Lautenberg case. They modify existing precedent by one day, and back it up with previous opinions. Sounds like judicial review to me, not cheating. It’s a decision that they know is open to interpretation, and they direct the legislature as to why this is allowed. Subsequently, there is legislation introduced into the NJ legistlature designed to explicitly prohibit the kind of behaviour that the democratic party legitimately(at the time) practised. To be honest, it kinda looks like the system, y’know, working.

    Comment by Scottland — April 12, 2009 @ 11:12 am - April 12, 2009

  28. Ah, slight misunderstanding of the case in connection to A1677. Current cut off point is 48 days, in the kilmurray case it was 34 days, Lautenberg got on the ballot 35 days, so he was one day inside the bracket for the kilmurray case. Now, there’s legislation in the system which seeks to declares that you can’t file a vacancy later than 48 days before an election, something that previous election law did not specify. It makes a certain amount of sense to me. It’s a little creative, but it’s nothing particularly egregious.

    Comment by Scottland — April 12, 2009 @ 11:18 am - April 12, 2009

  29. A second example of Obama Party “creativity”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — April 12, 2009 @ 11:29 am - April 12, 2009

  30. LOL.

    Activist court modifies an activist ruling to achieve an activist end.

    The problem is they had no business moving the date to begin with.

    The constitution calls for the legislature, NOT the courts, to determine times, places and manner in which elections will be held.

    Subsequently, there is legislation introduced into the NJ legistlature designed to explicitly prohibit the kind of behaviour that the democratic party legitimately(at the time) practised. To be honest, it kinda looks like the system, y’know, working.

    Thats because youre a hack for the Democrats who has no interest in the rule of law.

    To anyone else, your own statement proves the system ISN’T working. The law made the filing deadlines perfectly clear, a fact that not even the Lautenberg case argued. And now, because the courts have exceeded their proper role, the legislature is forced to go back and REPEAT what the law made clear in the first place.

    The only way that is “the system working” is that the legislative branch is acting as a check on activist courts that have usurped powers that dont belong to them.

    Comment by American Elephant — April 13, 2009 @ 2:44 am - April 13, 2009

  31. The court is using the traditional power that is has, it’s judgement, and in it’s judgement it found, however minor, a grey area on the issue of legislative intent.
    The constitution can be seen as a limited or unlimited document. Nothing in the clause expliticly says that the courts cannot pass judgement on laws created in the name of enacting the clause. I refer to Mr. Hamiltons comments above. Legislation works the same way. If the NJ legislature doesn’t want the courts to look at their decisions, they can strip them of jurisdiction.

    Comment by Scottland — April 13, 2009 @ 7:16 am - April 13, 2009

  32. I have to disagree with a portion of this commentary because it is not factual.

    The writer explains that businesses should be allowed to ban gays from their businesses/employment just as gays could deny employment/business with Christians. That last part is false, and actually has very little to do with our Constitution.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (specifically Title II, Sec. 201) restricts businesses from discriminating on the basis of religion.

    So while the Christians may be able to discriminate against homosexuals in business, homosexuals cannot legally discriminate against Christians in business.

    While I am a Libertarian, I do not think a freedom to discriminate would be justified or workable unless the Civil Rights acts were also repealed to ensure that we all had this same freedom to discriminate.

    Comment by JazzyJ — April 13, 2009 @ 10:04 am - April 13, 2009

  33. The writer indicates that the Constitution does not specifically protect from religious discrimination. The writer believes that as Christian business owners should have the right to discriminate against homosexuals, then homosexuals should have the right to discriminate against Christians, and that leaves us all more freedom.

    That would be true; however, while the Constitution does not guarantee freedom from discrimination, the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 do guarantee freedom from discrimination on the basis of some characteristics of humans – one of them being religion.

    So while the Christian grocery store owner may refuse selling goods to homosexuals, the homosexual grocery store owner has no legal standing in refusing to sell goods to Christians. Once again, homosexuals stand on unequal ground.

    Repeal the Civil Rights Acts, and I would be more inclined to agree with the writer.

    Comment by JazzyJ — April 13, 2009 @ 11:56 am - April 13, 2009

  34. This is what I thought of when I saw eHarmony getting sued. The Psychologist that started that based his “patented algorithms” on his practice with hetero couples and it matches based (probably) on old fashioned ideas like women want men who are strong assertive provider types, etc. Of course that’s hard to translate to same sex couples and he even said “I don’t know how to match them”

    eHarmony settled, but imagine if they lost? If they lost then every same sex dating site would be illegal, so too would be the jewish, over 30 and other dating sites, all be illegal if eHarmony had been sued and lost.

    So now eHarmony will make a dating site for same sex couples, and it will probably suck. And so why is this good for anyone?

    Comment by plutosdad — April 13, 2009 @ 2:11 pm - April 13, 2009

  35. I don’t think these are actual gay people on here. I wanted to hear what gay conservatives think but,as usual, pushy straight conservatives can’t force themselves to shut up. Too bad, I thought there might be a place for me but it seems the religious and “patriotic” bullies have shoved their noses in again.

    Comment by Jack — April 13, 2009 @ 4:26 pm - April 13, 2009

  36. What a bunch of horse s**t you loser republicans spout.

    You suck more than dick!

    Comment by Chet Wyatt — April 15, 2009 @ 1:25 am - April 15, 2009

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