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Non-discrimination laws limit freedom of companies to offer benefits to gay people

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:44 pm - September 23, 2012.
Filed under: Freedom,Legal Issues,Liberalism Run Amok

A federal judge for the Southern District of California is allowing a woman to proceed with her case against Avis Rent-A-Care because the company “did not give her the gay and lesbian group member price discount.”   In his ruling he cites “California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act” which “seeks to prevent any discrimination among people on the basis of listed characteristics.”  (Via Instapundit.)

The plaintiff, he wrote, “has stated a plausible claim for relief, i.e., that AVIS violated the prohibitions of the Act regarding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”  If she succeeds in her suit, private companies, like Avis, will no longer be able to offer discounts to members of gay and lesbian organizations.

If Avis wishes to offer discounts to members of gay and lesbian organizations as a means to promote their service, the company should be free to do so. And if this woman believes Avis is discriminating against her, she remains free to take her business elsewhere.  Avis is not the only rental car company.

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6 Comments

  1. Forgive me if I have misunderstood something here, but do you have to be gay or lesbian to join either International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association or the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce?

    If not, does that fact effect the merits of the case? Isn’t Avis allowed to offer discounts to other organizations such as AAA?

    From the local chapter of NGLCC :
    “RBPA membership is open to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, glbt friendly professionals, business owners, students, non-profit organizations.”

    Doesn’t the phrase “glbt friendly professionals” mean that you can join even if you are not gay?

    Am I missing something?

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — September 23, 2012 @ 6:02 pm - September 23, 2012

  2. If Avis wishes to offer discounts to members of gay and lesbian organizations as a means to promote their service, the company should be free to do so. And if this woman believes Avis is discriminating against her, she remains free to take her business elsewhere. Avis is not the only rental car company.

    I agree, but the law is the law. Regardless of what the woman’s motivations are, ridiculous lawsuits are usually predicated upon ridiculous laws. I wouldn’t have a problem with the woman, I would have a problem with the law (I infer from the title that you do, but the sentences I quoted seem to suggest otherwise).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — September 23, 2012 @ 7:30 pm - September 23, 2012

  3. Good points, TnnsNe1 and Rattlesnake. TnnsNe1, I think you’ve just outlined the argument the defendants are going to make.

    And Rattlesnake, you nail it when you write that “ridiculous lawsuits are usually predicated upon ridiculous laws” (thought I might tweak that by adding the word, “often,” between “are” and “usually.”

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 24, 2012 @ 1:34 am - September 24, 2012

  4. how about great service and great prices for everyone all the time? i agree that the company should be able to market however they choose, but the unintended consequences of trying to legislate equality by division is proving to be lucrative for lawyers.

    Comment by 5 * Mom — September 24, 2012 @ 2:07 am - September 24, 2012

  5. That actually made me laugh out loud reading it.

    Yes, a company should be allowed to serve/discount whomever they like. Live by the restriction of freedom, die by the restriction of freedom.

    Comment by The_Livewire — September 24, 2012 @ 7:59 am - September 24, 2012

  6. New Mexican lesbian couple wanting wedding photos from a Christian photographer, your car is ready.

    Comment by Ignatius — September 24, 2012 @ 11:47 am - September 24, 2012

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