TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

Court Violates Cake Baker’s Right Not to Serve Gay Weddings

Today, a Colorado court demanded that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Bakeshop, bake wedding cakes for gay couples or face fines, the Associated Press reports. But Phillips—who disapproves of gay marriage and says he’ll close his shop rather than bake cakes for gay weddings—has a moral right to refuse to do business with people he does not want to do business with.

Although there is objectively nothing morally wrong with homosexuality—and those who claim otherwise are objectively wrong—this fact does not negate a person’s right of association. People have a right to act on their own judgment—so long as they do not violate the rights of others—even if their judgment is wrong or flawed. (To protest Phillips’s actions, I certainly plan to exercise my right of association and refuse to do business with Phillips’s shop.)

Does refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple violate the rights of that couple? No. Phillips’s refusal in no way subjects the couple to force, fraud, or the like—which is the only way rights can be violated. They remain free to hire any other cake maker willing to serve them. Phillips’s shop is his business and his property, and he has a moral right to decide how to run it.

Logically, there can be no “right” to a good or service produced by someone else (outside of a preexisting contractual commitment to provide it). If a gay couple has a “right” to force Phillips to bake them a cake, then what becomes of Phillips’s right to act on his judgment? A “right” that violates another person’s rights is a contradiction in terms.

Although Phillips deserves moral censure and boycotts of his business, he does not deserve to have the government threaten to confiscate his wealth for declining to bake a cake. The right to gay marriage rests on the freedom to contract—and that is precisely the freedom the court seeks to deny Phillips. If gay couples have the right to freedom of contract—and they do—then so does Phillips. Those who wish to have their own rights respected must respect the rights of others—even when others exercise their rights poorly.

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Posted in: Gay Issues

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Liz

    If you believe this, then why would you specifically boycott his business? He is doing nothing wrong as you say, so you would be punishing him for doing nothing wrong. You are no better than the government then. Just asking.

  • Anonymous

    Liz, I did not claim that the shop owner in question “is doing nothing wrong.” I think it was wrong of him to discriminate against a gay couple just because they’re gay. Me boycotting his businesses does not violate his rights; the government threatening to seize his wealth, does. That’s the difference. Thanks, -Ari

  • Atnor

    I agree wholeheartedly…. he can refuse to offer his services to left-handed people or redheads or homosexuals for all I care (legally)…. whatever basis he chooses, regardless of whether I think it’s sane or valid, it’s his labor, his business, and no one has a moral right to force him to offer his business against his will.

    This is truly a very wrong and unfortunate decision.

    I also agree with your position regarding his stance, and I would not give him my business either.

  • Atnor

    Yeah… the shop keeper should have every right to operate his business how he chooses. And every other citizen has the right to examine those practices, and then determine if that shop is a shop they themselves voluntarily choose to do business with.

    To paraphrase Mr. Friedman…. if the shop keeper is going to be a “dbag”, he should certainly bear a cost for that behavior in the marketplace :)

  • paul muji

    I will now go into a Muslim butcher shop and demand that they sell me bacon !!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Today, rights have become just the political expression of approval or disapproval of a behavior. Evidently, the issue of initiation of force has nothing to do with it.

  • http://XDInd.com/ Adam

    That’s different. Their shop would presumably not have bacon, nor would it be available for purchase. You would be asking them to change what they have in the store for you. This is about a bakery that bakes cakes being asked to bake a cake.

    Now, if you were to go into a Muslim butcher and ask for a nice leg of lamb, while wearing a “Mohammad sucks”, or similarly offensive tshirt which is your right as a freedom of expression and speech, they would probably throw your ass out of the store.

  • Anonymous

    Phillips’ competitors now have an ad campaign slogan. Every intentional act of a business to exclude customers is an opportunity for other businesses to increase their sales. As Ari has pointed out, every intentional yet seemingly irrational discrimination will cause intelligent prospective customers to rethink doing business with the discriminator – how do I know Phillips’ next act of exclusion will not be people of Irish, Polish, German, or Russian descent? And how can I determine this next form of discrimination if Phillips has not listed all the particular human behaviors or characteristics he finds objectionable? It’s simply easier for me to go to one of his competitors.

  • Anonymous

    Objectively, my decision to buy from this baker would be strictly based on the quality and price, i.e.value, of his cakes. Depriving myself of some tasty cake only because I disagree with the baker’s philosophy would be irrational.

  • Larry

    Why do you say that Phillips “deserves moral censure and boycotts of his business.”? His right to run his business as he chooses, his right to property, is a moral right. His right to not be forced to work for those he chooses not to, is a moral right.
    You have every right to disagree with his opinions. What you DON’T have is a moral right to declare that he should be censured if his opinions don’t align with your own.
    What Mr. Phillips “deserves” is the protection of his rights to run his life, and his business, as he sees fit without the threat of government retribution.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I will ask when this kind of discriminating choice ends? Will not bake cakes in my business for Catholics or Jews. Will not bake cakes in my business for mixed marriages. Will not bake cakes in my business for anyone Irish or Polish. Will not bake cakes in my business for Democrats or Libertarians. Think about a situation that could affect you in your own life choices. I get what some of you are saying (his right, etc.) but I see this as a slippery slope that you may not be on but what if you were? In big areas, there are other bakers, mechanics, etc. to choose from but not in small towns.

  • Atnor

    Isnt that “exactly” what the author is saying?

    The baker does indeed have a right to run his business how he sees fit and free of government judgement – and that can be him not providing his labor to customers on whatever basis he chooses, even their homosexuality.

    And, likewise, other individuals have the right to evaluate the baker’s practices and decide if they wish to engage in commerce with that baker. Many such potential customers, like myself and I assume the author, would exercise our own rights of association and choose to not engage in business with the baker because of how he conducts himself with prospective homosexual customers.

    Individuals using their freedom of speech to encourage others to likewise not engage in business with the baker for those same reasons is the “censure” and “boycott” I think the author is talking about, not government involvement.

  • David Taylor

    It is customary to purchase a cake /w a topper or provide a topper and have the cake designed for it. While I completely disagree /w the baker I also completely agree /w the author of this article.

  • Larry

    Perhaps our definitions of “censure” and “boycott” are different?

    “Censure” is a term denoting punishment of someone whose actions have been especially egregious, being either immoral or unethical. The actions of the baker are neither. According to Objectivist Ethics, he has the sovereign right to conduct his business as he sees fit (remember those signs that used to read “we reserve the right to refuse service”?)

    The exercise of his proper, wholly ethical and moral, right cannot be considered egregious by any measure. Hence, the punishment of censure is unwarranted, ie, unethical.

    “Boycott” is a group action taken against an individual or business who has somehow offended one or more of it’s members. It is the (initiated) use of force designed with the single purpose of harming the individual through intentional disruption of his ability to do business.

    Objectivist philosophy holds the protection of individual rights as it’s irreducible axiom. It is a Primary. As such, anyone calling for a boycott, calling for the initiation of the use of force against an individual for anything other than truly immoral or illegal actions is violating the very ethic they claim to espouse.

    Individuals can, and must, make decisions regarding the suitability of any business partner or social associate, and they are free to speak their mind and voice their opinion regarding the actions of another. That’s where the line is, in my opinion. Your rights end at the point where they infringe on another’s. If other people decide on their own not to patronize a business, for whatever reason, that’s certainly proper. Trying to whip up a mob to punish a businessman for your personal disagreements is not.

  • JdL

    “Boycott” is a group action taken against an individual or business who has somehow offended one or more of it’s members. It is the (initiated) use of force designed with the single purpose of harming the individual through intentional disruption of his ability to do business.

    Nonsense. Persuading others not to patronize a business is not the use of “force”, any more than persuading others to patronize a business that one DOES like is “force”. Everyone is free to choose for himself.

  • JdL

    If I understand what you’re saying, you want Big Brother to determine, and to enforce, what are acceptable reasons for refusing to do business with somebody and what are unacceptable reasons. I reject all such meddling. Only slaves allow themselves to be forced to serve someone they’d rather not serve. No reason need be given.

  • Larry

    We obviously don’t agree. I will simply say that you are proposing a false equivalence. That’s like equating someone standing outside an establishment holding a sign encouraging passers-by to “stop in” with a group of protesters marching in front of the store demanding that people NOT. The ginning up of any mob action is the definition of force.

  • Atnor

    Well, he uses the term “moral censure”, and when I google that the first returned link is an online dictionary reference to “censure”. There the various definitions are:


    - 1. An expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.

    - 2. An official rebuke, as by a legislature of one of its members.

    - 1. To criticize severely; blame. See Synonyms at criticize.

    - 2. To express official disapproval of

    From the context and using the add-on “moral” I dont think he’s suggesting some kind of govt. action. So, that matches my understanding of the term too. I think he means just criticism and harsh disapproval.

    Which, while the baker is perfectly entitled to make whatever decisions he sees fit, the author and other potential customers are equally entitled to evaluate those decisions and then decide if/how it influences their own decision to engage in commerce with that baker. I, for example, do not want to spend my money at a business that treats homosexuals that way.

    Likewise, JDL’s explanation of “boycott” runs along the same lines. Potential customers engaging in their own freedom of speech to try and inform or sway others to their position – that doesnt infringe on anyone else’s rights, the baker included.

    “I chose to not purchase from your store because you chose to refuse service to homosexuals – and I’m going to try and inform and convince others to make the same decision I just did” is a perfectly valid, free decision by a potential customer. They can inform others through mail campaigns, reviews, publicity, picketing… whatever. That’s how I generally think of a boycott.

    Any “harm” that comes to the baker’s business is a result of his own decision making and how it was evaluated by others – but no one is forcing anyone to do or not do anything. I dont see what you mean by him not able to do business?

    I dont see a boycott as an initialization of force against anyone. No business has a pre-determined “right” to someone else’s business – and making potential customers more fully informed about how the business conducts itself isnt “force” against the business. (I’m assuming that the “boycott” is what I’d normally consider a boycott, ie, disseminating information publicly, not engaging in fraud, misrepresentation, or intimidation or the like…)

    So… that being said… when you write:

    “Individuals can, and must, make decisions regarding the suitability of any business partner or social associate, and they are free to speak their mind and voice their opinion regarding the actions of another.

    That’s what I consider pretty much a boycott. What do you mean by the term?

    To “whip up a mob” is only possible if others agree with your position, and if they do, then it indicates that position (the baker’s discrimination) is relevant in that marketplace.

  • Anonymous

    Larry, I’m giving myself the final word on the matter. a) I’m not advocating violent mob action. b) Censure here does not involve any use of force. c) We can respect people’s rights and simultaneously criticize their behavior. To take another example, we can respect the right of a racist to publish racist nonsense and also morally censure the racist. Thanks, -Ari

  • Anonymous

    “I will simply say that you are proposing a false equivalence.”

    The false equivalence Larry is proposing is that my boycott of someone’s business is the equivalent of my using physical force against the business. This is untrue. No physical force, nor threat of physical force, is involved. I need not be physically present either to establish, promulgate, or maintain a boycott – which is the act of Not Acting.

    Larry is perhaps confusing a boycott with a strike, or a protest. It is neither.

  • Anonymous

    Big Brother, Smudler. Nonsense. All I think is necessary for a civilized society to thrive is a fair treatment of all in businesses. It’s a G** D*** cake not a blessing on the marriage. He sells cakes to everyone else but not a gay person because he doesn’t “approve”. No one is being made to function as a “slave”. By the way, I am hetero and married to a member of the opposite sex so don’t assume. (I would not buy a cake from the guy if I were the couple because, as others have said, it might not be his “usual” product.)

  • Atnor

    All I think is necessary for a civilized society to thrive is a fair treatment of all in businesses

    I agree…. and I’d be happy to choose to shop at businesses that operated on that basis.

    But yet… if someone disagrees with your idea of “fair treatment for a civilized society”…. you’re advocating we use the force of government to threaten business owners to “make” them act as you prefer. I dont get why that’s OK… I dont think that’s what government is for.

    All those examples you mentioned originally?

    Yep… all stupid, horrid, dumb cases of discrimination…. but people should be free to make such stupid choices (and be free to suffer any consequences… like not getting my business or yours).

  • Anonymous

    Just 2 words: Civil Rights. And I will leave it there. Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas whatever you prefer.

  • Atnor

    No one’s “civil rights” are being violated by the baker’s moronic discrimination. But, the court is OK’ing the violation of the baker’s right to run his business as he sees fit.

    Happy Holidays :)

  • John Pryce

    I actually have a few issues with gay marriage for which I will need proper answers before I ever endorse it, and considering the tendency of gay activists to not answer direct question and to attack anyone they perceive to be criticizing them, I don’t think I will get those answers anytime soon.
    Otherwise I generally agree with you. “Not endorsing gay marriage” is not sufficiently offensive enough for me to refuse to buy from him.

  • Anonymous

    Liz: My right to patronize or boycott this baker’s business is based on my ability to reason: I do not choose to hand over my wealth to someone who – in my ability to use reason – is irrationally choosing to refuse to provide service to certain customers on the sole basis of their chosen sexuality. While, in my humble objectivist opinion, he is doing “nothing wrong” for himself, I can view his decision as irrational – in a free society, the baker’s choices are his to make, and he should enjoy the rewards or suffer the consequences as he chooses. If I view his decision as irrational, I am free to choose to patronize a baker other than this one.

    However, the Government is now forcing this baker to choose between his beliefs and paying fines. The Government in this instance is using physical force – the imposition of fines – to achieve its arbitrary purposes. My boycott – my “punishment” of his business – does not impose physical force against the baker. Why do you believe otherwise?

  • Anonymous

    Simple imagination: If there are 20 bakeries in a given area, and one of them chooses to serve ONLY homosexuals, does that violate the CIVIL RIGHTS of heterosexuals?

    Freedom means: You are free. Doesn’t matter whether you’re an individual, or a business. Freedom means you are free to choose your actions as you deem correct for yourself. Anything else is: Not Freedom.

    Only a Capitalist believes in Freedom. Only a Socialist believes in something other than Freedom.

  • Anonymous

    ConservativAtheist: You will be free (in a free society) to partake of any tasty cake that you choose, no matter what the baker’s philosophy happens to be.

    But a rational individual should consider the following: A baker’s decision to refuse to bake cakes for someone based solely upon their sexual preferences suggests that the baker has divorced himself from rational thought. This would indicate a lack of rationality on the part of the baker – and a rational individual prefers to deal with rational individuals, necessitating that an irrational baker will not receive patronage from a rational individual. As a result, while your preference for “tasty cake” may seem rational to you, your rational peers will consider you to be irrational for supporting the irrational beliefs of an irrational baker.

    Irrationality is ugly. Objectively, embracing irrationality by supporting its proponents, is also ugly. And not objective.

  • Anonymous

    Did it ever occur to you that the concept of same-sex marriage is irrational?

  • Anonymous

    Prove it. Provide facts, evidence, and logical argument.

    As I mentioned, you are free to choose to purchase from this baker based solely on price and quality. To me, a baker who chooses to intentionally reduce their sales and restrict their market solely on the basis of a customer’s personal sexual preferences is not thinking rationally – which leaves me to wonder “What else is he being irrational about?” You are free to believe this baker IS rational, and you are also free to believe this baker is IRRATIONAL and yet purchase from him regardless.

  • Atnor

    Whereas I am happy to buy cakes from a crazy person provided they are of acceptable quality and price… but, I wouldnt purchase cakes from a person making a rational choice to not associate with homosexual customers.

    Multiple people… all making different decisions based on the criteria that they feel is best applied. Markets and “more freedom” would be such a better choice than government force :)

    (Just a small observation) :)

  • Anonymous

    And I’d say they have the “legal right” to marry. Morality is in the eye’s of society or the individual.
    The rest of your article I agree with.

  • Anonymous

    I believe everyone has forgotten Chick Fil A and how the American people responded.

  • Anonymous

    And as such I have every right to seek out his shop and purchase from him.

  • Anonymous

    AMEN!!!!! Morality is not subject to law. It’s to be left to society.

  • Anonymous

    You have nailed it. This is the best way I have ever heard it put. I hope you don’t care if I share this.

  • Anonymous

    Ok.

  • Atnor

    Yep… individuals using their own judgement to decide what relevant criteria are… I would disagree with your decision, but still wish we lived in a society where we all (you, me, and the baker) could make such choices.

  • SBOC

    I don’t get your argument about the 20 bakeries. Show me a baker that only serves homosexuals. I dare say you would not be able to find one. This argument about “they can just so somewhere else is no different than the argument 50 years ago that said “Well blacks have black schools and black restaurants and black movie theaters so why do they feel they need to go to a white school, use a white water fountain, etc.” Civil rights shouldn’t even have categories of protection. What it should state is that you will not treat any HUMAN BEING differently than any other HUMAN BEING.

  • SBOC

    I think that government should have to step in when it comes to equal treatment of its OWN CITIZENS. It (the government) had to step in during segregation so why should it not step in now? Do you think the businesses back then appreciated being told that they had to then open their doors and treat blacks the same as whites? Probably not!

  • SBOC

    A gay man walks into a bakery and wants to order a wedding cake. He is denied service because the baker knows or sees or figures out that he is “gay”. The wedding cake in question is actually for the gay man’s daughter’s wedding. Is it right of the baker to deny service in this case? Another one: A woman walks into a bakery and buys a wedding cake for her friends wedding and then drops it off at the wedding a few days later. The couple she bought the cake for is gay and it was her gift to them. Did she violate the baker’s right? We’ve been down this dark road before. Let’s not go there again.

  • SBOC

    By the way, the daughter in the first example is heterosexual.

  • Atnor

    There is a difference between equal treatment by the government towards it’s own citizens, versus “equal treatment” between private citizens and other private citizens.

    I see no reason why government force is justified to mandate how or if private citizens decide to interact with one another.

    Do you think the businesses back then appreciated being told that they had to then open their doors and treat blacks the same as whites?

    Of course not – it was the same violation of their rights then as it remains now.

    People on the other end of such discrimination may not “like it”, and it may have an absurdly stupid rationale, but there’s no violation or infringement of another person’s rights if someone decides to not do business with them.

  • Atnor

    Is it right of the baker to deny service in this case?

    Do you mean should the baker be allowed to do it legally? Or do you mean “do you agree with the baker’s decision”? Those are two entirely different questions. (My answers to them are “yes” and then “no”) :)

    Did she violate the baker’s right?

    No… of course not. Those are two transactions – the baker sold a cake to a woman and he and that woman agreed to terms they found acceptable. What she does later is of no consequence to the baker after the transaction is agreed to. If the baker decides it’s important enough to him to investigate the ultimate use of cakes he sells, he should be free to inquire, of course…. but that’s another decision that could very well also hurt his efforts in the marketplace too, just like his prejudice does.

    Let’s not go there again.

    Yeah, freedom is hard. It’s tough when you allow people the possibility of making choices you might not agree with :(

  • SBOC

    Sure they are. It is a RIGHT of everyone in this country to be regarded without prejudices. The moment someone says “certainly there must be someone else in town who can help you; I don’t work for your kind,” they are speaking with prejudice, and they are discriminating. It doesn’t matter what the alternative characteristic they base that discrimination on. It doesn’t matter if it’s against their “religious belief” because, for what it’s worth, their religious belief affects them, NOT everyone around them.

  • Atnor

    Sure they are. It is a RIGHT of everyone in this country to be regarded without prejudices.

    No, it is not. You have no right to my opinion of you or anyone else, and it is not a violation of anyone’s “rights” if I decide to not associate with you. People “discriminate” all the time in their daily lives. I am free to “discriminate” against someone and absolutely regard them WITH prejudice… if I think they’re a Justin Bieber fan, or I see they’re a red head, or a Yankees fan, or just because I think they look weird or talk weird or I dont like their hair, or even if I just happen to be in a bad mood that day.

    The reasoning a person uses to arrive at their own decisions… it doesnt have to be a rationale that anyone else agrees with.

    The moment someone says “certainly there must be someone else in town who can help you; I don’t work for your kind,” they are speaking with prejudice, and they are discriminating.

    Yes, they certainly are. So what? It’s stupid and abhorrent to me too. But I should not have the kind of power over other people to “force” them to not behave that foolishly. There is no reason I (or the state) should own their decisions.

    But honestly.. that “you can go elsewhere” bit… that’s just some people being polite. Whether or not there is anyone else available to “help you” or do business with you, once “they” have decided not to engage with you, your desire to interact with them or to obtain some good or service… it’s just not their responsibility.

    You do not have a right to their property and labor if they dont want to offer it to you – because it’s not your stuff, it’s theirs. And since it’s “theirs”, they should be the ones deciding what they do with it. Not allowing them a choice is pretty much just “theft”.

  • SBOC

    Government forces its will on businesses all the time in the form of State and Federal regulations (i.e. IRS, OSHA, State Division of Corporations, Worker’s Comp, etc.). Its not like this couple asked a hobbyist who does cakes for leisure to do their wedding cake. They asked a legitimate business (who is granted and allowed to do business in the first place with the blessings of that State as well as in some cases the federal government) to do their wedding cake and for me that is the fundamental difference.

  • SBOC

    The whole idea of a business is to offer “goods and services” in return for reasonable compensation for those goods and services. There is no asterisk on the end of that that then goes on to say “except homosexuals”. Again, the only reason you can be in business is because the government allows you to be. They can allow you to open a legitimate business (for the sake of earning a living) just as easily as they can close an illegitimate business.

  • SBOC

    If you go down that road, where does it lead? Today a baker, tomorrow a hotel, next week a presbyterian owned hospital. Heaven forbid the hospital ask me my religious affiliation before they treat me for a heart attack. If they knew what I was they would let me die on the floor leaving two small children behind.

  • Atnor

    I understand that government “does” force businesses to do things…. sometimes it’s for a valid reason, quite a bit of the time it’s absolutely not.

    In this case, I see no justification for this use of force, no matter how noble the desired result, and it’s certainly not some kind of protection of a potential consumer’s “rights”.

    Government is supposed to protect individuals from infringements on their rights, not force us to behave in the “approved” manner, or so graciously “allow” us to engage in commerce… just like we dont “thank” the government for “giving” us the right to free speech, they only exist to protect it, not provide it.

  • Atnor

    The whole idea of a business is to offer “goods and services” in return for reasonable compensation for those goods and services.

    For you, and for me…. not everyone who runs a business feels that bottom line is the end-all be-all of their enterprise. For some people, they do not wish to engage in conduct that contradicts or compromises their personal code of ethics and/or morality.

    What is your principle here? Why is it justified that government dictate how these people exchange their own property and labor? These decisions dont violate the right’s of their potential customers. They arent trying to change anyone else’s behavior – only their own, and it’s not “freedom” if people arent free to choose differently than we would prefer.

    You’re arguing that discrimination and prejudice are wrong – and I agree. But that isnt at all the issue. You’re not really explaining how someone’s rights are being infringed by these actions, or why it’s proper for your judgment to override theirs, when it’s their time, their labor, their property – their affairs.

    The fact that you really, really, really disagree with their choice doesnt seem like a good reason to deny them a decision completely. Nor is the idea that government already abuses it’s power into people’s lives, so whatever they wanna do is OK

  • Atnor

    Seriously? You’re OK with government force because otherwise, hospitals would just let people die??

    Hospitals would let people die in the street if it werent for government force to make them do things, so government force is justified in removing freedoms from anyone who wants to exchange their labor and property to others….

    If that were an actual policy at an actual hospital… I wonder how long they’d be able to keep their employees, let alone keep their doors open…

    But yes… freedom is more difficult when you cant force people to make the choices you think they should.

  • SBOC

    Do you really believe that religious affiliated hospitals don’t put their beliefs before helping people. What about women who are denied care for pre-term labor where the baby is dead and sepsis gets into the mother’s body and kills her or comes close to killing her. There is an active lawsuit about that right now, not to mention what happened last year or the year before in Europe that made headline news.

    Why do you have such a beef with the government anyways? All you keep going on and on about is “government force”. Look at who runs the government…the people who were elected by a majority of people in this country. And as a society based on the people we have elected, we have concluded that justice and prosperity require prohibiting businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

  • SBOC

    One of the functions of a government or at least our government is to “enforce and regulate FAIR and RESPONSIBLE business practices. Included in this is monitoring monetary policy, giving consumer protection, and regulating banking.”

    I’m afraid I don’t agree with your statement about how government is not in place to force us to behave in an “approved” manner. Sure it is. IRS policy/tax deductions is sometimes made to benefit people socially (deductions for charitable giving just to name 1).

    You get in your car and drive around drunk. Police pull you over and give you a ticket. If you get enough of them, you get your license revoked which hopefully gets you to not get behind the wheel drunk again before you hurt or kill someone. Your argument makes it sound like you have the right to drive your car because it is your car that you bought with your money and it shouldn’t matter that you are drunk.

    I see what you are saying in theory about business people being able to make decisions regarding their own businesses but putting that into practice is a whole different ballgame and usually with unintended consequences when those tables eventually get turned on them and they are the ones needing/wanting service and being prohibited from getting it.

  • Atnor

    There is an active lawsuit about that right now, not to mention what happened last year or the year before in Europe that made headline news.

    These “public accommodation” rules for businesses have been on the books since at least the 1964 Civil Rights Act provisions… So, it doesnt sound like they’ve had much to do with those recent medical emergency issues – if lawsuits are issues are still going on now, eh? …. it doesnt sound to me like those things are all that related.

    It seems like there should be an underlying principle for government action that infringes on people’s rights.

    Why do you have such a beef with the government anyways?

    Yes… I suppose if we have a really, really “good” king to make decisions for me, I should be grateful for such kindness…. really?? *sigh*

    I dont like bullies… and that’s what people who force themselves onto other people and “make” them do what they say, are. People who justify their actions by “well, there are more of us than you, so we’ll make you do what we want, and we dont need anything as trite as “a reason”. Justice and prosperity dont require that.

    “We” are not a collective society – we are separate individuals with individual freedoms, that are supposed to be protected by our government.

  • liquidhorse

    A Mormon hospital in the middle of Salt Lake City, acting thus, would still remain in business for a very long time. If your mindset is common, their staff would also remain full. The type of freedom you espouse is akin to anarchy. Civilization depends on appropriate laws to ensure equal freedom. For instance, I could say it is my free will to kill another person. Not a good choice, indeed. Probably the dead person’s family would have wished me to make another choice but life is hard in the face of pure freedom. However, more to the point, I have removed that dead person’s right to life. Laws against murder are not laws that violate my free will so much as they are laws to ensure others are allowed to keep their equal freedoms.

    Given that our forefathers built a new nation from practically scratch, why do you suppose they built laws of the Constitution in the first place? Surely people so dedicated to freedom as they evidently were would have preferred something…freer? But again and as evidenced in our own history, we must necessarily balance personal freedoms with those that ensure the freedoms of all. This is the compromise, and it is not a bad compromise at that.

    You may think at this point I have actually confirmed your point, but indeed that would be a mistake. The fundamental freedom is to do as you will without harming another’s freedoms. If you remove their freedom to utilize your services, you have necessarily harmed their freedoms. But there is an even more nefarious aspect which at present has been completely ignored.

    You and I have a right to our privacy. Although we regularly give it up to companies, it is no less a right which we continue to enjoy where it has not been compromised. It is also not a prerequisite for all business. However, to allow a person to discriminate against a prospective client in business is a violation of the client’s privacy. What business of mine is it to know what you do in your own time? Should you be coerced to tell me before I provide you services? Should I follow you around and peer through your house window at random intervals? Would you feel violated in this way? I could say it’s my right – my FREEDOM – as a business owner to make sure my clients are meeting my moral requirements, like a baker looking after his cakes to make sure they don’t fall into any homosexual’s hands. Yet I am wholly and completely violating your right to privacy. How does that feel?

    I’m sure right now there’s a vibe kind of like: “don’t ask, don’t tell” going through the reader’s mind.

  • SBOC

    Well here is the exact problem I have: 1st: Many people have many different interpretations of their Bible or other religious artifacts. Heck, how many sects of Christianity are there now….like 12. Some believe Jesus is the son of God…Some believe he was just a Prophet and not holy. Some believe in the holy ghost, others do not.

    You said “For some people, they do not wish to engage in conduct that contradicts or compromises their personal code of ethics and/or morality.” To that I say “that is based on that one person’s interpretation of their doctrine and what if their interpretation is wrong.”

    Again, as I said I believe earlier…Why does that person’s personal beliefs in anyway need to be reflected onto other people by refusing service to them.” Again, if you go down that road, where will it lead?

    And further, there is hypocrisy in what this baker did. This baker in order for his claim of religious exemption to hold any water whatsoever would then have a guilt-by-association view that would require him to avoid any and all possible participation or association with ungodliness. This baker probably provided cakes to many heterosexual couples. If any of those couples were Muslim or Hindu, based on the baker’s own defense, then he himself had “participated” in religious celebrations that are clearly unchristian and maybe even idolatrous. He could have also served Atheists.

    Why then deny this particular group of people because for the reason stated above it couldn’t have been all about his religion?

    Do we need to all start wearing signs on our shirts saying what religion we are or advertising our sexual preferences to see which businesses allow us in and which do not.

    That would be the biggest waste of time and money imaginable and completely pointless for a society that has to learn to live with one another despite our differences.

  • Atnor

    There is a difference between ensuring that a free market exists, and picking sides.

    The government is supposed to serve more like a game referee… ensuring that a level and open playing field exists – preventing things like fraud and cheating and misrepresentation – those things actually prevent people from engaging in actual voluntary exchanges. Making sure people’s feelings dont get hurt doesnt do that.

    Things like drunk driving? “That” has an actual justification – I’m not advocating zero government and complete anarchy – we are free to exercise our rights and freedoms…. up until they interfere with other people exercising their own rights. Government’s job is arbiter when those exercises come into conflict. Driving drunk on public roads violates other people’s right to life, and it’s a valid expectation that public roads will be free of such dangers.

    If that’s how you’re understanding my point, then I think you’re mistaking it.

    Maximum freedom possible, in both ways, is certainly preferable to illegitimate, unnecessary force (which is what government action is).

  • liquidhorse

    _People who justify their actions by “well, there are more of us than you, so we’ll make you do what we want, and we dont need anything as trite as “a reason”. Justice and prosperity dont require that._

    Strange. In the 60’s I was under the impression that the African Americans were the minority?

    _I dont like bullies… and that’s what people who force themselves onto other people and “make” them do what they say, are._

    Indeed, much of this story as it has been played out feels that way. Yet, there is something more profound happening here. The conservative movement against homosexuals has sought to stomp on them any way possible. From civil unions to insurance, to cakes, is this not a form of bullying? “You’re not like us! GO AWAY!”

    I disagree with your comment about the collective society. Take any large group of people and separate them from the world. Give them real total freedom. They will eventually establish a hierarchy, a society, as is their nature. The ideas you are presenting are idealistic, but not very practical. Surely, I love idealism in the right context. But for the fact we are human, it would be all too perfect a regime, this “individual freedom.” But those who have had their individual freedoms taken away by others know what is truly at stake. Do not find yourself in a place where you have nothing, where you are nothing, lest you wish to truly experience how idealism clashes with reality. Reality will win.

    (For what it’s worth, as a software engineer I dig ideology, up to the point where it become totally impractical. There are real limits to our little human universe, and our human ideologies tend to not heed those limits at all. Balancing ideology with practicality is ever the pragmatic process.)

  • Atnor

    As has been said, government exists to protect individual freedoms, and we are free to exercise our freedoms until they come into conflict with others doing the same.

    Murder – there’s a conflict between two people’s rights. Killing someone is a violation of that person’s right to life – yep. That’s kinda why we have police, and to a larger scope, armies.

    Of course there is a balance that must be maintained when freedoms come into conflict….something being a “right” does not mean it’s unfettered – it’s why you can’t yell fire in a movie theater, for example.

    But… what exactly is the conflict in public accommodation laws? I havent seen one. The gay couple that cannot get goods/services from a business? Where are their rights infringed upon, so much so that the business owner’s rights must absolutely be restricted?

    Because “If you remove their freedom to utilize your services, you have necessarily harmed their freedoms.” is simply nonsensical. They have no freedom to “utilize my services” in the first place. They only have potential to engage me in commerce…if we both decide to voluntarily exchange goods/services for mutually perceived benefit.

    In this example, the baker has decided that such a proposed trade is NOT beneficial to him – the couple has no right to step in and have the government FORCE terms on him that he does not agree to.

    I’m sure right now there’s a vibe kind of like: “don’t ask, don’t tell” going through the reader’s mind.

    Umm, no, not really. As I said, BOTH parties need to come to agree on the terms of the contract – If the baker wishes to inquire about other matters, like my personal habits or intent, that’s certainly up to him – but I dont have to agree to those terms either. I do not have to answer, and I’m perfectly within my rights to NOT agree to such terms and then take my business elsewhere. It’s the same reason that I dont HAVE to give my phone number and email to the department store when they ask at the register when I’m buying something. They ask, I dont “have” to provide it. And, peering into my house would be an “actual” violation of my property rights, unless I permit it.

    A business cannot bypass your right to privacy unless you let them – and if you do, then it’s simply a term of the contract you’ve agreed to. If they do it anyway, “that” would be a justifiably illegal act.

  • Atnor

    You said “For some people, they do not wish to engage in conduct that contradicts or compromises their personal code of ethics and/or morality.” To that I say “that is based on that one person’s interpretation of their doctrine and what if their interpretation is wrong.”

    I was not speaking to whether or not such people are right or wrong in their decision making, or whether or not I agree with their reasoning or conclusions. I’ve said before, it’s irrelevant. The only important part is that it’s “their” decision to make, right or wrong, and not mine.

    “Why does that person’s personal beliefs in anyway need to be reflected onto other people by refusing service to them.”

    Because it’s their property, goods, or services that other people would like to exchange. The terms of that contract need to be agreed to by both parties.

    And further, there is hypocrisy in what this baker did.

    And again, that misses the point – I dont care what the baker’s decision was, or if his judgment is consistent – I dont even agree with this particular baker’s ideology or belief system or decision, in any way. Except that it should be his to make.

    Why then deny this particular group of people because for the reason stated above it couldn’t have been all about his religion?

    Because it should be his decision to make – you dont have to agree with him – that’s the point.

    That would be the biggest waste of time and money imaginable and completely pointless for a society that has to learn to live with one another despite our differences.

    Yes, I think businesses that did that would not remain in business for long. I know I would not do business with them – that’s me exercising my own freedoms, too.

  • SBOC

    Well I guess I’ll just leave it as a conflict of views. I don’t pretend that I am (as a person) any better or any worse than my fellow American. I don’t overvalue my contribution to society. I’m all for the collective society which values harmony and duty. It was nice speaking with you. Have a great evening.

  • liquidhorse

    From a fiduciary point of view certainly there is no argument. But your point lacks all humanity, and it’s not a society I would want to live in…where my personal characteristics – which are my own to have – may be categorically and globally (in terms of wholly within a city, state, or country) used against me to deny me services when every other person of barely any difference can get those services without issue. This is not about a single vendor and a single client. This is also not about contracts or the exchange of funds for goods. This is about a categorical distinction beneath the skin. Had the baker refused that and any future service without disclosing a reason, we could have concluded a fiduciary motivation and no one would have been the wiser. We, as a society, refuse to allow one person to denigrate another to the point of a secondary status. Otherwise, let segregation and slavery resume. It’s all just good business.

    (I do admire your points, they are all quite excellent, and I am glad to have enjoyed this intelligent and civil exchange.)

  • Anonymous

    Here is a point I am still confused on. Given that homosexuality is not immoral, the notion of “same-sex marriage” is still a blatant contradiction in terms, isn’t it? (“Married bachelor” is such a classic example.)

    Isn’t it rather like the case where, though it should not be illegal to be an altruist in one’s private life, the notion of “altruistic selfishness” is still a contradiction in terms?

  • http://Www.DCLibertarians2014.blogspot.com/ Bruce P. Majors

    For people who are not Objectivists or libertarians consider a Nozickian type of argument (doctoring and schmoctoring) – what if a baker baked two lines of baked goods, but one set was for the “public” and therefore a “public accommodation” while the other was a line of consecrated baked goods for use among people of a shared belief system (Catholics, feminist separatists, whatever). The latter line is not sold to people outside the faith, e.g. Wedding cakes are not sold to divorced people remarrying, or the Goddess Moon cake is not sold to men, whatever. Does the government then get to decide the particulars of each religion, its doctrine, and practice, to decide which baked goods are for religious use and which for the “public”?

  • http://Www.DCLibertarians2014.blogspot.com/ Bruce P. Majors

    I believe you think marriage inherently means coupling of a man or a woman, because the government has traditionally defined it so, and before that many churches, including state established churches, and majorities of populations have followed the government definition, even if some gay people, and their friends and families, have always considered themselves to be married, and sometimes language has reflected that (e.g. the phrase “Boston marriage”). A same sex couple are for you merely partners in a union, or lovers with a power of attorney. So if the state codified its regulations about children, and declared people who do not send their spawn to state schools or military conscription, etc., merely mares and sires, but not parents, would you agree?

  • http://Www.DCLibertarians2014.blogspot.com/ Bruce P. Majors

    A private individual has the right to freedom of association and can disassociate from anyone for any reason, including refusing service or sales. Any current or future laws that violate this freedom are immoral.

  • http://Www.DCLibertarians2014.blogspot.com/ Bruce P. Majors

    Lesbian separatists have run the Michigan’s Women’s Music Festival every year since the 1970s. Men are not allowed. Male to female transexuals are not allowed. Male children over a certain age are not allowed. Male children under that age are also not allowed but they are allowed to be left at a nearby camp for boys with lesbian moms, off the main campgrounds. Do you believe men should sue to be let in – I for one have been a fan for years of many “wimmin’s music” performers who range from R&B to jazz to folk. Should white men sue to belong to black sororities that offer scholarships? Should straight couples sue to be allowed on all gay cruises run by Olivia, At,antis, or Rose O’Donnel’s cruise company?

  • Anonymous

    “I believe you think marriage inherently means coupling of a man or a
    woman, because the government has traditionally defined it so,…”

    No, that is not why. I don’t think “government … defined” is the correct standard to go by. It has just always seemed to me that there is a definitive biological logic to the concept of “marriage” due to the fact that children need fathers and mothers. In other words, the root of “marriage” is biological, not psychological (i.e., love, or even sexual attraction).

    Same-sex unions seem to be distinctive enough to deserve a different concept. It appears to me that the modern politics of “gay marriage” are an attempt (whether religiously motivated or simply political) to steal the concept “marriage.”

  • http://Www.DCLibertarians2014.blogspot.com/ Bruce P. Majors

    Your argument is specious. For one thing minorities are often well served in the market by businesses that cater to them, as long as fee entry is allowed. Jews and other very small groups have had their own funeral homes, cemeteries, butchers, etc. for decades. Second, you are using weird special cases, including cases where someone’s life is threatened, to make laws with which you hope to regiment all of society, including the sale of baked goods. Sorry, that’s moronic. Should I say that because we might want to make it illegal to deny medical treatment at an emergency room to someone about to die, we should also make it illegal for you to refuse free service to anyone in whatever business you are in?

  • liquidhorse

    Perhaps you are against anti-trust laws, too? Business loves a monopoly. Be careful that you have considered all the practical and historical edge-cases before allowing business to run free; you might find the special case becomes the one you’re stuck with. Good luck with that.

  • SBOC

    A Business is not a Person! While a business might be run BY a person, a business for the sake of being a business in order to provide a good or service for the sole purpose of trading such items for money, income, whatever, does not have prejudices, does not have a conscience or EMOTIONS, does not get a vote, does not have a religion or even an ideology.

    A person does have the choice to associate or disassociate with anyone he or she chooses when it comes to a personal relationship. I don’t believe that logic should hold however for a business to person relationship. I think that is where we differ in our logic.

    Provide me just one country in the entire world that is setup with your way of thinking and why you think it should be a great choice to follow that model. Despite restrictions on individuals or businesses for one reason or another, we still live in one of the freest countries on the planet and we shouldn’t take that for granted. In a country with over 300 million people (with different ideologies, different religions, different emotions toward any given event, different priorities in life) I think we do pretty damn well all in all.

    If you hate our country and the way it operates so much, try going over to Africa and seeing how you would do there. You want to talk about a fucked up country that has gone pretty much nowhere in the last few thousand years, there would be your case study.

  • Richard Harney

    Then the cake maker needs to refuse service because he can’t provide the service. That isn’t his cited reason though.

  • Richard Harney

    If the cake maker would have simply said, I don’t offer the kind of service you need then he might have a case since the cake maker could always include a cake topper on his menu and can refuse to carry m/m, f/f cake toppers and require there be a cake topper as his signature to complete a cake. In this scenario the author would be correct. He could deny service because he doesn’t offer the service they need. But instead the cake shop owner CITES homosexuality as his reason for denial of service which is in direct opposition to non-discrimination state law. He should have the pants sued off him. Selling someone a cake is not against any religion. If he wants to leave off the cake topper or whatever that might conflict with his beliefs then maybe, but a complete denial of service is unwarranted for a public business.

  • SBOC

    The MWHF is also clothing-optional; so, in like kind, would you sue to gain access to a woman’s locker room? I would imagine you can sue the promoters or the organizers to generate a male-equivalent.

    Likewise, do you consider a sorority or fraternity a business, with profit, loss, and a goal of earning revenue? Strictly speaking, these organizations are glorified clubs. Those that offer scholarships outside their ranks appear to be coeducational (on a cursory examination). Otherwise they offer only to members, and membership is by invitation only. It would be no different than attempting to sue for stock options in a company where you are not employed.

    It appears most suits over college scholarships or admissions that involve race have played toward the Equal Treatment trend.

    Although a straight couple may find it awkward to participate on an “all gay cruise,” it appears nothing prohibits them from joining and your aforementioned “Atlantis” actually appears to organize a party for the straights along for the ride. Yahoo!

  • Anonymous

    “… but a complete denial of service is unwarranted for a public business.”

    Businesses, however, are not owned by the public, but rather by private interests. Private businesses should be free to do business or not do business as they see fit — without interference by public authorities.

  • Anonymous

    “Public accommodation” be damned.

    If you own a bakery, you should be free to sell baked stuff to anyone you feel like — and to not sell anything to anyone when you don’t feel like it.

    “Religious freedom” be damned, too — since there is no sound reason for the government to restrict your freedom to nothing but “religious freedom.”

    Bakeries do not sell to “the public“. They sell to actual people.

  • Atnor

    Interesting…. I’ve known married people who have children, but I’ve never considered it a required or defining characteristic… I’ve also seen plenty of couples over the years where their “union” and combined household/lives had nothing at all to do with children.

    While not a definitive source by any means, my quick glance at wikipedia’s attempt at a definition seems to be adequate and in line with my own thinking:

    a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws

    Considering the lack of detail the government requires when issuing their own licenses, it doesnt seem to be a concern for them either.

    Legally and practically, I dont see how or why the legal entity created by a government-issued marriage license for two homosexuals is substantially different than the household formed by a childless heterosexual couple.

  • Richard Harney

    You’re spinning my words to mean something that you want them to mean. I don’t mean that the public owns the business. I mean they serve the public. Come on, that should have easily been taken into context.

  • Anonymous

    It is not any “legal entity created by a government” that is the issue. (I doubt that governments should be creating “legal entities” outside the military, police, and courts, anyhow.) As far as the government is concerned, it should be treated as a contract no matter who (or even how many) the adults involved are.

    My concern is one of conceptual clarity — in normal language (not in “legalese”).

  • Anonymous

    The point is that businesses do not serve “THE PUBLIC,” they only serve actual people. The government has no proper authority to regulate businesses according to whom they choose to target as customers.

  • Atnor

    I agree governments shouldnt be “creating” these legal entities at all too…a privately conducted, “contract-oriented” approach would be preferable.

    Sure, I also didnt mean I was restricting myself to a “legal” interpretation… my “conceptual” thinking on marriage follows along similar lines. Thus, I dont share your original notion about a contradiction in the term “same-sex marriage”.

    I was just noting that from the way government goes about it, they dont seem to grant licenses with procreation considerations in mind either. :)

  • Richard Harney

    The government has every authority. You don’t get to just set up shop and start selling whatever you want to. You have to get a business license and agree to follow the rules set forth when you apply for it. This includes following non-discrimination laws. Business do serve “The public”. What the hell are you talking about.

  • Anonymous

    In the first place, there should be no laws requiring businesses to “get a business license,” and there should be no laws dictating “non-discrimination.”

    And no such thing as “the public” ever buys a cake. Only actual people buy cakes — for themselves, their families, friends, etc. — but nobody ever buys a cake as “the public,” or even for “the public.”

    No business ever “serves the public.” Businesses only do business with a few particular customers, never with “the public” as such, i.e., with the population as a whole. (Even Amazon does not “serve the public.” It sells stuff to me. It sells stuff to other people I know. It sells stuff to people I don’t know. But it has never sold anything to “the public,” which would have no idea what it wanted in the first place.)

  • Richard Harney

    Should be this and should be that. Well that’s not the way it is.

    Ok, excuse me, public accommodation. You just keep trying to change the subject by arguing semantics and using your own definitions of what you think I mean by “the public”. A cake shop serves customers who are a part of “the public”. I’m not talking again about it.

  • Richard Harney

    I can’t believe the level of stupidity in the comment section. People have no idea what public accommodation means or what non-discrimination clauses mean or what a business license is. I can’t even have a debate without having to teach Business 101 first.

  • Atnor

    I think people commenting here have shown that they “do” understand what the law is concerning “public accommodation” laws are….but that is different from thinking they are justified government rules.

    Such rules , like the ones the baker is being held to, are very much anti-freedom, unprincipled, unjustified overreaches of government force.

  • Anonymous

    Your focus on “public accommodation” misses the point, viz., that the government has no right to dictate to businesses whom their customers must be.

    That there actually are such bad laws as “public accommodation laws” and “non-discrimination laws” does not magically transform those bad laws into good ones. It is not “semantics” to hold that such laws should be repealed.

    A cake shop serves customers who are a part of “the public”.

    Part. Okay. Why should a cake shop that sells to part of the public be required to sell to all of the public (which wouldn’t be physically/economically possible in any case)? Why should the government, not the owners, determine which part?

  • Richard Harney

    I think it was completely justified since that was a case in Colorado and that state has sexual orientation in their non-discrimination clause. The cake baker specifically cited that as his reason for denial. It doesn’t get any more clear than that.

  • Atnor

    That there is no justifiable reason for that to be a law, is the point. Such public accommodation rules are overreqches and intrusions of government force into private sector interactions, where the state has no business being.

    That it “is” a law is both evident and irrelevant to the question of “is this an appropriate action by a government over it’s citizens”. See the difference?

  • Richard Harney

    No justifiable reason? How about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The fact is that it IS law so unless there is another case challenging that law, it will stand, no matter how bad you think it is.

  • Atnor

    The law is justifiable because of the previous “root” law it’s based on? That assumes that the CRA of 1964 isnt part of the rules that I (and I suspect others here) object to.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964, where it outlawed government acts of discrimination, was fine – the government should not be engaged in such discrimination.

    But, the provisions in that law that introduced these “public accommodation” rules that infringe on individual’s freedom were wrong and unjustifiable. They are rules, I suspect, built more likely on emotion than principle.

    “Those” laws, the CRA and any of it’s related child laws, are the ones I think many people here, or at least myself, do not consider “justified” actions of the government.

    The notion that “it will stand” because there is a lot of support for them, or at least large indifference, does not mean it’s a justifiable law. I’m well aware of people’s current thinking on such things.

    But my own reasoning and consideration and opinions about those laws doesnt change based on how many people do or do not agree with me. It’s still bad, anti-freedom, right’s infringing, undue government force.

  • Richard Harney

    If they really were “wrong” then why hasn’t a conservative even tried to challenge the law in court yet?

  • Atnor

    How is that a valid threshold to whether it’s justifiable action or not?

    I’m sure there’s a long and interesting judicial history of this area of law – but how is that relevant? Other than “it’s the law”, I’m not seeing much in the way of “why” it should be the law.

  • Guest

    So on this logic you are saying you could go and start your own bus company, you might call it national city lines, when you come to sell tickets on these buses, you could stipulate that you only sold sitting tickets to people whose skin was white, because as you say, that’s your “right” to “discriminate”. You’d be comfortable with this?

    ( I mostly agree with the article I’m just trying to clarify how this applies to business like public transportation)

  • Guest

    I get your argument about government leaving private business alone. And I get that if a company wants to refuse service to someone based on their prejudice then we simply boycott that business and it goes away, lesson learned for them. The problem with the conservative rhetoric now is that it would result in a society that no one wants to live in. Would you want to live in a society where you walk down the street and see signs that say “Whites Only”, “No Gays Allowed”? Would you want to see houses not being sold to blacks or asians or whites? The Civil Rights Act I suppose is the base for these government rules, I think if you were transported back to 50’s and see the results of our own stupidity as humans you will change your opinion. I understand the US Constitution only protects us from the government, but we as a society have learned that in order to be truly free and in order that we all have an opportunity we need some protection from each other. Ugly truth I know. And a slippery slope, but one we must tread upon. I am sure the photo is on-line somewhere, but take a look at the pic of the black women trying to be served a soda at a Woolworth, stare at that photo for a bit. We all just want to be treated with respect, that is what we should demand.

  • Anonymous

    “You’d be comfortable with this?”

    I don’t think anyone would be comfortable with that. But comfort is not a reasonable purpose for government action.

    So long as you are not initiating force or fraud, the government’s duty is to protect your right and freedom to act according to your own judgment — regardless of whether that judgment makes you or anybody else uncomfortable or not.

    If you don’t want to sell bus tickets to black people, there should be no law requiring you to do so. If you are rich enough to start a bus company to discriminate against blacks, then you should be free to throw your money away on such an idiotic notion — since it is your money.

  • Anonymous

    Would you want to live in a society where you walk down the street and see signs that say “Whites Only”, “No Gays Allowed”?

    Yes, I would — if the alternative were a society where it was illegal to display such signs.

    Of course, I would be uncomfortable around people who put up such signs — but the job of the government is not to force other people to live for the purpose of making me (or anybody else) comfortable.

  • Anonymous

    It is wrong for governments to pass “non-discrimination laws” to force businesses to be run according to the tastes of politicians. People should be free to run their own businesses as they see fit. This is supposed to be a free country.

  • Anonymous

    “The fact is that it IS law so unless there is another case challenging
    that law, it will stand, no matter how bad you think it is.”

    Regardless of how long a bad law stands on the books, it is still a bad law. Jim Crow laws could have stood for a thousand years, and they still would have been bad every hour of every day of that thousand years.

  • Anonymous

    Procreation is a biological function — not a political issue.

  • Anonymous

    Antitrust laws are a superb example of very, very, very bad law. Antitrust laws should be summarily repealed (like yesterday!). Any business that can get an economic monopoly really, really deserves to have it for as long as it can keep outcompeting everybody.

  • Anonymous

    “Heaven forbid the hospital ask me my religious affiliation before they treat me for a heart attack.”

    And you should leave it up to heaven, as it is certainly none of the government’s business. Doctors are not your slaves.

  • Vulndare

    All I can say is that the US tried the “private” approach for decades and failed at it. Show me anywhere on this planet where your ideas have worked, I’ll show you many where it has failed. Sure in a perfect society it would work just as we as all hope. People would behave with respect towards everyone, and if they didn’t socail pressure would correct them, they would clean up their own oil spills, they would hire an electrician regardless of skin color, but that is a very quixotic hope The assumption that people rely on government to solve problems is also a over reaction. We have learned that private sector cannot fix environmmental issues, educational issues. health issues, and others.

    We take for granted the society we have , it has been under an umbrella of civil rights for 50 years, and the reaction to your ideas stems from the painful gut wrenching years this country went through to get away from the exact society you propose. Perhaps a careful study of how the slums of LA formed would be an enlightenment, how the first street gangs formed and why. Civil rights are more about a just society than a free one. Government needs to step in to ensure social justice just as much as freedom. This country went through hell to try and deliver the inalienable right of human dignity to each of us, we have come to accept the Irish, Italians, sort of inregards to women and blacks, we have a long way to go with everyone. I think this would be like saying “no more polio, no need for vaccinations”, problem is it is all right under the surface, and many of us see it all the time. Just look at how the muslims were treated after 9/11. Like I said, this is not just about freedom, it is about social justice and human dignity. Your ideas while admirable just would not work and we have history to prove it.

  • Atnor

    I get the difference you’re talking about and where you’re coming from there, but I dont share your original thought, that “ to me that there is a definitive biological logic to the concept of “marriage”

    I dont consider “marriage”, in a biological or political sense, to be so narrowly defined and aligned with procreation… especially in the political sense, where there’s no practical difference between same-sex and heterosexual unions that I can see.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that there should be no political difference between marriage contracts (between a woman and a man) and civil union contracts (between two women, or three men, or four men and five women, or whatever). It’s the same way there should be no political difference between a contract for a baseball player and his baseball team and a contract for a football player and his football team.

    My objection would arise if someone tried to claim that the football player was signing a contract to play baseball — that is, calling the game by the wrong name.