Reflections on Discrimination

I was thinking of a statement that I made recently made of gay rights activists such as myself: “In the case of gay marriage, we’re not forcing people to treat someone equally in their personal life. We want the government to stop discriminating.” I believe that a good subject for a blogpost would be defining the term “personal life,” because it relates to the Gay Rights Movement. The issue of gay marriage itself deals only with government discrimination, but there are other gay rights issues that deal with private sector discrimination. After all, I and many other Gay Rights activists do strongly favor anti-discrimination laws that cover the private sector. For instance, nobody should have the right to refuse to rent or sell someone a house or refuse to hire someone because of their sexual orientation. A catering or photography business should not have the right to refuse to provide services for a wedding because both spouses are of the same sex. So does this mean the Gay Rights Movement wants to use government to force Americans to treat other Americans equally in their personal lives? Not really. Businesses, schools, etc. are institutions that proprietors have chosen to be open to the public. It is despicable and bigoted to refuse to be friends with someone because they are gay, but individuals have a right to refuse to be friends with someone else no matter how absurd that’s individual’s reasons are. That is what I mean by “personal life.” What individuals do not have the right to do is to open an institution such as a business to the public and then deny equal access to some members of the public because of immutable traits like sexual orientation. So those Americans who still cling to archaic notions about gays, racial minorities, and other historically oppressed groups should just relax. Nobody will be forced against their will to be best buddies with a gay couple who moves into their neighborhood. It’s your loss if you withhold friendship because of someone’s sexual orientation, but it’s also your decision. But if someone wants to be able to live some place that doesn’t allow gays, they will just have to live inside a Christian Identity church or something.

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