Publisher's note: As many of my regular readers know, Tim Dunkin appears in these pages with some regularity. Once again, Tim has spelled out one of the most critical issues facing our basic freedoms these days. It's a bit long, but well worth the read.
Tim Dunkin: The Lesson from Indiana is that We Need to Repeal Public Accommodation Laws.
"Freedom of association includes the freedom not to associate." – Ayn Rand
The past week has presented this nation with the spectacle of raw, unadulterated freedom-hating liberalism in action. The state of Indiana passed a law which allowed for religious freedom to be used as a defense for both individuals and businesses when facing discrimination lawsuits. Because one of the key points in the leftist cultural marxism agenda has been to create a legal environment in which businesses (and eventually churches) can be punished for refusing to participate in gay “weddings,” the Left went absolutely bonkers because this law worked directly contrary to that goal. The radical Left desires nothing less than a regimen in which any wrongthink by a business owner can be penalized, and laws which place gays into “protected” categories can be used as a bludgeon to destroy the enemies of the Left.
Indeed, that is what started this whole thing to begin with – the use of the radical gay agenda to go after Christian businesses that refused to participate in gay “marriage” ceremonies. The gays would seek out these businesses, purposefully target them knowing they would refuse service, specifically so they could then hound them legally through short-sighted and wrong-headed laws on the books. Indiana’s law was intended, among other things, to prevent this sort of thing from happening. It was not a proactive law that “encourages” or “allows” discrimination; rather, it was a defensive law designed to help protect religious liberty by requiring the state government to apply a strict “compelling interest” argument when considering whether to override a citizen’s or a business’ religious liberties. And it protected everyone, not just Christians – under it, a Jew couldn’t be compelled to arrange flowers for a Neo-Nazi event, nor would a gay baker be compelled to bake a cake for Westboro Baptist church.
I think much of the discussion has been off-base on both sides of the aisle. So much sound and fury has been made about the particular issue of homosexuality and “discrimination” against gays that the greater point – that of fundamental liberty of the individual – has been lost.
Specifically, this controversy should raise in the minds of anyone who actually cared about individual liberty the question of whether we should even have public accommodation laws – the sorts of laws on the books that declare certain groups to be “protected” and disallows “discrimination” against those groups by businesses because these businesses, by virtue of operating publicly, are “public accommodations.” I believe that rather than extending the reach of these laws, they should instead be stricken from the books because they are assaults on the First Amendment freedoms of association.
Let me begin by asking a question that will shock many folks, but which needs to be addressed in a rational, reasoned way that doesn’t involve a bunch of emotionalism and dramatics.
“Why shouldn’t individuals and businesses be allowed to discriminate against anyone they want?”Add a comment