Precinct 333

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Non-Discrimination Laws, The Way They Should Be

The city of Topeka, Kansas has adopted a new anti-discrimination ordinance that deals with employment rights. It bans discrimination against individuals based upon sexual orientation in city hiring -- but does nothing with private actions.

And that is as it should be.

Think about it for a moment. Government should not discriminate in hiring decisions. But private individuals and organizations have the right to set any ethos they desire. If one is religiously opposed to homosexuality, on what basis can the governemtn legitimately claim the right to override their free exercise of religion? Any law that required non-discrimination in private hiring would, in effect, be discriminatory against religious believers. That is not government's place.

Now some may object. They will argue that it is not right to allow discrimination by private individuals? A good example of this is found in the article.
"It does not matter what form discrimination takes, we should at every step attempt to prevent it," said Topeka lawyer Pedro Irigonegaray. "The issue here is equal protection under the law."
I would disagree. This law provides homosexuals with equal protection of the law -- and also provides those opposed to homosexuality with equal protection of the law. No one is violated by the law, and any "injustice" (if one exists) is a matter of private action, not public policy

Individuals have every right to import their personal beliefs into their business practices -- even if I find what they are doing to be repugnant. On that basis I also reject laws banning private discrimination against people because of race, religion, or sex (public accommodations as historically defined under common law excepted). If a gay bar wants to hire only gay employees, so be it. If WBLK radio wants to hire only black employees, I have no problem with that. That is a part of living in a free society -- people may use the freedom in a way I dislike.

That doesn't mean I support their discrimination -- it simply means I am "pro-choice" on such discrimination. I'm also "pro-choice" regarding patronizing such businesses.


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