Should gays permit discrimination in the name of tolerance?

There’s an article up on RealClearPolitics, a right-wing site, about how gays should prove that we truly believe in tolerance by letting anti-gay bigots discriminate against us.

Get it? We prove we’re for freedom and diversity and tolerance by making sure people who hate us are able to freely discriminate against us.

Last time I checked, that was the problem in the first place – people discriminating against us. So tolerating their discrimination isn’t exactly a step forward. It’s called stagnation.

gay-marriageSpecifically the article is dealing with gay marriage, and how “intolerant” gays get when florists and bakeries refuse to work gay weddings (in the law, that’s called public accommodations discrimination). Coincidentally, all of these supposedly-oppressed “heterosexual” florists and wedding planners are the same talking point the officially-designated hate group, Family Research Council, brings up when trying to diss marriage equality for gays. And that talking point already got shot down by the official fact-checkers at Politifact.

But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that all of these oppressed straight florists are being threatened with jail time for refusing to sell flowers to gay couples.  The notion that gay couples should put up with is a bit silly. The standard for judging whether florists, or wedding venues, should serve gay couples is the same standard we use for any other copule: Does civil rights law permit you to discriminate in the provision of public accommodations to other legitimately married couples?  (And more generally, does civil rights law permit you to discriminate against customers based on their gender, race, national origin, religion etc. – all the traditional  categories of civil rights law).

If society, via its laws, doesn’t permit you to discriminate against other marriages you might not like – such as when blacks marry whites.

Remember, in Mississippi recently nearly half (46%) of Republican primary voters thought inter-racial marriage should be illegal – only 40% thought it should be legal.  So if we give people the freedom to not serve weddings they don’t like, good luck getting married in Mississippi if your intended spouse is of a different race.

So when I hear people talk about how gays can “prove” how tolerant they are by tolerating the intolerance of others, I cry foul.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

Share This Post

© 2018 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS