This Is What A Republican Surrender Looks Like And Why We Need To Get Rid Of Anti-Discrimination Laws

As The Hayride reported yesterday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has surrendered to the left, the gay mafia, big business, and the media. Pence has asked for a bill that would clarify that the newly signed RFRA could not be used to discriminate against homosexuals.

We’re already seeing what the changes would look like. Reason Magazine wrote about it and it’s something that no one who supports individual liberty, the free market, or property rights can support.

Yesterday Indiana Gov. Mike Pence promised to seek legislation clarifying that his state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) “does not give anyone a license to deny services to gay and lesbian couples.” The Indianapolis Star reports that a RFRA amendment Pence is floating says the law “does not authorize a provider—including businesses or individuals—to refuse to offer or provide its services, facilities, goods, or public accommodation to any member of the public based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” More precisely, the amendment “would specify that the new religious freedom law cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation.”

Assuming that gloss accurately reflects the wording of the bill, it would mean that business owners in Indianapolis, Bloomington, and South Bend—the three Indiana cities that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation—could not cite their religious objections to same-sex marriage as a defense against complaints prompted by their refusal to participate in gay weddings. Since Indiana does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, the new language would have no impact on the legality of such refusals elsewhere in the state. Critics of Indiana’s RFRA therefore are demanding a statewide ban on such discrimination, which Pence opposes.

Pence opposes it, for now. Even so this amendment would mandate that vendors be forced to offer services, no matter who asks for them. This takes away a business owner’s right to choose who they contract with and when they contract. While most businesses are open to the public, this does not take away the fact that they are privately-owned entities.

The correct response is not to grant an exemption for gay marriage opponents or religious people. The solution is we need to repeal or change the current laws on public accomodations. We need to let the marketplace punish discrimination, not the government.

Anti-discrimination laws and the laws on public accomodations were first crafted in the 1960s in response to the Jim Crow laws that appeared after the Civil War. What has been forgotten about Jim Crow laws is that they were state-mandated segregation. These were not the decisions of white business owners, instead the laws were passed by state governments.

Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 because of two provisions, Title II and Title VII. He believed the two provisions, which dealt with outlawing discrimination by business owners and discrimination in employment respectively, were unconstitutional. Both provisions violate freedom of association.

In this era of social media, anti-discrimination laws are obsolete. Just ask the folks at Memories Pizza in Indiana. After their owner told a reporter they would not cater a gay wedding, they got blasted so much on the Internet and by phone they were forced to close. While I don’t condone threats and leaving slanderous reviews of a business I have never visited, this is an example of the marketplace punishing discrimination.

Today’s anti-discrimination laws serve as employment opportunities for lawyers and bureaucrats. They also serve as a way to protect bigoted business owners by allowing them to hide their bigotry, instead of subjecting them to the punishment of the marketplace that they would suffer if they were allowed to be honest about their views.

Should a Christian florist be punished, either civilly or criminally, for refusing to work a gay wedding? Should a gay tattoo artist be required to tattoo anti-gay Bible verses on a Christian’s arm? Should a black baker be required to bake a cake for the KKK? The only acceptable answer in a free society to all three questions is no.

This is as much of an individual freedom issue as free speech. The fact of the matter is other people do not belong to you. The goods and services they produce do not belong to you. Demanding that someone else provide those goods and services by force is theft, no matter if you outsource it to the government.

While I don’t condone racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other form of bigotry; private businesses should have the right to do business with whoever they please. I also believe those businesses should also suffer the consequence of their decisions instead of being protected by government as with current anti-discrimination laws. We trust markets for so much in American society, why not trust them when it comes bigotry?

Freedom isn’t just for those viewpoints and people that are popular. Freedom is for everyone.



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