No, But Gay Civil Rights Are The Same Thing
Bill Quick

Hello?!? Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Rights—Not the Same Thing

Throughout our nation’s history, there have been homosexuals eating at the same restaurants, sleeping in the same hotels, drinking from the same water fountains, voting in the same polling places, using the same restrooms, and choosing their own preferred seat on the bus.

In short, they were living their lives largely unencumbered by the tribulations faced by those in the black community.

In this country, homosexuals have never been subjected to the same level of abuse and humiliation as that suffered by people of color. In fact, that claim should be downright vile and insulting for every black American over the age of sixty to hear.

Nowhere in this nation can blacks be denied jobs, housing, or public access based on their skin color.  However, in the majority of states in America, gays may be refused jobs, or fired from them, or denied the right to rent or purchase housing, because of their sexual orientation.

What’s really vile is that the fucktard I cite above probably thinks that is just fine and dandy.

Posted in Bigots permalink
Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

Comments

No, But Gay Civil Rights Are The Same Thing — 50 Comments

  1. I’ll probably regret opening this can of worms again, but YOLO.

    You’ve made it clear that you reject the principle of freedom of association. You think that, under some circumstances, it is a proper function of government to force people into relationships with each other against their will. My question, then, is how you delimit those circumstances? When, in your view, is it ok for the government to force people into relationships, and when is it not? Why?

    • I move from liberty and justice *for all,* with the Constitution providing first principles as to liberty and justice.

      Pursuit of happiness enters in, though it is not a Constitutional principle. It is, however, why the Framers wrote the constitution.

      You worship the sort of libertarianism that devolves into majority rule. If the majority wishes to entirely deny the pursuit of happiness to some group of people the majority dislikes, and then codify that injustice into law that forces those people to remain as second class Americans, that’s just fine and dandy with you.

      Where do I start? Any system that legally denies equal liberty, access and opportunity to folks based on characteristics rather than actions or outcomes of actions is evil. And that includes so-called libertarians who only value the liberties they like for themselves.

      • I think you’re mischaracterizing my position a bit, Bill. I do not support the ability of a majority to codify a rights violation into law. I’m not an advocate of unlimited majority rule and if I thought my political views led to that end I’d reject them on those grounds alone.

        The segregation laws that implemented Jim Crow were flagrant property rights violations and should have been struck down as such back in 1896.

        But my question wasn’t about my views — I already know you don’t agree with me. I’m trying to understand *your* position, specifically the limits on it. For example: if the government can force me to provide “equal liberty, access and opportunity” to people based on characteristics, does that mean you support the Americans with Disabilities Act? It seems like you should — turning away somebody confined to a wheelchair because I don’t want to spend the money installing a ramp looks like a denial of equal opportunity based on a characteristic.

        • We can pick at this all day, but, short take, yes.

          ADA is often sadly over-used by regulators to punish businesses, but the idea that a person should be barred from shopping at most places because people don’t want to put in something as simple as a ramp does require a remedy beyond “let the market decide.”

          And I think you have the Jim Crow era backwards: Those laws weren’t passed because the state wanted to impose them on white citizens. They were passed because white citizens wanted the imprimature of law on what they were already doing without the law.

          • Kyle, I try to advance individual liberty as widely as possible in the real world. As Haverwilde has pointed out, nobody is forcing a business association on somebody who doesn’t want it – you have a choice – follow the law, or don’t do business. And as you no doubt note, I understand your position on this. I just don’t support it. I think the downside of massive discrimination disguised as “freedom of association” is more corrosive to society and liberty than the alternative.

            If you can figure out a way to get rid of the pack tendencies in our DNA, so that the call of like to like isn’t quite as overpowering as it actually is, maybe we can have this discussion again.

          • I’d say they were passed because a working political majority of white citizens wanted to use the state to violate the rights of others in pursuit of what they considered a desirable social goal. They needed the force of law in part because not everyone was on board with their desires — there’s a big gap between a working political majority and everyone.

  2. And while we’re at it, Kyle – at what point does your elevation of free association to the primary focus of your ideology cause so much generalized misery that you might draw some limits to it?

    My guess is never. Which is why I don’t have an enormous amount of respect for it.

    Racism —Ayn Rand Lexicon

    Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the
    notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic
    lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are
    produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in
    practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but
    by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

    Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus,
    but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character
    are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This
    is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited
    knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism
    is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of
    collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various
    breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.

    Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which
    distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism
    negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality,
    replacing them with chemical predestination.

    But hey. IT’s perfectly okay to set up a racist society grounded on “freedom of association.”

    • Again, I think you mischaracterize my view. The primary focus of my political ideology is the principle of individual rights. Freedom of association is one such right, derivative of the right to liberty. If I thought that upholding the principle of individual rights led to general misery then I wouldn’t advocate it — the entire point of philosophical politics is to identify the necessary conditions for people to live happy, successful lives in a social environment.

      It isn’t clear to me what you mean by a “racist society”. If you mean a society in which racist principles are enforced by law, then no, that is not ok. It’s utterly vile.

      But if a ‘non-racist’ society is one in which people can be stripped of their individual rights because they hold false and unpopular ideas (such as racism), then a ‘non-racist’ society is also an unfree one.

      I find it interesting you would quote from Rand’s essay “Racism”. You might want to read it to the end, where she writes:

      The “civil rights” bill, now under consideration in Congress, is another gross infringement of individual rights. It is proper to forbid all discrimination in government-owned facilities and establishments: the government has no right to discriminate against any citizen. And by the very same principle, the government has no right to discriminate for some citizens at the expense of others. It has no right to violate the right of private property by forbidding discrimination in privately owned establishments.

      No man, neither Negro nor white, has any claim to the property of another man. A man’s rights are not violated by a private individual’s refusal to deal with him. Racism is an evil, irrational and morally contemptible doctrine—but doctrines cannot be forbidden or prescribed by law. Just as we have to protect a communist’s freedom of speech, even though his doctrines are evil, so we have to protect a racist’s right to the use and disposal of his own property. Private racism is not a legal, but a moral issue—and can be fought only by private means, such as economic boycott or social ostracism.

  3. Frankly, I don’t understand the argument.
    There is no restriction on anyone’s freedom of association. I don’t have to associate with Blacks, Latinos, Gays, or old bald guys. Nothing stops me from having nothing to do with them. If I don’t want to serve a Black at my restaurant, I am free to leave the business world and not serve him.
    If I don’t want to take wedding pictures of a Gay Couple, I am free not to do that. I just can’t run a photography business.
    If I don’t want to associate with old bald guys, I can buy wig, and ignore the rest of the old farts.
    No one is restricting my freedom of association.

    • That’s my take, too, Haverwilde, but Kyle is conflating business association with personal association. He contends that nobody should be forced by the state to do business with anybody they don’t want to do business with. (Yeah, I get it – if they don’t want to do biz with gays, get out of biz – but Kyle contends that should not be their only option.

      It’s a standard Libertarian position. It just doesn’t happen to be one I hold. I don’t swallow any ideology whole, including that of the sainted Rand – although she, at least, wouldn’t expect me to do so.

      • I don’t really like the idea that businesses should be forced to deal with everyone who comes along, and it’s not just a race issue: businesses should be able to fire troublesome customers for any reason. (And let the market work here: in an ideal world, if you refuse to service, let’s say Japanese people, just to mix things up, then in an ideal world you’ll offend enough other people that you’ll go out of business.)

        Having said that, I don’t understand why, for example, the cake woman doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay couple. That’s not really a Christian attitude, and it’s certainly not a Catholic one.

            • But let’s say white people, huh, just to invert things? One assumes such a place would be likely to go out of business pretty quickly. And I’d be OK with that.

              So no, by the same token, I wouldn’t have a problem with a store that refused to service blacks or jews or right-handed people or women or people with germanic-sounding last names or blue eyes. But I wouldn’t shop there, and I’d encourage everyone I knew not to shop there, too, and that’s the moral way to discourage such behavior.

              I don’t claim to be an expert on the nonaggression principle but ISTM that the heavy hand of government enforcing nondiscrimination would be a pretty big violation of it.

              • “I specifically didn’t choose black people because it’s a sore subject in the US and I didn’t want any knee-jerking.”

                I understand why. You miss the point. Black people have already been discriminated against on a wide scale. The business’s did not go out of business. Maybe you will not shop there, but others will. Any significant minority will suffer without civil rights protection.

                “But let’s say white people, huh, just to invert things?”

                It doesn’t work when whites are a clear majority. Get back to me when you have a poor white minority group where no protection is offered and I’ll show you what the outcome will be. Kinda like Christians/Jews in a muslim country.

                • No, I didn’t miss the point. I was trying to avoid the heat around the black/white issue.

                  Businesses that discriminated against black people obviously didn’t go out of business when it was legal and morally acceptable to discriminate against them, so what happened in the 50s isn’t a good comparison.

              • One assumes such a place would be likely to go out of business pretty quickly.

                Why do you assume that? Black only businesses often thrived in the Jim Crow South. And there are effectively black-ownly businesses within a few blocks of where I live in the SF ghetto area.

                • “Black only businesses often thrived in the Jim Crow South.”

                  Growing up in the South, there were black only business’s everywhere. It was not by choice for the most part, white’s simply would not do business there. Just like they would not do business with blacks in the stores they owned. As young teenagers we used to go to a black bar for a couple beers. We always took the lady owner flowers. She protected us from the patrons that were offended we would come to “their” bar.

                  Black only business was just a response to being shut out by the jim crow laws. I’m certain neither Rick C or Kyle would like these laws to come back. I do understand the desire to have freedom to decide who you do business with. It’s a thorny problem. There are compromises that must be made. I know where the lack of law enforcing civil rights will lead and it ain’t pretty. So, we compromise. I have to do business with those I disagree with because I don’t like their color, sex, weight, height, etc. I can find any number of reasons I don’t want to bake their cake or take their pictures, and I know the result when allowed.

      • And this is where I’m trying to get clarity on your position. You think people should be forced by the state to do business with some people they don’t want to do business with, under some circumstances. I’m trying to understand the limits on this state power. Does this principle cover forcing me to buy health insurance? Or to sell health insurance to somebody with a preexisting medical condition?

        • No. And I believe you are now deliberately misreading me. I’m about expanding individual liberty, not expanding the overall power of the state. Sometimes the tradeoff of expanding the power of the state in exchange for greatly expanding individual liberty is worthwhile.

          Where is the individual liberty element of insurance?

          • I think I’m closer to understanding the roots of our disagreement. From my perspective, all proper government action is directed to protecting individual rights (life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness). Individual rights, in turn, are only violated by the initiation of force, fraud, or the credible threat of such initiation.

            Your position, I think, implies one or more of the following:

            1) Private discrimination is a type of initiation of force/fraud/threat thereof.

            2) Individual rights may be violated by something other than force/fraud/threat thereof.

            3) Proper government action may be directed to goals other than the protection of individual rights.

            Since you characterize your position in terms of expanding individual liberty, I don’t think you want to accept (3). My guess is that you accept either (1) or (2). Am I right?

            • I’m not sure why you refuse to get what I’m about, Kyle.

              I understand your position on freedom of business association. I just reject it in the real world on the grounds that, fully implemented, it leads to even greater evils than infringing that freedom, and always has.

              No more complicated than that. Ideologically, you are correct. In the real world, your notion generates untold misery far in excess of the relatively minor infrongements on freedom of association involved.

              • I’m not trying to convince you of my position, any more than you’re trying to convince me of yours. I think we both know we’re going to keep disagreeing on this. I’m trying to figure out the roots of why we diverge. Our disagreement on this issue interests me because we generally agree on so many other things.

                I’m not willing to just say “the idea is correct, but it doesn’t work in the real world”. True ideas work in the real world. If it doesn’t work, the idea is just wrong, or it’s contextually limited in some way. Either way, that has broader implications for how we think about other issues, what kinds of arguments are valid or invalid, etc.

      • “He contends that nobody should be forced by the state to do business with anybody they don’t want to do business with.”

        I contend that too – both ways. I’ve read through most of the comments and it seems to me that business owners are being singled out here as somehow having lesser rights than customers.

        Business (trade) is a two-way street; it takes two to do business, to trade and neither party should be coerced by a 3rd party regardless.

        If one holds that that a business owner cannot be allowed to discriminate, one cannot coherently and simultaneously hold that customers cannot be allowed to discriminate.

        Imagine a, e.g., lesbian business owner suing people she knows are choosing not to do business with her because she is lesbian.

        In other words, if one holds that someone ought to be able to sue a business owner for refusing to do business with her because she is lesbian, one must also hold, if one is consistent, that a lesbian business owner ought to be able to sue those that refuse to do business with her because she is lesbian.

        But this is absurd.

        Either you’re an advocate for a genuine free market or you aren’t and, in a genuine free market, the individual right to choose whom to trade or not to trade with is protected by the state, not infringed.

        • This argument reminds me of the one over the unincorporated Bill of Rights: You have all these fine guarantees of “unalienable rights,” but of course every state in the union can ignore that guarantee and infringe the hell out of your unalienable rights.

          And yeah, you have you unalienable right to a free market, except that exercising that right guarantees that millions of people will live in misery because you don’t want to do business with them.

          Let’s check out Rand, shall we?

          Self-Defense —Ayn Rand Lexicon

          The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense.
          In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against
          those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of
          physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral
          imperative.

          If some “pacifist” society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be
          left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such
          a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing
          evil, it would encourage and reward it.

          So, Rand comes down foursquare for the right to self defense – it is integra to the right to life.

          And yet…

          In the comments discussion here, I think we established that Rand was willing to remove the right to effective self defense (use of firearms) from the people and hand it over as a sole power of the state, on the quite flimsy worry that allowing individual citizens to possess firearms would lead to “killing at whim.”

          And so what I am getting at here, for all you Objectivists, is that even Rand herself was willing to compromise her ideological certainties for what she apparently thought was a greater good.

          Or, to paraphrase somebody else, either you believe in the right of the individual to self defense, or you don’t.

    • That family owned Christian bakery didn’t refuse to serve Gays, they refused to provide a Gay themed wedding cake.

      Would a Jewish bakery happy to sell product to Arab-Americans be free to refuse to bake a cake celebrating Yasser Arafat’s birthday? What if they cheerfully served German-Americans but refused an order for a Nazi themed wedding cake?

    • “If I don’t want to take wedding pictures of a Gay Couple, I am free not to do that. I just can’t run a photography business.”

      What about the Gay photographer who doesn’t want to work a fundraising banquet for Liberty University…or the Westboro Baptist Church?

        • We aren’t talking about Walmart or Burger King here. We’re talking about individuals who contract for cakes or photographs. They must surrender all rights to religious belief and conscience in conducting business because that’s “the law”? That’s “liberty”?

          What about an African-American janitorial service? Would you demand they mop the floors and swab out the toilets at Ku Klux Klan headquarters or go out of business?

          • Sigh. You can keep on producing lifeboat situations, and my answer will be the same: If they are in business, and they offer services to one group, they must offer them to all groups. And there is nothing new about all this. Let me site, once again, Antonin Scalia:

            Employment Division v. Smith | LII / Legal Information Institute

            Our decisions reveal that the latter reading is the correct one. We have never held that an individual’s religious beliefs
            [p879]
            excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter in Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594-595 (1940):

            Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities.

            (Footnote omitted.) We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. “Laws,” we said,

            are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

            Id. at 166-167.

            Subsequent decisions have consistently held that the right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a

            valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).

            And as has been repeatedly pointed out, nothing forces believers to offer services they object to religiously. They always have the option to not be in the business of offering such services at all.

            In other words: If you’re going to play the game, you follow the rules. If you don’t want to, or feel you cannot, follow the rules, don’t play the game.

            Allow me to add that this is a slightly different thing than the discussion Kyle and I are having. He thinks the game should allow the players to do, or not do, anything they wish.

            • Yeah it’s different than your discussion with Kyle and I’m much closer to you on that one.

              It’s clear from Scalia’s opinion that Jewish bakers can’t refuse to serve Arabs, Christian bakers can’t refuse to serve Gays like they each serve everyone else. It’s clear that Black janitors can’t refuse to do business with Whites.

              I agree with all that 100%.

              It’s not clear to me that Scalia would see “valid and neutral law of general applicability” as requiring a Jew to bake a swastika cake, a Christian a Gay wedding cake, A Gay photographer to work a Prop 8 fundraiser or a Black man to clean KKK toilets. Or they all go out of business.

              I kinda doubt it. I see a big distinction between the two types of situations and I don’t want the law to treat them the same. I think doing so is over the top heavy handed and too close to totalitarian. It’s not like there aren’t numerous people happy to perform the services that a particular individual passed on. I guess we’ll just have to disagree.

              • ” I see a big distinction between the two types of situations…”

                Please write a law that makes that clear for all those situations. If you cannot do that, then it is just your judgment (someone else’s actually) applied to each situation. This is otherwise know as chaos.

                • I don’t know that current law requires Jews to bake swastika cakes or Gays to provide services to businesses which sponsored Prop 8, but if it does I imagine we could somehow manage to alter it without descending into chaos.

                • Robbie, please provide a sample of the wording you would employ. Otherwise, you are saying every case is judged based on the opinion of the judge, not based on plainly written law, thus chaos.

            • “In other words: If you’re going to play the game, you follow the rules. If you don’t want to, or feel you cannot, follow the rules, don’t play the game.” This begs the question. The point at issue is what the rules should be. You can’t answer that by an appeal to what the rules are.

              Not all rules are created equal. In fact, opponents of gay marriage have used a similar argument: gays and straights both have the right to marry a member of the opposite sex. That’s the ‘rule’ for marriage. If you’re going to play the game, you follow the rules; if you don’t want to, or feel you cannot, don’t play the game. This argument was, correctly, rejected when applied to marriage. I’m equally unimpressed with it when applied to trade.

              • Now back to the real world, where a business person doesn’t try to score political points, or be an ‘in your face’ bigot.
                If I was a photographer, and was asked to shoot for someone I absolutely could not stand, the response would be: “Thank you for coming to my business, unfortunately I am really booked up at that time.”
                Or as a Baker
                “We can bake specialty cakes following these patterns (show pictures) is there something here that you would like.” “No? Well, let me recommend ‘Pink Freddies’ down the street. I think he has something that would fit your desires.”

                • In at least one of the gay discrimination cases I read up on, the businessman had accepted the job and later rejected it after finding out the customer was gay. I guess he could try the “I didn’t realize I was double-booked for that weekend” ploy, but I don’t think it would work.

                • Well, SteveF,
                  I don’t think I would have tried ‘the double booked’ ploy. I think the more contractually correct form would be:
                  “I am really uncomfortable about this job. So I just wanted you to know, I willing to do it, but if you have another professional available I would willingly forgo the contract. I believe you deserve the best, and I don’t know that I can provide it.”

  4. I’m not sure this thought experiment is on point, but it occurred to me earlier today and I thought I’d toss it out for discussion. Suppose I’m a would-be employer with multiple applicants for an open position. I would have hired candidate A, except for his race. I tell him so explicitly. Under anti-discrimination law I’ve committed a crime and should be punished.

    Can we turn this around? What if I’m a job seeker, with multiple offers from different employers. I would have accepted a job working for employer A, except for his race. I tell him so explicitly. Have I discriminated against employer A? Should I be punished?

    Is there a difference between my being unable to find a job because of racial discrimination and my being unable to hire employees and run my business because of racial discrimination?

  5. And…here’s your lifeboat example for the day:

    Let’s say you own a pharmaceutical company the sells the only version of a lifesaving drug. But you refuse to sell it to black people, on the grounds of your freedom of business association.

    The upshot of that is that any black people who contract the disease are doomed to die, in order to support your right to free association.

    Is this a moral situation or not? Why, or why not?

    • Suppose I develop a pill that provides immortality and I choose to make the price infinite, i.e., no one else can have it but me.

      Yes, it is my right to do that and it would be immoral for anyone to force me to ‘trade’ with them. It is a moral obligation of the state to protect that right.

      But, is my choice not to allow anyone else access to the pill itself moral, i.e., rational? That’s a different question altogether.

      The point is this: a genuine free market is not necessarily wonderful. But, a genuine free market makes morality possible since, for an action to be moral or not, it must have been a free choice.

      If, in fact, people are mostly irrational fucks, then a genuine free market is likely to be ugly – until the mostly irrational fucks wither away because, I submit, irrational fucks can not be sustained for long in a genuine free market.

      • In other words, let the blacks die, so that I can have my genuine free market fantasies, and my morality that condemns them to death.

        Sorry, count me out. I suspect Rand might well part company with you on this, too, given the ground she was willing to concede of firearms.

        But you keep a good, solid hold on the flame now, y’hear?

  6. Barry-no reply button below your post so here it is;

    I’m not a lawyer, and I’ve mentioned the distinctions in previous posts.

    I wouldn’t allow a Black janitorial service to refuse to work for whites in general, but to the KKK? yeah.

    I wouldn’t allow a Jewish baker to refuse to sell his pastries, pies and bagels to Arabs, but a special cake celebrating Hamas or the Third Reich? You bet.

    I wouldn’t allow a Gay printer to refuse business from straight people, but a mailer or flyer for the Westboro Baptist church? Yes.

    I wouldn’t allow a Christian or Muslim owned business to discriminate against people simply because they were Gay, but I wouldn’t force them to do business with the North American Man/Boy love Association either.

    Small businesses and self employed individuals would not be permitted to discriminate based on race, religion, sexual orientation etc. generally or wholesale, but would be allowed to refuse individual, specific requests which they found offensive to their religious belief or conscience.