Thursday, 27 February 2014

Discrimination and Fairness in Arizona

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Now that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed her state’s Religious Freedom Restoration bill, which would have allowed religious business owners who find homosexual “marriage” to be morally repugnant to opt out of personally participating in any such event, let’s review some of the high points of what happened.

Once the legislation passed both houses of the state legislature — passed in large part because photographers and bakers in other states have already been successfully sued for not participating in homosexual events, punishing them for being devout — most of the national media, some business entities (such as the NFL), and even some high-ranking Republicans cajoled and threatened Arizona politicians to sink the bill. The anti-bill people said it discriminated against homosexuals as a group.

First, that’s not true. The bill would have allowed businesses to turn away certain objectionable requests from their clientele, such as making a cake for a homosexual “marriage,” but not discriminate against a group of people. Think about it: Would a baker refuse to make a cake for a child’s birthday party, even if that child’s parent participated in homosexual acts? Not likely. So it’s not the group that’s being objected to; it’s the activity.

Second, even if the bill would have blatantly allowed business owners to refuse service to homosexuals and refuse to make contracts with pro-homosexual business entities, it would simply be recognizing the right of devout religious people to do what other business people do every day: choose the people they provide services for and choose whom they will do business with. It’s called the “right of association.”

Make no mistake; businesses choose to cater to some groups while turning away others every day. Look around to see the truth of the statement. Businesses that sell beer often don’t sell cigarettes (entire states discriminate against smokers, going so far as to tell business owners that they can’t allow people to smoke on their premises); businesses that sell magazines often don’t sell pornographic ones; entities that sell liberal periodicals usually don’t carry conservative ones; catalog makers offhandedly reject the obese and the homely as models; some businesses rebuff those short on money by accepting only cash, not credit cards; airlines give special perks to frequent fliers; there are black-only dating sites; some restaurants don’t serve meat or cater to children; banks lend more to the rich than to the poor; grocery stores and other entities offer senior discounts; most clothing stores don’t carry goods for the “big and tall”; most hat stores don’t sell Jewish yarmulkes; etc.

There are even many cases where businesses that make cakes refuse to make cakes shaped like male or female anatomy, yet no one is making a federal case about it — or screaming “discrimination.” And how is that different from what religious people are asking for?

Incredible as it may seem, even cases of blatant business discrimination by gender are common. Women-only health clubs are commonplace. So are women-only clothing and shoe stores, as well as men-only stores. There are also women-only classes.

What about discrimination by homosexuals against heterosexuals? A travel guide about the Florida Keys reviews homosexual-only hotels and cruises. Then, of course, there are the “gay” online dating sites.

Third, the media that have been unabashedly criticizing the Arizona legislators who drafted and passed the bill seem to have no problem with the blatant “sexism” of one of the primary opponents of the bill: the National Football League, which reputedly threatened to pull a future Super Bowl event from Arizona if the bill passed.

Sexism, as defined by big media and liberals of late, is the absence of equal participation by the sexes in a field or occupation, hence why the same media scream sexism and quotas when there aren’t “enough” women engineers or scientists. There are no female NFL players, not even field-goal kickers or punters — none. Moreover, the NFL is apparently not planning to have any anytime soon, since, as far as I can ascertain, no areas have been set aside in football stadium locker rooms for their future use. (But this is probably because enlightened progressives feel any woman who joins the team should just have to shower with the guys, though, at the same time, males who self-identify as females must be allowed to use women’s facilities.)

Fourth, to be clear, this is a bill that should have been passed precisely because it promotes “fairness,” and it is in line with progressive claims and judicial decrees. For instance, there have been a spate of rulings by federal judges overturning states’ anti-homosexual “marriage” laws, based on the 14th Amendment, which claim, as one federal judge said, that the states’ laws conflict “with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.”

No business entity in this country caters to all groups; they all discriminate. And so that religious business owners are not maliciously sued and singled out for behavior that all businesses do — which we all know is going to happen — and to meet the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty, a state bill guaranteeing religious freedom should have been unopposed, even by liberals.

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