I read a posting by Ken over at Popehat earlier today dealing with some of the supposed pitfalls being brought up by detractors of same-sex marriage. The post is great, so I suggest that you go over and read it, but the post, itself, isn’t the topic of what I am writing about here.
Incidentally, within that post, there was a discussion about a photographer who was sued for discrimination by a gay couple because he refused to photograph their wedding. The gay couple prevailed.
A comment was posted by a commenter in response to this. Here is the entire text of the comment:
While there has been much decrying of the problems of photographer refusing to shoot a gay wedding losing a New Mexico equal rights case, after thinking about it, I've concluded that the correct outcome occurred.
Consider the situation had the photographer refused to shoot a inter-racial wedding _because they were inter-racial_. Or a black wedding _because they were black_. Or a Jewish wedding _because they were Jewish_How about if fired someone _because they were Jewish_ (or black, or gay)?
I couldn’t disagree more with him, and said so:
I don't want to live in a country where we force people to do things against their will, even if they are refusing to do these things because they are bigoted assholes. In a free country, a photographer necessarily has the right to refuse to photograph any wedding for any reason whatsoever, including those reasons listed above in your comment.
This is actually the better result in this situation, because the photographer isn't forced to do something he doesn't want to do ( which is wrong, no matter how you parse it) and the rest of us get to see the bigoted asshat's true colors. We shouldn't restrict bigoted asshats from showing their true colors, otherwise we'll continue accidentally doing business with them.Additionally, I posted about his comment regarding his statements about employment:
If a person owns a business, it is his business, not yours, not mine, and not the government's. If he doesn't want to hire someone for being black, or wants to fire them for the same, then in my opinion, he has every right to do that and no law should stop him from doing so. Simply because there are currently laws on the books that do make this illegal doesn't make it right.
I say this for the same reasons I stated above. Personal freedom trumps all, and that business belongs to the businesses owner, not anyone else. In this day and age, such a business wouldn't last for very long, anyway, so even without that law, I suspect that this would never, ever be a problem, because any shrewd asshat will keep his opinions to himself in order to protect his business, and any asshat that doesn’t will soon fade away into obscurity because no one will do business with him.
Besides, what person in the above listed groups would want to work for a person, whom the only reason that they don't fire them is because it is illegal?
And why would you want to create a law that would essentially cover for these buttholes, when without the law they will gladly show us their true colors and ensure that we all know who they are and can then not do business with them anymore?
I’ll make one final point, which is to counter a common counter-argument to the above opinion, which is to say that when the asshats go stealth and hide their true colors, that minorities suffer because they can’t get jobs at these organizations, so a law must exist to fight that tendency.
In addition to the “why would they want to?” question above, my response is pretty simple – the laws that exist now to prevent this are totally toothless, and there is no foreseeable way that you could give them teeth other than to enforce quotas on private businesses, and there is no way that America would, or even should, stand for such nonsense.
The current laws on the books are easily countered by a myriad of different tactics – all you have to do is make a convincing argument as to why the applicant was not qualified if the issue ever comes up. This can be done with any applicant, anytime, anywhere, regardless of race. So if a business owner doesn’t want to hire a minority now, he can do so. All he has to do is be a decent liar, and he’s in business.
And so those laws are stupid.