Do Americans Have A Right To Discriminate?



I believe THEY SHOULD have that right.  Obviously the government can’t discriminate in things like housing, education, and employment – but small retailers should have control over their own businesses. 

For example, if I owned a small flower shop and I was prejudiced against religious nuts – shouldn’t I have the right NOT to sell them palms for their religious rituals?  Federal law says I MUST serve them as customers; the Indiana law says I don’t have to.

This is an oversimplification but you get the idea.  Why should I even have to let them in my shop if they bother me?  The government really can’t dictate how I think or feel but the law can dictate how I act. I think that’s wrong as long as I don’t interfere with their rights.

Gay people think the new Indiana law is aimed at them and specifically at gay marriage providers. They’re organizing economic boycotts  and that’s legal too. Good for them! It looks like those actions will hurt Indiana’s economy.  Oh well – freedom has its costs.

But gay people should be careful what they wish for. If vendors are forced to serve gays, I foresee weddings of wilted flowers, watered-down drinks, mediocre food, and faulty air conditioning in the hot, Indiana summer.  People often rebel when the government forces us to do what we don’t want to do.

If the Indiana law is repealed, I hope anti-gay marriage retailers will be professional enough to do their best for every wedding. But I’m afraid when it comes to human nature, gays won’t be able to have their wedding cake – and eat it too.

Indiana law:

(PS. I hope this post is not misinterpreted.  Everyone knows I am totally in favor of gay rights including marriage.  But this is America and people do have the “right” to be narrow-minded and ignorant.)

3 Responses to “Do Americans Have A Right To Discriminate?”

  1. Fred O'Beren says:


    I’m halfway on this one. I think, if you have a public shop, selling goods, you cannot restrict who comes in to buy your goods. You can, of course, deside to decorate your shop any way you wish, with ham and chees sandwiches, or pulled pork, or contraceptives on prominent display, but should someone wish to come in of any religion, orientation, colour, shape, or size, there shouldn’t be a barrier for them to overcome. (See also the ADA.)

    On the other hand, if you are being hired to provide an optional service (not, for example some form of urgent medical care) you should be able to choose your clientel, unless, of course, there is no other choice for your service, due to non-compete arrangements (For example, if you are the only cable provider in a town, you cannot refuse to bring your service to someone, because they happen to represent a sect of a religion you don’t like.) or licensing constraints (approved by the Government, so there is already Government involvement in your business.)

    To look at your flower example … if I was a florist, and happened to be happy to serve for gay weddings, and I just happened to be over the Indania state line, if I was constrained from catering to weddings in Indiana, by Indana law (or licensure) then I would have an issue with it. I would especially have an issue if, for example, the only people who were licensed to do some necessary service (like officiating at the wedding) were allowed license depending on them not providing their service to some subset of humanity.

    Beyond that? I say let the free market show it’s value. Let those who wish to go to the florists who will not serve a subset patronize those places that don’t, and let others make other choices, and businesses will stay in business or fail, depending on their choices.


  2. paolo. says:

    Thanks for writing, Fred – as usual, good points. This is much more complicated than I can fit in about 200-words. People are making it a ‘religious freedom’ issue: “if gay marriage is against my beliefs, why should I be forced to participate under duress of law?” This Indiana law negates that (I think.)

    A gay friend and I were laughing about it the other day. In real life, what gay couple would want their wedding flowers done by an anti-gay, straight florist (if you could even find one!) Oh wait – there was one: Dion O’Banion in Chicago in the 1920s. Unfortunately for him, Al Capone didn’t like the arrangement.


  3. Homepage says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] Informations on that Topic: […]

Leave a Reply