Sunday, February 23, 2014

LET 'EM BAN US

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Remember back in 2012, when people were calling for a boycott of Chick-fil-A because of the company's financial support of openly anti-gay organizations? Many conservative pundits, and some representatives of the fast food restaurant itself, decried the effort as unfair and even unconstitutional, seeing as the chain was only practicing its rights of freedom of religion and expression. Never mind that the boycott itself would simply represent those offended by the company's actions practicing their own constitutional rights, as apparently said document can only really apply to those whose opinions are aligned with those of said pundits.

Now however, those seem like better days. Sure, Chick-fil-A was trying to have its cake and eat it too; on the one hand being allowed to funnel some of its profits to groups that were strongly invested in trying to make life less livable for gay people, while also earning some of those profits off of the very same homosexuals. Flash forward to 2014, and as most of you most likely already know, several states have been trying to pass laws allowing businesses and employees to refuse to serve gay people in any capacity on the basis of religious beliefs. This has many people understandably upset, and upon first hearing about it I was certainly amongst them. Of course realizing that these sorts of laws would almost certainly never actually come to pass, and even if they did would have even slimmer odds of surviving the inevitable judicial challenges they would incur, means there is not too much point in getting overly worked up over them. Even more comforting, is the fact that even if by some twist of fate these laws did manage to pass, and held up in court, there would likely be very few businesses willing to turn away an entire segment of the population for any reason. And as for those businesses who would, I say let 'em.

I can't say I agree at all with the idea that individual employees would be allowed to refuse someone service because of their sexual orientation. Firstly, because how would the employee even know who is or isn't gay barring seeing a same-sex couple make out in front of them, but secondly, and perhaps most importantly, because if your employer tells you that you have to serve everybody, then you do, regardless of what your religious beliefs dictate. If someone got fired from the supermarket because they refused to wear pants on religious grounds, no sane person would come to their defense. So, in the event that a gay couple walked into the same supermarket to order a wedding cake (which as Jon Stewart pointed out is not very likely) and an employee refused to bake it, the store should be allowed to take whatever disciplinary action it sees fit in response, including firing the employee.

But if there is a shop out there that really wants to post a sign in the window barring gay customers from entering, fine. Put it up. If somewhere there is a restaurant owner who wants to kick people out because they perceive them to be homosexual, fine. Do it. I have no interest in giving my money to people who hate me so much that they don't want me in their business, and at least this way I would know for certain which businesses those are. There are plenty of other shops and restaurants out there, and the odds are that one being run by such bigoted people wouldn't be great enough to be missed anyway. And when many of their straight customers turn away at the sight of a "No Gays" sign on the door, or when people stop coming in because they read about their LGBTQ friends being kicked out on Facebook or Yelp, and their business dries up, they'll have only their prejudice to blame. Let's let these businesses do what they want, and we'll see how it affects their bottom line when there isn't a line of bottoms at their door.