Senate Gay Rights Legislation is Bad Law

Rabbi Aryeh Spero | December 20, 2013 | 1:03pm EST
Font Size

Those in the Senate touting a bill for gay rights as the latest frontier for civil rights are, in effect, supporting a bill that will end up requiring across-the-board quotas in hiring and will force people to engage in activities against their religious conscience and beliefs.

Previous civil rights bills made it illegal to discriminate against people simply because of who they are, whereas gay rights legislation will punish those who are not withholding services to people based on who they are, but simply wish to refrain from participating in activities they cannot condone.

Two cases illustrate this. One involves a bakery and the other a photographer, local shops declining to accept a job where they would have to attend a gay wedding so as to take pictures or bake the wedding cake. Neither of these businesses would withhold their services from gay people in any other routine circumstance.

Here, however, they would be forced to actively work for or participate in an activity offensive to their religious beliefs: same sex marriage. Neither of these shop owners professes hostility to gays and would certainly bake a cake for a birthday party or photograph the graduation of someone who is gay.

With the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the heavy hand of government would come down on those small business owners. Government lawyers would give them the following choice: Surrender your beliefs or we will sue you into financial oblivion. The courts have done this, and worse. In Denver last week, a Colorado judge ordered the baker to pay a fine, each time, or go to jail; and in New Mexico, a judge, back in August, ordered similar for the photographer. (Reminds one how Pharaoh jailed the baker and bartender).

We have seen this strong arm tactic countless times before. In the name of someone demanding what he labels his civil rights, others are forced to give up their fundamental rights and, worse, forced to actively do what they cannot in good conscience do. Many of the cases government or trial-lawyers deliberately pursue in the name of civil rights are but concocted and imagined rights, while the fundamental right of religious liberty or the right of conscience against government coercion is ignored. Basic and fundamental Constitutional rights, indeed actual First Amendment pillars, are assigned irrelevant status by liberal activists when pitched against the zeal of certain groups wishing to impose their will over others.

The second problem with this legislation is that once a congressional bill places a group into a special category above and beyond our normal civil rights and due process requirements, the government sees its task in demanding that hiring quotas be implemented as a means of redressing the 'inequalities" the bill came to rectify. Not only will courts demand a percentage of gays at shops and businesses across America, but, as has been done throughout the years of Obama's Justice Dept., make businesses prove they have not discriminated or else pay a hefty fine.

Too many Americans seem to have forgotten that the purpose of an individual starting a business is so that person can support himself or pursue an activity that provides him fulfillment. Liberal legislators seem to feel that businesses are their vehicles for social engineering, with the proprietor taking the risk and making the sacrifice while government controls the business for its own statist goals and designs. But making a living is a fundamental right, and a private business -- a property -- is the meaning behind "pursuit of happiness" enshrined in the Declaration. A man's business and livelihood were never seen by the Founders as just another vehicle to be used by the state to its advantage.

Furthermore, quotas in hiring will require that religious organizations hire gay people who do not necessarily subscribe to the mission of the organization and may be dead-set against some of its beliefs.  It should be remembered that a business is not made for the purpose of hiring but for enacting a vision and making a profit. Businesses and organizations have specific goals for which the organization exists. It is contrary to common sense to be forced to hire someone who is unwilling to further all the goals of the organization.

Freedom of Association is another fundamental right. And though it remains a question as to the parameters of Freedom of Association, certainly one should never be required to associate with someone whose actual activities he considers distasteful or injurious to others, especially when done in front of those others. A family, for example, who owns a two-unit-duplex should not be forced to rent to those whose demonstrative activities are considered a bad example to his/her family living below. One's freedom to pursue his lifestyle can never cancel out another's right to protect himself or his family from what he considers harmful or an assault on his moral safety.

The proponents of this bill would love it to be seen as yet another pro- civil rights piece of legislation, with those against it as anti-gay and bigoted. It is precisely that context that usually assures that bad legislation is passed. After all, who wants to be considered a bigot or against gay people? We should, however, assess this bill as to how it negatively limits the rights of business owners and redefines the purpose of business and how it cancels out Constitutional religious freedoms and will coerce people into doing that which they find deeply objectionable.

Indeed, for many elected officials being seen as open-minded and "compassionate" carries more weight than upholding fundamental individual liberties, especially to a public lulled into thinking that every piece of legislation bearing a civil rights stamp is a win-win situation with no downside. For the Marxist social engineers in Armani suits, it is another opportunity to use a group, this time gay, to nail the coffin of soft tyranny over comatose Americans on route to death.

At his point in history the Democrats have hit upon a winning game plan, a winning formula for them - though, a bad recipe for America. Though many Americans are deeply discouraged by the Obama economy, his amateur foreign policy, and his preference for Islamists over Christians, the Democrats still garner electoral headway by being seen as the defenders of racial and sexual rights. Too many Americans, wishing to see themselves as tolerant and good people, seem to give more importance to these "emblem" issues than the matters that really count.

mrc merch