Perspectives: Anti-discrimination laws, do unto others or else

OPINION –His anti-discrimination bill S.B. 100 has been shelved for the moment, but Sen. Steve Urquhart remains resolute in seeking its passage. Urquhart’s intentions appear noble: to prevent housing or employment discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

But expanding the state’s power and increasing its control over us is not the way to accomplish this goal.

The problem isn’t that Urquhart’s proposed amendments seek to address issues related to acceptance of homosexuals. It’s that they would add yet another layer to an already unnecessary law against discrimination.

On its surface, the proposed legislation purports to protect certain classes of people from discriminatory employers or landlords. That’s what is seen. What is not immediately seen is how property owners and others suffer when such laws are used to modify the speech or behavior of the public at large.

This is why public policy must be considered not just in terms of the immediate expected result, but also the likely unintended consequences that will arise due to our own limited wisdom. This can be very difficult when applying this test to issues that are highly emotionally charged.

Understanding how anti-discrimination legislation results in a net loss of freedom for all requires that we set aside our emotional and ideological blinders. It also requires recognizing how political opportunists, bureaucrats, and busybodies have sought to gain power over us by splitting us into squabbling factions.

Over time, we’ve allowed ourselves to become artificially divided into a growing list of victim groups, each of which are afforded certain legal advantages. The political perks range from preferential treatment in the workplace to the use of state powers to punish and silence detractors.

This has led to the widespread practice of identity politics where extra legal protections are based upon the group to which we belong. What starts as prohibitions of bias against women, minorities, gays, or the disabled, is expanded to include the elderly, the religious, those with body piercings, et cetera.

Lawmakers will often try to justify these divisions by creating as many new classifications as possible. The resulting proliferation of protected groups distorts the foundational principle of a free society requiring that the law protect all equally.

When state power prevents us from peacefully speaking or behaving in ways that some groups find unacceptable, some groups invariably become more “equal” than others.

The danger here is that no actual harm has to have taken place for the force of government to come into play. Hurt feelings and disappointments are not the same thing as being assaulted or defrauded. A person who is denied housing or employment by a property owner or an employer has not suffered an injury that requires the state’s intervention.

The law does not exist to impose acceptable attitudes on us. It is there to protect our lives, liberty, and property from actions causing actual harm.

An objective standard is needed. Blogger Eric Peters said:

This is why the line in the sand must be drawn at harm caused – or not. If not, no crime (or offense) has been committed and the person has a right to be left unmolested, unthreatened by “the law.”

and:

If you accept the principle that a person can be restrained/punished for any reason other than his having caused tangible harm to a person or their property, you have de facto approved of limitless restraint/punishment.

This means that property owners or employers should be free to contract with whomever they choose and on whatever basis they choose — including the right of exclusion. No one is forcing the potential tenant to rent from a particular landlord, nor is the potential employee being strong-armed to work for a specific employer.

The agreement to rent or to contract for work should be voluntary and agreeable to both parties. If, for any reason, one party does not agree, they are free to peaceably go their separate ways. Bringing the coercive power of the state into the situation to force someone to rent to or hire another person against his or her wishes is simply thuggish.

Those who may be tempted to equate opposition to anti-discrimination laws with a desire to return to Jim Crow are missing the point. Jim Crow laws also denied freedom of association. They too were mandatory and not voluntary.

We do not have a sacred, enforceable right to the property of others — even if they discriminate differently than we do.

If we perceive that there is a wrong to be righted, let us lead by example in how we treat others.

Related posts

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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46 Comments

  • JAR January 30, 2014 at 9:13 am

    You really know how to stir the pot Mr. Hyde. I half way agree with you but, I suggest you put your cup in place and hide in the closet.

  • JOSH DALTON January 30, 2014 at 9:16 am

    I can’t believe that we are comparing the Jim Crow’s south and the treatment of black people to the equality of gay marriage. Being gay has nothinf to do with civil rights. From my point of view its a sexual fetish not a civil right. Nobody is saying gays can’t use the same bathroom or eat at the same resturant. Nobody is creating lynch mobs and rounding up homosexuals and hanging them. Nobody is pulling out fire hoses and spraying people protesting thier equality. Nobody is going around charging innocient people with rape and murder like some folks did the black people during the years of the Civil rights movement. Lets flash forward to today. Police don’t pull over homosexuals because they look GAY. They will pull me over because I look black. I am only half black though. So lets talk about civil rights…Dear Gay people. BE GAY! Just keep your mouth shut about it. I will do my part and keep my sexual fetishes to myself if you guys do the same.

    • Tracie January 30, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Actually gay people have been killed and/or beaten countless times just for being gay.

      • JOSH DALTON January 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

        “countless” that is a bit extreme. You know as well as I know there is not one picture in any history book that will confirm your statement.

      • Brian January 30, 2014 at 11:53 am

        And people have been killed countless times for being black, hispanic, white, asian, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, atheist, male, female, etc, etc, etc. What’s your point?

        The crime is killing or beating someone, motive isn’t what is punished, it only proves the reason for the crime. The crime is the action, not the thought that led to it.

        I am strongly opposed to any form of hate crime legislation, because it tries to criminalize the thought, rather than the action. We have the freedom to think, and for the most part even speak the way we want in this country, and that shouldn’t change.

        We should also have the freedom to choose who we will or won’t serve in our businesses for any reason at all. You want to create a bakery that serves ONLY gay people? Go right ahead! It’s your right, and I’ll gladly fight for your right to do so.

        • Amanda January 30, 2014 at 3:42 pm

          Well said.

        • Bub January 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm

          You were born in the wrong time period. I think the deep south 200 yrs ago would have been perfect for you… hahahah

    • Bub January 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      The problems I have with the gay marriage agenda (which I personally don’t care for but am not againt) is the fact that it pushes more important issues out of peoples minds. It’s a divisive issue and I feel like the gay agenda is over-represented. I feel like as long as they get their way they aren’t concerned for the prosperity of the nation as a whole.

  • Mike January 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

    You cannot be fired or hired based on religion. So the religious are protected. Of course lovely people around here have work arounds, they advertise for people with LDS standards. Note they aren’t saying you have to be LDS you just have to have those standards. How does one know their standards? By being LDS. They can also surreptitiously ask questions about them that are usually not part of the actual interview. All because it is illegal to base a decision to hire or fire based on religion. So once again, a CHOICE- religion, is protected, but a biological imperative is not.
    We can go back and forth over the debate of sexual identity being a choice, the only people who think it is are almost exclusively straight, or people who have been convinced through their religious leaders that they can choose and are therefore living in contradiction with their own identity.
    The problem is that 9 times out of 10 you have no idea someone is gay unless they tell you. But it is often discovered in a work or leasing environment through their behaviors and friends. That’s when they find themselves terminated or evicted. That’s what needs to change.
    You can tell right off the bat what ethnicity a person is from a block away and if you have predisposed prejudices with them you can decide to not hire or rent to them and just excuse it in your mind by blaming it on a deficiency on their application. You cannot do the same with LGBT.
    If I recall correctly this does not affect small businesses or rental properties of 4 and fewer units.
    We have become a nanny state because it is necessary. We like to pretend that as we become adults we are more fair and no longer have the bully mentality. We all know that’s crap. And people love to impose their will upon others especially when they feel they are righteous and pious.
    To fire an exemplary employee or evict a renter who has always paid on time and keeps a clean property because your understanding of them has changed with the realization that they are a member of the LGBT community is wrong and is akin to bullying.

    • Brian January 30, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Wait, a “biological imperative”? So because someone has urges in a particular direction they should always follow that “biological imperative” and act on it? Alcoholics should drink? Smokers should smoke? Adicts should inject? pedophiles should prey? bill clinton should mess around with everything that moves?

      You say gays are “often discovered in a work or leasing environment through their behaviors”. Well what if I, as a business owner, find those behaviors offensive and unacceptable? If you want to create a business that hires ONLY gay people, you have the right, and I’ll fight to support that right (though not that business).

      • Bub January 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm

        OK Bri lets bring back the ol’ Jim Crow laws if it floats ur boat.

      • Mike January 31, 2014 at 10:00 am

        Interesting how easy it is for you to blithely throw out the not acting on being attracted to the same sex. Typical Mormon talk. “Be gay but don’t be happy, live life in misery because if you dare accept yourself you will burn”.
        Don’t read “behaviors” as meaning, getting caught in flagrante delicto which I’m sure you did. No, I mean daring to have photos of your loved one on your desk or hugging them goodbye or hello.
        It is rare that I find myself offended but to lump together homosexuality with addiction and pedophilia is ridiculous and specious.
        The idea of people giving two s**ts about what goes on behind closed doors between consenting adults is more illuminating about the person with the issue than the people involved. Who is the deviant; the consenting adult displaying affection in a common form, or the person obsessing about who said adult is being affectionate with and exactly what that activity consists of.

  • skip2maloo January 30, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I’ll ignore the glaring problems with Mr. Hyde’s reasoning and gripe (again) about his typical method. Load a bunch of general points on an issue, “complicate” it with a series of platitudes and generalizations, reference an outside authority or two (this time a blogger; other times typically someone in the apocalyptic-libertarian camp), and conclude with a half-baked position (here, one based on a seriously suspect comparison). If I was a landlord I wouldn’t allow Hyde in my complex simply because he would infect the other tenants with this pseudo-intellectual claptrap.

    • Bryan Hyde Bryan Hyde January 30, 2014 at 11:10 am

      I appreciate the fact that you regularly follow and comment on my columns. It reminded me of this quote from Criss Jami: “…There are also those who inadvertently grant power to another man’s words by continuously trying to spite him. If a man gets to the point where he can simply say, ‘The sky is blue,’ and people indignantly rush up trying to refute him saying, ‘No, the sky is light blue,’ then, whether they realize it or not, he has become an authority figure even to such adversaries.”

      • Bub January 30, 2014 at 11:55 am

        That comment must have cut deep huh?

      • skippy January 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm

        I don’t know if “regular” fits my reading habits. Can’t give you that much so early in our relationship 🙂 But I will say, since you suggest it (via, no surprise, the words of another!), that spite has nothing to do with my gripe about your process or reasoning. If I’ve granted you any power, I’d say, it’s only the power to make your points more cogent and convincing. This is what matters most, regardless of the perspective put forward. Thus, I’m on your side, so to speak.
        To reduce Mr. Jami’s quote (which is really just a way to turn the tables on what might otherwise be a legitimate retort, or retorts) to its essence: “Argue with someone enough and you give them power.” In this sense, I am admittedly, guilty to some extent. But I don’t quibble at all with the observation that the sky is blue. I simply wish that “another man” would consistently offer such concrete assertions (with evidence to support, if necessary) when in the course of making broad claims.

    • Daniel January 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

      “If I was a landlord I wouldn’t allow Hyde in my complex simply because he would infect the other tenants with this pseudo-intellectual claptrap.”

      As the author stated, that should be your right to do so. By making your statement you are agreeing that BOTH parties should have the freedom to choose and one should not be forced to do something they do not want to do.

    • Bub January 30, 2014 at 11:50 am

      LOL

  • Leighton January 30, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Instead of ranting against Mr. Hyde, please try explaining rationally and empirically why you think he is wrong on any of his points.

    • skippy January 30, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I’ve pointed out my concerns pretty clearly. They have not so much to do with being right or wrong. Indeed, I never argued “for” or “against” anything to do with the issue Mr. H raises. I think that people should be able to do as much as they want without having to fear constraints or retribution by others. It’s a more primitive view than even you might follow 🙂

  • McMurphy January 30, 2014 at 11:31 am

    If “The law does not exist to impose acceptable attitudes on us. It is there to protect our lives, liberty, and property from actions causing actual harm.” then what is the basis for Utah’s ban on same sex marriage ??kv8r

    • Brian January 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Then you support polygamy as well? The same argument applies there.

      Leaving religion and morality out of it for a moment, when Utah became a state the federal government insisted the Utah Constitution have language in there specifically defining marriage as between one man and one woman. It’s still there, and was there before Amendment 3 passed. Amendment 3 was nothing more than an affirmation.

      • Hunter January 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm

        And, at the time the federal government also insisted that marriage between a white person and a black person be prohibited. What’s your point?

      • Bub January 30, 2014 at 5:23 pm

        Interesting point here. If the law doesn’t prevent me from marrying another man then why should it prevent me from marrying 55 or more women. I’m gonna have to think about this…

      • McMurphy January 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm

        Under some circumstances I don’t oppose polygamy. If adults know what they are getting into and willingly do so I don’t object. I have not watched Sister Wives but that appears to be the case there. If 14-year-old girls are forced into a plural marriage they are harmed and I do object. If young males are driven away by old bulls to avoid competition then there is harm and I object. So — Utah citizens passed Amend 3 merely to ratify what Congress forced on Utah more than a 100-years ago ?? Baloney !!

        • Bub January 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm

          Unfortunately the lifestyle almost always leads to dysfunction…young girls raped, lost boys, inbred babies, pedophilia. But hey, it’s freedom right?!

    • Bub January 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      McMurphy has done well to point out the two-faced-ness of right wing ideology.

  • JAR January 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I hope you have the closet door locked and your cup is in place Bryan.
    I suggest you write a follow up article (pronto) on ‘Why St. George should have it’s own anual DOO DAH Parade’ (so we can reconize & relate to others rights & enjoyments). And why we should always agree and support all of the ACLU’s agenda items in the near term.

  • Bub January 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I think Hyde has the potential to write great articles. I’d like to see something other than libertarian opinion commentary though.

    • Bub January 30, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      How ’bout it Bryan? How about a real piece of reporting?

      • Brian January 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm

        He’s not a reporter (and to my knowledge has never claimed to be), he’s a commentator. Commentary is what they do, and THEIR opinion is implied. If you want “real reporting”, read something written by a reporter. If you want to change the nature of news (ie. the fact that newspapers and news sites have commentators and op-ed pieces), get a time machine.

    • Bub January 31, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      “I think Hyde has the potential to write great articles.”

      I’m going to have to retract this statement. After actually reading the column I see that’s it’s a simple-minded, one side, narrow view piece of garbage. These libertarian views of his are just too shallow thinking. This one here I consider outright bigotry. Why not just come out with the bigotry and not even bother to water it down with all the blah blah blah freedom crap?

  • lp January 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Being gay is a sexual fetish??!! There are many ridiculous things wrong with that statement that I won’t even get into it. And no, I am not homosexual. You are phycho ceramic. (Crack pot)

    • skippy January 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      It’s true!! And being “straight” is a sexual fetish. We should consider this, too, when making decisions like who to rent to, who can marry, etc. I’ll simply switch my preferences depending on what achieves my best advantage!! And (in case it influences anyone’s judgment) I indulge in neither crack nor pot. Unless, of course, my landlord’s got an operation going…

      • Bub January 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        ” I’ll simply switch my preferences depending on what achieves my best advantage!! ”

        In Bryan Hyde’s world you would need to be able to switch your skin color as well i think.

  • A Concerned Mormon January 31, 2014 at 3:44 am

    As Mormons (those of us who are) we are already commanded by God to ‘judge not’ and to ‘love our neighbor’ anyone teaching anything else does not represent God.

    • Bub January 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      LOL please teach this to your fellow Mormons. thanks

  • DoubleTap January 31, 2014 at 9:41 am

    “….to force someone to rent to or hire another person against his or her wishes is simply thuggish….”

    According to Richard Sherman of the NFL Seattle Seahawks; “the word “thug” is the new N word”.

  • D Hodja January 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Odd enough the LDS Church instantly fires employees who lose their “worthiness” aka a temple recommend. Thus, the real reason Utah and the church that runs it fears any change. If there is a prayer out there I will join, it is one for every person to actually do some critical thinking and research on the beliefs they were “born into”. Perhaps recognizing that had we been born in Saudi we would be “true believing” Muslims is a place to start questioning and thinking for oneself.

    • Bub January 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      The LDS corporation absolutely does not want any change–the huge amounts of political power, the billions of dollars (lets not forget shopping malls). The men who run it are very rich and very comfortable. Any questioning by the masses is a threat to their control over the state. To any members: I respect you, but to see the truth of the institution just follow the money.

      • Daniel January 31, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        You mean the billions of dollars in relief aid and humanitarian support globally? Or in organizing missionary efforts to bring those who are interested peace and happiness in their own lives? Or all the money spent to help individuals and families in need have food on their table, clothes on their back, and running water and power? What about all the money spent to help individuals get a quality education? I’m following the “money” and all I am finding are True Followers of Jesus Christ.

        Remove the mote in your own eye first Bub. He without sin cast the first stone.

        • Bub January 31, 2014 at 5:01 pm

          Billions in relief? Please… I’ll believe it when you point me to the evidence of this. From what I know LDS inc. gives a pittance of it’s actual income to charitable causes. I’d be surprised if it’s 1%. I’ll keep an open mind and wait for you to point me to some references.

          Here is a website you might find useful. It IS NOT an anti site. It just has much of the LDS history that they don’t find useful to teach to the members. If you’re secure in your beliefs, you should be open to learning the entire history of LDS.

          http://mormonthink.com/

          for the record i’m also an LDS member

        • Bub February 1, 2014 at 11:14 am

          Well I don’t see my follow up to Danial here. You know I get the whole editing thing and can live with it. But when comments get totally censored by not being posted it pretty much sucks. I get that this is not a forum for free speech and that it’s an ad supported site and tries to pander to a certain crowd, but really? what gives?

          If we want a censorship site there is always KSL and deseret news… do we really need more?

          • Bub February 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

            better late than never…ty

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