Perspectives: Anti-discrimination laws, seeking power not equality

OPINION – The test of how well we actually understand personal liberty, natural rights, and the legitimate role of government is currently underway at many levels.

A highly visible example took place recently when St. George City Council members were asked to consider adopting an ordinance to prohibit discrimination against homosexuals in housing and employment. We’ll see this test continued after the first of the year when state Sen. Steve Urquhart brings his latest statewide anti-discrimination bill to the state legislature for another try at passage.

What many citizens don’t yet seem to understand is that we are being asked to choose between freedom and equality.

The proponents of anti-discrimination laws and ordinances say that they are simply seeking equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community by making legally enforceable prohibitions against perceived discrimination. In seeking equality by edict, they are asking that our laws place the natural rights of property or business owners below an individual’s right to be validated for his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

This is done by making discrimination a legally punishable offense.

While most of us naturally aspire to be free, we’ve somehow allowed ourselves to become convinced that equality takes precedent over freedom. In a contest between freedom and equality, freedom seems destined to lose.

We have collectively forgotten how a free society operates because it’s been a long time since any of us has lived in anything resembling a free society.

In free societies, there is no enforceable right to service. Business owners and property owners have the absolute right to refuse service, employment or housing to anyone for any reason whatsoever. For a society to enjoy inviolable property rights, freedom of association, freedom of contract, freedom of assembly, free enterprise, or a free market, we must be free to discriminate.

Of course, the beauty of the free market is that a person is free to not discriminate as well. Civility doesn’t require coercion.

The fact that most employers, business owners, and landlords manage to fill positions, do productive business, and keep their rental properties occupied means that they’re capable of wisely using their own judgement.

Those who push the limits of what their employees, customers, or tenants are willing to bear will eventually reach a point where no one chooses to do business with them. That is a far better approach to shaping attitudes than embracing a mind-reading, self-righteous crusade to punish those who refuse to embrace the latest morally imperative fad.

Each of us has experienced discrimination at some point in our lives. Just so we’re clear, I’m not referring to violent criminal acts that objectively harmed our person or our property. I’m talking about someone else exercising their freedom of choice to reject us.

Whether it was rooted in our race, gender, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, height, weight, disability, familial status, marital status, financial status, political preference, odor, or appearance, it did not give us legal or moral authority over our discriminators.

How do most of us handle such situations? Like adults, we shrug it off and instead gravitate towards those with whom we find common ground and acceptance.

Too often, however, we encounter individuals or groups who seek to categorize simple disapproval as discrimination that justifies legal intervention by government.

For instance, what began as a small ripple of isolated incidents over same-sex marriage is beginning to build into a wave of punitive LGBT activism more interested in enforcing new taboos than it is in equal treatment.

Discrimination charges have been brought against a wedding photographer in New Mexico and a cake maker in Colorado. More recent legal actions have spread to include pastors in Idaho and the owners of a farm in Upstate New York. In each of these cases, those accused of discrimination simply declined to participate in same-sex weddings.

They did not harass or measurably harm another person or his or her property. They did not engage in fraud. They simply refused to use their businesses and their personal property to participate in things they did not wish to be a part of.

But under the various state anti-discrimination laws, they were fined thousands of dollars, required to take sensitivity training, and forced to do business with their antagonists. Is this what we wish to force upon Utah employers and property owners?

Why should their freedom of association and the right to peaceably use their own property as they see fit take a backseat to another person’s desire for validation? Why should they be forced to accommodate these potential clients when other businesses are perfectly willing to do so?

The answer should be obvious. It’s not about equality. It’s about obtaining the power to dictate the beliefs and values of others.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

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Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

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

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48 Comments

  • Bobbi November 17, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Very nice! This has been getting extremely scary to watch unfold, wondering what is going to happen next and how many more of our freedoms will be taken away. You are correct that our freedoms to choose are going right out the door. It is not just going on with the gay community, either. It’s with race, religion, and gender as well. People are pushing political correctness so much that you don’t even know how to communicate without offending. That is a crucial freedom that is gone now. We certainly are NOT a free country.

    • Richard C. November 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

      What’s truly scary are people that are so far out in left field they have no clue, but are willing to parrot anything they hear. It doesn’t matter if your left or right both sides are horrid! Name one freedom or right you have lost Bobbi, be factual and not emotional. STG News seems to condone the hate and bigotry that abounds in Southern Utah. Maybe just trying to parrot The Spectrum.

  • Ron November 17, 2014 at 7:09 am

    So, let’s see . . . White business owners in the South should have been allowed to go on refusing service to African-Americans (or serve them via the back door) until somehow everyone had a change of heart? And somehow that would have led to greater freedom for all? Absolute freedom allows the powerful to oppress the less powerful. Not the sort of country I want to live in. (So go ahead, tell me to move on.)

    • Janet November 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Comparing apples to oranges. Some people’s religion teaches homosexuality is a sin; forcing someone to go against their religious beliefs steps on freedom of religion. Period. Not the same as I won’t sell you something because you are black, white, Indian, or male or female.

      • Karen November 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        Actually, the religion excuse for discrimination was made during the civil rights era of the 1950’s so the apples are still the apples. Even more disturbing is Mr. Hyde’s premise is that we should all “shrug off” discrimination of ANY type that we might encounter and then “gravitate towards those with whom we find common ground and acceptance.” Seems like I heard that idea during the ’50’s too. Apparently, Mr. Hyde wants us to go back to the “good old days” when everyone “knew” their place.

  • Herd November 17, 2014 at 7:17 am

    What religious group sought political power with Amendment 3? What religious group sought political power in outlawing interracial marriages? What religious group exerted its control with its racially discriminatory practices which required action from the Federal Government & IRS to end? Don’t dare mention this is only an attempt to exert power by this group when that religion you are a part of is nothing but a control freak entity exerting power over the defenseless.

    • Brian November 17, 2014 at 8:26 am

      How, exactly, is maintaining the same definition of marriage that has existed for 6 millenia seeking political power? You’re saying that your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and nearly every occupant of planet earth from the beginning of time until very recently was a backwards, unenlightened hate-monger? Because that’s how those that support the traditional view of marriage are painted now. Refusing to dive head-first down a slippery slope is NOT seeking political power. But twisting the law, language, and media to uphold your lifestyle and views while putting down everyone else’s sure meets the definition of seeking political power.

      • Herd November 17, 2014 at 10:31 am

        Doesn’t your irk need to explain why it is so supportive about one said prophet who recent reports revealed had affairs with 40 women, including young girls and wives of other men? Explain that in the realm of Amendment 3 in the definition of marriage of one man/one woman as voted for and supported by those same people who support that so-called prophet and other prophets and their multiple women.

      • Bender November 18, 2014 at 8:33 am

        ” same definition of marriage that has existed for 6 millenia”
        .
        Biblical literalist eh? Traditional marriage for much of human history has been women being treated as chattel.

    • Teacher November 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Jews, Christians (both Protestant and Catholic), and many other religions supported amendments like the one you referenced. Who “sought political power in outlawing interracial marriages?” Interracial marriage was repealed before Loving v. Virginia in all western states.

      I think Bryan will “dare” speak out on liberty, Herd. Something the “herd” opposes.

  • Council November 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Why did the four council members of the same religion appoint to the vacant council position another of the same religion who would uphold the religious mandates and policies rather than appoint that position to the person with the next most popular votes? This was an example of religion exerting political power. Without laws that protect the minorities, this religion would trample unimpeded upon the rights of everyone. Your very own cohorts support a police force that operates like those islamic extremist agencies to uphold religious idealism.

    • tight magic undies November 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Welcome to the People’s Republic of Utah.

  • Zonkerb November 17, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Mormons.!

  • Notagain November 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

    A good, sound look at life Bryan. Your in for several (+ two) cry baby’s responses saying ‘Your so mean’. I say—–
    Kick the ACLU lawyers to the side and suggest they get real jobs. As far as the poor
    ‘they won’t let me be me’ crowd? I say, ‘Get the hell out of my face mate’ and go wash your face.

  • Neil November 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Bryan, while I understand your viewpoint on this issue and also share your perspective on personal autonomy and free markets, what you fail to take into consideration is the fact that what the gay community is up against is not the actions of individuals choosing on their own, but individuals acting on the dogmatic mandate of a large organization that has indoctrinated their followers to hate and discriminate against individuals that don’t follow those mandates or rules. And while I am not a fan of government mandates, one of the few places I think they have a place in a civil society is when a collective majority is abusing or oppressing an innocent minority. I think that if you look a little deeper into your own philosophy, you will find this concept, but it may take a little more compassion that you are currently using. If your “solution” to this issue was applied to slavery instead of a government mandate, how do you think that would have played out? Sometimes you can’t wait for individuals to pull their heads out on their own. People in packs aren’t that bright.

  • Visiting Anthropologist November 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

    “In free societies, there is no enforceable right to service. Business owners and property owners have the absolute right to refuse service, employment or housing to anyone for any reason whatsoever. For a society to enjoy inviolable property rights, freedom of association, freedom of contract, freedom of assembly, free enterprise, or a free market, we must be free to discriminate.”

    Please name these societies, Mr. Truth-seeker.

    Oh, wait, you’re still living in the 19th century before women were allowed to vote and people of color were allowed to sit in the front of the bus and attend schools with white children and drink from the same water fountains.

    Freedom is a big word and a lot of small people hide behind it.

  • PROTECT THE SHEEP November 17, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I think we need to send all the illegal aliens home.

  • Joanna November 17, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    No shoes, no shirt, no opposite sex companion, no Aryan heritage, no service. Hey Perspectives Guy, I have a gay friend who who can read. Do you mind if I show him this article, or would you prefer that he not use the website? He’s laid up with a knee injury and he could use a good laugh. Please advise.

  • Aaron Judd November 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Guys…. Byran Hyde is just a shock jock. He even says he’s a “pot stirrer”. It is his job to post whatever he can to get the people “stirred” up. News isn’t what it used to be so stop treating him like he is an real broadcaster, with an actual educated, informed, factual report about anything. He only can climb the Corporate ladder if he plays the game and that’s all this is, playing the strong right, anti gay, pro white yet some how equal rights agenda. There are big bucks being payed for “journalists” to pander to the right, under the “banner” of freedom protecting, brandished by the name republican. They don’t care about taking away the freedoms of other colored people or gays as long as they keep their guns. And can you blame him? Look at what Hannity, Beck, O’Rielly, and many other far right broadcasters make! If I had a family to feed and needed to get on the side of the Repubs to hopefully make some money, Id be saying the same thing. So just keep that in mind while reading his articles. Just a man looking to make a dollar pandering to the audience he knows he will find. The Far left Stirrers of men are no better either. Never ever look to the stirrers to help you….as they are only there to stir.

    • Joanna November 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Haha so true. The funny thing is, if Perspectives Guy had to feed his gaggle of children, and the ONLY job he could find was dancing in drag onstage at an all male gay revue, he’d be in platform boots and a wig (apologies for the image that elicits) so fast your head would spin. His self-righteousness is breathtaking.

      • Dbl Std November 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

        He had no problem defending the likes of Bundy claiming government discrimination and assault on them.

    • Bender November 17, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Right on AARON JUDD. Hyde’s scribblings are not serious political discourse, they’re low-brow entertainment.

    • Dana November 18, 2014 at 6:20 am

      Please, he isn’t even a “shock jock.” He’s a wannabe writer who resembles the Pillsbury Doughboy.
      http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/af/96/23/af9623f4dc1b447c072d7fc81a514245.jpg

  • Koolaid November 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    If you aren’t worthy, you don’t merit protection.

  • Visiting Anthropologist November 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Aaron Judd, you make an excellent point. A similar thought had occurred to me a bit earlier that went something like, “What the … am I doing wasting my time on this comment page responding to the ravings of a right-wing radio guy?” He’s not going to say anything different. The people who agree with him are not going to change their minds. The people who disagree with him don’t need any help from me.

    I’d rather look at the scenery.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • beerbelly November 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    How far does nondiscrimination go? Snowboarders want access to Alta which bans snowboards, they file a lawsuit claiming discrimination.
    Some psychologists think that child sex offenders were “Born That Way”, are we discriminating against them when we throw them in jail?
    When you let the camel get his nose in the tent you are in trouble.
    I have love and compassion for all people, but to be forced to provide a service for something that goes against my beliefs is just as wrong as discrimination.
    This isn’t about race or gender but about choices and lifestyles. Where do you draw the line?
    I was once told by another person that he knew I was a racist because I was a Mormon from Utah. That was one of the most Racist statements I have ever heard.

  • Ann November 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Great article! I hope the S.G. city council doesn’t fall for the nonsense being presented in this ordinance.

    • Liz December 6, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      I agree. So glad to hear someone have the guts to speak up. The response from the activists is so hateful it makes speaking up for what you believe in very difficult. The LGBT movement has been very successful in intimidating the majority of loving Utahns so very few dare speak up. We can love others without giving them the power to change all aspects of our lives. Reverse discrimination is now growing and unless people speak up and let their legislators know how they feel, we will see the same situations that are spreading in other states across the US. Allowing men to use the women’s restrooms and locker rooms is not acceptable and women in Colorado and other states have been threatened with law suites if they complain when men show genitals in women’s locker rooms. This is not OK. Letting boys participate on girls teams is not OK.

  • Bender November 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Wondering how my fellow Mormons who are against these laws feel about the church’s approval of Salt Lake City’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
    .
    http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-supports-salt-lake-city-nondiscrimination-ordinance

    • Aaron Judd November 18, 2014 at 6:23 am

      Ooooooh Snaaaaaaaap

    • Simone November 18, 2014 at 7:26 am

      You see, Bender, the SLC legislation has church approval already. The St George one does not so the magic underwear wearing residents cannot support it. Unless they want to risk losing their place in the “Celestial Kingdom” and the chance to command their own planet one day.

      • dancing infidel November 18, 2014 at 11:09 am

        It is claimed that the Mormon church has more than 50 million members worldwide. Are there more than 50 million planets?? Just wondering….

        • Simone November 19, 2014 at 5:56 pm

          That’s what I keep asking, Dancing Infidel. I think they just figure that God will make one for them when they die. *shrugs**laughs* 🙂

    • Koolaid November 23, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Isn’t it funny how quickly the church backpeddles in response to Federal Court decisions?

    • Liz December 6, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      Have you noticed how many more they have backed? None. After it has become obvious that these laws reach far beyond jobs and housing, the church has made no more statements in favor of such legislation. It’s an obvious camel’s nose in the door with the LGBT agenda pushing for much more than reasonable rights.

      • Dana December 7, 2014 at 5:37 am

        You sound delusional. Take your meds.

  • Roy J November 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    I think it should be obvious to any discerning individual that there are some services which ought to be non-discriminatory (like purchasing gas, buying groceries, possibly obtaining adequate and reasonable housing where an individual meets the lease or purchase requirements, possibly being hired in a secular capacity for work an individual is qualified for, and services of a nature that do not affect the provider’s personal morals except only proximately), and some that ought to be, and are, discriminatory (like getting married in a Catholic church or a Mormon temple, or obtaining the services of a private individual where the nature of the services will directly affect the provider’s personal morals). Equally obvious is the fact that either the provider or the persons seeking their services can be wrong in either soliciting, providing, or witholding services in these cases, as can any government entity which may, rightly or wrongly, attempt to legislate and enforce laws or actions on either party. The final obvious fact ought to be that a culture has an overwhelming influence on laws, discrimination, and governance of its people, regardless of it’s actual goodness and badness.

  • LaMarr November 17, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    He has six kids???

    Hasn’t he heard about “The Population Bomb”??

    He needs 4 gay kids to help fight world hunger.

  • laytonian November 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Change “gay” or “black” to “Mormon” and see if you all feel the same way.

  • TruthSeeker November 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Good article Bryan Hyde!

  • TruthSeeker November 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    There’s a real civil rights movement, then there’s a hyped LGBT movement that masquerades and uses political correctness to its advantage, for example in a down economy is very valuable because it will ensure they get the jobs etc.
    There is a hidden agenda by the ones funding the gay rights movement.
    I’m not against gay people. I have gay friends coworkers and even roommate once. I’m tolerant. I don’t care what they do in their bedrooms ha, but I’m against big govt and a fake portion of the movement forcing me to treat someone more special. That’s discrimination on me. Laws shouldn’t be made to favor any group over another. There isn’t anything past laws in place hindering gay people so why create laws favoring them.
    Also how can I disprove that I didn’t hire someone at my business because they were gay? – even though the burden of proof should be on them. They can use the fact theyre gay as a crutch and get what they want with people that weren’t even discriminating, which only causes imbalance. I may not know if someone is gay, and so how would they know I didn’t hire them because they were gay? This only makes a mess of things.
    It’s no different than pulling the race card when someone disagrees with unconstitutional legislation of a non white politician. Racism does not exist to the extent it needs to be some big discussion. It only exists now because media fuels the fire. Same thing with every other reverse discrimination thing coming down the pike. We will be called sexist if you disagree with Hilary Clinton when she’s president.

    We don’t need to call on the the govt to step in for every little thing. A govt big enough to give you what you want is big enough to take what you have. People can handle these things on their own. People have lost the ability to talk about things and instead immediately call on govt thugs to get involved which makes things worse.

  • darnit November 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Bryan’s usin’ the ol’ bait and switch tactic I see. Talk about discrimination like it’s a God given freedom and those who want to continue to discriminate will jump on board & then call any threat of change to that system of discrimination any number of names associated with perceived left-wing govt control (socialism is always a good one). I agree with Laytonian.

  • Protect Our Freedoms!!! November 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Let Freedom Ring!

    We must change federal civil rights public accommodations laws to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    “All persons shall be entitled to be free, at any establishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national origin, if such discrimination or segregation is or purports to be required by any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, rule, or order of a State or any agency or political subdivision thereof.”

    This will allow hospitals to refuse service and ambulance drivers and police officers. to drive off and refuse to render aid if they suspect someone to be homosexual.

    Let Freedom Ring

    • laytonian November 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Tell me what religion you are so I can discriminate against YOU.

  • Protect Our Freedoms!!! November 24, 2014 at 12:55 am

    We recently made workplace religious liberty accommodations for an employee who refused to process purchase orders for Apple computer because the CEO came out as a homosexual. Life is about compromises and respecting others religious freedom. Lets not make it any more difficult than it needs to be.

  • History November 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    A church with history that rings with discrimination and prejudice. Without the Federal Government imposing laws for equality, that church would still be practicing its hateful ways of discrimination. Of course, many of the members are still prejudiced, but you can’t change their inbred ignorance. You can only create enforceable laws.

    http://mormoncurtain.com/topic_blacksandthepriesthood.html

    • History November 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      That is much more in-depth and truthful than any farce story Brian may conjur up.

  • Koolaid November 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    There are very hateful people in St George hiding behind the religious veil. If you don’t like their hatred toward you or anyone else, don’t pursue laws to protect yourself from their hatred, you should just leave. That’s what they’re tellin’ ya with that remark of if you don’t like it (our hatred), then you can leave.

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