I understand why you are uncomfortable with flaming homosexuals

Growing up, a book that had a tremendous effect on me was “A Patch of Blue.” The story goes like this:

There is a blind girl named Selena living in New York. Her mother is a Prostitute, and her grandfather is an alcoholic. They leave her alone during the days, and Selena works stringing beads in order to supplement their meager income. Eventually, she convinces her boss to allow her to string the beads outside in a park, and by being there she meets a man who would become her friend.

As time goes on, she confides in him that her mother is a prostitute, and that her mother allows men to use Selena for sex as well. Determined to bring her a better life, he finds a school for the blind that she can go to. He is able to convince her caretakers to let him take her off of their hands. Eventually, she professes her love to him. But it is not to be, because shortly thereafter as they are walking through the streets people begin to panic because she is with a black man. Up until this point she did not know, but because of her upbringing and the black world in which she lives, Selina stands still as an angry mob chases her true love away. Too late, she realizes that love is blind.

While the book is really one massive cliche, there is still a resounding truth in its message. Your appearance to other people is not what defines you, the way you act toward them is what really matters.

The reason my mind has wandered back to this book is because of some recent encounters. Several times I have heard “I like that you aren’t one of those gay people who try to shove it down your throat.” It’s bothered me tremendously every time, but I’ve never known exactly what I should say. I am not a confrontational person, nor am I someone who is easily bothered. But this has shaken me, and it is because the implications of this statement reflect an attitude that runs much deeper than people realize.

I want you to take yourself back to the 1950s, and imagine that you are black and living in Stone Mountain Georgia, and overlooking your town is a mountain with Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson carved into the ground. Every day you face tremendous oppression. But luckily, there is a miracle drug – a cure – for blackness. When you take this drug, you will immediately be transformed into a white man. Do you take it?

Every day LGBT people face microtransactions that involve a similar choice.

When I am in the locker-room and the entire team is making fun of “faggots”, do I say something? Do I let them know that the things they are saying dig to the very core of me? Or do I continue to hide something important to who I am?

When I am talking to my friends and one of them sees a gay man and says that they don’t like “people who rub it in everyone’s face,” am I safe to say that I think he’s cute?

What happens when people say lesbians are “that way” because they are out for attention? I mean, they are right, they want the attention of a woman who loves them.

Anyone who complains about someone being a “flaming homosexual” or that someone “is shoving their sexuality down our throats” is really saying that they are uncomfortable with people that look, act or sound different. It is OK to feel uncomfortable, but we need to recognize when feelings like that are misplaced. There is a simple way to do this, and it involves asking two questions:

(1) Why does it matter?
(2) Who does it hurt?

If our answers are “I don’t know” and “no one”, then the onus is on us to quit judging. But, if we choose to care about the way someone looks or acts without asking those two questions, we are forcing them into making a choice. They can either hide something integral to who they are and have “acceptance,” or they can be themselves and be outcasts.

I think we can solve this problem, though and here is how we do it…let’s all just pledge not to be little shits.

 

Imperial President vs. Presidential Discretion

The imperial President is acting unilaterally yet again, delaying the implementation of the emplyer mandate of the ACA. So what is the GOP doing about it? They are suing the President for waiting to enact the employer mandate. Clearly, the President is interpreting law in any way he wants. 

But let’s take a trip back down memory lane, all the way to July 17th 2013 when the Republican controlled House voted to delay the employer mandate until 2015. Wait. What?

Yes, they are suing President Obama because he did exactly what they wanted him to do. Do you question the Constitutionality of delaying the roll-out of certain provisions of the law? The Take Care Clause allows the President discretion in implementing laws. If a portion of a law is not ready to be implemented, it is the Executive branch’s duty to ensure that it is implemented within an appropriate amount of time (read the article hyperlinked in the text if you are interested, it is excellent). It is not uncommon for the Executive branch to delay provisions of a law because there is not proper administrative support, or because the necessary infrastructure is not yet in place. There are hundreds of examples of the EPA postponing provisions of laws until they are feasible to implement. In Telecommunications Action Center v. FCC the Supreme Court ruled that a delayed deadline did not necessarily mean that a law was being unfaithfully executed provided that the justification for the delay was reasonable. They set up a six part test to determine whether or not a delay was unconstitutional. While this precedent may not directly correlate to the current issue, the six part test is still useful in surmising the fate of this case:

(1) the time agencies take to make decisions must be governed by a “rule of reason”:
Is it reasonable that the deadline would be delayed? Among many GOP assertions was that businesses simply were not prepared to comply with this specific part of the law. Based on their vote to delay the employer mandate, it seems reasonable that the Executive branch would see similar issues. Furthermore, since they deal with the administrative issues, they may also be overtaxed by implementing other provisions of the law, meaning certain things should be delayed in order for there to be a smooth roll out. It is very apparent that there were other issues the Obama administration had to deal with in order to effectively implement the law, including making a working website.

(2) where Congress has provided a timetable or other indication of the speed with which it expects the agency to proceed in the enabling statute, that statutory scheme may supply content for this rule of reason: 

Notice for a moment that this part of the Supreme Court’s decision includes one key word, “may.” While in general the word “may” in legalese means “must”, in this context the court has made a clear distinction between the two terms. In this case, the FCC is being sued because they had not processed paperwork within a 180 day period required by law. But because of a backlog this delay was deemed “reasonable” by the court. In the employer mandate case, the delay is “reasonable” if enacted the provision would be deeply troublesome now. The administration’s restraint under these circumstances seems reasonable after the rocky start for other provisions of the law. It is reasonable that in order to administer the law, further preparations must be made.

(3) delays that might be reasonable in the sphere of economic regulation are less tolerable when human health and welfare are at stake;

The employer mandate was put in place to ensure that businesses with over 50 employees provide insurance coverage to full time employees. This means that the delay is “less tolerable” but does not necessarily mean that it is unconstitutional. Considering how well it has met other provisions, there is ample reason to conclude that the delays were necessary in order for the law to actually be effective, in which case we have met the “rule of reason” yet again.

(4) the court should consider the effect of expediting delayed action on agency activities of a higher or competing priority;

In this scenario the court is also stating that priorities need to be considered as well. Is this provision a higher priority than other provisions of the ACA? If the ACA will be negatively affected by a roll-out that is too early, should it be delayed until such a time that it can be effective? Is a one year delay unreasonable? At what point does a delay become unreasonable? Considering that this scenario is rather subjective, the burden of proof seems to be on the administration to show that they have ample reason for prioritizing other parts of the law over this one. The President claims that this delay is necessary in order to establish proper procedures and infrastructure for the implementation of the law. Logically, prioritizing administrative effectiveness seems sound. What happens if the government has no effective way to track compliance, or if businesses do not have an easy means by which to report to the government? Establishing proper protocol is tantamount to a functional law.

(5) the court should also take into account the nature and extent of the interests prejudiced by delay

Another key concern is whether or not the delay is whether or not a party has been vindictively singled out to be affected by the law. Considering that the decision is universal and affects all businesses and individuals in a more-or-less equivalent factor, the President’s decision cannot be seen to violate this provision.

(6) the court need not “find any impropriety lurking behind agency lassitude in order to hold that agency action is ‘unreasonably delayed

Finally, this part of the test simply states that (5) is not necessarily needed in order for the court to decide that there is an unreasonable delay. Considering the generalization of the other points of this test to the employer mandate, it seems unlikely that in a legal case the GOP would win.

As one final note, in Center for Auto Safety v. EPA a ruling by a federal appeals court recognized that its decision on a law meant that automakers would have a hard time meeting certain provisions and that the EPA “will within the limits of its discretion take this factor into account in its proceedings on remand.” In essence, the court advised that the EPA allow automakers a reasonable amount of time to meet the requirements of EPA standards for automobile efficiency. Further research into this case and the laws surrounding it may provide even more insight into the constitutionality of Obama’s actions. As it stands, there is little doubt that this maneuver is anything more than a political gambit by the GOP prior to the midterm elections. If it is adjudicated fast enough, it could backfire dramatically.

On Brown People

Fox News ran rampant today with a video depicting “illegal” immigrants shopping at Walmart with government EBT cards. The woman narrating uses lines that just as easily could have been heard from the mouth of a politician. “This is something that is a major problem for our government…I don’t know why they’re allowing these illegal immigrants to come here and giving them government subsidies to go shopping and things like that.”

For an entire show, Dennis Prager flashed back to the video over and over, in order to highlight the growing threat of illegal immigration.

But here lies the problem, it turns out all of those workers were here legally, which means that they were wrongfully targeted. Because they were brown and spoke Spanish, the obvious conclusion was that they must be illegal immigrants. Further fueling this wanton disregard for truth is a conspiracy that illegal immigrants are siphoning taxpayer money through government entitlements. In this case, it was food stamps. Illegal immigrants are ineligible to receive food stamps, which should come as no surprise when someone uses the power of common sense. In order to receive federal benefits, what do you have to do first? Apply, of course. And to apply, what information will the government need? Well, a valid social security number and information verifying that you are, indeed, a citizen of the United States. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you are ineligible unless you meet certain requirements (for example, refugees).

Arizona Congressional Candidate Adam Kwasman has similar troubles identifying illegal immigrants. On his twitter account he posted about a bus full of illegal immigrant children saying,  “I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses and the fear on their faces. This is not compassion…” yet again we have a case of a white republican seeing brown people and assuming that they are illegal immigrants. I’m sure that he was shocked to discover that they were actually children headed to a YMCA camp. Even when he found out that they were not illegal immigrants he retorted, “they were sad too,” presumably about our failed immigration policy…as if children headed to a YMCA camp were concerned.

But these people insist that the Republican Party does not demonstrate significant racial biases. In fact, they are becoming the savior of minorities everywhere. They assert that it is actually MINORITIES who exhibit racial bias. Why? Because black voters overwhelmingly voted for a black president. I wonder why that could be? Certainly it had nothing to do with Romney’s marginalization of the lower half of the country. 47%. That’s all that matters. Romney stated after the election that he felt Obama had won because of “gifts” to minority, young and female voters. What were those gifts? Healthcare, contraception and “amnesty.” Certainly accusing someone of providing “gifts” to minorities without the brainpower to realize they are being duped doesn’t contain an unfair and misplaced snap judgment…because those 70+% of white people that voted for Romney probably did so because he is white, right?

 

1/86

One day, for a school project, I watched a panhandler for an hour, counting how many times he was given money or food. Where I am from, there is a general attitude that a beggar can “make a lot of money” taking advantage of the good will of others. As Ronald Reagan put it, “one problem we’ve had, even in the best of times. And that is the people who are sleeping on the grates; the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice” [1]. This assumption is generalized into an entire population; ironically, the people in our country who need the most help have become the most demonized. I set out to see what assumptions about this community seemed true.

This is my journal from that project:

I was given the assignment for a class to observe people in a public place for an hour and to record my observations. It took a long time to come up with a way to make it rewarding, but eventually an idea came to me.

So, I grabbed some lunch and drove down to Walmart to do some creeping. Instead of going in, though, I sat in my car to observe a panhandler that frequents the busy intersection that leads into the shopping center. My terrible artistic talent demonstrates exactly what I was seeing:

WP_20140118_001(1)

I wanted to know just how many people stopped to help the man in the picture during an hour time frame. What I saw blew my mind.

I arrived at Walmart at 3:40 PM on a Saturday, a time that I thought would have the heaviest traffic of the week. Within the first 5 minutes of sitting at the intersection, 25 cars had passed the man. No one stopped to offer help.

As the hour wore on, I noticed a trend. The intersection has a line that indicates where people should stop at the light, the line was just forward of where the man (we will call him Bill) was sitting. The first car at the intersection would consistently pull ahead of the line. Doing this ensured that they couldn’t easily see Bill (see above: the line is barely visible near the rear axle of the SUV at the exit). Once I noticed this behavior, there was never a time in which the front car at the intersection wasn’t pulled significantly forward of this mark. Additionally, the next car in line would always stay significantly behind the front car, again at a point where they could be as far from Bill as possible.

Finally, one vehicle stopped and the driver stooped out. I could see Bill approach and take something from his hands. As the vehicle left, Bill stood and waved. It was the only vehicle out of 86 to help him. At 5:45 Bill picked up his backpack and walked off into the distance. I felt the guilt well up in me, I didn’t have any cash to give him and I had just seen 85 vehicles avoid him like a leper.  To ease my conscience, I thought of the times in which I had stopped to help people at that intersection, but I could still see him walking away. I wasn’t going to be able to put this to the back of my mind.

I would like to think that everyone who passed and didn’t help did so because they weren’t able to, or because they consistently do other things in order to help the poor; but that’s not something that I’m sure I can believe. As I sat and watched, I had fox news playing in the background. It provided a strange contrast to what I was watching. “Liberals are waging a war on capitalism, they think that it is evil to expect people to buy their video games and cell phones with their own money – so instead they redistribute our wealth…YOUR MONEY…so that these people can continue to live off of our tax dollars.”

Bill didn’t look like he played video games, in fact, it looked like everything he owned was in the bag he carried. Who knows why he was sitting on that corner? Maybe he has a mental disease and can’t work, maybe he’s injured, maybe he just doesn’t make enough money at his three part time jobs in order to support his family. There is an infinite number of explanations.

If anything became clear as I watched Bill, it was that the pittance he received on the street corner wasn’t going to get him back on his feet. I have sincere doubts that there are enough people in the United States willing to donate enough time and money in order to sufficiently help the poor. Whatever the circumstances may be, we have an obligation to help others as we are able to. There is no denying that we as a culture have the resources to provide jobs and assistance to these people, but we cry wolf when the poor aren’t in a position to take advantage of the resources already in place, and instead we accuse them of being idle and conning the system…it seems more than a little messed up…

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Source.

[1] Reeves, Richard. President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination. Simon and Schuster Paperbacks. (c) 2005. p. 212.

How government is destroying religion and the advancement of the Gay Agenda

Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sins, and there is no way for me to adequately convey my everlasting gratitude for this. I have a friend who is just as in love with our Savior as I am. Everywhere she goes, she wears a cross around her neck. She is a Christian both inwardly and outwardly, the world knows. The world sees us and defines us based on a book that we read and a church that we go to. The world judges us based on our Christian values, and it seems like they disapprove of something that is innately me. I cannot explain it, I do not feel like I ever chose to be religious, the word of god was just so strong, and the love of my savior so complete. I feel his glory everywhere I go, and I thank him for the pain he endured to save me from my sins. I don’t flaunt my values, I don’t oppress others with my beliefs…but when people ask me “do you believe in god?” I say yes. It seems that this has become a problem for many, because instead of accepting my convictions on face value or asking why I have such strong faith, they ridicule me for believing that the son of god could be so gracious as to die for all of humanity’s sins.

But now it isn’t just my peers that mock my religion, it is my government who is taking away my rights to worship as I please, to affiliate as I please, to congregate with my peers and to live as a Christian. But despite this, I believe that it is my duty to be bold and passionate, to fight for something that is so central to who I am. Will you as a Christian join me? Employers are afraid to hire me because I am impassioned and unafraid, because I speak for what I believe in and fight for what I know is right. This is a nation built on judeo-christian values, and I will fight to be a part of the political process and to end arbitrary discrimination. According to the Oxford dictionary, Liberty is the freedom from arbitrary or despotic control. It is arbitrary that my government would discriminate against me because I am Christian, and it is despotic that they would repeat the systematic discrimination against religious people that our forefathers escaped from. I am an American, how dare they say that I can be fired because of my religion! Everywhere I look I see people forced out of their jobs because they dare stand for their conviction. I do not understand how a CEO who donates his private money toward the Prop 8 movement can be forced out of his position even though it does not affect his actions in the work place. Our values are important and ought to be protected, yet corporations discriminate because of it and the government allows them to.

The government systematically punishes people that are religious, infringes upon their freedom, destroys their liberty, regulates their speech and sterilizes any vestige of religion from public places. My government and fellow citizens discriminate against me because of the things that I hold dear. And even though they institutionalize discrimination, the people greet it with a smug approval…or at least tolerate it despite their disagreement. They don’t fight for me, they don’t fight with me. Instead they just say “if you don’t like it, you can move.”

All of this is true, except for one thing…I am not nor have I ever been persecuted because of my belief in god; it is because I am gay. But despite this key difference between my situation and what you have read, the things that I have described are very real consequences of something out of my control.

I have grown up in towns all across Utah, Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma. All of my life the social narrative around homosexuality has not just been that it is wrong and sinful…it has been something more extreme. In the past, I have heard family members say that “all of the faggots should be rounded up and shot.” I have lived in places that not only morally oppose homosexuality, but actively discriminate because of it. No one wanted a gay neighbor, no one would have welcomed a gay neighbor. And a gay high school student? Repulsive.

I believed that they were right, I believed that my sexuality was a choice, and so I joined them in their crusade against the “gay agenda” and throughout this process I lost sight of who I was. For years I repressed something that is central to the person I am in order to assimilate into a society that legitimized discrimination based on a certain worldview. I think that many people who claim that there is a “gay agenda” can relate; they feel that the government’s efforts to institutionalize gay rights is an attack on their own nature…because religion isn’t just a choice for them, it is central to who they are. They feel oppressed.

But I also feel that oppression.

Oppression happens when I get a job in Blackfoot Idaho, but my manager thinks that I might be gay and so he fires me. He has the right to fire me. Oppression happens when my car breaks down after work, but when I call the local mechanic he doesn’t come because I’m a “faggot.” Oppression happens two women make an offer on a house, but the owner rejects it because they are gay. Discrimination isn’t just an abstract inconvenience, it is a feature of everyday life. And even though I have not been fired because of my sexuality or denied services because of someone’s impression of me as a gay man, I know the sting. I know how painful it is to be an oppressed minority.

Sometimes I go to bed at night and I cry because not all of my family supports me. It hurts to know that someone who had a significant influence on the person I am today would abandon me because of my sexuality or gender identity. Even though I have known for a long time that I am gay, they think that I am a different person now that I have told them. I have no expectation that everyone will approve of it. Would it be nice? I don’t think that people would be so harsh toward me if I were an atheist; I think that they would be able to conceive of a person not believing in god. But being gay? No, that is a choice not just to be sinful, it is a choice to be amoral.

I am destroying the moral fiber of America, because of me traditional institutions and values are under attack. But is it not the Christian thing to do to show kindness to your neighbor? How can you say those things and then claim that you love me anyway?

The government has a history of systematically punishing people that are gay, infringing upon their freedom, destroying their liberty, regulating their speech and sterilizing any vestiges of “non-traditional” activity in the public and private sphere. My government and fellow citizens discriminate against me because of something that is innately a part of who I am. Everywhere I go they say “states have the right to make laws as they see fit,” and “it is up to the citizens to decide how their state is run.” And even though they institutionalize discrimination, the people greet it with a smug approval…or at least tolerate it despite their disagreement. They don’t fight for me, they don’t fight with me. Instead they just say “if you don’t like it, you can move.”

States that fight for “traditional Christian values” are celebrated for their lack of fear in fighting against a government attack on individual rights. But how can you not see that the ability of citizens to arbitrarily decide that someone should lose their job based on their sexuality is wrong?

The city that I live in recently passed a non-discrimination ordinance that would prevent businesses from firing someone based on perceived sexuality or gender identity. It was the right thing to do, even if you believe that our morals are misaligned because we are gay, how can someone say that it is bad to ensure that everyone has the ability to provide for their basic needs? Should we allow people to die because we don’t like their “lifestyle?” Should I be able to make this same decision based on my perception of your religion?

It isn’t just fellow citizens that discriminate against me because of my sexuality, it is my government who is taking away my rights to love as I please, to affiliate as I please, to congregate with my peers and to live as a gay man. But despite this, I believe that it is my duty to be bold and passionate, to fight for something that is so central to who I am. Will you as a human join me? Employers are afraid to hire me because I am impassioned and unafraid, because I speak for what I believe in and fight for what I know is right. This is the nation of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and JFK. I will fight to be a part of the political process and to end arbitrary discrimination. It is arbitrary that my government would discriminate against me because I am gay, and it is despotic that they would repeat the systematic discrimination of the pre-Civil Rights era. I am an American, how dare they say that I can be fired because of my sexuality! How dare they allow homeowners associations to deny me access when I don’t fit their mold!

I have friends who are in worse positions than I am. Everywhere they go, they have a target around their neck. Their identities are displayed both inwardly and outwardly, the world knows. The world sees us and defines us based on their perception of our actions and “lifestyle”. The world judges my community based not on the good things that we do, but the bad things that some are capable of. They justify their hate based on the actions of the few and they disapprove of something that is innately me. I cannot explain it, I do not feel like I ever chose to be gay, it’s just something that has always been there. When people ask me “are you gay?” I say yes. It seems that this has become a problem for many, because instead of accepting me for who I am, they allow systematic discrimination based on their own judgement and biases.

Instead they should help me because I am a fellow man, join me because I am their neighbor. End discrimination not because you agree with someone’s lifestyle or worldview, but because it is the right thing to do. Look into my eyes and tell me that I am not entitled to this, look me in the face if you think that I should be denied the right to work, the right to fair housing, the right to love whom I love.

“God loves the sinner but hates the sin.” As a Christian, you must understand something being at the core of who you are, central to your being. You must feel the pulse of god in your veins, his spirit guiding your every action. Based on your conception you must be able to empathize with the fact that romantic and sexual attraction are just as central to who other people are. Hold whatever beliefs you may about the sinfulness of homosexuality, but keep in mind Jesus’ prime directive, the golden rule. I would never tell someone that their religion is invalid because of science, do not tell me that my sexuality is invalid because of religion. God loves us all, god tells us to judge none. You have no authority to say that the things I do are things that god hates just as I have no authority to dismiss the things you feel as a Christian.

Your fear of me is not justified. I am not a pedophile, I am not a rapist, I am not some shadow in the dark that seeks to destroy your Christian way of life. I am a human being who feels, I am a human being who hurts because of the things that happen around me. I want to change the world, because the only measure of human success is whether or not we leave the world better than we found it. I denounce pedophilia and rape, I denounce those accusations made against my community based on hatred and ignorance. I just want to be treated like I am human, not some separate type of life form that just so happens to live in this country. While you may not understand my sexuality, I know that you can empathize with oppression. End it not because you support the “gay agenda,” end it because it is the right thing to do.

—-

A note to you  (don’t read this if you don’t want to…you know, just like the rest of the blog):

(1) I want to take a moment to recognize the fact that I am surrounded by supportive friends and family members. Even though I recognize and feel discrimination in the world around me, it is also apparent that people are rising to the challenge. Thank you so much for being brave enough to end oppression.

(2) I hope that it is also apparent that I have deeply held religious beliefs. While they are still developing and transitioning, I very much understand what it feels like to be a religious person. It is important to have these narratives and for both sides to see important issues and understand why things develop the way they do. I have an intimate understanding of this issue from both sides, and I think that there is a place where we can end discrimination. I hope that point comes soon, and I think it will.

(3) Also, I want to address the fact that I think there is a line between public and private speech. The CEO I mentioned was the CEO of Mozilla for a brief time before he stepped down. Did his position affect his work performance? Employees said no. If a company fired an LGBT advocate they would be looked down upon, but if they do the same for someone who donates private money to a cause they believe in that company seems to have gotten the green light to strong arm individuals out of their work positions. That is something that bothers me immensely. Now this differs somewhat to the Duck Dynasty controversy where they disseminated their views in a nationally seen publication, however I do not have any significant comments as to a test that government or a court could devise that would delineate between wrongful and non-wrongful termination based on statements issued. In the case of Duck Dynasty, their contractual obligations were probably that dividing line. It will be interesting to see how this plays out (this is something I will think about to write on in possibly 3 to 90 months from now).

Free Market capitalism, religion’s biggest enemy?

Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has brought up a key divide in American politics; it is more than just a question of whether or not freedom of expression (in this case, religion) extends to businesses, but whether or not the consumer or the vendor should enjoy more rights. The foundation of our nation has always been a free-market economy with limited government regulation. This begs the question, what is a free market economy? In traditional terms, it is an unregulated economy in which buyers and sellers exchange goods and services based on mutual agreements. From a social standpoint, it is a little more complex. Do buyers and sellers have the right to determine who they will do business with?

The purpose of a free market economy is to encourage as many transactions as possible. By nature, this means that vendors begin to cater to sellers in order to make as much money as possible. This is where the principal of supply and demand comes in. Sellers cannot make money without buyers. There is no input without demand for a product, so it seems that buyers DO have the right to buy wherever they want. So it is time to examine whether the inverse is true. Do sellers have that same right?

In a pure free market, they probably do have the right to arbitrarily decide who to sell to. It means that if their practices are too discriminatory, they won’t sell anything regardless of what demand may be. The issue is, the United States promises certain things in the Constitution that do place limitations on the free market.

The Constitution and its amendments are meant to provide liberty and justice. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Liberty is the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. Liberty is an individual right. Individuals also have the right to start businesses and sell products, however the arbitrary determination of who gets to purchase those products doesn’t just have the potential to infringe on other people’s liberty, it DOES infringe on it. That is where the line gets drawn.

Imagine for a moment a neighborhood with one grocery store. It is the only source of affordable food in the immediate area. However, the owners of that store don’t like people who are Jewish. There are three Jewish families in the area, and the grocery store won’t sell food to them. Two of the families have the money to drive 30 miles out of the way every week to get their food. This change in lifestyle is a change of BEHAVIOR, one of the three constituents of liberty. The other family doesn’t have the money to do that, their WAY OF LIFE is affected. Again, another violation of their liberty. In the store owner’s case, selling to the Jewish families may offend his sensibilities, but it does nothing to change his behavior, way of life or political views. This scenario illustrates that a free market economy placed under the constraints of our Constitution gives more rights to the consumer.

So what does this have to do with the Arizona law? It gave any legal entity, including businesses, exemption from any state law that violated their religious sentiment. This meant that minorities, especially sexual minorities, could be arbitrarily discriminated against based on the attitudes of business owners. As shown in the previous example, the denial of access to goods and services represents an imminent threat to those that are discriminated against.