Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

February 28, 2014

LEFFLER: Let businesses ban gays if they want

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer earned high praise from Democrats across the country Wednesday for vetoing a bill put forth by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

The bill, had it passed, would have made it legal for businesses in the Grand Canyon state to refuse service to patrons based on their sexual orientation. It was allegedly inspired by episodes in other states in which florists, photographers and bakers were sued for refusing to cater to same-sex couples. The Arizona bill would have allowed much broader religious exemptions by business owners.

You may recall that I am a proponent of gay rights. I championed New York State’s coming of age in 2011 to allow for gay marriage. I believe that sexuality should be a non-issue when it comes to the government’s dealing with people.

But businesses aren’t government. And business owners should be allowed to discriminate — for any reason they choose.

Yeah. You read that right. I believe that private business owners should be allowed to discriminate against people on the basis of sex, sexuality, religion, color, height or anything else they so choose.

Many businesses already have signs informing their customers that they may refuse service to any patron for any reason. It’s pretty standard. It’s primarily designed as a catch-all for when they have to kick out an unruly customer — or prohibit a customer who had previously been unruly from entering their establishment again.

So if they can refuse service to anyone for any reason, why can’t they do it for reasons that we find distasteful? Being prejudiced isn’t against the law. It’s just poor form. Unless you use that prejudice as an excuse to break another law.

To those of you who are appalled, let me explain: I’m not saying businesses should ban gays. I’m just saying they should be allowed to. Just like homosexuals may choose to get their flowers or cake or whatever for their weddings from people they agree with politically. Just like there are certain businesses where I won’t spend money because I don’t like the owners.

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