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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Freedom, Anyone?

Volokh has a really disturbing story from Seattle involving the ACLU. The short story is that a printing business was sued because the owner refused to print wedding invitations for a gay couple getting married. The upshot is:

SEATTLE -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington today announced an agreement settling a discrimination complaint filed by a gay man against a local business that refused to print invitations to his wedding with his same-sex partner. Under the agreement, the business owner has apologized for her actions and agreed to abide by Seattle’s anti-discrimination law in the future.

Eugene's reaction to this mirrors mine closely:

One can imagine a libertarian regime in which gays enjoy freedom from government interference with their liberty, and enjoy equal access to government benefits, but those who disapprove of homosexuality enjoy equal freedom not to help with practices and rituals that they find abhorrent. But that doesn't seem to be how our legal system works these days. Greater legal acceptance of homosexuals' freedom from government intrusion and government discrimination has indeed been accompanied with greater constraints on private choices not to deal with homosexuals. There are many reasons for this (chiefly attitude-altering slippery slopes and multi-peaked preferences slippery slopes, under which some voters take the view that once certain sorts of behavior are recognized as legitimate they generally shouldn't form the basis of private discrimination as well as public discrimination, and also perhaps in some measure political momentum slippery slopes and political power slippery slopes); but whatever the reason, it does appear to be the case.

This is a truly disturbing development. I have no problem with the government being sued/pressured on the grounds of discrimination. The specifics of each case can be dealt with individually.

However, when the government steps in and tells a private citizen that he or she must deal with a given person against the former's will...that reeks of restrictions on individual freedom.

The elected officials in a Representative Republic are (in my ever-humble opinion) supposed to do a few things. They’re supposed to protect us from internal and external threats to our security. They’re supposed to ensure that the rights of minorities are not trampled by the majority. Oh, and I would add to the list that they’re supposed to make sure that the rights of the majority are not trampled (these days, by the courts).

So where is the outrage? The owner of a private company has just been forced against her will to do business with someone she does not wish to. Does no one else (aside from Eugene) see a huge freaking problem here?

This sort of thing scares me more than a lot of ‘little’ domestic issues. The reason is simple; the issue is ‘little.’ It’s just so easy for everyone to shrug their shoulders and say, “Hey, what’s the big deal? We shouldn’t be discriminating against gay people.” I would counter that we shouldn’t be discriminating against anyone…including private business owners!


50minutehour also as an opinion on this. Also, take a look at the first comment to that post and my reply (#4). This is a very important distinction that far too many people confuse.


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