Monday, February 24, 2014

Holladay, UT Passes Anti-Discrimination Bill


by Brig Bagley

Although this is only a small community law, it is definitely a positive step. The comments on the KSL article go both ways with the new ruling. Many are please to hear the progress, where others feel their freedom to choose has been violated. 

How is it American to choose to discriminate someone based on religious belief? Doing business with, employing, or housing a person that lives a lifestyle that one doesn't approve of does not give anyone a right to deny the business. One comment by username "conehead" concerning Provo's "choice" to discriminate:

I see nothing wrong with the CHOICE that Provo gives it's citizens. Whyon earth would you want to FORCE others around you to accept what they view as an abominable perversion? All this is, is bullying, using the "law" in a perverse way to forward someones agenda, and for the lame politicians to try and garner more votes. Yes, the LGBTXYZ community are people too, but they always have a choice in whether or not to live that lifestyle. Why shouldn't the "rest of us" have a choice not to have to associate ourselves with it? Our politicians have absolutely NO wisdom whatsoever, but, what's changed?

My response:

I'm shocked that conservatives are promoting choice as a freedom. Choices are free to make, yes, as long as it doesn't infringe on the freedoms of another citizen. Choosing your employees based on sexual preference is restricting the freedom of that person to choose where they live or work. Even if this person were the most qualified candidate for the housing or job, you can deny it because you want to "choose to practice your religion" or whatever. This is where we need laws to protect victims of religious oppression. 
So what's wrong with allowing women to choose an abortion, or same sex couples to choose to marry? You can't drum freedom of choice, yet exclude others from the choices they have rights to as well. Please don't use your religion as an excuse either. You cannot impose religious reasoning on others. Religious freedom in this country also gives the freedom to not be religious.

There is so much more to say about how wrong this comment is, let alone so many others on KSL.

Even though there have been no cases as a result of existing anti discrimination laws in Utah cities, the laws are symbolic of the continuing progress of the state. Also, it could also be that the laws are actually working to prevent discrimination.

And just as homosexuality may be considered an abominable perversion, religion can be considered judgemental, close-minded bigotry. And how is it not religious agenda to push their beliefs into law, say, like the awful prop 8 in California, or amendment 3 in Utah? Aren't conservative politicians also trying to swing votes by being ultra bigoted?

People are free to associate with who they wish, but you can't choose who to do business with based on premises that have nothing to do with the business.

And again, saying that LGBT have a choice to live their lifestyle is the tell-tale bell that someone does not understand the situation at all. No person has a choice about who they are attracted to, or what gender they identify as. Just as you are born with certain genitalia, you are born with certain feelings and attractions. And even if you recognize that, stating that one can still "choose" to be heterosexual despite their feelings is illogical. A heterosexual doesn't choose to be homosexual, why should the other be expected? And believing that a lifestyle is wrong on religious grounds is fine, but imposing that expectation on others that don't share your belief is un-American, let alone plain wrong.

One comment impressed me enough to share (username Aristotle):

Heterosexual Mormon conservatives have been known to try to force their will on others through legislation before. Utah liquor laws anybody? Should Mormon waiters and waitresses be allowed to ignore the alcohol orders of their waited tables and not bring them the wine or cocktail they requested? These good LDS waiters and waitresses see drinking alcohol as being disobedient to God's commandments, and yet they don't mind bringing these alcoholic drinks because they are tolerant of others and don't enforce their personal beliefs on others. Mormon business owners all over the state make decision to serve alcohol and even pornography in their places of business. All of the various Marriott Hotels for example, along with countless restaurants with liquor licenses owned by LDS business owners. Let's face it, this is only an issue for some because of religious animus that is focally directed against homosexual individuals.

Businesses are "forced" by current law to not deny services based on race, religion, national origin, or marital status, with few exceptions. With some of the comments I see in this forum, clearly sexual orientation needs to be added to that list ASAP.
Having this all said, it is great to hear that when the state or nation cannot make progress fast enough, local governments make the move for progress. It is good to know there are at least a few people that wish to stand on the right side of history.

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