After Ever After
Tenth Anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War

You Are NOT Losing a Right

Listening to opposition testimony today, one hears again and again something like "I don't think gay people should be discriminated against, they deserve to have jobs, but this bill would take away my rights as a religious person."  Generally, the supposed right in question is the ability as a business person to refuse employment to a gay person (or to be able to fire them) because of one's moral and religious views.

I've written a lot before about how this viewpoint would take us back fifty years in civil rights advances, but let me be even simpler and more straightforward.

You do not have a right, even currently, to use your personal moral or religious views to discriminate against a person in the workplace.  Therefore, no one is taking away your rights.

The entire point of civil rights law as it relates to the workplace was to state that private views, including private moral and religious beliefs, cannot be used to discriminate in the workplace, but that people should be judged on their workplace performance and the standards of the profession.  So, you never had that as a "right" to begin with, but since the 1960's we have specifically stated that you cannot use private belief to discriminate.

Now, you have been able to get away with firing gay people and denying them employment or accomodations because the law did not protect them.  This did not mean you had the right to do it. 

Some people seem to be under the mistaken notion that the law currently allows them to discriminate against gay people -- as if that was a positive right existing within the legal code.  Again, that the law failed to address this specific issue did not mean that its silence on the matter granted you some "right."  You've simply been able to get away with an injustice because of the law's silence.

So, no one is taking away your right.  No one is discriminating against you.  


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