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Hair Stylist Refuses To Style New Mexico Gov’s Hair Over Marriage Stance

Jim Burroway

February 22nd, 2012

An Albuquerque TV station reports that Antionio Darden, a popular stylist in Santa Fe, is refusing to accept an appointment with his former client, Gov. Susana Martinez:

“The governor’s aides called not too long ago, wanting another appointment to come in,” Darden said. “Because of her stances and her views on this I told her aides no. They called the next day, asking if I’d changed my mind about taking the governor in and I said no again.”

The governor has said she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that does not cut it with Darden.

“I think it’s just equality, dignity for everyone,” the popular hair stylist said. “I think everybody should be allowed the right to be together. My partner and I have been together for 15 years.”

In 2008, an Albuquerque photographer was sued for refusing the photograph the wedding of a lesbian couple. She claimed that being compelled to offer services to the couple violated her religious beliefs. She lost, and was ordered to pay $6,637 for the couple’s attorney fees and costs.

So here’s a discussion waiting to happen: how is it that the photographer was in the wrong but Darden is within his rights? Or vice versa? To be honest, I’m very ambivalent about both cases.

Comments

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TominDC
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Easy.

One is a refusal of service because of the client’s sexual orientation, whereas the other is because of the client’s political stance.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Both Darden and the photographer are wrong. If you make your living off of the public you are obligated to serve all the public.

jpeckjr
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I agree with Tom. That is the difference. If Mr. Darden announced he would no longer allow heterosexual women in his shop, he would be in violation of the law.

I also think the debate is useful. I do not think a business should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of any protected class. I also do not think any business should be compelled by the government to accept any particular customer. Particular customer and class of people are two different things.

It might be useful to the marriage equality cause for Mr. Darden to make the appointment then make a case for marriage equality. I rarely diasgree with someone who has scissors that close to my ears.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

“I agree with Tom. That is the difference.”.

That’s a difference all right, but its not one that justifies providing service in one case and not the other.

jpeckjr
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

@priya lynn: you really don’t read beyond the first line of our posts, do you?

Kelly
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I’m ambivalent, too, but I do think either the hair dresser and the photographer were both right or they were both wrong. I don’t think political view is any better a reason to not provide someone services than their sexual orientation.

The tiny bit of libertarian I still have left in me kinda hates to tell any private business who they can and cannot have as customers. The much larger civil rights supporter in me knows not allowing black people in your restaurant is just WRONG. So not sure where the balance is. I guess I’d have to fall more on the side of saying both the photographer and the hair dresser are wrong, but I’m not 100% convicted of that, either.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Jpeckjr, that is incorrect.

Wheter or not Martinez is refused as an individual or a class of person is irrelevant, the discrmination is wrong. And Martinez does belong to a class of people – those opposed to marriage equality. Refusing her is no different than a business saying we serve republicans but refuse to serve democrats.

Gary Brewton
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

The difference is apparently, as you reported(http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2008/04/12/18010) that in New Mexico the state Human Rights Act protects against discrimination by public accomodations on the basis of sexual orientation. There is no allegation that the governor is being denied service on the basis of her religious belief, but rather because of her political beliefs. One’s political beliefs do not make a person a member of a protected class with respect to public accomodations. Were the governor to say she was denied service on the basis of her religious beliefs, she might have a claim under the state Human Rights Act.
Moreover, Ms. Martinez is not just an ordinary member of the public needing statutory protection. She is governor and she is in a position of power to constrain the possible action of her former stylist Mr. Darden, (such as marrying his partner). Thus, he can properly claim that she has actually harmed him. This actual harm can be a rational basis for denial of services that is no longer prejudicial in nature, because he is not pre-judging her. Rather, Mr. Darden is making his response to her diminution of the relationship he and his partner might otherwise enjoy.

David Rogers
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya, I’m with Tom here as well.

You can call it discrimination (dictionary definition) in either case, but it illustrates the difference in allowable and inallowable discrimination beautifully.

You are legally allowed to discriminate against people on the basis of education, skill, ability to perform a job, or because you just don’t like them personally. And, in many states (but not New Mexico) you can still legally discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

The couple in Albuquerque were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, which is as illegal as discriminating against someone for being Jewish or African American.

The governor is being discriminated against for a political stance, which is completely legal. You can legally discriminate against KKK members for being part of the KKK-you can legally discriminate against someone for being a Yankees fan.

The governor may have a case that this is really dicriminating against her faith, which would be an interesting lawsuit.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

The idea that because the law says one can do something that makes it okay is false.

If the law allows this then the law is unjust and must be changed.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

David, it is justifiable to discriminate against someone for their inability to do a good job or be a good customer (poor credit, failure to pay, etc.) but it is not justifiable to discrminate against them because you don’t like them. Any discrmination against someone for reasons other than their ability to perform as an employee, customer, renter, etc. is unjust. It make be legal, but it is most certainly immoral.

KEW
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I think that Mr. Darden is uncomfortable cutting the hair of someone who is disrespectful to him and his relationship. Therefore, he is entitled to refuse service. Think of all the signs in bars and convenient stores, ” We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I don’t think just because you put up such a sign that you have that legal right.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Certainly the photographer in New Mexico didn’t have such a legal right even if she had put up such a sign.

andrew
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

One could argue that in this case, it’s political speech, because the hairdresser went public an the object of the episode was a public official, and that to require anyone to work for a public official cuts dangerously close to the kind of tyranny we thought we were leaving behind during the American Revolution (sounds good doesn’t it?)

But no, I don’t see any substantial difference between this and the anti-gay photographer.

Now, if the photographer impacted the date of the wedding, or if they took the pictures but refused to make them available, that would be different, because they would have deprived the couple of an opportunity to find a suitable replacement.

iDavid
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

And he missed the chance to give her a good ‘ol NM Mohawk? For shame!!! He should definitely reconsider.

Lucrece
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Business owners should be able to discriminate on any basis. It’s their business.

The only case in where the government should have grounds to intervene is in removing tax bonuses and incentives offered on the condition of nondiscrimination.

Six of Diamonds
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Gov. Susana Martinez is not just some potential customer. She is a public figure who wields a lot of power to sign or veto legislation. NJ’s Christie recently vetoed the marriage equality bill in his state based on his “religious” beliefs. I believe Mr. Darden has the right not to accept Gov. Martinez because of her status as a politician. She is the head of the state where Mr. Darden lives and has the power to adversely affect Mr. Darden’s life. She has publicly opposed Mr. Darden’s civil right to marry. Why would anyone allow an openly discriminatory governor into their hair salon?

Shofixti
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Many of you appear to indicate that it would have been acceptable for the photographyer, Elaine Huguenin of Albuquerque, to refuse the lesbian couple her services on the basis of their pro-marriage equality political beliefs (rather than specifically discriminating against their sexuality).

Which just looks like a trap, imho.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

“Why would anyone allow an openly discriminatory governor into their hair salon?”.

Because one wouldn’t like it if someone refused them service just because they didn’t like who you are. If we’re going to discrminate unjustly then we’re no better than them. We need to take the high road if we’re going to argue that fairness requires LGBT equality.

jerry
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

When I go into a business for goods or services, I like the feeling that the state has set regulations to ensure that the business is run in a safe manner for its employees and customers. To do that it hires inspectors for that reason. That means everyone contributes something to the tax pool. That says to me that I must take any customer who comes into my shop and doesn’t cause a problem and pays for the goods or services I’m providing.

Some christians want to be bigoted assholes, I prefer to act better than that. And I think overall, we will gain more str8 allies by doing so.

andrew
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

i think where i’d take this is that we’re discussing the law of unintended consequences. i don’t see much difference here.

oops.

Blake
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I’m inclined to agree with Pryia Lynn but, I think Gary Brewton is closer to the mark. If this were a transaction between two members of the general public then I would agree that discrimination is wrong wrong wrong wrong. But this is between a governor & a citizen. I think the power dynamic makes all the difference. In that light I view the act of refusing the governor’s patronage as closer to civil disobedience than to prejudiced discrimination.

Six of Diamonds
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn
There is a huge inequality in the owner of the hair salon and the governor. The governor has immense political power over the hair salon owner and can veto the rights of the rights of the hair salon owner. On the contrary, the hair salon owner has no political power over the governor, and refused to do her hair because of her discriminatory political stance, as governor, which directly affects the salon owner. No where in the article does it state that the salon owner refused service simply because he “didn’t like” the governor. Since the governor was already a client at the hair salon, it is save to assume the owner liked her well enough. I believe the salon owner is 100% justified to refuse service to a political figure who has publicly stated a discriminatory opinion which affects the salon owner’s personal life. Considering the salon owner is not a political figure, I believe he is taking the high road by making a political statement in his refusal to serve the governor. He did not call names, he was not rude. He explained his position on the basis of equality and dignity. I hope he is inspiration to others to make similar political gestures to those in power who openly discriminate.

matthais777
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Let’s say I own a shop. One day, a gay man walks in. I know he’s gay cause he’s with his partner. I kick him out for being gay (It just so happens to be my religious motive, but since i’m infringing on another right, that doesn’t matter.) I am committing a illegal act by refusing him service because i’m discriminating against a class of people which he belongs to, and can be held liable for my actions.

Let’s say I own another shop. At this shop, a gay man walks in. I know he’s gay because says that christians (which I happen to be) are absolute nasty jerks who only exist to destroy people’s lives, and that as a gay man, he feels that christians should be banished from america, or at least have their rights denied. I can more than happily get rid of him. Why? Because he was a jerk in my shop of course! Even if he didn’t say such things in my shop, i’m still not required to serve him, because, and this is the important part….

It has nothing to do with the man being gay, and everything to do with him being a jerk. Am I required to serve someone who calls me nasty names in the middle of my shop, or disrespects me? No, i’m not! I cannot however, refuse service based on belonging to a group, race, or religion alone.

andrew
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Matthais, I had thought about this as well — the notion that the refusal of service was about speech rather than identity, but I’m not sure that it’s sufficiently distinct here, given that the root of the issue returns to sexual identity. And besides now we’re getting into questions of non-disruptive free speech (someone who makes a scene, regardless of content, can be ejected from a business, but someone who quietly discusses having a particular viewpoint during their meal… different).

I guess the question is: where do we draw this line? Do we side with the rights of hairdressers and photographers to work for whomever they want, or do we side with a rule that says they can’t refuse service based on … well, I’m not sure what they could refuse service based on ?

I think the hairdresser might have been better served by going public AND highlighting how the law limits them.

Or, they could have “gone on vacation” in order to remain compliant with the law.

Or they could have shaved the governor’s head and faced the consequences (my personal favorite).

iDavid
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

I think the gov is saying she doesn’t want fags served by the government and the hairdresser is teaching a bigot a lesson by saying, we don’t serve bigots here.
We are in “the take a stand mode” not the “ah it’s ok to fuck us over, sure, want a glass if wine with that haircut?”
Rejection can get as much attention for change of heart as can the loved dovey approach. Best we let all make their decisions on how they want to express their dismay over being discriminated against.
Priya, you seem to thing one way is appropriate. I can assure you vehemence has also broken through the tawdry steel of intense discrimination which Martinez displays.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Idavid I don’t think the LGBT community is well served by saying “If you don’t do what’s right neither will we”. A moral person does what’s right regardless of what someone else does.

andrew
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Rather than one of being morally correct (although I appreciate Priya’s point, and I laud her ), my concern is being intellectually honest and consistent.

We (rightly) get pissed off every time someone claims we are demanding “special rights”.

Writing laws to prevent someone from discriminating against us on the one hand, and then discriminating against those who don’t like us on the other, is inconsistent. Worse, it leaves us vulnerable to claims of “special rights”.

My question is how we maintain that consistency without saying “sure, it’s fine to screw us as customers” OR micromanaging every business person’s practices and taking away their choices as small business owners.

I don’t have a good answer to this one.

Priya Lynn
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Six of Diamonds, I disagree that there is a huge inequality in power between the governor and the owner of the hair salon. The governor is not a monarch, she can’t arbitrarily close down the salon owner, or have him whipped, she has to follow the rule of law and can only affect the salon owner indirectly as one of many businesses. If the salon owner thought it was such a huge power imbalance and felt threatened by the governor he’d have never refused her service in the first place.

Whether or not the salon owner refused service because he didn’t like the governor or didn’t like her stance on marriage equality is irrelevant. Morally speaking one has no right to refuse anyone service for reasons beyond their ability to be a qualified customer (i.e., non-abusive, no history of refusing payment, etc.).

andrew
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya, awesome that you couch your position just so.

There is another perspective that no one has the right to tell a business owner how to conduct their business – it can serve as a “taking” without compensation, depending on how theoretical you want to get.

BUT. We both know it was necessary to get that involved in order to ensure that people were not cut out of services (yes, the Civil Rights era happened, and that’s a very good thing).

Do you think there’s a difference between a restaurant or hotel versus a private contractor (e.g. photographer)? Can someone require that a photographer or hairdresser take their business? (For example would that be different if a salon offered an alternative hairdresser). Does a legal requirement to do so amount to a “command performance” situation? Is it possible to legislate this correctly (we know what is morally right, but should that be enforced?)

You know me – if I felt strongly about those, or had more information I’d say so. I’m pondering, speculating. What do you think?

Timothy Kincaid
February 22nd, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

Morally speaking one has no right to refuse anyone service for reasons beyond their ability to be a qualified customer (i.e., non-abusive, no history of refusing payment, etc.).

That is a statement consistent with your worldview and I appreciate that you apply it evenly to both the photographer and the stylist. Though we differ, I respect that it is principled and not dependent on who the parties are.

I would take the opposite position – one that is consistent with my worldview. Morally speaking, no one has any claim on the services of another person.

Interestingly, while we take opposite positions, the law is on the side of neither of us.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

and I agree with Timothy here. No one has a moral claim on the services of another. What are you gonna do, force the hairdresser to style her hair even if he doesn’t want to? *Force* is moral? I don’t think so. And even if it were, how are you going to *force* him to do a good job? If he were to oops make a mistake and cut a giant bald spot into her hair, then what? Does she get to refuse payment or perhaps even sue him? For doing a bad job and something he didn’t want to do to begin with? And who decides what a “bad job” might be?

I refuse to go along with any worldview that includes forcing others to do what *you* think is moral. How is that any different from the Christians who want to force GLBT people to follow their morality? Using force is immoral, even you are using it to force others to be moral.

iDavid
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

I don’t see the hair stylist, who has been with his partner for 15 years and suffers daily from discrimination, as discriminating against the governor. I see him as non violently protesting human rights violations against gays, of which the homophobic gov is guilty. Also, the govs NM Department of Health has recalled pamphlets that have gay people featured for assistance in HIV education, so she also supports the transmission of a deadly disease, of which the stylist most likely was aware.

Refusing service is a statement in this case saying “wake up ignorant bigot”. Sometimes cold water in the face is the only way. Some people listen, some don’t. In this case IMO, the gov is stubborn and morally wrong to incite hateful conflict in a community through unequal treatment, and the hair stylist is morally right, holding her feet to the fire by protesting and sanctioning her through refusal of service. Governments sanction entire nations for violations when needed in order to have them shape up. This case seems no different and the hair stylist’s action, when all is added up against this governor, seems warranted.

Priya, you might look at Stonewall with regard to this case. In your model, there would have been no riot as it would have been “immoral”. Where do you think we would be now without Stonewall? Do you think the gay community was not “well served” in that instance?

Jim Burroway
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

I have refrained from commenting and have instead sat back and read everyone else’s comments. I’m rather impressed with some of the struggles going on here.

I think when the idea of banning discrimination in public accommodations first arose about 40 years ago, the problem that was being addressed was that African-Americans were being banned from commercial establishments in which anyone can walk through the door. If an African-American family was traveling and needed gasoline, they had to buy gas. If the only gas station for miles around refused to sell it, they could be stranded. Same for hotel rooms, restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, etc.

The dilemma in my mind comes on the question of when a public accommodation ends and a private business begins. I’m not a lawyer, but it looks to me that under the law there is no difference. But I did not see Elane Photography in the same class as a hotel or restaurant, and I still have trouble with that. But based on the ruling under New Mexico law, it is. And so Elane Photography was found to be in violation because she refused to photograph a lesbian wedding, citing what she called her moral beliefs.

I quickly imagined myself as a private web consultant, registered as an LLC, providing web services for a fee. And I envisioned a rabidly anti-gay church contacting me to help run their web site. Of course, I would decline, and I would say why I declined as diplomatically as I can — and I can only hope to be as diplomatic as the photographer. And in New Mexico, I would be charged with discriminating against a client’s religious beliefs.

I find this very troubling.

Now I know that the case of the beauty shop is not the same. Darden is being rather specific, and political affiliation is not a protected category. I’m glad Darden is within his rights to refuse to accept an appointment from the governor. I wish Elane Photography was within her rights to decline to photograph a wedding because I would also want to be within my rights to decline a client whose religious beliefs I abhor.

And yet I can’t throw out the entire idea that there should be no discrimination in public accommodations. So for me, the issue is where and how do you draw the line?

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Andrew said “There is another perspective that no one has the right to tell a business owner how to conduct their business.”.

That’s not exactly true, governments tell business owners how to conduct their businesses in many ways. The governor as a customer is not telling the salon owner how to run his business, she’s just asking that she get the same service offered to everyone else.

Andrew asked “Do you think there’s a difference between a restaurant or hotel versus a private contractor (e.g. photographer)? Can someone require that a photographer or hairdresser take their business? (For example would that be different if a salon offered an alternative hairdresser). Does a legal requirement to do so amount to a “command performance” situation? Is it possible to legislate this correctly (we know what is morally right, but should that be enforced?)”

No, I don’t think there is a difference between a restaurant or hotel and a private contractor. The government can require that a business owner take all qualified customers, not to discrminate on things beyond their ability to be a good customer. I haven’t given it enough thought to say if it would be different if an alternative hair dresser was offered. I think it would, like many things, be difficult to legislate correctly and there would be subsequent court cases where the applicability of the law was decided in greater detail. Yes, I think non-discrimination for any reason should be enforced but as I’ll get to later there may be exceptions to that.

Desirree said “What are you gonna do, force the hairdresser to style her hair even if he doesn’t want to? *Force* is moral?”.

Yes, sometimes force is moral. But the salon owner wouldn’t be forced to do the governor’s hair even if the non-discrimination law applied to her. Someone here likened that to slavery, but unlike a slave a person can quit their job and get another so they are not forced to comply with the law if they don’t want to. People are required to perform all manner of activities in order to be in business and no one whines about being “forced” to collect sales tax, etc.

Desiree said “And even if it were, how are you going to *force* him to do a good job? If he were to oops make a mistake and cut a giant bald spot into her hair, then what?”.

In something trivial like a hair cut in most cases you can’t make the owner do a good job, but certainly in many areas if a person does an irresponsible job and failed to perform to a reasonable standard they could be sued for malpractice.

Desiree said “I refuse to go along with any worldview that includes forcing others to do what *you* think is moral. How is that any different from the Christians who want to force GLBT people to follow their morality? Using force is immoral, even you are using it to force others to be moral.”.

So, if someone is trying to stab my husband with a knife it would be immoral for me to use force to take it away from him? It would be immoral for us to use force to prevent him from escaping until the police got there? It’s immoral to force businesses not to put harmful ingredients in food? I don’t think so. There are exceptions to most, if not all generalizations. When its moral to use force is a difficult question and must be decided on a case by case basis with prevention of harm being the deciding factor.

I’ve been thinking about this case in bed last night and I’m reconsidering my stance and am somewhat inclined to agree with Idavid now. My husband was once telling me about the game theory that it makes sense to cooperate with people as long as they cooperate with you. When they go negative you best go negative or they’re taking advantage of you with no repercussions. When they resume fair play you resume fair play.

I haven’t completely sorted out the contraditions between these two positions in my mind but eventually I will. On one hand I think its morally wrong to discriminate, on the other hand it makes sense to me that the governor broke the social contract first by opposing marriage equality and for that reason the salon owner is no longer obliged to follow the social contract either. When the governor starts abiding by the moral contract then the salon owner is obligated to do the same.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

I was discussing this with my wife when we had lunch together today. She hit upon basically the same idea as Jim – that there is a difference between a business, a corporation and a private person who offers their services.

When I put out an add asking for a roommate. I am going to discriminate based on all kinds of criteria, some of which may not be legal or rational, but ya know what? I don’t care. I’m going to pick some one I want living with me. If I am the manager of a hotel chain, then no, I don’t get to discriminate on irrational basis. That seems pretty clear cut. The questions start when I own a private home I operate as a bed & breakfast. Do get any say in who I serve in my own home? My wife & I agree that I do.

So I think there needs to be a line between a person that offer a service to clients and a business that has customers. Forcing an individual to serve any client is wrong.* Requiring a company to serve any customer that enters… that’s something else.

*and don’t give me that BS that you aren’t forcing them – they are free to close up shot, all that is, is saying either we are going to force you to serve everyone or we are going to force you not to serve anyone. Either way, it’s force and it’s wrong.

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

That last sentence should be “When the governor starts abiding by the social contract the salon owner is then obligated to do the same.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Sorry Pryia, I should have been clearer – *initiating* force is never moral. Forcing someone to do something is immoral. Preventing someone from using force (such as trying to stab someone) is moral.

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Desiree, businesses are “forced” to follow a myriad of rules and regulations or to close up shop. If one should never be “forced” to do anything one should never be forced to perform any of the myriad of rules and regulations we take for granted one should follow to run a business.

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Desiree said “Sorry Pryia, I should have been clearer – *initiating* force is never moral. Forcing someone to do something is immoral. Preventing someone from using force (such as trying to stab someone) is moral.”.

So, its not moral to force someone to get a driver’s license to drive? Its not moral to force someone to wait until they’re 21 to buy alcohol? It’s not moral to force car manufacturer’s to meet pollution or safety standards? It’s not moral to force a parent to care for their child? They’re not using force by ignoring the child.

Donny D.
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

What I don’t know is what the actual state of the law is in regard to discrimination on the basis of political opinion. I know that in some circumstances, the law forbids it. I’d need to know specifically when it did and when it didn’t before I would feel comfortable wading into this.

Though it seems to me that a gay restaurant shouldn’t have to serve a party of notorious anti-gay activists, a black-owned and operated restaurant shouldn’t have to serve a group of well known Aryan Nations people, and a Jewish owned and operated restaurant shouldn’t have to serve a famous Holocaust denier. But that’s just my own sentiment. I don’t know what the law has said in such circumstances.

I don’t buy that idea that no one gets to tell a business owner what s/he can do with her/his business. Commerce affects other people, and business owners have power under our economic system and can do harm to others, and need to have some restrictions at least for that reason.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Pryia – we’re on to a different topic topic. I’m not discuss negative rights with you here. I’m not gonna change your mind and you’re not gonna change mine.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

I meed to proofread better. Should have been:

Pryia – we’re on to a different topic now. I’m not going to discuss negative rights with you here. I’m not gonna change your mind and you’re not gonna change mine.

Désirée
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

need, not meed… I give up

Erin
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

I’m with Jim on this one. If it is an essential business that is open daily to the public, like one that sells food, fuel, or medicine, discrimination laws should apply. But wedding photographers and hair stylists, businesses that have to be booked in advance, and don’t serve an essential purpose, and in many cases are housed in the business owner’s home, should be free to discriminate against absolutely anyone they wish. While I may disagree strongly with discriminating based on prejudice, I don’t believe there should be laws against it. Those businesses making those decisions will do enough to destroy their reputations on their own. Also, as a side note, I’m really sick of the anti-gays using the wedding photographer as an example against gay marriage, because 1) it has nothing to do with marriage, but discrimination law, and 2) the gay community doesn’t even entirely agree with that case.

Timothy Kincaid
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Some of the earlier non-discrimination laws (or the gay ones anyway) applied to employers with more than a certain number of employees. I’m not sure if any still do.

Also, the government distinguishes between sole proprietors in applying inferred payroll and associated self employment tax. If legislators truly wanted to, they could craft law that similarly distinguishes between providers of goods and employers on one hand and individuals, small service providers and mom and pop shops on the other.

Sadly, I think that politicians tend to approach the matter less with a mind to problem solving and more with a mind to advancing their constituents social position.

Sometimes we participate as well. When anti-gays sought to exempt some small service providers from being required to work for gay weddings, we angrily said that it was taking away protections that we already had. In hindsight I’m not sure our position was just.

Six of Diamonds
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

By my quick count there are 47 posts prior to this, of which 13 or 22% were posted by Pirya. Reading each of her posts, one sees that Pirya is consistent in proclaiming to others what is “wrong, incorrect, false, immoral, legally right, moral, not true.”

For me there is no real discussion with a self proclaimed “expert” who consistently puts others down.

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Six of Diamonds, where did I put anyone down?

Mark F.
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Anyone should be legally allowed to discriminate for any reason. Whether it is just or moral is another issue.

Sonmeone denying me a business service does not violate my rights IMHO. I don’t happen to think other people are my slaves to order about at will.

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Mark said “I don’t happen to think other people are my slaves to order about at will.”.

Neither do I.

Priya Lynn
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Six of Diamonds, while you’re at it point out where I proclaimed myself an expert.

andrew
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Easy easy easy. That’s kind of a Priya style, and I think she comes by it from an honest place. I often disagree with her, and I don’t always take well to the tone of a given post, but here I think she’s spoken from her own perspective, and I appreciate that. I think Jim said the same. She, like me, and Jim, also expressed the same need to wrestle with the issues on this one.

I think the point distinguishing between public accommodation is a critical one, and it comes to the root of the discussion here. Is there a lawyer in the house !!!??

Yes, Priya, it’s true that the government enforces a number of regulations on private business… but we have one of the two major parties in an election year right now making this point the single largest plank in their platform: lower regulation. Or no regulation. Depends on who you ask.

I’m not saying I agree with it — it’s absolutist and unreasonable. I am saying it’s a got enough people who do agree with it that Ron Paul remains a viable candidate this late into the primary calendar. Because it’s got a substantial minority of people who believe it, and because it’s a pretty absolutist position, we can use it as a “bookend” on one side of the argument, and that’s kind of where I was going… to lay out the boundaries of the discussion and figure out what makes sense within those boundaries.

The other end is to say that the government can meddle with every aspect of a business, and to take away the rights of businessowners to determine whom they wish to service, 100%. I can’t countenance this notion either.

We’re all trying to figure out how to split the difference in a way that makes sense in the real world. The good news is that governments have been trying to figure this out for the past 40 years, so we’re not alone.

Timothy Kincaid
February 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Andrew,

You left off a zero, maybe even two

The extent to which king/emperor/lord/governor/president/citycouncil/priest/shaman/laird can control the way I operate my business/milk my cow/skin my buffalo/raise my kids/build my wall/argue with my neighbor/play my bagpipes has always been a struggle. Mostly, I’m guessing that it varies based on the extent to which the serf/vassal/peasant/underlord/citizen/burgher/countryman feels that the big guy is protecting him from threat and looking out for his needs.

andrew
February 24th, 2012 | LINK

As long as there have been governments…

iDavid
February 24th, 2012 | LINK

Legally speaking, I think if the KKK walked into a restaurant run by black people, and they ordered them to leave, there could be no rational recourse.

I see this similar with the governor and the hairdresser. Her denial of equal rights and pulling educational pamphlets on HIV makes her in a sense, an accessory to mass murder.

Even if the government stepped in and said all business owners of all public businesses, even those considered “private”, must serve all customers, legally there is always a good case to not serve some, as is here with this example.

I think in this case, if it came to legal, the governor would be foolish to challenge the hairdresser even if he broke a cust accom law. She would only shine the light on her intense guilt and homophobia, which for our side would be a win. In such cases, as we have seen in gay marriage state court cases and in the case of the photographer mentioned in this article, “religious beliefs” disappear like bad wind in front of judges that rule on rational basis.

I believe the same would mirror here if anything similar were to go the distance.

I’m thinking that irregardless of what the law may or may not say about customer service, if you have been harmed you have a right to protect or not protect your personal space from any and all predatory intruders. It’s a personal choice but I do believe the law would back such ideology. The gov is a Class A predator, the hair dresser is her victim. It would seem pretty cut and dry on a legal basis, but then, I’m no lawyer.

Priya, from what I can see, you have been courteous to others here and have not put anybody “down”. It seems you and Six are pretty polarized in your opinions but, this is always a good venue to work out power issues, if we choose to stay in the game and ride the wave of self examination. God knows this culture war has brought up every demon I didn’t know I had. It’s really easy to get rageful and angry at others, which you have not done as far as I can tell. You seem rigid in your views but not attackful as Six implies.

It’s cool you were open to looking at other angles of this gov/Hdresser situation. A tape measure is more flexible with it’s potential angles and uses than a straight edge ruler, though both have their preferred applications.

Priya Lynn
February 24th, 2012 | LINK

Thanks iDavid. As I said, after re-thinking this I’m inclined to think your viewpoint is the correct one and the stylist was right to refuse the governnor’s appointment.

iDavid
February 24th, 2012 | LINK

Yes I saw that.

andrew
February 24th, 2012 | LINK

iDavid, I find myself reacting poorly to your posting – that is, looking for reasons to disagree with you. That’s about me, not you per se, but it’s also to advertise that this posting is really going to be an incomplete view of my thinking on this.

Specifically, I don’t think that making policy choices regarding HIV pamphlets equates to “mass murder” any more than engaging in unsafe sex is equatable to suicide.

Never mind the accuracy of the statement (The HIV crisis is still of national importance… but anyone pretending that HIV is a death sentence is ignorant, deliberately inflammatory, and is certainly contributing to the stigmatization of poz people – tone it down, please).

It’s interesting that you mention the KKK. A few years ago when a gay group was declined by a state government for their Adopt-a-Highway program, the KKK filed an amicus brief on behalf of the gay group (the KKK was fighting exactly the same battle, and were later upheld in court). Just a little aside to demonstrate taht regardless of content, rights are rights.

Which is to say that I’m unclear where you’re going here – are you suggesting that a black-owned business should be allowed to refuse service to kkk members?

I’m also pretty sure that the governor is well within her legal rights to execute the office as she deems fit, until notified by the legislature or a court that she is acting illegally. That’s what’s cut and dry. How you and I feel about it can certainly be what drives the vote at the polls, but for now, she’s not a “Grade A” anything, except perhaps some names that don’t belong here. But predator? That has some pretty specific connotations.

I think we can disagree with someone – powerfully, without calling them a murderer and a predator based on their policy positions, don’t you?

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