A growing number of private businesses are adopting internal policies addressing discrimination in the workplace regarding homosexuality. These nondiscrimination policies are adopted to assure employees that their workplace is safe and accommodating. Interestingly, many private companies that have pursued these internal policies now advocate that nondiscrimination should become public policy. It’s not enough for them to have instituted these policies in their own companies; they now feel compelled somehow to insist that the rest of the world follow suit.
That is peculiar enough. Even more peculiar is when business associations, such as Chambers of Commerce, endorse nondiscrimination policies as a matter of the public interest. In Utah, our own Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce supports a statewide nondiscrimination policy. It says that such a law would be good for business.
That idea gives me pause. Are “gay rights” good for business? Is the advancement of homosexual relationships by a business community good for business?
Of course, there’s no evidence at all, other than anecdotal, that business benefits by championing “gay rights.” It’s hard to argue that homosexuality has any relationship to the world of business, outside of businesses that cater to homosexuality – but that’s a very isolated and niche segment of the business community.
Surely Chambers of Commerce could argue that “fairness” in the workplace is an important aspect of business culture. No one would argue with that. But that’s a different point than arguing that homosexuality has some direct benefit to the world of business. Furthermore, the goal of a welcoming business environment could be achieved privately without affecting public policy – private businesses could continue to be sensitive within their own organizations and achieve their desired results without burdening public policy.
But if Chambers of Commerce are going to make the argument that “gay rights” are good for business, they ought to actually make an argument. Because the counter-argument is more than compelling – and based not on anecdotes but in fact.
The truth is that stable, autonomous and healthy two-parent families actually have a direct bearing on the world of business. We don’t have to speculate about the by-products of healthy two-parent family structures. In the aggregate, and overwhelmingly so, men, women and children in these sound family structures are physically healthier, mentally happier, more educated, more disciplined and far better employees (in terms of stability and reliability) than people living in less-than-optimal arrangements.
If Utahns truly care about prosperity – if our business leaders truly worry for the betterment of society – we would embrace the natural family structure, not work against it. “Gay rights” work against these beneficial family structures and the other institutions of civil society (such as religious freedom). Champions of “gay rights” are free to experiment within private cultures and private businesses. But take that fight to the public square and they collide with aggregate traditions that have served freedom and prosperity well for centuries.
Should a person be denied employment or fired over their homosexuality? Let private cultures and private businesses decide. My guess is that short of inappropriate behavior in the workplace, it doesn’t really make any difference to anyone. But those private relationships within an isolated business setting don’t work the same way when applied to every business setting and the broad culture.
Most of all, these social experiments regarding homosexuality have nothing to do with advancing economic productivity. Nothing. But insofar as the “gay rights” agenda presses on traditional family structures, it will have serious negative effects on the economy. Chambers of Commerce should know better.
For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.
The above post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.
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