The law that sounds reasonable – but isn’t

This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

Brass_scalesPartisan activists have used words like tolerance, fairness and equality to gain special rights. In the name of fairness, a growing number of Utahns welcome these advances. For instance, many Utahns think initially that the idea of a statewide nondiscrimination law based on sexual orientation and gender identity is reasonable – but it’s not.

It gives special rights to some people at the expense of other people. Ultimately, a statewide nondiscrimination law creates special rights for some that conflict with the first freedoms of everyone else – freedoms such as the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, the freedom of association and the right to make a living.

Perhaps you’ve heard in the news about the florist from Richland, Washington, who, because of individual conscience, would not provide services for a “gay wedding” and found herself in violation of the state nondiscrimination law?

The experiences of landlords and employers in other states don’t bode well for Utah landlords and employers. A landlord serving BYU could find herself violating a statewide nondiscrimination law if she doesn’t accommodate youth struggling with gender identity. An employee who publicly supports traditional marriage could be out of a job.

The list of real attacks against people of faith and individual conscience goes on and on.

If it’s not a city council passing an ordinance prohibiting certain speech as criteria to run for elected office, it’s a 17-year-old girl walking into a student locker room only to find a 45-year-old man, naked, sitting there, who believes he’s a woman trapped in a man’s body.

And, on that note, did you know it’s now illegal in New Jersey and California for medical doctors and clinicians to help people struggling with homosexuality?

It’s simply unfair. It’s not fair to reasonable people who actually have their own opinions. It’s not fair to the young woman who now must share shower facilities with a man. It’s not fair to a businessman who now has to choose between his most deeply held beliefs and the political correctness of others.

Right now, 19 states have laws offering same-sex marriage or civil unions. All of these states, and a few others, also have statewide nondiscrimination laws. The sheer number of legal complaints in favor of these special rights and against our first freedoms is staggering – and it’s only going to get worse.

The push by activists against our first freedoms and in favor of same-sex marriage and the agenda of sexual politics, inevitably, begins with statewide nondiscrimination laws on the basis of housing and employment. That’s how it began in California. That’s how it began in Massachusetts. In New York. In Washington state. Even in the heartlands of Iowa and Minnesota. A statewide nondiscrimination law is a proven gateway to public support for same-sex marriage.

Sutherland Institute supports a private culture of love, respect and compassion toward people who struggle with homosexuality. We have no ax to grind with anyone. But, as we now see, when private lives are politicized, our first freedoms are jeopardized. “Live and let live” isn’t enough for many activists – they insist that everyone bend to their will and worldview and they expect the law to enforce it for them.

Don’t be fooled. What sounds reasonable, isn’t. Protect your first freedoms against unreasonable special rights that come at the expense of other rights.

For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

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