The Washington Post‘s Civilities columnist Steven Petrow looks at the case of a gay male couple that was asked to leave Louie’s Sports Bar & Tiki Bar in Fayetteville, N.C., by the bar’s female owner. The incident: Around 11 p.m. on a late summer night, Andrew Deras put his arm around his boyfriend Dustin Baker and gave him what he later described as a “very minor” kiss.
Noting a few similar incidents, “Could the kiss be the next big milestone in LGBT rights?,” Petrow asks.
In the comments below the article on the Post‘s website, one commenter said:
Of course this has to be litigated. The Equal Protection clause of the Constitution means that gays can do the same things as straights in public.
Others pointed to the need for new, rigorous anti-discrimination legislation, to which another commenter responded:
As a gay Libertarian, I have regularly parted ways with the activist-type gays who always want a new law… and when they get that new law, they want another new law, and another and another and another…..You don’t like that bar that threw out the gay couple for kissing? Then boycott the bar and shine the light of bad publicity upon them.
Other commenters quickly chimed in that such a viewpoint was no different than sanctioning Jim Crow segregation against African Americans.
Not long ago, I referenced a fine analysis by John Corvino on the differences between anti-gay discrimination by a smattering of private small businesses in 2015 and systemic, frequently state-imposed racial discrimination in the pre-civil-rights South. And it’s no surprise that I’d rather see civil action against establishments that discriminate over unequal public displays of affection than lawsuits and state-administered punishments.
Along those lines, Scott Shackford has an updated version of his Is this where gays and libertarians part ways? piece is in the November issue of Reason, now online. An excerpt:
[W]e have little reason to believe that most people want to discriminate against gay, lesbian, or transgender customers. The burden created by those who do is remarkably small and can be remedied without government intervention. …
Libertarians care more about restraining government authority over the individual than allegiance to anybody’s “side.” Support for the rights of religious conservatives to discriminate should not be taken as endorsement or encouragement for their goals or moral framework.
As a gay libertarian, I support the right of a baker to decline to produce a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, but don’t expect me to buy so much as a cookie at their shop. And now that government-enforced oppression and discrimination is ending, I’d much rather see my peers embrace a world where we are all equally free to decide the terms by which we deal with each other, not one where we seize the same government powers that were once used to abuse us and use them to pummel our ideological opponents.