There are a lot of opinions flying around lately with the implementation of Indiana’s Senate Bill 568. There are different sides to it, as with anything, and I have switched sides on this after considering a little deeper what this bill represents. At first I thought “Yeah, discrimination is bad, we should all love each other and respect each others choices and beliefs”! Then I realized what I was saying. We need to support the right to respect our own and others choices and beliefs. This means nobody should be forced to support something they don’t believe in. In other words: as an American, if I own a business, I ought to have the right to refuse service for any reason, including but not limited to, sexual orientation, race, religious views, political views, et al.
Now, don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying discrimination is right, but the way I see it, “right” is an idea, and as such, it is of subjective consequence. If Harry sells guns, but religiously believes that homosexuality is wrong, should he be forced to do business with Tom and Pedro when they come into his establishment macking on one another and holding hands, talking about how they’re so in love? Harry believes this is a damnable offense and can’t stomach the thought of perpetuating something he disagrees so deeply with. Now let’s imagine that Harry says as much to Tom and Pedro and requests that they do their business elsewhere. The next week, Harry needs to buy some fencing supplies for his farm. Harry doesn’t know it, but the establishment where he has chosen to buy these supplies is run by a homosexual friend of Tom and Pedro, Alice. Alice heard about the way that her friends were treated by this man the week before, and when she recognized him, she told him to do his business elsewhere because it’s against her beliefs to discriminate against others due to their sexual orientation.
Both of these people were subjectively ‘right’. They were each following their own moral compass and neither of them should be legally obligated to do anything for the other. But this is a fine line to tread, between being Spiritually moral and hatefully discriminative. This is why discrimination should be practiced responsibly. This should not give people the right to harm others according to their own beliefs or preferences. The country of The United States of America is founded on ideals like this; that every man (and woman, and otherwise) can hold and practice whatever religious beliefs they see fit.
So let’s say you want to buy guns and you support the rights of the LGBT community to be served fairly. You heard about Harry and his bigotry and have opted to offer your patronage at a place that supports values you share. So you don’t go to his shop. Likewise, someone heard Alice talking about Harry’s establishment turning away homosexuals and decided that it WAS the place they wanted to patronize because they share Harry’s beliefs. This is called voting with your dollar. You should always be aware of what you’re supporting when you give away your hard earned money. Therefore, people should be allowed to openly discriminate so that you’re aware of where you do and do not want to invest your voting dollars.
People use the word discriminate like it’s a dirty word, but the number one definition is as follows, quoted from a Merriam-Webster dictionary: “recognize a distinction; differentiate.” It is not and should not be deemed as wrong to be able to make distinctions for yourself. Again, it is a difficult path to tread, because on the one hand, you have the rights to the freedom to practice your religion. On the other hand, you have the people who want to be treated fairly regardless of factors like race, sexuality, religious beliefs, and so forth. There has to be compromise; therefore, discriminate responsibly and in moderation. Choose your battles. And for the other side, be considerate. Those people who refused your services based on your skin color or sexuality a) don’t deserve your patronage anyway, and b) have just as many rights as you do, and you DO NOT have the right to infringe upon those anymore than they could (should) infringe upon yours. Please be mindful that your ‘right’ and their ‘right’ are likely vastly different. ‘Right’, as an idea, as a moral, is always subjective according to individual beliefs. If you don’t want to be discriminated against, don’t discriminate. Simple as that.