Do We need an Equal Rights Amendment?

Back in the late 70s, when I was going to Virginia Commonwealth University, the ERA was constantly in the news and being debated. I obviously supported it, especially since at that time there were still many laws that discriminated on the basis of sex.

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That’s me wearing my ERA YES button with my old band The Naughty Bits around 1979 or so. Back when I had hair.

It failed to get enough states by the deadline and it died.  However, the Supreme Court and Congress basically passed laws and decisions which outlawed most kinds of discrimination over those years, so the question remains: Do we still need it?

After all, the courts have held that the 14th Amendment protects the rights of “people” — aren’t women people? The Supreme Court recently held that gays are protected under the 14th (at least where marriage is concerned).

Then again, even with many laws prohibiting discrimination, the Supreme Court has upheld different treatment, especially concerning the military.

The ERA is in the news again because there is a movement in the Senate to open it back up again for passage — and then it will only need one more state to ratify it.

Here’s why that should happen: All the decisions in the world don’t matter when a new court full of Republican appointees decides that women aren’t “people” and rolls back previous decisions. All the laws Congress passes can be revoked and changed as well.

So yes, I support adding this amendment, even now. I’d support it even more if it included “sexual orientation” as well.

But that will be the next big fight.

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Discriminating against assholes

There is a massive nazi/right-wing march this weekend in Washington for some reason. Like these people have something to complain about with the Trump administration?  Who knows with these idiots?

Anyway, many restaurants, taxi services, and businesses are refusing to serve these people.

“But wait,” the stupids reply. “You left-wingers object when we want to refuse service to gay people because we don’t approve of their choices, yet here you are refusing service to us for the exact same reason!”

Their inability to understand the difference is the root of the problem.a2668b92-7c26-4736-b568-feb08d471e03-ax098_4a00_9

You should not be discriminated against for two major things: (1) Things you have no control over (such as your sex, race, country of origin, and sexual orientation); and (2) Your religion or lack thereof (because that is specifically in the Constitution).

But choices you make?  That’s not protected, especially when those choices could have an affect on the business itself.

Just like a business can say “No shoes, no shirt, no service” it can refuse to accept someone who will hurt their business or cause a scene. Remember that Trump supporter that went into a gay bar just after the election mostly to rub the election results in the face of everyone else there? Kicking him out may have prevented a fight and certainly he wasn’t there just to enjoy the food.

People who run these businesses in Washington DC have many minority employees. They have people who seriously could be threatened by these yahoos who, last time they had a rally, killed innocent people.

While I support the right of nazis to march, because I don’t want the government deciding who gets free speech and who doesn’t, I also support the right of citizens to make these nazis’ lives as difficult as possible.

 

 

When it’s okay to discriminate

There are times when it is perfectly fine to discriminate. If you’re casting a movie about Abraham Lincoln, you have every right to not hire a short Asian woman for the part (unless you want to for some artistic reason). If you’re looking for someone to teach the Bible to students at a private religious school, you have every right to demand that person believe in the same religion as you. If you have started a private club for “Children of Italian-American immigrants” then you have every right to keep out anyone else. It’s not really discrimination when it’s a required qualification.

The preference of your customer base is not a “qualification.” Years ago, airlines only hired women to be flight attendants, pointing to surveys that showed their customers preferred to be served by women than by men. No, the court ruled, that’s not a “qualification.” Customer preference to be served only by women (or by white people or by Christians) doesn’t matter because rights are not voted on. A majority of Americans didn’t want schools integrated either when the courts ruled that they must, but that doesn’t mean the majority was right.cee2630f696668c25134c32dfabd4c73

You can’t create qualifications that are simply there to discriminate and don’t have a rational relationship to the position. For instance, groups like the Jaycees and the Rotary Club used to exclude women from joining. Why? No real reason. The Supreme Court saw through that, pointing out that the goals of the club had absolutely nothing to do with things that only applied to men.

While you have the right to start your own private club (Freedom of Association. It’s there in the 1st Amendment), you don’t have the right to discriminate in public accommodations. Hotels, clubs, stores, and restaurants and other places are not allowed to discriminate and that means your club meeting in these places can’t discriminate when there isn’t a qualification.  Having these groups meet on your own personal property? Probably fine.

Yeah, that’s a gray area, but in general, you can’t create a group that discriminates for no reason. “The Christian Men’s Group” could discriminate if indeed they are doing things that are applicable only to Christian men, but if they’re just a front for an organization whose real purpose is to provide business networking while keeping out non-Christians and women, then probably not.

What about private clubs that discriminate by having a bodyguard stand outside and decide who gets in? Perfectly fine so long as the reason for denying entrance isn’t based on race or sex or anything prohibited by the 14th Amendment. You technically don’t have a “right” to visit a club or shop in a store, which is why these places can deny service if you’re disruptive or don’t meet their dress code (no shoes, no shirt, no service) or have some other reasonable reason not related to things prohibited by the law.

Recently, a member of a group called the “Sad Puppies” — butthurt snowflake selfish white male Trumpites who whine about things like the 1% of female leads in science fiction — was barred from attending a major science fiction convention after he stated that he planned to take disruptive action at the convention, having done similar things in the past. So of course, he claimed he was being “discriminated against” because of his political views. But no, it’s not “discrimination.” A private organization has the right to deny entry to anyone they think will disrupt their group, including for political disruptions.

There’s also been a group of men who claim that they are being discriminated against by women who refuse to have sex with them. I am not making this up. These entitled jerks call themselves “incels” for “involuntarily celibate.”  (I know, sounds like an Onion satire, doesn’t it?) As if women owe them sex simply because they’re men. These guys have their own web pages and everything where they whine about how terrible it is that nobody wants to have sex with them. These idiots are not being discriminated against.

And just a few days ago, a judge ruled that it wasn’t discrimination for a bar to throw out a guy wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, especially because they didn’t want to have to deal with fights and arguments in their establishment.

Remember, you have every right to hold whatever terrible political viewpoints you want. That is guaranteed to you under the Constitution. You don’t have the right to demand that anyone else provide you with a place or a forum for you to express those opinions, nor do you have the right to demand that someone let you into their group when they believe you don’t meet their standards. No shirt no shoes no service.

If you choose to be the kind of guy people can’t stand to be around and they say they don’t want you near them, that’s not discrimination. You chose to be that person.

As Frank Zappa said, “It’s okay to discriminate against assholes, because nobody was born an asshole.”

It’s okay to discriminate against assholes

One of the Sad Puppies — a group of butthurt snowflake selfish white male Trumpites who whine about things like the 1% of female leads in science fiction movies — has been barred from attending a major science fiction convention after he planned to take disruptive action at the convention, having done similar things in the past.

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This is literally the Sad Puppies logo. They’re apparently sad because people get mad at them for being assholes to everyone else.

So of course, he’s claiming he’s being “discriminated against” because of his political views. These Sad Puppies, along with all the other whiny white males, KKK members, nazis, religious fundamentalists and Trump supporters, consistently complain that they’re being discriminated against because they’re no longer allowed to discriminate against others like they’ve always done.

Look, genius: A private organization has the right to deny entry to anyone they think will disrupt their group, including for political disruptions.

You have every right to hold whatever terrible political viewpoints you want. That is guaranteed to you under the Constitution. You don’t have the right to demand that anyone else provide you with a place or a forum for you to express those opinions, nor do you have the right to demand that someone let you into their group when they believe you don’t meet their standards. No shirt no shoes no service.

Discrimination is when you are being prevented from entering because of things you have no control over, such as your race or gender or place of origin. If you choose to be the kind of guy people can’t stand to be around and they say they don’t want you near them, that’s not discrimination. You chose to be that person.

As Frank Zappa said, “It’s okay to discriminate against assholes, because nobody was born an asshole.”

It’s always amazing to me how these people who always scream about how the “market” can solve all our problems whine and scream like babies when the market decides to do just that against them.

Edit:  Friend of the Blog Jim C. Hines explains this particular person’s history in more detail on his blog

Nothing about gay marriage, but Jesus does talk a lot about greed…

Hey, remember those fun-loving evil bakers who claimed they were being discriminated against because they were not allowed to discriminate against other people? And how the court said, “You know, that sure seems to violate the law. Pay the fine.”? Remember them?cake

Are you shocked to learn that they are refusing to pay the fine? Like bigot Kim Davis, they claim that God’s Law is more important than United States’ law (and of course, only their version of “God’s law” since there are plenty of Christians who think these people are absolute jerks).

If you ask these bakers where in “God’s Law” it talks about gay marriage, they can’t answer you because, you know, it’s not there. Jesus said nothing about it. He did, however, talk an awful lot about greed and how that was a terrible sin.

You see, these bakers were pretty smart about one thing: They got a lot of rubes to contribute to their “legal fund” and now they’re sitting on half a million dollars. You’d think that paying a fine would count as a “legal cost” but geez, that would mean they’d have to give up a small percentage of that lovely cash.

No, that cash is much better used elsewhere. Since Jesus told us all we should be giving to the poor and helping charity, it will go there.

Ha ha!  Just kidding! Of course they’re not giving a cent to charity!

Bigotry is very profitable these days.

Quit the damned job already, bigot

I had a nicer headline originally but you know, this better expresses my feelings.

The United States Supreme Court yesterday denied the Kentucky clerk’s appeal wherein she claimed that she should not be forced to perform her job because of her religious beliefs.

As a Christian, she has vowed to obey the Bible, which says gay couples should not get married. (It actually doesn’t say that at all, but that has never stopped True Believers). She is still refusing to do it. appealsAs a clerk, she is supposed to certify marriages and not discriminate, but she is claiming that God’s Law supercedes American law. (It actually doesn’t, but that has never stopped True Believers.)

All the standard hypocritical nonsense is there — for instance, she’s been married herself four times (which actually is prohibited very clearly in the Bible).

Bigotry in the name of religion is still bigotry. If her religious order was against, say, interracial marriage, she would not have the right to deny marriage licenses to interracial couples either. I assume her religion also says that marriages should be between people in her own religion, yet this woman grants marriage licenses to people from every religion and no religion all the time.

No, this is just plain bigotry.

I blame the Hobby Lobby case for some of this, wherein the Supreme Court decided that businesses can have religion (WTF?) and thus discriminate on the basis of it. The Supreme Court views this case differently for one major reason: This is not a business.  Seriously. Businesses always win in the Supreme Court these days.

But back to this woman: I’m sure she has firmly held beliefs. But if those beliefs prevent her from performing her job, then she should resign. Issuing marriage licenses is part of her job requirements.

Can you imagine if you refused to perform part of your job because your religion said you couldn’t do it?  How long do you think you’d keep your job?

 

Let them eat cake

A conservative who thought he was being clever recently called a bunch of bakeries owned by gays and demanded that they make him a cake saying “Gay marriage is wrong” and all said no.

Aha! Clearly there is a double standard here.cake

Well, no, there isn’t. A bakery has the right to say they won’t make a cake that says “gay marriage is wrong” or “gay marriage is right” or “support Barack Obama” or “Vote Republican.”

If a bakery gladly makes penis-shaped cakes for heterosexual parties but refuses to make one for a homosexual party, then I think that is wrong. Clearly, they do not object to what they are making at that point, just who they are selling to. And that’s the problem. It’s the exact same product!

If you offer a product to the world, you should not be allowed to discriminate. You can’t say “I will sell this wedding cake design to everyone except the Irish,” for instance. And that’s the issue — when a gay couple asks a baker to give them a cake exactly like a straight couple gets, the bakery should not be allowed to say no. (I say “should” because in most states, it is perfectly legal for individuals to discriminate against gays, even when the state can’t discriminate.)

This is different from a service. A band can certainly refuse to play at a KKK rally or even a “Ted Cruz for President” event. A caterer can say that they don’t want to cater to you. A hall can refuse to rent to a group it disagrees with. I, as a lawyer, do not have to accept every single client that comes into my office with money.

There are plenty of gray areas here, but I think this is the basic distinction that many do not understand (or agree with).