Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gays hurt by "pro-gay" laws.

How does one market a business for a niche market, say gay tourists, in the modern world? I don’t mean what techniques should one use. We know there is advertising, the internet, word of mouth, etc. But what if advertising a business aimed toward the gay community is actually illegal.

If the Religious Right proposed a ban on advertising any business seeking gay and lesbian customers that proposal would be shot down as bigoted and vicious. But such laws exist around the world and the proponents of them were the so-called Progressive Left.

Gay oriented guest houses and hotels in the United Kingdom are finding out that a law which bans discrimination against gays cuts both ways. A straight hotel can’t say “heterosexuals only” and a gay hotel can’t advertise itself as for homosexuals only.

John Bellamy runs Hamilton Hall which is a venue for gay or bisexual men. He says, “we would go out of business. This so-called anti-discrimination law is actually discriminatory as it discriminates against gays.” Maybe he was quoted badly. But I suspect I know what he means. But that is the problem with such laws. If you want to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation then it cuts both ways.

Mark Hurst runs the Guyz Hotel that is only for gay men. He says when they ran as a mixed venue gay men were uncomfortable. “Here in the hotel now we have guys who cuddle up while they’re watching a film but that never happened before. If this law is introduced it will deprive gays of a place where they can be themselves.” True. But again that is what anti-discrimination laws do!

The gay political group Stonewall, according to the Times, says “What gay people gain through having an equality law is much more than whether we can just run gay hotels.”

That is very questionable indeed as it assumes that gays don’t value freedom of association. Equality before the law must be protected but why must every business cater to every group equally? That very concept is daft. A lesbian bar should be free to hire only lesbian bar tenders and employees. Why should women in the club worry about straight male bartenders salivating over them? And the club should be able to exclude men as customers.

Most the evidence shows that the majority of businesses are open to everyone and there is no shortage of businesses willing to sell to gay people or hire them. There are a precious few that cater to gay people. So we close down gay-oriented business in order to punish a tiny number of business that exclude gays due to hatred. That isn’t done because it is good for the gay community. That is done because some people want to punish people who harbor bigoted viewpoints. That is vengeance not justice.

Around the world there are gay neighborhoods which which are hubs of businesses aimed specifically to the gay market. Communities are built around these neighborhoods. They are places where people feel safe, where they feel at home. In order to punish a small number of bigots laws have been created which threaten the very existence of these gay enclaves. The landlords can’t rent only to gay tenants. The gay businesses can’t advertise that they cater to gays as that is exclusionary to non-gays. And if they prefer to give employment only to other gays they are criminals under these laws.

The only equality under these laws, contrary to the dumb comments from Stonewall, is the equality of all groups losing the right of freedom of association. Equal slavery is equal but it is not good. The laws must recognize the rights of all people equally. But private associations, be they sexual, romantic or commercial, are private associations.

Just as romantic relationships must be consenting so ought commercial relationships. Remove consent and it’s rape. That all people are equally raped might appeal to those who put some Left-wing view of equality before that of liberty and individual rights. But it does not appeal to those who want a free society. The gay community has made incredible progress in the private sector -- far more progress than in obtaining equality before the law.

Anti discrimination laws were never a good idea. When bigotry is rampant such laws won’t be passed. When bigotry is pretty much gone they aren’t needed and only destroy niche markets like gay guest-houses. There is a brief period of time when one can push such laws into place where they may do more good than harm. But as attitudes change --- something that had to be happening in the absence of such laws otherwise the laws would never have been passed --- they become counter productive and hurt the very communities they were meant to help.

There is one other advantage of allowing people to be open about their bigotry. It means we know who they are and so does everyone else. Most people don’t like that kind of blatant bigotry. If a major company tried to exclude gays word would get out very quickly and they would suffer the consequences. We ought to be able to boycott bigots but is damn hard to boycott bigots when the law forces them to cloak their bigotry. Better they are open and visible so we know who to avoid. And if someone is really so bigoted that they would never hire you unless forced to do so by the force of law do you really want to work for them? If someone is so bigoted that they won’t accept you as a paying customer do you really want to give them your money? I think the answer to both is a very big NO!

So if we wouldn’t want to work for them. And if we would want to patronize their businesses then what purpose do these laws serve? I can think of only one. The real purpose is to inflict suffering on these idiots because we don’t like their opinions. It is a punishment for holding the wrong view points. I just happen to think that all people, even idiots, have the right to their views, the right to be left alone, the right to associate with whomever they wish and the right not to associate. And I for one have no intention of associating with such fools. Now get rid of the laws so it is easier to spot who they are.