Does a gay bar owner have the right to say, “We won’t serve Fred Phelps?”

Rand Paul Defends His Views on Civil Rights

Transcript of Civil Rights Act (1964) SEC. 202. All persons shall be entitled to be free, at any establishment or place, from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin, if such discrimination or segregation is or purports to be required by any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, rule, or order of a State or any agency or political subdivision thereof.

This issue is a real test to find out just how much someone believes in the principle of liberty. The reason this is a sensitive issue is because fortunately, the majority of those in the US find the idea of discrimination based upon race, color, religion, or national origin disgusting.

Legally permitting this type of discrimination as they do in Japan seems inherently un-American. When I mention to others that Japan has these signs the typical response is “What the Hell? That’s just wrong!” The existence of the signs gives the impression that the country of Japan as a whole is a racist nation, and Americans would not want this country to be perceived in the same light.

It’s still an important question to ask if the Civil Rights Act went too far by not allowing a privately owned business to ever discriminate based upon race, color, religion, or national origin. The flip-side of the argument is America the type of country that forces people to provide service for others they find morally repugnant? Is America they type of country that forces people to associate with other they believe are inherently evil?

Rachel Maddow’s asked Rand Paul the question “Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don’t serve black people?” Here is a likely hypothetical situation which reverses the roles of who the public sees as having the moral high ground in these debates.

Suppose Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church decide they aren’t getting enough publicity picketing funerals. They decide to branch out and adorn themselves with “God Hates Fags” or biblical quotes against homosexuality t-shirts and head down to the local gay bar.

The Westboro Baptist Church is protected by the Civil Rights Act from being denied service based their religious beliefs. The owner of the bar would be required to serve them, all while the Westboro groups blames the owner and patrons of the bar of all the problems of our nation.

If the owner chose not to serve Fred Phelps, they would be subjected to a lawsuit and would probably lose. The law clearly upholds the right of all persons without exception to service and has no place for any consideration of the owner of the establishment rights not to be subjected to the humiliation of being forced to serve someone they consider to be Satan incarnate.

With the roles reversed, it’s clear the owner of a public establishment civil rights are not protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back to Rachel Maddow’s question: Do you think a gay bar owner has the right to say, “We won’t serve Fred Phelps?” They currently don’t have the right, but they should.

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2 thoughts on “Does a gay bar owner have the right to say, “We won’t serve Fred Phelps?””

  1. The difference is that Fred Phelps being a religious freakshow asshole is entirely Fred Phelps’ choice; he can choose not to do so at any time. Same with KKK members. Or Black Panther members, for that matter.

    Those discriminated against because of the color of their skin, however, don’t have that choice.

    1. And even though Fred Phelps is fully choosing to be who he is, business owners do NOT have the right to deny him service under the current law. Personally, I’d like to know exactly which business owners do want to discriminate based on race. I want to make very sure not a penny of my money goes to support them.

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