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← Does Religious Liberty Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Comment 9 by Steve Zara

One aspect of this sort of situation that I have not come across before, and an additional argument in favour of equality, is that the state should not get into arbitrating religious disputes. It's well known that there are religious people who are gay and who believe that their sexual orientation is not a problem for their religion. Now, what happens if a religious same-sex couple gets refused entrance to a hotel by religious owners? If the state should support the religious rights of believers, then which of these believers should the state support? It can't just pick the majority view of the religion as that's clearly unfair. The only fair course of action for the state to take is to consider the situation without taking religion into account, and arbitrate one way or another based on secular considerations.

That example you give should be a straightforward one for state intervention, because the religious views of both parties are irrelevant to the provision of hotel accommodation, so there is no justification for discrimination. It is in no way to the disadvantage of the hotel management if they have to provide a room for those of a different faith, or of a sexuality, gender or race of which they do not approve.

The only area in which I think religious people have a right to discriminate is in the appointment of certain roles within actual religious organisations, and only where it would be obviously detrimental to the purpose of the organisation if they appointed someone who did not support their faith.

Tue, 29 May 2012 13:00:33 UTC | #944212