Do businesses have the right to discriminate on the grounds of religion?

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    Equal rights

    If you have been following the news lately, you probably have noticed the recent controversy surrounding religious freedoms and businesses. Bills like Indiana’s Senate Bill 101 gives businesses the right to deny business to people based upon sexual orientation. There are quite a few others such as Arkansas’s bill and now North Dakota’s bill that would have protected gays but was killed in the North Dakota house. Lately, I have been torn on what to think about the debate of whether businesses should have to serve gay people if they have religious objections.

    On one hand, I feel that this is a no-brainer and it is clearly discrimination for a business to deny business to someone based on sexual orientation. The same argument was used 50 years ago to say that businesses should not have to serve people of color because of religion. To me, it is discrimination parading under the name of religion.

    That said, I also believe in the freedom religion in any civilized society. No matter how hateful a religion, if it does not directly affect someone, then it is a person’s right to practice it. If someone truly does have an objection based on religion, then I believe they have a right to object.

    It is just a part of living in a diplomatic society. No matter how much you disagree, you have to let an individual live their own life. (Even if it is unquestionably backwards…)

    Another point I’d like to make is that they are businesses. If they would like to make that extra money, then they will have to serve everyone. They run their own business and should not be told by the government who they should or should not serve.

    This is where it gets tricky though…

    Bills like these are what leads to the stigmatization of being GLBT. Deciding it is a business’ right to deny service, causes another layer of stigmatization to be added.

     

    In the future, I see this ultimately turning and favoring the GLBT community for the better.

     

    One last point I’d like to make is this: The decision to start a business should come with a set of responsibilities to be non-discriminatory towards everyone. Of course, right now that is not true. But in the future I see few discriminatory businesses being successful. It already is, to some degree, an unwritten rule in business.

    I guess I just thought I would add my two sense to the argument. If you would like to add to this or disagree please leave a comment! Thanks for reading and keep An Open Mind.

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