Lots of action on the equality front the past few days. One story gaining national attention from Tennessee is a political action that serves to marginalize the LGBTQ community. State senator Brian Kelsey, of Memphis, has introduced a bill coined “turn the gays away.” This bill would allow businesses to refuse service to the LGBTQ community. According to the bill no “persons” will have to provide services “related to the celebration of any civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by the state, if doing so would violate the sincerely held religious beliefs … regarding sex and gender.” The bill is supported by big government conservatives and is being met with resistance from a number of advocacy groups and political liberals.
News is coming out of Kansas on the topic as well. Just this week Kansas legislators, citing religious liberty, voted to give legal protection to businesses who refuse service to the LGBTQ community. Objectors note that this means government is charged with protecting discriminatory behavior.
The same trend is visible in Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio and Indiana too. Arguments claim the social conservative worldview is better for families and children — thus same-sex marriage should be banned. A voice of dissent, Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is quoted saying “the state cannot exclude any group of people from a fundamental right based on religious views held by some.”
Taxpayer dollars at work — political arguments summed up simply as “should they support or reject this bill in the capitol.” That’s the fundamental problem with political discourse. Rhetoric is stuck in the vertical.
May I propose the ethic of liberty? In liberty social power is greater than state power. Instead of looking to the vertical structure of governance, may we instead look horizontally to one another in the market — the true public arena.
In the market we labor to exchange goods and services, develop federations, create institutions and progress our societies. The market is the ultimate commons. The freed market is liberated of power structures that are hurdles to democracy.
There’s no need for a law to protect or prohibit freedom of association. Big Government conservatives use the rhetoric of “religious liberty,” but advocate a society that is anything but liberated. If a religious or civil group wishes to honor a relationship among consenting individuals then, in liberty, so be it. The use of courts block such progress – it is nothing but a tactic to marginalize people in society.
I do not advocate (but am sympathetic to) the use of courts to combat such aggression. I do not begrudge property rights or voluntary transactions — I am a proponent of them. I am also a proponent of sit-ins, boycotts and mutual exchange. The latter will run regressive business practices out of the market. The market mechanism allows for such progress while the state mechanism burdens and often halts social change. Social movements are born in opposition to state power — hence Big Government conservatives and their lust for the power structure.
History can be viewed as a race between state power and social power. It is time to put the commons back in charge. The individual labor of human beings can build society. Institutionalized power and its hurdles to progress are a dying creed — good riddance.
Translations for this article:
- Portuguese, A igualdade só pode ser alcançada no mercado.