Posted on April 11, 2014 in Articles
The Article: Why Gay-Marriage Opponents Should Not Be Treated Like Racists by Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic.
The Text: Liberals generally think of themselves as proponents of tolerance, pluralism, and diversity. Some liberals are also eager to stigmatize and punish opponents of gay marriage. Is that a betrayal of their values? If so, these liberals tend to argue, it is no more problematic than the decision to exclude white supremacists from polite society. As an email correspondent put it, if you object to a boycott against a tech company whose CEO gave $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign, “I guess you find the Montgomery Bus Boycott objectionable as well. If not, you might want to come up with a better rationalization for why you’ve chosen to give aid and comfort to those who would deprive gay people of basic rights available to others.”
In Slate, Will Oremus made a stronger version of the argument. “The notion that your political views shouldn’t affect your employment is a persuasive one. Where would we be as a democracy if Republicans were barred from jobs at Democrat-led companies, or vice versa?” he wrote. “But this is different. Opposing gay marriage in America today is not akin to opposing tax hikes or even the war in Afghanistan. It’s more akin to opposing interracial marriage: It bespeaks a conviction that some people do not deserve the same basic rights as others.”
Oremus and I agree on the following:
A person’s political views generally shouldn’t be held against them in other realms.
The general wisdom of that standard doesn’t mean that it holds in every case. (If someone sponsored a ballot measure to expel all Jews or Muslims or blacks or whites or gays from California, for example, stigma would be justified and I’d object to putting that person into a position of societal power.)