Individual Liberty v. Equality

“[It’s] really a cutting edge issue, [the] looming conflict between individual liberty and equality.” — Ilya Shapiro, Federalist Society Podcast, Sept. 11, 2013

It is indeed a cutting edge issue.  At least this gay variation.  But this gay variation does have a lot of parallels to the Civil Rights / Jim Crow issues of the 1960s and 1970s.  I argued previously on this blog (and Matt has too to an extent) that the photographer in Elane Photography v. Willock should be able to deny her photography services to gay commitment ceremonies.  Does that logic extend to white owners of restaurants who wanted to exclude black customers?  If you’re not willing to take this “I’ll-have-my-liberty-and-damn-everything-else” attitude (and many solid libertarians aren’t), then listen to Ilya’s nuanced distinction between the two.

Perhaps surprisingly, Capitol Hill has already responded to this cutting issue.  The draft of the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” introduced by Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) “seeks to protect the religious freedom of individuals, institutions and businesses that are increasingly being punished or harassed for their beliefs on marriage.” (IGF Culture Watch)

It doesn’t seem that this will fix New Mexico photographer or Oregon baker cases, but it could be helpful.  Of course, I doubt this problem would have come up if Republicans would have gotten on the equal-treatment-under-the-law-for-gays bandwagon earlier.  Then the issue wouldn’t have been captured by the progressive statists.

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One thought on “Individual Liberty v. Equality

  1. Pingback: Positive Rights vs. Negative Rights | The Purple Elephant

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