Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rights Matter

So the battle over gay rights in this country is heating up again. I'm not even talking about California's Prop 8 right now. I'm talking about e-Harmony, the website matchmaking service. E-Harmony had resisted (a polite way of saying refused) offering services for same sex couples. However, after a lawsuit was filed, the group agreed to settle and provide gay matches for those that want them.

Showing the kind of level-headed open mindedness that has always marked her writing career, Michelle Malkin immediately branded the move the work of "tolerance bullies" for ensuring that "homosexuals will no longer be denied the inalienable 'right' to hook up with same-sex partners on eHarmony." While I find Malkin to be odious, I couldn't help but wonder about the points she raised. After all, e-Harmony is a private company operating within the bounds of the law. Malkin writes that this move is akin to ordering a vegetarian restaurant to serve steaks. It requires them to provide a service that they simply don't provide as a matter of business. This is compelling to an extent.

What tipped the scales for me, though, was to replace the operative word "homosexual" with "black." If e-Harmony refused to offer services for blacks (or whites or any other race) would it still even be debateable?

I don't think it would be. Long ago we, as a society, decided that even private businesses weren't allowed to discriminate based on race. That's why you don't see segregated lunch counters anymore. This isn't just some PC argument either. This is a fundamental issue of fairness and how we treat people in this country. If we wouldn't (and shouldn't) allow it based on race, then we shouldn't do it for sexual orientation either. It's just a question of fairness.

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