Today news broke that President Obama will sign an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. I think this is a good thing.
While I have previously said that I believe that non-discrimination laws have outlived their usefulness, I support today’s action by Obama because it’s a directive from the CEO on how the federal government will conduct business. That’s appropriate.
I think that all governments and corporations should adopt such policies. Most Fortune 500 companies have similar policies.
There has been a lot of discussion about non-discrimination laws recently because of a handful of companies and individuals who have discriminated against gay people in the name of religious freedom. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that discrimination for any reason should be legal, but that doesn’t mean that it should be accepted.
Companies and individuals should be free to discriminate or practice any form of free speech they want, but they should accept the economic, societal or political consequences of their discrimination. For instance, you should be free to burn a cross in your parking lot, but don’t expect for people to shop at the store owned by a racist.
One of the recent high-profile “wedding cake controversies” didn’t have any government involvement at all. The baker complained that his sales suffered and he went out of business when word got out that he discriminates against gays. Well tough. That’s the free-market at work.
We have freedom of speech in this country. We also have a free market.
I say go ahead and discriminate, but don’t expect to do business with fair-minded Americans or businesses that have anti-discrimination policies, and now don’t expect to do business with the federal government either.