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Mar 3, 201408:25 AMLeft Business Brain

with Tom Breuer

Note to Wisconsin: Homophobia is bad for business

(page 1 of 2)

In the face of mounting pressure from Apple, Intel, Marriott Hotels, and the fabulously gay NFL, among others, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week vetoed SB 1062, the notorious pro-discrimination bill that would have allowed state residents to refuse to feed, clothe, or shelter oppressed minorities in the name of Jesus.

For all we know, Brewer was itching to sign the bill, but the full-court press from both the business community and the not-completely-insane community persuaded her otherwise.

Of course, it’s tempting to sit in our ivory towers here in half-progressive Wisconsin and smirk as Arizona slowly devolves into my Catholic school playground circa 1974, but we’re not exactly rolling out the red carpet for the LGBT community here in the Badger State, either.

More on that in a moment, but first, let’s dispense with this travesty of a bill once and for all.

Seriously, what were they thinking? If some Christians refuse to let gay people sit at lunch counters because they don’t like their lifestyle, what’s to stop others from doing the same thing based on a narrow interpretation of their religion?

It also says in the Bible that tattoos are an abomination. And that you shouldn’t wear clothing with more than one type of fabric. And that it’s against the law to trim your beard. Oh, and by the way, according to Jesus, you shouldn’t pray in public. (See Matthew 6:5-15: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”)

So if it’s okay to bounce a lesbian couple simply for being gay, what’s to stop a bearded gay Christian from ejecting a family of heterosexual Christians who show up in his diner openly clean-shaven and determined to recite prayers before lunch — in clear violation of scripture? (Such an interpretation may sound bizarre to modern conservative Christians, but be assured, cherry-picking one biblical “abomination” from a host of others seems just as bizarre to the progressive Christian. And one inescapable fact remains: Jesus condemned public prayer more often than he condemned homosexuality.)

Moreover, what’s to stop Muslim business owners from denying service to non-Muslims, or Orthodox Jewish business owners from refusing people who don’t honor the traditional Jewish Sabbath? For that matter, why couldn’t Christian Scientists discriminate against people who rely on modern medicine, and why not let Scientologist restaurant owners turn away people who take antidepressants?

And what would stop you from establishing your own religion, just to punish people you don’t like? I happen to believe Arizona Republicans are evil gremlins who turn demonic if you get them wet or feed them after midnight. So stay out of my Denny’s, infidels.

So the bill was junk. Most of us know that.

But the broader message should be clear: Homophobia is no longer socially acceptable, and, increasingly, it’s bad for business.

Do you think Apple and the NFL would have put their multibillion-dollar brands on the line if they hadn’t clearly perceived which way the wind was blowing?

Of course, you could argue that creating an environment that’s welcoming to LGBT people has long been an economic winner. Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, and How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, has been making this argument for more than a decade:

“Talented people seek an environment open to differences,” writes Florida. “Many highly creative people, regardless of ethnic background or sexual orientation, grew up feeling like outsiders, different in some way from most of their schoolmates. When they are sizing up a new company and community, acceptance of diversity and of gays in particular is a sign that reads ‘non-standard people welcome here.’”


Old to new | New to old
Mar 4, 2014 08:12 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Tom, I have owned a small business for roughly twenty years and I have long thought that discrimination of any kind ought to be legal. Yet I have never encountered a very good reason to do so, either morally or business wise. On the business end of things, I think the general public would punish discriminators via the boycott. Laws aren't always necessary for every problem and often they simply create other problems.

Speaking of boycotts, a favorite tactic of the left, why are they legal? If it be illegal for a business to discriminate against blacks, for example, why should it be legal for the NAACP to organize a boycott against a business? Business is voluntary trade. The voluntary aspect of it should be available for either party. Both parties would have equal protection of the law and the law should not compel anyone to enter into a business arrangement that he doesn't want value.

A culture that abhors discrimination will take care of what is essentially a theoretical problem. And who in their right mind would want to eat a cake baked by someone being forced by government to bake it?

Denis Navratil

Mar 4, 2014 02:53 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Denis, I'm glad to hear that you have not had a good reason to think about discriminating against someone in your business. As for why boycotts are legal, mainly it's because like business, they're a voluntary trade. No one is required by law to boycott a business. That's why except in exceptionally grievous situations, they rarely work. There are several businesses that I personally boycott for personal reasons; those businesses don't care and don't need my money.

Mar 4, 2014 07:45 pm
 Posted by  R2D2Censored

Since there is no actual "word" or "concept" as "HOMOPHOBIA" (Except in the leftist PC dictionary of doublespeak) - This is a meaningless article!!

Apr 3, 2014 08:01 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Personally I'd love to know which companies are run by bigots. That way I can ensure they never receive my business. For example, I am happy to hear about Dan Cathy's messages. This lets me and my friends know never to spend a penny at Chick-Filled-Hate. The same can be said for Hobby Lobby.

Dec 3, 2015 07:24 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Wisconsin is VERY homophobic! I have been discriminated against in all aspects of life here, and do not have an equal opporrtunity in anything. Everytime a workplace finds out i am gay, i am fired... or reduced hours so much i have to quit. I wish there was a way to get help.

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About This Blog

Tom Breuer, IB Web editor, has spent much of his life trying to explain his leftward leanings. As the sixth of seven children from a predominantly Republican family, he's used to being surrounded and ganged up on, so he welcomes comments from conservatives. He is the co-author of three political humor books, including Sweet Jesus, I Hate Bill O'Reilly. Find him on Twitter .



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