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Why Denying Access to Public Accommodations IS a Crime

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posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 12:39 PM
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Indiana's "Religious Freedom" bill has spurred many impassioned debates about individuals' rights. A popular argument among those who are against anti-discrimination laws is that these laws constitute a violation of the business owner's rights. What is often disregarded by people making this argument are the rights of those who the business owner would discriminate against. Specifically the right of all members of a free society to equal access to public accommodations.

What are public accommodations?

The precise legal definition varies slightly among the many federal and state laws that define the term but in general, public accommodations are any publicly or privately owned entity which is used by the public. Commonly cited examples include everything from publicly owned entities like schools, parks and courthouses to privately owned businesses such as restaurants, hotels and movie theaters. In short, places that are open to the public.

Most reasonable people would not argue against an individual's rights to equal access to publicly owned institutions — after all, they're owned by everyone — but when it comes to privately owned businesses, the justifications for protecting equal access are less clear.

Why are private businesses public accommodations?

It's interesting to note that in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the definition of a public accommodation includes any "facility, operated by a private entity, whose operations affect commerce." In the definition from The Civil Rights Act of 1964, we find similar text, "Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this title if its operations affect commerce." This brings me to the crux of my argument:

In engaging in commerce with the public, a business owner benefits from society.

I've always been a big fan of Thomas Paine, and I'm particularly fond of an excerpt from Agrarian Justice that I believe succinctly encapsulates the philosophical underpinnings of my argument:

Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.


Without the public, business owners would have no business to own. It is the effect of society and everything that entails (infrastructure, law enforcement protection, currency, etc) that enables the owner to engage in successful commerce. I'll end by quoting myself from another thread from today (I'm a programmer, I reuse what I can when I can!):

When a business owner denies other members of society access to public accommodations he is infringing upon the rights of those individuals to enjoy equally the benefits of the society from which the business owner has himself profited.
edit on 2015-4-1 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 12:56 PM
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Under retail laws you cannot discriminate against a person, meaning your products sold have to be available to anyone. This is kind of sketchy though, making something or providing a service is not really considered a product on the shelf. You have to charge the same price for this service, not jacking up the price, but you do not have to do the service if you do not feel you are going to get paid or if you do not think you can do the service to your expectations or the clients. In other words you have the right to refuse to provide a service to a person but it can't be for just racial, religious, or sexual orientation.

I turned down a lot of work in my life, many times because I sensed the people weren't going to pay or because they wanted me to do inferior work that I considered would hurt my reputation. They could get someone else to do a cheap hack job, I liked doing quality work at a reasonable price. I wasn't going to try to cut corners or use materials I knew was going to fail.

Now, if I turned down a job to a black or gay person, would I have to start worrying that I could get sued for discrimination. I would work for anyone I thought was honest. Next they will be trying to say you have to work for people you know won't pay you.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 01:03 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
This, this, a thousand times this.
I fear you are about to get a tidal wave of ill thought out extreme libertarian responses but you are 100% correct.
Ps: As fellow programmer (kinda) you are also right to never rekey what you can reuse.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 01:21 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

I believe that you can refuse anyone, if they are going to damage your reputation or are a danger to you or your business, that includes gay people and black people and everyone else. Being shifty or a danger is equal amongst all shifty people who can come from any group.
However if you take a group and deny them your services because of who they are, then you are very wrong. Being gay or black does not make anyone a danger, even if you personally believe so.

I am just interested on what grounds you decided that someone was not going to pay?

Everyone would understand if you denied a known con man any service, but not letting Gays or Blacks into your shop because they are Gay or Black is simply personal prejudice without any substance.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 01:36 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

I've faced similar decisions myself when I owned my own business and even now when I do occasional contract work and so I understand your concerns. While there are few bright line rules for navigating some of these laws, particularly when the business is not among those specifically listed within definitions, on the flip side intent is often (and quite rightly) an extremely difficult thing to prove.

False allegations are a common issue with all crimes but that doesn't and shouldn't stop us from enacting laws against them.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 01:53 PM
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originally posted by: Hecate666
a reply to: rickymouse

I believe that you can refuse anyone, if they are going to damage your reputation or are a danger to you or your business, that includes gay people and black people and everyone else. Being shifty or a danger is equal amongst all shifty people who can come from any group.
However if you take a group and deny them your services because of who they are, then you are very wrong. Being gay or black does not make anyone a danger, even if you personally believe so.

I am just interested on what grounds you decided that someone was not going to pay?

Everyone would understand if you denied a known con man any service, but not letting Gays or Blacks into your shop because they are Gay or Black is simply personal prejudice without any substance.


When you have been in business for ten years, and have made a few mistakes, you learn the right questions to ask which can help you to weed out the ones who want to trick you into working without getting paid or con you into doing substandard work which ruins your reputation. They come back and complain when the repair fails because you used bad materials that they told you to use. I have been a builder since 86 and worked in the trades since in the seventies. You get to know things from experience.

I have worked for gay people and a few black people. These traits are not something I consider as deciding factors. There aren't many colored people around here, most of the ones that were here were decent people. Now the younger ones that were a problem rented, so I didn't deal with them. I am a builder and worked for homeowners or for government funded programs. I always tried to do a good job and when I wrote an estimate, I tried to cover any forseeable problems. I had no problem coming in cheaper than my estimate.

I have worked for people who were poor and they paid me on installments, some poor people are very trustworthy. I had more trouble working for some rich people who would pick apart the job trying to get a discount in the end or twist the contract so you did more work than you quoted. I learned to write thorough contracts early on.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 01:56 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
Without the public, business owners would have no business to own.


But in the same breath, without the public, there would be no need for a business in the first place. The person basically would be living "off the grid," and that's perfectly possible without the aid of society.

Sometimes we forget that society benefits from business as much, if not more (sometimes), than business benefits from society.

There are two sides to every coin, especially this one. I still just have a hard time agreeing that it's okay for a public entity (government) to tell a private entity (business) who they must serve, especially if there are other businesses in the area offering the same services. Consumers are as free to go to other places as business owners should be able to tell them to. It would be absolutely bad for business to do so, but they should have that right.

Government can't legislate hatred out of the hearts of people, but it's very easy to legislate away our freedom and pretend that the law does something greater.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 02:05 PM
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If US citizens want to live in a theocratically divided country, who are we to criticize them for it ?

I say let them have at it.




posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 02:06 PM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian
a reply to: rickymouse

I've faced similar decisions myself when I owned my own business and even now when I do occasional contract work and so I understand your concerns. While there are few bright line rules for navigating some of these laws, particularly when the business is not among those specifically listed within definitions, on the flip side intent is often (and quite rightly) an extremely difficult thing to prove.

False allegations are a common issue with all crimes but that doesn't and shouldn't stop us from enacting laws against them.


The thing is, if you do not think that doing a job is in your best interest, you should not be forced into doing it by society. Society or the government does not pay your bills. Now, once you sign a contract, you have to do the work.

If I was building furniture and selling it at a store, the only thing I would be worried about is whether their money was real. When doing a remodel job, you have a lot of money to collect at the end of the job.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 02:23 PM
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Hmmmmm.

Two words popped up in my head while reading the OP:

Sam's Club

Anyone can walk in. Anyone can fill their cart with bulk items they wish to buy.

However, first thing the person at the cash registers asking for is your membership card.

No card. No service. They will not ring you up, no mater how much money you have.

Anyone can be a member though. Just fill out the application and pay the fees.

However, if you're just a member of the public, and you have not entered into a membership of Sam's Club, you can't buy anything there. No service except to members only.

Not that I could see them denying membership of any one based on race, religion or sexual orientation. You got the money to buy the membership? You're in.

Still though, you have to be a member in order to receive service.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 02:38 PM
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Every time this comes up all I can think about is;
I'm not buying a cake that someone had to be forced to make.
I don't want any anger or hate from a person because they're so opinionated and hateful they want to judge others by their own hypocritical morals and values.

The entire situation is wrong and my sympathies lie with those being discriminated against. I still wouldn't eat that cake or give THOSE PEOPLE my money!!



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 02:57 PM
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And yet everyone cheered when a restaurant chain banned people who carried firearms onto their premises.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 02:59 PM
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a reply to: eriktheawful

Not quite the same thing. Wholesale clubs don't need to sell to non-members, they do however need to not refuse memberships.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:00 PM
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a reply to: beezzer

They didn't ban the people, they banned the guns.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:05 PM
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originally posted by: Kali74
a reply to: beezzer

They didn't ban the people, they banned the guns.


Semantics. They banned the people carrying the guns.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:07 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

and you couldn't debate this in the other thread...? Had to make another thread instead of discussing the topic?

So weird when people seem to do all they can to avoid an actual debate, and just appear to want to push their own point of view without opposition...



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:09 PM
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a reply to: beezzer
Its not semantics, its a completely different thing.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:17 PM
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a reply to: beezzer

Not semantics, objects don't have feelings or money to add to the economy.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:25 PM
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originally posted by: beezzer

originally posted by: Kali74
a reply to: beezzer

They didn't ban the people, they banned the guns.


Semantics. They banned the people carrying the guns.


Nope. The people were welcome. The guns were not. You can leave your gun at the door. You can't leave your "gay" at the door.



posted on Apr, 1 2015 @ 03:33 PM
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The problem is where do you draw the line?

Should a black chef be forced to cater food for a KKK rally?

Forcing a photographer to take photos or a baker to bake a cake for an event that they disagree with is wrong imho. We can argue all day about religion, gay people, etc but at the end of the day, you are forcing someone to do something with the power of government that violates their beliefs.

How about if the same baker turns down a cake for a plural marriage wedding?

What if a doctor is against abortion due to religious reasons? Should they be forced to perform one?

I don't think you can draw a parallel between say barring blacks from eating at a diner. They are not one in the same.



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