Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Gay rights passing today

History happening in the House of Justice. This is why I like hanging around the General Assembly. Right now the House is debating SB 3186 which ensures gays and lesbians can not be fired or denied housing based on their sexual orientation. When the debate turns lofty and includes phrases like 'that is not right' and 'let's stand for justice' generating applause from the gallery, good things are happening. Congratulations to the advocates and legislators who worked so hard on this policy.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Bible says homosexuality is wrong. This law is clearly the Devil's work.

ChicagoJason said...

troll: how brave of you to post an anonymous comment!

This is long overdue. I'm thrilled that this is FINALLY going to be the law in Illinois, but I'm also peeved it took so long. I'll also never forgive the legislature for trying to add "motorcyclists" to the Human Rights Act in 2001 but failing to add gays and lesbians. Fortunately, Gov. Ryan vetoed it, stating he wouldn't add bikers unless the General Assembly agreed to add gays and lesbians--which of course the GA wouldn't do.

I hope the exemption for landlords with 5 or fewer units gets revisited in the coming years--it's a loophole you could drive a motorcycle through. No other group protected by the Human Rights Act is subject to this sort of limitation.

IlliniPundit said...

If the GOP can find a decent candidate for Governor, the political ramifications of this could be devastating to the Governor downstate - cementing a reputation as an out-of-touch Chicagoan.

http://illinipundit.blogspot.com/2005/01/damned-if-you-do.html

ChicagoJason said...

There's what--70 percent support for this across the state? In addition, the GOP candidates who would be most palatable to the electorate are moderates, i.e. Judy Baar Topinka. I can't even think of the last conservative Republican to hold a constitutional office in Illinois, unless you count Jim Ryan, and I'm not sure that I would. And don't forget that socially moderate George Ryan beat socially conservative Glenn Poshard.

If the GOP thinks "gays should be discriminated against" will be a winning issue in 2006, go right ahead and use it. We Dems will thank you all the way to the ballot box.

Phocion said...

I officially withdraw my allegation that Emil Jones is a homophobe.

Michael said...

Not to mention ensuring the right of people to live in any manner they choose which does not encroach on the rights of others to do the same. Which I thought was the point of this whole liberty thing. But. Y'know. It could be all about protecting the right to have irrational reactions to homosexuals. Yeah.

Welcome to the wrong side of history, IlliniPundit! I hope you and the Women's Christian Temperance Union get on well together.

IlliniPundit said...

Hey, I never said whether I supported this bill or not - frankly, the only part of this issue that interests me are the political ramifications.

I'm that part of the Republican Party that doesn't really care one way or another about gay rights - we get aggravated by judicial activism on the issue, but this bill was passed by a duly elected legislature.

Regardless, I think I can say with some certainty that this bill has the potential to hurt Democrats downstate. Will it? I don't know. I don't really believe the poll that says it has 81% support statewide. But if the social conservatives get organized, it could be a big deal. Does recognizing that fact put me "on the wrong side of history?"

Michael said...

Fair enough, IlliniPundit. I do hereby withdraw my snarky comment. I need to use it on Bob Flider anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Not to mention ensuring the right of people to live in any manner they choose which does not encroach on the rights of others to do the same."

It's funny, when I first read this, I thought Michael was against the new law! I guess "living in any manner you choose" doesn't include deciding for yourself who you will hire for a job or rent an apartment to, though.

-N. Y. Krause

ChicagoJason said...

I guess "living in any manner you choose" doesn't include deciding for yourself who you will hire for a job or rent an apartment to, though.Those poor bigots! They've lost their "right" to discriminate. What WILL we tell the children???

Anonymous said...

"Those poor bigots! They've lost their "right" to discriminate. What WILL we tell the children???"

Fine, just so we're clear that this is a bill about taking away people's rights. A right that you can only exercise when it's popular is not a right at all.

-N. Y. Krause

IlliniPundit said...

Thank you, Michael. That was very gracious of you. And congratulations to you and DJW on the passage of a bill that obviously meant a lot to you.

ChicagoJason said...

Fine, just so we're clear that this is a bill about taking away people's rights. A right that you can only exercise when it's popular is not a right at all."Taking away people's rights"? You must be joking. By your twisted logic, people should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or sex, too.

I would like a conservative to explain, without resorting to the Bible for once, how my "lifestyle"--owning a home, paying taxes, obeying the law, going to work, volunteering in the community, and having a steady relationship--is so disruptive to the social fabric that it should be legal to deny me a job or a place to live simply because I am gay.

Anonymous said...

Other people don't need a good reason not to give you things. Nobody owes you a job or a place to live. People's motivations for what they do might seem objectionable to you or me, but it's really none of our business. You can't legislate morality. And yes, that applies to comparable laws regarding race, sex, etc.

I'm a libertarian, not a conservative, so I am in no position to explain to you their opinions of your lifestyle. I don't think it's disruptive to the social fabric.

Anonymous said...

Yes they do need a good reaon not to give you things if they are doing it a systematic way that affects whole groups and denies members of that group their individual dignity. Surely you would object if every person in the United States invoked your principal to deny selling or giving food to some small minority group, say Samoans? That would be tantamount to homicide by starvation. Libertarians fail to recognize that collective action is a much bigger issue than can be understood through personal choice analysis. This law wouldn't be needed if people were actually making informed, individual decisions. Instead they ar taking short cuts, substituting biases and bigotry for informed individual choice, and in doing so they are denying indiviudals the respect they deserve as such. It isn't consistent with real Libertarian thinking to deny individual dignity to a person based on irrational preferences and group wise thinking. Most reall Libertarians I know want to protect the dignity of individuals as much as they can. And deciding not to rent an apartment to someone, JUST becasue they are gay is not doing that.

ChicagoJason said...

Other people don't need a good reason not to give you things. Nobody owes you a job or a place to live. People's motivations for what they do might seem objectionable to you or me, but it's really none of our business.When did I ask anyone to GIVE me anything? My being gay has zero material impact on anyone else. Zero. Uncomfortability with my gayness--whatever the source, be it rigid adherence to the Bible or outsized machismo--is not a significant enough reason to deny me a job or a home for which I am otherwise qualified. I'm uncomfortable around ill-informed libertarians, but that doesn't mean I'm allowed to deny them a job or housing.

Anonymous said...

Jason,

Evidently, you are asking someone to give you a job or a lease on an apartment. The fact that you think the relationship is mutually beneficial is irrelevant; the other person involved doesn't want to make the deal, or else there wouldn't be a problem in the first place.

As for the Samoan food boycott example, this is so far afield of reality that I'm not sure how to approach. But let me just say this: if Samoans were so unpopular that no one would voluntarily sell them food, what are the chances that the legislature would pass an Samoan Anti-Discrimination Bill at all?

-N. Y. Krause

Anonymous said...

You're right. That is why we should be talking about constitutional rights, not statutory rights. It is a shame. But the unlikelyhood that such a bill could be passed demonstares the need.

Anonymous said...

And N.Y., you MUST ask why in your example a person would not want to "make the deal." The same reasoning you employ was used to justify denying blacks housing and jobs 50 years ago. This law does not require you to be a homosexual or support homosexuals, it merely requires that if you should be lucky enough to be a land owner or a giver of jobs, you cannot discriminate based on someone's sexual preference, something which has absolutely nothing to do with you. Someone's religious beliefs and urge to discriminate cannot be the basis for interfering with commerce, unless there is cause. The fact is, like someone's skin color, whether someone likes to snuggle up to a dude at night or a lady has nothing to do with whether they can pay the rent or do the job. You are still free not to like gays. You just can't discriminate with jobs or housing, primary and essential elements of our economy and commerce.

Anonymous said...

And, yes, many people cited their religion as the reason they had a right not to serve sell to or hire blacks. They said it was their right to choose with whom they contracted.

ChicagoJason said...

Evidently, you are asking someone to give you a job or a lease on an apartment. The fact that you think the relationship is mutually beneficial is irrelevant; the other person involved doesn't want to make the deal, or else there wouldn't be a problem in the first place.No, I am not. What I AM asking is that when I apply for a job or a place to live, the decision does not turn on my sexual orientation, something that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with my ability to perform the job or pay the rent.

Stop changing the subject and address this central point: how does my orientation affect my ability to do a job or pay rent?

Anonymous said...

I love how conservative cower from well-reasoned arguments consistent with preserving human dignity. Fear and hate are always on the wrong side of history. Maybe the idea that NY Krause's arguments were the same ones used by bigots in the south resonated with him and he saw his intellectual and spiritual error.

Anonymous said...

Smug much?

FightforJustice said...

This bill is far more about symbolism than substance (like so much legislation). There was zero testimony to demonstrate gays are a persecuted class that needs protection. Does anyone think this law will make a dramatic improvement in the life of the average gay Illinoisan?

Votes on this bill will be significant in the next Republican primary. Sen. Altoff, for example, may have hurt her chances to win the primary in the 8th Congressional District.

Anonymous said...

It's true that conservatives can often be defeated by well-reasoned arguments against them, but unfortunately, I have yet to see any of either in this thread. Anonymous's main argument seems to be: "that's the same sort of thing a racist would have said before!", which hardly qualifies as well-reasoned. If a racist happens to say something that's true, it's still true, and if someone loves everybody says something that's mistaken, it's still wrong.

This bill's purpose is to require those who do not think gay people make appropriate employees or tenants to act as if they thought differently. This still involves other people giving you things that they don't want to give you, even if you think their reasons are unfair or unwise.

Jason, you say: "Stop changing the subject and address this central point: how does my orientation affect my ability to do a job or pay rent?" But I do not think this is the central point at all. In my opinion, the central point is, "When a particular business hires for a job or a particular landlord rents an apartment, who should decide who is hired or rented to?" Personally, I don't think your sexual orientation affects your qualifications for a job, but evidently other people disagree with me. Do those people get to make their own decisions, or does the government decide who they will hire and work with?

So, no, I do not think that one must ask why another person doesn't want to do business with someone else. If I am trying to make some kind of deal, for instance, if I want you to sell me your car, and you decide not to do it, since when am I entitled to interrogate you about your reasons? It might be because you just don't like the cut of my gib, it might be because you intend to sell the car to a friend or a member of your family, it might be because you think I'm gay and don't like that, it might be because you decided not to sell your car after all. What gives me the right to second-guess your decisions, and forcibly at that?

Comparing my arguments to Jim Crow, if that was anon's intention, would be pretty silly. Under Jim Crow, there were laws on the books which prohibited black people from associating with whites, in terms of marriage, schools, trains, etc. In a sense, those laws were comparable to this new Illinois bill: both were designed to limit people's freedom of association on the basis of what is popular at a given time.

-N. Y. Krause

Anonymous said...

Come on Krause. That is a damn weak effort. I know you know that the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Acts did much more than wipe laws that prohibited integration off the books, they actively prohibited discrimination in housing and employment in the exact same way. Adding Italics doesn not make your argument any less specious. The Civil Rights Act and Fair housing Act impaired the decision-making of individuals in the exact same way, prohibing the same sort of discrimination in housing and hiring. Whether or not the discrimination is as serious or prevalent is another issue. But it is undeniable that the legal restrictions operate in the same way, in terms of limiting one's right to choose who they hire or rent to. Your argument fails in trying to distinguish the situation here by arguing the civil righs era only eliminated laws that prhibited integration. It simply is not true.

Anonymous said...

And the government isn't forcing you to rent to anyone Krause. That is a disingenuous characterization and you know it. The government isn't deciding anything for you, it merely prohibits you from not renting to or hiring someone simply because they are gay. You can rent to or not rent to, hire or not hire anyone you want still. As you astutely observe, if you don't like the cut of someone's jib, that is still cause to not rent or hire, gay or not. And all you need to do to get around this law is have a pretext for not hiring or renting anyway, if you are indeed a pure gay hating bigot. So I give your argument a D-.

Anonymous said...

N.Y. Krause wrote:
This bill's purpose is to require those who do not think gay people make appropriate employees or tenants to act as if they thought differently. This still involves other people giving you things that they don't want to give you, even if you think their reasons are unfair or unwise.

This is the exact same case as Whites who did not want to give blacks jobs or apartments. Krause needs to dinstinguish the two cases if he claims any ground to stand on.

ChicagoJason said...

Do those people get to make their own decisions, or does the government decide who they will hire and work with?You must not have noticed, but it was ALREADY illegal in Illinois to refuse to hire or sell/rent to someone because of his or her "race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental handicap, [or] military status."

If your argument is followed to its logical conclusion, anyone should at any time be free to deny a job or housing to anyone for any of the reasons above. I'd wager that most people, however, do not wish to return to the good old days of 1870 (or earlier).

Perhaps we should add "willful ignorance" to the Human Rights Act to protect the likes of you, Krause?

Friend of FPL said...

I'll disagree with ChicagoJason and give some credit to Krause. Krause's argument seems valid to me:

1. Laws prohibiting reasons for actions (rather than actions themselves) are problematic.

2. SB 3186 is such a law.

Therefore, SB 3186 is problematic.

Krause is on firm ground with (1), and supports it by appealing to the practical and social problems of legally determining reasons, and the queasiness that any liberal should feel when we seem to limit ways of thinking.

But I wonder whether (2) is true! I know that there is plenty of cases that pertain to the "because" in "illegal to refuse to rent because of race." Is there anything special about this bill, or about the caselaw in this area, that can help us evaluate Krause's argument?

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that I did not mean to say and, in fact, never did say that the 1964 Civil Rights Act only removed Jim Crow laws. It also had a variety of proactive effects. What I did say is that Jim Crow itself consisted of legal restrictions on freedom of assembly. My point was to rebut analogies such as Jason's: "I'd wager that most people, however, do not wish to return to the good old days of 1870" which ignore the existence of aggressive anti-black laws at that time (although the laws became much worse after the mid-1870s, I don't think that was what Jason meant).

I am not at all convinced that this law doesn't force me to rent or hire anyone. Let me pose a hypothetical situation: suppose that I am one of these anti-gay type people that you are always hearing about in the news. I also have a business and I want to hire for a job. Mr. A applies for the job, and I happen to realize that he is gay (perhaps because I indirectly know him socially). I think to myself, "No way I'm hiring this guy; he may try to sap and impurify my precious bodily fluids." Instead, I hire the next applicant who appears to be a heterosexual with a good jib. Would SB 3186 or would it not mandate that I fire the second applicant and give the job to Mr. A? If not, it's hard to see what it does do. If so, then clearly that it is a control placed on my hiring decisions.

Moreover, because this sort of law attempts to control my motivations in hiring or renting decisions, and no one can really know the mind of another, the issue of enforcement comes up. Contrary to anon's suggestion, I don't find this very reassuring. "And all you need to do to get around this law is have a pretext for not hiring or renting anyway" -- so the law has no practical effect? Maybe, but if we take as evidence the proactive portions (which are the objectionable parts) of the various Civil Rights Acts, we see the tendency to develop preference or quota systems, simply because a quota is enforceable, whereas thought control is not.

I am not, as Jason suggests, willfully or otherwise ignorant of existing human rights law. However, the fact that it is already on the books tells us nothing one way or the other about whether it is a good law. I had forgotten the line about "military status", though, and it's particularly galling because the act doesn't single out any other profession.

"This is the exact same case as Whites who did not want to give blacks jobs or apartments. Krause needs to dinstinguish the two cases if he claims any ground to stand on." I do not distinguish between them, nor do I feel a need to. They are the same.

-N. Y. Krause

Anonymous said...

Krause,first of all, am I reading you correctly? Are you arguing that the civil rights act was unfortunate then too becasue it limits your reasons for denying someone a job? I hope not. As you discuss, it is so difficult to enforce that it wil probably only result in the most ergegious examples of discrimination.

Yes enforcement is always a problem. But just as in the civil rights act, what this law does will be to prohibit overt discrimination. No "No Fags need apply" signs. And while someone can find pretext to deny a job or housing, just as they can with blacks or women, the EEOC (whatever the state's equivalent is, that is) will look for patterns. So really the law has no power to affect any individual hiring or housing decision, you can always find pretext. That should give your paranoia about government meddling a little breather. But as soon as 10 gay people are denid jobs casue you ask them in a job interview if they are fags, well then, you probably will be scrutinized. Or if you fire 10 people right after you find out they are gay, that will also raise flags. But it won't have any meaningful effect on indicidual hiring decisions.

Krause, I always liked you from your posts. I hope you are not a bigot. (although apparently I am because I call people who want to "teach" abstinence rather than knowledge and science "religious freaks" - whatever happened to that guy? I think I scared him away with reason "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH RUUUUUUUUN!!!! REEEEEAAAASSON!!!!)

Anonymous said...

Dan did you meet all these religious freaks and conservative bigots that post on your blog at law school? Wouldn't surprise me. What an awful awful institution.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I was away for a few days while travelling internationally and settling back down in the U.S. In response to anon's question, "am I reading you correctly? Are you arguing that the civil rights act was unfortunate then too becasue it limits your reasons for denying someone a job?" Yes, just to be clear, this is exactly what I'm arguing. I hope no one is scandalized to the point of discomfort. And no, I'm not a bigot. I personally think it's immoral to refuse to hire someone on the basis of his or her race or sexuality, but I'm not in favor of legislating morality on this point.

By the way, I don't find the concept of the EEOC or a similar state body out there "looking for patterns" to be a reassuring idea at all.

In response to the next anon, I know Dan from U of I. He probably doesn't know most of the conservative guys who comment on his blog. In fact, I somewhat doubt that he knows any conservative bigots or religious freaks at all (I guess I might qualify as the latter, except that I'm assuming you mean Christians).

-N. Y. Krause