Saturday, July 17, 2004


In the name of civil rights! Leftists will use any excuse to remove people's liberties

"This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The achievements of the civil-rights movement in bringing about a more just and equal society are undoubtedly well worth celebrating. However, these achievements have not come without costs. In particular, it's worth pausing to consider the growing threat more recent and draconian anti-discrimination laws pose to American civil liberties.

While the civil-rights laws of the 1960s were generally sensitive to civil libertarian concerns, contemporary anti-discrimination laws often are not. For example, in deference to freedom of association and privacy considerations, the 1964 act prohibited discrimination only in public facilities such as restaurants, hotels and theaters. Newer laws, however, often prohibit discrimination in the membership policies of private organizations ranging from large national organizations like the Boy Scouts of America.

The framers of the 1964 act also were sensitive to religious freedom and wrote into the law a limited but important exemption for religious institutions. Many recently enacted state and local laws, however, contain no religious exemption. Moreover, courts have unnecessarily stretched the definition of "discrimination" to force religious groups and individuals to conform to secular social norms. For example, courts have required conservative Christian schools to retain teachers who become pregnant out of wedlock. The schools' attempts to ensure their teachers are proper religious role models have been interpreted as invidious sex discrimination.

The authors of early federal civil-rights legislation also cabined the laws' intrusions on civil liberties by limiting coverage to race, national origin, religion and, sometimes, sex. In the past two decades, however, the federal government has prohibited discrimination based on family status, age and disability in a variety of contexts. Meanwhile, state and local anti-discrimination laws go even further, covering the obese, the ugly and the body-pierced, cohabitating unmarried couples and even (in Minnesota) motorcycle gang members.

In yet another show of concern for civil liberties, Congress exempted landlords from the 1968 Fair Housing Act, if they rented four or fewer units and lived on the premises. This "Mrs. Murphy exception" is a reasonable compromise between the goals of anti-discrimination law and privacy concerns. Recently, however, the laws of several jurisdictions have been interpreted to ban discrimination in the selection of roommates....."

More here

No comments: