Censorship

Laws Against Advertising Intent to Discriminate: Who Do They Help?

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Eugene Volokh wonders about housing discrimination laws, and laws that restrict stating preferences in housing ads:

Both under California law and under federal law, it's illegal to tell prospective roomates about one's roommate preference, even when it's legal to actually discriminate based on that preference…..

…..the advertising ban substantially burdens the freedom of intimate association. Though the law doesn't ban the exercise of the right to choose one's roomate as such, it does ban a very important tool through which one can exercise this right, which is advertising. If the lesbian pagan wants to find another lesbian pagan, she'll have a hard time doing that if she has to waste time sorting through dozens of applicants who don't qualify. What's more, she presumably can't even ask them about their sexual orientation or religion, since that itself might be seem as expressing a "discriminatory statement."…..

It's also not clear that the law is doing the discriminated-against roommates any great favor. If people won't rent to me because they're looking for a black or Hispanic or Asian cotenant, I'd rather know that up front, in the ad itself, rather than spending my time doing something that, unbeknownst to me, is entirely futile (and in fact quite lawfully futile, so long as the tenant says nothing to me about her real criteria and her reasons for rejecting me).

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  1. That link is, um, incorrect.

  2. It’s correct now. Whatsamatter, JF, don’t you trust me to quote it correctly?

  3. Well, Brian, I don’t trust Irish people.

    Of course, I’m not actually going to ask if you’re Irish, but I’m just assuming…

  4. Not at all, Brian, but it was a long an thought-provoking article deserving to be read, notwithstanding your excellent choice of what to excerpt.

  5. I probably should have included how handsome you are somewhere in that last comment…

  6. You don’t trust the Irish? Why I oughta crush you right now! I wish I had 10 days every week so that I could pound you three extra days a week, you smarmy son-of-a-skank!!

    BOOM, POW! You little punk…..CRASH!!

  7. Ah, that’s enough True. The laws are incredibly obtuse, and one doesn’t even have to think that far into it. What is the argument on the other side, that not being wanted as a roommate leads to stress, then death?

  8. Lamar, you’re having a conversation with yourself. We’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.

    What is the argument on the other side, that not being wanted as a roommate leads to stress, then death?

    Then straight As! I always knew that urban legend was false, because kids would be offing roommates like insects, otherwise.

  9. As I posted over there,

    This shows how far antidiscrimination law has come from its original goals. This law doesn’t help anyone and hurts the victim of discrimination worse than a state of nature would.

  10. The silliest anti-discrimination campaigns are launched in the world of sex personals. A land where those with a specific craving for say, black cock, are forbidden to display that clause up front…which I would assume just leads to a more abrupt and confusing form of rejection.

  11. “Show me your cock”

    “Hmmm”

  12. For a minute there, since “SxCx” didn’t show up in orange type, I was trying to figure out who has been using my computer to visit SxCx’s website.

  13. I’ve been applying for jobs recently and I noticed on a couple of applications that they had a disclaimer under the “special awards/orginizations” section to not include any orginization that would indicate my race, sex, age, or creed. So that means if I noted that I was the captain of my men’s basketball team that they’d throw it out?

  14. Who do they help? They help the politicians who can then prattle on about the “anti-discrimination legislation” they helped pass.

  15. I would think if one was a lesbian pagan hoping for a fellow traveller as a roommate, one could simply advertise one’s status. These things tend to be self-selecting. There’s a wide swathe of potential roomies who won’t bother replying to an ad placed by a lesbian pagan.

    Really, I don’t see what the big deal is. “White male Christian right-wing creationist seeks roommate” ought to be a pretty good clue that gays and atheists probably shouldn’t bother making an appointment.

  16. Really, I don’t see what the big deal is. “White male Christian right-wing creationist seeks roommate” ought to be a pretty good clue that gays and atheists probably shouldn’t bother making an appointment.

    So, in other words, there’s no justification whatsoever for preventing people from outright saying they don’t gays, atheists, or bible-thumpers as roommates.

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