Gay Marriage

Libertarians, Gay Marriage, and Freedom of Association: A Primer

How the same right allows for both same-sex marriage recognition and refusing to sell gay couples wedding cakes


Your rights end where my pastry knife begins
Credit: Tamas |

How can a libertarian support gay marriage but also the right of businesses to decline to provide goods and services such as cakes, wedding dresses, and photographers for gay weddings? For many libertarians, it makes perfect logical, philosophical, and legal sense.

But from the outside perspective, it often does not. As a result, critics looking for an opportunity to throw shade on the increased media and public interest in libertarian ideas can focus on just a piece of this mentality. We saw the Village Voice do just that recently, as media critic Roy Edroso incorrectly declared that we here are "more likely" to defend the rights of private individuals and businesses who want to discriminate against gays than the rights of gay couples to demand marriage recognition from the government.

Reason Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch already responded by highlighting our lengthy history of support for gay marriage, going all the way back to 1975. As a gay libertarian who writes frequently on both components, perhaps I can help illuminate some concepts here and explain why arguing that gays have the right to marry each other and arguing that businesses have the right to deny them goods and services are fundamentally connected to manifestations of the same right: freedom of association.

The Way You Libertarians 'Support' Gay Marriage Is Kind of Weird

That's not a direct quote from anyone in particular, but is my interpretation of how libertarian attitudes toward gay marriage are perceived by many on the left, particularly whenever libertarian issues pop up on gay blogs.

To get really basic, libertarians generally believe the power of government should be limited to what is necessary to protect the rights of the citizenry. There are a lot of different ways this belief manifests among libertarians and different libertarians draw the line in different places—there's as much variety of opinion among libertarians as there is among progressives and conservatives—but this is the underlying philosophy and it influences where a libertarian comes from. Freedom of association is one of these rights—the inherent right of human beings to choose with whom they want to spend their time and money, to unionize with, and to sell goods, services or labor to without unnecessary government intrusion.

It's important to understand then that libertarian support for same-sex marriage and civil liberties for gay people in general is not a result of how libertarians feel about gay people. It has nothing to do with whether an individual libertarian actually likes or is comfortable with being around gay people or even whether a libertarian thinks homosexuality is a natural outcome of biological diversity or whether gay people are going to hell. Support for same-sex marriage is a result of a belief that gay people, just like heterosexual people, have the right through freedom of association to create their own families and expect to be treated the same way under the law. Laws forbidding recognition of gay marriage are a government intrusion on this inherent right.

If You Guys Support Gay Marriage, Why Do You Keep Wanting to Get the Government Out of It?

You shouldn't need a license from the government to express or commemorate your rights. For many libertarians, just having licensed marriages at all is an imposition of unnecessary government control. Many libertarians do not believe that the government has a legitimate stake in determining who should or should not be allowed to declare themselves to be married. (Note that the question of whether the government has an actual stake in restricting marriage to heterosexuals is frequently asked in current legal challenges against the bans, resulting in some rather strange arguments from opponents claiming that allowing gay marriages will somehow result in fewer heterosexual marriages.)

Unfortunately for a free people, governments everywhere have tied all sorts of privileges, regulations, and benefits (and sometimes penalties!) to marital status. Many libertarians believe that many of these rules should not be tied to marital status and often shouldn't exist at all. Marital relationships should be handled by private contracts, which would still require some government involvement, particularly once children are introduced, but generally would not be subject to a federal or state stamp of approval.

Though the "get government out of marriage entirely" response is a typical refrain from libertarian-leaning conservative politicians who have been getting attention in recent years, nobody has really introduced a system by which that could happen or truly expressed a vision of how the government would disentangle itself from the many, many policies it has already put into place. For many libertarians, supporting same-sex marriage is then an imperfect but acceptable solution for now. Married gay couples should be treated the same under the law as heterosexual couples. Some other libertarians, however, are holding the line, worried that this compromise expands the power of the state to define relationships, and would rather force the government to surrender its authority to determine who can and cannot be married entirely. But either way, it's important to note that both outcomes give gay and lesbian people much more actual freedom to create their own families than they have had until recently.

If You Support Gay Marriage What's the Deal with Permitting Discrimination Against Gays?

If you philosophically believe in a particular right, it should naturally follow that a right extends to everybody, including those who disagree with you or even hold positions you find detestable. Those who believe in freedom of speech typically understand that one outcome is that certain people will say bigoted things. But since we all equally have free speech, we have the freedom to criticize and oppose the bad things that other people say. Many Americans, regardless of political leaning, oppose censorship because we understand it's a slippery slope and the expression of government power can be used to censor more than bigoted speech. It could be used to by those in control to curtail the right to criticize authority.

The belief in freedom of association, therefore, obligates us to respect the right to refuse to associate with certain people, even if bigotry is a possible reason for that refusal. A Christian baker shouldn't have the authority to stop a same-sex couple from getting married. But the couple shouldn't have the authority to require a baker to make them a wedding cake for the ceremony. Freedom of association in the world of commerce requires us to accept the right of both sides to determine with whom to do business. The same right that calls for the government to recognize same-sex marriages also permits the baker to refuse to provide a wedding cake.

The slippery slope here is easy to explain by invoking Nazis. (Why is it always Nazis?) Should a baker be required to make a cake with a big swastika on it on behalf of a Nazi customer? If you believe the answer to this question is "no," then understand that giving the government the ability to restrict freedom of association could result in an outcome that forces the baker's hand here, as absurd as it may seem.

Should a Baker Be Able to Refuse to Sell a Wedding Cake to an Interracial Couple?

Many libertarians would say yes (including myself—so much for public office). Yet America's history of very serious discrimination against blacks, much of which was not just permitted but enforced by the government and through legal channels, has influenced the way many people see freedom of association. This outcome is understandable, but whenever we talk about restricting a right (and libertarians generally acknowledge that rights may be restricted when they interfere with the expression of the rights of others), the restriction must be considered within the scope of all potential solutions. Restricting a right is a form of government control over individual liberty. Once we accept allowing the government to restrict freedom, it is very difficult for the public to control how this power may manifest later; thus, our resistance to censorship.

It is very difficult to argue that a wedding cake is a necessity for any human being of any race, religion, or sexual orientation. A person does not need a wedding cake to survive. As humiliating as it may be to be refused a cake for bigoted reasons, there's no physical or economic harm being done to somebody refused a wedding cake.

Nor does the denial of a wedding cake deny the ability of a gay or interracial couple to actually acquire a wedding cake from another source. The existence of marketplace alternatives is another reason why libertarians would be reluctant to restrict the baker's freedom of association. This is far from "redlining," where banks and insurance companies colluded and denied loans and insurance to swaths of minorities in inner city neighborhoods. As unpleasant as these anti-gay discriminatory acts are, they have been shown to be isolated incidents scattered across the country in situations where the victims had the ability to remedy the situation by turning to other businesses.

Just as a libertarian's general support for same-sex couples to define their own partnerships and families isn't an endorsement of homosexuality, a libertarian's general support for the right of a business to refuse to engage in commerce with somebody shouldn't be taken as an endorsement of bigotry. In order to restrict a person's right to freedom of association, the damage caused by the outcomes must be very high. Having to select a different bakery or photographer, many of whom would love to do business with gay couples, does not rise to that threshold.

NEXT: Brickbat: Say What?

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  1. Libertarians should be explaining why relying on the state to bless your union with a license invites heartache.

    1. Because the only purpose of the state, if it exists at all, is to protect the rights of people. Stopping people from marrying without its approval limits your rights. I shouldn’t need the approval of a clerk or judge to marry who I want.

      1. Iron…your logic is faulty. The nowhere in the US does the government stop anyone from getting married. What the government does not do is offer recognition to all marriages. Marriage exists without a government license.

        Libertarians need to focus on the core issue, which is not marriage licenses, but is securing the same legal protections for gay marriages that exist for straight marriages. That can be done without calling it marriage, and much of it can be done without government intervention. Do we really need a law to permit same sex partners hospital visitation? I don’t think so.

      2. I agree you should be able to marry who you want to marry!

  2. By the way, you’re an Uncle Tom, Shackford. Or, you know, whatever the gay libertarian equivalent of that would be.

    1. Uncle Nancy

      1. NOT ALL HOMOSEXUALS ARE NANCIES. You’re ignorant.

        How about Uncle Tom of Finland?

        1. Just a joke man.

          1. And its funnier than Uncle Tom of Finland!

    2. I’ve been called everything from “not really gay” to “self-loathing” for not following the goodthink.

      1. Ah, kind of how Clarence Thomas is “not really black”.

        1. For reference

          Everyone knows Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the best Supreme Court justice, but which one is King Shit of Poop Mountain? The competition is pretty fierce.

          1. The Jezzies need to stick to topics that they are capable of understanding, like naked Disney princes.

            1. That particular author writes for Jezebel, Media Matters, jurisprudes, etc…. Her style of writing would be more appropriate for your average reddit comment.

      2. It’s probably just a phase.

      3. “not really gay”


        1. Shouldn’t that be fauxmosexual?

          1. MoFosexual

      4. No one has ever called me “not really gay” but I’ve definitely been called self-loathing for not supporting current group think.

    3. Uncle Bruce?

    4. Uncle Fucka

      1. Shut your fucking face!

    5. Bob’s your aunt Sally.

  3. Perhaps because of the wording, the problem is that the concept of negative rights vs positive rights is beyond most folks.

    1. It was the first concept I embraced.

      I’m not sure it’s the wording. I think its the actual effect on a person’s belief system. Essentially, once you accept negative rights, freedom to associate, self ownership, NAP, and the other related ethics then all your heroes die. Doesn’t matter if your heroes were Ronald Reagan or FDR, everything you learned in public school and on the nightly news is suddenly wrong. Your head is filled with contradictory beliefs that cry out for resolution.

      I think people look into that chasm and turn back.

      1. Wow, if I was depressed when I posted my original statement, now I’m really depressed! Bad enough to not be able to grasp the concept, but to understand it, and to walk away… oi ve!

  4. throw shade


  5. To get really basic, libertarians generally believe the power of government should be limited to what is necessary to protect the rights of the citizenry.

    Let’s decode what government is, by substituting “mafia”, and see if this statement makes sense:

    “To get really basic, libertarians generally believe the power of a mafia should be limited to what is necessary to protect the rights of the citizenry.”

    Nope. Take two:

    “To get really basic, libertarians generally believe the power of a mafia should be limited to nothing.”

    OK, now that makes sense. Feel free to resubstitute the eumphemism “government” back into the sentence.

    1. Anarchist dogmatics are really fucking boring.

      1. As are libertarian orthodoxy pissing contests.

        1. True.

          When people start saying Mafia this and Armed Thugs that, they’ve just conflated the United States Government with North Korea and even the most sympathetic fellow-travelers will shut you out.

          1. they’ve just conflated the United States Government with North Korea and even the most sympathetic fellow-travelers will shut you out.

            I’m a minarchist and I have no problem recognizing that the only differences between the North Korean and the United States governments are matters of degree, not fundamental character.

            1. Yeah, but for anyone who doesn’t get the basic libertarian idea, it’s a foreign concept.

    2. I prefer the “if/then” statement rather than what the author chose to say.

      Something like:

      “IF govt has any purpose at all, then it should be limited to protect individual rights.”

      That should satisfy (or tick off) the an-caps and minarchists. Both of them think you’re agreeing with them…

  6. To get the government out of marriage[a good thing]you’d need to trash the tax code,hopefully with a flat tax.Also,ending this belief your employer should pay for your ‘health care’ and your families.I do not see that happening in the near future.All issues with divorce could be handled by contract law between the two paties

  7. parties,crap

  8. I can not support this “marriage equality” as long as my polygamous friends are treated as SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS!

    1. I can not support this “marriage equality” as long as my polygamous friends are treated as SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS!

      You self-loathing bigot! Marriage rights are human rights! You don’t have polygamous friends, your polygamy rights are being denied to *YOU* and them.

      You’re as bad as any anti-gay homophobe who thinks their opinion matters just because they have “gay friends”. Until you come out of the closet, you can’t fathom what it’s like to live under the crushing social persecution that surrounds polygamy.

  9. There sure are a lot of people talking about libertarians lately. I guess we’re past the “first they ignore you” stage.

    1. We’re close to the “then they shoot you in effigy in video games” stage, rapidly approaching the “then they put you in reeducation camps” stage.

    2. We’re well into the “then they lie about you at every opportunity” stage.

      1. ^This. I see an awful lot of arguments against what people imagine libertarianism to be, without actually understanding what libertarianism actually is.

        1. When people are indoctrinated into believing that freedom means asking permission and obeying orders, the concept of liberty can be difficult to understand.

          1. I don’t think difficulty in understanding is the problem. I think the problem is that people look at liberty and say “I need to do what? Take care of myself? Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

            1. Also, add to that the paternalistic people who can’t have people making the wrong decisions for themselves.

    3. We’re clearly in the “Then They Fight You” stage.

  10. Apples to oranges, Reason. Libertarians support the rights of individuals to make their own decisions about their personal lives without government restriction and moral interference…it is not the governments job to patrol individual morality. The gay rights organizations wanted the marriage licenses, because ‘spouse’ denotes many privileges, however they didn’t stop there because once the government recognized gay marriages, they wanted the government to force everyone else to embrace the view that it was okay….that tramples the rights of the 98.5 % of the population that ISN’T gay.

  11. The only guaranteed rights are those enumerated in the federal constitution or the constitution of the states or not addressed at all by either. Licensing marriages is a state function (or not if the citizens of that state do not wish the state to license marriage). There is no guaranteed right to marry at all at the federal level, it’s left to the states and the citizens of the states. At the state level it is generally not a right, it is a privilege no different than the privilege to drive. In truth no state prohibits marriage between same sex couples, it just prohibits state licensing of such marriages. Referring to this as a right is wrong, that’s not an argument for or against states sanctioning marriage, it’s an argument against arguing that marriage is a guaranteed right in the first place.

    1. Our rights as citizens are not limited to those mentioned in the Constitution. Our rights are virtually limitless.

      The Constitution is a document telling the federal government what it can and cannot do. It is the states (and, by extension, the peoples of the states) telling the federal government what it is allowed to do.

      Anyone who believes their rights and liberties come from the State is clearly a statist.

    2. The right to marry has been established in both US case law and the UN Declaration of Human Rights. You may argue that there should be no right to marry, but one wonders why you’d bother.

      1. With your line of reasoning this Reason site shouldn’t even exist: We’ve had a massively oppressive government for so long now…why bother?

        1. A right to marry does not come from the government. No more than your right to life, liberty and property.

          This is plainly obvious as the State takes any of these away from you whenever it feels like it.

        2. How is government recognizing a basic right to marry part of this massive oppression regime?

          If you even have time in the day to worry about that, it would seem that things aren’t all that oppressive.

  12. Sounds like a solid plan to me dude. Wow.

  13. To get really basic, libertarians generally believe the power of government should be limited to what is necessary to protect the rights of the citizenry.

    Except there’s a long-established right to be free of discrimination from businesses that cater to the public. That right exists. It’s not illusory. You have to go a step further and declare that you don’t think this right should exist, that the right of the business owner to discriminate trumps it. That’s a legitimate opinion, but not any more so. What counts as a right is not determined by libertarians fantasizing that they alone have translated the intentions of the moral universe.

    So you must, with equal volume, defend the right of businesses to discriminate based on race. If your big problem is that this is politically touchy, then perhaps you should examine why these are your priorities when there is another perfectly legitimate set of priorities that everyone else thinks is superior.

    1. And as if on cue, here comes Tony to helpfully demonstrate for us the issue raised in this comment:

      Perhaps because of the wording, the problem is that the concept of negative rights vs positive rights is beyond most folks.

      1. It’s not beyond me, it’s bullshit. Nobody wants to live in a society in which everything is permitted. And you can’t forbid certain things without enforcement. And that requires a positive entitlement to means of enforcement. You can’t weasel your way out; it takes tax dollars and bureaucracy to protect your right to own property or run a business. Since I’m helping to paying for that positive right, I have every legitimate reason to claim a right to be free from discrimination.

        You need to believe there is a meaningful distinction between positive and negative rights because it means you don’t ever have to choose between alternatives. Because that’s hard, I guess. But you’re in numerous, if not auspicious, company. Lots of people struggle with complexity and want the world to come with an instruction manual.

        1. “Nobody wants to live in a society in which everything is permitted.”

          Tony’s right. If we let people decide who they want to bake a cake for next they’ll start murdering babies and torturing kittens.

        2. Who wants to live in a society where everything is permitted? Libertarianism is based on the non-aggression principle. Libertarianism is built around it. This includes the freedom of association. Therefore, libertarians do no believe we should live in a society in which everything is permitted.

          Please…take your statist silliness somewhere else.

          1. Then you do not believe in having only negative liberties. So stop saying such silly things.

        3. You can’t weasel your way out; it takes tax dollars and bureaucracy to protect your right to own property or run a business.

          Have you come across lots of libertarians advocating a tax rate of zero? Because this sounds like you’re arguing against a straw man.

          You say ‘weasel your way out’, I say ‘do better with less’ which, given the better/worse and less/more permutations is the most preferable/sustainable/elegant.

          1. I’m arguing against the claim that enforcing “free association” is any less positive a right than enforcing “freedom from discrimination.”

            1. Back to the “liberty tyrants” argument again?

              Sheesh, man, how many times do we have to show how stupid of an argument that is, and how stupid you are as an extension?

            2. I’m arguing against the claim that enforcing “free association” is any less positive a right than enforcing “freedom from discrimination.”

              Anybody who believes that any of the rights in the BOR are, in any way, positive rights or that the notion of negative rights is purely a fabrication owes me a firearm.

              And for anybody who thinks modern libertarians invented a false notion of positive/negative rights as some matter of convenience to deal with complexity; I will accept cash and gold equivalents of the firearm of my choosing.

              You choose your positive and negative rights selectively and pretend they don’t exist to make your arguments sound reasonable. When, in reality, saying ‘free association’ and ‘anti-discrimination’ are both positive rights of the same weight is as reasonable as issuing every citizen the firearm (or any arms) of their choice, but not none, and then chasing down the people that choose to own illegal firearms.

      2. But positive things include rainbows, happiness, and sunshine. Negative things include yelling and death.

        Why do you want people to die rather than be happy?

  14. Gays and lesbians discriminate all the time. The vast majority of lesbian bars do not allow straight men to come in, even if they live in the community. The entire liberal progressive movement supports this. Most gay bars discriminate against older gays as well. Some even won’t let men in over 34. Yet oddly, the left has never said that was discrimination.

    Girl I knew was part of the Queer Fashion scene in NYC, when glam and lipstick lesbians swept the city. This did not however, happen in gay and lesbian scenes in other cities. After 3 years she returned to Chicago where the uniform was khacki , hair short and no make-up. Sitting at Paris, the major lesbian bar within minutes a customer walked over and poured a pint of beer on her head telling her not to wear makeup in the bar again. The bartender told her she was in the wrong bar. Rejected by the lesbian community of Chicago, I ended up marrying her.Two years into the marriage, Paris began having one night a month Lipstick Lesbian nights. 5 Years after NYC.

    1. Anecdote that would be way over Tony’s head. The libertarian believes the bars have the right to not serve, with absolutely no restrictions.

      Tony believes white male christians must serve whoever he deems they should serve.

      You know… Has anyone seen Fargo (TV series) yet? I picture Tony as Lester Nygaard sitting behind a computer.

  15. Honestly, we shouldn’t have to explain any of this to anyone.
    It’s blindingly self-evident.

    Our opponents aren’t stupid, they just just disinegenuous craven assholes. For them it’s all about power and getting what they want. See Tony. They don’t care about the rights of their enemies. They don’t really want equality. They want privileges and the right to force people they don’t like to do humiliating things.

    1. There is no extra force required for prioritizing freedom from discrimination over freedom to discriminate. You endorse either one or the other.

      If you repeal the public accommodation piece of the CRA, and a black person wants to be served at a restaurant but is told to leave, are the police not called to forcibly remove him? Government enforces one right or it enforces the other. You don’t get a special negative liberty star sticker for your preference.

      1. I think we’re making a little progress here. You may have accidentally stumbled across the problem in all this: the problem is government.

        1. But then who would force people to do things I want them to? Or force them not to do things I don’t like? It would mean the breakdown of Society if I can’t force people to comply with my personal references!

          1. So you don’t think police should force trespassers off private property?

          2. N Rothbard/Anatomy of the State.pdf

            1. Fitting that you point me to Rothbard who opposed the entire civil rights movement (and women’s suffrage) as they upset the natural order of things, and, contrary to his Utopian anarchism, wanted the state police to “clear the streets of bums and vagrants” and otherwise administer instant punishment on “street criminals.”

              I guess you can go on at some length describing the flaws of the state when you plan to use its power functions to clear away undesirables in anticipation of your stateless utopia in which everyone (somehow) gets along.

              1. I love pulling a Rothbard on statists. It either confuses the hell out of them as they have never read him (the only thing they know about him is what some other statist told them to think about him) or it acts like a crucifix against Dracula.

                1. I’ve read him. Now you go read some Dewey and Rawls, how ’bout?

              2. You’re citing hearsay. Rothbard said no such thing, O’Malley said as such about him.

                See, I can look at Wikipedia too. You claim you’ve read Rothbard by reading his wikipedia page. Hilarious. Absofuckinglutely hilarious.

                1. What about this?

                  In his defense he’s said far worse things.

      2. Which is worse:
        1) Being forcibly removed from a particular business that wishes to discriminate.

        2) Being forcibly prevented from opening or operating a business entirely, because you wish to discriminate.

        I submit that 2 is a must greater imposition that 1. In 1, you can always go to a different business. In case 2, you have no other option, you are universally excluded from participating in commerce, with anyone, even willing customers.

        1. So now we’re down to measuring which form of government force is less of an imposition? That’s not what I was told. I was told that we have to allow discrimination because otherwise would be to allow government force. Now it’s about degrees? How about you give me a fucking break?

          And nobody is forcing anyone to be a bigot.

          1. HazelMeade, my apologies, but you really butchered that. We should really be talking about aggression.

            Going to someone’s property unwanted and refusing to leave is an act of aggression. Force, in this case is justified. You somehow let Tony claim that we believe all force to be bad, when in the case of defense of one’s self or one’s property, we all agree it is not.

            Tony is being disingenuous, he knows the difference, but I give him points for honing his game a bit.

            1. I’ll come to Hazel’s defense, because he actually recognizes that both require force, and simply chooses what he thinks is the better option. To recognize that rights can come into conflict is an important step on the road to being a realist.

              Of course, I think society chose correctly when it decided that the right of people to have equal access to commerce that serves the public regardless of race, sex, religion, disability, or (soon) sexual orientation, is more important than the claimed right to have police enforce your bigotry, and that this is so obvious that to choose otherwise would get you raised eyebrows at even the most laid-back of cocktail parties.

              1. It is really a question of the use of market freedom vs government force.

                You’re being disingenuous, because you know what our stances are and where they come from.

                Personally Tony, you wouldn’t find me caught dead in a store that didn’t serve blacks. You know why? Because fuck that store owner, that’s why.

                Progressives consistently cannot wrap their heads around that government didn’t create the Civil Rights movement, it merely stepped in at the end and took credit for it. The change was sweeping the country, and societal pressures would have done 10x the good, because there would be no resentment of people being forced to do something they do not want to do.

                When the law went from making discrimination lawful to outlawing discrimination, it skipped the idea of simply having equal protection under the law.

                1. Sorry, I should say making discrimination the law. As it, you had to discriminate or you were breaking the law.

                2. And I say there’d still be rampant discrimination in public accommodations in certain parts of the country if the federal government allowed it. Who’s to say? At any rate it remains true that without outlawing discrimination, you are required to have the taxpayer-funded police forcibly eject patrons for being black or gay. I don’t want to pay for that, thank you.

                  1. No, you may have to have the police forcibly eject people who are not wanted on other people’s property. That would be the law, and the law wouldn’t care about your intentions or whether said person was black or gay or whatever. The law would only say that a person wasn’t wanted on someone’s property and refused to leave. That is it.

      3. I can barely wrap my head around how stupid you are.

        Does this actually pass for logic in your mind?

        You do not need the police to escort someone off your property that you do not want there. You can do it yourself, you can have your security do it, or in your case, you can get your wife to do it.

        1. So, since we’re not about government enforcing trespassing law, is it also the case that I can personally enforce nondiscrimination by holding a gun to the baker’s head and forcing her to make my cake?

          Yes, this passes for logic. And you don’t have anything. Either you enforce the owner’s right to discriminate or you enforce the patron’s right to be free from discrimination. Neither is a “negative” right.

          1. No Tony, you piece of shit, the difference is aggression, like we just talked about. Holding a gun to a baker’s head is aggression. Not baking someone a cake is not aggression. Just like not giving isn’t the same as stealing. Do you get it yet, or must I keep calling you stupid? I really don’t like to, you know, it hurts me as much as it hurts you.

            1. How do you get the unwanted black customer out of your shop without aggression?

              1. The unwanted customer aggressed when he refused to leave someone else’s property.

                Force is not aggression when it is in direct response to aggression.

                Do you get it yet? Aggressing means you initiated. The storeowner did not initiate. Same as if you broke into someone’s house and they punched you in the mouth and threw you out the door. The homeowner is not the agressor, you were not wanted on his property, therefore you aggressed on him.

                Can I make it any more clear? Anyone more fluent than I am in retard?

                1. The unwanted customer did nothing differently from any other customer. It’s quite a stretch of libertarian terms to call that aggression. It’s almost as if you pick and choose your arbitrary policy preferences and then slap labels on them in order to make them fit into your scheme.

              2. Tony:

                How do you get the unwanted black customer out of your shop without aggression?

                False choice. You don’t need the government to enforce your right not to do business with someone. It looks like this:

                Black guy: “I want a black, gay wedding cake.”
                Store owner: “I don’t do that sort of thing. Sorry.”
                Black guy: “OH, YEAH? Well, I’m not leaving until I get my black, gay wedding cake!”
                Store owner: “Enjoy your wait.”

                At what point, exactly does the government have to enforce that? I don’t see the store owner using the threat of violence, or really needing to.

                Of course, you have to substitute something else falsely as a substitute for discrimination, just so your not-very-clever “We all use government force!” bullshit can make even an attempt to fly. Not a very good one, it seems.

            2. Bear in mind that he didn’t do anything differently from any other customer. Unless you want to claim that patronizing a business is to commit aggression against it.

              1. Well, if all the customers are asked to leave, and don’t, then I assume all the customers are committing aggression. But, that’s not exactly just patronizing a business.

              2. Bear in mind that he didn’t do anything differently from any other customer.

                Considering the post just says ‘Store owner’, yeah, ‘Black guy’ walking into a sporting goods store and asking for ‘a black, gay wedding cake’ is pretty different from the other customers.

                Even if the ‘store’ is a bakery, probably not a lot of straight/gay white/blacks walking into saying “I want a , wedding cake.”

                If I went to pretty much any shop imaginable and said “I want a white, straight .” It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to expect treatment kid gloves to outright ejection.

                “I want the white, straight tires put on my car.”

                “I want the yellow, transgender coffee.”

                “I want a blue, asexual hammer.”

                1. Dammit. Parser ate my tags;

                  saying “I want a *race*, *sexual orientation* wedding cake.”

  16. Freedom of association is one of these rights?the inherent right of human beings to choose with whom they want to spend their time and money, to unionize with, and to sell goods, services or labor to without unnecessary government intrusion.

    Unfortunately, same-sex “marriage” does not help, and overall hurts, in the achievement of those goals.

    1. So if I have a religion in witch i believe that Blacks are untouchables.Can i refuse than service to black people because of my believes?

  17. I don’t understand why it’s a federal issue as marriage to me is a contractual matter which should be administered at the state level. I think it’s better to focus on changing any federal laws that provide benefit to groups whether couples, races, genders, corporations, etc. Because that’s the right thing. While one can argue whether states should be involved in marriage, to me it’s obvious the federal government should be out of it.

  18. Well, it is homosexuals themselves who claim that the purpose of homosexual marriage is to destroy the institution of marriage. Part of their war on the patriarchy, American, etc. on behalf of international communism and radical Islam.…..-marriage/

    But the major point is that libertarians are AWOL on the battle for freedom of association since all “libertarians” support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed private discrimination.

  19. The response I get when I try to explain these issues is that no one has a right to own a business (wtf?) and that although freedom of speech is protected, freedom of association is not when it comes to business. Not sure the best response to that as current law appears to be on their side. Trying to convince them of what is right vs what is law vs what is just becomes difficult for most to grasp.

  20. What a cess-pool!
    We get MH trying to prove he’s the smartest guy in the world and proving the exact opposite.(Hey, twit! That “Robert” only shows up to agree with you. Is that a sock by any chance?)
    Then we get Tony trying and failing to prove that “up” = “down”.
    Glad I had work to do today.

  21. Since this primer is geared towards liberals more than conservatives, a better example than Nazis, Mr. Shackford, might be a Muslim baker forced to make a cake depicting Muhammad. I’m guessing that example would disorient some people.

  22. I think the Key point in “religious freedom” is that they deny it on base of their basic or fundamental believes. So first one has to declare it basic beliefs and than refuse to all customers services that violate against this believes. So unless someone is making “Worthiness interviews” with the customers to find our if the live in “sin” than it is discrimination because one is choosing to refuse service on pretext of religious freedom but is all customers where checked one will find out that the same Business owner will have given services to many other people that violate his personal religious believe. Also is professional service not a agreement with someones action. Otherwise our Internet provider would have to find out our religious believes as we could use his services for acts he sees unfit, stores, Insurances and all business needed to be checked for customers Violation to there core beliefs and that is rather unpractical and unnecessary as a service is not an agreement of action and thereby not falls under protection for religious freedom. The only service that could be denied is church services like,, baptisms, Blessings, marriages ect. Oh and Foster care is government busyness that only is granted to some church organisation, so there is no right in refuse.

  23. “This is far from ‘redlining,’ where banks and insurance companies colluded and denied loans and insurance to swaths of minorities in inner city neighborhoods.”

    It sounds in that sentence as though you are not in favor of ‘redlining’ – but if a bakery has freedom of association should not be forced to make a cake for a gay couple, then don’t banks and insurance companies also have the right to freely associate with each other and decide whom they will not do business with?

  24. I don’t support anything homosexuals do, but I acknowledge their right to do it as consenting adults. I also don’t think any of it is the government’s business. All wonderful ideas, right?

    Unfortunately we live in a fascist surveillance police state so none of what I think is ideal matters.

  25. It’s interesting when you hear folks say, “mind your own business!!” in regards to social issues like gay marriage. But when it comes to actually minding one’s own BUSINESS, literally, forget about it.

  26. I think homosexuality is an act that is unnatural, but what two consenting adults do is their business. However, when they force me to recognize their relationship as marriage the infringe on my religious beliefs. If gays want a legal union, fine, but call it that, recognized by the state not God. I am convinced the only reason they want to call it a marriage is to legitimize it by usurping the morality of the term marriage.

  27. It’s more than just Freedom of Association.

    Let’s throw a monkey into this wrench. 😉

    Assuming that the FedGov implements a “law” that forces businesses to provide services/products that they find morally objectionable:

    What happens to my Kosher Deli? (Or Halal Tea Shoppe, or Hindu Curry & Wings restaurant, etc. etc.)

    When some Activist comes in and demands Treif/Haram/Beef, wouldn’t that “law” apply there as well?

    Forcing a Hasidim Deli to make a Ham & Cheese sandwich is NO DIFFERENT than forcing a Fundamentalist Christian Pastry Chef to make a “gay” wedding cake or… and this is critical… FORCING A MINISTER OF ONE SECT TO PROVIDE MINISTERIAL SERVICES TO MEMBERS OF OTHER SECTS.

    There is no Rational or logical reason for a Atheist or Gay couples to demand that their “legal marriage” (a .gov fiction originally implemented to allow feudal lords prima-nocta) be performed by ANYONE who has fundamental opposition to the religious/sociosexual positions of the couple being “married”. If you aren’t Catholic, don’t go harassing a Priest. If you aren’t a Mormon, don’t demand that you have the “Right” to be married at the Salt Lake Temple. If you are Gay, don’t go looking for a Straight, Fundie Pastry Chef.

    If there are no Gay Pastry Chefs near by, RECRUIT ONE. Your community probably needs more pastry chefs anyway.

    This “battle” for the “Right” to force a business to discard THEIR Right to “refuse service to anyone” WILL go too far. Be careful what you wish for.

  28. People and businesses have a right to refuse service to any individual, couple or group. We do not need government to fix this bigotry. Markets can take care of it better. Laws and regulations are just going to cost more money to tax payers and government is very likely to mess it up even more. Despite of spending enormous amounts of money on anti-discrimination laws enforcement, discrimination still exists, It has just gone under cover and has become harder to detect and fight, making it very difficult for free markets to correct this anomaly in our behaviors.

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