Abortion

Does Office Depot Have the Right to Refuse to Print Anti-Abortion Fliers?

Chicago-area customer accuses them of religious discrimination.

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Not a government agency.
Credit: JeepersMedia / photo on flickr

Office Depot is facing a discrimination complaint for failing to accommodate a customer in suburban Chicago.

The customer, Maria Goldstein, came in to get copies of an anti-abortion, anti-Planned Parenthood prayer flier printed up. Office Depot declined. From the Chicago Tribune:

The prayer, composed by the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, an anti-abortion group, calls on God to "Bring an end to the killing of children in the womb, and bring an end to the sale of their body parts. Bring conversion to all who do this, and enlightenment to all who advocate it."

The prayer also decries "the evil that has been exposed in Planned Parenthood and in the entire abortion industry."

Karen Denning, a spokeswoman for Office Depot, said company policy prohibits "the copying of any type of material that advocates any form of racial or religious discrimination or the persecution of certain groups of people. It also prohibits copying any type of copyrighted material."

"The flier contained material that advocates the persecution of people who support abortion rights," Denning said.

Goldstein insists it does not call for their persecution, but their conversion. She's claiming religious discrimination, and the story is getting press in conservative circles. She was invited to use the self-service copy machines, but told the Chicago Tribune that would have been an inconvenience. So she got a lawyer:

Thomas Olp, a lawyer for the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a public interest law group that represents Goldstein, said the situation fits into the public accommodation laws that date back to when businesses refused to serve African-Americans and Jews.

"We're a country of diversity. We don't want to allow people to pick and choose based on their bigotry or hostility," he said. "You need to offer services to the public on a fair and equal basis. This is an example of religious expression. Therefore the law prohibits you from discriminating."

Olp acknowledges that religious freedom and public accommodation laws occasionally might be at odds. Several states are debating whether to pass laws protecting business owners such as bakers and photographers who object to same-sex weddings as a matter of conscience.

"It's a different issue. You can make arguments on both sides," he said. But a person's religion always affords special protection, he said.

"To accommodate religion you have to go out of your way to do something you wouldn't normally do," he said. "If it was simply negative comments about Planned Parenthood, it wouldn't be as strong of an argument."

While I don't know all the intricacies of how Illinois anti-discrimination and public accommodation laws manifest, this reads as though Olp doesn't know the difference between anti-discrimination laws and the First Amendment. His reference to "religious expression" seems to be an invocation of the First Amendment. But the First Amendment refers to government censorship, not Office Depot (or any other private actor).

Illinois public accommodation law does indeed prohibit discrimination of customers on the basis of their religion. But that means it's against the law to turn away Goldstein solely on the basis of her faith. It does not mean, as Olp seems to think, that Office Depot is required to participate in the production of a message with which it does not agree, religious foundations or not. That's compelling speech, and that is a violation of Office Depot's First Amendment rights.

Let's flip the politics around a bit. In Kentucky, a T-shirt company refused to print T-shirts that supported a gay pride event. They were charged with violating the county's public accommodation laws. They originally lost, but eventually a judge ruled that the company had not violated the law. They weren't refusing to serve the customers because the customers were gay. Rather, they refused to participate in producing a message that they found disagreeable. And it was the right decision. Nobody should be compelled to produce messages that support positions they oppose just because they are printers.

The whole gay wedding cake mess has turned out the way it has because judges and government officials don't see the creation of a wedding cake in and of itself as speech. It's different from asking for a cake with icing that spells out pro- or anti-gay (or abortion) sentiment.

Now, I don't think it's actually fair that a baker can be compelled to bake a cake while a printer cannot be compelled to produce a flier or T-shirt (by which I mean everybody should be able to decline business if they want to), but we should be clear that Office Depot is likely in the right here, as was the T-shirt shop in Kentucky.

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  1. OT but funny –

    Fox newscaster with incredulous expression on face and in voice: “This just in. An unbelievable development. Serena Williams has LOST.”

    I laughed.

    As my grandfather used to say “Aint no horse can’t be broke, aint no rider can’t be thrown. Some days its you, some days its the horse.”

    1. Who’d she lose to?

      I guess I can find out for myself pretty easily.

        1. Was she named after the city from True Detective season 2?

          1. She’s probably not that boring.

          2. Let us never speak of Season 2 again.

            1. Yeah – I caught up with Mrs. Almanian. I. Am. DISAPPOINT.

          1. The best tennis pictures are of Simona Halep before she got a breast reduction. Or so I’ve heard…

            1. I thought you liked ’em slightly crosseyed

            2. What’s Mary Pierce – a training bra?

          2. See, now that’s a tennis player.

        1. *angustias aspectum*

          1. *searches for gladius and pilum*

            1. *strokes statue of Caligula*

              1. Easy there, you don’t know where that statue’s been.

    2. PED distributors hardest hit.

    3. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

        1. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes… oh, hey, man!

        2. OK.

          I’ve kind of got a thing for an athletic black woman who could tear me in half.

          1. So, racially, you’re pretty cool?

    4. So I guess you could say Sereena’s opponent was inVINCIble today

      1. *raises eyebrow*

      2. You could, but you probably shouldn’t.

  2. Huh, abortion. Here, let me help this thread with an important OT:

    The Federal Reserve is putting some of its post-crisis actions under a magnifying glass and not liking everything it sees.

    In a white paper dissecting the U.S. central bank’s actions to stem the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, Stephen D. Williamson, vice president of the St. Louis Fed, finds fault with three key policy tenets.

    Specifically, he believes the zero interest rates in place since 2008 that were designed to spark good inflation actually have resulted in just the opposite. And he believes the “forward guidance” the Fed has used to communicate its intentions has instead been a muddle of broken vows that has served only to confuse investors. Finally, he asserts that quantitative easing, or the monthly debt purchases that swelled the central bank’s balance sheet past the $4.5 trillion mark, have at best a tenuous link to actual economic improvements.

    “There is no work, to my knowledge, that establishes a link from QE to the ultimate goals of the Fed?inflation and real economic activity”

    Duh.

    Next up, Cash 4 Clunkers didn’t help anything.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/18…..onomy.html

    1. Next up, Cash 4 Clunkers didn’t help anything.

      Well it helped to keep poor people out of affordable transportation.

    2. I have heard some whispers that the fed is anxious to shrink its balance sheet. I really hope so if they can realize they made a mistake then 1) anyone can and 2) the fed will stop mega-fucking the world economy and we can unwind a lot of nonsense.

      1. I would be astonished if Fed officials acknowledged their error. Not because they’re uniformly stupid cretins, but because they’re operating a fiefdom and like every fief lord they want to keep and expand it.

        1. Yeah but they might be pragmatic enough to know that expanding that fiefdom to the point where it explodes into chaos isn’t the best long-term fiefdom-management strategy.

          1. Yeah but they might be pragmatic enough to know that expanding that fiefdom to the point where it explodes into chaos isn’t the best long-term fiefdom-management strategy.

            You are assuming they are long-thinkers, that they want to preserve something to pass on to their first-born son. They really only just care about preserving their phony baloney jobs for as long as possible.

    3. Well it helped inflate the bank accounts of used car dealers everywhere and created a bubble in subprime auto lending by removing nearly the entire stock of cheap $1000 – $3000 cars from the market and forcing people into vehicles that were high enough in cost that they had no choice but to finance the purchase at 15% and higher APR’s

  3. She was invited to use the self-service copy machines, but told the Chicago Tribune that would have been an inconvenience.

    Seriously? SERIOUSLY!?

    1. Abortion fliers are a human right.

    2. No. No! Your comment wasn’t here when I posted!
      *throws empty whiskey bottle at the scientist*

      1. Look at you with your sexy, drunken violence.

        1. Just… back off… he’s taken.

          1. *mumbles, swears to check links before clicking in the future*

          2. I’d make their copies, if you know what I mean.

          3. You remembered! I feel like everyone forgets how much I love slumming and naked British men.

              1. THERE IS A DROUGHT ON.

                Besides, I’m generally too busy wanking to scally porn.

                1. The least you could to is masturbate outside so that your ejaculate can hit your lawn..providing the soil with moisture and organic nutrients.

        2. Hey, I was the target of that violence! Don’t forget about me!

        3. Look at you with your sexy, drunken violence.

          *tears off stain wife beater*

          I HAVE A DEMON INSIDE OF ME!

          1. I HAVE A DEMON INSIDE OF ME!

            There are so many gay jokes here I can’t make a decisions.

            Damn it!

    3. If a baker can be forced to bake a wedding cake for a union he finds disagreeable, then Office Depot can print goddamned KKK fliers if so asked.

      It cuts both ways.

      1. It cuts both ways.

        Ha! Silly peasant! Consistency is for suckers! It should only cut the way that makes me feel good and punishes people I dislike!

      2. You fool, you know it works on “Principals, Not Principles!” model.

      3. If a baker can be forced to bake a wedding cake for a union he finds disagreeable

        I’d like to bake a cake for the UAW. Just out of curiousity, how much strychnine can you put in a cake before the taste is noticeable?

    4. I am a bit confused by Office Depot – if they want no part in making flyers, posters, whatnot that are all hatey and discriminatory and such – why would they allow the copiers to be used?

      “Go ahead and make your poster of hate, and we will take your money for them, but we won’t run them through the duplicator ourselves”?

      Seems an odd way to draw a line.

      1. You obviously don’t have a degree from the Grievance Studies department at an accredited university.

        If you had such a degree, you would know that the icky-aura works along the same principle of distance squared law that gravity does.

        So if the sinner is way over in the self-help section the intolerance field is barely detectable back in the employee break room (where I’m sure they all sheltered in place).

        1. It really is a pity that all Grievance Studies majors are not tattooed upon graduation; it would make exterminating the little fuckers sooooo much simpler??.

      2. I think they were thinking “OK, go ahead and do it. But no one can know that I knew you were doing it. I am going to look out the window for a moment. Oh, what a pretty bird!”

      3. It does seem stupid. But they definitely have the right to do it. I think all of the people who want to refuse to serve gays, conservative Christians or whomever are stupid assholes. What do they think? That if they refuse gays won’t get married or anti-abortion people will give up? These things are happening anyway, why not cash in?

        Maybe I’m too cynical. But I don’t know why people want to waste their energy and money on crap like this. Shit that you don’t like is going to happen and you have to deal with it and get on with your life. As anarchisty libertarian, I learned this lesson some time ago. The world isn’t going to conform to my belief system no matter how much I protest or complain.

        1. I just thought it odd that they have this stance against hateyness…but will still help you out and take your money.

          I would expect either – “take your hatey hate hate elsewhere! No use of anything or any service here!”or “will that be cash, credit or debit?” not something strangely in between.

          1. It could simply be an HR thing. No individual employee had to do handle material objectionable to them.

        2. Maybe the posters were reeeeeeeeeeealy compelling?

          The assistant manager knew they were in trouble when the first clerk who looked at it took out her nose ring, twisted it into a fish and started calling her coworkers a bunch of baby killers? At that point she knew she had to stop the production of any more of those posters of mass persuasion.

          If it wasn’t for her bravery, the nation would have gone anti-abortion by the end of this weekend.

          1. That is quality snark, your Holiness.

            1. *blushes* *scuffs shoes* *mumbles thanks to 3rd grade teacher for inspiration*

        3. I blame the Muslims and the panty-wetters who support them because they’re victims. If it weren’t for the panty-wetters trying to force us all to give two shits about offending Muslim sensibilities nobody would give two shits about public policy offending anybody’s religious sensibilities. (I notice that there’s a big overlap between the sort of people that say we need to respect others’ cultures and the sort of people who slam the sorts of cultures that don’t respect other cultures.) Once you start successfully playing the victim card with regards to the Muslims, every other religion wants to get in on the action. The panty-wetters are offended that the Christians are playing the victim game, but the winner of the victim game is going to be whatever group is most powerful and most able to force everybody else to honor their claim to victimhood and the panty-wetters are the ones who started the game.

          1. I blame the Muslims and the panty-wetters who support them

            You refer, I assume, to women with a Muslim fetish?

      4. I am betting that the employee in question is likely to be fired as soon as upper management gets wind of this.

        You can’t let low-level clerks go around setting company policy on whose political messages you’re going to distribute. Have to nip that shit in the bud.

        1. The company appears to have had a policy, which the clerk was following.

          1. The policy is against hate-speech, more or less.
            The clerk was being very expansive in his interpretation of the policy. So expansive that I highly doubt his managers are going to agree.

            Unless there is something in that prayer that hasn’t been published yet.

            So far, the prayer does not seem the slightest bit offensive or hate-speechy to me.
            Nevermind that “abortion-rights advocates” are not generally considered a victim-class deserving of special protections.

            1. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to claim that a flier calling for the religious conversion of everyone who doesn’t share the beliefs of the person who wrote it is religiously discriminatory.

              1. The prayer doesn’t call for the literal religious conversion. I posted a link below. It’s a prayer that God will change their minds about the issue of abortion.
                It’s really not that big a deal. Seriously.

                I’ve seen way more offensive shit on anti-war fliers.

  4. She was invited to use the self-service copy machines, but told the Chicago Tribune that would have been an inconvenience. So she got a lawyer:

    Legal battles, famously known as being simple and convenient.

    1. No. But if a company discriminates against me, even if it is only inconvenient, I’m gonna make trouble for ’em.

      Most companies know better.

      1. Really? I’d go to competitor and tell all my friends and family not to do business there.

          1. Because I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars and countless hours to force someone to take my money.

            1. Contingency fee, bro…contingency fee.

              1. Is that what you call a “go bag”?

  5. The whole gay wedding cake mess has turned out the way it has because judges and government officials don’t see the creation of a wedding cake in and of itself as speech.

    Huh?

    It’s not a question of speech, it’s a question of forced labor. There’s a not-so-nuanced definition of forcing someone else into labor against their will.

    1. Who thought that making cakes was speech? There are other rights besides speech and religion. I’m not sure why forcing someone to speak is particularly worse than forcing someone to perform a particular job.

      1. Because the government doesn’t prohibit forcing you to work. Cf the draft.

        1. What’s the 13th amendment, chopped liver? I still say the draft violates the 13th amendment.

          1. Of course it does, but it’s not our opinions that matter.

          2. It does, but until you get 5 Nazgul to agree….

          3. Frankly, so does the 16th amendment.

            1. Yeah, but that’s a later amendment, so it wins.

      2. Because the 1st amendment protects speech and religion. There is not anything as explicit about work. Secondly, the meaning behind the work is what is causing the refusal not the work itself.

        So but no g a flag is not speech or dancing naked for tips?

        1. Legally, sure. But I’m talking about rights.

          1. We are talking about a legal case, the arguments of which are presented in what will most likely work in terms of law, not platonic ideals.

    2. And as we all know, the state has no prohibition on forced labor, which is why the difference matters.

  6. TL;DR version:

    Everyone thinks the law supports their beliefs and nobody else’s.

  7. I know, we’re laughing at her for not using the self-service machines, but (granting all the premises of “public accomodation”) why should she accept being treated as a second-class person?

    Does anyone imagine for a moment that a gay activist who was told that the bakery would bake a cake, but he would have to decorate it for a gay wedding himself, wouldn’t bring suit, and win?

    Sauce for the goose . . . ..

    1. How is this any different than allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control pills as long as there is someone else on staff that can fill the script for you?

      She could still get what she wanted, and the employee got to avoid doing something they didn’t like. Isn’t that the point of the objection laws?

      Does anyone imagine for a moment that a gay activist who was told that the bakery would bake a cake, but he would have to decorate it for a gay wedding himself, wouldn’t bring suit, and win?

      I do. I don’t think they would win. Just like you can’t compel someone to decorate a cake for you with a swastika or hitler.

    2. Lunchtime. I want some goose with sauce.

    3. Oh, the hypocrisy is stunning….but predictable. What about teh relijus freedumz of the copy shop?

      1. What religion is the copy shop? Copy shop’s aren’t peeeeepul!

    4. If she wants to… what’s the phrase… ‘fully participate in society’, then Office Depot must by the full force and might of the state, be allowed to get her fliers printed there.

      End of discussion. The logic is unassailable.

    5. that is a valid point. an example is you can no longer have a line that is only for handicap people because that segregates them as something else much like the water fountains of old for whites only and separate ones for blacks only, that segregated peoples, it diminishes them as group. by saying they would have to use the self help copiers segregates them, diminishes, them from the rest of the people. that being said every one should be able to refuse who they want which is stupid since if your in bussiness you want as much business as you can get from anybody.

  8. Office Depot, or any private business, should be able to refuse service to anyone for any reason. But we live in a post gay-wedding-cake/photographer world. If we’re going to be living in a world of forced association, it seems it should apply to everybody.

    1. It was a world of forced association before gay weddings, it’s just a fresh new round of butthurt.

      1. I suspect something was done there…and I may have observed it.

      2. Fresh? It’s feeling pretty fucking stale to me.

    2. This is what I hate…people don’t want your money, take it somewhere else and enrich someone less agin’ ya.

      1. First, Office Depot acquired OfficeMax.

        Office Depot acquired rival OfficeMax in 2013, bringing the number of national office supply chains down to two.

        And now Staples is taking over Office Depot

        The Federal Trade Commission is stepping up its probe of Staples Inc. ‘s takeover of rival Office Depot Inc., seeking sworn legal declarations that could be used if antitrust enforcers decide to challenge the deal, according to people contacted by the agency.

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/ft…..1441743704

        The number of national office supply chains is approaching one.

        1. The number of places with a copier available is more than that, however.

          1. Kinkos is still a thing right?

            1. The kid loving clown is still around?

        2. “The number of national office supply chains is approaching one.”

          Um, so?

          Is there a single good or service that office supply stores sell which cannot also be purchased at some other type of store?

          You can get every type of stationary at some combination of Wal Mart, CVS, or a Hallmark store. You can get office furniture from Ikea and numerous smaller local stores. You can get computers from Best Buy, Wal Mart, and nearly any other Department Store. and so on.

          In fact if they are worried about there being a single national chain of {insert store type} why aren’t they going after Ikea and Best Buy? They are both the sole examples of national retailers in their market spaces (furniture and electronics)

          1. That was my thought.

            Plus, you can buy a massive array of office products from countless retailers online, and probably for a better price, too.

          2. best buy & ikea arent the sole national purveyors of anything. plenty of other national electronics & furniture retailers.

            I agree with the rest of your point, tho.

      2. Yeah, why would anyone want to insist on giving their money to someone who finds their lifestyle, person or beliefs abhorrent when they could go elsewhere?

        1. It is about forcing people to do your bidding, about punishing people who have different beliefs than yours.

          This is just a counter-strike for the gay wedding cakes. The people who did this don’t give a shit about anti-abortion flyers.

    3. Yes, they should. But it goes back to the original jim crow laws and customs. It suited the Liberal Left at the time to make a great deal of fuss about private organizations discriminating by race. Such organizations were wrong, but they had a right to be wrong, and in their rush to force everybody to play nice the Left trampled that right.

      If, now, after the absurdity of the Baker, some bastions of Leftist Correct Thought are getting it in the shorts, well, it’s overdue.

  9. Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    1. Oh sure, give the short and correct answer. YOU ARE NO FUN!

      1. I must be having a rough week. People keep accusing me of that.

        1. You come sit with me Zeb. We will drink and have serious discussions about the mysteries of life.

          1. Don’t do it Zeb, drinking with Florida Man always ends badly (and usually in the headlines of the Daily Mail)

            1. drinking with Florida Man always ends badly

              Usually, reptile bites are involved.

          2. If I were closer, I’d take you up on that.

            1. If you ever visit orlando let me know, I’ll buy the first round.

  10. Sorry, but if you force bakers to make a cake, you can force printers to print fliers.

    Cakes, fliers and t-shirts are all just products that a company is trying to sell. If you are going to keep the abomination of public accommodation on law books, you need to be OK with forcing just about any business to serve any customer.

    Maybe more cases of Wrong Thinkers using these laws against the Right People will lead everyone to see the folly of forcing people to do business with people they don’t like.

    WTF am I thinking? Of course it won’t. It will just mean that the laws will be tweaked so that it is clear that it only works in one direction.

    1. Well, you can force people to do all kinds of things. That’s what government is.

      But the question was about rights.

    2. The uni-directional tweaking is a slippery slope we’ve slid so far down that justice is just legend.

      1. The failure of most people to see the problem with further tweaking of laws and the slippery slope is really the saddest part of all of this.

  11. Do they have the right to refuse? Depends on who’s being asked. I would say they do. I would also say a cake baker doesn’t have to bake cakes for gays.

  12. It was a mistake to allow those Christians to marry, now they’re going to beat us over the head with it.

    1. It was a mistake to have freedom of religion.
      /sarc

  13. Yes. And I’m anti-abortion.

    That was easy. Let’s talk about college football.

    I’m looking forward to Oregan-MSU. And it will be interesting to see if Tennessee finally deserves to be back in the Top 25.

    Really I just want (need?) Penn State to show up with the varsity coaching staff this week. I’m not sure who let the JV squad go to the Linc last week, but that was the most awful thing ever in the history of humanity.

    1. MSU by 7
      OU by 10 (the Vols struggled with f-ing Bowling Green, for fuck’s sake)
      Penn State will never win another national championship in my lifetime

      Next.

      1. I agree MSU.

        I think Tennessee will lose by more than 10.

        I don’t know how old you are, but they’ll win a national championship in my lifetime. But they need an OC with a playbook that consists of more than the 8 plays you could call in Tecmo. And an offensive line that consists of more than this.

        Actually, that would be an improvement. At least that line on that line scarecrow doesn’t block stop sign.

        1. I hesitated only giving OU 10, but it took them a bit to get rolling last week, and they are in Knoxville, so I tried to be charitable.

          It really wouldn’t surprise me if they blow them up, though. I just don’t see the Vols winning that one.

          Then again, I didn’t see a very mediocre Texas Tech beating them in Norman in 2011 when they were ranked 3. So who the fuck knows.

    2. How about that Cal team? 73-14 last week.
      Place your bets.

      1. 73-14 over the mighty Grambling State.

        Excuse me if I don’t get the vapors for how good they are yet.

        1. You will. Get on the train while it’s still at the station.

    3. How did PSU’s offensive line get worse then last year?

      http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11765681

      1. It really is remarkable. But fuck you so hard for posting that.

        1. Bosa vs. a non-scholarship athlete wasn’t really fair.

  14. Can I send my Anarco-Capitalist flyers to the government printing office and demand that they be printed? That would be an interesting test case. They print government propaganda all the time. Shouldn’t they “accommodate” my AnCap views as well?

    1. That’s different. They specifically exist to print government propaganda, not to serve the general public.

      1. I would argue that that government propaganda is indented to serve the general public and I want to serve the general public even more by providing an opposing view. Kim Davis at the Government Printing Office has no right to deny me my printing rights!

  15. MOAR KULCHER WOR!!11!!11!!!1!

  16. the babyphobic haters need to get over it and print the damn fliers. they surrendered their rights when they pursued profit.

    1. They agreed to follow all states laws when they accepted a state business license. I have been told this and have also been told that this is not a circular argument.

  17. Let’s flip the politics around a bit. In Kentucky, a T-shirt company refused to print T-shirts that supported a gay pride event. They were charged with violating the county’s public accommodation laws. They originally lost, but eventually a judge ruled that the company had not violated the law. They weren’t refusing to serve the customers because the customers were gay. Rather, they refused to participate in producing a message that they found disagreeable. And it was the right decision. Nobody should be compelled to produce messages that support positions they oppose just because they are printers.

    I didn’t know about that one. Good decision, for once.

    Of course Office Depot has the right to refuse, just like a baker should have the right to refuse anyone they don’t want to bake for. Simple.

  18. I feel like we’ve already had this conversation, except previously it was about gay pizza weddings. Also, cakes. Also, photography. And barbers. And cakes again.

    1. You forgot cakes

      1. And the Woolworth’s lunch counter.

    2. Who wants cake?

      I DO.

      I ALWAYS DO!

  19. Does Office Depot Have the Right to Refuse to Print Anti-Abortion Fliers?

    Only if florists and bakers, etc., have the right to refuse to serve gays.

    Hint: They do.

  20. Gee, it’s almost like the problem was public accommodation laws and not gay marriage all along…

      1. His crazy what?

    1. That’s just what a gay-bashing homophobe would say!

    2. WHYCOME FAGGOT WANT TO JALE XTIAN BAKERZ

      1. TEH GAY AGENDAZ!!!

        Derp.

    3. I don’t think so, Sug, all the comments are leading me to believe that homosexuals who want cake are at the root of the problem.

      1. There’s really no way to know what the actual cause of the problem is until John gets here to tell us.

        1. Oh that’s easy. You are. You are the root of the problem. You wanted this all along because you hate people. If you can’t see that I really don’t know what to tell you.

          I actually haven’t seen him in a while. I’m a little worried.

        2. Here I’ll help you guys out.

          Maybe the problem is government shouldn’t be defining marriage at all, and maybe some people think that Libertarians should be intellectually and morally consistent on the issue, instead of selling out their principles the moment it becomes trendy to do so.

          Gay marriage solved a problem created by government getting involved in something it had no business in, and fixed it by getting government involved in something it still has no business in.

          Seriously though, is their anyway government can define marriage without fucking over somebody? No there isn’t. By changing the definition they simply changed the people who were getting fucked.

          1. Oh look it’s someone else who wants to pretend states didn’t force public accommodation of gay marriage before they actually recognized gay marriages themselves.

            1. Sorry to rain on the “love wins” parade, but are you serious suggesting that the gay marriage decision has had zero effect on this?

              Talk about having your cake, and eating it too. Every time the issue comes up you guys try to celebrate all the good from this, while somehow denying all the negatives.

              Anytime someone expresses their dislike of the gay marriage, and BTW it way more people then just John, you guys basically accuse them of being ok with discrimination, and when they explain why they have a problem with it, why they’re concerned about people being sued you people wash your hands of it and cry “Public Accommodation laws Public accommodation laws!!” as if the two were separate, as if they were not linked.

              You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

              1. The gay marriage decision has had zero effect on my legal right to fire, to refuse to hire, or to refuse to serve Christians on the basis of their religion, blacks on the basis of their race, men on the basis of their gender, or husbands and wives on the basis of their marital status.

                It was also completely irrelevant to the major decisions people have complained about with respect to same-sex marriage accommodation, including the photographer in NM, the bakers in WA and the bakers in CO.

                So, in fact, the two were separate and were not linked. You keep saying they aren’t, with zero evidence. People were sued, and successfully, before gay marriage was legal nationwide or in the specific states where it happened.

                1. Exactly. The public accomodation laws were going to be used to force Christians to cater gay weddings whether or not gay marriages were officially recognized or not.

                  the idea that the courts were going to say “oh well, they aren’t really married THEREFORE IT’S OKAY TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THEM!!” is fucking ridiculous.

              2. Every time the issue comes up you guys try to celebrate all the good from this, while somehow denying all the negatives.

                Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

                The piggybacking of forced association with gays was predicted as a consequence of going after gay marriage through the courts as a Constitutional right, rather than through the legislatures as a statutory amendment.

                You can cry all you want about how “equal protection” isn’t the same thing as “forced association” in some platonic legal realm, but here on this planet they are joined at the hip.

                What was predicted is coming to pass. Its a shame, really. What’s really a shame is that very few people seem to be learning a lesson from it.

          2. Somebody who admits that people are going to get fucked no matter what, so he prefers to keep it where an already excluded group stays getting fucked while he remains less fucked, lecturing us on principles.

            Simply priceless.

            1. No I’m saying simply choosing someone else to fuck over is nothing to celebrate, not that you actually care what I said, or meant.

              1. You previously privileged group was going to get fucked over whether or not gays kept getting fucked over or not.

    4. Yes but you see since gay marriage would expand the group of people with access to public accommodation laws, it was an evil decision.

      Until we can do away with public accommodation law, the only answer is to freeze the already-privileged parties in place and not allow anyone else into the club. It is the moral duty of currently excluded groups to throw their bodies into the pikes to pave the way for freedom.

      Of course, you and I both know that public accommodation laws are not going to be repealed, so the real outcome of this is just to continue to exclude non-favored groups. But that’s neither here nor there.

      1. Where is John anyway?

        1. Must be one of the two weeks a year when he has work to do. Or he’s on vacation.

          1. I kind of miss the part where he declares he understands the motivations of all parties involved.

            1. Yeah, that’s the best. And everything that gay-rights activists do or support is now the fault of everyone who ever mentioned that they support gay marriage in any way.

              1. It’s what you wanted all along, Zeb. You should be happy.

                1. Yeah, Zeb, come get your prize! It’s all your fault!

                2. I just think gays are fabulous and don’t care whose rights I have to trample.

            2. Also the part where he misspells a word in such a way as to turn a boring screed into a delightful piece of poesy.

        2. I dunno, but I’ll try to fill in.

          Look, I get it that you hate Christians and are happy to see them suffer. But really all you’ve done is given more power to the state to punish people. You just like it because you hate the gross rednecks getting punished right now. But pretty soon you’re gonna get buttfucked by this and then I don’t want to hear you bitching about it. You’re just a cultural liberal who hates traditional Americans.

          1. Thanks, I needed that insight into my soul. It’s cathartic.

            1. Nobody really knows what they believe until John tells them.

          2. Too cogent.

            1. Not enough misspelled words.

        3. Please no. I generally like John, but gay marriage broke his brain.

          1. Guy seems pretty intelligent and well informed, and he adds value to most conversations, but goddamn, does he go full derp when gay marriage comes up.

            1. Exactly. I have some nice discussions with him before, but I just won’t talk gay marriage with him anymore.

              1. But that’s all he talks about…

                1. Yeah, he is approaching Dondero levels of rabid obsession.

                  1. You misspelled DONDERRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

                2. But that’s all he talks about…

                  He was explaining the rap music to me the other night.

                  1. Yeah… the rap thing might have been worse, now that I think about it.


                3. But that’s all he talks about…

                  Lately yes. Before I liked his history lessons.

          2. ^This

            I’m with you and Florida Man. The old John vs. MNG fights were one of the first things I remember about HyR.

            Usually he is a pretty good sport about being teased in the comments, but since the gay marriage shit, he has become unhinged.

            You know, next time I’m asked how gay marriage affects me, I’m going to tell them how I lost a good friend to it and tell them all about John.

            1. I always thought it was a myth that same-sex marriage would harm straight people. I mean, what would the mechanism have been?

              Now I know better.

              1. I always thought it was a myth that same-sex marriage would harm straight people. I mean, what would the mechanism have been?

                Now I know better.

                Priceless.

      2. Thank you, Gojira. You have succinctly described the people who I call “my-rights libertarians,” that is those who expect everyone to respect their rights but anyone who wants previously-unrecognized rights can fuck right off. People like robc, for instance.

        1. I never understood it. The worse ones are the people (who are themselves married) but who try to exclude others. I could make a doge meme out of it. Wow – So Hypocrisy.

          1. Look, Jimbo, no one would ever object to being forced to recognize their marriages. I mean, they’re just normal marriages! Not gross homo-y ones.

            1. That is a great example of an opinion that has never been expressed on HnR.

              No it’s between people who think government shouldn’t be involved in marriage, and so-called Libertarians who seem to think a little more expanded government is ok if it’s for a good cause.

              1. When will you get it through your head that there is no such thing as government not being involved in marriage.

                You have to have an equitable alternative which accounts for the above FACT.

                1. When will you get it through your head that there is no such thing as government not ending the drug war?

                  When will you get it through your head that there is no such thing as government open borders?

                  When will you get it through your head that there is no such thing as government not regulating your business?

                  When will you get it through your head that there is no such thing as government not telling you what you should eat, not educating your kids, not policing whats said on radio

                  etc etc etc.

                  It’s amazing for me to see Libertarians who are so hardline on other issues, completely sell out on this one.

                  1. When will you get it through your head that there is no such thing as government ending public accomodation laws?

                  2. For most of those, you’re actually correct. The drug war is the only one that there’s anything even resembling a mass counter-opinion on.

                    For the rest of them, it’s easy to be dogmatic and claim to not have an opinion other than, “Get gov’t out of it”. That lets you off the hook for actually thinking through anything that works in real life.

              2. Your sarcasm meter…recalibrate it.

                Also, Nikki has major cred here. You, n00b, not so much.

                1. Nikki has major cred here

                  SMH

              3. And yet, weirdly, a bunch of the people who claim to think government shouldn’t be involved in marriage are state-married.

                I wonder why that is.

          2. We’re not trying to exclude others, we’re trying to save them the misery.

            It’s a public service really

          3. The worse ones are the people (who are themselves married) but who try to exclude others.

            As a divorced previously married person, I for one stood up for everyone’s right to remain unmarried!

      3. So basically you admitted that by expanding those “rights” you’ve also expanded tyranny. Was it a net positive in your mind?

        1. Describe the alternative.

          Keep in mind while doing so, these conditions.

          1) There is no way currently to repeal public accommodation laws.

          2) There are some legal aspects to marriage which cannot be replicated via private contract (this was always a red herring, anyway. Private contracts get disputed and overturned in court all the time, so they would have never had the same force as codified statute).

          3) Your alternative must not be something that could also apply to interracial marriage. I mean hey, once niggers could marry white women, that expanded the group of people who could sue, didn’t it? So that expanded the tyranny of the state.

          3) Being perfectly OK with enjoying said rights yourself, while simultaneously denying them to others, doesn’t make you a libertarian. It makes you a piece of shit who prefers keeping out-groups legally discriminated against.

          Ok, now that the conditions are laid out…GO.

          1. Well that didn’t take long for both the name calling, and the accusations of being pro-discrimination.

            Funny you have no problem accusing John of telling people what their motivation really is, but have no problem doing the same to me.

            It’s really simple get the government out of marriage…Hell if you want you could create a civil union contract as an umbrella to handle all the legal aspects of it if you want, it solves all the problems. It ends the culture war issue.

            Sort like just end the drug war, it’s really simple.

            Basically support a real solution, not a bullshit big government solution that ends up causing more problems then it solves. Basically be a fucking Libertarian.

        2. I’m with Gojira here.

          We can talk the theoretical libertarian beat about government out of marriage. But since the government carves out (according to one NPR report) some 12,000 benefits to married couples, denying gay people that option, that’s tyranny. Opening up that option for gay people hurt no one and didn’t expand Big Government in any real way.

    5. Bear in mind that the gay activists managed to get several rulings in their favor which can now be used against Office Depot.

      So, yes, I would say there’s a connection.

      1. Perhaps a connection in how it played out on the ground. But not really in the underlying legal issues.

        1. I’ve generally been speaking in terms of the practical politics of the matter.

  21. I’d love to know more about this story. Was it really some moral conviction that caused the Office Depot workers to turn her away? Or was it a case where the the two surly teenage workers didn’t feel like making any copies? Their qualms about printing the posters were related more to pure laziness than any moral objections.

    I know a “friend” who as a young man had been known to tell tourists all sorts of outrageous lies in order to avoid having to do any actual work for the tourists.

    And by the time it gets to corporate HQ of Office Depot, it is already too late to resolve quietly.

    1. Does anyone know if OD is chain or franchise?

      Were these flyers of a biology textbook nature, you know the gory propaganda of which fetus fanciers are so fond?

      And I would say that OD is prolly going to lose a lot of church program business, except that in my experience those are often produced by church members using their employers equipment and supplies (aka stealing, shocking for church people, I know).

      1. I know that when I went into my local OD a few weeks ago because my old Kindle broke and they had a sale on them the fuckwit working there didn’t give two shits whether I got one or not.

        The jackass took forever to paw through their inventory in the valuable cage. After he finally told me they were out of stock, I had to prod him to check the inventory at other nearby OD stores.

        Fucking Amazon! Why did they make the Kindle so fucking good I can’t live without one? Crackheads don’t have to go crawling to indifferent lazy dealers when they run out. No, they get to go buy more from a motivated dealer who is motivated to give them what they want for money.

    2. Oh I would bet on some surly 20-something white progressive chick who just got hired last week.
      Someone who is a bit too politically opinionated was having a bad day and took it out on a customer who came in to get some abortion fliers printed.

  22. I’m guessing in this battle between Socons and Home depot, and the Gay activists and bakers, that the winners will be the lawyers, and the losers will be everyone else who just wants to live their lives.

    1. And the losers are already people who value proper order of modifiers.

      1. I value your contribution very much.

  23. So if I’m a baker and don’t want to bake a cake for queers, but I offer them the use of my blender and oven, etc, I’m OK?

    1. They are not going near your oven and you won’t be able to convince them.

      1. Actually I think they will be so tired from the train ride that they won’t have the energy to resist going near his ovens.

    2. Once you decided you wanted to make teh evul profits, it stopped being your oven. Now it’s everyone’s oven.

  24. Obviously the answer is “no”.

    But I think that this particular case, it is beyond a doubt that the courts are going to rule that they were discriminated against.
    You can’t discriminate on the basis of religion. There wasn’t anything inherently offensive about the message in question. Office Depot isn’t a closely held private corporation.

    1. Er, Obviously the answer is “yes”. (I was thinking that “no” the customers in question don’t have a right to get Office Depot to print their fliers, somehow it got mixed up in my head).

    2. But I think that this particular case, it is beyond a doubt that the courts are going to rule that they were discriminated against.

      Why do you believe that? Do we not have plenty of examples where if you’re not a favoured-group-du-jour, you don’t get your day in court?

      1. Hobby Lobby got it’s day in court over birth control pills. And they won.

        This isn’t even going to make it to SCOTUS. Office Depot is going to get bitch-slapped at the state level, if they don’t fire the employee and settle out of court first.

        1. I think you’re wrong about that. The tshirt shop is a good counterexample, and the Colorado gay cake case specifically included a caveat that it was not about a gay message being written on a cake, which would have required a different analysis.

          1. I’m not familiar with the T-shirt shop example, but the anti-gay cake (with the quotes from Leviticus etc.) was much more clearly an “offensive message” than this. And the bakery in question wasn’t a large publicly held corporation.

            There have got to be thousands of anti-abortion groups around the country who print fliers with various prayers to change hearts and minds on the issue. This is the first time I’ve every heard of anyone taking such a prayer as an incitement to discriminate against abortion-rights advocates. It’s just frankly absurd to interpret it that way. If this prayer advocates discrimination, then half of the political literature in the country advocates discrimination on the basis of political party.

            Honestly, I bet that within a week, some higher ups in Office Depot are going to put the smackdown on this and order the branch in question to apologize. They will do it quick before it hits the mainstream media.

  25. BTW, is this why we Libertarians are always accused of being assburgers linear thinking mofos?

    Because when a gay person demands a cake be made, we can see all the 3d chess moves ahead and know that an anti-abortion activist can demand copies be made?

    “The shit is chess, it ain’t checkers!”

  26. “She was invited to use the self-service copy machines, but told the Chicago Tribune that would have been an inconvenience. So she got a lawyer:…”

    Interesting twist. In any case, the CEO of Office Depot should have asserted that his Unitarianism obliged him to reject directly printing the flyer.

  27. Illinois public accommodation law does indeed prohibit discrimination of customers on the basis of their religion. But that means it’s against the law to turn away Goldstein solely on the basis of her faith. It does not mean, as Olp seems to think, that Office Depot is required to participate in the production of a message with which it does not agree, religious foundations or not.

    I’m having trouble discerning the difference. Isn’t refusing to participate in the production of a religious message, when that’s your business, discriminating against customers on the basis of their religion?

    But then I’m of the mindset that discrimination occurs in business all the time. Public accommodation laws are futile at preventing discrimination, at best. At worst, they give preferential treatment to certain groups at the expense of the freedom of other groups.

    1. That’s very…. thoughtful.

        1. also, you get to make twice as many posts as necessary
          http://tinyurl.com/nf5tzvo

        2. First the squirrels, now this. SMH

          1. the squirrels made me dumb

    2. Disparate impact is enough to show discrimination. (I don’t like anti-discrim laws either, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander)

      The policy Office Depot quoted in response doesn’t support the refusal of service, which further indicates that they’re trying to hide their true motivation.

      Frankly I don’t see how a relic from the 1990s like Office Depot can afford to turn away business and risk bad press. The main thing saving them from a mass boycott is that so few people actually go there anymore.

  28. Hmmm…prolifers lowering themselves to the level of their adversaries and making a precedent which their adversaries can invoke against them…nice work, folks! Good work ignoring the big picture.

    “Now, I don’t think it’s actually fair that a baker can be compelled to bake a cake while a printer cannot be compelled to produce a flier or T-shirt (by which I mean everybody should be able to decline business if they want to), but we should be clear that Office Depot is likely in the right here, as was the T-shirt shop in Kentucky.”

    You can engage in expression without actually writing the phrase “gay marriage is awesome” on a cake.

    Look at it this way, a wedding party is a form of expression. It communicates a message – “we’re celebrating the union of Ted and Biff.”

    Lots of ingredients go into that message – the cake, the cucumber sandwiches, the band they hired, the rented room at the Hilton, etc. It’s the combination of these things which generates the message, “hurrah for Ted and Biff, we’re happy for them and we honor their union.”

    1. Could the government confiscate the cake or cucumber sandwiches from the celebrants because these things help with a pro-gay message? Of course not – the celebrants have the right to communicate pro-gay messages.

      (Of course, the Health Department could ban the cucumber sandwiches based on bona fide concerns about infected cucumbers, so long as that isn’t simply a cover for censorship.)

      What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander – if the government can’t *prevent* wedding celebrants from communicating pro-gay messages, it can’t *require* businesses to help the celebrants in communicating that message.

    2. the cucumber sandwiches

      Are these real things?

      1. They are, and can be quite tasty. Time for tea!

    3. You’re confusing freedom of speech with freedom of association.

  29. Office Depot ain’t a person. It gots no rights.

  30. Does Office Depot have the right to refuse to print the fliers?

    The answer depends entirely on how gay the customers requesting the fliers are.

    If the customers requesting the fliers are not gay, then yes. Office Depot is fully within it’s rights to refuse to print the fliers. If the customers are somewhat gay, then no. Office Depot must print the fliers. If the customers requesting the fliers are very gay, then Office Depot must print the fliers and pay the customers $135,000.00.

    Of course, American law is made up as we go, so everything may change before the day is over.

    1. “Of course, American law is made up as we go, so everything may change before the day is over.”

      Did . . . did someone just decry the wisdom of democratically elected political elites who appoint bureaucrats and judges who then impose hundreds of thousands of fiat rules at the federal, state, and local levels which then ensnare non-elites in a byzantine web of arbitrarily chosen statutes?

      Why, that’s downright unamerican.

  31. “Olp doesn’t know the difference between anti-discrimination laws and the First Amendment.”

    A lot of people are having that problem, and I can’t say I blame them.

    It seems to have become commonly accepted that it’s okay to screw over everyone so long as everyone is screwed over equally–without regard for race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Suspect_classification

    When screwing treating everyone equally becomes the most important standard, why wouldn’t people become confused about whether that standard is more important than how people are treated?

    What do you mean the people who own and operate the newspaper get to decide what to print in their own paper with their own press? They aren’t treating me equally, and treating me equally is the most important thing of all!

    It’s a group identity based attack on individual rights. It’s wrong when the gay rights community does it to fundamentalists, and it’s wrong when fundamentalists do it to members of the gay rights community.

    The fundamentalists and the gay rights community deserve each other–the only real question is why the rest of us should have to suffer them.

  32. “Olp doesn’t know the difference between anti-discrimination laws and the First Amendment.”

    The problem is that 90%+ of the people out there doesn’t know what a right is.

    A right is the right to make a choice.

    The right to bear arms means I have the right to choose to own and carry a gun. It doesn’t mean I have the right to choose to own and carry your gun.

    The right to a free press means I have the right to choose what to print and sell. It doesn’t mean I have the right to choose what you print and sell.

    Even the right to free speech means I have the right to choose what I say. It doesn’t mean I have the right to use my speech to violate your rights–by threatening to shoot you if you don’t give me what is rightfully yours, for instance.

    Once we get it through people’s heads that a right is the right to make a choice, and now one has a right to violate someone else’s right to make a choice, everything will start falling into place.

    So long as people think our rights are the result of a popularity contest and circumscribed by the carefully considered opinions of old people in robes from Ivy League law schools, we’ll continue to be subjected to ridiculous horseshit questions–like whether people should be forced to bake cakes or print flyers against their will.

  33. Heres a link to the actual flyer so you can decide for yourselves if it advocates discrimination against “abortion-rights advocates”:

    http://tinyurl.com/p2nbndg

    1. Why does it matter?

      If they don’t want to print something, why should they be forced to do so by the government?

      Rights means the right to make stupid choices, too.

      People should even be free to choose their own stupid religions.

      1. I agree. I don’t think they should be forced to do anything.

        I just think it is highly doubtful that Office Depot isn’t going to lose this, and quickly.
        It’s an inoffensive anti-abortion flyer like thousands of others around the country. Whoever decided it was too offensive to print is a fucking nutcase who is about to get fired.
        There is about zero chance that the lower level courts aren’t going to smack this down in a New York second.

        I’ll be shocked if higher up execs don’t back track, fire the clerk and order the branch to apologize within a week.

        1. If the court take the content of the flyer into consideration, then that court is way off the reservation–as far as the Constitution is concerned.

          Courts are still loathe to uphold obscenity charges based on content alone, aren’t they? If there were a minor involved, that would be one thing–but then that isn’t about the content. It’s about a victim not being old enough to consent and a statutory rape taking place.

          This business should be free to refuse to print LOL cat photos in the name of Scientology and all that’s stupid and unholy. Whatever reasons the business gives for their decision should be good enough for the law–if the law is there to protect our right to make choices for ourselves.

          1. Again, I’m not disagreeing. But I think they will easily lose, because the actual content of these fliers … is not really objectively offensive. Whoever turned them down just didn’t like their political views.

    2. Er “the persecution of people who support abortion rights”.

      (Seriously, this is like saying that a flyer opposing the drug war is equivalent to advocating the persecution of cops. )

  34. The whole gay wedding cake mess has turned out the way it has because judges and government officials don’t see the creation of a wedding cake in and of itself as speech.

    Huh? Baking an ordinary cake with no writing on it is definitely not speech. The wedding cake fiasco is a matter of freedom of association, not freedom of speech.

    1. Both of which are First Amendment rights. Why should the First Amendment protect your right not to reproduce a message, but not your right not to associate or do business with someone?

  35. The stupid genie is out of the bottle and the cork rolled down the drain.

    Both sides in the Kultur Kampf will continue to beat each other about the head on these issues. We all lose because the result will be more petty commissions making up more petty rules leaving us with less freedom of association. Most people have entirely forgotten it’s in the 1st amendment and that’s not a good thing.

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