A. Barton Hinkle on Israel, Gay Marriage, and the Right to Withhold Consent


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What does the Israel boycott movement and gay marriage have to do with each other?

A. Barton Hinkle explains:

Both of those issues have turned up in this year's Virginia General Assembly, although one has received far more attention than the other. Israel turns up in a bill that takes a swipe at the BDS movement, which urges boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel for its treatment of Palestinians.

The BDS movement is woefully misguided and deeply flawed. But it has every right to be. Nothing in the Constitution protects the rights of only those who are correct on the merits of an issue. Yet a bill in the House of Delegates (HB1282) would have prohibited state contractors from boycotting goods from Israel…

During a recent Editorial Board meeting with opponents of the legislation, one BDS activist pointed out that, after all, people should be free to do business—or not do business—with anyone they pleased. The government should not tell people with whom they must conduct commerce.

And that is a valid argument.

But many of those who might sympathize with that argument regarding BDS find it abhorrent in another context.

The House of Delegates has passed a religious-freedom measure that some call a "license to discriminate." It stipulates that a government entity cannot take action against a person who holds a religious objection to gay marriage.