States across the United States are mandating full citizen rights for gays. The Supreme Court will be ruling on the issue soon.
The conflict between gay rights and religious rights is a thorny one. Who’s rights are preeminent? Any gay person should be able to expect service from a retail outlet, yet other people should be able to live by their moral code.
Morals in the US come predominantly from religion. The argument is typically framed as constitutional rights, the government enforcing individual rights versus the separation of religion from government.
Here’s a thought to accommodate both interests, at the price of fragmenting services. The idea is simple – all public venues must declare whether they will honor requests from gays – yea or nay. They must post their decision in their ads and have placards stating it clearly at their retail outlets.
The government’s role is restricted to ensuring that the companies comply with their stated position.
How does this help? Certain businesses will declare their willingness to serve gays. Others won’t. The marketplace will determine which businesses prosper. Each will adjust to the inherent demand for their services.
This choice only applies to retail offerings, not to hiring practices, although it’s obvious that any company’s stated position will affect the desirability of working there.
This allows gays to know which companies will welcome them. At the same time, business owners can run their businesses according to their moral compass. The number of businesses serving gays will grow or shrink to serve their marketplace. Same with hetero-only businesses.
Not an ideal solution, but a workable step that honors both gay and religious rights.