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.
The anti-gay rights position in the US come mainly from a religious point-of-view, leading the argument against to be framed as the government violating the separation of church and state. The argument for gay rights stands on indivdual rights.
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 would then be restricted to ensuring that the establishments comply with their selected position.
How does this help? Some businesses will declare their willingness to serve gays. Others won’t. Henceforth the marketplace (the use by citizens, rather than government legislation) will determine which businesses prosper. If some customers don’t want to be around gays, they can go to the restrictive stores. If other customers are indifferent, they can shop at the store that suits them, Each establishment 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 choice also allows gays to know which companies will welcome them, yet it leaves business owners the right to run their businesses according to their moral compass. The number of businesses serving gays will grow or shrink to serve the marketplace. Same with hetero-only businesses.
Not an ideal solution, but a workable step that honors both gay and religious rights.