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So in response to the above on Facebook, this brilliant, openly gay son of one of my friends had this to say. In advance, may I just add….? Ann Coulter? Watch your back. Andrew Stephens is about to school you..

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I’ve held off on putting my thoughts out there about this, because when I tried to, it turned into this crazy long, winding essay.

The heart of the issue for me is this: I believe that a natural, inalienable right to liberty is the foundation of a person’s right to be gay, free from government coercion, just as it’s the foundation of a persons right to choose who they associate with based on their personal beliefs.

What happens when the people’s natural right to their liberty collides with the desire to mandate “equality” for a subgroup of the population? Although it may not have been the case in the past, I’d say it would be easier to allow people the right to “discriminate” today because, largely, there are so many other options for people beyond needing to associate with “discriminating” parties.

Of course, a political faction that takes no time to emphasize the consequence of choices and culture, but rather blames any and all bad outcomes in life on “discrimination,” wouldn’t feel the same way. But, this situation raises so many questions about the role of the state in preventing “discrimination,” empowered by a political majority, when in the past the state has, via a political majority, MANDATED discrimination (I assure you, I didn’t use the term “mandate” just because I’ve dated men).

Where does the role of the state begin and where does it end? There is not, and never will be, equality in life. No two people will be equal by all measures, nor do they need to be. Happiness and success are subjective human concepts. But the Left has this obsession with “business.” I assume no mainstream Leftists would suggest that people don’t have the right to refuse entry into their home, even for the most “bigoted” and idiotic reasons. But what makes a business different from a home? The fact that money changes hands there? Well, if that’s the case, I guess a home becomes a business if someone runs a small business out of it or the parents pay the children an allowance.

Anyway, moving on from that, I have to say: in a discussion on it earlier today with a liberal friend, the topic somehow pivoted from “a photographer/baker not wanting to provide services for a gay wedding, while not refusing to serve gays in a more general sense” to “GAYS CAN’T GET ANY SERVICES IN ARIZONA, THEY’RE DYING!!!!!”

When I pointed out the problem with that argument, I was told I had a point. The real issue here isn’t whether or not this bill is “anti-gay,” it’s whether or not the state has a legitimate role in forcing people to deal with other people, and for what, if any, reasons the presence of “business” changes the equation. The fact that this debate hasn’t even dealt with the difference between, say, denying someone a cake for their wedding and, say, denying someone life-saving medical treatment speaks volumes, I think. In a general way freedom of association is a fundamental right that separates us from a more communistic sort of arrangement.

If we’re generally free in our lives to pursue a living on our terms, rather than terms dictated to us by the state (collectivism), well, we’re pretty free. If we aren’t, we’re slaves to the prevailing political and moral order.

Some would say that’s fine. As long as it meshes with THEIR preferred concept of morality. But that brings us back to the problem, doesn’t it? Is the only difference between the legitimate legal expression of morality and the illegitimate legal expression of morality simply who is in power at the time and can make the laws? That’s not consistent with a belief in a natural right to individual liberty, which again, I believe is the foundation of a human’s right to be gay.

Anyway, this turned into a long, winding thing once again! The point is, I think the shrillest of “gay rights” complainers are no longer seeking the freedom to be who they are.they’re trying to force people to like them, to accept them, on THEIR terms and no one else’s. And, speaking as a gay man, that’s not the right way to go. Especially when we’re talking about photos and cake.

Andrew Stephens, NYC