While I've been hunkered down and slaving away night and day at my office preparing tax returns, there's been exciting things happening in my small town. We made the big time. It's all here on the Huffington Post.
The owner of the bed and breakfast, located just outside of town in one of the few local wooded areas, has blatantly refused to allow a civil union ceremony to take place there as requested by a gay couple. The business actively markets its locale for wedding ceremonies, private parties, etc.
The B&B owners are very religious and are members of an area Apostolic church which frowns on gay lifestyle, and Mr. Owner sent some very strong emails to the couple about his beliefs and quoted Bible passages.
" We will never host same-sex weddings even if they become legal in Illinois. We believe homosexuality is wrong and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it. It's not too late to change your behavior..."
The couple is now suing for discrimination.
The local newspaper and residents' Facebook pages have been filled with comments, mostly in support of the gay couple. There are some who think a business should be able to pick and choose the people they want as customers because this is a free country, right?
Well, not so fast, folks. This isn't a free country. Government says you business people can't discriminate based on race, creed, color, religion, and sex. You can discriminate for other things like credit-worthiness, dress codes, or smoking, but just not those things named in the Human Rights Act.
One interesting thing I noticed was that one of the most vocal commenters of the "it's a free country and he (Mr. Owner) can do anything he wants" is a former City Council member, who seemed to have no trouble at all telling business owners, developers, and residents what to do when he held that position of power. I hope he has indeed had a laissez-faire epiphany since his government days.
We don't live in a truly free-market society here in the USA, but thankfully there is enough freedom remaining that I suspect the capitalist marketplace will ultimately dictate whether or not Mr. Owner's now very public personal beliefs will allow his B&B to succeed in the future.
And that is exactly why we don't need government regulation. When outraged customers within a marketplace don't particularly like certain business practices, they will find alternative places to spend their money and those scorned businesses will eventually close.