So yesterday I watched this video, I suggest you do the same just to know what I’m talking about. It concerns a news story about a restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee, where the restaurant owner refused to serve a US Senator for his ignorant homophobic policies and statements (for future reference in this post I dub this the ‘initial situation‘). According to the video and news article this guy has said some pretty bad things in the past, such as comparing homosexuality to bestiality, and that it is ‘impossible to get AID’s if you’re heterosexual‘. He also promoted the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill which would have prevented the discussion of homosexuality in American elementary and middle schools.
Now to your surprise this article isn’t about his supposed statements, or whether they might be right or wrong. I openly disagree with them, and hopefully this to you is something that doesn’t need to be debated. This is more about whether the restaurant has the right to reject him for being homophobic. The authors in the video argue that you have the right to believe in what you want , and say what you want, because freedom of speech is something everyone has the right to without fear of being ostracised. By refusing to allow the senator in, they in fact were discriminating against him for his beliefs, and you shouldn’t combat ignorance with discrimination. They proposed an ‘opposite situation’ in that if a restaurant had refused to serve someone because they were pro-gay rights wouldn’t that be wrong? I however, am calling bulls**t on this one – they, to me, are not the same thing.
I am a firm believer of freedom of speech, and the right to believe what you want, but I also think that there is a limit to free speech. Its quite simple: if your speech promotes discrimination of a race, gender, or sexuality for no other reason than their race, gender or sexuality you are free to get the f**k out of the same room as me. In this situation I totally agree with the restaurant owner and will fully back them. The difference between the ‘initial situation’ and the video’s ‘opposite situation’ is that the former is promoting discrimination, the latter combating it. The former shouldn’t be tolerated, the latter should be. I think that in this situation ‘discriminating’ against someone who promotes ignorance, prejudice and discrimination is A-OK.
I thus propose to you another, more accurate, ‘parallel situation’: where a person that had said known racist things in the past such as “Black people are not humans, they are monkeys,” and that “they are HIV infested,” was refused from a restaurant. I believe this and the ‘initial situation‘ to be more accurate parallels because they are both combating discrimination. In neither of these two situations should the person’s beliefs be tolerated. Only it’s a lot easier to agree with the parallel situation because racism is something that in today’s day and age is absolutely abhorred and is recognized as wrong, incorrect, scientifically inaccurate etc… and if you disagree with a restaurant owner who has ejected a known racist, tbh I think there’s something wrong with you. The only difference is that unfortunately, homophobia still isn’t; sexuality is still something that is openly debated in politics regarding morality, and whether it is a lifestyle you choose.
So in the end it boils down as to whether you you hold sexuality as in the same esteem as gender, and race. I do, and thus I agree with the restaurant owner’s actions.
If you however disagree with this, and that it is more a freedom of speech issue then feel free to comment!
(Any gay-bashing will be insta-blocked, you have been warned.)