Randall Best: Civil rights for all

March 8, 2014 

Regarding the March 4 column “The terms of surrender on same-sex marriage”: I was dismayed by Ross Douthat’s lament from the wrong side of providing civil rights for everyone and the wrong side of history as well. The United States of America has a progressive history of eliminating discrimination thereby becoming a more inclusive society.

Douthat would not advocate discrimination on the basis of a person’s religion or race, yet somehow sexual orientation should be permitted. Public accommodation laws that prohibit discrimination are now being applied so that everyone is afforded the same rights that he enjoys.

The idea that an individual’s religious beliefs should allow him to treat someone else as inferior and deny her service is appalling. Particular religious beliefs should not trump our human rights, no matter how passionately held. These rights are not up for negotiation. Douthat acknowledges that the cause of permitting discrimination for religious reasons is lost and that contemporary legal opinion is against it. Although religion can be ennobling, discrimination based on religious views is not a noble cause. It never has been.

Randall Best

Leader, Ethical Humanist Society of the Triangle

Durham

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