Ryan T. Anderson

Ryan T. Anderson is unhappy. Today he writes: “The Hypocrisy of Big Business Attacking Georgia’s Religious Liberty Bill” at Heritage Foundation’s blog. Anderson and many of his colleagues have never worked in private industry. Anderson might be a superlative catechist but he knows nothing about commercial competition or meeting a payroll. In his mid to late thirties now and still a single virgin Anderson has many areas of ignorance.

Last Wednesday, February 17, the Georgia senate passed what is best described as aninvitation to discriminate. It has the specific (and intended) effect of nullifying non-discrimination ordinances in Atlanta and other municipalities. Big business is doing what I expected them to do. Anderson writes:

And already special interest groups and big businesses are trying to pressure the governor into refusing to sign the bill unless it is significantly watered down in the House.

Anderson whines:

Big business, as represented by “individual corporate giants including Hilton Worldwide, Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group,”
the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, and the Georgia Hotel &
Lodging Association, have all spoken out against the religious freedom
bill as opening the door to widespread discrimination.

But if every Hilton, Marriott and InterContinental hotel in Georgia already hosts receptions for newlywed same-sex couples—why can’t Georgia protect the mom-and-pop bed-and-breakfast or local Knights of Columbus hall that has a different set of beliefs about marriage? This law doesn’t harm minority rights, it protects them in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.

There are two very simple reasons, Mr. Anderson:

  1. Those smaller establishments do not require protections. They are not houses of worship (Anderson’s real concern of course is the K of C). Serving gay couples does not compromise Free Exercise in any way whatsoever. They do not require the right to demonstrate their disapproval, and that is all that it is — and;
  2. Regardless of the policies of an individual hotel chain, who wants to patronize a bigoted state in the first place when there are better options? Why subject employees to an area with policies that are unfriendly to them?

The concerns of the hospitality industry are obvious. There are many reasons that business opposes these bills (they doomed one in Indiana last year). In order to compete businesses want to attract and retain the very best talent. Anything that interferes with that is problematic. Executive recruitment often involves relocation. More importantly, perhaps, is the probability that gay employees (particularly executives) are going to start to explore their options for employment in more welcoming locales. Replacing them will be more difficult and it is very expensive. Tack on an extra 40% in addition to pay for the first year to cover acclimation and training expenses. Retention saves money.

After the decision in Obergefell the rational thing to do is to insure that public policy reflects the law of the land. States should be making an effort to be more inclusive — recognizing the reality that the status of gay people has changed. Anderson actually makes this point later on. Of course his intent is a bit different:

And protecting minority rights after major social change is a
hallmark of American tolerance and pluralism. Georgia should stand
strong and defend these rights.

Give me a fucking break:

You might want to turn your bullshit detector’s volume down before this next tidbit:

Other states have penalized bakers, florists, photographers, farmers
and adoption agencies simply for acting on their belief that marriage
unites a man and a woman. Georgia wants to avoid following this bad
precedent. Georgia wants to promote tolerance—and is being attacked
because of it.

That’s like saying that Jim Crow laws promoted tolerance for white supremacists (most of whom spouted similar religious excuses for their bigotry). Really. The simple solution is not to carve out laws to accommodate that same photographer, that same florist and those same two bakers. The simple solution is for these few religious crackpots to either post a sign that they disapprove of same-sex marriage or bake the damned cake in conformity with the law.

Throwing in adoption agencies is about Catholic Charities who were doing the work of the state, for the state and with taxpayer funds. Anderson has a Catholic First mentality and is not representative of the vast majority of Catholics who support gay rights in proportions greater than the general public. That, too, Makes Anderson sad.

Anderson is stunned that Obergefell didn’t go his way. After all, he and Robert George were so persuasive in their book and amicus briefs. How could they possibly not prevail?

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.