On Firefox and Wedding Photographers

The OK Cupid website is protesting the Mozilla CEO's past donations to anti-gay-marriage campaigns by asking visitors to use something other than Firefox to browse their site.  Readers will know that I have actually led a past Equal Marriage effort in Arizona, so while sympathetic to the cause here, I don't think I would go so far as to block a browser to my website.  Establishing this precedent that I would boycott services and products based on the political views of company employees (which is the issue here, Mozilla does not have any official position on gay marriage that I know of), I could consume my whole life doing research.  And then I would be stuck with questions like "Are the gay marriage opinions of the Firefox CEO better or worse than Google/Chrome's enabling of censorship in China?  As I have told some folks before, if I really wanted to do do business only with those who agree with me politically, I would find myself stuck for life listening to a couple of Rush albums and watching Firefly and Wire reruns all day.

But anyway, OK Cupid is a private company and I presume they do this with their owner's approval so all's fair in conducting commerce or choosing not to conduct commerce.  Except that just a few weeks ago everyone was arguing that photographers should be forced to serve gay weddings even when they do not wish to do so.  Is this any different?  If we are going to establish a public accommodation standard that a business cannot turn away customers based on political or religious preferences, then don't we have to enforce that in a value-neutral way?

  • lelnet

    Doing it in a value-neutral way would be missing the point. The whole reason such policies exist is to put the immense power of the state and the courts to use as weapons for those wishing to bully politically disfavored groups.

    From where, I must ask, do you think the push for forcible redefinition of marriage really comes from?

  • joshv

    No Coyote, one group is objectively right, the other is objectively wrong. Moral relativism is only useful when yours is the minority position and you wish to promote it as a valid equal to the majority position. Once your position becomes dominant, you can freely through moral relativism out the window.

  • Mercury

    "Except that just a few weeks ago everyone was arguing that photographers
    should be forced to serve gay weddings even when they do not wish to do
    so."

    -----------------------------------------

    Well not all of us were because some of us realize that this isn't about public accommodation at all. The giveaway is that there is no real victim here (except maybe the photographer). The notion that those involved with planning a gay wedding are being under-served by professional photographers or that gay spouses-to-be would want to hire someone for such a task who is antagonistic to the whole enterprise is absurd.

    This is entirely and only about poking a finger in the eye of a certain, long established cultural norms that are no longer deemed trans- or progressive enough. I'm not saying there is no legal technicality to enforce here but a civil society doesn't throw the book at a kid running a lemonade stand without the requisite 17 licenses and permits (another favorite "progressive" government pastime) and it doesn't pull this kind of crap either. Solve a real problem for F* sake.

    No Muslim photographer will ever be forced to snap photos at a pig roast at the Playboy Mansion under this precedent or (match your favorite "oppressed" identity group with the most antithetical, legal activity/event you can think of) and everyone knows it.

    Neither the deep history of Anglo-American law nor the classical and Judeo-Christian ethical standards that underpin them have ever been "value-neutral". The current, fetishistic obsession with Compliance is not a value, it's a cultural pathology.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} As I have told some folks before, if I really wanted to do do business only with those who agree with me politically, I would find myself stuck for life listening to a couple of Rush albums and watching Firefly and Wire reruns all day.

    Don't presume the values of creators match yours by any means. Babylon 5 is also indisputably a strong libertarian piece, yet the creator, show runner, and majority writer is a libtard idiot from the word "go". He openly supported throwing the book at George Zimmerman, and actually attempted to make the argument that, because there was no actual evidence of misaction by liberals at the abortion crap that went on about a year ago in Texas, that that was PROOF that it was all a complete fabrication by conservatives. When shown footage of the protesters chanting HAIL SATAN in response to people singing Amazing Grace, he denied utterly that was what was being chanted.

    And of course, when he realized he was losing the argument on his own FB site, he silenced his opposition by banning them, despite the fact that I (yes, it was me he banned) was intentionally polite and reasonable.

    }}} But anyway, OK Cupid is a private company and I presume they do this with their owner's approval so all's fair in conducting commerce or choosing not to conduct commerce. Except that just a few weeks ago everyone was arguing that photographers should be forced to serve gay weddings even when they do not wish to do so. Is this any different? If we are going to establish a public accommodation standard that a business cannot turn away customers based on political or religious preferences, then don't we have to enforce that in a value-neutral way?

    Of course not. Equal Rights under the Law don't count if you're any part of the "WASP Patriarchy" (as in "white" OR "anglo" OR "protestant" OR male).

  • mesocyclone

    I am not much on boycotts, but OK Cupid would earn mine. My primary reason for opposing gay marriage is that it will enable gay radicals to run roughshod over the rights of anyone who disagrees with them - as per the wedding photographer in New Mexico.

    As long as gay rights advocates are willing to use their successes to persecute others, I'll oppose any of their initiatives. Oppression of gays in the US is over. All that's left for gay rights folks is redefinition of society, and using that to oppress folks.

  • Aaron

    It's becoming increasingly apparent that the sexual revolution will end up as one of the more culturally corrosive events in American (world?) history, and I say that as someone in his mid-20's. It's not sexual freedom per se - the notion that our forefathers were sexually repressed is common but quaintly incorrect - but the totalitarian impulse that now accompanies it that grows steadily more frightening. Gay marriage is the issue du jour, but it hardly ends there. My student fees while at university, paid for by my parents, subsidized condoms, lubricants, and sex toys regardless of my parents' wishes (which I assure you were not in favor). Most students in public schools receive "comprehensive" sex education whether they want it or not. The White House, supposed representative of the entire nation, is in court arguing that Catholic nuns should be compelled to provide medical services that clearly contravene their deepest held beliefs. I'm sure you could tack on your own examples.

    The bottom line is that the cultural/political message is increasingly "you will be made to participate." I share many of your libertarian feelings, Coyote, including the belief that the ideal state has no role in the definition of marriage. Since it's not an ideal world, I understand the libertarian argument for gay marriage and some other aspects of the sexual revolution; they plausibly fit into the broader libertarian philosophy. But libertarians, if they take an honest look at what's going on, have to be deeply troubled by the world that is springing from those arguments. In fact, the legalistic argument that "private businesses can do what they want" misses the point. While that's true and desirable, a healthy civil society is about more than legalisms. A healthy civil society, especially one built in the libertarian image, does not demand the destruction of a man's livelihood for his political beliefs. But on many fronts - gay marriage, abortion, "women's rights" more broadly - this is precisely what is happening.

    We could comfort ourselves that the case of Mozilla is isolated, but we know it's not. These issues are being battled out in legislatures and courts around the country, and in many cases the outcomes are downright authoritarian. There is a reason that freedom of association is right up there with religion and the press in the Bill of Rights. The right to freely associate with others of one's own choosing is critical to the functioning of civil society. The more we carve up that right, the more we approach a civil, and increasingly political, form of authoritarianism that will be very difficult to correct. I understand that libertarians who support gay marriage are celebrating as it becomes more common, but all of us who share libertarian beliefs may very well rue the sacrifice of religious and associational freedoms that gay marriage is bringing with it.

  • CapnRusty

    The gay community and its Leftist supporters have been pushing the rest of us to accept gays despite our recognition that they differ from us in a most elemental way. They have demanded that we do what they want for reasons of justice, equality and tolerance, which most of us acknowledge as legitimate social goals. We have heard them, and there have been many changes. But for the activists in the gay community, it's not enough that we straights "accept" gays, despite the fact that they are different from us in such a fundamental way. The activists want us to think that gays are normal, and they want our children to think that gays are normal. Liberal theology holds that if we think something is normal, then, it's normal, despite reality. And we are now seeing how incredibly intolerant Liberals are of anyone who dares to think differently. They don't want us to think differently, they want us think exactly like them. Their raw, naked intolerance is on display for all to see.

    By now, most of us know gays who are not community activists, who constitute the gay "silent majority." They seem to accept the fact that they are different from straights, but they don't bludgeon us with it. They are tolerant of differences. That group, the gay silent majority, could do their cause much good if they would boycott the fanatically intolerant members of their community, such as OKCupid.

  • http://itsaboutliberty.com/index.php MNHawk

    An issue is losing me when tolerance becomes forced acceptance or else.

    And no, just because some Fascist piece of garbage demands I stop using a product because of an employee having a heart felt political belief, doesn't mean I'm going to stop typing this with Firefox, a product I've used since Netscape went away.

  • pegr

    So, ah, which Rush albums? I'd go with Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves.

  • wreckinball

    " then don't we have to enforce that in a value-neutral way?"

    We should but of course we don;t. Its against the law to discriminate based on:
    race (black)
    gender (female)
    sexual orientation, in some states (gay)

    The laws are written without the parenthesis and thus SHOULD be prosecuted neutral. But in reality only if the agreived party is the group in the parenthesis are the laws enforcerd.

    Which really means we shouldn;t have these laws. We should all just be equal.

  • marque2

    Can't discriminate against sex, unless it is the law. Try getting your daughter's hair cut at a barber. They have to say no because they are not allowed to cut woman's hair. I should start a protest.

  • marque2

    He is talking about how old Limbaugh books on tape :P

  • mahtso

    "Well not all of us were because some of us realize that this isn't about public accommodation at all."
    This is correct, with the reason being its a 1st Amendment issue. To say that a photographer is required to create work against her will is much like saying the blogger must write about what ever issues the state tells him to write about.

  • wreckinball

    Which is a good reason not to have the law. A private business should be able to choose who they do business with.

  • FelineCannonball

    Does the boycott extend to Java?

  • mahtso

    The CEO has now resigned. Andrew Sullivan wrote about this saying the gay-rights crowd has adopted the same intolerance/tactics as the religious right. Although I think the religious right characterization is based more on biased reporting than fact, Mr. Sullivan (presumably) does not, which is key to understanding where at least some of those on the left stand (i.e., preaching tolerance but practicing intolerance).

  • Angus S-F

    Interesting take on this from ESR recently:

    "I think it is now
    the duty of every friend of free speech and every enemy of political
    bullying to pledge not only to donate $1000 to the next
    anti-gay-marriage initiative to come along, but to say publicly that
    they have done so as a protest against bullying."

    Seen on this ESR blog post:
    Pushing back against the bullies
    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5651

  • Magua1952

    Don't stop with gay marriages. Child molesters should be allowed to wed their victims, and receive full government benefits. Brothers and sisters should have their marriages sanctioned by the state. Fathers should be allowed to marry daughters, and mothers with sons. So many civil rights remain to be imposed on our rude and hidebound population.