reverse discrimination

Posted on May 30, 2007

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I’m all for gay rights. I’m solidly behind equal rights. I believe that people should not be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, race or religious beliefs. I believe everyone deserves the same equality and homosexuals, or anyone for that matter, should not be persecuted for having different practices as those in the mainstream.

That’s why I read with some trepidation the news that an Australian pub has legally banned heterosexuals from a gay bar.

I understand the logic behind it — the move is meant to stop shameful heterosexual or homophobic behavior, such as going to the Peel Hotel pub in Melbourne to point and laugh at the gay patrons there.

No one wants to be treated like animals in a zoo. And the Peel’s clientele certainly have a right to party in peace.

But while I see the logic, I don’t agree with the principle behind it.

I know I’m sticking my neck out but I believe that if we were to be sincere in our declarations of having equal rights for all, a ruling of the sort in Melbourne violates the principles of equal rights and opportunities.

Think about it — if the ruling was reversed, it would spark a chorus of outcry or even protests. This is discriminatory and there are double standards, no matter how you cut it.

Substitute the ban based on sexual orientation with something else, say, with race. Imagine if the ruling was that whites couldn’t be patronize a certain bar. That wouldn’t be right, would it?

Sure, I know that in practice, many places are that way. The door bitch at a certain bar could refuse entry to certain types of patrons that didn’t match its profile or target clients. But that’s not enshrined in the law. It doesn’t have the force of the law behind it. It’s when it is the law that it becomes inappropriate in a society professing equality for all.

This inequality endorsement is a dangerous precedent, sending us down a slippery slope. If this is accepted, what’s next? Don’t forget this could also cut both ways. Homosexuals could be targeted in other pubs, with rules saying that they aren’t welcome.

Equal rights should mean equal rights, no exceptions. The pub in this case could have employed a more vigilant security team to kick troublemakers out of its premises. The Victorian state government has taken a step backwards in equal rights. Funny considering Australia’s equal opportunity laws prevent discrimination based on race, religion or sexuality.

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