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|Gulfport’s “human rights” ordinance: progress or height of hypocrisy?
In a recent article titled, “A Tale of Two Counties Progress in Gulfport and another step backward in Hillsborough“, we are told by Wayne Garcia:
“As Hillsborough County again made international headlines for its gay-hating policies last week, the small and funky city of Gulfport in Pinellas County took a different route.
Gulfport became just the fourth government in Florida - and the first in Tampa Bay - to adopt a human rights ordinance that protects gays, lesbians and the transgendered.”
But, when one analyzes the touted “human rights ordinance” it turns out that Gulfport’s City Council, in approving the ordinance, has decided to ignore its oath to support and defend constitutionally protected rights of all its citizens. In essence, the ordinance creates a favored class and impinges upon the rights of those who are not favored by the ordinance by restricting their freedom of choice, individual liberty, and their rights associated with property ownership, and does so to pander to the favored class created by the ordinance!
What the ordinance does is allow identifiable groups characterized in the ordinance [homosexuals, lesbians, the transgendered, and even those having unique "physical characteristics"], to invoke the force of government as a favored class against owners of property and business owners who may be unwilling to enter into contractual agreements or associate with them, and who may be fined under the ordinance for exercising their freedom of choice.
Before continuing, make no mistake, such an ordinance in general is very much applicable to folks in government and government operations, but is not applicable, nor should it be, to taxpaying citizens in their day to day activities and who the constitution is designed to protect.
Our Declaration of Independence states a self evident truth which freedom loving individuals ought to memorize:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
There are those who may glibly equate such words with “political poetry“ and not binding law, but all freedom loving people find such “poetry” an irrefutable observation of a self evident truth. Even our SCOTUS has often referred to one of those unalienable rights___ LIBERTY!
Since the founding of our nation, inalienable rights of mankind have been repeatedly recognized which include, among other things, the right to life, liberty, rights associated with property ownership and the pursuit of happiness. And, within the meaning of “liberty” the U.S. Supreme Court has properly noted that the right to contract is within the meaning of liberty:
"While this court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty thus guaranteed, the term has received much consideration and some of the included things have been definitely stated. Without doubt, it denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men." See: Meyer v Nebraska262 US 390 (1923)
But even more important, let us not forget what Florida’s own Court has stated in the Terri Schiavo case. The Court held the view that a government act “impinging” on a fundamental right is “presumptively unconstitutional” and requires the state to carry the burden to show the act in not unconstitutional
So, as it turns out, the ordinance in question, which impinges on the fundamental right to contract, impinges upon fundamental liberty and impinges upon rights associated with property ownership, is in fact “presumptively unconstitutional”!
Fact is, those who promote and support the ordinance have pretended to take a high moral ground and denounce the immorality of discrimination. But the Court has already addressed this frivolous and misleading claim:
In Lawrence vs. Texas, an opinion well known by the supporters of the Gulfport ordinance, we find:
.“The Bowers Court was, of course, making the broader point that for centuries there have been powerful voices to condemn homosexual conduct as immoral, but this Court's obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate its own moral code”
Anti-discrimination laws which have nothing to do with race, color, or previous condition of slavery and have been settled by a constitutional amendment, are not only a blatant interference by government with the unalienable rights of mankind, but, when one considers the practice of these laws by folks in government and activist judges, they turn out to be, by their very nature, an arbitrary form of discrimination in-and-of-themselves!
The Gulfport ordinance, like many other anti discriminatory “laws”, federal and state, are intentionally designed by political advocates and hacks to interfere with and impinge upon fundamental rights of an identifiable group, or groups, they disagree with.
These “political advocates” were elated in 1996 when ROMER V. EVANS was handed down, which struck down Colorado’s Amendment 2. So why do they not now recall what the Court stated concerning “equal protection of the law“?
A second and related point is that laws of the kind now before us raise the inevitable inference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected. "(I)f the constitutional conception of `equal protection of the laws' means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest." Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 534 (1973). Even laws enacted for broad and ambitious purposes often can be explained by reference to legitimate public policies which justify the incidental disadvantages they impose on certain persons. Amendment 2, however, in making a general announcement that gays and lesbians shall not have any particular protections from the law, inflicts on them immediate, continuing, and real injuries that outrun and belie any legitimate justifications that may be claimed for it.”
With reference to the Gulfport Ordinance, we are once again faced with a law intentionally designed having “a disadvantage which is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected.” The class bearing the disadvantage are those who may not wish to enter into contracts and relationships with the identified groups characterized in the ordinance but are given a special advantage to impose themselves upon unwilling individuals using the force of law.
And what did the Court say in reference to this?
"(I)f the constitutional conception of `equal protection of the laws' means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest."
Why is there such a fervor among homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, etc., so much as to impinge upon the fundamental rights of a politically unpopular group who may choose to avoid any dealings with homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, etc., ? Does this unpopular group not deserve the same equal protection from the law in pursuing their happiness as those who assert a different life-style than theirs?
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of darkness.___Supreme Court Justice William Douglas