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Let’s not forget who is discriminating and who is discriminated against

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, June 26, 2008 14:34 EDT
 

One thing that continues to frustrate me about the pharmacy refusal debates is that all the attention is paid to the rights of pharmacists to religious freedom, and none is paid to the rights of their customers that are being violated. I think in part this is because almost all those refusing service are men and almost all those being refused are women (or gay men, in some cases). And we as a society tend to think first of the rights of men over women. But we’re letting the wingnuts frame this argument—by making it about the religious rights of the refusers, we are letting them subtly imply that women are not citizens with full rights worth equal protection by the government. In my latest column at RH Reality Check, I argue that when a pharmacist refuses to serve a female customer because he believes she is sexually active in a way that goes against his religion, he is discriminating her on two counts that are arguably illegal:

1) Discrimination against customers based on gender and
2) Discrimination against customers based on religious affiliation. The pharmacist is not the only person with a religious belief. As I argue in my piece, what happens in a refusal interaction is the pharmacist gains information that the customer has a religious belief he disapproves of (one that allows for the use of contraception) and he refuses service based on that religious belief.
I don’t know where pharmacies stand as “interstate commerce” businesses that are controlled by the Civil Rights Act that would express forbid them from discriminating on the basis of gender and religion, but Scott points out that since pharmacists already can’t work without a state license, so I’m guessing the answer is a big, fat yes. Refusing to offer full services to certain customers because of gender and religious beliefs reminds me mostly of segregated bathrooms from the pre-CRA days. Black customers were allowed to use the restaurants and restrooms, but were relegated to second rate service. Segregated bathrooms were banned under the CRA, and I think that segregated service levels at the pharmacy counter should also qualify.

Sexists hope that hiding behind religion will confuse the issue, and sadly they’re right that Americans have short memories and are easily confused. But let me remind you: Segregation was defended using the religion card. A great many white people claimed to sincerely believe that the Bible required that the races be separated, a belief that was even in the decision of the judge that sent the Lovings to jail for interracial marriage, resulting in a lawsuit that ended up overturning bans on interracial marriage. We would not accept a hotel manager who felt that his hotel was exempt from the CRA because his religious freedom means that he can impose his will on black customers and refuse to put them in any rooms but broken-down shacks in the back. Nor should we accept a pharmacist who does the equivalent with his female customers.

Unfortunately, gender discrimination is a hard argument to win in court, though it shouldn’t be since the laws regarding gender are pretty much the same as the ones regarding race. It’s too bad, too, because if feminists had gotten their way and court decisions like Roe were determined on the basis of equal protection instead of privacy arguments, then it would probably be easier to argue that refusing a certain percentage of women’s medications while allowing men access to all they wish to purchase is a matter of discrimination.

By the way, I’m still fuming at how Lord Saletan pooh-poohed the idea that being denied your birth control in a pharmacy is a humiliating experience. Saletan will never have complete strangers sum him up upon their first meeting with him and dismiss him as a slut. But a slut is exactly what a pharmacist is calling a woman who he refuses birth control to. I don’t know if Saletan has daughters, but I’m going to guess if he did, he wouldn’t think that it’s no big deal to have perfect strangers mistreat them and call them sluts.

McCain meets (in private) with Log Cabin Republicans

By pams

UPDATE: The Freeper reaction to the hush-hush meeting is below the fold. In a get-together not on McSame’s public schedule, he met with members of the Log Cabin Republicans. Gee, why wasn’t this a big public event — you know, to help educate the rest of the LGBT community about John McCain being down with the homos, that he’s “unashamed, unembarrassed and proud” to associate with the pro-marriage equality gay organization? Gay Patriot received confirmation…

 

Shorter Michelle Malkin

By Jesse Taylor

Today, liberals kept a man who raped his stepdaughter from dying in prison by confining him to death in prison.…

 

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Cristal

By Jesse Taylor
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 23:46 EDT

As we enter the fourth week of the Glorious Revolution, Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs is getting a little bit overzealous. “If we all register and vote, we will have the first black president in the history of America,” Sean “Diddy” Combs told the crowd Tuesday at the Shrine Auditorium before chanting…

 

Revenue Is For Loser States

By Jesse Taylor

The state of Ohio is tight on cash, and one of the big fights that’s consuming the statehouse is how to continue paying for things. State Rep. John Sidney (R-Sidney) has the simplest solution, which is to apparently stop. For 36 years, Ohioans have been sending a portion of their…

 

Ohio: ‘Christian’ woman’s ‘Obama is a baby killing Arab’ smear

By pams

These fringe folks are throwing anything they can against the wall. Tim Russo of Blogger Interrupted has the story of an Ohio woman named Joy Atwood who managed to get on the Cleveland CBS affiliate and spew complete batsh*ttery — Barack Obama is an Arab, and wants to kill babies.…

 

I Look Forward To You Ripping Me Off Several More Times

By Jesse Taylor

On the way home from the store this morning, I heard a radio ad for RadioGasDeal.com. The gist of it is that it “guarantees” $2.49 gas for any eligible household by giving you $15 gas cards for completing certain offers, the offers mainly being signing up for various subscription services…

 

Nader’d

By Jesse Taylor

Noted black man Ralph Nader accuses Obama of “talking white”. Much of this is, of course, attributable to John Edwards, but I remember Obama – and Clinton – spending a lot more time talking about poverty and urban issues than any other campaign in recent memory. He even has specifically…

 

No…You Don’t Say?

By Jesse Taylor

You mean that the tons of partisan strategists with no campaign job in a bellwether election year are just hacks with little, if any, real strategist experience? I am shocked and appalled. I did appreciate this line, though: Of course, the very benefit of bringing a strategist on the air…

 

The Childcare Boogeyman

By Jesse Taylor

Gather ’round real close-like, everyone. I’ve got a spooky story to tell you about the Government and the Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Mommies. One of the most dramatic changes in American life in the years since World War II involves the way we raise our children. We used to…

 
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