State ALEC chair, Senator Ed Emery is pretty riled up because it’s becoming clear that the freedom-to-discriminate bill, SJR39, is attracting negative attention from businesses that think it might hurt their bottom line to be associated with bigots. He’s clearly aware of the economic firestorm that descended most recently on North Carolina after its Governor signed a similar bill. He’s even gone so far as to suggest a boycott of businesses that have made their opposition to SJR clear:
… It is disappointing to see a number of businesses, who depend on Missouri customers, publicly oppose the religious protections of SJR 39 and hammer legislators to oppose it. Some of them include MasterCard (makes me glad I use VISA), Edward Jones, Monsanto, AT&T, Ameren and Dow Chemical. Their opposition has motivated me to begin checking product labeling more closely than ever before.
Get that? These national companies “depend” on Missouri customers who, Emery obliquely suggests, might just follow his lead and refuse to purchase their goods or use their services. Kind of like nipping at the backside of the dog that’s got your backside gripped in it’s vice-like jaws. I’ll wait to see how badly potential Missouri refusniks manage to scare MasterCard.
But the subtly proposed boycott of the boycotters isn’t the best that Emery is capable of giving us. Consider, for instance his justification for going after these businesses:
The Tories, you may recall, resisted any separation from England, preferring the assurances of the King’s provision and protection to the individual liberty and economic freedom sought by the Whigs. The love of liberty prevailed, and the Declaration of Independence was composed and issued. The colonists that signed that document and those that armed themselves in support were not unaware of the economic and military measures that the King could take against them. The blockade of the port of Boston was just one of the “Intolerable Acts” that the King took in hopes of bringing the colonies back into submission.
It was clear during the NPR program that the Tories’ arguments of yesteryear are being used today. They fear another “Boston blockade” of Kansas City or any other Missouri city. They threaten economic disaster to those who would stand against the elitist oligarchy of five Supreme Court justices. The oligarchy redefined marriage and thereby overturned the expressed will of the people in thirty states. Somehow they discovered same-sex marriage in the Constitution even though the state had neither created nor sustained it. At least King George’s actions might be explained in that he reigned in the age of the divine right of kings. No one will find a divine right of the judiciary anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
Somebody explain to Senator Emery that the majority opinion of the Court is based explicitly on the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment. While the constitution does not spell out a right to “same-sex marriage,” neither does it specify a right to any other type of marriage. Nevertheless, the court has long recognized that there is an abstract right to marriage itself based on the degree to which the institution has been traditionally recognized. The Equal Protection Clause forbids arbitrarily excluding any class from the benefits accruing to the holders of such established rights.
And, while we’re at it, what’s with the Whigs and Torries business? We know that it’s fun to play revolutionary good guy – remember when some fervent Tea Partiers sported tricorn hats and knee breeches at their pep rallies? Of course, logicians tell us that analogies like this are liable to fallacy. The parts of the analogy need to actually correlate with the parts of the entity to which it is being compared.
Does anyone really equate businesses that resist bigotry with oppressors? Or, to put it another way, does anybody really equate business owners with heroic revolutionaries when all they want is the freedom to refuse service to members of the public based on their private biases? Didn’t we take care of this type of discrimination when we integrated dime-store lunch counters back in the sixties?
Given the degree of indignation Senator Emery feels about the Obergefall v. Hodges decision, it’s amazing that he didn’t feel moved to hold forth about “Whigs and Torries” when the Supreme Court’s “elitist oligarchy” employed far more creative 14th Amendment arguments in Citizens United v. FEC. Could the difference in his erspose be explained when one considers that Citizens United trashed campaign finance rules that were hobbling the ability of rich men like Emery’s ALEC mentors to buy the kind of government that they want?
Edited for clarity.