If you're read my previous post you'll know that I recently sent off a few letters to legislators in an effort to spread the good word about LGBT equality. One of the letters that I wrote was to Representative John McGinnis. Somewhat surprisingly, the response was an email in which he said he'd be happy to sit down and meet with me. I was intrigued, and I set up a meeting.
The meeting happened today. I wanted to talk it out while it was still fresh in my head.
As expected, Representative McGinnis was very polite. We sat down and I laid out my issue. In Pennsylvania, LGBT persons are subject to fully legal discrimination in employment, public housing and accommodation etc. As a staunch defender of pure capitalism, Rep. McGinnis pointed out that enacting anti-discrimination laws is not the way to stop employment discrimination. He believes that if a business, for example, didn't hire women, the way to combat that discrimination is to put them out of business, one assumes, by no longer patronizing the business. This is an economic argument that I've read. And it's great, if you live in a world ruled by the laws of pure capitalism and where everyone shops their conscience. The problem is that, whatever the Tea Party wants to believe, we do not live in a country that is purely capitalist. Beyond that, most people don't shop with their conscious. Sure, if a business refuses specifically to hire women, they may be put out of business, but most hiring discrimination isn't that blatant. In any case, it would seem that Representative McGinnis doesn't believe that the government should make any regulations regarding why you can or can't fire or hire someone. My assumption is that he doesn't like the current anti-discrimination laws for those reasons as well. It is apparently, as he says, our "God given right" to discriminate. People shouldn't be bigoted, he argues, but it's not the government's place to make laws about it.
Can you guess how he feels about hate crimes legislation? Well, that's the government being thought police and that's bad.
Having this part out of the way, I decided, what the heck, I'm going to go ahead and jump in the deep end. I asked him what his feelings were on same-sex marriage. Well, while he has no problem with gay people, even with gay people adopting. However, his feeling is that the purpose of government being involved in marriage is because of the "third party" that is created through marriage, by which he means children. Because heterosexual marriage can create children (and, of course so can any man and woman having sex), that's the reason that the government makes laws regarding who can and can't marry. For example, brothers and sisters can't get married or first cousins, or 12 year olds, etc. Lesbians and gays can't (I mean, except through artificial insemination, but whatever) produce natural children and therefore the government doesn't need to be involved in their relationships in any way. When I put to him that heterosexual married couples gain benefits from marriage that lesbian and gay persons don't get, he denied that there are any benefits. He said that he could go out on the street and pick the first stranger that walked past and buy property with them. I'm no real estate law expert, but I'm fairly sure that married couples purchasing property deal with slightly different regulations than two strangers, or even two friends. Heck, even a boyfriend and girlfriend for that matter.
So there you have it. He's a very polite gentleman who doesn't believe in anti-discrimination laws, hate crimes legislation, or marriage equality. He did tell me something that has really stuck with me though, and I think I will absolutely take to heart. If there is a person in business who is a bigot, the best way to deal with him is to put him out of business. I will keep that in mind when Representative McGinnis goes up for reelection.