Jerry Falwell’s website recently had commentary about a lesbian woman who filed suit against a company who provided film/video copying that refused to provide their services to her because the documentary she needed copied was about Gay Pride. His point seems to be that he doesn’t feel one should have to provide services to the gay or lesbian community, if it is offensive to you or goes against your religious beliefs. It sounds like a reasonable argument, until you put the shoe on the other foot.
Take for instance my own case. I am a Registered Nurse, and I work in the emergency department. I personally find alcoholics, drug addicts, religious bigots, and republicans morally objectionable. Should I not have to provide them services when they come into the ER? Can I pick and choose who gets CPR and who doesn’t? How about a Police Officer who happens to be gay or lesbian, are they not responsible for protecting the lives and property of religious bigots who persecute them, as well as the rest of the communities they serve? Should a gay or lesbian firefighter not be required to put out the flames at a church that regularly preaches against their rights to work, marry, and protect their families?
If someone is requesting something illegal, then I believe you have the right to refuse service to them. If you operate a business, and offer your services to the community, then you have to follow anti-discrimination law. You might not like it, believe me, we don’t either some times. It’s not easy to stand over a drunk who’s cursing you and calling you a ‘dyke’, while you’re trying to clean the urine they’ve dribbled all over themselves and help to suture up the gaping lacerations in their heads from the bar fight they were just in, and all the while they’re explaining how YOU are an abomination in God’s eyes. It’s not easy for a gay or lesbian police officers, firefighters, doctor’s, or paramedics who do their jobs every day without asking to be allowed to “pass this one up” because we don’t like the ideology of the person who needs our expertise.
Suck it up Falwell, we do it every day.