Now that I’ve spent a couple of posts explaining why libertarians shouldn’t actively support these so-called religious freedom laws it’s time for me to explain their upside. As with anything these laws are not black and white. There are pros and cons to them. One of the pros of these laws is that they encourage bigots to be open about their bigotry and therefore allow me to be a more informed consumer.
Let’s take the quintessential Christian baker asked to make a cake for a gay wedding. Under these so-called religious freedom laws the baker is able to turn down the request due to it violating their religious beliefs. Without these laws they are not able to do so without facing the wrath of the state.
I don’t like to support people who actively work against me or my beliefs. This is why I appreciate those “no guns allowed” signs. With a simple sign I know that the owner discriminates against people who would defend themselves from a violent attacker. As a person who believes self-defense is a right I don’t want to give money to anybody who is actively trying to interfere with people defending themselves. Those signs help me be a more informed consumer so I can take my business elsewhere.
These so-called religious freedom bills can give me more information as a consumer. If a baker refuses to bake a cake for a gay wedding then I know the owner(s) discriminate against homosexuals. Since I strongly oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation I can avoid doing business with that bakery.
Not only do I believe in the freedom of expression I also encourage people to express themselves loudly. This goes doubly so for business owners. I know, people often say they want business owners to shut their mouths. That is certainly the smart thing. But I really do want to know if a business owner is actively working against my goals so I can choose not to provide them with resources to do so. The more information I have at hand the better my decisions can be.