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All this anti-gay legislation popping up in Arizona, Uganda, and even Washington is troubling for its permission of discrimination, of course, but I'm also troubled by another facet that I haven't seen discussed much.  When we talk about anti-gay legislation, what do we mean by 'gay'?

You see, if a government were to say specifically that it is all right to discriminate against 'gay' people, or 'homosexual' people, what exactly do they mean by that, and who gets to make the determination?  If I don't consider myself to be 'gay', but a business owner does, can that business owner refuse to grant services to me on that basis?  Whose call is it?  

Eventually what this will require is for the government to develop a clear definition of 'gay', so that we can all know who is and who isn't.  

Does the definition require one to have had some sort of intercourse with someone of the same sex?  If so, would the government need to prove that?  How would they do so?  

Is it just 'gay' thoughts?  Will there be chips installed in people's heads to moniitor these?  Will our reactions to different pictures be monitored and catalogued?  I'm not even being facetious; I actually do not understand how such an is-or-isn't determination could possibly be made.  

Does the definition require someone to state in public that they are 'gay'?  What if they take it back?  What if it was a joke?  Is there a form to be signed?  An affidavit?  An oath?  A club?  A box to be checked on our taxes?  A certain patina that can be verified spectrophotometrically?  

I just think it would be really quite astonishing to have legislation treat people differently because of personal things they may or may not do, or thoughts they may or may not have, which can't even be proven.  Would the government issue a letter to be worn?  A big sparkly "G"?  Would that make it easier for everyone?  

Again, none of this is in the least facetious.  How people are to be officially defined as 'gay', and how we are to keep track of that for legislative purposes, is a question I simply do not have an answer for.

Maybe someone could help me with that?

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Comment Preferences

  •  "Actual or perceived" (5+ / 0-)

    That's what most modern inclusive anti-discrimination laws include in their definition of sexual orientation.

    •  But that's the problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LuvSet, Ashaman, Cassandra Waites

      All you have to do, then, to refuse service to someone is to 'perceive' them as 'gay'.  Don't like Muslims?  Just 'perceive' them as 'gay'.  Problem solved.  Don't like blacks?  Women?  Catholics?  Just call them 'gay'.

      •  Your diary points to.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ....the dangerous slippery-slope that is anti-LGBT legislation. Thanks for it!

        Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

        by BoxerDave on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 12:12:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's why "perceived" is used in (0+ / 0-)

        anti-discrimination legislation. Note that a business can refuse service to a person for any reason they choose unless there's an anti-discrimination law protecting people like that person. They don't have to justify that reason: "I just don't feel like it" is good enough.

        Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

        by ebohlman on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 05:28:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A gay is a person who wields so much power (5+ / 0-)

    that their mere existence makes religionistas piss themselves with self-righteous abandon and apoplectic fury.

  •  The majority of people would tell you... (5+ / 0-)

    ...that all transgender people are gay.  Truth is, some are and some aren't...but the truth has little to do with the perception.

  •  you can't make this into something (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skralyx, Jank2112, ebohlman

    that makes rational sense in legal terms or constitutional terms.

    It doesn't.

    No amount of litigation over precise definitions of words is going to turn this into something that makes sense.

    It's a recipe for legal chaos.

    Tikkun olam. Repair the world.

    by sarvanan17 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 12:10:21 PM PST

  •  Supposedly, "religious" people shun (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "immoral" behavior, however they define it.  Simply being gay isn't a sin, at least according to their definition.  So, even if they "perceived" someone was gay, or even if someone declared it, unless they were engaged in homosexual sexual behavior, on what basis can they claim violation of their religious beliefs?  Are they going to ask everyone who crosses the threshold of their business whether they have ever engaged in sex with someone not of the opposite gender?  On that basis, celibate gays and lesbians should be served, and people who identify as straight but have, say, had a homosexual encounter once during their lives (and, let's face it, that's a lot of straights) shouldn't be served.  And this is a law that is somehow supposed to be administered in a logical fashion?  Good luck with that.

  •  Brainscans. And lots of naked people. Nekkid! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The only real way to tell is to hook a person up to a brain scanner, and then parade a bunch of attractive naked people in front of them. If the part of your brain that registers attraction lights up, you record a hit. If you have more hits (at least 50% more) for the same sex than for the opposite sex, you're gay. (Near same number of hits means you are bi, which may or may not be protected, or that you are thinking of the previous person in line and the test isn't going to work.)

    So clearly, anyone wanting to discriminate must hire a large number of models, and keep them naked and oiled up in a back room somewhere. Which could get quite interesting when people start demanding to be tested, just for the entertainment value.

  •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

    That was the question I raised here.

    I'm picturing a stack of Bibles at the front of every store and you have to swear on them as to your lack of Gheyness.

    Either that, or they're just going to take their fascination with Nazism all the way and make gays wear pink stars everywhere they go.

    Message to Dems: We HAVE to start showing up for Midterms.

    by Jank2112 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 03:22:07 PM PST

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