While the saying “so goes California, so goes the nation” might still be accurate, the neighboring People’s Republic of Oregon also provides a glimpse into the dystopia that the radical left has planned for America. Recently, Portland bar owner Christopher Penner was convicted of violating Oregon’s civil rights laws after he refused service to a group of transsexual customers whose presence would have hurt his business:
The case hinged on a pair of voice-mails messages Penner left members of the Rose City T-Girls, a social club in Portland that includes transgender women, cross-dressing straight individuals, gay men and lesbians, in 2012.
In the voice-mails, Penner was apologetic but admonished the group’s members not to return to his bar, The P Club, because they were hurting business and because other customers had derisively referred to his establishment as a “tranny” or “gay” bar, according to court documents.
As part of the state’s persecution of him, Penner had to pay $400,000 in damages to the customers he purportedly hurt, forcing him to close his bar in the process.
The hounding of Christopher Penner is yet another example of how the radical left is using the government to enforce their will on anyone who disagrees with their beliefs. Merely a decade ago, leftists agitated for gay marriage on the basis of tolerance and “it doesn’t matter who you love”; in the year 2015, leftist-controlled state governments are actively persecuting anyone they believe is insufficiently supportive of the Gay Mafia.
The Death Of Freedom Of Association
As Penner’s defense against the state of Oregon states, the reason he barred the Rose City T-Girls from his bar was because their presence was negatively impacting his business. Customers had begun referring to Penner’s bar as a “tranny” or “gay” bar, giving it a reputation that was scaring away long-term customers and hurting his bottom line. Asking the T-Girls not to come back to his establishment was an act necessary for his survival.
Unfortunately, the left-wing Oregon state government has been vociferous in denying freedom of association to its citizens, particularly citizens who run afoul of cultural Marxist dogma. It was only a few months ago that the Christian owners of the now-closed Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham were forced to pay $135,000 in damages to a lesbian couple to whom they refused to bake a wedding cake for. To further hammer the point home, the state government threatened to seize the bakers’ home if they didn’t pay up.
Freedom of association—the right to choose who you have personal or business relationships with—is one of the most fundamental rights of a free society. Christopher Penner was not discriminating against the Rose City T-Girls because he had a bias against homosexuals or transsexuals, but because their presence was scaring off his regular customers. Conversely, the Sweet Cakes bakery did not want to bake a cake for an event that their religion did not endorse (a gay marriage).
Neither the T-Girls nor the lesbian couple who tried to patronize Sweet Cakes were truly harmed by being excluded. The former could have gone to another bar and the latter to another bakery. The only reason either of them had for suing the respective businesses who shut them out was a sick, perverse desire to force themselves on people who don’t want them around, and the state government is siding with them.
How This Ruling Will Kill Business In Oregon
Beyond being a freedom that is integral to American society, freedom of association is also necessary for a strong economic environment. Businesses need to be able to discriminate against undesirable, uncooperative or unruly customers in order to better serve their other patrons. With this ruling, Oregon has declared that the feeeeeelings of aggrieved minorities supersede the freedoms of business owners to control who they serve.
Without the liberty to eject undesirable customers, business in Oregon will slowly decline, as no business owner will want to invest in a state where the government can override your decisions at the whim of a mentally ill customer. As a former resident of Portland myself, I know that the city—and, to a lesser extent, the whole state—is crawling with mental defectives such as the Rose City T-Girls, itching to file lawsuits the minute a business owner displeases them.
Ultimately, the state of Oregon’s attempts to enforce “tolerance” will hurt Oregonians by destroying the local economy. This is typical for the left, and it’s unlikely they’ll care; so long as they get their warm fuzzies from being “accepting,” they don’t care how many lives they ruin.