How Gay Rights Empower the Rich

Oct 9, 2019 by

by R R Reno, First Things:

The Supreme Court heard a group of casesyesterday that will require the justices to decide whether the 1964 Civil Rights Act applies to homosexuals and transgender individuals. The cases concern employment discrimination. The legal issues seem narrow. But the social implications are vast.

Over the last fifty years, anti-discrimination law has evolved into an all-penetrating system of social control. The original legislation forbade employers from denying employment to someone simply because he was black or she was female. But the development of legal doctrine by way of the notions of disparate impact and hostile environment gave this straightforward principle of non-discrimination a vast and complex meaning. It empowered government officials to monitor hiring and workplaces and encouraged activist organizations to file wide-ranging lawsuits.

By the time we reached the Obama administration, the nexus of government agencies, lawsuits, and activist organizations had become so tightly woven that tens of millions of dollars in financial penalties for discrimination in home loans (a lawsuit based entirely on disparate impact doctrine) were funneled into activist organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. These organizations are dedicated to the further expansion of the civil rights legal regime—such as the cases before the Court yesterday.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was necessary. It served to empower the federal government to protect a downtrodden minority subjected to decades of ruthless discrimination. Today, however, the machine of contemporary civil rights law and activism grinds very finely, and without regard to social realities.

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