Discrimination in public places (and same sex marriage)

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I have had a few opportunities to debate about this elsewhere and I don't think it has been discussed enough. I would like to know what others think.

First of all, should businesses involved in weddings, such as cakemakers, florists and wedding photographers, be required, if asked, to participate in same-sex weddings.

At the time of the six o'clock swill, businesses could still technically refuse to serve anyone for any reason or none. Later we introduced various anti-discrimination laws, and so businesses were no longer allowed to refuse to serve if this violates these discrimination laws.
The requirement for a private business to serve people under some circumstances and in particular, serving some (such as women and minorities) was a condition for serving white men, was a new thing. Before, they were never required to serve anyone.

Apparently, private clubs are exempt from discrimination laws, and I believe there are compelling reasons why they are. This means that most supermarkets may not discriminate, but wonder Costco is technically permitted to do so, because only members may shop there. However, each member is allowed to each take a limited number of non-members there, so I'm not sure if it still counts as a private club.
But Costco is the only warehouse club operating in Australia and has an economic incentive for allowing people to join regardless of fundemental traits like race, gender and sexual orientation. They can have more members and thus get more money from goods sales and membership fees.

But anyway, maybe we should debate about whether refusing to serve wedding cakes, wedding photography, etc, to same-sex couples should be banned upon redefinition of marriage in Australian law. See this news article, and also this piece.

Less than 10% of the general population are in commited same-sex relationships and there is an abundance of cake makers and florists (I don't know about wedding photographers), the vast majority have no objections to same-sex weddings. Ones that have, say, religious objections to same sex marriage are exceptions.

Is there anyone who, given the statistics I gave, simply avoid buying any cakes or flowers from businesses that have such objections, whatever anti-discrimiation laws may say?

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  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Righto, leaving issues such as SSM out of it, if I were in business and decided I didn't want to provide my services to any particular potential customer I would do so. By way of example, let's assume that I'm an electrician (I'm not) in high demand and cannot physically service all the customers lining up for my services. Then I will pick and chose which customers I will service and which ones I won't on whatever criteria I choose.

Let's reverse the question. Can customers discriminate against whatever potential providers of a particular service they wish? You bet they can and do...

It works both ways.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I tend to agree with Graham

Under the law,
- I cannot discriminate when hiring or promoting my employees
- A shop such as Coles or even your corner store cannot refuse to serve someone unless they have a bloody could reason and for the larger companies that don't want a PR nightmare. ie they cannot discriminate and refuse to serve a customer based on race, sex, religion, age.....

However the grey area is what happens if you are asked to provide a service and based on the customer's "......insert reason here..." you simply refuse to provide the service by declining or bidding high. In this case the discrimination cannot be proven unless the service provider publicly states why in which case I believe they may risk facing the wrath of the anti-discrimination authority.

I am not aware of the rules for exemptions for this. But I'm sure it covers religious reasons where the service provider can substantiate their claim. However I think most would be smart enough to simply state they are too busy.

To provide an example of this, more than a few years back I watched House Reno show, might have been "backyard blitz" on TV, Scott Cam discussed building a pool fence, he said on any other day he would be too busy to build a pool fence if asked, but this was a special case. He didn't state his reason, but I gather he doesn't want to get involved due to the legal issues of pool fences.

To sum it up, you can decline to provide a service to any group if asked to bid or tender or make an offer provided your reasons are within the law, whether correct or not, but if you have a open access retail environment, no you cannot do so easily.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Agree with Gdahm and Shane.

If in the wedding industry and didn't want to provide your services simply price yourself out of the job, too busy etc,
Some one who supplied their real reason, would not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

The flip side to this, if you were having a SSM, would you really a person involved who didn't wish to be?

And another example, a photographer who hadn't had work for 6 weeks was offered SSM gig, but had moral objections, are those objections more important than paying your rent/mortgage?
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Righto, leaving issues such as SSM out of it, if I were in business and decided I didn't want to provide my services to any particular potential customer I would do so. By way of example, let's assume that I'm an electrician (I'm not) in high demand and cannot physically service all the customers lining up for my services. Then I will pick and chose which customers I will service and which ones I won't on whatever criteria I choose.
Graham4405
I suppose there are plenty of electricians out there, if you can't service every one of them, others can still hire another electrician.


Under the law,
- I cannot discriminate when hiring or promoting my employees
- A shop such as Coles or even your corner store cannot refuse to serve someone unless they have a bloody could reason and for the larger companies that don't want a PR nightmare. ie they cannot discriminate and refuse to serve a customer based on race, sex, religion, age.....
RTT_Rules

I did note that Costco may technically be permitted to refuse membership for any reason or none, but I noted they have an economic incentive to be open to members regardless of fundemental traits.

However the grey area is what happens if you are asked to provide a service and based on the customer's "......insert reason here..." you simply refuse to provide the service by declining or bidding high. In this case the discrimination cannot be proven unless the service provider publicly states why in which case I believe they may risk facing the wrath of the anti-discrimination authority.
RTT_Rules

One may be asked by the authority in question why they are refusing service.

But get this, let's say a school owns a 12 seater minivan. This can carry more people than most cars but can still be driven on an ordinary common licence as long as the use is non-commercial and the driver isn't paid to carry passengers. But given a staff member that is a licenced non-professional driver, could it be that the school doesn't get to refuse to allow them to drive the van just because they have an impairment affecting their driving, even though that might seem logical? Suppose that staff member would fail the commercial driving medical, let alone the rail medical due to that same impairment.

Likewise, I believe a taxi company may be seen as discriminating if they refuse to employ a driver who would fail the heavy vehicles medical, let alone the rail medical, even if their criterion might seem logical.

I am not aware of the rules for exemptions for this. But I'm sure it covers religious reasons where the service provider can substantiate their claim. However I think most would be smart enough to simply state they are too busy.
RTT_Rules

It does seem that private clubs are exempt, and there seem to be compelling reasons why they are.

No comment on that T.V. show.

To sum it up, you can decline to provide a service to any group if asked to bid or tender or make an offer provided your reasons are within the law, whether correct or not, but if you have a open access retail environment, no you cannot do so easily.
RTT_Rules

I'm not sure what to say on this.

If in the wedding industry and didn't want to provide your services simply price yourself out of the job, too busy etc,
Some one who supplied their real reason, would not be the sharpest tool in the shed.
michaelgm

How busy is "too busy"? But I don't fully understand this. I also don't understand the following question. "The flip side to this, if you were having a SSM, would you really a person involved who didn't wish to be?"

And another example, a photographer who hadn't had work for 6 weeks was offered SSM gig, but had moral objections, are those objections more important than paying your rent/mortgage?
michaelgm

This is exactly why the free market favours those who are open to everyone, even if the law allows them to refuse to serve for any reason or none.

Back in the 1950s, it's my understanding that many questioned the white Australian policy, segregation and denying the vote to non-whites, among other similar policies. Many also didn't approve of slavery, especially on the basis of race. But everyone who approved of a free market approved of freedom of association applying to businesses among other things.
  Brianr Assistant Commissioner

Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Way back in the late 1960's I took some students from the school where I  taught in Sydney to Port Augusta. Being a hot day we headed for the Public Baths only to be confronted by a sign saying "Members Only". We went to the swimming hole under the bridge just out of town and yes we were the only whites there. I later discovered we would have been given temporary membership if we had asked. I am glad those days have passed.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Basically you can discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, religion, race or anything else, provided you don't admit to it.
For example, if you don't want to hire a bloke because he wears a turban, then don't hire him. If you need to justify your action, the other candidate had slightly better skills. Easy, really.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Likewise, I believe a taxi company may be seen as discriminating if they refuse to employ a driver who would fail the heavy vehicles medical, let alone the rail medical, even if their criterion might seem logical.
"Myrtone"

No, not discriminating because passing the medical and obtaining a taxi licence is a condition of employment.


Same goes for my employer (and most other employers), gaining employment is conditional on passing a medical (which includes drug testing)

No discrimination involved at all
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The inevitable result:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...x-Cocaine.html
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Likewise, I believe a taxi company may be seen as discriminating if they refuse to employ a driver who would fail the heavy vehicles medical, let alone the rail medical, even if their criterion might seem logical.

No, not discriminating because passing the medical and obtaining a taxi licence is a condition of employment.


Same goes for my employer (and most other employers), gaining employment is conditional on passing a medical (which includes drug testing)

No discrimination involved at all
Pressman
Semantics alert - what you are talking about is lawful (fair) discrimination, as opposed to unlawful (unfair) discrimination.

It may be unlawful discrimination (i.e. not definitely yes and not definitely no unless it is ruled on by a superior court) if a taxi licence was denied to an applicant who had failed the heavy vehicle medical but passed the one applicable to a taxi driver, if the medical exam for a taxi driver is 'easier' than for a heavy vehicle driver.

If the taxi medical exams are easier, that's actually the result of discrimination rather than the actual discrimination itself. The actual discrimination would have been the decision that the life of a pedestrian (more likely to be hit by a taxi than a truck) was worth less than the life of a person driving on the highway (more likely to be hit by a truck than a taxi) and that taxi drivers could therefore be allowed to scrape in with lower standards.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
There are many methods civil celebrants might use to avoid marrying a SSM couple, the question is, given if they were caught out, and lost their cash cow licence would they risk it? Some people are stupid, it's likely some celebrants might try it, but presumably only the stupid ones...
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Basically you can discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender, religion, race or anything else, provided you don't admit to it.
For example, if you don't want to hire a bloke because he wears a turban, then don't hire him. If you need to justify your action, the other candidate had slightly better skills. Easy, really.
Valvegear

But I did note that authorities may ask why you don't hire him, and if you don't give a reason, you may be suspected of discrimination.
Actually, the right to a job can be a zero sum game. For example; If you don't want to hire someone who wears a turban, it is easier for those who don't to find a work with you.


It may be unlawful discrimination (i.e. not definitely yes and not definitely no unless it is ruled on by a superior court) if a taxi licence was denied to an applicant who had failed the heavy vehicle medical but passed the one applicable to a taxi driver, if the medical exam for a taxi driver is 'easier' than for a heavy vehicle driver.
justapassenger

And both are easier that the rail medical. Indeed it may be unlawful discrimination, which is what I am trying to say.

If the taxi medical exams are easier, that's actually the result of discrimination rather than the actual discrimination itself. The actual discrimination would have been the decision that the life of a pedestrian (more likely to be hit by a taxi than a truck) was worth less than the life of a person driving on the highway (more likely to be hit by a truck than a taxi) and that taxi drivers could therefore be allowed to scrape in with lower standards.
justapassenger

I'm not sure how they are a result of discrimination. But I must they there is too much mixing of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and far from enough grade separation between footpaths and busy roads.

It's my understanding that the rail medical standards long predate discrimination laws. Color vision tests for train drivers were introduced back in the 19th century, long before there was talk of laws against discrimination either in employment or in what is known U.S law (since their civil rights movement) as public accomodation. We don't seem to have an equivalent term here, so I'm using the U.S legal term. I'm not sure about the commercial vehicle medical.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Hmm, is it discrimination if I as an electrician (or anything else really), refuse to do a job for someone who does not have the capacity or is unwilling to pay me for the job? Wink
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Denfinitely not, you are refusing to serve on the basis of not being not getting the payment you demand. Discrimination is where you refuse to serve someone on the basis of fundemental characteritics, even if they are able to and willing to pay. This seems to be a hard distinction to grasp.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Hmm, is it discrimination if I as an electrician (or anything else really), refuse to do a job for someone who does not have the capacity or is unwilling to pay me for the job? Wink
Graham4405
Lawful discrimination.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I explained how discrimination is defined, perhaps it's hard to distinguish between refusal to serve on the basis of a fundemental characteristic and refusal to serve on some other basis. But the former is how discrimination is defined in the context of public accomodation.

It is planned that religious ministers and marriage celebrants will be exempt from anti-discrimination, but there don't seem to be plans for similar exemptions for small business owners.

But do we have an abundance of celebrants, as is the case with cake makers and florists? If so, and the vast majority of civil celebrants will marry any couple they are allowed to marry, it will be easy for the minority in commited same sex relationships to avoid the celebrants who have any sort of objection to same sex weddings. If opposite sex interacial (white and non-white) couples are also a similar minority, they can also avoid any celebrants with objection to white and non-white marriage, such celebrants are probably even less common.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
It turns out there is now a debate over whether bakers should be banned from refusing same sex wedding cakes if they make opposite sex wedding cakes. I can only think of one simularity between refusing to serve someone because of sexuality, and, say because of their race. And that's denying service based on who they are. Can anyone here think of any differences?
  Showtime Chief Train Controller

I don't think there is anything to be gained by forcing a baker to make you a cake if he doesn't want to do it, for whatever reason.
Is it worth pissing someone off that is preparing your food?
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
First of all, the reason for refusing to serve already matters under existing laws. If you make some kind of cake for people with some fundemental characteristics and refuse to serve the same kind of cake to those with other fundemental characteristics, that's the sort of thing that is defined as discrimination. But if you refuse to serve anyone a christmas cake with, say, a xenophobic slur, that does not count as discrimitation, because you are not refusing to serve on the basis of a fundemental characteristic.

There are plenty of cake makers who make cakes for all occasions. Say that only one has an aversion to making the sort of cake you want to order. Is there anything to be gained by forcing that cake make you that cake as opposed to ordering it from another baker?

But if a cake maker doesn't want to make same-sex wedding cakes, is there anything to be gained by forbididng that cake maker from making any wedding cakes?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Refusal here, discrimination there . . . for God's sake who keeps this crap going? It reared its head as a delaying tactic by some parliamentarians and some of the more rabid members of the No campaign in the SSM debate, and now it is starting to assume absurd proportions.

Most business people I know are there to make money, and if you can pay, and are clean, non-threatening, and know what you want, they'll happily deal with you and exchange goods or services for payment.

Instead of dreaming up all manner of ways in which someone can discriminate against you, go and have a cup of tea and a good lie down, then spend your time discussing something useful. There are already far too many people looking for trouble where there isn't any.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I am quite happy for a baker, or any other service provider to discriminate against gay people.

I am sure they will also be quite as happy to allow me and others to campaign for a total boycott of their business based on that.

Seems only fair Razz
  Groundrelay Chief Commissioner

Location: Surrounded by Trolls!
How absurd is this.

These people have no fu%king idea what discrimination is like. If they claim to be 'good' Christians then "turn the other cheek" and "love one another".

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