Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Travels In Unsafe Lands

As a purely logistical matter, Indiana’s RFRA stacks the deck for discriminatory businesses. Same-sex couples denied hotel rooms, or meals, or even wedding venues could theoretically sue, and many probably would. Where protected by non-discrimination law, some might even win. But the effect in the moment, when the gay customer seeks to pay for a service, would be the same as if the discrimination had been state-sanctioned: The customer would have to find other accommodations.

Not so long ago I went on a weekend hiking trip with some same sex couples. As hiking tends to be in the middle of nowhere, so does accommodation. It occurred to me - and no doubt it occurred to those couples, as I assume it regularly does - that presuming whatever hotel we booked would have no issue with that was actually not a 100% bet. All was fine, and in fact the hotel clerk was a trans woman which diminished the likelihood of problems significantly, but nonetheless it was a small educational moment. Having to worry about shit like this is kind of a big deal.