EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 1, 2014

Letter: In America, restaurants have no right to discriminate

To the editor:

Mark Acciard is correct on one hand. He writes (Letter, “The difference between rights and freedoms.” March 28). He writes that we are free to go to any restaurant we want. But the restaurant can refuse to serve us. True! If you steal, don’t pay or cause a disturbance, the restaurant can throw you out or call police.

Under our laws, however, any public domain — restaurant, school, hospital, department store — must serve you. In America we do not discriminate because you have blue eyes, are left-handed, Jewish or are Catholic, are pro-choice or pro-life, do not believe in a god, are evangelical Christian, gay, lesbian, transexual, bisexual or heterosexual.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Acciard alludes to the brouhaha when Arizona’s rightwing Republicans kowtowed to fundamentalist Christians who wanted to make discrimination legal: LGBT community members could be refused restaurant service under the ruse that serving them was against religious principles.

It is against one’s civil rights. One can walk into a restaurant and order. It is no one’s business who his or her sexual partner is. Imagine a teacher refusing to teach a student because that child has two fathers or mothers at home. Imagine a doctor saying, “It is against my religion to treat this ailing human being because he is gay.” Can a department store clerk refuse to cash out a man buying woman’s underwear? Will it come to a point where a chaplain will not give needed spiritual care to a dying soldier because that soldier is not heterosexual?

Mr. Acciard is a bright man, but I was quite sad to read what he believes. In an age when we should have progressed far beyond such attitudes, we find they are alive and well. It is one thing to state one’s opinion, but to state it publicly, in peacock-like style, proudly, without basis in fact is quite another. I continued to be disappointed that letter writers do not edit their writing.

Michael Veves





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