retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports on the coming legal battle over the rights of businesses to deny service to people with whom they disagree on religious grounds - specifically, people engaged in same-sex relationships and marriages - and when this becomes the kind of discrimination forbidden by the US Constitution.

There have been highly publicized cases when businesses have denied service to gay people in New Mexico and Colorado, and in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer has on her desk a bill "that would allow business owners to cite religious beliefs as a legal justification for denying service to same-sex couples." Brewer has not taken a public position on the legislation.

The story is worth reading here because, in an increasingly polarized political environment, this shows signs of being an issue that could find its way to front pages and front ends in a growing number of states around the country.
KC's View:
I debated with myself a bit - for about eight seconds - before posting this piece, simply because it is an issue that tends to be polarizing. And I think it will become more so, especially because we have mid-term elections coming up in November, and a presidential election in 2016, during which this issue could become a major debating point. (If I were moderating a debate, I'd ask it.)

I've made my position on this issue clear - I don't think that businesses ought to be able to deny service to gay people any more than they ought to be able to deny service to African-Americans, Muslims, or women. (Businesses that favor the ability to discriminate strike me as enlightened as the character in Blazing Saddles who talks about who the town of Rock Ridge will - and won't - do business with. It ends up they don't want the Irish. You can watch the politically incorrect scene here.)

I think that retailers need to be very conscious of this issue, and focus internally on what they will do and say when it rears its head in their markets.