Thursday, September 30, 2010

Credit Where Credit's Due

Well, sometimes I have to take my hat off and say bravo to someone on the other side. Today, that's the frequently-criticized Mayor Greg Ballard and his administration.

Upon hearing the story that a bakery at the municipally-owned City Market may have denied a diversity group's order for cupcakes based upon a moral disagreement with homosexuality, the Indianapolis Star reports that city has launched an investigation into the actions of Just Cookies in the case.

I don't know what the investigation will find, but I have to take my hat off for a moment and say bravo to the folks on the 25th Floor of the City-County Building. This one would have been easy to just let die, but the Mayor and his staff obviously felt the need to stand up and do something in this case.

I'm sure it will attract a lot of detractors on his own side of the aisle. Local attorney and fellow blogger Paul Ogden, for example, commented here after reading this blog's post on the topic that he would be more likely to buy something from Just Cookies in the wake of the incident. Ogden, I'm sure, would tee up the Mayor here and knock him 350 yards down the fairway if he could. That's his prerogative.

In this case, however, I must actually defend Mayor Ballard for doing the opposite of what many GOP administrations might do here. Run for the hills and hide behind some sort of justification that business can do business with whomever it wants for any reason. What Mayor Ballard is saying by his action is that accusations of this type of discrimination in a city-owned property is worthy of a city investigation, and I applaud his actions.

I still disagree with you on almost everything, Mayor Ballard, but you and your administration got this call correct.


varangianguard said...

Of course the Mayor would want to have more focus on this. It lessens the focus on his boondoggles.

I think "misdirection" is the magician's term for it.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Jon, if they pull the lease, the City will likely be sued. There's that "other" religion clause in the Constitution, the "Free Exercise" of Religion Clause that says government must accomodate religious beliefs and practices EVEN ON PUBLIC PROPERTY.

Here we're not talking about not serving someone who is homosexual. We're talking about the choice of a private business not to fill a special order for use at an event which the owners did not believe in.

Do you think a Catholic owner of a business at the City Market should be required to fill a special order for a pro-abortion rights group. Of course not.

People have a right to stand up and criticize "Just Cookies." But if you pull their lease, that's an entirely diferent story. You're fighting discrimination by discriminating against someone for their religious beliefs. That not only doesn't make sense (combatting discrimination by discriminating), but more importantly it is ILLEGAL.

P.S. Thanks for not bashing me.

Anonymous said...

Paul, you are wrong about a lawsuit being filed. It won't happen. The cookie stand is on a month to month lease so all the city has to do is give proper notice and the bigots are out of there.

Indy Student said...

My full thoughts are at my blog, but at BEST, this is a case of bad business.

Just Give Em the Pickle.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 12:26. Doesn't work like that. If there is a pattern of renewing the lease monthly, and they suddenly decide not to, those facts can allow a court to conclude the non-renewal was because of what transpired and the religious discrimination that resulted from it.

Let's use another example. Let's say you have an African-American worker who is at-will, i.e. can basically be fired for any reason. The employer can't rely on at-will employment when he is actually firing the person because the employer doesn't like black people.

That doesn't mean that the employer and the City wouldn't try to claim a non-discriminatory reason for what they did. That's always try to do that. No employer has ever admitted discrimination against an at-will employee.