Provo is reveling in political correctness with last week’s announcement that Hal Miller and Sterling Beck, Provo city councilmen, plan an “anti-discrimination” bill for Provo. They say it’s good for business. Is it, however, good for the rights of those who own property in Provo?
Nationwide, the ball is rolling furiously in favor of required acceptance of alternate sexuality, spawning legislation in its path. While often driven by compassion, this legislation is unconstitutional, and outside the responsibility of government at any level. Anti-discrimination legislation favors the few over the many—also a constitutional violation. Twelve cities in Utah, including Salt Lake City and Ogden have already embraced this social-engineering-become-law.
Consider Provo resident John, whose years of hard work, thrift, and sacrifice have provided for him a house with an attached rental unit. For decades he’s protected, repaired, and tended the house and yard. His investment has been considerable, consistent and beneficial to the community. When he rents, he checks the references of applicants to make sure they pay their rent, don’t play loud music, and likely won’t damage the premises. These people will share his roof and affect his investment, the physical center of his heart and security. He has earned his property through his efforts.
Enter anti-discrimination legislation. John may no longer be able to freely select his renters. If those asking to rent his property make same gender choices in private relationships, their choices trump any checks he normally makes on payment practices, music choices or property protection; he would be required to accept them as tenants. Their private activities could override his decades of effort.
Why should Provo be justified in requiring partner preference as a criterion for renters? Every individual has the right to choose his private life, but government errs if it places a property owner’s rights at the mercy of another’s personal choices. This concept is the foundation of free governments, as voiced by William Blackstone, whose brilliant legal mind helped lay the foundation for modern constitutional freedoms. He said, “So great…is the regard of the law for private property that it (government) will not authorize the least violation of it…” Just as every person has the right to his relationships, every property owner has the right to choose those who use his property; it is his, and no law is constitutional or ethical that removes his choices. Giving rights to one group, based on their private preferences, while taking them from another—property owners, is discrimination. The intent is not to take rights from anyone based on their personal choices; it is to insist that the rights of all must be honored.
Mr. Miller and Mr. Beck, as outlined in the November 22 Daily Herald article titled “Anti-discrimination law considered”, want to bring anti-discrimination “out of the shadows” and attract outside businesses. If you want to avoid discrimination, gentlemen, don’t discriminate against thousands of property owners by taking away their agency—by requiring universal, unquestioned access to housing for one small group through government force. No one—repeat, no one of any persuasion on any topic, pro or con—is entitled to universal, unquestioned housing access. It’s unnecessary in a free market, where a variety of landlords and a variety of applicants make housing available to all. The political correctness of anti-discrimination is poorly reasoned; it may be “the thing to do” but it doesn’t eliminate discrimination, it re-directs and enlarges it.
Every property owner in Provo—indeed, in the state—should protest this, as misguided policies often snowball. If you believe your property rights predominate over the personal partner preferences of a few, please tell Misters Beck and Miller. While their intention is compassion, as stated in an email to me from Hal, their perceptions are one-sided and misdirected. Contact Hal Miller at 801-691-5737, . Reach Sterling Beck at 801-472-3160, . Please speak up. If you don’t, or they don’t listen, you can wave your property rights goodbye.