So there’s this guy in Tennessee, part of their legislature. He says stupid stuff, like claiming that it’s virtually impossible to transmit HIV through heterosexual sex (not true).
A restaurant refused him service because of this. Some people are trying to spin this as being hostile to the religious beliefs of Catholics (he apparently is one), but this is not reasonable; the Catholic Church does not teach that HIV is only spread by gays, for instance.
There’s a lot of questions here. Is it permissible for restaurants to refuse people service based on something other than health risks, ability to pay, and so on? Everyone seems to agree that refusing service to black people because they’re black is not-okay. Religions, probably also.
Public behavior, though, gets into a different category. Clearly you can refuse someone service based on bad behavior they’ve engaged at within your facility before, and I think most people would expect this to extend to things like, say, personal clashes with staff. If a host refused to seat someone who had, say, previously beaten up a member of the host’s family, it might seem a bit weird, but it’s clearly not a civil rights violation.
And that’s the thing. The restaurant’s behavior may be annoying, and you might think it’s wrong, but I don’t think it’s a civil rights violation. The odious behaviors the Senator has engaged in are not membership in a protected class, they’re consciously chosen decisions to do things — and very harmful things at that!
Honestly, I think it’s sorta cool. The chances are that at least one person will die as a result of someone believing the very bad medical advice our hero has given the world; I mean, people do assume that Senators don’t just make up stupid stuff, or cite to advice columns from the 1980s as evidence about medical claims.
Fundamentally, I don’t see anything wrong with this that wouldn’t also be wrong with refusing to host the KKK or some other group whose bigotry is further from the mainstream’s comfort zone. It’s still bigotry, it’s still destructive of society, and I am glad to see people refusing to pretend that it’s normal or acceptable.