Let’s Talk Bermuda – With Dr. Brown

I understand that Dr. Brown will be appearing on Gary Moreno’s live call-in show tonight at 8pm. This show is also mostly streamed online, so Bermudians around the world should be able to follow the discussion and even contribute by posting questions to be asked on the website.

As I understand it there is no set agenda for the talk, although it is likely that the recently released Black male study, the Throne Speech and gambling will be key talking points. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Democratic Alliance is also a feature of discussion, although all of this depends on interaction with callers and posters.

I personally don’t know if I’ll be able to participate from Scotland due to the time difference, but I will certainly review the show the next day.

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144 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bermuda – With Dr. Brown

  1. Time differance? Hasn’t stopped you yet…………………set the alarm. Your always good at calling one…………….

  2. The Throne Speech? Somebody might want to ask him to reconcile the promise made there that the Human Rights Act would be amended to “ensure that no person is discriminated against in Bermuda” with the statement that Cabinet rejected former Culture Minister Dale Butler’s proposal to ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

    Seems to be a record about face, even for this government.

  3. Blankman,

    It appears to me that Minister Butler overstepped his boundaries. As I keep asking, give me some examples of discrimination based on “sexual orientation”. I personally don’t know of any people who have been discriminated against because of their “sexual orientation”.

  4. Voter Backlash is real many UBP Christians changed to the PLP in 1998 over this issue. Hurry up and have the vote. Taxation without representation The late Mp Bascome is no longer here to save the grassroots from gay parades.

  5. As to the particular nature of Ms. Butterfield’s statement, I think it is important to stress she was referring to a Cabinet meeting way back in like June. She was not commenting on whether or not it would be included as per the Throne Speech although it does create lots of confusion.

  6. Red Party, again, may I ask you to explain your opposition to amending the HRAct?

    @ LaVerne, whether or not there are any examples of discrimination (and I believe there are), do you recognise that there is the potential for discrimination? And if so, do you agree that we should seek to remove the potential for such discrimination by amending the HRAct?

  7. The Ubp dicriminalized homosexuality may 13 1994,
    The BDA supports homosexuality last week, and The PLP supports it today…taxation without representation on family values and moral law time for a red t-shirt with’ GO TO HELL ‘ around Brown’s face in black writing. have the vote. No debate this is going to be fun.

  8. @ Blankman – The PLP blog has made an announcement that would seem to strongly indicate that the HRAct is indeed to be amended with a particular focus on ensuring the sexual orientation is included. I have copied and pasted the announcement below:

    The Human Rights Act Will Be Amended
    Submitted by PLP on 9 November 2009 – 9:31pm.

    The PLP Government is long past the point of investigating whether sexual orientation should be a protected ground under the Human Rights Act. The Throne Speech makes it clear that the Government’s position is “that the Act will be amended to make sure that no person is discriminated against in Bermuda.”

    Many jurisdictions have wrestled with ensuring that the language in Human Rights Acts with respect to sexual orientation is correct and inclusive. Commonly accepted language about sexual orientation continues to evolve, particularly as public understanding deepens.

    This Government will ensure that it gets the terminology correct.

    http://plp.bm/node/2215

  9. Jonathan,

    I believe that if the Act is amended to include sexual orientation, a new set of problems will be created. How can an employee, landlord, etc. determine a person’s sexual orientation? Can you determine a person’s sexual orientation just by looking at them? You can look at a person and see if s/he is black or white, disabled, male or female. Unless gays and lesbians are willing to be open with their sexual orientation, there is no way that they can prove discrimination.

  10. LF
    Maybe they would like to feel open enough to tell you.

    C’mon that’s a stupid argument. Other countries seem to manage to include sexual orientation.

    You can’t legislate morality, but it’s important to ensure the law is fair to all.

  11. @ Ms. Furbert

    Shall we make it legal to discriminate based on religion then? And political views? Since they’re all choices and whatnot why bother protecting them, no one can tell just by looking at you but, once they find out wouldn’t you like to have some protection under the law?

    Please share with us what this “new set of problems” will be though, I’m curious.

  12. @ Ms Furbert – I don’t follow your argument. You say you can’t look at someone and determine their sexuality – I agree.

    But this bill would mean that you can’t discriminate against anyone for any reason. So it would render that argument void wouldn’t it?

    The only reason that not knowing someone’s sexual preference could be a problem was if you were planning to discriminate based on it, no?

  13. “Unless gays and lesbians are willing to be open with their sexual orientation, there is no way that they can prove discrimination.”

    If two women, or two men, try to rent a one bedroom apartment, or a studio as a couple, chances are that the landlord will figure out that they’re probably gay. You can see their sexual orientation there and they could be denied the rental on that basis.

    That would be discrimination.

    It’s no different than a black heterosexual couple wanting to rent somewhere and being discriminated against on their race.

  14. Ms. Furbert,
    You lay out an absolutely absurd and ignorant argument.
    You say that there is no need to introduce a law making it illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation because, as far as you are aware, no one in Bermuda has ever been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
    Okay, hypothetically speaking, imagine that no one in Bermuda had ever been murdered. Would you therefore argue that it is not necessary to make murder illegal because, as far as you are aware, nobody has ever been murdered? Do you honestly think that is a rational and reasonable argument?

  15. When I was in the Regiment one of the common sayings we had was that ‘an army only travels as fast as its slowest soldier’. What that means in this context is that some times people really don’t understand the problem, and they are not necessarily being difficult, they are just literally not aware that there is a problem. To that end I have enjoyed the discussion on this issue, between LaVerne and others, and I just wanted to encourage the constructive dialogue. I am just wary about the process being sidetracked by barbs (percieved or otherwise).

  16. Don’t worry about the “barbs” Jonathan. Your posters love to attack this messenger, rather than the message.

    Now, to the debate. I believe that most written laws in “civil” society orginated with the Ten Commandments, hence, murder being illegal. I don’t think that you would find any society where there has not been a murder.

    It is not true that landlords will automatically assume that if two people of the same sex apply to rent an apartment, that those two people are sexual partners. When I lived and worked in Canada many years ago, I and three of my female friends rented a one bedroom apartment. I can assure you that we were not lesbians, we were struggling young people entering the work world for the first time and couldn’t afford to rent separte units. More recently I have had two men apply to rent my large studio apartment who were not gay, just two men trying to save money.

    I can tell you that I personally would have a problem renting my apartment to two gay men or two lesbian women who were open with their sexual orientation. Whether I will still feel that way in five years time, I don’t know. But I do believe presently that I should have some choice as to who I want to live in the building that I own.

    But I stand by my earlier statement that it is impossible to look at someone and determine their sexual orientation.

    As far as the “net set of problems” is concerned, I think that you would have many landlords willing to go to court rather than rent their apartments to gay and lesbian couples.

  17. I don’t have an issue with the fact that Ms Furbert claims that she is “not aware that there is a problem” Jonathan, but I do find it a little narrow-minded of her to say something along the lines of: “I’m not aware that there’s a problem therefore no problem exists therefore we don’t need to have a law making this problem illegal.”
    I tell you what Laverne – I’ve never witnessed or experienced racism, therefore it can’t exist, therefore we don’t need to have laws making racism illegal. End of discussion.
    Not very progressive.

  18. LaVerne, can I just ask why you would have a problem with renting to a homosexual couple though? How would that affect you? I’m not asking by way of attack but genuinely interested in the reasoning which is all too prevalent in our society as you yourself concede.

  19. “It is not true that landlords will automatically assume that if two people of the same sex apply to rent an apartment, that those two people are sexual partners.”

    I didn’t say automatically.

    Regardless, you have articulated a clear pro-discrimination position as follows:

    “I can tell you that I personally would have a problem renting my apartment to two gay men or two lesbian women who were open with their sexual oreintation. Whether I will still feel that way in five years time, I don’t know. But I do believe presently that I should have some choice as to who I want to live in the building that I own.”

    If someone said the following I suspect you’d be outraged:

    “I can tell you that I personally would have a problem renting my apartment to black people. Whether I will still feel that way in five years time, I don’t know. But I do believe presently that I should have some choice as to who I want to live in the building that I own.”

    Maybe I’m wrong. But I suspect you would call that racism and it is protected under the Human Rights Code. Should we remove race too?

    If you say yes then at least you’re being consistent.

  20. Ms. Furbert,

    Could you take a moment to review your arguement from the other person’s shoes?

    “I can tell you that I personally would have a problem renting my apartment to two gay men or two lesbian women who were open with their sexual orientation. Whether I will still feel that way in five years time, I don’t know. But I do believe presently that I should have some choice as to who I want to live in the building that I own.”

    Take what you’ve said above and reframe it in the context of a white landlord saying they wouldn’t want a black couple living in the building that he/she owns and I’m certain you’d be incensed by the very notion of it.

    You may argue that discrimination can only occur based upon appearances and yet I’d bet if you reframed the above in the context of a white landlord saying they wouldn’t want a PLP supporting couple living in a building he/she owns you’d also be incensed, especially if it was pre 1998.

    What if it turns out the two men you rented to actually were hiding the fact that they’re gay. Would you kick them out? If so, would that justify a white landlord kicking out a couple that hid the fact they were PLP supporters?

    You so readily call for whites to appreciate things from a black point of view and yet don’t yourself seem to be considering things from the point of view of the ones being discriminated against. Only by putting outselves in the shoes of others will we begin to appreciate and understand all forms of discrimination and I would hope you would encourage all to try to see things from all angles.

  21. Further, Ms. Furbert, you seem to be contradicting yourself and providing your own examples.

    You first suggest:
    “As I keep asking, give me some examples of discrimination based on “sexual orientation”. I personally don’t know of any people who have been discriminated against because of their “sexual orientation”.”

    Then you suggest:
    “Unless gays and lesbians are willing to be open with their sexual orientation, there is no way that they can prove discrimination.”

    And yet you openly conclude:
    “I can tell you that I personally would have a problem renting my apartment to two gay men or two lesbian women who were open with their sexual orientation.”

    So you suggest people can’t be discriminated against unless they’re open about their sexuality and yet then suggest that if they’re open about their sexuality you’d readily discriminate against them.

    This is exactly why the legislation change is needed. Just because you or I may not be very comfortable with homosexuality doesn’t mean we should impose our beliefs on others by duely discriminating. To do so would discredit our attempts to rid ourselves of cases and examples of discrimination elsewhere, especially racial discrimination.

  22. I’m sorry Ms. Furbert, but eliminating your mentality is exactly why the bill has to pass. As Denis articularly points out, replace gay with black and it would be a whole different ball game.

    But it shouldn’t be.

    You can think whatever you’d like, but you can’t discriminate based on it.

  23. “But I stand by my earlier statement that it is impossible to look at someone and determine their sexual orientation.”

    I don’t understand what that has to do with it. How is that a determinant of what should be protected?

    Other things, such as, as Jonathan suggested, religion, can be impossible to determine by looking at someone and yet are protected by the HR legislation.

    I don’t understand this argument.

  24. All,

    I have admitted that I have a problem with accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle. I don’t think I’m alone in my way of thinking and I make no apologies for it. As I said, maybe one day in the future, I may look at it differently. At least I’m being honest.

    However, I don’t think that I will ever get to the stage where I could compare racial discrimination to “homophobia”.

    Jonathan,

    I guess I feel that way because of my indoctrination as a child. I’m willing to discuss my feelings and be open with them. As I said, maybe at some point in the future, I will change my way of thinking.

    That is not to say that I do not have friends and family who others have said are gay. But as I’ve said on many occasions, there are only two people that I know who have admitted to me that they prefer same sex relationships and both of them are dead. Should they be alive today, they would tell you that I never treated them any differently because of their sexual preference. In fact, one was a female who had some real problems and I did have her living in my house for a period of time while she was “getting on her feet”.

    Dennis, wouldn’t it be the other way around as well? Aren’t people trying to impose their beliefs on me, and others who think like me.

  25. I thought it is important to point out that under the HRAct there is section that states that the Act does not apply for renting of “housing accommodation in a building which contains such accommodation for not more than three families living independently, if the owner or members of his family occupy one such accommodation.” I’ll go and find the exact section reference and add it here soon. However, this section should answer some of the fears of people who share the sentiments that LaVerne expresses above about not wanting to rent out your property.

    LaVerne, I wanted to thank you for being willing to engage openly on this issue – as you can tell most posters have a different view, although I think you are correct in saying that your own position is shared by many in the community. I agree that we are all mostly socialised into prejudice towards homosexuality. On the same manner though one could say that our society is largely biased against non-Christians for example. All the same we have matured collectively to the point that at least it is recognised that discrimination against non-Christians is ethically wrong. It is my hope that we can also reach a point were we may not like the idea of homosexuality, but realise there is no basis for discriminating against them.

  26. I think Laverne thinks that homosexuality is a lifesyle “choice”. That’s why she can’t see the similarity to colour prejudice.

  27. “I have admitted that I have a problem with accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle. I don’t think I’m alone in my way of thinking and I make no apologies for it. As I said, maybe one day in the future, I may look at it differently. At least I’m being honest.

    However, I don’t think that I will ever get to the stage where I could compare racial discrimination to “homophobia”.”

    What about inter-racial marriage. Many people have a problem accepting that lifestyle. Should it be ok to discriminate against inter-racial marriage.

    It is the same.

    Yes, you are being honest. But this is a clear pro-discrimination view and puts you in the company of skinheads and white supremacists.

    It may be how you feel, but your head should tell you it’s wrong.

    I’m sure you wouldn’t accept “I don’t like black people, but at least I’m being honest” as an acceptable response.

  28. Actually I shouldn’t have said “many people” have a problem accepting the lifestyle. I should have said “some people”.

  29. how about religious discrimination? Would you accept that as comparable?

    If so, would it be ok to, say, “I don’t want to rent to Muslims” or Jews, or Hindus?

  30. Ms. Furbert,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I don’t agree that adjusting the legislation to prevent discrimination amounts to imposing the beliefs of homosexuals upon heterosexuals. If anything it protects the rights of homosexuals with the assumption that they are not imposing their beliefs upon others as well.

    The concern I have is that you believe that the way you were brought up may be reasonable cause for prejudice to homosexuals. Homosexuality could well be a genetic condition and not a choice, to be certain there is no evidence that I know of that conclusively proves one conclusion or the other so we cannot rule out either possibility. Accepting that homosexuality could have genetic causes would suggest that you’re readily willing to discriminate against people who have no power over their preferences, which is less than desireable.

    While discrimination based upon sexual preference may be less prevelant than racial, it is discrimination none the less. Just because one is deemed more important some individuals shouldn’t discard it as a concern when it is more important for others. It would be like a homosexual coming out and saying that because they’re discriminated against they see no issue with racial discrimination. Our goal should be to put an end to all forms of discrimination, regardless of the type or percieved severity.

  31. Jonathan,

    I believe, that discussion that takes place on any issue is healthy. As you said, there are many people in Bermuda who believe as I do. However, I also believe that the more the subject is talked about, the more accepting people may become.

    wiaruz,

    My jury on whether homosexuality is a lifestyle or not is still out.

    Others, I do not have a problem with inter-racial marriage. As I have also said on many occasions, when I attend a famlly function, there is a diverse group of people present.

    All, I have said that I presently would have a problem with renting my apartment to a homosexual couple. I don’t understand why some people have a problem with that. Probably 75% of Bermudians feel as I do, and I dare say that is the reason the Human Rights Act has not changed to date.

    We are not having a discussion of racism.

    Jonathan, I see the barbs are still there.

  32. I have never said that it is okay to discriminate. What I did say is that I would have a problem renting my apartment to a homosexual couple, whether their christian, jew, hindu or any other religion. You can interpret that however you want.

  33. Ms. Furbert, please understand that I completely get where you are coming from. I’m just asking questions to get some clarity on your position.

    I asked earlier what being able to tell whether someone was gay or not had to do with whether they should be protected from the act, and used religion, another thing that you can’t always tell just from looking, as an example of something that IS protected by the Act.

    And, personally, I believe that not renting to someone because of their sexual orientation IS discrimination.

    I’m not trying to trick you or change your mind. I’m just trying to understand your position.

    Are you against the three words and a comma being added to the Act?

  34. Ms. Furbert,

    As you say, the jury is still out on whether homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and thus there is no conclusive evidence that I’m aware of that suggests it is a genetic trait or a choice.

    Given that the jury is still out is it not most reasonable to give homosexuals the benefit of the doubt to ensure that they cannot be discriminated against?

  35. If being gay is in fact a lifestyle choice (which I don’t think it is), would it then be ok to discriminate on this basis? If so, why is religion covered under the HRA?

  36. “We are not having a discussion of racism.”

    We’re having a discussion about discrimination.

    I think that you’re compartmentalizing things so that you don’t have to challenge your prejudices.

    And yes, as Uncle E points out, the majority in many countries felt that it was ok to discriminate on race. That is no different than the majority choosing to discriminate on sexual orientation.

    But it is an interesting glimpse into your mind.

  37. Why is it interesting to have a glimpse into my mind? I have nothing to hide, unlike some other people. I write about these things all the time, not only on this blog. Read the Workers Voice, I’ve been writing a column there for many years.

  38. “Read the Workers Voice”………………..

    Don’t have too LaVerne. The worker is well pain and compensated.

    Then again, we don’t hear you that often unless your attacking black people and calling them confused.

    Oh yah…were reading the workers voice right now…………..but the vocals are getting old and stale.

    Well… The Queen is comming…

  39. Ms. Furbert, understanding where people are coming from and “getting glimpses into” their minds is how we come together as a people and as a society.

    I don’t think you are hiding anything, I’m just trying to understand the position better, as I don’t share it nor do I understand it. I’d like to see if I can wrap my head around it. I think it’s important. As you say, a large majority on the island share your view. I’d like to try to figure out why.

    In your column, have you addressed this point? If so, I would love to read it. Which issue of the Worker’s Voice was it in? Where can I find back issues?

  40. What part of what I’ve said thus far don’t you understand? I have the same problem that the present cabinet has and the past cabinets had (pre-PLP). That’s why it’s not yet there.

    I presently don’t believe that a special category of people should be added to the Human Rights Act. They are either men or women. As far as bi-sexuals are concerned, that’s a whole nother kettle of fish. Are they saying that one day they’re heterosexual and the next day they’re homosexual?

  41. I do not know of any scientific evidence but any gay person I have ever met has clearly struggled with “coming out” How can this not be genetic? Why would you ever actually choose to be gay given the baggage and discrimination that comes with it?

    Ms Furbert I still do not understand how you feel it’s ok to discriminate against someone who’s gay but not someone who’s black/white?

  42. wiaruz,

    I’ve never said “it’s ok to discriminate against someone who’s gay but not someone who’s black/white”. Go back and critically read what I’ve said. I don’t think you will ever read where I’ve used the term “gay”.

  43. Now you’re getting really silly

    Ms Furbert I still do not understand how you feel it’s ok to discriminate against someone who’s homosexual but not someone who’s black/white? (I assume you wouldn’t do the latter).

  44. LF

    I assume you have been living under a rock for the last 30 years. “Gay” is most people’s short or politically correct term for someone who is homosexual; usually used in the case of men but no exclusively.

    Didn’t you know that or were used just trying to avoid the obvious meaning of my question?

  45. Wiaruz,

    Tell me, if I discrimiate against someone who is black/white and homosexual, am I double discriminating?

    Tell me if a black homosexual man applied for my apartment and I said he couldn’t have it, would I be discriminating because he is a man or because he is black?

    Or, if a white, homosexual woman applied for my apartment and I said she couldn’t have it, woudl I be discriminating because she was a woman or because she was white?

    How would anyone be able to determine why I didn’t want to rent my apartment to a black man, a white woman, a black homosexual man, or a white homosexual woman?

    Can you now understand why I said “a new set of problems will be created”.

    As a single woman, I might prefer to have my tenant to be a man, because traditionally men are supposed to be the protectors. But if I was a woman that didn’t like men, I might only want to rent my apartment to another woman.

    And if I was a bi-sexual woman, I might want to rent my apartment to a heterosexual couple, because…..

    Am I getting sillier?

  46. Ms. Furbert

    Now, to the debate. I believe that most written laws in “civil” society orginated with the Ten Commandments, hence, murder being illegal.”

    I disagree. Most written laws originated from the moral system that is most prevalent in the country of the law. In European society that happened to be Christianity and therefore the Ten Commandments etc. I would argue that murder is wrong because it infringes on the right of another to live. There is no religion in my interpretation and to assert that religion is the only thing that guides lawmakers is a thought that belongs in a previous era. We live in the time of secular government.

    “But I do believe presently that I should have some choice as to who I want to live in the building that I own.”

    You will always have that choice. So long as you don’t base that choice on the religion, race, sexual orientation etc. of the potential renter and as someone mentioned earlier the restrictions on housing don’t apply to small scale apartments so you have nothing to worry about.

    “But I stand by my earlier statement that it is impossible to look at someone and determine their sexual orientation.”

    This is irrelevant, I could not look at you and tell which party you supported but, discriminating on that ground is still illegal.

    “As far as the “net set of problems” is concerned, I think that you would have many landlords willing to go to court rather than rent their apartments to gay and lesbian couples.”

    A century ago we could have replaced “gay and lesbian” with blacks. They are one and the same.

    “I have admitted that I have a problem with accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle. I don’t think I’m alone in my way of thinking and I make no apologies for it. As I said, maybe one day in the future, I may look at it differently. At least I’m being honest.”

    You are entitled to your views but, you will never be entitled to discriminate because of them (morally, the legal part is still in the works). I could be a raving racist or sexist but, that doesn’t mean I can go around discriminating. I could be honest about it and make no apologies but, would that make it right?

    “However, I don’t think that I will ever get to the stage where I could compare racial discrimination to “homophobia”.”

    That is where the problem is. You are unwilling/unable to see that discrimination is discrimination regardless. Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere. You cannot condone it with one hand and condemn it with the other. Choose one.

    “Dennis, wouldn’t it be the other way around as well? Aren’t people trying to impose their beliefs on me, and others who think like me.”

    Is it imposing my beliefs on you to say that you cannot discriminate against someone because they are a different religion to you? No, it is protecting their rights. The exact same idea applies to this situation.

    “My jury on whether homosexuality is a lifestyle or not is still out.”

    The scientific community’s too. However it is, in the end, irrelevant. Religion and political ideas are choices too and yet they are protected under the HRA.

    “I have never said that it is okay to discriminate. What I did say is that I would have a problem renting my apartment to a homosexual couple, whether their christian, jew, hindu or any other religion. You can interpret that however you want.”

    What you seemingly fail to see is that it would be discrimination to base your choice on that alone if it were not an apartment covered under the exemption in the HRA. It is not your job to enforce your moral ideas on another. You have your rights to life, liberty and property as does anyone else. The HRA protects the rights of the minority from the majority.

    “I presently don’t believe that a special category of people should be added to the Human Rights Act. They are either men or women.”

    This is no special category of people, no more than religion is a category of people. The words that would be added are “Sexual Orientation,” which ensures that just as a heterosexual could not discriminate against a homosexual a homosexual could not discriminate against a heterosexual

  47. Uncle Elvis,

    I’ve invited you on numerous occasions to contact me personally. I’m listed in the telephone book and everyone knows where I work Obviously you would rather “talk to me on “Catch a Fire”.

    Maybe it’s you that has the problem, and not me. As I’ve said before, I have no uncles with the name “Elvis”, and I have no idea how I can contact you personally. You do realise that I have a personal life, don’t you?

  48. yes laverne I think you are.
    Have you ever heard the phrase that you can’t “legislate morality’? To use your argument we should remove all reference to race, creed, religion, etc from the act because you can’t prove that that was the reason(s) used to discriminate.

    The law should protect all people as recognition that all are equal under the law.

    I am actually very surprised that someone who I assumed has fought hard for the rights of black people would have such a prejudiced view on this subject.

  49. Nioe,

    “That is where the problem is. You are unwilling/unable to see that discrimination is discrimination regardless. Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere. You cannot condone it with one hand and condemn it with the other. Choose one.”

    That’s a very black and white view, I thought you said “We don’t live in an absolute world so no idea is going to be correct absolutely”

  50. Ms. Furbert, I thought we were having a conversation right here. I was certainly trying to.

    I don’t understand why you refuse to engage in an actual debate or conversation about… well… anything.

    You have made a statement, put out your opinion and now seem outraged that people disagree with you… and, oddly, even MORE outraged that I have the audacity to try to engage in conversation about it.

    I’m sorry you feel this way about me, as I don’t understand it.
    You speak of other people’s “barbs”, yet most of your posts to me are filled with them. Should I stop asking you questions? Should I stop trying to see things from your point of view? Or should I only do it on your terms, in a phone call.

    I’ve told you repeatedly who I am and where I work.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “You do realise that I have a personal life, don’t you?”
    Of course you do. I’d never imply that you didn’t.
    I’m just not understanding why you will spend the time posting something like all that, when it surely would have been better spent having the conversation. I mean, you’re spending the time anyway, no?

    Are you just not interested in discussing your position? Or is it just with me?

  51. @J Galt

    We don’t live in an absolute world, I have never said we do. The HRA makes exceptions in certain areas which highlight the idea that nothing is absolute but, the principle behind the HRA it most certainly an absolute one. The debate we had was one of practical applications. In a wonderful perfect world we would have no need for the social contract that establishes government in the first place. We would life in the ultimate libertarian utopia (or perhaps the egalitarian marxist one if JStarling had his way lol) but, we don’t live there unfortunately. We live in a world where we must compromise. First compromise: that some of the majority’s rights must be given up to ensure equal rights for minorities. Second Compromise: That the idea of non-discrimination cannot be enforced in full (e.g. when it comes to small scale apartment renting). I have never tried to deny the imperfectness of the arrangement as I do not consider it injustice. I believe it’s a very pragmatic approach balancing the rights of the Renter and the Rentee (in the example of apartments)

    My argument throughout has been that Racism and Homophobia are one and the same and therefore what applies to one generally apply to the other. Just as you will describe government legislation preventing either as wrong because it would be practically the same in both cases I say the lack of government legislation is wrong for the same reason.

    Injustice is a very broad term however I have attempted to suggest that we live in a world where racism is accepted as wrong and yet we have the exact same people turning around and condoning homophobia. It is referring to those two forms of discrimination that I have used the word injustice. Were I to take it to an extremely general level then yes the idea of an in-absolute world would render my argument philosophical in nature at best but, as far as I’m concerned we have a case of a=a not a=b. We are not comparing an apple and an orange but rather equating two apples together.

  52. I agree that racism and Homophobia are forms of discrimination.

    According to Noie Discrimination = Injustice

    “You are unwilling/unable to see that discrimination is discrimination regardless. Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.”

    I do not agree that discrimination = injustice. I think it is important for us to think about what it means to discriminate, everyone discriminates, we discriminate, when we select the food we eat, our friends, our lovers the list goes on and on.

    For example I choose my sexual partners partly based on gender is that Injustice? Age also plays a part in my selection process. Both are examples of discrimination (sexism and ageism) am I wrong to do so,? or more importantly does that give Nioe the justification to step in and force me to select my, friends, lovers, renters, employess etc…. based on critera he thinks is acceptable.

    As Nioe said “You will always have that choice. So long as you don’t base that choice on the religion, race, sexual orientation etc. ”

    What he means is that you can choose to have any flavor of icecream you want as long as you choose vanillia, which is really no choice at all.

  53. Although whether homosexuality is a choice or a genetic disposition is moot under the HRA (as Elvis points out), there is a slight preponderence of evidence that says it is genetic.

    http://www.skeptictank.org/gaygene.htm

    ttp://www.narth.com/docs/istheregene.html

    http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1925

    It would seem that there is a genetic precursor, which can be then coupled (no pun intended) with developmental environment which results in being gay. But neither is the whole reason.

    Since there is evidence of several lifeforms that exhibit homosexuality, I tend to feel there has to be some genetic component. Hell, they even tried with fruit flies (no pun intended) and had success in making them exhibit homosexual behaviour.

    I do find it odd that people who purport to be for human rights are so vehemently against homosexuals receiving equal treatment under the law. I guess it really is the only thing that it’s ok to discriminate against (in their minds).

  54. JGalt

    Again we come down to absolute vs. in-absolute. Your arguments are based purely on black and white thinking, exactly what you seemed to suggest mine were.

    As I have already said it is not injustice to allow the renter of a small scale apartment to choose their tenement based on personal views. Therefore discrimination is not always injustice. Just as choosing your sexual partner or roommate on whatever criteria you wish is not injustice because it is a balance between your rights and theirs. Choosing a partner that was the wrong gender or age would obviously affect your life adversely. Renting a house on the other side of the island to a homosexual, a black or a woman would not really affect you but, refusing them on those criteria would drastically affect them if your viewpoint was shared by a majority of people.

    You can exaggerate until the cows come home but, the simple truth of the matter is that there is no one forcing you to take vanilla. In fact there is no one forcing you to take the ice cream at all! You can pick someone who is: tall, short, loud, quiet, interested in sports, a book work, funny, serious and so on… The choices are still there but, slightly curtailed. I cannot kill you because it would violate your rights but, at the same time, using your logic, it violates mine and therefore I should be allowed to do it anyway.

  55. I joined this debate becasue Nioe made the statement

    “You are unwilling/unable to see that discrimination is discrimination regardless. Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.”

    which I took as a very black and white statement, discrimintation is discrimination equals injustice. Nioe now claims that discrimintation is not injustice if you do it on a small scale.

    “As I have already said it is not injustice to allow the renter of a small scale apartment to choose their tenement based on personal views. Therefore discrimination is not always injustice.”

    I would like to thank Nioe for concedeing that his orignal statement is incorrect.

  56. Sorry to distract from the orignal thread but I would like to address Nioe’s claim

    “I cannot kill you because it would violate your rights but, at the same time, using your logic, it violates mine and therefore I should be allowed to do it anyway.”

    In no way can you attribute my logic with that statement.
    As I have said before you are unable or unwilling to understand my value system, it is very simple my rights end where anothers begin, in no way do I claim or can one reasonably deduce that I feel it is ok to violate an individuals right to life, liberty and property. Nioe on the other hand argues that it is ok to violate an indviduals rights, for example he feels LF will make a decision he disagees with, so he wants to limit her right to property by removing her freedom to choose who she rents to.

    If anyone is showing a disregard for another individuals rights and that statement can be applied to it is Nioe.

  57. Galt, I asked this of you before and got no answer, so I’ll try again:

    Taking into consideration that the HOUR Act IS, in fact, in place, should “sexual orientation,” be added to it?

    Yes, we all understand that you are against the act altogether, but, seeing as it’s not going anywhere, what are your thoughts on adding the words and a comma and actually protecting people, as others are protected?

  58. “Taking into consideration that the HOUR Act IS, in fact, in place, should “sexual orientation,” be added to it? ”

    No, to support it would be immoral. The majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority the whole point of government is to protect an individual’s rights. We have rights to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and as I stated before I beleive the smallest minority is the individual.

  59. JGalt the words I used were clearly not the most accurate but, the idea remains the same. I have stated again and again that Racism and Homophobia are one and the same and therefore as both are forms of discrimination that are considered unjust, one cannot condemn one and condone the other.

    I understand completely your value system. Do not take my disagreement as misunderstanding. The main point of contention between us is that you believe that the majority refusing to rent, hire or otherwise engage with the minority in no way infringes upon the rights of the minority. I agree that my rights stop where another begins and that is exactly what I have always argued for. The protection of minority rights brings the greatest possible level of rights to society as a whole. Sure the majority must give up their “right” to discriminate but, the minority gains the right to be equal. Equal in the sense that it is used in the US Declaration of Independence. In the sense that all men are born equal before the law and with equal opportunity. When one is refused opportunity for being black (for example) it violates this right to equality and that is what I argue is wrong.

    “Nioe on the other hand argues that it is ok to violate an indviduals rights, for example he feels LF will make a decision he disagees with, so he wants to limit her right to property by removing her freedom to choose who she rents to.”

    Using your own idea that your rights end where another’s begin: Ms. Furbert’s choice to decline the opportunity to rent a house to someone based on their sexual orientation is an infringement of the rights of that individual and therefore wrong. Changing the HR act is a decision you disagree with (or even having one in the first place) so you want to limit the right of government to protect minorities from majorities. Thereby causing a violation of the rights that you are so bent on protecting.

    I make no bones about the fact that I’m violating the rights of certain people. But, I’m protecting the right of everyone. It is the lesser of two evils. Your philosophy is a lovely individualistic Utopian idea. It doesn’t work. Plain and simple. And that is why we have the social contract theory. We give up a little to gain a lot, government exists to me the agent of those transactions. We give up the right to unjust discrimination and gain the protection of our rights from the same. Again I will say I live in the real world. In your Utopian world I’m a staunch libertarian too. In reality I’m a pragmatist.

  60. I also apologize for derailing the discussion with this little debate between JGalt and I. We can take it elsewhere I’m sure if you wish JStarling.

  61. “I understand completely your value system. Do not take my disagreement as misunderstanding. The main point of contention between us is that you believe that the majority refusing to rent, hire or otherwise engage with the minority in no way infringes upon the rights of the minority.”

    You have not shown that you understand my value system, I speak for the individual, not the majority. I support an individuals right to choose who they rent, hire or otherwise engage with. That means I believe an individual can choose to rent or not to rent based on their beliefs, regardless if I agree with the choice or the reasoning behind it, I believe it is the individuals choice to make.

  62. I’m not sure why some folks gets so exorcised over Mr. Galt. He espouses a textbook libertarian position, and does so quite well. It’s not my thing, but he’s a slave to the logic of it all.

    I don’t see his answers as non-answers. It’s classic Libertarianism. He’s just breaking it down and pointing out the logical flaws and inconsistencies.

  63. “I support an individuals right to choose who they rent, hire or otherwise engage with.”

    J,
    Does that mean that you would support me if I chose not to employ someone because of the color of their skin?
    I’m not asking you to agree with such a decision but, according to you, you would defend my right to make such a decision and believe that the victim of such a discriminatory decision shouldn’t have any avenue of recourse. Is that pretty much your take on the issue?

  64. Yes. A non answer. I didn’t ask you to support the act, I asked your opinion on whether or not, given that other things are protected, sexual orientation should be added.

  65. What’s consistent about J.Galt’s – or Laverne Furbert’s – position on this? They both seem to be saying: “Yes, it is totally wrong to discriminate on the grounds of race, or gender, or religion – but it’s perfectly okay to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
    I don’t think that’s a mis-read of their views. I suspect the ‘reasoning’ behind Ms Furbert’s argument is that, while she finds discrimination against blacks and women disgusting – because she’s a black woman – she’s quite happy to discriminate against gays because she has some naturl prejudice against them. And she can’t see the contradiction in her argument. Laughable, but also bizarre and a bit frightening.

  66. Laverne and Galt are not arguing the same points. Laverne supports some discrimination (sexual orientation) but not others (racial).

    Galt says it is the individual’s right to do what they want with their property.

    One is inconsistent (Laverne) the other is not (Galt).

    Galt is just getting all libertarian on your asses that’s all. He can defend himself though, and does it quite well. I enjoy his contribution because he challenges conventional thinking, although I disagree with his conclusions.

  67. truth, it wasn’t an answer to the question though.

    I asked “Given that it’s here, what do you think?”, giving a framework for the question.
    His answer was that it’s wrong to support the act.

    That’s a non-answer.

    I’ve learned better than to ask for the respect of a straight answer, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to say anything about it.

    Sottee,

    I had a problem with figuring out J. Galt’s position, too, but it came clear.
    He’s against legislating this for ANYONE, not just gays.
    He’s opposed to the act altogether, not just this amendment.

    He’s the Dirty Harry of the Bermuda Blogosphere.

  68. He says he can’t support the act at all. That’s his answer. He said why.

    It’s like saying “I’m allergic to Shellfish” and being asked, “Well, shellfish are served in restaurants, so do you prefer boiled or curried?”

  69. not really.

    It’s more like, “I understand you are allergic to shellfish and am not asking you to eat it, but we’re talking about how to cook it. Which do you think would be the best way, boiled or curried?”

    and his response is “I am allergic to shellfish.”

    That’s a non-answer.

  70. In fact, to extend your metaphor, that’s ALL he’s been saying.

    “I am allergic to shellfish”

    “Yes, but others aren’t, and we’re talking about cooking shellfish. What do you think about ceviche as a style of cooking?”

    “I’m allergic.”

    “Yes, we’ve established that. But you appear to want to be part of this conversation, so, as we’re talking about how to cook it, do you think broiling is a good thing or a bad thing, as broiling CAN dry it out?”

    “I’M ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH!”

    “Uh huh. Do you want to discuss this with us or not? I mean the name of the show is “Cooking Shellfish.” It’s ABOUT how to cook shellfish.”

    “You don’t know how to debate! I told you! I’m allergic to shellfish!”

    “Yes. You’ve said. But the topic still is “Cooking Shellfish”. Do you have ANY thoughts on that?”

    “I’M ALLERGIC!”

  71. “Taking into consideration that the HOUR Act IS, in fact, in place, should “sexual orientation,” be added to it? ”

    Seems to me this is a “yes/no” question. Galt said “No” and then said why he thinks that way.

    sorry to tbe picky

  72. A no with an addendum… a reason that doesn’t bear on the question.

    If it had just been a “No.”, I wouldn’t have a problem with the answer (well, I would, as it opens up a whole ‘nother kettle of fish). But it was a “No”, with a stipulation that he was not answering the specific question.

  73. Ok.

    But with the stipulation that the Hindu has joined the conversation on his own.

    If I can extend your metaphor again, it’s like a Hindu jumping into a conversation about how to cook a steak and answering every question with “It’s against my religion.”

    “You shouldn’t eat beef. It’s against my religion.”

    “Um. Ok. I can respect that. It’s not against mine, though. But I have to ask, seeing as you want to voice your opinion on cooking and we’re talking specifically about beef, what do you think would be the best way, given that you DO cook other meat and surely have a preference. There are some that prefer barbecuing steaks an inch and a half, searing the outside crispy. Others, think that roasting it is the best way.
    Now, given that you’ve chosen to join in this conversation, which is specifically ABOUT the best way to cook beef, what is your opinion on what you would think, given your experiences with other meats and understanding that no-one is asking you to actually DO so, would be the best way?”

    “You don’t know how to debate! You shouldn’t eat beef because it’s against my religion.”

    The conversation is ABOUT whether or not the two words and a comma should be added to the Act, isn’t it?
    I don’t think it’s out of line to ask someone who has voluntarily joined into the conversation what his opinion on the subject is.

  74. I think we’re all getting tangled in a web of semantics here – so much so that I’ve lost the thread of the argument.
    Back to basics. The bottom line is, both Laverne and J.Galt have gone on record in the past and in this thread as saying how they find racial discrimination absolutely evil. Quite right. But then, when the discussion starts addressing the issue of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, they have a totally different position that contradicts their stance on racism. Laverne has gone on record as saying that she would, hypothetically, discriminate against a gay couple if they wanted to rent an apartment from her (because it goes against her Christian upbringing). J.Galt has made pretty much the same argument, claiming that it’s an individual’s right to make that sort of discriminatory decision. And yet they can’t see the contradiction in that argument.
    In a nutshell, Laverne seems to be saying: “I hate racists and narrow-minded, prejudicial bigots – almost as much as I hate poofs and faggots and dykes.”
    Er…can you please explain that one Laverne? Is that a fair assessment of your thoughts? and if so, can you not see the contradiction?

  75. This could go on forever, but the Hindu is saying “Perhaps you should consider whether it is wise to cook beef at all.”

    Why is this conversation here restricted to the going forward changes to the act itself? Galt thinks the whole act is flawed. I don’t see why he can’t state that view. You’re entitled to ignore him or engage with him.

  76. I sent a reply earlier but it hasn’t been posted yet. Perhaps the language was a bit strong for Jonathan, so I’ll make the same point here in summary – with some toned-down language.
    Laverne and J.Galt’s position seems to be: “I hate racism and narrow-minded, prejuiced bigotry – just as much as I hate homosexuality too.”
    Fair point Laverne? Looking forwrd to your answer.

  77. I was trying to engage with him… And received a non-answer. I’m not saying that the subject HAS to stay on topic, but we’ve all engaged Mr Galt’s position on this and opined on it. Why is it out of line to ask him to do the same?
    Was my question a bad one? Was it verboten?

    Some, if not most, of us have spoken to his stance and given our opinions on it. Why can’t I ask him to return the favour?

  78. Softee: you can’t lump Galt and Laverne together. Laverne says that you can discriminate on sexual orientation but not race. Galt says your individual right to property should allow you to discriminate as you choose.

    Elvis: It wasn’t out of line to ask him. He rejected the premise of your question. I think that’s fair.

    Anyway, I don’t want to do this all day. I get where’s he coming from, that’s all I’m saying.

    You’re all free to get pissed at him. I find it all sort of entertaining to watch.

    But Galt is being consistent. Laverne is blowing her progressive cred (if she had any) out of the water. It’s ok though, she’s discriminating with the majority. Like segregationists did. At least she’s being honest about her bigotry. Like the Jim Crow crowd was.

  79. UE

    You did not receive a non-answer. Galt said no he would not add anything to the act because the more you add to this act, the more you infringe on an individual’s right to their own property. He went on to say that the act should be abolished, not added to.

    He started his answer to you with NO, followed by an explanation.

    You then called that a non answer. You got your no, what were you expecting? What DOES qualify as an answer to a yes and no question in Graceland? Perhaps it’s the explanation you didn’t like? For clarity here is Galt’s original reply:

    No, to support it would be immoral. The majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority the whole point of government is to protect an individual’s rights. We have rights to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and as I stated before I beleive the smallest minority is the individual.

    Sottee:

    Please back up your claim that Galt is anti homosexual. I don’t recall anything Galt said supporting that unless you attempt to take something out of context.

  80. I think you’ll find Galt is anything but anti-homosexual. That would infringe on the individual’s right to be homosexual.

    Sheesh, how long has it been since I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged? Admittedly I never got all the way though the latter.

  81. I guess the people have spoken and I should shut up.

    Got it.

    I leave you guys to YOUR conversations, seeing as it seems that mine are unacceptable to you.

    Enjoy

  82. Ernest, as I said, yes, he said “no”, but then he specifically qualified his answer with “to support it would be immoral”, which is NOT what I was asking.

    That, sir, is a non-answer. He wasn’t answering the question, he was answering a completely DIFFERENT question.

    But I guess I’m not allowed to say that. I guess I’m not allowed to question other people’s responses.

    Or, my favorite, respond to ANYONE that keeps posting a conversation.

    Wow.. I love how this works.

  83. “Ernest, as I said, yes, he said “no”, but then he specifically qualified his answer with “to support it would be immoral”, which is NOT what I was asking.”

    Elvis you asked the question I answered it, and gave you the reason for my answer. If I had just said no, would that have been good enough? Wouldn’t you want to know the reason why?

    “That, sir, is a non-answer. He wasn’t answering the question, he was answering a completely DIFFERENT question.”

    Elvis I answered no to your question, I have no idea what you are talking about when you say I was answering a different question.

    The thread has been derailed because you think I didn’t answer your question, I think everyone here agrees that the question was answered, can we get back to the original debate? Did you have a point to make with your question?

  84. Interesting discussion. First let me say that I consider Laverne a friend. Elvis, you guys should really meet over a coffee.

    I also disagree with Laverne’s position to oppose the proposal.

    One thing I think is getting lost is that sexual orientation discrimination can swing all ways. I once knew a man who only rented his apartments to young black couples just coming home from school. He believed in helping them get a start in life. As much as I understood his position, and liked it as a black person he was breaking the law. It was racial discrimination. And it’s time we started promoting the rights of others even if we don’t think we are currently affected.

    Now imagine a landlord renting only to gay couples, because he believes they keep their houses in better shape. That would be sexual orientation discrimination. Currently not unlawful. But would adversely impact straight people.

    The way the HRA is presently constructed you can discriminate if you live on the property of three or less apartments if I remember correctly – don’t have it in front of me.

  85. Ayo,

    I understand that people can discriminate for all reasons, some I will agree with, some I will not, but I do not believe that a landlord choosing not to rent to a potential tenant is justification to infringe on an individuals right to property.

    Why shouldn’t the landlord be able to choose to help out only young black couples coming home from school?

  86. A landlord can legally discriminate on whatever grounds he or she chooses if it is part of a dwelling he or she lives on and it is less than three rental units. This is the balance provided under the law to protect the rights of individuals.

    The issue has been raised that you can’t tell a person’s sexual orientation by looking at them and of course there are other grounds of discrimination that are protected under the Act which cannot be “seen” – political or religious beliefs, marital status, whether you are born in or out of wedlock.

    But whether or not you can definitively determine a person’s sexual orientation by looking at them, assumptions are made based on how people perceive you, your masculinity/femininity, who you hang out with etc etc etc. People make judgements and we could all be discriminated against based on what someone perceives our sexual orientation to be.

    I respect Laverne’s honesty about her not accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle and she is right that many people feel as she does. Amending the Human Rights Act does not mean accepting or condoning homosexuality; it is a simple protection afforded to everyone so that they can make their way in the realms of work, housing and public services without being discriminated against because of someone else’s beliefs. Its about anti-discrimination, not accepting or condoning homosexuality.

  87. Thats’ a legitimate point of debate. I only wanted to point out that the impact of discrimination cuts both ways. But to attempt to answer your question, the law would be a nonsense if we excused people who break it for laudable aims. Further, housing in particular is not only a basic human right but a necessity.

    I would have a problem if discrimination in housing was such that it adversely affected a lot of black folks and in fact i would probably demand that the black community take matters into their own hands and use their considerable property holdings to correct the situation, particularly if government isn’t doing it. because it would mean that the country’s institutions are failing to protect its citizens and alternative corrective action is necessary.

    The right to private property is an important one in these parts of the world. You are master of your castle. and so you can discriminate in the home you live in. but if everyone who owned houses acted on their prejudices, there may be a lot more homeless people on the streets today. and the government would be forced to take your money (property) and build homes for them. how does that fit into your libertarian ethic?

    I just don’t believe we can do without a human rights regime, especially given what we know can happen without such codes.

  88. Ayo,

    You have made some interesting points, I would like to discuss your belief that housing is a basic human right.

    I disagree that housing is a right. A house after all is a man made thing, the materials, the labour, these things all are produced by someone, so who are the men that will have to provide them?

    When you say that man has a right to housing you are saying that man has the right to demand labour and property from other men. I would not only view that as a infringement on an invidiviual’s right to property, but their liberty and life as well.

  89. Housing as a human right is enshrined in international human rights treaties, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and including the International Convention of Economic and Social Rights. These Conventions are part of international human rights law.

    Like I said, I believe in the human rights regime. states are obliged to ensure their citizens enjoy these rights. and there are many different ways open to them to do this.

    with housing we’re really talking about right to adequate shelter. it does not mean i have the right to take your property if i don’t have a house.

  90. I don’t think you will read where I have said it’s okay to discriminate against homosexuals, but not against blacks and women. I haven’t even mentioned women in any of my posts and I don’t think I’ve mentioned blacks. What I have said is that I would have a problem renting my apartment to a gay couple and I make no apologies for that. I have also said that at some point in the future my stance may change.

    It is obvious to me that the majority of Bermudians feel the way that I do, hence the fact that the Human Rights Act has not changed. Will it be changed in this session? Who knows? Some MPs that I have talked to don’t want it changed.

    Ayo, I am not in a position to oppose the proposal. I can only state my views.

    The fact that discrimination based on race is outlawed in Bermuda and elsewhere, does not mean that racism is not alive and well in Bermuda and in other countries.

    The problem that I have with some of the posters here is that they are so willing to kill the messenger rather than trying to understand the message.

    I’ve said this before on the topic and I’ll say it again. Some years ago I opened my home to a young lesbian woman who had some personal issues and no where else to go. In fact, my son had to give up his room for this woman. I had to eventually ask her to leave, not because she was a lesbian, but because she stole money from me. Would I have been comfortable if she brought her partner to my home? No, I would not have been. Do I have friends who are gay or lesbian? Yes, I do, but I would still have a problem renting my apartment to them. I am certainly not disrepectful to those people who others tell me that they are gay or lesbian, because as I’ve said before, there are only two people that I knew that admitted to me that they preferred same sex relationships.

    Remember, the Human Rights Act has been on the books since 1981, so obviously a whole lot of people have a problem with amending the act. You should also remember that discrimination based on race in Bermuda was not outlawed willingly by the status quo. Remember the Progressive Group?

  91. Ayo,

    I understand that housing as a human right is enshrined in international human rights treaties, and those conventions are part of international human rights law.

    But as we all know just because a belief is a law, doesn’t make it true or just. We can look at the civil rights movement, suffrage movements, and the anti-Apartheid movements, as examples of people standing up to and questioning unjust laws.

    I agree with you that governments function is to protect every individuals rights. But I can not agree and you have not shown why housing is a human right.

    You also claim that the right to housing does not mean you have the right to take my property if you don’t have a house, but I strongly disagree, who will provide the shelter for those unwilling or unable to work for their own? Where and at what cost will these shelters come from?

  92. J. Galt,

    I won’t be debating housing as a human right with you at the moment. Your philosophy extends beyond that, and I think we are fundamentally ideologically opposed. If you reject the premise of non-discrimination as a fundamental right because it violates individual rights (to discriminate!) then our differences are probably irreconcilable. Not that I don’t enjoy such a debate but my energies are better spent on ensuring that we get a human rights act that reflects core values of the vast majority of residents.

    Laverne. The vast majority of Bermuda residents (93%) do not believe it is right to discriminate on the ground of sexual orientation. And about 16% say they have been discriminated against on those grounds. That’s according to polling conducted in 2006 and repeated in 2007.

    Secondly, the Human Rights Act has gone through many amendments since 1981. Human Rights laws change to reflect greater understanding and social realities as well as developments in the international arena.

    My question is why would you have a problem renting your apartment to a gay couple?

  93. Ayo,

    It saddens me that you feel your energies are better spent ensuring that we get a unjust human rights act that forces the beliefs and views of the majority on to the individual.

    You stated that housing is a human right, yet you can offer no explaination as to why you think this belief is correct.

    Just to clarify I reject the premise of non-discrimination because it violates an individuals right to life and liberty.

    The question you ask of Laverne “why would you have a problem renting your apartment to a gay couple?” leads me to ask you:

    Why do you have a problem with whom she chooses to rent to? Or more importantly what business is it, of yours?

  94. Ms Furbert,
    You state that “the problem that I have with some of the posters here is that they are so willing to kill the messenger rather than trying to understand the message”.
    I think you may not fully understand the meaning of the expression “shooting/killing the messanger”.
    Let me give you a typical example. A Government MP agrees to an interview with a newspaper reporter. During the course of that interview the MP claims he believes Government is corrupt and incompetent. The reporter writes up these comments and the newspaper prints them in an article.
    If Government supporters were to then denounce the newspaper and the reporter involved, claiming that they were unreliable or biased or inaccurate for example, they would be “shooting the messanger” – attempting to undermine the MP’s “message”, by rubbishing the medium in which that message was relayed (“the messanger”).
    On this particular thread, I cannot see where anyone has tried to kill the messanger, partly because there is no messanger involved. You have an opinion concerning gays and have expressed that opinion (“I can only state my views.”). Others have then tried to have a debate with you as to why you hold those views (“why would you have a problem renting your apartment to a gay couple?”). No one is making personal attacks against you Ms. Furbert, they are merely trying to understand how you come to your opinion. They are questioning the message, not the messanger.
    I believe for you to say otherwise is a bit of a cop-out – as is your “well I believe this now but I might change my mind later” position.

  95. Ayo,

    I think I’ve discussed the issue enough. I’m sorry you can’t understand why I would have a problem renting to a homosexual couple.

    By the way, did the survey ask the 93% who do not believe it is right to discriminate on the ground of sexual orientation if they would rent their apartment to a homosexual couple?

  96. The question is why government is wasting poor peoples money tryin to help this minority group? Recession and crime is more dangerous.

  97. Your sorry?……………Are you really typing this on this computer screen? You have so many avatars…….

    How much yah cousin paying you LaVerne………..

    Lesbians stealing from you….Bawahahaaaaaaaaa….What about crack heads? Weeders,….Thieves?…….oh..thats right..you did’nt ask…….mortgage too pay………………….

    Heil Goebells…………………………….

  98. Jonathan,

    I’m surprised that you allowed “Rumyy’s” last post. And you wonder why more PLP supporter don’t contribute to online discussions.

    Who is that man anywhat?!!

  99. “The problem that I have with some of the posters here is that they are so willing to kill the messenger rather than trying to understand the message.”

    Did you seriously say this Laverne, messenger killer extraordinaire?

  100. Hi LaVerne – As you know I do not vet every single post; so I do not necessarily ‘allow’ posts. For what its worth though, I credit my readers – and party members – as having sufficiently tough skin and enough intellect to disregard nonsense when they see it.

  101. Sorry for the delay in my response I haven’t had much time recently.

    “You have not shown that you understand my value system, I speak for the individual, not the majority. I support an individuals right to choose who they rent, hire or otherwise engage with. That means I believe an individual can choose to rent or not to rent based on their beliefs, regardless if I agree with the choice or the reasoning behind it, I believe it is the individuals choice to make.”

    I understand completely what you are saying however I disagree. We establish a social contract with society as a member of it. We give up certain freedoms so that other more important freedoms can be protected. I do not believe it is the individuals right to make a choice that damages the rights of another and on this we agree. However for some reason that does not cause a contradiction in your mind when you apply your ideals to this situation.

    While you have shown that you don’t believe that housing is a human right in the end that argument is irrelevant. There must always be equality of opportunity. Not of condition obviously. But, of opportunity. By allowing the majority (or anyone for that matter) to discriminate based on something like skin colour or sexual orientation you are denying their right to equality and therefore at odds with what as far as I can tell is one of the basic tenements of Libertarianism because we then end in a situation where that individual that you are so concerned with protecting is only protected so long as they conform to a majority within society.

    Again do not take disagreement as misunderstanding. I will say again that your logic is a lovely philosophical venture that in a perfect Utopian world would be absolutely fantastic. Exactly like the opposite ideology. However neither work in the real world which is why we have created a middle ground.

  102. “We establish a social contract with society as a member of it. We give up certain freedoms so that other more important freedoms can be protected.”

    I’m pretty sure we coverd this in the other debate, let me borrow your quote.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…..” unalienable rights, meaning rights that cannot be given, or taken away.

    “I do not believe it is the individuals right to make a choice that damages the rights of another and on this we agree. ”

    No we do not agree on this you think you have the right to damage the unalienable rights of others, you support an unjust law that infringes on an individuals right to life, liberty and property. You say you believe it, but your actions say otherwise.

    “There must always be equality of opportunity”

    Must there? Can you explain this statement, I am not sure, how you feel it justifies your infringing on an individuals rights.

    “to discriminate based on something like skin colour or sexual orientation you are denying their right to equality”

    We have covered this as well what right to equality? The right that all men are born equal and as such they are entitled to the rights of life, liberty and property, but where is the equality, when someone exercises thier rights in a way you do not approve of. Suddenly you aren’t concerned about equality, take a look at what you are doing, you are infringing on indviduals rights, not because of what they have done, but becasue of what they might do. I.E. refuse to rent to a person for a reason you don’t agree with.

  103. Wow, this is long and convoluted enough to be on one of the forum sites…happy days!

    I’m confused. If the HR act has no impact on renting to someone, then why are we still talking about it?

    @ Ms. Furbert – Your argument against the HR act is that you don’t believe that you would want to rent your flat to a gay couple. But, if what other people have posted on the act is true, even if sexual preference were added to the protected things, a gay couple still wouldn’t be able to claim against you because it’s not in there? So as far as your rental situation goes you’re fine either way?

    @ J Galt – I think the logic behind your argument is fine, if I understand it correctly – in that forcing person x to accept person y because of person y’s beliefs is just as much an infringement on person x’s rights as discrimination would have been. From a theoretical standpoint that’s fine, but how could society exist in that way? Where would you draw the line? When is it dangerous to infringe on personal rights, and when is it acceptable? If paedophiles have their preference, should we discriminate what they can do? (extreme, clearly).

    @ All – Perhaps a more interesting question is the second point that Ms. Furbert raises, and I believe, the crux of her opposition to the act – that maybe the majority of Bermudian voters are against homosexuality. And therefore, isn’t it the government’s responsiblity to represent the will of the people?

    To which I would simply suggest that there was a time when the majority of Bermudians with the ability to vote were for segregation. Was it right for them to continue?

  104. Lost In Flatts,

    There was a time when Bermuda was segregated, however, those people that “were for segregation” were not the majority. However, desegregation did come about after a long struggle by many in the community. I think that the same thing has to happen with adding sexual preference to the Human Rights Act. There has to be a process whereby people like me who are not convinced that it is the right thing to do are convinced that it is okay.

    You will admit that for some of us it has been years of indoctrination that homosexuality is wrong. As I said before, segregation has been outlawed in Bermuda, but racism is still alive and well.

  105. LaVerne, your last paragraph sums it up quite well. Thats the best rebuttal I’ve heard from you in 40 years.

    Bigots and Hippo’s are the worst nightmare.

  106. “There has to be a process whereby people like me who are not convinced that it is the right thing to do are convinced that it is okay.”

    So you were pleased and supportive of the process and pace of desegregation in the US, where the majority was suppressing a minority?

  107. “@ J Galt – I think the logic behind your argument is fine, if I understand it correctly – in that forcing person x to accept person y because of person y’s beliefs is just as much an infringement on person x’s rights as discrimination would have been. From a theoretical standpoint that’s fine, but how could society exist in that way? Where would you draw the line? When is it dangerous to infringe on personal rights, and when is it acceptable? If paedophiles have their preference, should we discriminate what they can do? (extreme, clearly). ”

    Those are good questions, to understand where the line should be drawn, we need to understand that my rights end where yours begin. How does one infringe on anothers rights? Through the intiation of force. Actions like murder, rape, robbery, fraud etc… are all example of this.

    Lets look at the act of sex for example, if both individuals are willing, no rights have been violated, but if one of them forces the other, then one is violating the rights of the other and it is rape.

    Now lets look at the renting of property, if both individuals are willing, no rights have been violated. But if one of them forces the other, or in our case is being forced by others not even involved in the transaction, then clearly that invididual is having their rights violated, like any other victim.

    Who is wrong in this situation? I would argue the person or persons who intiated force against another.

  108. @ Ms Furbert – Thanks for the response, I believe that is fair. Public consultation is something that should go into (more) Government decisions.

    That said, I think that the pro-amending crowd would argue that such discrimination is never a good thing, regardless of what you think about sexuality.

    In the same way as I’m free to disagree with the teachings of certain religions, I cannot discriminate against someone who does believe them because of it.

    It’s almost more of a philsophical argument than a legal one, or a political one, because I do feel that you’re right about the majority of Bermudians not agreeing with a homosexual lifestyles. So should the government support something not wanted by the public?

    @ J Galt – The choice of sex as an example is interesting – it gets back to my original question about where Government can draw lines. Consensual sex is fine – unless its with a minor. At some point the public through government decided to make a law which said when teenagers were capable of making such decisions themselves. It’s those lines that I’m curious about.

    With regards to the HR amendment, I believe that the rental argument is a red herring as per the exception rule as pointed out above.

    Perhaps a better example would be someone hiring a professional nanny. If you were (again as you’re allowed to be) against homosexuality, should you be able to choose a nanny who is straight because of this?

  109. “With regards to the HR amendment, I believe that the rental argument is a red herring as per the exception rule as pointed out above.”

    I own property, you are going to penalize me, because I don’t live in it, or becasue I have more than three apts on it? How is that fair? The act is even more unjust in my eyes because it allows some people to discriminate, while preventing others from doings so.

    “Perhaps a better example would be someone hiring a professional nanny. If you were (again as you’re allowed to be) against homosexuality, should you be able to choose a nanny who is straight because of this?

    I think its pretty simple, rental, purchase, employment etc… human relationships should be voluntary. If you are forcing someone to enter into an agreement or tranaction they are not happy with, you are infringing on their rights.

  110. J.Galt,
    I do honestly understand where you’re coming from, but there is a spectrum of issues here and the question becomes one of ‘where do we draw the line’.
    For example – you have an apartment to rent. I agree – it should be up to the landlord to decide who s/he rents the apartment to and s/he should be able to make that decision based on his/her own criteria – it’s his/her apartment after all. For example, Couple A might be, on paper, more financially reliable but are rude and obnoxious, while Couple B are polite and, in the view of the landlord, more trusting, even though s/he has concerns about their ability to pay the rent on time each month. But I agree with you – the final decision rests with the landlord – it is after all, his/her property and should not be the business of some bureacrat to step in and say: “You can’t do that – you’re discriminating against someone because of their X,Y or Z.”
    But what if the landlord made a decision based on race, or religion, or sexual orientation? Would Government then have a right to step in?
    I suspect your answer to that is still “no’. Okay, fine. But I’d be interested to hear your take on Government’s proposed ‘Johnny and Sven’ rule – that companies should have a workforce made up of 70 percent black, 30 percent white workers to refelect the population of Bermuda. Do you think it’s right that Government should be able to dictate to a company who it employs?
    And if an employer’s staff should reflect the racial make-up of the population – as Government suggests, shouldn’t it also reflect the gender make-up of the population? The religious make-up of the populatuon? The sexual orientation of the population? The age of the population?
    Like I say, where do we draw the line, or do you think that no line needs to be drawn in the first place?

  111. Pingback: Amending The Human Rights Act – I « "Catch a fire"

  112. Ultimately, for me, it’s really simple. If you believe in the principle of non-discrimination, then you should support the amendment. If you don’t, then your philosophical position demands that you don’t support the amendment.

    I should clarify an earlier statement by saying even if the vast majority do not believe that sexual orientation discrimination is wrong, the amendment is still the right thing to in pursuit of the principle of non-discrimination. The majority is not always right, as Galt argues.

    Galt wants a world where the individual is free to discriminate. History has taught us that we need laws to protect the individual from discrimination. History, I think, has resolved the philosophical argument.

    Bermuda’s Human Rights Act, a creature of history and politics, is not perfect. But it does define unlawful discrimination and thereby shows where it is lawful to discriminate.

    In Galt’s world, the owner of a food supply company can refuse to supply to a region inhabited by people he doesn’t like because of their race and that is fine, because its his property and the people can grow their own food, or folks can refuse to patronise because they don’t like the racist policy. Trouble is, in some parts of the world that leads to genocide.

    So with housing, in Galt’s world, someone who owns 50 apartments can decide not to rent to white people even if they go empty. And that’s all right because it’s his property and white folks can go and get a job and a mortgage and buy their own houses and be free to discriminate against other types of people if they want. And if they are also discriminated against in employment, preventing them to go get a mortgage and buy their own houses, then they’re out of luck because its okay for the business owner to discriminate because he is pursuing life, liberty and happiness.

    I don’t want to live in Galt’s world. I don’t see it as a utopia at all. Some forms of discrimination can be harmful.

    Interestingly, the modern human rights regime is designed to protect individuals and, indeed, was motivated by the need to prevent states from abusing the rights of the individual. But it is clear that statal power is not the only source of power, and that there are many ways in which those who have power can use it to harm others, so it evolves. So far from the system imposing the will of the majority on the minority, the system protects the smallest minority – the individual. I should add that not all of us have the same amount of power and wealth.

    We may be having a different conversation if we did.

  113. “No we do not agree on this you think you have the right to damage the unalienable rights of others, you support an unjust law that infringes on an individuals right to life, liberty and property. You say you believe it, but your actions say otherwise.”

    Again I disagree. Your idea of unjust is a law that protects the individual members of the minority. My idea of unjust is allowing the minority to be denied their right to equality of opportunity and yes it does justify curtailing the “rights” of certain members of society to discriminate. But, I have no problem with that.

    “We have covered this as well what right to equality? The right that all men are born equal and as such they are entitled to the rights of life, liberty and property, but where is the equality, when someone exercises thier rights in a way you do not approve of. Suddenly you aren’t concerned about equality, take a look at what you are doing, you are infringing on indviduals rights, not because of what they have done, but becasue of what they might do. I.E. refuse to rent to a person for a reason you don’t agree with”

    We have indeed covered it but, if there was ever a part where one was misunderstanding the other it is this one. The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot be derived from equality. Any attempt to do so opens you up to the idea that the other acceptable state is where no one has any rights. Equality (of opportunity) is a stand alone right or perhaps rather a natural state of being that one is born into and should not be infringed by anything.

    It is in no way simply me attempting to enforce my ideas on another section of society. Equality is equally as important as life, liberty and property. None of those rights can be maintained unless there is equality. This was one of the driving idea behind the libertarian principles that crafted the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

    You ignore equality and dismiss it as unimportant and yet it is, perhaps, even more important than the three rights you are so fixated on. Ability and virtue should be what differentiates one person from another not race, gender or sexual orientation. You operate on the assumption that if we were to pull out all the stops (like the HRA) today we would have a society that protects everyone’s rights, where everyone has their rights of Life, Liberty and Property. I couldn’t disagree more. We do not live in a libertarian utopia. In this case I would adopt a more utilitarian stance. Which does the greater public good? The protection of everyone from being denied their rights or the protection of a few to take away the rights of another?

  114. ‘Which does the greater public good? The protection of everyone from being denied their rights or the protection of a few to take away the rights of another?’

    good one, Nioe!

  115. “Which does the greater public good? The protection of everyone from being denied their rights or the protection of a few to take away the rights of another?’

    good one, Nioe!”

    I suspect Galt will say that groups don’t have rights, individuals do. That is, I believe, correct.

  116. Nioe,

    “The rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot be derived from equality. Any attempt to do so opens you up to the idea that the other acceptable state is where no one has any rights. ”

    I need you to clarify this statement before I can offer my rebuttal.

    Thanks.

  117. JGalt,

    No problem.

    I was referring to where you said this “The right that all men are born equal and as such they are entitled to the rights of life, liberty and property”

    You seemed to be suggesting that the rights to life, liberty and property come from the fact that one is born equal whereas I would argue that life, liberty, property and equality are all distinct and equally important rights. If you had been suggesting that they were derived from all men being equal then one could just as easily support no rights at all as well as complete rights as an acceptable position because it is still equality.

    Perhaps I misinterpreted what you were saying.

  118. “Galt wants a world where the individual is free to discriminate.”

    This is a horrible misrepresentation of my opposition to this act. I am arguing for a world where each individual is free from force. A world where one may never force another human to act against his/her judgment.

    Ayo goes on to claim that “history has taught us that we need laws to protect the individual from discrimination.” The lesson I think that history has taught is we need laws to protect the individual’s right to life, liberty and property. He equates individuals being free leading to genocide. I would argue it is the person who believes they can justify or infringes on another’s right to life, liberty and property who is capable of and responsible for committing genocide. An example of this the US Government not recognizing the Native Americans, right to life, liberty and property, enabled them to justify forcing them (Native Americans) to “sell” off their land, or using reasons like the greater public good to justify infringing on the individuals rights with the Indian Removal Act etc.

    “In Galt’s world, the owner of a food supply company can refuse to supply to a region inhabited by people he doesn’t like because of their race and that is fine”
    In my world, a owner that refused to sell his product based on business irrelevant criteria like race or sex, would only be giving opportunity to his competitors, and would most likely find himself out of business for not capitalizing on those opportunities.

    “in Galt’s world, someone who owns 50 apartments can decide not to rent to white people even if they go empty. And that’s all right because it’s his property”
    The property owner, has expenses, like maintenance, maybe a mortgage, again basing his business decisions on irrelevant criteria like race, just misses the opportunity to generate income from his units, and allows another owner the opportunity to rent their property, perhaps even using that income to purchase the empty 50 apartments when the owner defaults on the loan or succumbs to the expense of owning 50 empty apartments.

    I can not say it enough I do not want “.. a world where the individual is free to discriminate”, I want a world where human relationships are voluntary and every individual has the right to life, liberty and property. Ayo I believe has a good heart, and the best intentions with his belief in the non-discrimination principle but we know what the road to hell is paved with. No good will come out of trying to justify infringing on the individual’s right to life, liberty and property.

  119. JGalt

    Philosophically I think you and I have close to the same ideas JGalt and I just want to reiterate that I do understand your argument. The only difference I think is that you hold fast to your philosophical beliefs even when applying them to reality while I alter them to suit what I see as an imperfect world.

    We’ve debated this topic rather thoroughly and I think the main here is that we don’t agree on whether a discriminator is infringing upon another’s rights when they discriminate based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc. At this point I’m more than happy to agree to disagree because we’ve both shown that we’re strong enough in our convictions to debate it at length and by now any observer is going to have a pretty good idea of both arguments Haha!

    It’s been eye-opening to hear the pure Libertarian argument on the issue and while your style of debate was initially a shock I’m glad I had the opportunity to debate the issue through with you.

  120. Nioe,

    I agree, it was fun to debate the issue. the next post is my rebuttal to your earlier post, no need to reply.

  121. “You seemed to be suggesting that the rights to life, liberty and property come from the fact that one is born equal whereas I would argue that life, liberty, property and equality are all distinct and equally important rights.”

    Sorry you misunderstood what I was saying, when I said “..what right to equality? The right that all men are born equal and as such they are entitled to the rights of life, liberty and property, but where is the equality, when someone exercises their rights in a way you do not approve of. Suddenly you aren’t concerned about equality,”

    That was me presenting how I took your argument. The right to equality is an idea you presented.

    I would like to clarify my view on an individual’s rights, There is only one fundamental right an individual’s right to their own life, all other rights are a natural consequence of the right to life. If you accept that an individual has a right to their own life then you accept that there is a right to liberty. Meaning the freedom for an individual to sustain their life by their effort, an individual who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain their life, hence the right to property. It is a guarantee that the individual will gain, keep, use and dispose of all they earn.

    “Equality (of opportunity) is a stand alone right or perhaps rather a natural state of being that one is born into and should not be infringed by anything.”

    This I disagree with in nature we are not born with equal opportunity, your genetics, your parents, their wealth, education, their country….the list of factors goes on and on, why someone born 30 years ago will have different opportunities than being born to day. Some people are smarter, faster, stronger, etc… no I don’t think you will find equality is a natural state.

    “You ignore equality and dismiss it as unimportant and yet it is, perhaps, even more important than the three rights you are so fixated on.”

    I hope after reading my explanation above you can understand (and maybe agree) why I want to defend and view the three as the most important rights we have.
    I do think that since all individuals have the right to life, liberty and property, and that government’s function is to protect an individual’s rights, all individuals should be treated equally by the government/law.

    “Ability and virtue should be what differentiates one person from another not race, gender or sexual orientation.”

    I agree, but others will not

    “Which does the greater public good? The protection of everyone from being denied their rights or the protection of a few to take away the rights of another?”

    If you want to go all utilitarian, you would have to side with me, after my position is for protecting EVERY individuals rights to life, liberty and property , your position , does not protect every individual because not every individual is going to be discriminated against, there for the greater good would be served by me.

    Of course I am not an ends justifies the means type guy, I am kind of surprised that you would use that argument.

  122. So, basically, it’s just survival of the fittest?

    I mean, there’s nothing in there taking into account any sort of history, any sort of concept that entire swathes of people had these rights you defend (and I’m not saying that your defense of them is bad) taken away from them entirely, for generations, allowing others to thrive.

    Now, and please correct me if I’m wrong, you’re saying we should throw ALL of that away and just start from scratch?

    Like… “Ok… NOW everyone has the same rights.
    The past? The effects of the past? Those don’t matter. From THIS moment on, where we are all standing right now… THIS is when we all have the same rights.”

    You say, “we are not born with equal opportunity, your genetics, your parents, their wealth, education, their country….the list of factors goes on and on…”, but none of that factors into your rhetoric.

    If we were all on a level playing field, I would be behind your stance 100%. Absolutely.

    But there’s just all this history and unearned inequality laying around, getting in the way.

    I personally think that the HR Act just helps try to level the playing field a bit, so MAYBE, generations from now, our descendants will have a society where your position is the way to go.
    The change in attitudes towards black folks has proved that protecting people from discrimination DOES work and DOES move us towards equality.

    Until we GET to that point, things like Human Rights protection are the best way to get there… the best way to equality, which, and I hope you agree, should be the baseline in the society you propose

  123. “This I disagree with in nature we are not born with equal opportunity, your genetics, your parents, their wealth, education, their country….the list of factors goes on and on, why someone born 30 years ago will have different opportunities than being born to day. Some people are smarter, faster, stronger, etc… no I don’t think you will find equality is a natural state.”

    Just to clarify I don’t believe there is equality of condition at all. Obviously everyone is different and with varying level of talents. Equality of opportunity on the other hand is saying that you have the same rights as everyone else to be judged on your own abilities and virtues rather than station or race etc.

    Anyway, I just wanted to clarify what I meant.

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