At last we’ve come to it, the great human rights battle of our age (cue the sarcastic grin). The two poster children of the Human Rights Commissions will duke it out. In one corner, a progressive lesbian. In the other corner, a conservative Muslim. Socon or Bust had been expecting this inevitable clash for a while.
How did it come to this? The story is really simple:
- A lesbian woman walks into a Toronto barber shop and asks for a man’s haircut.
- The Muslim barber refuses, saying his faith doesn’t allow him to touch women that aren’t relatives. (I guess that’s why he chose to work in a barber shop rather than a unisex hair salon).
- The lesbian files a human rights complaint.
- Later, the barbershop offers her a haircut by a different barber
- She refuses out of principle (?)
Notice that the Muslim’s objection wasn’t really based on the woman’s sexual orientation, but just the fact that she was a woman. Presumably, a heterosexual woman would have received the same treatment. To the extent that there was another barber on duty who was willing to cut her hair, I don’t see why this should have posed any problem whatsoever.
She could have very well accepted the offer from the alternate barber, but she decided to pick a fight instead. This could end up being a bad move. You see, even the Toronto Star, in the unlikeliest flip-flop since Saul became Paul, published an editorial saying that there’s no need for a lawsuit and that we should all just learn to get along in a big, diverse city like T.O. Yikes, that doesn’t bode well for the plaintiff.
I don’t know how the Toronto Star picks its editorial positions, but it might have to do with some basic demographics. Muslims are a much larger share of the population of the GTA than lesbians, and growing at a rapid rate.
Read the excellent commentary here by BC Blue, especially how he points out the contradictions between this Star editorial and others in which they sided with gays and lesbians when they were suing Christians. Big surprise there, eh?