Zero Tolerance in the Name of Tolerance:

Non-Discrimination Legislation as a Shift from Equality to Privilege The understanding of freedom as well as policies affecting our attitude to family and family life have undergone a dramatic shift. What was unthinkable in recent history has become standard today. Still, for now, if everyone may do whatever he feels like doing, it follows that the one who does not want to do a certain thing for moral reasons should not be forced to do it. In Europe, however, this bastion of withdrawal stands on thin ice. Soon, from family policy to personal decisions, what is not affirmative of any random choice or lifestyle will no longer be acceptable. In legal development, we are at this turning point. Equality has become a major principle of political and legal thinking. Equality before the law, which was achieved over centuries of liberation movements, has turned into equality of moral choices (especially in the area of sexuality and family), gender equality, and equality of treatment. These understandings deviate quite far from the original meaning of equality before the law (which we rightly hold on to), and they all have a strong bearing on family life. The right of Christian family businesses to refuse to engage in business that is contrary to their beliefs, the right of churches to refuse to “marry” homosexuals, the right of all of us to speak of “marriage” and “family” in their original (natural) senses—all are threatened by the language of equality. Yet, this development in the meaning of “equality” remains largely unchallenged. And it is currently seen in harsh anti-discrimination legislation proposed both at the EU-level and at the level of many individual European countries. Such legislation was recently debated in Austria but failed to get final approval. In the end, Rudolf Hundstorfer, the Austrian Minister of Social Affairs, angrily withdrew a draft proposal for an equal treatment bill that would have extended the prohibition of unequal
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