So Was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a Step Toward Fascism, Sen. Perry?

When it comes to justifying discrimination against LGBT people, politicians are making some rather startling arguments. Here, for example, is what Texas Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, told a local television news reporter on Tuesday:

“In a free market, I choose who I do service with. If I have government stepping in that role and determining who I have to do service with, then we are one step closer to fascism.”

Really, Sen. Perry? So was passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a “step closer to fascism”? After all, that law bars businesses from denying service to people because of their race or gender.

Sen. Perry was trying to justify widely expected efforts in the Texas Legislature next year to pass bills giving government sanction to businesses that deny service to LGBT people — that discriminate against people simply because of who they are or whom they love. The senator said he expects up to 100 such bills in the legislative session that begins in January.

The long-established principle in America is that those who choose to do business in the public marketplace must treat everyone equally. But in their zeal to justify discrimination, politicians like Sen. Perry seem to think that this fundamental principle is just an example of fascism on the rise.