The New York Times's obituary for the founder of Cracker Barrel brings up something that's still legal in most of the US:
His tone was considerably harsher when it came to defending a January 1991 directive to all the company's restaurants to fire employees "whose sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values." Mr. Evins's explanation for the edict was that gay people made customers in rural areas uncomfortable. As many as 16 openly or suspected gay employees were promptly fired.
The policy was later overturned by the restaurant's shareholder board.
I visited the in-laws earlier this month. My father-in-law is straight, French, and a retired worker. He didn't go to high school, doesn't speak a word of English, and doesn't know any gay people apart from his son and people he met through him. So sometimes the cultural divide seems great.
We got into a discussion of anti-gay discrimination, and it was clear he understood just how fucked up it is for an employer to try to control their employees' sexuality. Sorry, you pay us for our labor, that's it. You don't have the right to tell us who to live with and what to do with our genitalia after the shift is over. They don't have a right to tell you who to be attracted to.
Cracker Barrel's policy wasn't just homophobic, it was patronizing, elitist, and authoritarian.
People like to say they love freedom in this country. Part of the problem with that discourse is how it only recognizes incursions on freedom that come from the federal government, as if state governments, private business, and employers telling people what to do is fine. A state government can still send you to jail, private business can unite to limit choice to force you to buy their products, and an employer can take away your job.
Framed that way, people can get it. More than that, it might awaken something in some people who refuse to fight for their freedom if anyone other than Congress tries to take it away.
I've started a new blog, where the whole point is me being concise, a site where you can read the whole day's worth of posts in about ten minutes. Stop by and say hi.