QUESTION: In a libertarian society where everything from housing, to health care, to education, to adoption is privatized, how would the minority population -- namely anyone not white, male, straight, and Christian -- be guaranteed equal rights?
For example, being a lesbian, I am afraid that a Catholic hospital (the only one for miles in my small town) will be allowed to deny me treatment, even for a broken bone, just because I'm gay. Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you can't be a doctor to everyone, maybe you should have chosen a different line of work.
MY SHORT ANSWER: Majority rule, which is more or less what we have now, ultimately translates into legalized minority persecution. For example, prior to the success of the civil rights movement, blacks in the U.S. were forbidden, by law, to marry whites, share facilities, patronize the same businesses, etc.
These laws were passed after the Civil War, precisely because blacks were beginning to marry with whites, share facilities, and patronize the same businesses. A few enlightened whites were demonstrating how all could live together peacefully.
Their example frightened the majority who quickly passed laws mandating discrimination. In a libertarian society, these laws could not have been passed because they forced people -- at gunpoint, if necessary -- to stop voluntarily associating. The only legitimate use of force in a libertarian society is self-defense.
Today, same-sex couples find themselves facing the same laws against intermarriage as blacks and whites once did. In a libertarian society, such laws wouldn't be possible. Marriage would be a private contract between two willing individuals who could set the terms to suit themselves.
Your concern, a legitimate one, is that some service providers -- for example, doctors or hospitals affiliated with some religious denominations -- might refuse to treat gay people in a libertarian society. Sadly, they might, even though Christ regularly healed those who did not live by society's norms and were therefore called "sinners."
However, in a libertarian society, we wouldn't have today's morass of medical regulations which limit the number of health care practitioners and facilities. Instead of a single hospital in your neighborhood, you'd likely have more and better facilities to choose from. Most would probably do their best to help anyone who walked through their doors.
Prejudice doesn't end by legal decree. Indeed, people become more resentful towards groups that they are forced to tolerate, associate with, or treat. Consequently, laws which seem to protect minorities often harm them instead.
You suggest that perhaps a doctor who won't treat everyone shouldn't be a doctor. But legalizing that opinion opens the door to legalizing others -- such as "if you aren't marrying to procreate, you shouldn't be allowed to wed." Where would that leave the gay community?
We want freedom of choice, but we don't want others to have it. We can only have freedom if we are willing to give it to others. Ironically, when we honor our neighbors' choices, they are much more likely to honor ours.
Dr. Ruwart, prudently, declines to suggest which religious denominations would require the hospitals affiliated with them to refuse treatment on the basis of same-sex attraction. Not me. I would expect this from Wahhabi Muslims.
Catholic hospitals exist to care for the sick. This is an act of corporal mercy which the Church expects all believers to extend to all who might obtain salvation -- which certainly includes the entire GLBT community. How could we expect to bring this woman to the light of Christ if we do not exemplify His love?
Now, if she wanted a Catholic hospital in a libertarian society to hire her, or provide her with any sort of reproductive therapy outside of a natural marriage, then she would should expect be disappointed. In a libertarian society, nobody would be trying to prevent Catholics from being Catholic.
Dr. Ruwart also declines to comment on the public-good aspect of natural marriage. There is significant public good in children growing up in a natural family, all of them with the same mother and father (and only one of each), all living together. Because this IS a public good, it ought to be encouraged, even by the State. The same cannot be said of any other family structure.