Michael Peroutka: Civil Rights Laws Should Never Have Been Passed

Speaking on the Steve Deace Show Tuesday, Institute on the Constitution Director and League of the South Board member Michael Peroutka criticized the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which adds sexual orientation to existing civil rights protections. However, his criticism did not end there. He added at 30:22 into the first hour:

The civil government has no authority to tell any private employer what kind of employees to hire and fire, or what constitutes discrimination. And obviously, I do mean and I would include the so-called civil rights laws are not law, they never should’ve been passed, they’re not law now, they weren’t law then, they aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.

Despite Peroutka’s past efforts to wrap himself with the legacy of Martin Luther King, here Peroutka’s views of King’s work and discrimination more broadly come through.  Peroutka has gone so far as to claim that King did not seek civil rights. However, King clearly rejected Barry Goldwater’s view of the Civil Rights Act which is a position quite similar to the one Peroutka espoused on the Deace program. Peroutka’s views expressed on this radio show are consistent with an article on his website which justifies discrimination based on race, religion and/or nationality.

One might dismiss Peroutka as without much influence, however, to me, this would be shortsighted. Peroutka’s organization Institute on the Constitution continues to make inroads in the tea party and religious right. Furthermore, Steve Deace, while far to the right in relation to the rest of the nation, seems to be mainstream in Iowa. It is alarming and disappointing to hear a voice of the right wing of the GOP in IA lament the passage of civil rights laws which protect the civil rights of all Americans.

HT: Right Wing Watch.

  • Lijdare

    I wonder what David Barton’s views of Peroutka’s opinions on the Constitution would look like – and vice versa.

  • Stogumber

    Equality rights are obviously dangerous to civil liberties, as is known to every friend of liberty.
    I suppose that we could find a middle way in this problem – but not by denying that there is a problem at all, or by the haughty derision of civil liberties typical for Rightwingwatchers.
    As for homosexuals. I just read a comprehensive study about cases of discrimination against homosexuals. In all of those cases, homosexuals didn’t really need to be provided by this particular businessman. When they sued the businessman, they did it out of spite and malice. A behaviour that is definitely unchristian.
    And I as a homosexual man don’t want to be connected with this behaviour. They act “not in my name”.

    • ken

      ” I just read a comprehensive study about cases of discrimination against homosexuals.”

      Where can I get a copy of this study?

      • Stogumber


        at the moment I only find this overview by Rick Plasterer from the IRD:


        in which tries to link to all earlier cases. I’ve read some more legally oriented articles about that, and if I find them again I’ll add them.
        It would be interesting if there are similar overviews from the counterparty, and if someone knows such an overview, I’d like him to tell me.

        • ken

          Unfortunately, Plasterer isn’t giving you an accurate representation of what happened. He said this about the Huguenin case (the photographer) “Despite a polite refusal to participate in a lesbian ceremony”. I remember this case from when it 1st made the news. What Huguenin did was specifically tell them that because they were lesbians they were unworthy of her services. If Huguenin wanted to be “polite” she should have simply said “I’m sorry, I can’t take on this work right now, but here are some other photographers who might be available”. She didn’t, instead she specifically told them she was refusing them because of their orientation. Who was it you said was the “malicious” party in this case? Also, the couple didn’t sue Huguenin, they complained about her behaviour to the HR commission, and it was the commission that fined Huguenin for a violating the anti-discrimination ordinance.

          Huguenin deliberately challenged the anti-discrimination laws hoping her religious claim would protect her. It didn’t. And it shouldn’t. Just as it shouldn’t if someone claims “my religion says blacks are inferior, so I can’t serve you.’ Or hang a “No Jews Allowed” sign in the window.

          Further I see nothing in the links on Plasterer’s page to other accounts that indicate the gays who filed lawsuits or complaints did so because of spite or malice. It may be possible that some of them did so for those reasons, but I would suggest it is more likely that the plaintiffs in these cases were simply tired of being told they were inferior, sinful, unworthy and otherwise undeserving of equal treatment and chose to do something about it.

  • Stogumber

    By the way – we as Christians, shouldn’t we have the decency to support our fellow Christians in cases of conscientious objection (as in noncooperation with gay marriages), even if we personally don’t share this particular objection?