The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Resolved: Private Businesses Ought to be Able to Deny Service based on Immutable Characteristics

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,503 times Debate No: 53349
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




I will be taking the pro side for this debate, meaning I am arguing that private businesses ought to be able to deny service to a patron even if it is based on an immutable characteristic they possess.

BOP is shared where each side has to assert and defend their argument and if one side fails to do one while the other side does both or if one side fails to do both while one side does one or both, the latter wins.


There has long been a slight controversy within this debate over what private property should be protected to discriminate and what private property should not. Today I will be arguing that any private property that does not accept government funds should be able to discriminate, and if the property or business is a corporation owned by shareholders, the board should vote on it's policies regarding what patrons it will and will not serve. This means that most scenarios where emergency services would be denied are not valid, since most hospitals (private hospitals and free clinics) accept governments funds through medicaid/medicare and cannot deny emergency services to anyone.

All my other definitions will be provided by merriam webster or google dictionary.

Ought: used to express obligation , advisability , natural expectation , or logical consequence

(Merriam Webster)

Able: having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something.

(Google Dictionary)

Deny: refuse to give or grant (something requested or desired) to (someone).

(Google Dictionary)

Service: the action of helping or doing work for someone.

(Google Dictionary)

Immutable Characteristic: An immutable characteristic is any sort of physical attribute which is perceived as being unchangeable, entrenched and innate


Debate is open to all, but I'd prefer someone who is experienced in debate and on this particular subject.

First round is for acceptance only.

Footnote: All google dictionary definitions can be found by going to google and typing in define: word

Footnote #2: It should be assumed that my opponent has at least basic interpretatory, literary and civil/governmental/political knowledge and therefore any attempt to exploit flaws in a definition or rule that any reasonable person would be able to decipher as an intentional exploitation should be seen as a violation of conduct and automatic loss of the debate.

I look forward to an interesting debate with my opponent.


Links annotated.

Private property rights have always been at the forefront of many political struggles in the United States since its founding and until recently courts have come down on an individualistic world view in terms of property, responsibility and so on. Reaching back into history, the ability to deny service was considered a basic of property rights until the civil rights era. The reasons why this changed is all but obvious (1) The abuses of this era cannot be separated easily from the kind of legal institutions that enabled them, one such is the ability of an institution to discriminate against a person(s) based on immutable qualities.

== Realism ==

We wont beat around the bush here, the reality of the right to legally discriminate against a person or persons includes but is not limited to the right to be institutionally racist (2) or any other criteria of bigotry (3). Bluntly put, these kinds of practices are one in the same with the effects those practices produce , legalising the ability to refuse service is a practical reinstatement of segregation.

Let's look at a historical example.

Practices such as Red lining(5) where in practice until the fair housing act of 1968. During this practices legality, private institutions (namely financial) where able to charge higher interest against minority races, refuse to sell property in certain areas either directly or by making the desired property unreasonable to attain through various manipulations. The result was an unnatural segregation of real estate, as well as a quality of living. The practice of redlining was a way of denying service as well as exploiting service performed purely by private institutions of finance bare in mind.

The practice of denying service has been abolished specifically because of these blatant abuses, there is no realistically good way to separate actions from their institutional or legal basis. The Jim Crow days are gone they took blatantly abusive and unjust practices like this with them. You frankly don't have the ability nor the right to be a bigot and expect to be a functional member of society.


Debate Round No. 1


I would like to first point out that as long as no lapse of conduct occurs on my part throughout the remainder of this debate, as it stands; I should get conduct points since my opponent failed to adhere to the guidelines set up R1 that she agreed to by accepting, which was that the first round was for acceptance only. I will retract this request if she simply copies and pastes her 1st round argument in to the 2nd round, including nothing new, as it would balance out her infringement.

I'll start with my R2 Arguments, since I am supposed to be the first to post, I will go off the assumption that my opponent has posted no argument so far, so I will not be addressing any of her points above and they should be considered null and void until she posts them in the proper place.

Enough complaining, let's get to the debate.

I will be using an LD style for today's debate, which includes a value and value criterion, and then anywhere from one to multiple contentions centered around the value and value criterion.

Value: Social Contract

Value Criterion: Balancing Test

Social Contract: : an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each

Balancing Test: A balancing test is any judicial test in which the jurists weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case.

Contention One: Prosecuting Private Business Owners for Denying Service is Violating Social Contract

In essence, social contract means different things in different societies. In the United States, we have two different documents that most agree make up our social contract. The first is the US Constitution and Amendments, the second is our federal, state and local laws. Basically, we only consent to being governed by laws when we choose who makes them and we are allowed to impose our own laws and limits on the government that does, to ensure the laws protect us and our rights, rather than trample on them. We can clearly see that making a federal, or even a state law that bars private business owners from denying service or employment to anyone is unwarranted, on federal grounds because the federal legislative body is not given the permission to do this in Article One, since none of the sections grant them the power to regulate intrastate commerce, only interstate commerce. On state grounds because it could be deemed as unconstitutional, and the federal constitution/amendments deny the states the right to make laws that violate the US constitution (Supremacy Clause). We can see that private property rights are fully protected through the 5th amendment;

"nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Deprive is defined as: deny (a person or place) the possession or use of something.

(Google Dictionary)

Possess: to have or own (something)

We can also see that in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court has continually solidified the notion that money is a form of free speech and cannot be restricted, this includes the spending and acceptance of it.

The leading opinion viewed spending money as a form of political "speech" which could not be restricted.

As you can see, restricting the use and possession of private property and the free speech that comes with it (in accepting money for your products) poses a serious threat to our constitution and amendments, and therefore the social contract.

Contention Two:

Allowing Private Businesses to Deny Service Protects more Important Rights:

My value criterion; the balancing test, will be how I lay the framework for this contention.

Basically, the supreme court and others use a maxim to balance rights at stake when implementing or deciding not to implement a law, the most common example with a comedic undertone being "My right to swing my fists wherever I like ends at your face".

Basically, we have to look at what rights are at stake if we implement a law that bars private businesses from denying service to people based on immutable characteristics.

Rights can be defined as: a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.

(Google Dictionary)

As you can see, to have a right to something, we have to recognize entitlement, you have to be entitled to that right, it is of my opinion that through the concept of negative rights, you are only truly entitled to rights that do not inherently deprive other people of their rights. If rights conflict, the more important right should decide which right is practiced and which is restricted.

In this case we have on one side, the people who would be denied service, let's look at their potential rights:

.. Con, I honestly cannot, with a rational and objective state of mind find anything that these people would be entitled to, why?

-The product or service being denied to them is not theirs
-The property where they are being denied service is not theirs

What does this essentially mean? Without using a strawman, I can only assume my opponent believes they have the right to walk freely about wherever they wish and be given whatever they want if they want it.. why? Because they are human beings? If I am wrong, I would be more than happy for my opponent to point this out, but I sincerely do not see the rational argument here where one could advocate for any right the person being denied service would be entitled to.

What we can see, though, is that the person denying the service or product does have rights they are entitled to, namely private property and speech, let's take a look:

-The property where they are denying service or product is theirs
- The product or service they are denying is one they happen to be providing

Essentially, based on this maxim I can only assume my opponent thinks people should be entitled to things that are not theirs? Just because I own a cell phone and I mention it is for sale to my friend doesn't mean because you whip out the same amount of money, or even more and I still decide to sell it to friend doesn't mean you have a right to the phone, it was my phone and if I wish to sell it I should decide who I sell it to. Who knows? Maybe I did deny you the phone because you were a woman, or black, or jewish, but it's still my phone. Being black or jewish or a woman doesn't make you any more entitled to the phone because at the end of the day it's still my phone to sell or use.

In conclusion, in Pro's world the rights of private property and business owners are protected, along with the social contract, and in Con's world the social contract and private property rights are infringed upon to uphold a moral that most people, including myself agree with; discrimination is wrong. If I was a private business owner, I would not deny anyone service based on immutable characteristics, but that doesn't mean I should deny other people the right to do it.

I eagerly await my opponents response, which should be nothing more than her previous argument copied and pasted along with a refutation of my argument.


I will apologize to pro, I am a person who is constantly busy and I often write my arguments with as many as 3 other windows open on the screen at once, such was the case with this debate. So where we stand now, I will let this round pass , no need to C&P the previous debate since every one has read it. I will offer no rebuttals this round so next round we will be back on track.
Debate Round No. 2


Apology accepted con, seems like it was an honest mistake, although I did say you could make attacks against my R2 argument, since assuming this was going how it was outlined, you would have been allowed to do so, but no matter, you can save them for next round. For now, since no attacks were made on my R2 argument, my only objective for this round will be to make attacks on my opponents R2 argument.


I'm not sure what there is to refute here, although I'd like for my opponent to elaborate on her statement; "The abuses of this era cannot be separated easily from the kind of legal institutions that enabled them". The rest I simply see as her laying the framework for her debate.


My opponent and I actually agree here, I'm not sure what the point of contention is, except that her claiming legalizing the ability to refuse service is "a practical reinstatement of segregation". My opponent does not state what she values in this debate, so it's hard to attack her arguments. For example, my value is social contract and my criterion is the balancing test. My opponent's case does not hinder my values, and she does not state her own values. There are two forms of segregation in my opinion, there is governmental segregation, and individual/private segregation. One defies social contract and violates an important right (governmental), and one does not violate any significant right of the victim and does not hinder social contract (private/individual). I set up my case on the basis of rights, what we are entitled to, what another party is obligated to fulfill. My opponent spends most of her case (besides her example, which we'll get in to momentarily) stating why we shouldn't have the right to discriminate on our own property, but doesn't state why the victims have the right not to be discriminated against. We can both agree that based on our personal morals, discrimination based on immutable characteristics is wrong, but no rights derive from this based on our social contract. The ends of the government should be to protect rights of the people, what rights do the victims have of this discrimination that take precedence over the right of the business owner, is what I ask my opponent.

On to your example:

Once again, my opponents case does not in and of itself conflict with mine, I agree that red lining puts minorities at an unfair disadvantage in some cases, but that doesn't mean we should strip private financial and business institutions of their property rights. Their real estate or their money that they loan out to other people is theirs to sell or loan, it's their property and therefore they have a right to it, including the distribution of it. I can agree with my opponent that if financial institutions accept money from the government for loan/interest subsidization, then the practice is wrong because they are discriminating with government money, if not I don't see how this violates anyone's rights, could my opponent clarify?

In regards to my opponent's final paragraph:

The right to be a bigot isn't a right in and of itself, it is ingrained in rights such as our 1st and 5th amendment rights. If 1st and 5th amendment rights only applied to people who had morals or values society was comfortable with, they would hold no value because their purpose is to protect each individual, namely people who uphold unpopular ideas.


Jevinigh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


It is unfortunate that Con could not finish this debate, I saw your reply. I ask that all votes go to Pro due to Con forefit. I hope all works out well with what is going on in your life that caused you to not be able to make it Con, and I hope that we can pick this back up again at some point. Thank you.


Pro cares about votes, I couldn't care less. I will be unable to finish the debate due to family issues.
Debate Round No. 4


Opponent FF


Jevinigh forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Jevinigh 7 years ago
Family issues. I won't be able to complete the debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeits. Con essentially conceded this debate, and left Pro's points unrebutted. Therefore, arguments to Pro. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.

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