Marco Rubio writes in the New York Times, denying that his anti-BDS bill violates the First Amendment:
While the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to free speech, it does not protect the right of entities to engage in discriminatory conduct. Moreover, state governments have the right to set contracting and investment policies, including policies that exclude companies engaged in discriminatory commercial- or investment-related conduct targeting Israel.
You know who disagrees with Marco Rubio?
Turns out, he’s cool with contractors engaging in discriminatory conduct … sometimes.
I was reading just this morning the story about Philadelphia. Catholic Social Services, which for years has run over 100 foster homes, recently was denied and stopped receiving new foster children from the City of Philadelphia because they won’t certify same-sex or unmarried couples as foster parents. They would prefer people in that situation to another agency but they themselves won’t recognize it, so they now, after all these years, will no longer be able to assist the children under their foster program. And I think that’s such a clear, recent example of how religious liberty and family values go hand-in-hand. Here, you have a government that would rather enforce a progressive, cultural value, and force it on a religious organization than give foster children a healthy home to grow up in. Many of our leaders wonder why American family life becomes increasingly dysfunctional, but the reasons are right there in front of us.
In other words, Rubio’s OK with Catholic charities discriminating against gay families on the government dime. The difference? Hell if I can tell.
I’m personally agnostic on the topic of whether boycotting Israel is wise. But I do know that Rubio’s bill infringes on the rights of Americans to express and act upon their political views. As I wrote recently for The Week:
You don’t have to weigh the merits of Israeli policy, though, to think Rubio’s bill is bad. The ACLU, for example, is fighting against anti-BDS laws but hasn’t taken a position for or against these boycotts themselves. The argument isn’t about whether such boycotts are good, wise, or just. It’s about whether state, local, and federal governments in the United States should be able to punish people — like an attorney who provides legal services for poor defendants, or a teacher who helps other teachers get ready for the classroom — for making the political decision to boycott something.
“Public officials cannot use the power of public office to punish views they don’t agree with,” the ACLU said in a blog post. “That’s the kind of authoritarian power our Constitution is meant to protect against.”
Hopefully, the Constitution is Rubio-proof.