Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Roommates.com: Another Bad Judicial Decision

05.04.2008 (12:17 pm) – Filed under: Discrimination,Law,Stupidity,Technology ::

Evidently we needed another inept ruling from the west coast circuit to remind us that justice is a three-ring circus out that-a-way.  The LA Times says:

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Thursday that … a site called Roommates.com may be brought to trial for possibly violating anti-discrimination laws because it requires users to provide information about gender, sexual orientation and whether they have children, and then uses the information to screen people for matches.

Get back, honky cats!  I mean really, what other criteria that one might want to apply to a roommate search might be "discriminatory"?  Suppose I only want to live with a Hispanic person?  Illegal, probably, in California.  Does he snore?  Too bad, you can’t ask that either.

Who exactly do these clowns, er, judges, think they are?  Like, gods, with a small "g"?  It’s pathetic, their neurotic need to force people to boil down their existences into a soupy, gray muddle of mediocrity.  Judgment need not apply, to say nothing about applying any sort of personal preference to the way we live our lives.

More:

"A real estate broker may not inquire as to the race of a prospective buyer, and an employer may not inquire as to the religion of a prospective employee," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the majority. "If such questions are unlawful when posed face-to-face by telephone, they don’t magically become lawful when asked electronically online."

Site users are required to select from drop-down menus whether they want to live with "straight or gay" males, only with "straight" males, only with "gay" males or with "no males," the court said.

That’s good news!  For one thing it means that Roommates.com has made the investment in their business and found out what criteria its customers think are important when choosing a person to live with.  Presumedly we’re primarily talking about multi-month or longer leases in which one would be contractually stuck with the other person(s).  Doesn’t it make sense for people to be able to choose who they want to live with?

Not to this court.

Dating websites that require users to answer similar questions are not liable, the ruling said, because discrimination in choosing a partner is not illegal.

"It is perfectly legal to discriminate along those lines in dating, and thus there can be no claim based solely on the content of these questions," the majority opinion said.

Really?  How long until the 9th Circus Court reverses that inalienable right as well?

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