The government (whether state or national) differs from private individuals and businesses in three distinct ways. It is jurisdictional, representative, and compulsory.
First, the government has a defined area over which its rules apply, and its rules apply to all within that area. Second, the government represents and consists of citizens within its jurisdiction. It is representative of all and thus equinanimous. Lastly, the government has compulsory power. It can force you to appear in court, pay taxes, and drive cautiously (among other things) because the citizens have given it that power. To abrogate any of these features constitutes an injustice to the citizens it serves. That is, if it chose not to enforce its laws equally within its jurisdiction, that is injustice. If it refused to allow some to vote and not others, at the highest level of analysis, that is injustice. Therefore, for the government to exercise prejudice — to forbid access or to provide inferior service to some amounts to defrauding the citizen of what he or she is owed. To do so is unjust.
Businesses and individuals, by contrast, are not jurisdictional, representative, or compulsory. In providing services, or selling goods such entities are constrained, or limited. A business or individual cannot provide all possible goods or serve all people, for doing so would be not only impossible but at odds with the reason for existence of the business. Businesses are by nature designed to provide specific goods or services according to the wishes of their creators. The freedom of businesses is something that exists, at least in part, due to their non-representative, non-jurisdictional, non-compulsory nature. This understanding of different natures is fundamental to understanding the role of business and government.
Therefore to use government (via its law-making or enforcement power) to force a business to satisfy what some group of noisome complainers wishes is simply reducing the freedom of one group for the scruples of another. This is always a dangerous proposition and can only be justified upon broadly applicable moral principles. To do so for principles which are not broadly applicable is unjust.
Say that I believe that I should not provide hotel rooms to unwed couples. The state has no interest in forcing me to violate my own conscience. My business choice, born of free will, harms no-one. I offer a voluntary good or service and others are free to reject that good or service. People reject goods or services every day, often for trivial reasons, and they are wholly justified in so doing. No-one compels them to purchase; likewise, no-one should require others to serve or offer.
What is unjust is for others to constrain me from offering my good and service in the manner that I choose. They have no right to be economic censors, nor can they be ecclesiastical authorities, demanding that I believe what they believe and act accordingly. The first amendment puts the concept of a national church to death, and it thus puts to death the very concept of people using the law to enforce the jot and tittle of a law upon others. If we are to get along, we must be both a moral people and a tolerant people.
As an example of the government being suborned to enforce the fantasy of some is non-discrimination laws. These laws murder organizations who wish to serve specific people groups or communities. Whom does it harm if a grocery store requires you to make $25,000 or less to shop there? Whom does it harm that a scholarship fund wants to help low-income black men? What does it matter if a hotel, car store, church, or bakery refuses services? And what of the fact that receiving a refusal is annoying? Now who is really to blame if you don’t do your research on wherever it is you are trying to purchase a good or service from? Is it worth amputating someone else’s freedom because you are offended? Obviously not.
Those who demand that others violate their own moral beliefs are not practicing tolerance. To be tolerant is to let other people conduct their businesses or lives as they see fit without the law pouncing them should they do something you don’t like. To demand that others conduct their business as you would is not the attitude of a free man or woman. It is the scream of the tyrant.
Again, if we are to get along, we must be both moral and tolerant. Those who are not tolerant are so because they first are not moral, and so they look to external force to make everyone else in their own image. In short, they create endless laws and regulations in an attempt to reinstitute the old Testament without a loving father in it. And because they are not tolerant, they confuse the role of government and the role of business and so attempt to micromanage both.