Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Gay Rights Hypocrisy in Washington

The state of Washington passed a law earlier this year that added sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination laws and the religious right there is none too happy about it. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, is leading an attempt to get the matter put on the ballot to overturn that law. This is pretty much universally true of anti-gay groups; they don’t just oppose gay marriage, they oppose any legal protections for gays at all – including those protections that they themselves enjoy.

It’s illegal at the Federal level and in every state to discriminate on the basis of one’s religion (except for other religious groups, of course; the ministerial exception still applies, as it should). Christians are protected against discrimination by those laws because of their religious beliefs. But they seek to deny that same protection to gays and lesbians. Why? There is only one possible reason: they believe that it’s okay to fire someone from their job, or deny them public accomodation, insurance coverage, and so forth, merely because they’re gay.

The hypocrisy becomes especially clear when you look at their arguments against such initiatives. What do they always say? That they’re opposed to giving gays special rights. But the fact that Christians already have those same protections (as do women, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, etc) shows this rhetoric to be completely vacuous; how could it possibly be a “special right” if it’s one already enjoyed by the very people claiming it to be special?

The other argument they make is that sexual orientation should not be protected in anti-discrimination laws because it’s a choice, while race is not. Leaving aside the false idea that people just choose to be gay (they no more choose to be gay than I choose to be straight), this is still an absurd argument coming from those who want protection based on their religious views. By any measure, religious belief is far more a choice than sexual orientation. Yet they want to be protected against discrimination based upon their chosen beliefs.

The bottom line is that the religious right opposes not just gay marriage, but any policy at all that provides any legal protection for gays. They are in favor of discrimination, in favor of firing gays and lesbians, in favor of denying them housing. Now, if they want to argue that private entities like businesses should be allowed to discriminate on any basis they wish, then by all means make that argument. But if you’re going to demand protection for yourself based on your chosen beliefs, you have no credibility in claiming that others don’t deserve that protection. If we’re going to have anti-discrimination laws, there is no rational reason why gays and lesbians should not be protected as well.

And next time you hear one of these folks say, “I’m not anti-gay, I just don’t want the definition of marriage to change”, don’t believe them. What they really mean is, “I’m not anti-gay, I just want to be able to fire them from their jobs just for being gay.” And that’s a ridiculous position.

Comments

  1. #1 Gretchen
    December 12, 2006

    What they really mean is, “I’m not anti-gay, I just want to be able to fire them from their jobs just for being gay.” And that’s a ridiculous position.

    What if they also wanted people to be able to fire people from their companies for any reason whatsoever? Would it still be ridiculous?

  2. #2 chris
    December 12, 2006

    What if they also wanted people to be able to fire people from their companies for any reason whatsoever? Would it still be ridiculous?

    Speaking only for myself, I think the answer would be, no. At least, they would not be so appalingly hypocritical. It is still wrong to think that someone could be fired for their race, religion, gender, orientation, disability, age, etc. But if you are willing to say that it is OK to fire someone at any time for any reason, then at least you are being consistent. Of course that means that as a business owner I can refuse to employ, and fire immediately, any Christians simply because of their crazy and anachronistic beliefs, regardless of their ability. Is that what these people really want?

  3. #3 Jason I.
    December 12, 2006

    Gretchen asked:

    What if they also wanted people to be able to fire people from their companies for any reason whatsoever? Would it still be ridiculous?

    I’m not sure I understand the intent of your question. I think it’s ridiculous to fire anyone for anything that doesn’t have an impact on their job performance. People can’t be fired for wearing brown shoes or having their hair too short, and people should not be fired for being gay.

  4. #4 tacitus
    December 12, 2006

    I suspect that if the religious right was confident that this law was as far as it goes — i.e. no gay marriage legislation in the future — then they would not be as worked up about it.

    They see this new law as the beginning (or continuation) of the old “slippery slope”. They fear that if they acceed quietly to its passage then the “pro-gay” forces will simply start preparing the next stage towards full gay marriage. And in the long run, they are probably right (not that it makes their position any more tenable).

  5. #5 Soldats
    December 12, 2006

    What gay folks really need is a Church of Tehgay. That way they can be covered under guise of their religion and just point and laugh at the crazies when they get in a tizzy about stuff like this.

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    December 12, 2006

    Gretchen wrote:

    What if they also wanted people to be able to fire people from their companies for any reason whatsoever? Would it still be ridiculous?

    I think I answered that in the post, where I wrote:

    Now, if they want to argue that private entities like businesses should be allowed to discriminate on any basis they wish, then by all means make that argument. But if you’re going to demand protection for yourself based on your chosen beliefs, you have no credibility in claiming that others don’t deserve that protection.

    If they take the position you suggest, that would at least be consistent. The hypocrisy is in demanding and supporting anti-discrimination laws on the basis of religion, but screaming bloody murder at gays getting those same protections they demand.

  7. #7 stogoe
    December 12, 2006

    Religion is more of a choice than being gay. We should throw out religious discrimination because it, too*, is a choice.

    *Tehgay is not actually a choice.

  8. #8 Soldats
    December 12, 2006

    Religion is more of a choice than being gay. We should throw out religious discrimination because it, too*, is a choice.

    Umm, I’m quite aware of that. However, sexual orientation protection isn’t quite as widely recognized as religious protections. Besides, I want to see their heads explode when someone tells them: “My religion requires that I engage in same sex relations, so you can’t discriminate on that basis since it’s part of my religion.”

  9. #9 kehrsam
    December 12, 2006

    “My religion requires that I engage in same sex relations, so you can’t discriminate on that basis since it’s part of my religion.”

    Ummm, I thought that was why the Bible had those bits in the first place, the Baal-worshippers were having too much fun. The Asherah ladies, too.

  10. #10 Coin
    December 12, 2006

    “My religion requires that I engage in same sex relations, so you can’t discriminate on that basis since it’s part of my religion.”

    Some terms to look up, perhaps:

    “Dianic Wicca”
    “Great Rite”

    ^_^

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!