Dispatches from the Creation Wars

More “Special Rights” Nonsense

OneNewsNow, formerly Agape Press, has a report about “pro-family” groups in Ohio being upset at the new governor there giving “special rights” to gays and lesbians. True to form, those “special rights” are the rights that Christians already have; the only thing “special” about them is that they want them only for themselves and not for others. Gov. Strickland has moved to make sure the state government can’t fire people just for being gay, and the religious right just does not like it:

An Ohio-based pro-family organization says it’s unfortunate that several state agencies are taking steps to give special employment consideration to homosexuals and others with deviant lifestyles.

The offices of Ohio’s attorney general and secretary of state say they plan to expand their employment policies in order that cross-dressers, transsexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals will be “protected” from job discrimination. The state treasurer is including sexual orientation in his “non-discrimination policy”; and Democratic Governor Ted Strickland has indicated he will sign an executive order protecting against perceived discrimination against those groups.


I think this is really where the disguise gets ripped off. The religious right continually tells us that they don’t hate gays they just don’t like the sin, yet they scream bloody murder when they’re prevented from firing people from their jobs just for being gay. Sorry but “we don’t hate you, we just think you should be fired so your family goes hungry” is neither loving nor “pro-family”, nor is it moral in any sense of the word.

Even more ridiculous, as I said, is the notion that this is a “special right.” You can’t fire a person for their religion, of course, so Christians already have the very right that they claim is “special” when gays have it. The only thing “special” about it is that they apparently think it’s their own special right and no one else should get it. There simply is no reason to oppose a rule against employment discrimination against gays when you demand such protection yourself, and it’s idiotic to call it “special rights” when you demand that same right yourself and already have it.

Comments

  1. #1 Jim51
    January 27, 2007

    Hmmmm… well I’m not sure that sexual orientation is quite the same as religion. It seems to me that one could say that anti-discrimination protection for religions, which Christians should and do enjoy, work also for Jews, Hindus, and Atheists (at least they should). I think this view renders the defense you have made weaker than it needs to be. I don’t think that we would want to argue that being gay is like a religion.
    Having said this I must also say that I too consider the argument to be specious. I think we can better defend anti-discrimination protection by being more general. To say is, I think, weaker that to say
    Respectfully,
    Jim51
    PS. I love your BLOG. Your discussions are important and substantive.

  2. #2 Jim51
    January 27, 2007

    Sorry, some parts fell out. The second paragraph should be

    Having said this I must also say that I too consider the -special rights- argument to be specious. I think we can better defend anti-discrimination protection by being more general. To say -You cannot be fired for religion so they should not be fired for sexual orientation- is, I think, weaker that to say -You cannot be fired for non job related reasons. You should only be fired for doing a bad job.-

    I guess I will have to learn HTML tags

  3. #3 Robert
    January 27, 2007

    If anything the protections for religion should be weaker than the ones for sexual orientation. After all we know that religion is a choice. Sexual orientation by many reliable accounts isn’t. You shouldn’t be able to be fired due to something you didn’t even have a choice about.

    Discrimination based on traits that have no bearing upon the task in question should be illegal. At the very least we can recognize such discrimination as having no point. Sexual orientation definately falls under the “has no bearing” category in almost all cases (and the exceptions are bound to be on the fringe… like prostitution or something… I can’t even think of anything really).

  4. #4 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    January 27, 2007

    They should comment on the “special rights” that faith-based groups get in applying to administer government programs without meeting hte qualifications.

  5. #5 G. Shelley
    January 27, 2007

    I suppose the argument for “Special rights” could be made if employers are not entitled to fire people for being straight, or for getting married

  6. #6 dogmeatIB
    January 27, 2007

    I’ve never been a big fan of Ohio … but now with Gribbit, their BS with ID, and this “special rights” nonsense, I’m not even sure if the rollercoasters or the halls of fame are worth the visit.

  7. #7 Joe Shelby
    January 27, 2007

    If anything, sexual orientation is actually more “natural” than religion.

    The religious are that way by some choice along the way – their parents chose to raise them that way or they somehow “converted”.

    Science, meanwhile, is continually discovering the genetic clues behind tendencies for so-called “deviant” sexual identity, increasingly finding it an inborn or developed trait for which the person, as an adult, has little control over.

    So to fire someone for what they are yet not fire someone for what they chose to be is inherently inbalanced and in just society, immoral.

  8. #8 SLC
    January 27, 2007

    Let me see if I have this straight. The good folks at OneNewsNow believe that it’s perfectly ok for a born-again running a company to fire a gay employee for no other reason then his/her sexual orientation but it’s not all right for a gay individual running a company to fire a born-again for no other reason then his/her religious beliefs. Seems rather one-sided to me.

  9. #9 realisticphish
    January 27, 2007

    As a resident of Ohio who lived through the hidious years of Voinovich, Taft, and Blackwell, please allow me to say this:

    neener, neener, neener. Go fuck yourselves, fundies. And Ted, please keep doing stuff like this.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    January 27, 2007

    Jim51 wrote:

    Hmmmm… well I’m not sure that sexual orientation is quite the same as religion. It seems to me that one could say that anti-discrimination protection for religions, which Christians should and do enjoy, work also for Jews, Hindus, and Atheists (at least they should). I think this view renders the defense you have made weaker than it needs to be. I don’t think that we would want to argue that being gay is like a religion.

    For the purposes of my argument it’s not necessary to compare religion to sexual orientation; my argument is simply that it is ridiculous to call a right “special” when the group you wish to deny it to is one of the few that doesn’t have it. Second, I would also note that being able to compare the two doesn’t have anything to do with whether it should be covered under the non-discrimination laws; after all, religion is far less like race than it is like sexual orientation. Third, bear in mind that covering sexual orientation does not mean only protecting gays; it would also mean that a gay boss can’t fire someone for being straight, and it would cover not only those who are gay but also those who are bisexual, transgendered and transsexual. Lastly, I will note that the substance of the argument from the religious right for why sexual orientation should not be covered under such policies is that it’s a “choice” and choices should not be covered. But religion is, by any real measure, more of a choice than sexual orientation. So their argument is absurd on multiple levels.

    Also bear in mind that this particular issue does not deal with private employers at all, only government employers.

  11. #11 Julia
    January 27, 2007

    Third, bear in mind that covering sexual orientation does not mean only protecting gays; it would also mean that a gay boss can’t fire someone for being straight

    This is an argument that even many fundamentalist Christians are likely to understand. I think that it needs to be emphasized whenever the “sexual orientation” clauses are challenged.

  12. #12 Don
    January 27, 2007

    But if it is left to the fundies there will be no gay bosses. If there are no gay bosses they can’t fire straight workers. Simple!

  13. #13 dogmeatIB
    January 27, 2007

    “Third, bear in mind that covering sexual orientation does not mean only protecting gays; it would also mean that a gay boss can’t fire someone for being straight”

    That sigh of relief you heard came from all the straight male hair dressers … ;o)

  14. #14 Sastra
    January 27, 2007

    … my argument is simply that it is ridiculous to call a right “special” when the group you wish to deny it to is one of the few that doesn’t have it.

    And I suspect their real argument is that homosexuality does not belong in the same category as religion, race, or age, but in the same category as criminal activity, overt perversion, and boorish, disruptive behavior which lowers the morale of the work establishment and loses customers. If a boss can legitimately fire someone if they find out they have been molesting small children, beating up their co-workers, poisoning dogs, or selling drugs to the mentally ill (and tch tch now shouldn’t they be able to do that?), then they ought to be able to fire someone for being gay.

    Homosexuals want to be separated out from their natural cohorts and companions — the dregs of society — and treated “special.” They want to be treated as if they were normal and okay. This is the only way I can frame the situation and make any sense of how they are applying the term “special rights.”

  15. #15 Skemono
    January 27, 2007

    I think Sastra’s summation of their thought processes is a good one. But his use of the phrase “dregs of society” made me flash on Perez v. Sharp, a California Supreme Court case from 1948 ruling their anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional:

    Respondent contends, however, that persons wishing to marry in contravention of race barriers come from the “dregs of society” and that their progeny will therefore be a burden on the community. There is no law forbidding marriage among the “dregs of society,” assuming that this expression is capable of definition. If there were such a law, it could not be applied without a proper determination of the persons that fall within that category, a determination that could hardly be made on the basis of race alone.

  16. #16 kehrsam
    January 27, 2007

    Ed: It’s not that they don’t hate the sin and love the sinner: It’s all about the sex. After all, they just know that this will mean lots of homosexuals enagaging in sex in public offices! On top of desks paid for with taxpayer’s money!

    Even I, a most tolerant individual, would be taken about at that. Unless they were lesbians. And large quantities of CriscoTM were involved. That might be okay.

  17. #17 Jake
    January 27, 2007

    Hmmmm… well I’m not sure that sexual orientation is quite the same as religion.

    Both are personal preferences that should be protected from discrimination. Actually, since people don’t really have much choice about to whom they are sexually attracted, yet have much more choice about what religion they are, sexual orientation should given even more consideration for protection against discrimination.

  18. #18 Pseudonym
    January 27, 2007

    Actually, for the purposes of the argument, comparing sexual orientation with religion is actually quite a good analogy.

    The majority of Christians believe that Hinduism (say) is incompatible with Christianity. But only the whackiest of the whacky would argue that Hindus should be allowed to be fired from a job just for being Hindu, or that the state shouldn’t recognise Hindu marriages.

  19. #19 The Ridger
    January 27, 2007

    Ah, but the state doesn’t recognize Hindu marriages. Or Christian ones, for that matter. The state only recognizes civil marriages, which may be performed by a religious priest or whatever who has been licensed by the state. Which is why I think “marriage” should be reserved for religious types, and everyone (not everyone else, just everyone) should get a civil union, which would bring with it all the legal stuff. The religious rite should just be them and their god… After all, marriage is perfectly legal with no religion anywhere near it.

    But as far as “special rights” go – they special: they’re only for God’s Righteous Chosen(tm). Though I tend to hear the Church Lady when I hear the phrase, myself…

  20. #20 The Ridger
    January 27, 2007

    pffft. That obviously should read:

    But as far as “special rights” go – they are special: they’re only for God’s Righteous Chosen(tm).

  21. #21 Peter Lund
    January 28, 2007

    But religion is a choice, isn’t it? Why can’t people be fired for that?

    I don’t see how /that/ deserves any kind of protection.

  22. #22 Jim51
    January 28, 2007

    Ed,
    I understand your counterpoint and I think that we entirely agree on both the silliness of the special rights argument and the essential rightness of protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
    I guess I keep hoping that we will find ways to raise our discussions to what we might call a more shared basis.
    If we root our support for non-discrimination in our acceptance of homosexuality I believe that it is a safe bet that many Christian evangelicals will never accept it.
    If, however, we root our support for non discrimination in a more generally held value such as the right to an opportunity if you are qualified for it, or the right not to be fired for non job related reasons, then I think that the discussion held on that more common ground will more likely lead to a result that we support.
    My point is only one of framing the question. If we frame it as you seemed to be doing in the last paragraph of your post I think that the evangelicals will climb up into their battlements. If we frame it on more common ground some of those evangelicals will listen and think. (Although I know many never will.)
    I know this cuts both ways, of course. The Christian evangelicals cannot expect an argument rooted in the innerrancy of the Bible to carry the day with those who are not Christians or do not take a literalist view of the Bible. They must find some common ground or a shared value upon which to base their views as they attempt to convince the rest of us.
    Perhaps I am a dreamer.
    Jim51

  23. #23 Mike Haubrich
    January 28, 2007

    “But religion is a choice, isn’t it? Why can’t people be fired for that?

    I don’t see how /that/ deserves any kind of protection.”

    Well, for one thing the First Amendment is more specific with regards to free exercise of religion than with exercise of sexual preference. And it may be that homosexuals were so far deep in the closet at that time, they didn’t think it necessary to include protection for them in the original bill of rights.

    It is unfortunate that the Declaration of Independence doesn’t carry the force of law because it has that nice sentiment “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happinefs.” Although, in Loving v. Virginia, Hon. Earl Warren cited the phrase in an anti-miscegenation ruling, I am not sure if it carries weight as precedence.

  24. #24 khan
    January 28, 2007

    >>As a resident of Ohio who lived through the hidious years of Voinovich, Taft, and Blackwell, please allow me to say this:

    neener, neener, neener. Go fuck yourselves, fundies. And Ted, please keep doing stuff like this.<<

    What he said.

    Missing Glenn and Metzenbaum.

  25. #25 lee
    January 29, 2007

    I’m not a resident of Ohio. I know Taft is gone, I guess Blackwell is gone, but We(all of us) still have to put up with Voinovich. In 2(or is it 4)years could you correct that? Thanks.

  26. #26 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    jim51,

    I think you are on to something, but the point is much more direct than you have stated.

    I’ve written a bit at Opine Editorials about Ed’s post (check the front page). And I’ve keyed in on some of the problems people here have raised. But I can’t help but notice this as the most daring of contradictions Ed is trying to sluff onto his readership…

    If sexual orientation were a point of identity like race, there would be physical — not behavior — characteristics. Freedom of religion protects the right to practice a lifestyle or physical characteristics with no bearing on behavior. Of the two, is sexual orientation more like the former or the latter?

    While the comparison was originally Brayton’s in favor of the former, in the comment section it appears the readership seem to favor the latter. Brayton then agrees, with some apology. But without any support or elaboration of his former point, he leaves the hole in the original article even more prominent.

    Ed is trying to have it both ways, and unfortunately it winds up in a simple contradiction.

  27. #27 John
    January 29, 2007

    “If sexual orientation were a point of identity like race, there would be physical — not behavior — characteristics. Freedom of religion protects the right to practice a lifestyle or physical characteristics with no bearing on behavior. Of the two, is sexual orientation more like the former or the latter?”

    I would say that sexual orientation is closer to race than religion since sexual orientation is not chosen.

  28. #28 DuWayne
    January 29, 2007

    on.lawn -

    What the hell contradiction are you talking about? There is no contradiction to claim that religious people have the “special” rights, they wish to deny GLTs – while also saying that homosexuality is not a choice, like religion is.

    If sexual orientation were a point of identity like race, there would be physical — not behavior — characteristics.

    Bullshit. I have ADHD. You couldn’t tell by any physical charecteristics that I have this problem, it was diagnosed based on my behaviour and phsyc tests. There is overwhelming evidence that homosexuality is not a lifestyle or behavioral choice, but a genetic predisposition.

    Freedom of religion protects the right to practice a lifestyle or physical characteristics with no bearing on behavior.

    What? Please be coherent – that sentence doesn’t come close.

    While the comparison was originally Brayton’s in favor of the former, in the comment section it appears the readership seem to favor the latter. Brayton then agrees, with some apology. But without any support or elaboration of his former point, he leaves the hole in the original article even more prominent.

    Where did he provide any sort of apology? Or for that matter, contradict anything in the original post? And what hole are you talking about?

  29. #29 Fitz
    January 29, 2007

    They also have a first amendment (the first right in our bill of rights)

    You can get fired for having red hair, or being heterosexual, or tall….

    This is a “special right” being requested.

    Also, as New Jersey has shown, once you open up ANY special treatment, – gay marriage will follow!

  30. #30 Fitz
    January 29, 2007

    The people have shown over and over that they dont want gays having special civil rights protections…

    Its not like blacks (with 3 amendmants) or the 1957 civil rights act and so forth…

    Such special civil rights protections fail every time…

    People know were they lead…

    http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/16531446.htm

  31. #31 John
    January 29, 2007

    Fritz, I am not following you. You say:

    “Also, as New Jersey has shown, once you open up ANY special treatment, – gay marriage will follow!”

    New Jersey has given no special rights to gay people and gay marriage is not legal in NJ.

    And the article you linked to is just about a few bigots who don’t their children to know about families head by same-sex couples.

  32. #32 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    John,

    I would say that sexual orientation is closer to race than religion since sexual orientation is not chosen.

    I’m sure you would. And that is a reason why sexual orientation is more like race. But when we discuss protections based on race that brings up its own set of problems. In the arena of discrimination, the ability to select one’s preference is really moot because it is a lifestyle that is being detected and protected by the law.

    But is there any worry about protecting a black lifestyle? Is there any worry about protecting whites even if they want to be a part of the black lifestyle, or vice versa?

    The point here is that race protections are of public and recognizable physical characteristics. There is no offer to protect a culture along with the physical characteristics. There is no attachment to a lifestyle or racial tendencies even if they existed.

    It is freedom of religion that protects practices, cultures, lifestyles. I can be a hindu, but I’m not protected in practicing my beliefs? That doesn’t make sense. In the end the protection is not to be black or white or any other racial identifying physical characteristic, but to practice a sexual lifestyle. Which is why it runs afoul of religion in the real world, and not race.

  33. #33 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    John,

    New Jersey has given no special rights to gay people and gay marriage is not legal in NJ.

    One more point I should clear up for the sake of clarity, even though you are replying to someone else.

    What you said is not true. NJ recently opened up for civil unions, which is a special right for homosexuality only. What of people who have polygamous families? Or of you chaff at that taboo reference, what about two non-sexual people who form a household? They are not protected, they are exempted. The CU legislation is a special right.

  34. #34 John
    January 29, 2007

    “The CU legislation is a special right.”

    I am baffled. The NJ Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples are entitled to the identical rights as heterosexual couples. Where is the special rights?

    I do believe the NJ legislature was wrong in creating civil unions; they should have called it marriage. But in any event, these are equal rights, not special.

  35. #35 Ed Brayton
    January 29, 2007

    Oh joy, the idiot brigade has arrived. For the purposes of my argument here, it simply isn’t relevant whether sexual orientation is more like race or more like religion; race and religion are nothing like each other, yet people still demand that no one be fired merely for being either and the degree of affinity between the two categories has nothing to do with it. It is perfectly appropriate to demand that no one be fired merely being gay (or for being red-haired, or for being heterosexual, etc). The only point of this post was to point out the hypocrisy of those who demand such protection for themselves, deny it to others, and claim that those others want “special” rights; if you already have such protection for your choices, they can’t be “special” when given to someone else. If you can’t recognize that, you’re too stupid to participate in this conversation.

  36. #36 Ed Brayton
    January 29, 2007

    A question for the idiot brigade: give us a rational argument for why the government (the policy under discussion here affects only government agencies) should be allowed to fire an employee solely for being gay. And make sure that argument applies only to firing gays. Good luck.

  37. #37 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    DuWayne,

    I have ADHD.

    Quick question, are you asking for protection based on that behavior based identity?

    This is an interesting turn. I suspect that you are not, even though ADHD and other behavioral issues are discriminated against in the workplace.

    But then again, we already have laws protecting the handicapped. ADHD is marked by behavior in the inability to focus like others can.

    Who is to argue that homosexuality isn’t most like ADHD or a handicap? But I won’t put words in your mouth, nor will I make that argument personally. I don’t believe homosexuality is a handicap, or mental disorder.

    Perhaps you weren’t going down this alley, though it seems to be the most natural fit to your commentary.

    Please explain your point better. Perhaps you have an example of identity based on lifestyle that is not a physical malady or religion?

    There is overwhelming evidence that homosexuality is not a lifestyle or behavioral choice, but a genetic predisposition.

    Is ADHD a genetic pre-disposition? Also, genetic predispositions are identifiable with genetic markers. Yet no such discussion is happening to protect sexual orientation from discrimination. No test for the marker is prescribed in the legislation that I am aware of. It still looks to me like a protection of an lifestyle that one identifies with, like religion. See my reply to John above.

    >> “Freedom of religion protects the right to practice a lifestyle or physical characteristics with no bearing on behavior.”

    What? Please be coherent – that sentence doesn’t come close.

    Ah, cut and paste error. That should read, “Freedom of religion protects the right to practice a lifestyle without bearing on physical qualities. Anti-discrimination laws protecting race protect physical characteristics with no bearing on behavior.”

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    Where did he provide any sort of apology?

    In the article Ed states, “There simply is no reason to oppose a rule against employment discrimination against gays when you demand such protection yourself, and it’s idiotic to call it “special rights” when you demand that same right yourself and already have it.”

    That is a direct comparison. Yet when the comparison is explored by the readership, as well as complaints brought stating that it runs afoul of orientation as a genetic identity, he says…

    “For the purposes of my argument it’s not necessary to compare religion to sexual orientation; my argument is simply that it is ridiculous to call a right ‘special’ when the group you wish to deny it to is one of the few that doesn’t have it.”

    It is saying that where people took “same” to mean religious freedom, he only meant the same as in a protection against being fired.

    Or for that matter, contradict anything in the original post?

    He then says the right is more related to with race than religion. Where the first example is one of apology, this step contradicts the original article. “The only thing ‘special’ about it is that they apparently think it’s their own special right and no one else should get it.”

    There is protection for race, as well as religious freedom in the workplace. If everyone else has it but gays, then obviously this statement was false. The contradiction between trying to play that “same right” off as a religious special right and a race right is a hole that got bigger, not smaller. In other words the contradiction grew.

  38. #38 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    Ed,

    people still demand that no one be fired merely for being either [race or religion] and the degree of affinity between the two categories has nothing to do with it.

    Correct. But that isn’t what is being argued here, at least not by myself or anyone I’ve read (yet).

    Race and religion protection are both independent claims for protection from the state. Both are independent special cases.

    The only point of this post was to point out the hypocrisy of those who demand such protection for themselves, deny it to others

    As you would be found hypocritical then also. If you want to codify sexual orientation as a protection, then would you also codify ADHD? If so, by your own metric, you are a hypocrite because a right you have you are denying to others.

    and claim that those others want “special” rights

    Here is, again, where your contradiction is laid bare. By your own admission, race, religion, and sexual orientation are all different cases for exception. That means they are all special and unique. The right to not be discriminated against in the workplace based on sexual orientation is a special right, different than both race and religion. It wouldn’t be hypocritical if they considered their own right special, now would it?

    And since they call it special even though the independent race case is established, then that invalidates your explanation of saying “no one else” has it for it to be special.

    My suggestion, calm down. Breathe. You make much better points than you are right here and right now. Perhaps you are better off returning to a point based on privacy, not all points are winners.

    give us a rational argument for why the government (the policy under discussion here affects only government agencies) should be allowed to fire an employee solely for being gay. And make sure that argument applies only to firing gays. Good luck.

    I won’t make that point any more than I’d argue that someone should be fired because they only get four hours of sleep a night. But you are arguing the case specifically for gays, and not insomniacs — and getting angry at people who find that a special right. I wouldn’t confuse pointing out your error in making a point with disagreeing whether or not your more grand point is valid. I’ve already said as much.

    Besides, I made that argument as to why specifically outing sexual orientation is problematic over at Opine.

  39. #39 Jason I.
    January 29, 2007

    I’m obviously missing something here. Either that, or several other people are. The post is not about being gay, Christian or black. The post is about the hypocrisy of religious fundies who are already protected from being fired based on their religious choices claiming that if the same right is applied for sexual orientation (or any other reason they happen to not like), it becomes special. That’s utterly ridiculous. Protection from being fired from a job for anything that does not affect that job should be a universal right, not a right that becomes special when applied to a dozen different circumstances. Comparing sexual orientation to religion or race or hair color for the purpose of this argument is moot. Trying to differentiate them in relation to this topic is just an obfuscating technique to deflect people from the actual discussion.

  40. #40 Ed Brayton
    January 29, 2007

    on.lawn, as usual, is completely missing the point. He says that religion, race and sexual orientation all have special and unique arguments for being put into non-discrimination laws; that is nonsense. All three, in reality, only have one basis: history. All three have a long track record of being a basis for discrimination. The Civil Rights Act banning discrimination happened as a result of the Jim Crow laws, which made it legal to refuse to hire someone solely for being black. Religion, too, was a common basis for discrimination. And so is sexual orientation. None but the most delusional can argue that gays have not faced immense discrimination, not just for decades but for millenia. The basis for their argument against discrimination is precisely the same as the argument against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, and so forth. And that’s also why other categories, like ADHD or being redhaired, have never been added as protected categories; there is no history of discrimination on those bases. All of these arguments from the religious right trying to distinguish sexual orientation as a “choice” or a “behavior” and thus not worthy of being protected are complete and utter bullshit, offered only to justify the fact that they want the ability to discriminate against gay people.

    That’s my evaluation of their arguments, which is entirely separate from my opinion on what ought to be done with anti-discrimination policies. I think that if you are going to protect any particular categories, the law should be very basic: you cannot fire someone, or refuse to hire them, on any basis that is not directly related to their ability to do the job they applied for.

  41. #41 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    Jason I,

    I’m obviously missing something here.

    Now that is an honest admission. I appreciate it.

    The post is not about being gay, Christian or black

    Yet orientation and religion are explicitly mentioned in the post. Race is brought up by many in the subsequent posts. Your objection appears only now? Or did I miss it before?

    Even so I’m not sure where they are relevant to the discussion as it is now. Oh, and you iced the cake with accusatory frosting. I’ll leave those accusations stand for people to decide for themselves.

    Protection from being fired from a job for anything that does not affect that job should be a universal right

    I won’t disagree. But codifying it into law is *special* considering all of the things that we might think up in the same category that we do not include with it. There are general laws in place to protect such wrongful terminations, for instance.

    But beyond that, religious practice is protected, as well as race, because it might affect job performance. Protection for religious holidays (without pay) and other items that an employer might find less than desirable products of a religion are the reason such protection is codified into law.

    I suppose the question is, what about sexual orientation is particularly important for such protection to be made? It seems to me nothing, especially if it does not effect the workplace anyway (and thus fits in a more general heading).

    Or are you suggesting we find everything that is not applicable to work and codify them specifically into law?

  42. #42 MG
    January 29, 2007

    Jason I,
    I think you hit this one on the head. At some point it seems as though it became more important to find some small semantic difference to disagree with the author on than it was to say anything worth listening to. I doubt it will be the last time.

  43. #43 Jason I.
    January 29, 2007

    on.lawn said:

    Yet orientation and religion are explicitly mentioned in the post. Race is brought up by many in the subsequent posts. Your objection appears only now? Or did I miss it before?

    No, you didn’t miss it. This is my first comment on this post.

    Oh, and you iced the cake with accusatory frosting. I’ll leave those accusations stand for people to decide for themselves.

    At the risk of coming across as overly vehement, or vulgar, or both: too fucking right I did. In case anyone isn’t sure what I’m being accusatory about, religious fundamentalists are claiming that people should be fired for being gay, and I think they are hypocritical, lying assholes for that. Hope that makes my position that tidbit clear.

    Protection from being fired from a job for anything that does not affect that job should be a universal right

    I won’t disagree. But codifying it into law is *special* considering all of the things that we might think up in the same category that we do not include with it.

    Ed answered this quite well in his post following mine, so I’ll just steal from him:

    The Civil Rights Act banning discrimination happened as a result of the Jim Crow laws, which made it legal to refuse to hire someone solely for being black. Religion, too, was a common basis for discrimination. And so is sexual orientation. None but the most delusional can argue that gays have not faced immense discrimination, not just for decades but for millenia. The basis for their argument against discrimination is precisely the same as the argument against discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, and so forth. And that’s also why other categories, like ADHD or being redhaired, have never been added as protected categories; there is no history of discrimination on those bases.

    on.lawn said:

    But beyond that, religious practice is protected, as well as race, because it might affect job performance.

    Not even close. Reference Ed’s comment above.

    I suppose the question is, what about sexual orientation is particularly important for such protection to be made?

    The fact that homosexuals have been discriminated in every aspect of life for thousands of years, and it’s still going on.

    Or are you suggesting we find everything that is not applicable to work and codify them specifically into law?

    No. Personally, I say a blanket law that prevents people from being fired for non work-related reasons is all that is needed, and do away with the listing of things like religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. But I don’t see that ever happening.

    And thanks to MG for understanding exactly what I was getting at. :)

  44. #44 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    Ed,

    He says that religion, race and sexual orientation all have special and unique arguments for being put into non-discrimination laws; that is nonsense. All three, in reality, only have one basis: history.

    I’m right here, no need to talk past me. But since you are addressing your readership in general, are you really teaching your readership that because three things are historic they are not unique? And if someone doesn’t follow your conflation they are missing your argument?

    Conflation is not a good platform for making an argument.

    All three have a long track record of being a basis for discrimination.

    As well as gender, right? Yet gender was rejected as a protected status. So, obviously it takes more to achieve the status of a protected class than being historic. Similarities and differences are not reasons to make something a status — even history.

    Besides it was you who said, “the degree of affinity between the two categories has nothing to do with it.”

    The comparison of sexual orientation and religion was your own, and the interpretation of it was not even my own but the readers who immediately followed your post. You attempted to clarify by discussing the emerging discussion about race only worsened the contradiction. Bringing in history brought up another contradiction.

    The Civil Rights Act banning discrimination happened as a result of the Jim Crow laws, which made it legal to refuse to hire someone solely for being black. Religion, too, was a common basis for discrimination. And so is sexual orientation.

    That brings up a good point. Jim Crow laws and state sponsored religion were laws that were repealed by newer laws. Yet what you wish to correct with a law today is not a law at all.

    And that’s also why other categories, like ADHD or being redhaired, have never been added as protected categories

    They are protected.

    A man (or even a fat woman) can sue for being discriminated against by gender and obesity, and such suits have won. Yet Hooters successfully bats away similar lawsuits. Something doesn’t have to be a protected category to be protected, and being protected doesn’t protect you in every case. Being a protected status is a special right, which requires more than a history of people being mean to them.

    Lets say this was Rome circa 100AD. Would anti-discrimination laws make just as correct even though gays were anything but persecuted at that time?

    History is relevant though, because to make a case believable to a jury that discrimination takes place you need to see a history of it. It is that kind of history, whether real or simply perceived by the alleged victim, that quotas are created to protect against.

    offered only to justify the fact that they want the ability to discriminate against gay people.

    Well, that is your belief. I don’t find that to be accurate in my experience, but you are welcome to your own opinions.

    you cannot fire someone, or refuse to hire them, on any basis that is not directly related to their ability to do the job they applied for.

    Which is a much stronger point. Unfortunately it does not come with the ability to needle any group you wish to particularly poke needles at though.

    And that has been my point from the beginning. You have a much stronger point to make, but you dropped that in favor of needling a group you particularly show quite a bit of hatred of.

  45. #45 on.lawn
    January 29, 2007

    No, you didn’t miss it. This is my first comment on this post.

    So were your remarks meant for any of the people that made the race/religion connection before I did?

    This appears to answer that question…

    In case anyone isn’t sure what I’m being accusatory about, religious fundamentalists are claiming …

    I see, which seems to indicate a hypocrisy (or at least a strong bias) on your part. FWIW, I’m not sure if you assume I’m a religious fundamentalist, or if you are simply tacking on to Ed’s already discredited rant.

    Ah, here again I think you answer the question before I answer it…

    Ed answered this quite well in his post following mine, so I’ll just steal from him

    Well, you can follow Ed as you wish. I have a reply above to his post.

    >> “But beyond that, religious practice is protected, as well as race, because it might affect job performance.”

    Not even close.

    Thats quite an absolute position. But one that beyond accusation can be demonstrated as wrong.

    Here is an exercise for you then. Here is the EOCC page on federal statues about religious freedom. Note all the times it explicitly mentions how religion and work might conflict, and what remedies the law suggests.

    One need only look at the relaxed entrance standards at academic institutions are *based on race* to know that protections are in place to help where there might be performance issues.

    Again, you make lots of accusations. But I will simply let occasions like this point out to the readership what is going on so they can decide for themselves.

  46. #46 Ed Brayton
    January 29, 2007

    Now I remember why I banned you the first time you came here spewing your bullshit. You’re a pedantic little fuckwit who does nothing but annoy. Go away.

  47. #47 gwangung
    January 29, 2007

    Again, you make lots of accusations. But I will simply let occasions like this point out to the readership what is going on so they can decide for themselves.

    Well, I’ve decided that you’re an equal opportunity bigot with not much going on, up top. C’est l’vie.

  48. #48 Fitz
    January 30, 2007

    “Oh joy, the idiot brigade has arrived. For the purposes of my argument here, it simply isn’t relevant whether sexual orientation is more like race or more like religion; race and religion are nothing like each other, yet people still demand that no one be fired merely for being either and the degree of affinity between the two categories has nothing to do with it. It is perfectly appropriate to demand that no one be fired merely being gay (or for being red-haired, or for being heterosexual, etc). The only point of this post was to point out the hypocrisy of those who demand such protection for themselves, deny it to others, and claim that those others want “special” rights; if you already have such protection for your choices, they can’t be “special” when given to someone else. If you can’t recognize that, you’re too stupid to participate in this conversation”

    Well, I get your point. In fact it’s immediately obvious. It’s a point I have heard before and it is fruitful to a certain degree.

    However: Both race and religion is protected in law (& traditionally have been) for a reason. Every category protected by anti-discrimination laws has been ratified by the people. Sexual orientation is a much thornier issue. To wit, people have been very hesitant to afford such special protections.

    The rights are “special” inasmuch as they go beyond what redheads or heterosexuals enjoy.

    They involve sexual issues that people are (with warrant) afraid will be taken too far.

    As I pointed out before, http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/16531446.htm issues such as this make people naturally hesitant that such protections will make it difficult to thwart such obvious curriculum.

    In Massachusetts & New Jersey, courts have used such laws to argue that gay “marriage” is required by the constitution.

    Citizens who may feel bias in hiring or housing is unwarranted are caught in a very real bind. They realize that extremists will use such “special” rights as a wedge to enact their ideology on the society as a whole. They have every reason to believe this because it has already happened.

    If you can’t recognize that, you’re too stupid to participate in this conversation.

  49. #49 John
    January 30, 2007

    “issues such as this make people naturally hesitant that such protections will make it difficult to thwart such obvious curriculum.”

    Profoundly silly.

    The curriculum of whcih you speak is perfectly reasonable.

    Welcome to the 21st century.

  50. #50 Fitz
    January 30, 2007

    Yes John, I’m sure normalizing homosexual “marriage”, relationships and parenting to 3rd graders is something you find “perfectly reasonable”.

    Never the less, many, many, parents find it to be open and obvious proselytizing for the cultural left. They would much rather their public schools teach (oh say) reading, writing, arithmetic, and so forth.

    The fact that they don’t miss a beat in trying to introduce such curriculum under the (bland and amorphous) rubric of “diversity” and “inclusion” and “sensitivity training” only serves to reinforce the fears that most people share concerning “special rights” for homosexuals.

    In the 21st Century people will still seek to endorse the norm that children are best raised by their mothers & fathers.

  51. #51 John
    January 30, 2007

    “Yes John, I’m sure normalizing homosexual “marriage”, relationships and parenting to 3rd graders is something you find “perfectly reasonable”.”

    But of course it reasonable. There are same-sex parents everywhere. I even know a few personally. Their relationships are recognized in law in NJ and in Massachustts.

    Obviously, the schools must recognize SSUs and homosexuality for what it is. Natural and perfectly normal.

  52. #52 Fitz
    January 30, 2007

    Thanks for proving my point for me John.(post -January 30, 2007 02:02 PM- above)

    “But of course it reasonable. There are same-sex parents everywhere. I even know a few personally. Their relationships are recognized in law in NJ and in Massachustts.”

    “Obviously, the schools must recognize SSUs and homosexuality for what it is. Natural and perfectly normal.”

    Once we allow this ANY legal protection, people like you come in an insist that it also MUST be taugh in the schools…

    This is why “special” rights for homosexuals is so overwhelmingly apposed.

    Your “in for a penny in for a pound” approach helps to contribute to numbers like this..

    57-43 = Oregon.
    59-41 = Michigan.
    62-38 = California.
    62-38 = Ohio.
    66-34 = Utah.
    67-33 = Montana.
    71-29 = Kansas.
    71-29 = Missouri.
    73-27 = North Dakota.
    75-25 = Arkansas.
    75-25 = Kentucky.
    76-24 = Georgia.
    76-24 = Oklahoma.
    78-22 = Louisiana.
    86-14 = Mississippi.
    56-44 = Colorado
    63 – 37 = Idaho
    74-26 = South Carolina
    52- 49 South Dakota
    82 -19 Tennessee
    57-43 = Virginia
    60 -40 Wisconsin

    If followed to its natural conclusion we get this..
    http://www.365gay.com/Newscon07/01/012507france.htm

  53. #53 gwangung
    January 30, 2007

    “Obviously, the schools must recognize SSUs and homosexuality for what it is. Natural and perfectly normal.”

    Once we allow this ANY legal protection, people like you come in an insist that it also MUST be taugh in the schools…

    Given that that IS natural and common, both in humanity and in other animals, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be.

    The onus is on YOU to show why it shouldn’t—and you have been sadly lacking heretofore.

  54. #54 John
    January 30, 2007

    “Once we allow this ANY legal protection, people like you come in an insist that it also MUST be taugh in the schools…”

    Absolutely. Although I would like to say that homosexual issues need not be “taught” so much as simply recognized for what they are, natural, normal, and more important, commonplace.

    The stats you put up, I assume, are for referenda on gay marriage. My side has been losing the battle. But the war?

    You will see if you look, that when asked, many who oppose SSM are not opposed to SSUs. And the younger generation is growing up with far more acceptance of gay relationships.

    We’re gonna win. And you know it.

  55. #55 John
    January 30, 2007

    Oh, and you said:

    If followed to its natural conclusion we get this..”

    I doubt it. You know why? Because people like me will not sit back and allow those kind of laws to take place here in the US.

  56. #56 Fitz
    January 30, 2007

    “We’re gonna win…”

    Well, I’m not nearly this didactic…
    so No, I don’t “know” this.

    Often it seems, we all lose.

  57. #57 DuWayne
    January 30, 2007

    Fritz -

    Well, I’m not nearly this didactic…
    so No, I don’t “know” this.

    Well, I can happily say that the bigotry preventing GLTs from enjoying the same rights that everyone else enjoy, is dying off. Unfortunately, it is dying off all too slowly, but it is dying. In fourty years, kids will have a hard time understanding why the hell there was ever an issue. The reason that people resort to the courts to deal with these issues, is that they don’t want to wait.

  58. #58 Ed Brayton
    January 30, 2007

    Christ, we get rid of one member of the idiot brigade and another shows up, one apparently sharing a brain – or part of one – with the one I just showed the door. Go away, Fitz; you’re a fucking moron.

  59. #59 Fitz
    January 30, 2007

    Well Ed, tell me what you really think..
    No, I mean that… tell me what you think.

    Or call me an idiot & moron, or insult my intelligence?

    I guess some people like preaching to their narrow little choir.

    (you realize you have not produced a single worthy argument to this point)

  60. #60 Ed Brayton
    January 30, 2007

    Fitz-

    *shrug* You’re welcome to your opinion, but you’re not welcome to express it here. “Go away” was not a request.

  61. #61 kehrsam
    January 30, 2007

    Gee, Fitz, I would have assumed that you wanted it taught in schools that heterosexuality is normal and nothing to be afraid of. Or that heteros should not be fired merely for a trait with no relevance to their job. I admit that giving them special privileges might rankle some, but don’t you think it’s about time to end such senseless discrimination?

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