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09/04/2007

The religious 'Wright' dishes some wrong

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images  Good As You Images Picture-6-52Usually when it comes to matters of gay-ocity, the Concerned Women For America leave the public comments to their resident "Concerned Dude," Matt Barber. However, CWA president Wendy Wright felt the need to chime in on the Larry Craig situation, saying the following:

"In light of the accusations against him, Sen. Craig has been criticized for voting to protect Americans from being forced to accept abnormal sexual behaviors. The furor over the accusations against him reveals that Americans do not accept sexual deviancies, so our laws should not force us to accommodate others' immoral sexual behavior.

"Sen. Craig voted to uphold marriage as between one man and one woman, to protect businesses that have employment standards against immoral sexual behavior or gender confusion, and to not give special preference to homosexuals over other victims in criminal cases. Critics assume that since Sen. Craig is accused of seeking homosexual anonymous public sex, he is somehow obligated to vote in favor of same-sex 'marriage'. Anonymous public sex is not marriage. Senators - regardless of their own actions - have a responsibility to protect marriage from being redefined. Those criticizing his votes are also those seeking to change our laws to force Americans to embrace virtually any form of sexual behavior.

"Businesses should have the same ability to expect high moral standards from their employees that are applied to Sen. Craig. Yet, next week, a congressional committee will debate whether businesses should be forced to accept an employee's sexual conduct. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would forbid businesses from discriminating against an employee based on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity". If ENDA passes, it would be illegal for a business to do what many voters are likely to do - not 'employ' Sen. Craig based on accusations of his sexual behavior.

"Americans have the right to expect sexually moral behavior from others, especially from those passing laws over us. One thing we can learn from the accusations against Sen. Craig is that Americans should be allowed to uphold sexual moral standards in the law, employment practices, public venues and society."

Oh, my, my, my. We usually consider Wendy to be among CWA's more reasoned staffers. However, the above is straight out of the Matt Barber playbook of gay-demonizing intellectual leaps!

First off, it goes without saying that homosexuality is not an "abnormal sexual behavior" or a "sexual deviancy." It's beyond offensive that our opposition so militantly insists on defining the spectrum of sexual "normalcy" as only that with which they agree, when the TRUE range in every sort of species features loads of variance (no ejaculatory pun intended). For something to be "abnormal" or "deviant," it has to exist in scant numbers and deviate from accepted reality. Homosexuality is far more realistic than the "Ozzie & Harriet, missionary-only, sex solely for procreation, wait until marriage" boundaries that folks like Wendy Wright have placed around human intercourse.

That being said, Wendy's most offensive assertion (and there are many) comes when she says:

"Critics assume that since Sen. Craig is accused of seeking homosexual anonymous public sex, he is somehow obligated to vote in favor of same-sex 'marriage'. Anonymous public sex is not marriage."

But here's the thing: Critics do no assume that it is Craig's anonymous tryst that should make Larry vote for same-sex marriage, and critics do not even being to present such bathroom dalliances as synonymous with marriage! What critics DO suggest is that this (alleged) bathroom encounter is a sign of a man who has chosen to live his life in the closet, thus the reason why this sort of tryst was necessary in the first place. And critics suggest that if he IS in fact a gay man, then he could and should be true to himself and his loved ones. And critics suggest that everyone should live and love openly, so that they can find and fall in love with the person to whom they are genuinely attracted. And critics suggest that these sorts of true and loving relationships are deserving of the same legal status as their heterosexual counterparts. It is NOT Craig's (alleged) bathroom encounter that makes people scrutinize Larry Craig's voting record, but rather it is the likely sexual orientation (be it gay or bi) that lies beneath. And the scrutiny has been going on for YEARS, far before anyone ever thought to connect the Senator with toe-tapping.

Moving on, Wendy next tries to turn the Craig situation into a criticism of ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act), saying, "If ENDA passes, it would be illegal for a business to do what many voters are likely to do - not 'employ' Sen. Craig based on accusations of his sexual behavior." And honestly, this is one of the most flawed and absurd anti-ENDA arguments we have ever heard! That's because positioning voting practices against hiring practices as if the two are one and the same is complete and utter bullsh*t! The proposed legislation would make it unlawful for businesses to discriminate against a potential employee based upon their sexual orientation, not prevent voters from casting a ballot in the manner they see fit (even though Craig's resignation has now rendered the voter argument moot). If voters wanted to not vote for a particular candidate simply because of his or her real or perceived sexual orientation, then that is their (unfair and disturbing) prerogative. Our political system does not require us to offer reasons for why we cast a ballot in the way that we did. Such would be counterproductive to democracy!

Businesses, on the other hand, have a responsibility to treat everyone fairly and justly. Employment discrimination is detrimental to us all, and those who can truly make a case that they lost a job 100% because of their race, gender, religious identity, sexual orientation, etc., should have legal options available to take action against the unfair practice. Now, connecting it back to the Larry Craig situation (since Wendy so wants to) -- if a potential employee were found to have been soliciting (straight or gay) sex in the office bathroom ten minutes prior to their interview, then that employer ABSOLUTELY could consider this a grounds for not hiring that candidate. That's because, again, sexual orientation and certain behaviors are not the same thing. On that same token, if a gay man shows up to work wearing a shirt that says "I like cock," then that also could be grounds for termination. Or if a lesbian brings her non-emplyed partner to work everyday because she can't stand to be without her -- same thing. Any and every way that one can express their sexuality is not protected under ENDA! Inappropriate attire, anonymous sex, insisting that someone sit with you at your desk to keep you company -- those are all still quite suitable reasons for a boss to make a decision to terminate/ not hire in the first place. ENDA protects the actual or perceived sexual orientation only (with a specific exception for religious institutions)!

Wendy closes out her above thoughts by insisting that "Americans have the right to expect sexually moral behavior from others." But of course she, like so many of her socially conservative buddies, is connecting Larry Craig's (alleged) bathroom solicitation with every gay person's sexual orientation, deeming the entire spectrum to be "immoral." Again, we agree that the American people should be free to cast a vote as they please, and we agree that on-site bathroom sex could and perhaps should get one penalized by their place of employment. However, none of that pertains to a gay man who simply wants to be considered for a job on the basis of his qualifications, and considered an equal, marriage-capable citizen on the basis that his constitution guarantees him as much! The one and only thing we should really learn from the Craig situation in terms of gay politics is that anti-queer bias is still alive and thriving, thus forcing many to stay within closets of shame. The above comments from Wendy Wright only serve to further drive that point home!

Sen. Craig's Example Proves – Sexual Morality Matters [CWA]

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Your thoughts

So by her reasoning, employers should have the right to fire employees that have gotten a divorce, because it might not fit within their moral views. Wonder how well that would go over with most of the family values crowd?

Posted by: Scandi | Sep 4, 2007 1:58:58 PM

I was reading this article and was not so shocked at what the anti-gay industry is saying in terms of the pending legislation in congress called EDNA, I think that the people should look at what is really being proposed here and what it really means as a whole. First this law to end once and for all discrimination on the basis of sexual orintation and gender identity is a real attempt to stop bigoty in the work place and to further show that We in the gay community will nolonger sit on the side lines and be silent when it comes to our god given right to be see and heard.

Posted by: Melvin L. Moody jr | Sep 4, 2007 4:59:16 PM

You wrote: "those who can truly make a case that they lost a job 100% because of their race, gender, religious identity, sexual orientation, etc., should have legal options available to take action against the unfair practice."

Why? No one has a right to a particular job, and private businesses are not official functions of society or the state. Why shouldn't freedom of association prevail in private employment?

Also, the proposed ENDA legislation is federal. What authority does the Federal Constitution give Congress to legislate on the hiring and firing practices of private entities in the first place?

Posted by: David | Sep 5, 2007 4:04:03 AM

David: Are you joking? Seriously. Because ENDA is not about quotas or "legislating the hiring and firing practices of private entities." It is about a citizen's right to protest discriminatory practices. Nobody is going to tell businesses that they have to hire X number of gay people. However, we all should want to see a world wherein a person who has been wronged on the basis of their identity can file a complaint against the allegedly discriminatory business. ENDA would make this a reality for LGBT people who live in the vast majority of states that currently have no gay-centric protections.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 5, 2007 4:15:36 AM

David: Congress is very well within its power to do this. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution is the source of this authority.

Posted by: George | Sep 5, 2007 6:33:20 AM

Jeremy: No, I'm not joking. I asked about freedom of association in employment in earnest. And you haven't answered my question. You really haven't even attempted to answer it.

Anyone can protest unfair practices by anyone. That's freedom of speech. ENDA has nothing to do with the matter.

Since no one has a right to a particular job, how is a person wronged by being denied one for any reason? I know you assume denying employment for certain reasons to be wrong; I'm asking for a philosophical justification of your position.

If someone says, 'Christians should be allowed to hire only Christians, athiests should be allowed to hire only atheits, men should be allowed to hire only men, women should be allowed to hire only women, blacks should be allowed to hire only blacks, whites should be allowed to hire only whites,' etc., what makes that position so morally wrong that it must be legislated against?

Posted by: David | Sep 6, 2007 1:20:31 AM

George:

The commerce clause governs only interstate commerce. Most employer-employee relationships are intrastate.

Does ENDA limit itself to interstate instances? Jeremy's answer that "ENDA would make this a reality for LGBT people who live in the vast majority of states that currently have no gay-centric protections" implies otherwise.

Posted by: David | Sep 6, 2007 1:23:05 AM

David: I fail to see why you are trying to defend employment discrimination. And if you view the world in a way that finds no fault with such (which is totally your prerogative), I really don't feel like we're ever going to see eye to eye on this. Personally, I see it as thoroughly un-American to deny folks employment on the basis of who they are; you seem to not. And I don't feel like my belief is something for which I need to provide "a philosophical justification" in this forum beyond the belief that workplace fairness is a fundamental right.

Current federal law provides legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender, national origin, disability, etc. ENDA would simply add sexual orientation and gender identity to the mix. Yes, anyone can protest what they consider to be unfair practices, but ENDA would provide legal recourse to people living in the many states that don't have laws covering anti-gay discrimination.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 6, 2007 9:36:09 AM

Interesting, Jeremy. Your blog is devoted to criticizing those who condemn homosexuals and believe they are under no obligation to justify their condemnations except by pointing to their belief that God hates homosexuality. But when I ask you to give a justification for something you assert, you say you have no obligation to justify your belief except by saying you believe it!

I am not justifying employment discrimination. I am challenging your assertion that an employer's hiring critieria are any of the governement's business. Contrary to your charge of being un-American, I am sure that the founders of this country would have thought the proper right was that of an employer to hire as he pleased without government intrusion. This is about freedom: employers having the same freedom to accept or reject employees as employees have to accept or reject employers.

I'm sorry that being challenged from a libertarian point of view has proven to be too much for you. It wasn't my intention to upset you. I simply wanted to engage you intellectually.

Posted by: David | Sep 7, 2007 5:38:29 AM

"I'm sorry that being challenged from a libertarian point of view has proven to be too much for you."

Oh David, don't flatter yourself. You did not upset me or present any sort of challenge I could not handle. I simply said that I don't feel I need to give you some sort of deep philosophical justification in this forum regarding why I feel employees should be judged on their merits rather than their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Your mind already seems pretty made up on the subject, and you have your own points of view. As one who spends all day writing about gay politics, I don;t care to get in a fruitless back and forth with you in this now four day old comments section.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Sep 7, 2007 8:46:38 AM

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