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11/15/2007

'Evil ideas and lifestyles' -- the words of a virtuous man?

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Mike Heath Outside Resized-1-1In response to the news that Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will be the lead co-sponsor of the Senate version of ENDA (The Employment Non-Discrimination Act), Maine's chief 'mo foe, Michael Heath (pic.), has issued the following comments:

"I call on all Maine people to rise up and demand more. We must be clear with our leaders. While we respect all people, we will not condone or support evil ideas and lifestyles.

"Sex outside of marriage is wrong.

"The nation must not create special rights to protect evil. Senator Collins must be contacted today. Tell her to relent in her promotion of special homosexual rights."

A charmer, that Mike! And while stoomach-churning sentiment abounds in his aggressively ignorant words, do you know what we find most disgusting about these comments? That folks like Mr. Heath refuse to grow a spine and admit that they truly are against LGBT people, and not just their "evil ideas and lifestyles." Sure, his hostility is gross and his misrepresentation of this measure as granting "special homosexual rights" is duplicitous. But for us, the nastiness of those tactics pales in comparison to the way Heath and his "pro-family buddies try and detach their detestation from the actual human beings that their actions and rhetoric target, and instead try and place it on "chosen behaviors." It's their way of washing their hands of the bias that they're propagating, so as to keep up their "morally righteous" image. And doing so completely muddies the waters of this whole "culture war."

Look, we personally don't understand how anyone who claims to be a righteous person of faith can so causally and sweepingly throw out words like "evil." We don't see the world in such ways, and have a really hard time jumping into the mind of someone who can be so narrow and callous. But the simple facts of the matter are this: ENDA would protect people from having their employment hindered or nullified on the basis of their sexual orientation (and, ideally, gender identity!). Just like currently-in-place religious protections would protect Mr. Heath from having his beliefs being used against him in terms of his own job, ENDA would protect this writer's love for a dude from being used against me in terms of my own workplace matters. The only difference between the two? While homosexuality seems increasingly likely to be at least partially (if not wholly) in-born, religion is ABSOLUTELY a choice! Would Mr. Heath consider his own protections to be "special"? No, of course not. Nor should he. But his attempts to disconnect our sought-after protections from our beings and present them as in some way distinct from other in-place safeguards are inaccurate, insensitive, and hopefully ineffective!

Senator Collins, you are doing the right thing by stepping up to support what should be a nonpartisan idea. And if you ever second-guess your decision, just look at the mindsets from which the opposition arguments are springing.

League Urges Collins To Not Protect Evil, ENDA [Heath perss release via MaineToday]

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