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03/20/2008

Rep. Thatcher: Wants to screw us without 'protection'

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 18-21Conservatives are of course known for making false statements about our lives and loves, and what negative impacts those existences supposedly have on society. And while it's quite enraging anytime they work to deny us our full citizenship, it is beyond the pale when they actually try to justify their biases by discrediting the notion that gays still face a crapload of discrimination in American society. Especially when most of them can likely count on one-tenth of a hand how many openly gay friends they have in their lives.

Consider the following quotes from Oregon Rep. Kim Thatcher, who is currently working to repeal a measure that prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and other areas based on sexual orientation. Of the measure (which was passed in 2007) and why she finds in unnecessary, Thatcher tells the Keltzer Times:

"Many of my constituents tell me they don't believe sexual orientation should be considered a protected class like race or religion," Thatcher said. "The new law has vague definitions of sexual orientation, which will lead to expensive litigation and there are already measures in place to deal with discrimination."
...
Thatcher said she's "not trying to send a message against anybody.

"I just don't think that sexual orientation rises to the level of being a protected class," Thatcher said. "Simple as that."
...
"Oregon voters spoke loud and clear against gay marriage a few years ago and I believe this new law goes against the voters' wishes," Thatcher said.

So she doesn't being sexual orientation should be a protected class. Well, we would ask of Ms. Thatcher: What, exactly, should constitute a protected class? Should it be, oh, I don't know -- WHETHER OR NOT THAT CLASS OF PEOPLE FACES GENUINE BIASES AND FEARS FROM WHICH THEY NEED PROTECTION?!?! And when making such a determination, should you look at the fact that gay bias crimes have, in recent years, ranked as highly as second in terms of hate crimes offenses (third in the most recent report)? Or should you look to kids who are murdered for being gay? And what about the everyday stories from gay men and women across the nation who experience cross looks, nasty comments, familial abandonment, and worse every single day of their lives? Should we not include those into our protected class decision making?

Social conservatives like to disconnect sexual orientation from things like race, because they want to deny the immutability of homosexuality. Yet they would never even think of removing religion from its protected class status, even though such is undeniably a choice (even if you are typically born into it)! Even if they personally feel that we gays have an express ticket to an underground Lake of Fire, how can they in any semblance of a good conscience deny the demonstrable biases that plague LGBT lives?

Well simple: They justify it within themselves because we still largely live in a heterosexist society where queer bashing is often seen as a nuisance at best, and a fun activity at worst. Ms Thatcher may very well represent a district where many constituents feel that sexual orientation is in no need of protection. We wouldn't deny this. We also live in America, and see the complacency and blind eyes that so regularly surround our gay-centric issues. But when dealing with keeping a minority sect from bodily, emotional, mental, spiritual, employment, or housing harming, you have to listen to what that minority is telling you. And what we in the LGBT minority are telling everyone is that when they gloss over the very real and specific threats that face us as a people, they are JUST PLAIN WRONG. And no matter how much safety they take in the large numbers of like-minded peeps that agree with them, our gay lives are met with less safety because of their woeful complacency!

Thatcher backs repealing sexual orientation protections [Kelzer Times]

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Your thoughts

You missed the best part: "These people are not underprivileged," Shannon said. "They take more expensive vacations, drive nicer cars."
Oh well that settles it then. Us gays are rich and take nice vacations so we deserve to be fired or treated unfairly? It always amazes me that conservatives manage to stick their foot in their mouth every time they try to make a valid argument.
And I really don't see how voters approving a ban on gay marriage has anything to do with this.

Posted by: Ron | Mar 20, 2008 4:32:46 PM

Ron: That was actually the line I was going to focus on when I began this post. But I decided to instead focus on Thatcher. Save Shannon for another day.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 20, 2008 4:37:47 PM

It really shows how out of touch many social conservatives are when they feel it's okay to not grant GLBT people protection simply because they believe we "choose" to be who we are. Yet they can’t seem to make the connection in the way this country grants protection for people who for the most part do in fact without a doubt "choose" their religion.

Regardless of their feeling about homosexuality we deserve that same protection as well.

Posted by: Alonzo | Mar 20, 2008 4:56:52 PM

@ Ron: So would she say we don't need to protect, for example, Jewish people or Lutherans, since they make more money on average than Americans in general.

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Mar 20, 2008 8:34:20 PM

"These people are not underprivileged," Shannon said. "They take more expensive vacations, drive nicer cars."

"Jewish people or Lutherans, since they make more money on average than Americans in general."

Okay, I'm gay and Lutheran, and the hubby and I struggle to hold things together financially. What am I doing wrong?

Posted by: Mike in the Tndra | Mar 21, 2008 2:51:14 AM

gaymormonboy: thats a tough one. Those Jews, well they're almost as bad as them gays, with their fancy cars and amassing all that money. The lutherans she probably wouldn't have a problem with unless they got too gay friendly like the methodists or anglicans :-)

Posted by: Ron | Mar 21, 2008 9:52:17 AM

Just because the federal constitution does not strictly say that the gays and lesbians are not a protected class, that does not mean they are not discriminated against on a daily basis. In addition, states right now are allowed to classify this group as a protected class. Are they not a group of people that are similarly situated as others and are not being afforded equality and rights? Isn't that a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution? I think that the issue is quite simple, and the legislators should stop worrying about re-election and do the right thing and protect their constituents. My hope is that someday my children will be in high school and/or college and they will look back at this day and see how foolish the government was acting, just as we feel it was foolish that the courts found it to be a crime for interracial marriage only about 40 years ago!

Posted by: Michele A. Murphy, Esq. | Nov 3, 2008 5:00:14 PM

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