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09/29/2009

Dear 'Concerned Woman' Lindsey Douthit:

by Jeremy Hooper

DouthitMs. Douthit: We see that you, writing on behalf of the Concerned Women For America, have decided to preserve yet another set of unfair denunciations of the Employment Discrimination Act to the annals of recorded history:

Let’s Be Frank, Mr. Frank: ENDA Should Be Ended [CWA]

Fair enough. You have every right to do so, the very same way that we will continue to commit our own pro-equality thoughts to Father Time's thorough and unforgiving journal. Our glorious nation gives us both this freedom.

However, Ms. Douthit, if you are going to so brazenly attack a piece of principled legislation that would only help to combat unfairness, then we are going to hold you to a high standard of scrutiny. And when you highlight comments that were supposedly uttered by officials who testified in favor of this measure, we are going to demand that you do a much better job than you have in your latest fairness-stifling piece.

Let's first look at the way you reduce Congressman Barney Frank's mindful commentary. Ms. Douthit, you say of this distinguished lawmaker:

·Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts): The transgender community “deserves credit for introducing themselves” to the world and “there’s nothing to be afraid of” (translation: people who disagree with homosexuality or transgendered people are mean).

Only problem, L-D? Here is what Congressman Frank actually said:




So Ms. Douthit, not only did he not say what you suggest: The Congressman from Massachusetts quite pointedly acknowledged that under ENDA, you and CWA will still have full freedom to shun any and everyone under the queer rainbow! Admitting as much might not have strengthened your piece in the eyes of Wendy Wright or any other CWA official, but it would have certainly raised less red flags among the non-fibber community,

Next up, Stuart Ishimaru, of whom you say:

·Stuart Ishimaru, Acting Chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the Obama Administration: “The Administration strongly supports this bill to counteract discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. … Protecting citizens shouldn’t be left solely to the states.” (In other words, states don’t always follow Mr. Obama, and therefore, he must ride to the rescue of the sexually deviant.)

·When asked about the concept of “perceived sexual orientation” and why it was in the legislation, Mr. Ishimaru spoke of 9/11 and how some individuals were “perceived” to be Muslim and faced “discrimination” (apparently, the Obama Administration believes that “perceiving” a person to be a member of a group posing national security threats to the U.S. is the same thing as “perceiving” a person to be gender-confused or engaging in risky sexual behaviors).

But what acting Chairman Ishimaru actually said in his testimony regarding the unfairness of protecting some but not all:

Because the current patchwork of state laws leaves big gaps in coverage, federal government action is necessary to provide protection against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Protecting valued members of our workforce from discrimination should not be left solely to the states – discrimination in Washington State is just as wrong as discrimination in Florida. It is a critical statement of national policy that the federal government will not tolerate discrimination that is based on invidious bias against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

And when it came to the Muslim quip which you try to work to your Christian-centric advantage, the exchange actually went like this:





[the other voice is Chairman George Miller (D-CA)]

This is played out a bit differently than how you narrowly put it, dontcha think Ms. Douthit? And we're directing that question to the professional you that works for CWA, as we know that the organization requires you to check your ability to honestly assess Democrats as soon as you enter the door. We're instead asking the personal version of you that surely has working ears and an honest mind, and who can put the two together in order to form a forthright assessment. The part of you that must know that (a) the vast majority of people of Islamic faith are not, in fact, terrorists; (b) that acting Chairman Ishimaru was not even slightly comparing LGBT people to any other group, especially terrorists; and (c) that it's a very dishonest and disheartening tactic to use this sort of awkward and offensive connection because you think you might get mileage out of dual fears!

Moving on: We come to yet another openly gay congressperson, Rep. Polis. You say, Ms. Douthit:

·Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado): He claimed that there “won’t be issues” with things like employers having to incur major costs to change bathrooms to suit transgendered people, etc., and it is a “moral issue” to pass this legislation. He also declared that discrimination against homosexuals and transgendered individuals is a “byproduct of old and dying norms” and is similar to the “anti-Semitism faced by Jews”. (Translation: I’m not going to tell you exactly how employers won’t face extra costs to adjust their workplaces, I’m just going to tell you that if you disagree with ENDA you are immoral and your beliefs are “outdated”).

A truncation that might be acceptable, has Congressman Polis not actually gone into a full, heartfelt, and wide-ranging examination of ENDA, its merits, and its meaning:

I hope that today our committee will be able to promote to the American people and our colleagues in the House of Representatives that discrimination, whether codified into law or simply a byproduct of old and dying norms, isn’t good for our society, economy, or nation as a whole. This is particularly true when we talk about employment discrimination, and I hope that the contributions of me and my colleagues Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Tammy Baldwin to this hearing will underscore the irrationality of discrimination towards GLBT individuals in the workplace. Gay men, lesbian women, bisexual and transgender individuals have proven that sexual and gender identity have absolutely no bearing on the professional abilities and successes that they or anyone is capable of achieving today.

Personally, I hope that my success in both the private sector and my current public service career is in itself an outright rebuttal to the arguments of those who think that employment discrimination based on sexual or gender identity has any rational merit whatsoever. For our nation to tacitly endorse a professional glass ceiling for any group, where an individual risks losing something as valuable as a job for something as valuable as an identity is not something we can accept in good conscience.

Philosophical objections aside, this tacit acceptance of discriminatory policies is not good for our economy either. An individual who possesses the skills and character to become successful should have the ability to be successful regardless of personal identity. Holding back millions of Americans from achieving the successes they can means holding back our nation’s economic potential as a whole. In this bill, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we have the ability to rise our nation’s ethical tide and with it all our economic boats.

I also hope that today’s testimony will highlight the prejudice and ugliness that people like me face when we discuss our personal identities. The ugliness, fear, hatred and irrational furor that accompany the fight for equality has been faced by brave individuals and groups throughout American history, and they have both overcome it within our larger national identity, and continue to fight it personally on a daily basis. The same holds true millions of people in the GLBT community. Make no mistake, that proponents of discriminatory employment laws, like Colorado’s Amendment 2, draw their inspiration not from any rational need but from the ugliness and prejudice that has no place in American laws. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act protects our nation’s valued freedom of religion, it is a reasonable, well crafted and well reasoned solution to a grave injustice and is opposed not by an equal rationality but by bigotry, fear and ignorance. I hope that today’s hearing will highlight that unfortunate reality, not out of retribution but out of our continuing quest for truth and through truth equal justice.
FULL SPEECH: Education and Labor Hearing Employment Non-Discrimination Act [Polis]

And as for the merits and whether or not there will be issues: Mr. Polis wasn't speaking in the abstract. He was speaking about how such nondiscrimination measures have gone down in his own home state:




So it's one thing to attack Rep. Polis for not giving enough information if he actually didn't give enough information. But when his supposed lack of consideration is born out of your own projection rather than verifiable reality, we are gonna call you out on it, L-D.

If there is one thing that both sides should agree on, Ms. Douthit, it's that we should analyze what is actually said at congressional hearings, rather than what our agendas might have wish had transpired. This time, Ms. Douthit, you failed and failed majorly!

**Lindsay's full piece: Let’s Be Frank, Mr. Frank: ENDA Should Be Ended [CWA]

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Your thoughts

One day Lindsey will learn to tell the truth... but I seriously Douthit...

Posted by: Jake | Sep 29, 2009 9:41:43 PM

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