Gay News This Week: Employment Discrimination & Marriage Equality | Jive in the [415] Blog | Gay LGBT News Political Commentary

July 7, 2014

Gay News This Week: Employment Discrimination & Marriage Equality

Anti-gay discrimination is cowardly, ungodly, and downright immoral.

Religious Organizations Want Permission to Discriminate

By Roy Steele

Washington, D.C. --- On the eve of President Obama signing an Executive Order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a new study found that 23% of LGBT employees applying for work to federal contractors are less likely to receive a call-back from a potential employer, than their straight counterpart.

This year long study was conducted by the Equal Rights Center, a civil rights organization that promotes equality and equal opportunity, and Freedom to Work, an LGBT organization committed to advancing equality in the workplace.

The study was carried out by trained ERC test coordinators, utilizing paired resume testing. Each pair of resumes included: one LGBT resume, which listed the applicant’s leadership role in an LGBT organization; and one non-LGBT resume, which listed the applicant’s leadership role in a non-LGBT organization such as an environmental or women’s rights group. The LGBT resume was designed to be stronger in numerous respects than the non-LGBT resume. For example, the LGBT resume listed a higher grade point average and better work experience than the non-LGBT resume.

“Taxpayers should never have to subsidize the kind of anti-LGBT discrimination that was uncovered during this year-long study of contractors with inadequate LGBT workplace protections,” said Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work.

Melvina Ford, executive director of the Equal Rights Center noted that “Despite significant progress in advancing civil rights and equality, employment discrimination remains a persistent barrier for the LGBT community. The results of this investigation show that LGBT applicants face discrimination when seeking employment with federal contractors, even when compared with less-qualified candidates.”

On the same day that this study was released, a group of “faith” leaders wrote a letter to the White House, urging the President to provide a religious exemption in his Executive Order banning anti-gay discrimination.

Religious organizations want to continue to collect a federal check, and they want the President to give them permission to discriminate against hard working taxpayers in our community.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The letter begins:

With respect to the proposed executive order, we agree that banning discrimination is a good thing. We believe that all persons are created in the divine image of the creator, and are worthy of respect and love, without exception. Even so, it still may not be possible for all sides to reach a consensus on every issue. That is why we are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.

So basically the letter says that banning discrimination is a good thing, as long as religious groups can continue to discriminate. That makes no sense whatsoever. They also seem to suggest that because they “serve those in need,” that they have earned the right to discriminate.

Without a robust religious exemption, like the provisions in the Senate-passed ENDA, this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.

Banning anti-gay discrimination is an expansion of hiring rights? So it’s unacceptable and unreasonable for hard working people to go work with the expectation that they will be solely judged by their job performance, and not be judged because of who they love.

This Executive Order will further the common good, not hurt it. The majority of Americans support employment protections for the LGBT community, so national unity is NOT an issue. Religious freedom will not be curtailed at all by this, as the Constitution does not allow it.

In a concrete way, religious organizations will lose financial funding that allows them to serve others in the national interest due to their organizational identity. [emphasis my own]

All of this is really about money. Some of these organizations will lose federal dollars, and they’re scared.

While the nation has undergone incredible social and legal change over the last decade, we still live in a nation with different beliefs about sexuality. We must find a way to respect diversity of opinion on this issue in a way that respects the dignity of all parties to the best of our ability. There is no perfect solution that will make all parties completely happy.

We live in a nation with different beliefs about sexuality? Really?

That paragraph really pisses me off the most. Our Constitution does not make any reference to “God” for a reason. Why don’t we let scientists, and medical doctors, and social scientists, weigh in with the facts here, instead of unsubstantiated and biased opinions from so called “faith” leaders.

Jesus never uttered a word about gay people, and yet these religious leaders think that it's perfectly acceptable to denigrate a minority.

As Judge John Heyburn wrote in his opinion overturning Kentucky’s ban on gay marriage, “In America, even sincere and long-held religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted."

I would hold that in America, even sincere and long-held religious beliefs do not sanction discrimination against a minority.

Using scripture to justify discrimination and abridge lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of their dignity and basic civil rights, is cowardly, ungodly, and downright immoral.

Straight talk indeed.

Gay wedding rings.

GOP Federal Judge Says No To Kentucky’s Ban

Louisville, Kentucky --- On Tuesday July 1st, 2014, a US District Court Judge in the Western District of Kentucky ruled that the state’s gay marriage ban violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Judge John G. Heyburn II, was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush, and is a former Special Counsel to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

In February 2014,  Judge Heyburn ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. In his ruling, he noted that current gay marriage bans are discriminatory and demeaning.

“It is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them.”

“Many Kentuckians believe in ‘traditional marriage.’ They may be confused — even angry — when a decision such as this one seems to call into question that view. Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to that definition, it must do so constitutionally.”

“Each of these small steps has led to this place and this time, where the right of same-sex spouses to the state-conferred benefits of marriage is virtually compelled,” Judge Heyburn wrote.

Andrew Wolfson, of the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal  noted that the judge rejected religious arguments against gay marriage, in his July 1st decision.

"In America, even sincere and long-held religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted," Heyburn wrote to invalidate Kentucky's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

In Tuesday's ruling in favor of two Louisville couples, Heyburn rejected the only justification that lawyers for Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear had offered — that traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate and the state's long-term economic stability.

"These arguments are not those of serious people," he said.

Judge Heyburn issued a stay on his decision, pending an appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, where oral arguments are scheduled for August 6, 2014.

straight talk in a queer world.                       

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