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  • « PlanetOut free-fall watch | Main | That's Rep. Bitchy Queen to you »

    May 23, 2007

    Your doctrinal slip is showing

    Posted by: Chris

    There are some valid and reasonable arguments against adding new categories of protection to existing workplace discrimination statutes — but they weren't on display this week in Nebraska.  The state's unicameral legislature voted down a bill that would extend job bias laws, which already  cover race, religion, national origin, physical disabilities and age, to also include sexual orientation.

    Johnharms But before the vote, these heartland legislators came up with some mighty interesting arguments to oppose the measure.  Leading the way was the scholarly Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff, Neb., who according to AP argued against sexual orientation protections because being gay is "a choice," unlike other protected groups.

    "I don't believe they should be in the same class of race, color, creed, religion because I believe life is about a series of choices," said Harms, a Democrat.

    Last time I checked, creeds and religious affiliations were a lot easier to choose than sexual orientations, but maybe Harms and his fellow Cornhuskers are bigger swingers than we are out east.  I mean I'm sure the good Christian parents there must indoctrinate their children early and often, but do Nebraskans really have as little choice about their "creed" and "religion" as they do their "race" or "color"? 

    (Keep in mind, by the way, that this airtight logic comes from a distinguished politician who according to his online bio has also been the president of two colleges and a dean at three others.)

    Tomfulton Not to be outdone, Republican Sen. Tony Fulton, from the big city of Lincoln, argued that gay employees don't really need the protection anyway since there are popular TV shows with gay characters.

    "There's a certain amount of credibility, I guess, granted to the homosexual lifestyle," he said.

    Not enough credibility, apparently, to convince Senator Fulton and his colleagues that in Nebraska, gays are misunderstood and mistreated enough to deserve basic workplace protections.  Or enough credibility, for that matter, for public officials like these two good senators to respect the judgment of psychiatric and psychological associations in the U.S. and abroad, which have universally concluded that being gay isn't a "lifestyle" or a "choice" anymore than is being heterosexual.

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    Comments

    1. Julie R. Enszer on May 23, 2007 8:32:05 PM:

      Oh, Chris, the wry humor in this post made me choke on my margarita while I watched American Idol. I guess that just about sums up my East coast lifestyle.

    1. Randy on May 24, 2007 1:10:28 PM:

      I didn't have a choice regarding the development of same sex attraction but I do have a choice in how I identify, choose to romantically invest in and steward my sexuality.

      I am not sure I would agree with everything you quoted from the above leaders but, I was gay and now I am not ...

    1. Citizen Crain on May 24, 2007 1:32:59 PM:

      Randy, it's unnecessary to engage in (much less win) a debate over "ex-gays" like yourself to support workplace protections for people of all sexual orientations. You should not be fired from your job for how you identify, and I should not be fired from mine because of how I identify. It's irrelevant to either of our job performances, every bit as much as race, gender, religion and creed — some of which are "choices" and some of which are not.

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