Monday, October 24, 2005

Star Gives Clark Podium For Promoting Gay Bigotry

Today’s Indianapolis Star gives guest column status to Christian right extremist Micah Clark to spew hateful and mean-spirited bigotry directed at the GLBT community in response to Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi’s anti-discrimination policy towards gays and lesbians as he had promised to do in an e-mail to his followers, which Advance Indiana reported on last Wednesday. Using rhetoric that would rival the words of white separatist David Duke, Clark decried Brizzi’s policy against discrimination as a policy “which elevates a hazardous sexual behavior to the moral and legal equivalent of benign genetic traits like race or skin color.”

Clark criticizes Brizzi for becoming just “another willing accomplice” in the effort of “homosexual activists . . . to get the term ‘sexual orientation’ added to protected categories under anti-discrimination codes.” Clark said, “Slowly but surely homosexual activists are trying to create a new civil rights class based on private sexual behavior.” Clark continued, “The Supreme Court has already established the parameters for such special rights classifications and homosexuality doesn’t fit.” Not to rain on Clark’s anti-gay parade, but the Supreme Court has actually said quite the opposite.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that "moral disapproval" of a person's sexual orientation cannot be a legal basis for discriminating against a person, and that laws that protect gays from discrimination do not provide "special rights" as asserted by Clark. In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court struck down a Colorado state law that prohibited local governments from enacting non-discrimination policies for homosexuals just as Carl Brizzi has done for the employees of his office. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy said: " . . [W]e cannot accept the view that [the Colorado law's] prohibition on specific legal protections does no more than deprive homosexuals of special rights. To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint. They can obtain specific protection against discrimination only by [ ] enlisting the citizenry of Colorado to amend the state constitution or perhaps, on the State's view, by trying to pass helpful laws of general applicability. This is so no matter how local or discrete the harm, no matter how public and widespread the injury. We find nothing special in the protections [the Colorado law] withholds. These are protections taken for granted by most people either because they already have them or do not need them; these are protections against exclusion from an almost limitless number of transactions and endeavors that constitute ordinary civic life in a free society."

In addition to the obvious factual discrepancies, Clark’s rantings are replete with contradictions. Clark cites evidence of a gays and lesbians being economically advantaged in comparison to other minority groups because, on average, they are better educated and earn more income, as evidence they are not discriminated against. Yet, he says, “Adding . . . sexual practices to civil rights codes can infringe upon the rights of others, most noticeably employers, other employees, and private organizations that have a moral or religious opposition to homosexual behavior.” In his own words, Clark is openly admitting that some employers do currently discriminate against gays and lesbians because of their moral disapproval of them.

Clark also complains that such policies require employers “to pry into someone’s personal life.” Clark rhetorically asks, “How would one know otherwise with which gender an employee is sexually involved?” For many victims of such discrimination, merely failing to act in conformity with the “straight” stereotype of how a man or woman should talk, dress or act is enough to label someone a homosexual to be singled out for discrimination. And Clark noticeably mentions only “race or skin color” in reference to our existing civil rights laws. Those laws also protect a person from discrimination of a person based on their religion. How does an employer know an employee is Jewish, Catholic or atheistic without prying into the employee’s personal life? But you don’t hear him complaining about that important civil rights protection.

Clark also fails to mention civil rights protection in current laws based on a person’s sex. The Christian right and other fundamentalist religions have long promoted legal discrimination of women because of their gender. When “sex” was originally added to the civil rights laws, people with Clark’views similarly argued that forcing employers to treat women equally infringed upon their religious opposition to providing equality to women, who they believed held an inferior position to men in society.

Instead, Clark labors to label such policies of non-discrimination of gays and lesbians as creating a “special right.” If it is indeed a special right, then it is a special right that he too has been provided by his logic. The protection of his male gender status protects him from discrimination by a supervisor of the opposite gender. And the right to practice the religion of his choice is also a “special right.” But you don’t hear Clark complaining about his special rights.

As hateful and bigoted as Clark’s views are, the upside is that they can only aid the GLBT community in its efforts to pass the Human Rights Ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to Indianapolis’ civil rights law. Clark’s views are clearly not shared by the vast majority of fair-minded and liberty loving Hoosiers. The Republican Party should move as quickly as possible to disassociate itself from the views of Clark to avoid causing further damage he and others have already inflicted on the party by openly expressing gay bigotry.


Michael M. said...

You've provided a sound rebuttal to Clark's rant about "special rights." Clark has used a very narrow definition of civil rights to suit his particular argument. It's time we educated the public concerning civil rights, discrimination, and what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks Mike.

Anonymous said...

Good job and you keep up the fight