Thursday, December 01, 2005

HRO Overwhelmingly Supported By Indy Residents

Two recent online polls show overwhelming public support for Indianapolis’ proposed Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) as Advance America’s Eric Miller once again launches a disinformation campaign in opposition to it.

According to an INTake poll taken the week of November 17, 67% of the respondents answered yes to the question: “Should the city-county council support a proposal to ban discrimination against gays in the workplace?” Only 32% expressed opposition to the HRO.

An feedback poll today asked: “Should Indianapolis pass the gay rights proposal?” Again, by a margin of 70%-30% respondents answered in the affirmative.

These survey results are consistent with more scientific polls taken here in elsewhere in the past. Most people simply do not believe in discriminating against anyone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Eric Miller’s Advance America, meanwhile, has sent a missive to its members warning: “Help Stop The Pro-Homosexual Ordinance!-Again!” Miller, who is not even a resident of the City of Indianapolis, is once again spewing falsehoods in an effort to confuse councilors.

Miller wrongly asserts that the HRO “will force . . . businesses to treat homosexual couples the same as a married heterosexual couple involving a man and a woman.” In fact, the purpose of the HRO is to “provide equal opportunity for employment . . . without regard to sexual orientation [and] gender identity . . .” A “discriminatory practice” is the “failure or refusal to any person equal opportunities or any treatment of any person by reason of . . . sexual orientation [or] gender identity.”

The HRO speaks only of the rights of the “person” based upon their sexual orientation or gender identity. It says nothing of the relationships they have with a person of the same sex. In fact, same sex marriages or civil unions are not even legally recognized in the State of Indiana. Any interpretation of the HRO under existing law which would force private businesses to recognize same sex benefits in conferring benefits to employees would contravene existing Indiana law.

Miller claims that the HRO grants “special rights to homosexuals.” This worn-out argument is debunked by no less of an authority than Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who like Miller is a conservative Republican. Kennedy says that the denial of rights to gays and lesbians, such as those found in the HRO, does not do no more than deprive them of “special rights.” Kennedy said in a decision striking down a Colorado anti-gay law: “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.”

Miller, using his typical bigoted rhetoric, asserts that the HRO provide these so-called “special rights” for the “homosexual lifestyle,” which “many consider immoral.” Every major medical organization came to the conclusion decades ago that a person’s sexual orientation is an innate characteristic. Gay people have no more control over their sexual orientation than they do over the color of their eyes, hair or skin. To condemn a person to a life of hell because of their sexual orientation is what is immoral.

And for good measure, Miller throws in the gay marriage bomb. “Granting legal status and special rights to homosexuals is another step in moving toward homosexual marriages,” he says. Nobody knows better than Miller that gay marriages are not recognized in Indiana; his hate group got Indiana’s Defense of Marriage Act enacted a decade ago.

Noticeably absent from Miller’s action alert is the argument the Christian right used last spring that the HRO would force churches to hire homosexuals and cross-dressers. Of course, the HRO exempts religious organizations and non-profits. Apparently, even Miller figured he couldn’t get by with that lie this time around.

The HRO will be heard before the Rules and Public Policy Committee meeting this coming Monday, December 5, 2005, at 5:30 p.m. in the Public Assembly Room of the City-County building.

1 comment:

Michael M. said...

Thanks for voicing a concern you and I both share regarding the misinformation contained in that action alert. Such rhetoric is harmful and begs rebuttal.