Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Greg Garrison Lays Bare His Anti-Gay Bigoted Views

WIBC’s conservative morning talk-show host, Greg Garrison, served up a full plate of anti-gay bigoted ranting on his show today in response to the passage of Indianapolis’ Human Rights Ordinance by the city- county council last night. Garrison, an attorney by trade, dismissed any notion of the right to “equal treatment under the law” in his mouth-foaming exercise of misrepresenting the gay rights measure to his listeners.

Garrison repeatedly lambasted the HRO as the legal recognition of the “homosexual lifestyle” and “acts of sodomy,” ignoring the conclusion reached by every major medical organization in the nation that sexual orientation and gender identity are genetically or biologically determined. Garrison falsely asserted that businesses would have no right to judicial review of any findings of discrimination against a business by the city’s Equal Employment Advisory Board. In fact, the HRO specifically allows businesses but not employees the right to ask a court to review a decision of the Board.

The ill-informed talk-show host devoted most of his attention to the provisions of the HRO adding “gender identity” as a class entitled to protection from discrimination. Garrison argued that employers would be plagued by male workers showing up for work dressed as women and using the women’s bathroom, and that the employers would have no choice but to accept the employees’ cross-dressing lifestyle. In so arguing, Garrison completely exposed his complete ignorance of “gender identity”, believing that cross-dressing and gender identity are synonymous.

Curiously, Garrison accepted three successive phone calls from people who worked for businesses which had experienced male employees changing to the female gender. Each of the callers’ accounts matched names of persons (and the businesses for whom they worked) who testified before the Rules & Public Policy Committee hearings on the HRO. Advance Indiana does not believe each of these calls took place spontaneously; rather, it was a concerted effort by Garrison and his friends on the Christian right to appeal to his listeners’ fears and prejudices and to specifically target these citizen witnesses.

Outraged by Garrison’s bigoted ranting and distortions, Advance Indiana editor Gary R. Welsh sent a signed e-mail to Garrison, which read: “As an attorney, I am appalled at your complete ignorant and bigoted views on the Human Rights Ordinance. You are completely misrepresenting what the ordinance does. As is typically the case, you only have as guests people from the extreme right to express their views. People who can intelligently and thoughtfully speak on the other side of the issue are excluded from your show. When I took my oath as an attorney, I took an oath to uphold the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions, both of which ensure equality under the law. Apparently, that is something that has completely escaped you. You should be ashamed of what you are saying about this important civil rights law. I will gladly debate you in any forum any day on this issue.”

Within minutes of reading Welsh’s e-mail, Garrison referred to him derisively as “some guy who claims to be an attorney” and completely dismissed the views expressed in the e-mail. To further highlight his complete ignorance and insensitivity, Garrison sent Welsh an e-mail which read: “OH Gary, where to begin with you. Read the ordinance. The worm can is turned over here. Once again your emotional passion for this kind of crap has blinded you to the letter as well as spirit of those constitutions you so recklessly attempt to invoke. You will search in vain for a provision in either document that protects sodomy or other forms of homosexual behavior. Likewise, cross-dressing, using the ladies' restroom, etc, are not protected. You just wish they were, so you say if (sic) often enough--and castigate those who bother to read the documents--that eventually you can make yourself think it's there. Its (sic) not.”

Well Greg, where to begin with you. To begin with, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional state laws criminalizing intimate sexual conduct between two persons of the same sex in the 2003 decision, Lawrence v. Texas, as a violation of a person’s right to due process under the 14th Amendment. The Reagan-appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in which he eloquently explained the constitutional issue: “Equality of treatment and the due process right to demand respect for conduct protected by the substantive guarantee of liberty are linked in important respects, and a decision on the latter point advances both interests. If protected conduct is made criminal and the law which does so remains unexamined for its substantive validity, its stigma might remain even if it were not enforceable as drawn for equal protection reasons. When homosexual conduct is made criminal by the law of the State, that declaration in and of itself is an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination both in the public and in the private spheres.”

Advance Indiana recommends that Garrison go back and take a few refresher courses in constitutional law before twisting it any further to conform to his anti-gay bigoted views. As a would-be respected member of the Indiana bar, he owes it to his profession and the public-at-large to accurately represent the rights we have as citizens under the Constitution. He is, after all, an officer of the court. We also recommend that he read the Human Rights Ordinance as have Welsh and local employment law expert Kevin Betz. He might actually learn something about what the law actually does. But then again, that would require Garrison to practice law--something he apparently doesn't do much of these days.

In a follow-up e-mail, Welsh offered to meet Garrison face-to-face on his show to debate the merits of the HRO. He also advised him that he had a gay friend who worked for WIBC who is frightened by his anti-gay bigoted views, and that Garrison makes him feel uncomfortable working in the same workplace.

Garrison, without referencing the follow-up e-mail, became very defensive at the suggestion of others e-mailing and calling into his show that he was being hateful or bigoted towards gay people. Garrison offered that he had known friends and business acquaintances who were gay, but they were all dead now, implying that they had all died of AIDS or other consequences of an “unhealthy lifestyle.”

Welsh’s offer to debate Garrison face-to-face live on his show has so far gone without a response from Garrison. And we don’t expect the phone to ring any time soon. He wouldn’t want to be confused by the true facts of the HRO.


Anonymous said...

Greetings Gary,

My suggestion is to chill a bit and relax with the knowledge that this type of outburst mostly help us with the people who are willing to be open-minded anyway. The sour grapes should be satisfaction enough without challenging him to a duel at sundown. Indy should be very proud - us folks up north are very proud of all your efforts and the outcome

Anonymous said...

Great job Gary!

I'd agree with "kb in lafayette" that outbursts such as Garrison's mostly help us with open-minded people, willing to hear the facts.

But I suspect that your ability to comfortably challenge Garrion to a duel comes very naturally and easily for you. I suspect you may have made Garrison sweat a bit when you mentioned your friend who works at WIBC and his fear of Garrison. A nice note about that to Jeff Smulyan and Emmis, CC'd to the FCC and Emmis' competitors, might be in order.

One wonders what damage is being done to members of IYG, and other LBGT youngsters in our community, as a result of Garrison's hate-speech. Perhaps one day some brave youngster might have a brilliant lawyer help them challenge Emmis, based on it's having allowed Garrison and his ilk to spew their hatred over the Indianapolis airways.

Keep up the good work!

brylo said...

Frankly my concerns are with the safety of the transwomen whose names and places of a employment were broadcast to a hostile audience. This is more than a can of worms just waiting to happen. It's a potentially very dangerous situation.

Anonymous said...

In fact I should have added that maybe the best thing Gary and others can do is to tell folks to be extra wary for hate-related incidents following all of this publicity.

Michael M. said...

Perhaps we should picket WIBC.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest you folks listen to my radio program, "Abdul in the Mornings" on 1430 AM, WXNT. Weekedays from 5-9 a.m. It leans conservative, but it's the libertarian-sort of conservatism. You know "live and let live."

Greg's program is trite, tired and outdated. Why let a bitter old person get to you? Just a suggestion.

By the way, I wrote a piece in the Indianapolis Business Journal making the argument that if you allow discrimination based on sexual orientation, then you allow gays to fire and deny housing to straights and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Pretty smart, huh?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gary R. Welsh said...

Take your long-winded crap elsewhere.