Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hate group leader asks Trump to "Defend the Freedom to Believe in Natural Marriage"

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins, head of anti-LGBT Family Research Council, has been compiling a list of things that he wants the incoming administration to effect. Defending the freedom to believe in natural marriage is number 16 out of 20. Perkins is a bigot whose very existence seems to be conditioned upon expressing and enacting this bigotry towards LGBT citizens and taxpayers. Even in the prospective Trump administration, though. there are grownups capable of seeing through this dishonest rhetoric. The question is: Will they? Mr. Perkins explains:
The administration should issue an executive order protecting federal employees and contractors from discrimination by the executive branch on the basis of their view that marriage is between a man and a woman. In the wake of the Obergefell ruling redefining “marriage,” agency actions have put pressure on those who continue to support the stance President Obama had prior to 2013 that marriage is between one man and one woman.
People are already free to believe whatever they want. So let us wade through this. Perkins is using the term “natural marriage” as a substitute for “traditional” (my preferred, simpler term) or opposite-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is as natural as opposite-sex marriage. Through the use of the term Perkins is claiming that same-sex marriage is unnatural. I could go on but let us just cut through the bullshit and clarify that what Perkins wants at the outset is the right to denigrate gay people, most of whom are gay citizens. This has consequence which I will get to but Perkins' goal is the equal of a public plea to protect the right to criticize interracial or interfaith marriages. Doing so would be commonly unacceptable in polite society while intolerance based on homophobia is free from similar criticism if Trump agrees with Perkins.

People already have every right to believe in natural marriage or anything else for that matter.

With the understanding that Perkins wants to protect actions in contrast to beliefs (beliefs are already protected), why do people require the need to denigrate any other person's same-sex marriage? Perkins claims to be interested in protecting federal employees. Does that mean the freedom to create a toxic workplace? Perkins claims that he wants to protect these employees from discrimination. That is dishonest rhetoric. Perkins is seeking the right of federal employees to discriminate against other employees they disapprove of. I am sure that it will all be neatly cloaked in puffy scripture.

Then Perkins wants to protect the rights of contractors. It is perfectly obvious that he is seeking the right for them to discriminate against LGBT citizens whom they employ or prospectively employ.

The generally accepted public policy is the ministerial exemption. If a synagogue is hiring a cantor they can exclude applicants who are not Jewish. We have permitted some expansion to what constitutes a minister. A Catholic school hiring a teacher of catechism can lawfully discriminate and confine the job search to Catholics. What Perkins is advocating is a wholesale license to discriminate whereby a Christian business (whatever that means) can choose not to hire someone who is in a same-sex marriage in the performance of a government contract notwithstanding the individuals qualifications to execute the job at issue. It is just the usual desire to discriminate against people they disapprove of — all neatly cloaked in scripture of course.

There are two obvious problems:
  1. We expect government contractors to hire the best available people in performance of a contract. Excluding hires or promotions based upon factors that have nothing to do with job performance will deteriorate the performance of the contractor and;
  2. We all pay taxes. My taxes as a gay man should not be used to pay a government contractor that discriminates against gay employees or prospective employees because of someone's religious beliefs. It would obviously be unacceptable for a contractor to refuse to hire women, Jews or African-Americans based upon religious beliefs. It constitutes a bright line that we do not permit people to cross. Why, then, should it be permissible to discriminate against gays? Why would we allow a bright line to be substituted with a yellow highlighter of scripture?
The bottom line to all of this is that Tony Perkins is a bigot. He is attempting to use the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges as cause for the federal government to discriminate against gay citizens. It is not limited to those who are in a same-sex marriage but could effect every gay person. Perkins wants Free Exercise expanded to include any whim of a Christian based upon their religious beliefs. My fear is that the rather incurious Trump will acquiesce because it is widely believed that white evangelical Christians had a considerable impact on the last election.

Trump can be counted upon to make the decisions that are best for Trump regardless of the best interests of the country or the best interests of citizens other than Trump. My routine Trumpsomnia will continue unabated.

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