Friday, October 4, 2019

Ryan T. Anderson is still at the same old same old

“Anderson and the Catholic Church lost on marriage equality. Eventually they will lose on nondiscrimination protections. They will lose because of a basic contradiction: The self-righteous moralists want to preserve indecency.”
Ryan T. Anderson
via YouTube
Wednesday, at the blog of ultra-orthodox Catholic Witherspoon Institute, Ryan T. Anderson writes: Sex at the High Court: On the Redefinition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law and Faulty Accounts of “Discrimination.” Anderson is upset at the prospect that the Supreme Court might recognize the rights of gay and transgender people not to be fired from their jobs because of their sexuality.

Anderson's reasoning is tortured because the underlying cause of his dread has little do with with reasoned public policy or jurisprudence. Anderson is a fundamentalist Catholic adherent. The Church pretends that transgender people do not exist and that gay people are sick; “objectively disordered.”

Although he is now married I suspect that some of Anderson's certainty about gay people stems from his own sexuality. A gay Christian fundamentalist is bound to be neurotic. Fred Karger once joked that I embarrassed Anderson into marriage. Ryan T. Anderson is quite possibly objectively disordered but gay people, on the whole, are not.

Next Tuesday, October 8, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on three cases that might determine whether or not Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination extends to sexual orientation and gender identity.

I am not oblivious to realities. Trump and McConnell have moved the Supreme Court far to the right. Kavanaugh replaced Kennedy. That does not augur well for LGBTQ people. Presuming that the Court does what I think it is going to do, all sorts of people and organizations are going to claim to be responsible. I can already see the email from Brian S. Brown idiotically claiming that donors to National Organization for Marriage were somehow responsible for a Supreme Court ruling.

These cases, in my opinion, need to be argued outside of the courts from a standpoint of decency. What might remain legal is nonetheless unethical and indecent. These cases demonstrate the need for the Equality Act.

If it is decent to terminate an employee for being gay or transgender then it is similarly decent for the same conservative Christian not to hire a Jew or a Muslim or to terminate them when he learns of their religion. The only difference is that the Jew and the Muslim are protected from employment discrimination by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Anderson is quite explicit. He writes:
…consider an employer who will hire straight men and women, but not men and women who identify as gay. Men and women are exposed to the same exact terms and conditions, so this wouldn’t be discrimination based on sex. The employment action doesn’t hinge on male or female, but on gay or straight.
Therefore, according to the sanctimonious Mr. Anderson, it is perfectly acceptable —decent—not to hire people if the employer does not approve of their sexual orientation. It is comparable to hiring an African-American and then firing him when the employer finds out that the black employee is married to a white woman.

Later on:
And, of course, there’s good reason why Congress has rejected calls to legally prohibit “discrimination” on the basis of “sexual orientation and gender identity.” Much of what the activists claim is “discrimination” is simply disagreement about human sexuality, where acting based on true beliefs about human sexuality is re-described as discriminatory.
Nonsense. “True beliefs” in Anderson-speak means beliefs about human sexuality according to the teachings of the Catholic Church with obliviousness to science. According to the Church. Gay people are disordered and transgender people don't exist.

Discrimination in the workplace means conditioning employment opportunity on factors unrelated to job performance. It might be legal to fire someone after they marry someone of the same sex but it is still discrimination. It is indecent. This has nothing whatsoever to do, as Anderson posits, with one's beliefs. This is about conduct. This is about indecent conduct.

Of course we get to bathrooms and gender-affirming surgery:
It would also highlight the severe consequences for privacy, safety, and equality. Employers would be prevented from protecting their employees’ privacy and would be exposed to ruinous liability. They would have to cover objectionable medical treatments. Physicians would have to perform them against conscience. And the consequences would not be limited to the employment context. If this new theory of sex and of discrimination is imposed on Title VII, then why not Title IX? Yet an activist reading of sex discrimination would spell the end of girls’ and women’s athletics, and of private facilities at school.
The above is offensively dishonest. “Safety” is the ridiculous dog whistle that transgender women pose a threat to cisgender women. “Privacy” is about idiotic bathroom angst. There is nothing in nondiscrimination that requires an employer to offer insurance covering certain procedures. As for physicians, the argument is equally preposterous and dishonest. The only doctors who provide gender-affirming therapies, such as hormones and surgery, are those who choose to provide those treatments.

The latest Swiss Army Knife for anti-transgender bigotry has a large blade for women's sports. Nothing in nondiscrimination protections — nothing — precludes establishing standards for participation such as testosterone levels or time in transition and medications. None of Anderson's ubiquitous “activists” think that transgender women are due an athletic advantage. How many transgender girls and women are in athletic competition anyway?

Anderson eventually concludes his lengthy discourse:
Biology is not bigotry, and the Court should not conclude otherwise. Only Congress, not the Court, can craft policy to address sexual orientation and gender identity—distinct concepts from sex—with attention to all the competing considerations.
“Biology is not bigotry” is code for the conservative Christian dogma that gender, as a separate construct from natal sex, does not exist. It is idiotic and obnoxious. It also defies medical science. The basis for this belief (which the Church has confirmed) is Genesis 1:27. Anderson wants to pass this off as the product of objective reasoning. Did I mention that Ryan T. Anderson is dishonest?

Given the composition of the Court I do not have high hopes for these three cases. Eventually, in the not too distant future, the Equality Act will become a reality. At that point the Catholic Church and its allies will invest countless funds in an effort to defeat the measure. Anderson will trot out the same moronic talking points. Ultimately, they will be claiming that public policy should be based on superstition.

Progress is on our side. Anderson and the Catholic Church lost on marriage equality. Eventually they will lose on nondiscrimination protections. They will lose because of a basic contradiction: The self-righteous moralists want to preserve indecency.

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