Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Effects of 'Sexual Orientation' and 'Gender Identity' Nondiscrimination Ordinances

Note: This paper by the American Family Association of Michigan deals with a 'nondiscrimination' ordinance passed in Hamtramck, but it is highly relevant to Kalamazoo. The ordinance was repealed by voters in November.



Hamtramck’s “sexual orientation” ordinance is a threat to religious freedom, free speech, and women’s privacy rights

In the 2004 election, 55 percent of Hamtramck voters voted in favor of a Marriage Protection Amendment to our state constitution, helping preserve one-man, one-woman marriage for future generations of children.

But in June 2008, by a 6-to-1 vote of its politically correct city council, Hamtramck is now among the handful of cities in Michigan whose local ordinances – in conflict with federal and state law – treat homosexual behavior and cross-dressing as the moral, social, and legal equivalents of immutable characteristics such as race, color, and sex.

Obviously, many Hamtramck residents reject that comparison -- based on religious, medical, and philosophical concerns.

For example, a compassionate society that rationally discourages smoking because of the clearly identified health consequences should not irrationally enact laws giving special protection to homosexual behavior that has been scientifically associated with a dramatically higher incidence of domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, life-threatening disease -- AIDS, cancer, and hepatitis -- and premature death by up to 20 years.

The Vatican expressed similar concerns in a 1992 letter to Bishops of the Catholic Church – authored by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI – regarding legislation to “make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal,” which according to Ratzinger, “may in fact have a negative impact on the family and society.”

“Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved,” Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. “’Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc., in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder and evokes moral concern.”

“Including ‘homosexual orientation’ among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate,” Ratzinger wrote, “can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights…(and)…to the legislative protection and promotion of homosexuality."

The American Family Association of Michigan strongly agrees. However, the practical effects of such legislation extend beyond medical or religious concerns.

Proving to have exactly the opposite effect of their supposed intent, so-called “sexual orientation” ordinances have a track record of being used to discriminate against individuals and organizations who don’t support homosexual activists’ political agenda.

Detective Richard Stern, a fifteen-year veteran and president of the Ann Arbor police officers union, was fired after the chairman of the city's “rights commission” formally accused him of violating that city’s “sexual orientation” ordinance. Stern’s offense? On behalf of his union, in a public forum for police chief candidates, he “was accused of saying that one of the candidates had a gay-rights agenda,” according to Between the Lines, a Detroit homosexual advocacy newsmagazine.

“Stern’s comments were clearly in violation of a human rights ordinance that includes sexual orientation,” the newsmagazine commented, making clear that homosexual activists believe so-called “sexual orientation” ordinances outweigh our Constitutionally-guaranteed free speech rights. Stern’s union disagreed, charging in a lawsuit that he was "illegally and discriminatorily" discharged by the city.

Also in Ann Arbor, the city council – once again specifically citing its discriminatory “sexual orientation” ordinance -- banned donations to the United Way through city employees’ payroll deduction plan. Why? Because the United Way financially supported local Boy Scout troops, which appropriately refuse to allow adult males who engage in homosexual behavior to take 13-year old boys on overnight camping trips.

"A council majority believes its own anti-discrimination ordinance prohibits it from supporting Boy Scouts in any fashion, including using staff time and city computers for payroll deductions that go through the United Way to the Boy Scouts," the Ann Arbor News reported.

In an Ann Arbor News commentary supporting the city council’s action, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said the Boy Scouts’ stand made them comparable to “white supremacist groups.”

Similarly, the homosexual activist group Triangle Foundation threatened to sue the city of Detroit, demanding that city officials cut all funding of local Boy Scout troops, deny the Scouts access to public parks and facilities, and prohibit sponsorship of Scout activities by the police and fire departments, the Detroit News reported. The Scouts’ refusal to allow openly homosexual Scoutmasters, Triangle charged, “is in direct violation of the City Charter and Human Rights Ordinance…(that) expressly forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

In Philadelphia, under authority of its “sexual orientation” ordinance, the city is currently evicting the local Boy Scout council from offices it has occupied in a city park for nearly 80 years.

In Chicago, Cook County officials refused to hire the Salvation Army to deliver services to low-income residents, saying “the county's ordinance banning employment discrimination against gays and lesbians bars it from contracting with the Salvation Army,” a traditional Christian denomination whose religious doctrine teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin.

Under Massachusetts’ “sexual orientation” law, Catholic Charities was given an ultimatum: either agree to process adoptions of children to homosexual couples in violation of the church’s moral opposition to such adoptions, or abandon its century-old adoption referral service altogether. To its credit, Catholic Charities chose the latter.

The “sexual orientation” language now included in the Hamtramck ordinance is disturbing even beyond its proven discriminatory effects in other cities.

The Oakland Press reported in March 2005: “Bill Scharffe, director of bylaw and policy services for the Michigan Association of School Boards, advises local districts not to include the term ‘sexual orientation’ in their anti-harassment policies. ‘Schools need to be very careful with that,’ he said, noting that neither federal nor state civil rights laws consider people of a particular sexual orientation a protected class. He added that literal interpretation of ‘sexual orientation’ could include people who gravitate toward any sort of sexual activity, including that with animals, children and corpses.”

Not content with adding the discriminatory “sexual orientation” language to city law, homosexual activists and their political allies succeeded in adding the words “gender identity” as well.

Simply put, “gender identity” refers to delusional men who claim to believe they’re really females stuck in a man’s body and insist on wearing a dress and high heels to work.

This "gender identity" language is so radical in its potential effects that even openly homosexual Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., refuses to include it in his federal "gay rights" legislation.

Rep. Frank said: "There are workplace situations -- communal showers, for example -- when the demands of the transgender community fly in the face of conventional norms and therefore would not pass in any Congress. I've talked with transgender activists and what they want -- and what we will be forced to defend -- is for people with penises who identify as women to be able to shower with other women."

Don’t take Barney’s word for it? Consider the case of “Naomi Snyder,” a Lansing man who applied through the mail – using a female name – for membership at a women’s health club. His membership approved, he showed up in person, and being obviously a man, was refused entry to the women’s locker room and shower. According to Between the Lines, the Michigan ACLU threatened to sue for “discrimination,” but Lansing voters in a 1996 ballot vote had wisely rejected adding “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to their local civil rights ordinance; thus, there was no legal basis for the threatened suit. But in Hamtramck, now, there would be.

Thankfully, Hamtramck residents who want to protect the privacy of women and girls and prevent discrimination against people of faith and community groups such as the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and the United Way can by law conduct a petition drive to force this issue onto the ballot for a vote of the people.

We urge all residents to VOTE NO on the gay-rights ballot issue Nov. 4

Distributed by Hamtramck Citizens Voting No to `Special Rights' Discrimination
2730 Caniff, Hamtramck, MI 48281

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