Defending the ‘freedom’ to fire gay people for being gay

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (AP)

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (AP)

Move aside, Alabama, it seems that you’ve got company.

Out in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback turned back time Tuesday by rescinding a longstanding policy that barred state government from discriminating against or harassing gay, lesbian and transgender employees. The policy had been in effect since 2007, when it was implemented by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

As a result, state employees in Kansas can once again be fired simply for being gay, with no legal recourse or protection. Supervisors can once again refuse to hire gay Kansans for jobs that they could do just as well as anybody else.

In announcing his decision, Brownback employed the classic if nonsensical “special rights” argument, saying that it “ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional ‘protected classes’ as the previous order did.” If such protection is granted, he said, it should be granted by the state Legislature, although he made no mention of supporting such an effort.

The logic of the “special rights” argument has always escaped me. In the Kansas example, I suppose that no one now has “special rights”, because thanks to Brownback, straight people and gay people are at equal risk of being fired for being gay. As Barbara Shelly writes in the Kansas City Star, “Brownback is imposing a harsh, intolerant regime on a state that used to value fair-mindedness.”

But let’s put things into context. Brownback’s move has drawn national attention because it is perceived as a step backward, withdrawing protections that have been in place for years now and making gay state employees into a target. It comes across as petty, mean and gratuitous, and it is all those things.

But the truth is that here in Georgia, as well as nationally, no law or policy prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We came close to passage of federal legislation back in 2007, shortly after Democrats regained the House of Representatives. The House passed the bill 235-184, with 35 Republicans voting with the majority. However, a filibuster in the Senate blocked further progress, and then-President George W. Bush had promised to veto the legislation anyway should it reach his desk.

We came close again in 2013, but this time the roles were reversed. This time, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act by a vote of 64-32, with 10 Republican senators voting in favor of its passage. (Both Georgia senators of course voted against it.) However, the Republican-led House then refused to even bring the bill up for a vote, and once again it died.

Given that background, Brownback’s decision looks less shocking because it reflects mainstream Republican thinking on the issue. They may not openly advocate the firing of gay people merely for being gay, but they continue to fight hard to preserve the legal right to do so. It’s a freedom thing, supposedly. As the conservative group Focus on the Family explains, banning discrimination against gay Americans “will harm American businesses and jeopardize the historically protected First Amendment freedom of religious expression.”

Religion and freedom are hallowed values in this country, but in this debate they are being used to disguise something that is far less admirable.

Reader Comments 0

593 comments
1stTruthOMeter
1stTruthOMeter

I say no job protection for white men with gray streaky hair and long pointed noses.


See how that works!

YouLibs
YouLibs

Wait a minute, Jay.


From what I've read here the past few days, am I hearing you say that LGBT folks can now fare better in Alabama than they can in Kansas?


Whoa...

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Brownback is an out of touch MAWM

Corey
Corey

Why do we insist on seeing gay people as mere walking sex acts? I do believe that is what they are trying to get across and they are frankly too damn tired trying to explain to conservatives that they should be free to make their own decisions about their lives. Is that so friggin hard to explain?

Hale_Trump!
Hale_Trump!

@Corey It more then taht they try 2 convert ever 1 gay children 2.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Corey Kind of like a Miss Manners question:  How do I introduce guests at my party who are gay and living together? Her answer:  What kind of parties do you give where the sexual orientation of guests is announced at the door?


(Paraphrased from the original)

Hale_Trump!
Hale_Trump!

I no a bunch of U R agnst this but U must no all gays want 2 do is turn U gay and UR chlidren 2. That why I dontwant t 2 wrok with N E gays aslo they cary aids.

InisMagrath
InisMagrath

--- "Focus on the Family explains, banning discrimination against gay Americans “will harm American businesses and jeopardize the historically protected First Amendment freedom of religious expression.”

I, as an American who is also Jewish, am pretty sure those so-called "christians" over at Focus on the Family would have no problem with businesses having the "freedom" to fire people (or refuse service) just for being Jewish.

josef
josef

Not so very long ago Big Daddy could post something about gays, and folks on the verandah would stay on topic into the 1000s.  Now we can barely make it to 500.  That's progress.

Normd
Normd

@josef 


Josef,


What do you expect?  Being Gay is soooo yesterday... ;>)

Brosephus
Brosephus

@josef 

Well, that's because people see the writing on the wall.  When same sex marriage is legal in Alabama, regardless to what King Roy has decreed, it's a foregone conclusion that their flailing have failed.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Who the heck are you to decide what they should do and who made you the judge of who looks good and who doesn't? --------------------------------------------------

Sort of sums up all leftist arguments right there.  Who even needs parents?  People can just be people.....  and smoke pot, and just love each other however they want...... like....... dude. 

Who needs all that learning, like shaaa..............?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

"Who the heck are you to decide what they should do.."

Ask Roy Moore as he seems to think he's able to do that.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Explaining why he was ruling out sending American troops to fight ISIS, Obama said he was modeling his strategy after what he said were successful efforts in Yemen and Somalia to partner with governments to go after terrorists.

Oh well...

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@FIGMO2 That's about like following the Falcons strategy to winning the Super Bowl!

gotalife
gotalife

@FIGMO2 He wants them to do the fighting not us. Not complicated, it is their country.

gadem
gadem

@DownInAlbany @FIGMO2 Why should our men and women die fighting someone else's fight? Let the Countries fight and get their country back. The US has corrupted far too many situations in the ME.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@FIGMO2 

I thought Obama claimed Yemen as one of his successes.

Well, in the grand scheme of things, it may very well be.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@DownInAlbany @FIGMO2 

With a loyal administration media, the public will hear so little about obama's failures, it just won't matter to the bulk of the American public.  It is obama the media admires, and the public it holds in contempt.  0bama doesn't like the public either, but he hates hates hates his enemies (in America). 

The enemies outside America he fears. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@gotalife @DownInAlbany @FIGMO2  Nope.

“This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.  This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.  And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year:  to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order” he stated.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

  • On any given day, in Metro Atlanta (a five-county area) with a population of 3.5 million, approximately 13,000 individuals are incarcerated
  • On any given day in New York City with a population of 8 million, approximately 13,000 individuals are incarcerated.

gotalife
gotalife

The war on terror is not over silly cons.

gotalife
gotalife

The Muslim people are divided like us.


Some want  freedom and some sort of democracy. Libs.


Some want Sharia law. cons.


The cons that want Sharia law use violence to get their way.


We are helping to fight their cons.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@gotalife @Yes_Jesus_Can 

So 0bama being "really good at killing" people makes it morally right? 

What happened, did 0bama bless the military with some killing skills that they did not have before he became embarassment in chief? 

What in 0bama's experience leads you to believe this? 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@gotalife @Yes_Jesus_Can 

Obama:

Isis = the JV team

Al qaeda on the run, GM back from the dead.

Red-lines

This shows most high-schoolers are more serious about these things than 0bama. 

gadem
gadem

If they kept their personal business private, it wouldn't matter. I have worked with gay males and females, and no one cares about your but-gina or any of that other stuff that you all talk about.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@KUTGF @gadem "I have worked in a number of places with "heteros" and have heard plenty about their personal business. "

Waaaaaaaaaay  too much, in my experience.

 

gadem
gadem

@KUTGF @gadem not in my experience. not in an open manner that would make others uncomfortable. If I am having a conversation about personal business it is in privacy between me and another person. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@gadem @KUTGF  Well sweetie if you are talking about it with anyone other than your partner while you are at work, then it aint that private. 

gadem
gadem

@KUTGF @gadem I'm not offending anyone else with my conversation "sweetie". There is a such thing as decorum. Some should try using it. Maybe I should purchase a dictionary for some to use.
 LORD forbid if I voice my displeasure with alternatives way of life. I would almost certainly be branded a bigot or whatever it is they want to label someone that doesn't conform to their way of thinking.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@gadem  You mean like heteros who never talk about their personal business over the water cooler or other places?  I have worked in a number of places with "heteros" and have heard plenty about their personal business. 

gotalife
gotalife

The rw think ending Tricare is supporting our troops.


The clowns can't govern and proving it over and over and over.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"I hope the nudists don't fight for the right to go nekkid in public. There are lots of people I wouldn't want to see nekkid."


Who the heck are you to decide what they should do and who made you the judge of who looks good and who doesn't?  

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@fiftythreepercenter So you agree that similar views should be taken on gays.  You should not be the judge of who is employable as gay, odd looking, or has funny looking hair. 

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@LogicalDude @fiftythreepercenter No, actually I think a society should have a collective standard of living and of conduct.  But it appears the liberal mantra is one of let us do what we want while reserving the right to tell others what they can and can't do.  

josef
josef

@consumedconsumer @fiftythreepercenter 

Quite frankly, if it's good looking and stylish we want for an image, I would think that it would be the straights putting up a fuss about discrimination.  LOL 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@fiftythreepercenter 

"But it appears the liberal mantra is one of let us do what we want while reserving the right to tell others what they can and can't do."

Liberal mantra appears my a**...
The conservative mantra IS let us do what we want while reserving the right to tell others what they can and can't do.  Chief Justice Roy Moore ring a bell?  Abortion laws ring a bell?

Quit projecting conservative insecurities on liberals.  I forget, it's okay to bear false witness against liberals.  Never mind....