Monday, February 22, 2010

Virginia's Disgrace Banning Gays From State Jobs

 I am not gay. It is a reason I seldom venture into gay rights issues. I'll defer that usually to persons closer to the cause or the gay community themselves. But I also believe I am a compassionate individual.

And believe me, Buster, that compassion turns to outrage when a person's basic dignity and civil rights are abused by government or special interests. I don't care whether that person is colored, a religious zealot, another gender, a dwarf, and, yes, even a transvestite.

Who pulled my chain? Newly elected Republican Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, that's who. By the stroke of a pen and rubber stamp, McDonnell has signed an executive order removing protection for lesbians and gay men from discrimination in state jobs.

It rescinds an order Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine issued in 2006 that extended state policy specifically banning discrimination against employees based on their sexual preference.

McDonnell's chief of staff told The Washington Post  the new order still bars "any and all discrimination," whatever that means. Check that. Since sexual preference has been removed, to fire them for being gay is not discriminatory. Is that the idea?

What's next on the Virginia public employment ax? Obese white guys. Blacks who can't jump and useless on a basketball court for a pickup game between two department intramural offices. How about women who have had abortions. And what about the employment applications for state jobs. Is there a box to check that the applicant is gay?

Discrimination is discrimination. It sucks.

Having said that, I also think the gay rights issue is more than adequately covered in the main street media and Internet. The last I looked about 6% of America are gays or lesbians. Their advocacy in sheer number of stories outflanks by far their numbers as a group. But they are fighting bigots who cloak their prejudice in the cloak of religion and that, my friends, is a formidable foe.

I'm a reasonable person and former owner of a small business. There are certain rules that must be established such as arriving at work on time and no drinking or drugs on the job.

If two gays stripped their clothes, jumped on top of their desks in an office and began getting it on, you fire the imbeciles. Short of that, common sense prevails until their sexual preference, political rants, religious preoccupation or vulgar vocabulary interferes with the work they're paid to perform.

The Virginia case is not exclusive to Republicans for bigotry knows no political boundaries.

A friend of mine on the old San Diego Evening Tribune "came out of the closet" in the 1970s and made no secret of his homosexuality. Yes, he was a piece of work, but he did his job well and in time his gay advocacy gained respect from his colleagues. He may not have won the war but he has won numerous battles proving that gays are people too just like straights. I was happy for him and his partner who took advantage of the period when California's brief same-sex marriage law in Proposition 8 was still legal.

It's not that I am comfortable, as they say, in my own skin. Prop 8 and the dead-in-the-water U.S.constitutional amendment promoting marriage only between a man and a woman doesn't threaten me.

You can read to me all the Bible scriptures in the Old and New Testaments about the sins of homosexuality and it won't change my mind one twit. I counter with the Golden Rule.

To discriminate against gays in the market place, the work place or in Heavens' Knows Where, is flat out wrong. What they do behind close doors is their business as it is for heterosexual couples.

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