Rep. Richardson on Gay, Civil & Citizen Rights

The subject of granting “Civil Rights” protection to individuals who are part of Oregon’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) population is on a fast-track to becoming Oregon law. I believe expanding civil rights to include such behavior-based activities in not in the best interest of Oregon or its citizens. Here is why.

Senate Bill 2 has already passed the Senate and will have public hearings in the House on Monday, April 9, 2007. Notwithstanding the magnitude and consequences of this bill on Oregon churches, schools, closely-held businesses and the rights of individual citizens who hold strong religious beliefs about morality, the Chair of the House Elections, Ethics and Rules Committee, Representative Diane Rosenbaum, has just scheduled a Work Session to pass S.B. 2 out of her Committee on the following morning, Tuesday, April 10th. If this occurs the bill could be up for a full House vote on Thursday, April 12, 2007.Essentially, S.B. 2 is a Civil Rights bill that elevates “Sexual Orientation” to the same protected civil rights status as race and religion. The bill defines “Sexual Orientation” as follows:

“Sexual orientation” means an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender identity, regardless of whether the individual’s gender identity, appearance, expression or behavior differs from that traditionally associated with the individual’s sex at birth. (Senate Bill 2, Section 1, para. 6)

One problem with elevating sexual orientation, “perceived” homosexuality, appearance, expression and behavior to a protected, civil rights status is the uncertainty of enforcement. Current protected classes of civil rights are based on who people are, not what they do.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Alveta Scott King, expressed the difference when she said, “While I have met many former homosexuals, I have yet to meet a former black.” On the other side of the issue, former lesbian, Yvette Schneider, asked the thought provoking question when responding to the issue of special rights based on sexual orientation, “Why should I receive less protection now that I am no longer a lesbian?”

The GLBT activists and their sympathizers repeatedly exclaim their GLBT proclivities are inherent and genetic. I am not one who accepts theory as fact, merely because allegations are made passionately and frequently. My research for dispositive, peer-reviewed evidence of a “homosexual gene” has been without success. (For those who care to read a summary of the research, click here.) I have no doubt GLBT tendencies are real and powerful, but tendencies are one thing and behavior is another.

If S.B. 2 becomes law””and the Senate and House leaders believe it will””there will be consequences to the many Oregonians whose religious and moral beliefs strongly oppose the GLBT lifestyle. For instance,

– A school district provides sex education instruction that does not give equal attention to homosexual relationships and practices; an adopted child of a gay/lesbian couple feels discriminated against because the parent’s lifestyle is not equally represented. The parents contact the ACLU demanding equal time and instruction for homosexual practices as that given to heterosexual practices.
– A homeowner operates an adult foster home in her duplex, but does not want to hire a lesbian because the homeowner and her elderly residents do not believe it would “be right”.
– A Christian Bookstore owner refused to hire an otherwise qualified applicant when the owner learned the applicant sometimes dressed and otherwise changed his appearance, behavior and expressions from that traditionally associated with the applicant’s sex at birth. The applicant presented the employer with a doctor’s note indicating the applicant’s need to cross-dress was necessary to maintain the applicant’s proper mental health.

In each of the above situations, and in countless others, if S.B. 2 becomes law, the rights of the majority must legally bow to the demands of a vocal minority.

S.B. 2 will grant state sanctioned and enforced civil rights protections for a person’s appearance and behavior. Please understand, I am against constitutionally protected discrimination and I believe individuals should have the right to live their own lives with a minimum of interference. I am also committed to defending our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am willing to tolerate another person’s sexual preferences, but I am unwilling to use the force of governmental power to elevate that person’s sexual preferences, appearance and behavior above the religious, commercial, educational, residential and personal freedoms of the majority of Oregonians.

Sincerely,

Dennis Richardson
State Representative

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Posted by at 07:32 | Posted in Measure 37 | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Steve Plunk

    Protecting behavior is best accomplished through slow societal changes not laws forced upon society by an elite few. If those with sexual proclivities different than the mainstream want respect they must earn it and deserve it. So far the gay rights movement has not earned respect at all.

    The law of unintended consequences is licking it’s chops over this. We will not know how damaging this can be until it is essentially too late. Let’s hope our legislature does the right thing and kills this unwise legislation.

  • CRAWDUDE

    The people of this state should cvote on it during the next election.

  • Jerry

    This bill is an ill-thought experiment in complete government nonsense. Stop it now. Fools all!

  • Clay Fouts

    “elevate that person’s sexual preferences, appearance and behavior above the religious… freedoms”

    Actually, this would give sexual preference the same protection that religion already enjoys, not more. Or perhaps you’re in favor of getting the State out of hiring practices altogether and letting employers discriminate against potential and existing employees for being Christian, for being disabled, or for being older?

    • Steven Plunk

      Clay,

      You seem to be framing the argument in such a way to trap many of us. We are not in favor of doing away with anti-discrimination laws but we can also be against laws elevating certain behaviors to a protected level.

      It has been the cultural norm for thousands of years that homosexuality is considered abnormal. Now we are being asked, sorry, told to ignore that cultural norm. It’s a lot to ask on such short notice.

      It’s not like we are lynching poeple over their sexual orientation. In fact we usually accept it as long they don’t flaunt it and make an issue out of it.

      It’s not an all or nothing proposition. We can support protections based upon race, religion, and disabilities without wanting protections like this.

      Make your argument on what harm is being done and what proper remedies will accomplish without hurting others.

    • tonehog

      What, you mean they don’t already do that already? Please reiterate.

      Additionally, I haven’t been able to see Equal Opportunity have its full effect on the public to reduce prejudice. In fact, the only thing that has had the most effect on bigotry is social change. Perhaps it had a positive effect in its time, but at the moment it appears to only support those who are not lawfully in the United States, and further propagate the stigmas of yesteryear.

  • Dan B.

    Just one more reason to get out of Oregon before the fruits and closet socialists have completely ruined this state. Hope you enjoy your “rights” in the economic backwater of the west.

  • CRAWDUDE

    Sounds like someone needs to start another Initiative for us to vote on again. I’m pretty sure that we said no to this bill a couple elections , didn’t they listen?

  • A Davis

    An interesting twist to many thoughts. I think though that many people forget when they say that being gay is a choice, that the matter of choice is inherent in all and I mean all protected groups. the very concept of rights are to allow people choices. the choice to live where they want if they can afford it, the right to perform a job if they have the knowledge and ability, the right to have an education if they can afford it in order to have the better jobs. the right to be able to walk down the street without the fear that they can be beaten up or killed without the law stopping someone from doing it because they may not have the same belief that the officer or judge might have. As Americans we do not have to earn rights. I did not see anywhere in the Declaration such a requirement. In fact it says that all men are endowed with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Let it go.

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