Gay rights (part 2)


I was out with several of my friends last night and this was a very heated topic.  Many of the same points that readers have already brought up were discussed in depth, however in the end my position came down to this:

Imagine you were livign through the civil rights movement and today you were looking back at what your life was like back then.  Would you want to say to yourself “you know what?  i’m happy that the company i worked for was impartial and didn’t help or hinder the ability for blacks to be treated equally.  It wasn’t their place to do so, and they should have just been doing what was right for their own employees in the service of maximizing profit for their shareholders.”  or would you want to say to yourself “i’m happy that i worked for a company that helped support me in the work i did to end the inequality that blacks were facing during that time.  This was a source of pride for me and was part of the reason i loved that company and have stuck with them through all this time.  Rather than being beholden just to stock holders, they knew there was a greater good that could come of their actions, and like Schindler they did what was possible in an imperfect system to bring justice around.”


Yes, that’s stepping into Godwin territory, but i’m sorry, i do believe in greater goods and i do beleive that companies are not exempt in working toward them.  Microsoft has done a great service by making their work place safe and open and accepting of everyone, regardless of these idiotic issues.  But, to me that’s simply the bare minimum.  20 years from now when i have kids and they’re old enough to understand these issues i want to be able to tell them: “you know what?  i know it’s tough for you to realize this, but before you were born it was the case that gays didn’t have the same rights as straight people did.  They could get fired because of their orientation and there was nothing that could be done about it.   But i fought hard to change that and i’m happy to say that i wasn’t alone in this.  Millions upon millions of people stood up and said “this is wrong and it has to change”.  And not only that, this was so recognized for being an awful thing that companies, like Microsoft, came together put their support behind the legislation that now protects these individuals as well.  It’s one of the reasons i love this company and have stuck with them for this long.  And it meant to me that this was more than just a company that i worked for so that i could bring home a paycheck.  This was a company i worked for because i felt they were working toward things far more important.”

You feel differently.  That’s fine by me.  Personally, i’m unconvinced that this action actually had an effect on the outcome.  What i am upset about is that when given the chance to publically make a statement in support of working being down that supported their values, they decided to stay silent.  It is my hope that if this is the decision that we’ve decided to make for the company, that at least the community within (all the way to the top) will continue to do what they can so that this progress gets made on this in the future.

Anyways.  24-25 is extremely close, and given what we’ve been seeing around the country (and around the world), it is my belief that within 5 years (max) this will be passed and we can look back upon this time with the absolute shame that is deserved.



FYI, i recommend taking a reading the actual bill.  You can find it here.


Comments (67)

  1. Garry Trinder says:

    I’d just like to support this post.

    For me, it all comes down to whether Microsoft sees itself as a leader or a follower; I know how I see myself, Microsoft seems to be having doubts how it sees itself.

  2. Wow – Scoble and now you. I’m quite moved by all of this, speechless…

    @Matthew

    Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, MSN – More Useful Everyday

  3. whatabout says:

    so what about Ballmers response to this?

  4. Scott says:

    So leave Microsoft. Come work for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. We could use more talented programmers. Sure there’s probably a pay cut, but if I remember correctly you live in Belltown. You could WALK to work and the money you would save in gas would probably equal the pay cut. 😉 One of the best companies in Seattle to work for. Come help us cure cancer man! 🙂

  5. anandi says:

    I too am disappointed Microsoft isn’t a "leader" in this area, as you say. But I did feel ok w/ Ballmer’s response, about also being respectful of the intolerant homophobe shareholders. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.) As a business decision, it made sense, though it was not exactly inspiring. At a big company like MS, I’m glad the work environment is inclusive and diverse. I think there are a lot of other Fortune 500 companies where that is just not the case. So "bare minimum" it might be, but there’s definitely worse out there.

  6. CyrusN says:

    Scott: "So leave Microsoft. Come work for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. We could use more talented programmers. Sure there’s probably a pay cut, but if I remember correctly you live in Belltown. You could WALK to work and the money you would save in gas would probably equal the pay cut. 😉 One of the best companies in Seattle to work for. Come help us cure cancer man! :)"

    I live in redmond. but i would love to get together to chat. Ping me through my "contact" link and lets do lunch ok!

  7. blaine says:

    There have been many segements of our population that have felt slighted and maltreated because they were the minority. I myself am a minority and have felt the pang of bigotry more than a few times. I am for Civil Rights, to a certain extent. What I am not for is receiving a promotion or distinction simply because someone has to fill a quota.

    My biggest question on this subject is "Why Gay Rights?" Does the gay community feel so insecure and oppressed that they seek some special validation, endorsement, or acceptance? I don’t condone the lifestyle choice. However, I do not look down on gays or assume they’re weak or dysfunctional. Gays are people just like everyone else. Everyone has this thing that they get behind or feel an allegiance to. Unfortunately, gays have chosen a lifestyle that isn’t very well received. Frankly, most people I’ve talked to on this side of the issue are tired of the constant barrage of in-your-face promotion of the "gay agenda." People scream Gay Rights! and just the connotation of the word makes a lot of the population cringe.

    Live and let live is what I think we should all do. As Martin has said time and again "Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’." Stop flaunting, I say. When is the last time you heard a hetrosexual rave about someone of the opposite sex in front of another person of the opposite sex in the workplace? I think it’s all just a bit overdone and quite dramatic (I think it’s that way by design.)

    Why is acceptance of a sexual orientation so paramount to people who identify themselves as gay? Why would anyone want to be defined or identified by a sexual orientation? It’s all a bit odd if you ask me. "Look at me I’m different!" You think you’re special? Well, get in line.

  8. steven says:

    You have my respect.

  9. yannick says:

    blaine,

    it’s not that gays particularly want to define themselves in terms of their sexual orientation. It’s just that discrimination forces strong affirmation of your identity. It’s no different than blacks "defining themselves" in terms of their race during the segregation or apartheid era.

  10. CyrusN says:

    Blaine: "There have been many segements of our population that have felt slighted and maltreated because they were the minority. I myself am a minority and have felt the pang of bigotry more than a few times. I am for Civil Rights, to a certain extent. What I am not for is receiving a promotion or distinction simply because someone has to fill a quota."

    And that’s not what was being discussed blaine. Currently Homosexuals are not afforded the same rights and protections and heterosexuals are. They can lose their job because of thier orientation and there is nothing that can be done about it. Rights of survivorship, benefits, etc. etc. etc. are all also things that are not conferred through homosexual relationships. If you are homosexual in america you are not treated equally. Period.

    "My biggest question on this subject is "Why Gay Rights?""

    You’re asking why someone would want to be treated equally? Ok. "Why Female Rights?" "Why Black Rights?" Our country is founded on the ideal that people be treated equally regardless of these traits. Why should it be acceptable to treat homosexuals lesss equally than hetero sexuals?

    "Does the gay community feel so insecure and oppressed that they seek some special validation, endorsement, or acceptance?"

    If you could lose your job at any moment because you were gay (and you’d seen that happen to coworkers), wouldn’t you be a bit insecure?

    "I don’t condone the lifestyle choice."

    No one asked you to.

    "However, I do not look down on gays or assume they’re weak or dysfunctional. Gays are people just like everyone else. Everyone has this thing that they get behind or feel an allegiance to. Unfortunately, gays have chosen a lifestyle that isn’t very well received."

    There is no choice here. "Unfortunately, women have chosen a lifestyle that isn’t well received". Well too fucking back. It’s not up to the majority to decide to opress the minority because it doesn’t like it’s "lifestyle"

    "Frankly, most people I’ve talked to on this side of the issue are tired of the constant barrage of in-your-face promotion of the "gay agenda." People scream Gay Rights! and just the connotation of the word makes a lot of the population cringe."

    Ohhhhh, those poor babies. I’m glad they weren’t around many decades ago when people were screaming for the rights of the jews. Or in the 60s when people were screaming for the rights of blacks. That must have been awful. I would have been cringing all the way to work every day.

    "Live and let live is what I think we should all do. As Martin has said time and again "Don’t start nothin’, won’t be nothin’." Stop flaunting, I say. When is the last time you heard a hetrosexual rave about someone of the opposite sex in front of another person of the opposite sex in the workplace? I think it’s all just a bit overdone and quite dramatic (I think it’s that way by design.)"

    What the hell are you talking about?

    "Why is acceptance of a sexual orientation so paramount to people who identify themselves as gay? Why would anyone want to be defined or identified by a sexual orientation? It’s all a bit odd if you ask me. "Look at me I’m different!" You think you’re special? Well, get in line.""

    Why is it important to be treated equally? Gee… i dunno… that pesky constitution and bill of rights and whatnot.

  11. Kathleen says:

    Cyrus:

    You made me cry.

    I couldn’t agree more: I want to be able to look back at my life and be proud of my actions.

    Supporting civil rights, for everyone, is the right thing to do. End of story.

    Thank you for saying so very clearly.

  12. Al Billings says:

    Oh, and Blaine, none of my gay friends chose to be gay.

    They didn’t go, "You know, I think it would be cool to sleep with men instead of chicks. I choose that lifestyle choice."

    Instead, they found that they were sexually attracted to men, and not women, and that was that. Unless you are one of those people that believes that you can reprogram gays to not be gay, there isn’t a choice involved. If there isn’t a choice involved, why are you and others allowed to persecute them for what they are?

    Besides, Religion *is* a choice but I can’t fire someone for being a Christian, can I?

  13. blaine says:

    The choice of that lifestyle doesn’t just happen overnight. It is definitely a choice. Psychology cannot prove or disprove that a child is born with homosexual tendencies. It can, however, offer substantial proof that environment and experience plays a major role in the decision to act out. There comes a time when that person says, "okay, I’m going to do it." It’s the same type of decision people considering entering the porn industry must make. Once it happens, there is no going back to the way things were. Saying the gay lifestyle is not a choice is like saying an adult who is attracted to children and thinks adults are gross has no choice but to live as a pedophile. Both lifestyles are unnatural. Dare you say I’m wrong? Did nature intend it? But alas, that is not the point. It wasn’t my point either… but since you brought it up.

    What is the distinction between Gay Rights and Civil Rights? If a boss descriminates against you because of your race, creed, disability, or sexual orientation in the workplace, aren’t you protected? Why push for further endorsement? Why make a destinction between Gay Rights and the rights of all people?

  14. Seth Chadwick says:

    Blaine wrote:

    "If a boss descriminates against you because of your race, creed, disability, or sexual orientation in the workplace, aren’t you protected?"

    No, I’m not. I live in Arizona which has no protections from discrimination in employment or housing for gay people.

    If my boss wants to fire me because I am gay, there is nothing I can do about it. If the apartment complex wants to keep me from renting an apartment because I am gay, there is nothing I can do about it. If the bank wants to refuse granting me a mortgage because of my sexual orientation, there is nothing I can do about it.

    All I am asking for is that my sexual orientation not be a grounds for keeping me from enjoying life to its fullest extent.

    So, Blaine, do you think it is okay for someone to fire me from a job simply because of my sexual orientation?

  15. blaine says:

    Seth Chadwick wrote:

    So, Blaine, do you think it is okay for someone to fire me from a job simply because of my sexual orientation?

    Absolutely not. You’re protected by our Labor Laws.

  16. CyrusN says:

    Blaine: "The choice of that lifestyle doesn’t just happen overnight. It is definitely a choice. Psychology cannot prove or disprove that a child is born with homosexual tendencies. It can, however, offer substantial proof that environment and experience plays a major role in the decision to act out. There comes a time when that person says, "okay, I’m going to do it." It’s the same type of decision people considering entering the porn industry must make. Once it happens, there is no going back to the way things were. Saying the gay lifestyle is not a choice is like saying an adult who is attracted to children and thinks adults are gross has no choice but to live as a pedophile. Both lifestyles are unnatural. Dare you say I’m wrong? Did nature intend it? But alas, that is not the point. It wasn’t my point either… but since you brought it up. "

    Blaine, i’m sorry, but currently accepted psychological and scientific views do not support your position at all.

    Also, "Both lifestyles are unnatural."

    That’s hilarious that you might say that. As homosexuality clearly is existing in nature, how could you ever claim it was unnatural! That’s just funny.

    "What is the distinction between Gay Rights and Civil Rights? If a boss descriminates against you because of your race, creed, disability, or sexual orientation in the workplace, aren’t you protected? Why push for further endorsement? Why make a destinction between Gay Rights and the rights of all people? "

    Because homosexuals don’t have the same protection. That was the entire point of the bill.

  17. CyrusN says:

    Blaine: "Absolutely not. You’re protected by our Labor Laws."

    Not in Washington you’re not. That was the point of the bill.

    Funny that you’re complaining about gays wanting to have the same rights here that you are afforded where you live.

  18. Ed Kaim says:

    It’s great to see such passion on this subject. I’ve seen a bunch of people write similar stuff but I don’t know how many will really follow through to prove their commitment. Good luck!

    http://www.sharplogic.com/blogs/ed/PermaLink,guid,84ba33c2-8bb2-4ec8-8f3e-706bddb27295.aspx

  19. CyrusN says:

    Blaine: "Dare you say I’m wrong? "

    Yes blaine. You’re wrong.

    As wrong as the people who complained and felt that it was unnatural for blacks to marry whites.

    As wrong as the people who felt that it was unnatural for women to be treated equally to men.

    As wrong as the people who felt that blacks were 3/5s of a normal person.

    That’s ok though. There will always be people who are wrong, and we will always make progress despite them. In a few years this will be law and gays will have the same protections as everyone else, and you can sit around by yourself thinking your wrong thoughts.

  20. Arne says:

    Cyrus you rock!

    Bad company, good people…

    Blaine is a stooge.

  21. blaine says:

    I’ll say this and be done with it. Take a look at societies throughout history and you’ll see a pattern. Things haven’t changed when it comes to social behavior. They will probably never change. Take a look at the history of homosexuality and its effect on past societies and you’ll definitely see a pattern. How can you dare say its natural? It’s a destructive lifestyle that wasn’t meant to be. What is the real issue here? You want the rest of the world to condone the lifestyle. You want to not hurt when you look in the mirror and wonder how you got to where you are today. My deepest apologies.

  22. Matt says:

    "I’ll say this and be done with it. Take a look at societies throughout history and you’ll see a pattern. Things haven’t changed when it comes to social behavior. They will probably never change. Take a look at the history of homosexuality and its effect on past societies and you’ll definitely see a pattern. How can you dare say its natural? It’s a destructive lifestyle that wasn’t meant to be. What is the real issue here? You want the rest of the world to condone the lifestyle. You want to not hurt when you look in the mirror and wonder how you got to where you are today. My deepest apologies. "

    What the …? Name a society that was actually damaged by homosexualtiy. No anecdotal stories, no making shit up. That is right, you FREAKING CAN’T.

    It is impossible to say it is unnatural when it occurs in nature… that is the definition of natural. You can’t define natural and unnatural based on *your* beliefs. The definition then becomes purely subjective to you and your beliefs, making it invalid for all others in the universe of discourse.

    Apparently you can’t let reason get into your head. Oh no, logical thought! Gay people made that!

  23. John says:

    Blaine, in your first post you claimed "I do not look down on gays or assume they’re weak or dysfunctional.". With your subsequent posts you have proven yourself to be not only a liar, but a bigot as well.

  24. CyrusN says:

    Blaine: "’ll say this and be done with it. Take a look at societies throughout history and you’ll see a pattern. Things haven’t changed when it comes to social behavior. They will probably never change."

    Sorry Blaine. but they’re already changing. if you look at the world today you will notice that support for equality for homosexuals is showing up everywhere.

    Also, by your argument we shouldn’t have founght for equality for blacks. After all, slavery is one of man’s oldest instututions… but oddly, things change and social behaviors advanced. It’s called progress. Yaay.

    "Take a look at the history of homosexuality and its effect on past societies and you’ll definitely see a pattern."

    No. I see no pattern. Spell it out for me.

    "How can you dare say its natural?"

    Uh… how dare i describe something accurately? I don’t know. I guess that’s what comes from an education or something…

    "It’s a destructive lifestyle that wasn’t meant to be."

    It’s destructive for Gays to be treated equally. That’s a new one for me. Please support that position.

    "What is the real issue here? You want the rest of the world to condone the lifestyle."

    Blaine, i couldn’t care less. You want to be bigotted and be against homosexuality, taht’s fine with me. I’ve said so many times. However, i will fight against the oppressions of someone just because of their sexual orientation.

    "You want to not hurt when you look in the mirror and wonder how you got to where you are today. My deepest apologies."

    I have no idea what this even means. I want to be able to provide my children with a better world than was provided to me. Getting rid of discrimination against Gays would be a great start.

  25. CyrusN says:

    Blaine: if you’re going to post again. Please tell us how you can say:

    "However, I do not look down on gays or assume they’re weak or dysfunctional. "

    and then later say:

    "How can you dare say its natural? It’s a destructive lifestyle that wasn’t meant to be."

    Right now, you’re just providing entertainment by proving yourself to be nothing more than a hypocritical bigot.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Cyrus

    I totally agree with your view.

    Microsoft is being very hypocritical by saying that the company should not use it’s name to meddle in social issues that don’t directly affect it’s business because they have to answer to stockholders with different points of view. How then can they explain to these stockholders that the internal policies are non-discriminatory?

    In any case, it is still great that the company provides forums like this one.

    Blaine, dude! being gay is not a choice! why would anyone want to be in a positon where they are discriminated against? Preferences are not a choice. What is your favorite color? can you please now like pink? it doesn’t work like that.

  27. blaine says:

    Anon: What is your favorite color? can you please now like pink? it doesn’t work like that.

    Poop on pink. My preferred color is "dvd player."

    The only thing "natural" about that lifestyle is "natural selection." har.

  28. anon says:

    blaine,

    If you were to take all the gay people and send them to a desert island so they wouldn’t bother you, how long do you think it would take for them to show up in your pure society again?

    They’d show up in the next generation. Who do you think is breeding all the gays? All the straights. There’s your natural selection.

  29. BT says:

    CyrusN:

    "Our country is founded on the ideal that people be treated equally regardless of these traits."

    Get your facts straight. Our country was founded on the ideal that everyone be given equal opportunity, NOT equal results. This has nothing to do with how you will be "treated."

    "If you could lose your job at any moment because you were gay …"

    It’s not the employer’s responsibility to make sure you have a job. It’s yours, regardless of the challenges you face getting there. Stop looking to the government to legislate every minority faction’s interests.

    "No one asked you to. "

    Where’s your tolerance and inclusive feelings for diverse points of view?

    "Well too fucking [back]. It’s not up to the majority to decide to opress the minority because it doesn’t like it’s "lifestyle" "

    Again – get your facts straight. It is up to the majority to decide over the minority. The only exception to this is those VERY FEW and ENUMERATED critiria upon which there has been counter-majoritarian mechanisms established in the Constitution. [‘enumerated’ and ‘counter-majoritarian’ are key words and speak to fundamental principles upon which our government is based. I encourage you to understand their application to subjects like this one so that you don’t continue to expose your ignorance.]

    " I’m glad they weren’t around many decades ago when people were screaming for the rights of the jews… "

    Your arguement here lacks intellectual honesty and requires that you equate homosexuality with race and religion. Most (by a very large majority) do not. If you think they are equal, then make a logical argument showing why.

    "Why is it important to be treated equally? Gee… i dunno… that pesky constitution and bill of rights and whatnot. "

    Again – get your facts straight. Nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights provides counter-majority protection for homosexuality. You can’t find it. It does not exist.

    In fact, this is essence of the problem for the minority homosexual population. They cannot get protection through legislative means (as most recently demonstrated in WA). If they were protected under the consitution, they would not need to seek it through legislation. They could simply go to federal court for relief under the Constitution.

    It is only through ignorance of the Constitution that people believe they have a right to do whatever they want and as minority they are protected. This is false, despite the liberal obfuscation of this fact over the past 40 years.

    I encourage you to read the Federalist papers that deal specifically with the risks to our country posed by minority factions.

  30. Ted Hu says:

    BT, that’s your take. What you can’t find others can. It all depends on judicial adjudication down the line. A Republican judge (Kramer) in Northern California found gay rights to be wholly protected under the constitution’s equal protection clause. The clause that led to Brown v. Board of Education that struck down "separate but equal" schooling. So contrary to your assertion, there is a consitutional basis and defining that question is left to the Supreme Court who has so far shirked from hearing any such related cases

    Wrt opinion of minority v. majority, the religious right of this country would be a better example of overreach as they choose to freely dictate how other people, corporations and governments should act, expecting protections of their own rights all the while denying others.

    Further, this country is not a pure democracy as you imply. We are a republic with a liberal democracy, liberal in this case meaning that the rights of the minority is protected while the will of the majority is represented and not directly expressed as to avoid the swings of the fiery heads of the masses. Either way, gays should be afforded equal protections under the law.

    To quote from the Economist wrt Judge Kramer’s ruling who cannot be dismissed as just another wacky San Francisco leftie with an activist agenda. This 57-year-old Roman Catholic is a registered Republican, appointed in 1996 by a Republican governor, Pete Wilson…

    SIMPLY put,” said the judge, “same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before.” Cue for statewide gay and lesbian jubilation, be it an impromptu rally in San Francisco’s Castro district or West Hollywood’s official city celebration, complete with a “wedding-cake and champagne reception”. In a 27-page decision Richard Kramer, a San Francisco Superior Court judge, had ruled on March 14th that California’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage was a violation of the civil rights guaranteed by its constitution.

    Put equally simply, Gavin Newsom, who as mayor of San Francisco authorised some 4,000 same-sex marriages just over a year ago, was right and the attorney-general of California, Bill Lockyer, defending state law, was wrong. “No rational basis”, said Judge Kramer, “exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners.”

    Indeed, to limit marriage in this way is anti-homosexual discrimination akin to racial discrimination. In 1948, California’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ban on interracial marriage violated the equal-protection clause of the United States constitution. Advocates of the racial ban had asserted that, because historically blacks had not been permitted to marry whites, the statute was justified. The court, Judge Kramer recalled, had rejected this argument: “Certainly the fact alone that the discrimination has been sanctioned by the state for many years does not supply such [constitutional] justification.” In other words, tradition is no excuse.

    But what if homosexual couples are given “marriage-like” rights by California’s new domestic-partnership law—proof, says Mr Lockyer, that a ban on gay marriage is not discrimination? Judge Kramer’s response, referring to a 1952 Supreme Court ruling on segregated schools, is dismissive: “The idea that marriage-like rights without marriage is adequate smacks of a concept long rejected by the courts—separate but equal.”

    As to the argument put by conservative groups that the purpose of marriage is procreation and child-rearing by a man and a woman, the judge replies: “One does not have to be married in order to procreate, nor does one have to procreate in order to be married.” Indeed, whereas heterosexual couples who are unable or unwilling to have children are free to marry, “same-sex couples are singled out to be denied marriage.” The state can legitimately, for health reasons, ban incestuous marriages, but the judge, citing the 1948 state Supreme Court judgment, said it cannot discriminate on the “arbitrary classifications of groups or races”…

  31. BT says:

    Ted Hu:

    "What you can’t find others can."

    You’re correct on this. Others can find anything they want that furthers their personal interest by abondoning a strict interpretation of the Constitution based on its original intent. This possibility does not make what they find legitimate.

    "It all depends on judicial adjudication down the line. "

    If we followed judicial adjudication without question we’d still be living under Dredd-Scott.

    "Wrt opinion of minority v. majority, the religious right of this country would be a better example of overreach as they choose to freely dictate how other people, corporations and governments should act, expecting protections of their own rights all the while denying others. "

    Another arguement lacking intellectual honesty… So you’re suggesting that those of a religious faith should not espouse the boundaries of right/wrong to which they subscribe?

    You use the word "dictate", and say the religious right "deny" others their rights?

    So, you’re suggesting either (i) people of religion have some means of imposing their beliefs on others through force, or (ii) they should not exercise their right to vote as a majority to influence legislation in support of their beliefs.

    (i) is simply not true. The "religious right" has no police or army of its own.

    Regarding (ii), your suggestion that codifying the will of the religious right (a/k/a the majority) is wrong smacks of marxism, where the will of the majority is usurped and overruled by a superior, more enlightened and elite minority.

    "Further, this country is not a pure democracy as you imply."

    I made no such assertion.

    "We are a republic with a liberal democracy, liberal in this case meaning that the rights of the minority is [sic] protected while the will of the majority is represented and not directly expressed as to avoid the swings of the fiery heads of the masses. "

    How does this point advance your position or negate mine? Not everything the minority would like in order to pursue their personal interest is a "right."

    "Either way, gays should be afforded equal protections under the law."

    This is a personal opinion and the basis for the public debate. BTW – the equal protection clause relates to a law’s application, not its result.

    "SIMPLY put,” said the judge, “same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before.”"

    Who has put forth this argument? I certainly said nothing about "the way it’s always been." What is your point?

    In a 27-page decision Richard Kramer, a San Francisco Superior Court judge, had ruled on March 14th that California’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage was a violation of the civil rights guaranteed by ITS CONSTITUTION." – You went on at some length here but I will not include it here for brevity’s sake.

    This is all about California State’s Constitution and state laws. It is not relevant to my point.

    It is certainly within State’s rights to enact non-discrimination laws such as was proposed by WA and is pursued in CA.

    I support legislation that is enacted through the will of the majority, even it if conflicts with my personal opinion. I have the right to move and pay my taxes elsewhere.

    You are confusing my disagreement homosexuality as a protected class under the US Constitution with the majority’s right to enact anti-discrimination laws at the state level.

    "Judge Kramer’s response, referring to a 1952 Supreme Court ruling on segregated schools, is dismissive: “The idea that marriage-like rights without marriage is adequate smacks of a concept long rejected by the courts—separate but equal.” "

    The ruling you reference fails on its own in the absence of the seperate-but-equal concept.

    "The state can legitimately, for health reasons, ban incestuous marriages, but the judge, citing the 1948 state Supreme Court judgment, said it cannot discriminate on the “arbitrary classifications of groups or races”… "

    Again – you’re using adjudication by state courts relating to state constitutions. This was not the context of the arguement.

  32. CyrusN says:

    BT:

    "Get your facts straight. Our country was founded on the ideal that everyone be given equal opportunity, NOT equal results. This has nothing to do with how you will be "treated." "

    Please look at the 14th amendment. Then explain to me how i can have equal opportunity if i can be fired for my sexual orientation?

    "It’s not the employer’s responsibility to make sure you have a job. It’s yours, regardless of the challenges you face getting there. Stop looking to the government to legislate every minority faction’s interests. "

    Why? That’s what the government is for. To help prevent the tyranny of the majority. By your logic, it would be my fault for getting fired for being middle-eastern

    "Where’s your tolerance and inclusive feelings for diverse points of view? "

    If you’d paid attention, i’m incredibly tolerant of different points of views. As i said to blaine, he can think whatever he wants. He just can’t limit my rights because of them. You different points of views ends with your speech and thoughts and does not extend to repressing me.

    "Again – get your facts straight. It is up to the majority to decide over the minority. The only exception to this is those VERY FEW and ENUMERATED critiria upon which there has been counter-majoritarian mechanisms established in the Constitution. [‘enumerated’ and ‘counter-majoritarian’ are key words and speak to fundamental principles upon which our government is based. I encourage you to understand their application to subjects like this one so that you don’t continue to expose your ignorance.] "

    And, once again, this is simply not the case. Please look up "tyranny of the majority"

    "Your arguement here lacks intellectual honesty and requires that you equate homosexuality with race and religion. Most (by a very large majority) do not. If you think they are equal, then make a logical argument showing why. "

    LOL. You remind me of the arguments saying that people needed to prove that blacks should be equal to whites.

    "Again – get your facts straight. Nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights provides counter-majority protection for homosexuality. You can’t find it. It does not exist. "

    Only if you are willfully blind and ignorant.

    "In fact, this is essence of the problem for the minority homosexual population. They cannot get protection through legislative means (as most recently demonstrated in WA). If they were protected under the consitution, they would not need to seek it through legislation. They could simply go to federal court for relief under the Constitution. "

    And the same is true of other protected classes. What’s your point?

    "It is only through ignorance of the Constitution that people believe they have a right to do whatever they want and as minority they are protected. This is false, despite the liberal obfuscation of this fact over the past 40 years. "

    I’m not a liberal.

    "I encourage you to read the Federalist papers that deal specifically with the risks to our country posed by minority factions. "

    I have read them. Many times.

  33. BT says:

    BT:

    "Please look at the 14th amendment. Then explain to me how i can have equal opportunity if i can be fired for my sexual orientation? "

    Go find a job with someone that doesn’t dicriminate based on sexual orientation. Go start your own company. Before you or others equate this with racism again, my suggestion here is possible today. It was not possible before civil rights being extended to blacks or other PROTECTED classes.

    I hate to break it to you, but if I were so inclined, I could legally discriminate against blondes, people of lower intellect (companies do this every day hiring the best and brightest), people who are ugly, people who smell bad, people who are liberals, people who are conservatives, people who where green, and on and on. You discriminate every day whether you admit it or not.

    Under your interpretation of the 14th, do I have to treat people who wear green equal? If not, where do you define your limits?

    I do not disagree with those who say they believe it is unethical or immoral to discriminate based on sexual orientation. But that does not make it a Constitutional right to be treated otherwise.

    "Why? That’s what the government is for. To help prevent the tyranny of the majority. By your logic, it would be my fault for getting fired for being middle-eastern "

    I do not subscribe to your purpose of the FEDERAL government. Its authority is very limited under the US Constitution, and that which is not explicitly granted is reserved by the states and the people.

    It is, however, the purpose of the Federal Courts to protect PROTECTED classes AS DEFINED under the Constitution. This is NOT the role of the Federal Legislature. If the majority chooses to protect a class that was excluded form the US Constitution, they can enact legislation through their representative body. So far, homosexuals have failed to do this at the federal level.

    You have the "tyranny of the majority" to thank for your rights. They left the UK to get away from the tyranny of the minority – a much more dangerous group.

    "By your logic, it would be my fault for getting fired for being middle-eastern "

    I don’t know how you arrived at this.

    "You [sic] different points of views ends with your speech and thoughts and does not extend to repressing me. "

    Who is being repressed?

    "And, once again, this is simply not the case. Please look up "tyranny of the majority’"

    I am referencing explicit and unquestioned principles documented in the Constitution and affirmed through a few hundred years of thought. I don’t have any response to your questioning the concepts of enumerated rights and counter-majority. Also, the threat posed by minority factions is widely accepted as more dangerous than the majority. We have an effective system that mitigates the majority – the Bill of Rights and the Judiciary (when it is not politicized). The real problem arises when the minority faction begins imposing its will on the majority through judges where we have ineffective mitigation.

    "LOL. You remind me of the arguments saying that people needed to prove that blacks should be equal to whites. "

    Again you equate race with homosexuality. But, I bet you would take issue with someone equating homosexuality with pedaphilia.

    Also, it’s a bit ironic and should not be lost that this entire thread was initiated by pressure exerted from a black religious leader who dismisses your premise here.

    "And the same is true of other protected classes. What’s your point? "

    My point is that homosexuals are not a protected class under the US Constitution, and therefore your statement that everyone must be treated equally per the Constitution and Bill of Rights is incorrect.

    Before they jump in and for those who argue that anyone and everyone is equal under the 14th Amendment – Constitutional scholorship places this position in great question, as its original intent when passed was clearly limited to protecting blacks. It’s extension to any and every minority faction is dubious at best.

    "I’m not a liberal. "

    I made no statement to you being liberal or conservative.

    "I have read them. Many times. "

    Excellent! I wish more people were as well informed as yourself.

  34. CyrusN says:

    "My point is that homosexuals are not a protected class under the US Constitution, and therefore your statement that everyone must be treated equally per the Constitution and Bill of Rights is incorrect. "

    Well duh. Why do you think i wanted the bill to pass through the state government???

  35. BT says:

    CyrusN:

    "Well duh. Why do you think i wanted the bill to pass through the state government??? "

    "Duh" is right. So which of your positions are you going to stand behind, since you’ve taken both: either it’s (i) " that pesky constitution and bill of rights and whatnot" or (ii) its through the will of people and legislation at the state level?

  36. fuz says:

    The more interesting argument is WHY they are not currently protected, and as a corollary, why they SHOULD be protected. I think that was the

    aim here, but somehow you got into enumerations and other such distractions.

    I’ve heard the pedophile/homosexual semantic before. But I think most of those fighting for pedophile rights (outside of nambla, how many such people actually exist?) are pedophiles. There are a lot of straight people supporting gay civil rights, and I take that as a sign something more important than a minority’s interests is going on. Also, implicit in pedophilia is an exploitative relationship where the child is not capable of analyzing what is happening and the consequences of actions, and therefore cannot give true consent. The pedophile imposes his/her will upon another human who is unable to oppose that will. Homosexuality, on the other hand, does not instrincally impose upon the will of another. A homosexual relationship can be between two adults who are 100% aware of all actions and fully capable of making informed, mature decisions.

    Gay discrimination is widespread, organized, and often preys upon innocents. The hatred can be very intense. There is a strong community at godhatesfags.com but none for godhatesdumbpeople or godhatesfatties. People can perform tyrannical acts upon gays without repurcussion, and the likelihood they will perform such acts is very high. I think this is why their situation has been likened to those of other protected classes such as race, gender, and religion. Without the law’s protection, gays will continue to be persecuted for no particular legal reason. If they are not committing a crime, if they are not harming others, why is so much harm done to them? It is clear to me that these injustices will continue to occur, unless gays have the same power of lawsuit that other protected groups have.

    So now it’s up to someone to argue why they should not be protected.

    BT: I don’t speak for cyrus, but knowing him, I’d like to think his hope is that similar anti-discrimination legislation will make its way through various states, generating enough support for a federal change. The federal legislation SHOULD include protection for gays, but let’s start local and work our way there.

  37. BT says:

    Fuz:

    Aha! So we have managed to distinguish between HOW and WHY. This is important.

    You have posed two questions:

    1. What was the point of my "distractions" of enumerated rights and counter-majoritarian principles; and

    2. Why should homosexuals not be a protected class?

    I will address the first here, and the second seperately.

    To disregard the HOW is to say that the end (homosexuals as a protected class) justifies the means.

    Unfortunately, this is the belief of many who are willing tromp all over our Constitutuion and the framework of our government in order to achieve their idea of the perfect end.

    It is important for those who are going to enter into the debate to do so with an understanding of the framework within which we must all operate. To discount this places the framework in jeapordy, and subject to the wild swings of those who may end up in power at any point in time. This is ok so long as it is your side who is in power, but the pendelum always swings back and you WILL find yourself on the losing end at some point in the future.

    The framework is designed to mitigate the degree of these swings. So, everyone should have an appreciation for its significance.

    The need for this understanding was presented here today, as CyrusN suggested that the will of the majority should be ignored so long as someone in government claims to have a more enlightened and progressive point of view (after all this is the role of government according to CyrusN). From this vantage point, tyranny over the majority is justified so long as the minority are operating from a higher moral ground.

    The problem is you cannot define this higher moral ground, and so you’d better be sure you are always following their lead!

    It is not only necessary, but it is vital to understand the HOW as well as the why, or we should all expect to be persecuted at the hands of a tyranical minority whose actions are justified by their being derived from tomorrow’s higher moral ground.

  38. CyrusN says:

    "From this vantage point, tyranny over the majority is justified so long as the minority are operating from a higher moral ground"

    What on earth are you talking about.

    What tyranny is occurring by preventing people from being discrimnated based on their orientation? The same tyranny that was occurring by preventing discrimination based on Sex or Race??

    What a tyranical system we live in where what you are is protected from the bigotry of others.

  39. CyrusN says:

    BT: ""Duh" is right. So which of your positions are you going to stand behind, since you’ve taken both: either it’s (i) " that pesky constitution and bill of rights and whatnot" or (ii) its through the will of people and legislation at the state level? "

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    If this goes through the state then the 14th amendment to the constitution says that equal protection will apply.

    were you not paying attention in Loving vs Virginia?

    If the state passes htis, the constitution will protect it.

  40. CyrusN says:

    " I don’t speak for cyrus, but knowing him,"

    Oh…. you’re that Fuz 🙂

  41. fuz says:

    I don’t remember asking the first question, though you’re asking it on my behalf to make a point, so I’ll let it slide 😉

    "the will of the majority should be ignored so long as someone in government claims to have a more enlightened and progressive point of view"

    That’s not the impression I got from cyrus’ comments. It seemed to me he was looking to the Constitution to support his belief that homosexuals should have the same rights and opportunities as other citizens. It looked like he was interpreting what is already there and drawing a conclusion based on that interpretation. Whether his interpretation, conclusion, or support is accurate is a different matter, but I didn’t think his point was as you described above.

    If a minority voice grows strong enough to influence those that the majority have put into power, then doesn’t that voice become the majority? I fail to see the danger to our government framework if one fights for a minority’s interests to become more widespread. Once those interests reach enough people, it then becomes the will of the majority and that majority can proceed to put its leaders into power. One can disagree with the majority, as cyrus apparently does on this bill, but that doesn’t mean one cannot fight against it.

  42. John says:

    Curiosity killed the cat. I just went to the http://www.godhatesfags.com site to see if it was real. Yikes, my faith in humanity just took a nose dive. A celebration for the 2004 Tsunami? That’s just sick.

  43. JPrime says:

    A non-U.S. perspective : It really seems like you’ve all gotten caught up in some kind of pro-gay cause without realising the wider implications of what’s going on.

    It’s great to see that so many people are getting behind the idea of gay rights – more power to them. But you are also suggesting that corporations have a right, almost a responsibility, to have a major say in human rights affairs.

    Doesn’t anyone see the danger in this? In this instance, the cause is all good and fine. There should be someone fighting for gay rights. But it shoudn’t be entities who sole reason for existance is to please shareholders and make money – sometimes that is in direct conflict with what’s good for society. What happens when the next social issue comes up and the corporate goals conflict with advancing society (labour laws for example)? This is just foolhardy.

    I’d be interested to hear other peoples opinion on this.

  44. BT says:

    CyrusN:

    "If this goes through the state then the 14th amendment to the constitution says that equal protection will apply."

    So you’re sticking with your second position – that IF passed by the state, it would then have to be applied consistently, or be in conflict with the Constitution.

    I agree with you. But don’t confuse what you have stated here with your position earlier. The only consistency is your support for homosexuality, not the basis for your support.

    As a reminder, your first basis was that they were already protected under the 14th amendment. You stated, "Please look at the 14th amendment. Then explain to me how i can have equal opportunity if i can be fired for my sexual orientation? "

    Also, you throw the word "bigot" around capriciously. Based on how you have used it, I believe one could easily describe your comments towards those who have strong religious beliefs with which you disagree as bigoted.

    I think we agree that the proper place for this decision is with the legislators. So, I’m going to move on to Fuz’s 2nd question and his latest post.

  45. CyrusN says:

    "A non-U.S. perspective : It really seems like you’ve all gotten caught up in some kind of pro-gay cause without realising the wider implications of what’s going on."

    What are the wider implications?

    "It’s great to see that so many people are getting behind the idea of gay rights – more power to them. But you are also suggesting that corporations have a right, almost a responsibility, to have a major say in human rights affairs. "

    Yes. That’s exactly what i’m saying. I was completely clear on that in the original blog post: " i do believe in greater goods and i do beleive that companies are not exempt in working toward them"

    "Doesn’t anyone see the danger in this? In this instance, the cause is all good and fine. There should be someone fighting for gay rights. But it shoudn’t be entities who sole reason for existance is to please shareholders and make money"

    I don’t believe that that’s the sole reason for existence. IF that was the case, there’d be no reason for MS to support gay rights internally.

    " – sometimes that is in direct conflict with what’s good for society. What happens when the next social issue comes up and the corporate goals conflict with advancing society (labour laws for example)? This is just foolhardy. "

    Then the corp can support or not support it. And i can stand with/against them.

    "I’d be interested to hear other peoples opinion on this. "

    Well, you’ve got mine. If a company is going to take a moral stance on how it’s own employees are treated, then i see no problem with them stating that they would approve/disapprove of such a bill being mandatory for the state that they are located in.

  46. CyrusN says:

    BT:

    "So you’re sticking with your second position – that IF passed by the state, it would then have to be applied consistently, or be in conflict with the Constitution. "

    Unless it met the constaints of "struct scrutiny" yes. However, it would be laughable it someone tried ot invoke that concernign homosexuality.

    "I agree with you. But don’t confuse what you have stated here with your position earlier. The only consistency is your support for homosexuality, not the basis for your support. "

    I fail ot see the difference. And i fail to see how it’s relevant either.

    "As a reminder, your first basis was that they were already protected under the 14th amendment. You stated, "Please look at the 14th amendment. Then explain to me how i can have equal opportunity if i can be fired for my sexual orientation? ""

    And i would still go back to that. It’s my belief that the 14th amendment should provide protection here. But it’s merely that hte laws are being interpretted too strictly. I don’t believe that hte intent of these laws were to say that only "race, sex, veteran’s status etc." could be not be used to discriminate against people. Rather i believe that they point to general position that discrimination on the basis of who a person is, rather than what they have done, is wrong.

    it is this very realization (along with the ridiculousness that these classes be enumerated) which is causing this work to have to be done through state law.

    Now, do i care that much? No. In the end it achieves the same effect.

    "Also, you throw the word "bigot" around capriciously."

    I most certainly do not. Take a look at my blog and see where i have ever said that before. Talk to my family and friends and see how often i use it. In these cases the word "bigot" was well deserved, and i think you would see a lot of agreement from my readers.

    " Based on how you have used it, I believe one could easily describe your comments towards those who have strong religious beliefs with which you disagree as bigoted. "

    I am bigoted. And i have made no claim otherwise. I believe that not being allowed to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation is unquestionably right.

    "I think we agree that the proper place for this decision is with the legislators. So, I’m going to move on to Fuz’s 2nd question and his latest post. "

    That’s another time that Fuz has been called a Guy. 🙂

    Fark made the mistake the first time.

  47. BT says:

    Fuz:

    "Gay discrimination is widespread, organized, and often preys upon innocents. The hatred can be very intense… People can perform tyrannical acts upon gays without repercussion [sic], and the likelihood they will perform such acts is very high… why is so much harm done to them? "

    Clearly, nobody should be subjected to hatred. Any and all of the tyrannical acts described and manifested through such hatred are illegal, regardless of at whom they are directed.

    It is rather appropriate that you have selected godhatesfags.com as an example of hatred that should not be tolerated. It is the same principle of moral relativism upon which support for homosexual tolerance relies that has protected godhatesfags.com through a warped interpretation of freedom of speech.

    One man’s hate is another’s free speech. One man’s larceny is another’s distribution of wealth. Where does it end? Thus, by taking the position of "so long as it doesn’t hurt others" (also known as privatizing morality, or marginalizing social standards) you don’t get to pick and choose which morals become relative.

    To be clear on my stand, I do not support such content as free speech, and it should be made illegal.

    For those who argue "You don’t choose to be gay" – This is probably true, but one does choose to adopt and promote a homosexual lifestyle. One does not likely choose to be an alcoholic, but they do choose to go to a bar and drink, and to then drive home drunk. One may not choose to be a pedophile, but they do choose to associate with children, where they are weak, and then act on their compulsions.

    "if they are not harming others" – This test is empty. It erodes societies. So why do we regulate gambling? Does my throwing a $100 coin into a slot machine cause anyone else harm?

    So, the answer to your question of WHY should homosexuals not be protected as a special class (and this is not the same as them receiving equal protection under the law) is that leading a homosexual lifestyle has been deemed immoral by the community at large.

    Before someone jumps on the "you can’t legislate morality" bandwagon – we legislate little else. Your support for legislating their protection is based on your moral belief that this is what is right. Show me a law and I will show you how it is based in some moral belief of right and wrong.

    "What makes a society is a community of ideas, not political ideas alone but also ideas about the way its members should behave and govern their lives." – Lord Devlin

    One fundamental purpose of government is “to conserve the moral forces of society.” – Grigsby v. State of Texas. “Thus, the state is charged with the responsibility of protecting virtue and restraining evil.” – Justice J. Harvey Hudson

    “The crime against nature [is a] crime, which religion, morality, and civil government equally condemn.” – Montesquieu on the essence of law.

    "It is clear to me that these injustices will continue to occur, unless gays have the same power of lawsuit that other protected groups have."

    What injustices have homosexuals been subjected to where they do not have power of lawsuit that others have? If they are physically attacked, they can sue. If their property is taken or destroyed, they are protected and can sue. What protections should be SPECIFICALLY limited to homosexuals that should not be provided to any other person? This is not about equality, this about granting SPECIAL rights and protections to homosexuals BEYOND those granted to anyone who does not qualify as a member of a protected class.

    CyrusN made reference to Loving – The basis for Loving was that Virginia’s laws imposing penalties for miscegenation “arose as an incident to slavery”, and therefore was in conflict with the “clear and central purpose” of the 14th Amendment “to eliminate all official state sources of invidious RACIAL discrimination.” The opposition to the 14th Amendment at the time did so because they theorized it would be used in the future to decriminalize homosexual behavior, mandate the construction of unisex bathrooms, and legalize same-sex marriages. These opponents’ theories were ridiculed by supporters. That which was viewed as farcical is now embraced. So, Loving does not support your argument.

    Provided there is a change in the moral environment and the majority embraces your point of view, and such changes are effected through legislation, so be it. But don’t cry heresy when the elected officials are removed and replaced with those who are in opposition.

  48. erik says:

    Well, you still need to go have your PowerBook looked at one day, but my opinion of you has gone up considerably. 😀

    kennedye

  49. fuz says:

    "Clearly, nobody should be subjected to hatred. Any and all of the tyrannical acts described and manifested through such hatred are illegal, regardless of at whom they are directed."

    Unless you deprive a gay man of a job because you hate gays. As of now, that’s still legal.

    "It is rather appropriate that you have selected godhatesfags.com as an example of hatred that should not be tolerated."

    Actually, I selected godhatesfags.com as an example of organized hatred towards gays. Don’t think it was for any other reason.

    "Where does it end?"

    It ends at the law. There are laws defining slander vs free speech. There are laws defining murder, classes of murder, hate driven murder, accidental murder. We have an entire legal system devoted to defining and redefining where things "end" and as social standards shift, these laws can also shift. These laws are not perfect and the process to change them is slow, but I think that is for the best. And I do get to pick which morals become relative through those I elect, the judges they appoint, and the legislation they put forth.

    "For those who argue "You don’t choose to be gay" – This is probably true, but one does choose to adopt and promote a homosexual lifestyle. One does not likely choose to be an alcoholic, but they do choose to go to a bar and drink, and to then drive home drunk. One may not choose to be a pedophile, but they do choose to associate with children, where they are weak, and then act on their compulsions."

    Alcoholism is not illegal, but when alcoholics put the lives of others in danger (drunk driving as an example) they get in trouble with the law. The same is true of pedophilia – it’s only when the exploitation and harm to a child is shown that the pedophile can be convicted of a crime. The examples you give all result in direct harm to an innocent as regulated through law. I do not see how this relates to homosexuality.

    "if they are not harming others" – This test is empty. It erodes societies. So why do we regulate gambling? Does my throwing a $100 coin into a slot machine cause anyone else harm?

    For the same reason we regulate drinking – the regulation tries to diminish the harm to others that can occur as a result of the action. Drinking by itself, throwing a coin into a slot by itself is not inherently harmful to those around you. But the law tries to prevent as much of the negative consequences of these actions as possible. Whether the laws are working is a different question, but the effect they have is to try and deter the harmful effects of this kind of behavior.

    "So, the answer to your question of WHY should homosexuals not be protected as a special class (and this is not the same as them receiving equal protection under the law) is that leading a homosexual lifestyle has been deemed immoral by the community at large."

    That is the answer to why homosexuals are currently not protected. It doesn’t answer the "should" part.

    "What injustices have homosexuals been subjected to where they do not have power of lawsuit that others have? If they are physically attacked, they can sue. If their property is taken or destroyed, they are protected and can sue. What protections should be SPECIFICALLY limited to homosexuals that should not be provided to any other person? This is not about equality, this about granting SPECIAL rights and protections to homosexuals BEYOND those granted to anyone who does not qualify as a member of a protected class."

    This is about making homosexuals part of the definition of a protected class. I want no more or no less rights granted to gays than those same rights granted to those of a specific race, gender, religion, or other protected class. I have legal protection if my employer fires me on the sole basis that I am female. Such protection is granted to me by law because gender is a protected class. I have no such protection if my employer fires me on the sole basis that I am gay. I want the same protections that are granted females (and many others in protected classes) to be granted to homosexuals.

    And while I would love to continue this, I’ve got a couple deadlines to meet. Perhaps I’ll check in at the end of week. Hopefully there won’t be any more flaming from that blaine person.

  50. toyo says:

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is this:

    WHY does anybody have to know that you are gay or srtaight? It is obvious that someone is of a different ethnicity or sex and discrimination could be intentional.

    I’m not saying that one should feel the need to hide their sexuality to protect themselves at work, but it is your CHOICE to make it known that you are gay or straight (or religious or politically active for that matter).

    I know this will be received with hostility, but I have worked with many homosexual people over the years and have a couple of thoughts.

    The people I respect are those who don’t stand on their desk and make it known that they are "gay." I have been surprised on several occasions to find that a co-worker was gay when I met their partner at an event or party. I have no problem with homosexuality – whatever floats your boat is fine with me.

    On the other hand, I have worked with gay people who always felt the need to assert the fact that they are gay. Why I do not know, but these people tended to let the fact that they were gay get in the way of their work. They always had to be the "activist" and I think their actions and attitudes rubbed people the wrong way – just the same as I would be rubbed the wrong way if someone in my workplace was always preaching religion to me – I just don’t want to hear about it! I know how you feel and what you believe, but give it a rest!

    All this to say that I don’t think equating this argument to racism or sexism is fair. Being homosexual, religious, or anything else should certainly not be cause for discrimination, but I think a lot of times people bring discrimination on themselves through their actions (READ actions, not the fact that you are gay or not).

    Just my $0.02 – thrash away…

  51. CyrusN says:

    Toyo: "I have been surprised on several occasions to find that a co-worker was gay when I met their partner at an event or party."

    Without the protections given by this bill, gay people woudl be afraid to even bring their partner to an event or party. Once someone realized they were gay they could be fired without any qualms.

    No one has a right to know about what your orientation is. However, you should not have to live in fear of someone discovering what said orientation is.

    "but I think a lot of times people bring discrimination on themselves through their actions"

    Yes. Same with the blacks. They brought on slavery and segregation and inequality themselves. Oh, and women too. I wish they could just shut up for once and stop bothering me with their insistance on being treated equally.

  52. toyo says:

    Cyrus: "Without the protections given by this bill, gay people woudl be afraid to even bring their partner to an event or party. Once someone realized they were gay they could be fired without any qualms."

    Note that in my experience this has happened at companies where this type of legislation was not in place. If you think you are going to be fired for something that you are or do, you should find another job. I hated my old company, didn’t agree with the way they made decisions, so I voted with my feet.

    Cyrus: "Yes. Same with the blacks. They brought on slavery and segregation and inequality themselves. Oh, and women too. I wish they could just shut up for once and stop bothering me with their insistance on being treated equally."

    You missed my point completley – that’s why I said that people get fired for their ACTIONS, not anything else. I have worked with people of all ethnicities and have had instances where someone (white, black, or other) had to make a big deal about the fact that they were said race, and it ended up causing problems. I see the same problem with this kind of legislation potentially – in creating a protected group of people based on something that isn’t (or shouldn’t be) obvious, you give people free reign to blame all of their problems at work on their sexual orientation. "Everybody hates me, I’m not getting promoted, etc all because I’m gay."

    My main problem which has a lot to do with this kind of legislation is that too many people don’t want to own up and be accountable for their actions. They want a crutch to lean on or an excuse to fall back on if they hit hard times. There is absolutley no excuse for someone being treated differently because of their race, sexual orientation or any other differentiating factor in our lives, but too many people pull the race or sex card too easily. Maybe you didn’t get fired because you are (fill in the blank), maybe you got fired because you didn’t do a good job.

  53. This post is not actually about the symposium, though it is written while still at it (I’m overhearing…

  54. "I don’t believe that that’s the sole reason for existence. IF that was the case, there’d be no reason for MS to support gay rights internally."

    The reason MS supports gay rights internally? Employees. If your employees are happy, you produce a better product. A better product produces more shareholders which in turn give more money, yadda yadda. So does shareholders DIRECTLY affect things like this? Not always, but a companies actions can almost always be traced back to them (a publicly traded company at least).

    That’s not to say every publicly traded company bends over backwards for their shareholders, take Enron for example. That does mean that any company that actually wants to stay in business must take them into some account, if not make them completely accountable for every action you take. Whether or not shareholders actually benefit from those actions remains to be seen. Steve did give the right answer in his memo because shareholders would be the only thing that could make a difference in the decision. If supporting the bill actually meant spending money, then shareholders would be the only thing stopping it from taking place. I personally don’t like that we live in a country where you have to throw money you’ll never see again at a problem until it goes away, but I guess we’ve progressed that far down the rabbit hole. Blech.

  55. CyrusN says:

    Jeremy: "The reason MS supports gay rights internally? Employees. If your employees are happy, you produce a better product. A better product produces more shareholders which in turn give more money, yadda yadda. So does shareholders DIRECTLY affect things like this? Not always, but a companies actions can almost always be traced back to them (a publicly traded company at least). "

    Yes. And? The same applies to publicly supporting a human rights issue.

    If you do that your employees are happy, you produce a better product. A better product produces more shareholders which in turn give more money, yadda yadda.

    So even if it’s all about shareholders, you might as well still do this.

  56. CyrusN says:

    "Note that in my experience this has happened at companies where this type of legislation was not in place. If you think you are going to be fired for something that you are or do, you should find another job. I hated my old company, didn’t agree with the way they made decisions, so I voted with my feet. "

    You seem to live in a world where it’s easy for people to just walk away from their job and find another one. People have bills. They have children to feed. And you shouldn’t have to walk away from a job that helps support yoru familiy just because you work with someone who can’t deal with orientation.

  57. I’ll come out and say I read Scoble. I don’t have to admire the man to gain a little bit of insight from what he talks about (though I do respect and admire him to a healthy degree).

    When I first heard of the story, it was from Robert’s blog post here. Robert’s post is concise and informative. It’s small but it gets to the point quickly yet with a certain calmness to it. Robert links to a blog post here which seems to be the exact opposite end of the spectrum. It’s seething with hatred…

  58. At some point, you have realize, that imposing your beliefs on others, is wrong. No matter how righteous you believe yourself to be.

  59. Mery says:

    Your site is realy very interesting. http://www.bignews.com