What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 30, 2009

Follow up on Allegheny County Council Nondiscrimination Ordinance

People have emailed me asking if there is any news or follow up action on the County Council Nondiscrimination Ordinance (Bill No. 4201-08) so I asked Sue of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents for an update and here it is:
From the sponsors:

Please tell people that the legislation is now being revisited in the Government committee in light of all the feedback that Council has gotten. Sue Frietche of the Women’s Law Project has been invited to provide expert testimony at the Committee meeting tonight (Weds).

Those who have not yet contacted County Executive Onorato, the two at-large council members and the council member from their individual council district should do so.

From Sue:

We need a lot of support on this. It is being framed as a freedom of religion issue rather than an equal treatment issue. The religious right is hijacking the Jesus card.

(More from Sue here.)
And, if you haven't already, please read the op-ed in the Post-Gazette by Angelle N. Guyette:
How do others see you?
I'm ashamed of my hate-filled fellow Christians


I'm straight but I support the legislation and wore a "Fairness to All" sticker, so some of the opponents made certain assumptions about me.

I've attended hearings on many topics where people angrily voiced their opinions, but the hatred evident at this gathering stunned me -- not only because of its ferocity, but also because of who was expressing it.

"They'll know we are Christians by our love" the song goes.

At this County Council meeting, you could know most of them by the hatred on their faces. The leaders of the religious opponents were the worst, displaying physical revulsion at having to stand near people they figured were gay. They looked like they'd have stoned Mary Magdalene, and her friends, too.

One minister's face contorted as he spoke, "Homosexuality is offensive because it is a sin. People choose to commit this sin. My congregants should not have to hire gays and condone a sinful lifestyle they find offensive."

One of his followers spat out, "I should not have to rent to those people. I don't want them sinning in my properties."


Of course, Christ taught we all are sinners -- a nondiscrimination policy if ever there was one.

It hurt my heart to see such intense hatred, to see a mob of ugliness, all in the name of Jesus Christ. To think, I chose to be baptized at age 12, to be a part of this?
You can read the rest here.

As Both Sue and Angelle point out, people want to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against others. And, as I will point out, a person can still be as bigoted as they like when choosing their friends, lovers, etc., but these people are demanding the right to practice their discrimination in the public sphere: who gets jobs, apartments, etc.

We do not let people discriminate in this way for race or gender -- even though people have in the past for religious reasons -- and we should not now for sexual orientation.

That's it in a nutshell.

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