Onorato. 4123506500. Remove language from Human Relations ordinance that allows orgs that get County funding to discriminate. 100 calls on MoA bit too cryptic for me, but then again I am middle-aged, balding and paunchy - I know I'm no Helmholtz Watson, but I fear I am actually Bernard Marx - (and a brave new donut to you if you get the literary reference). It took me a few minutes to figure out the text message was from Sue Kerr over at Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. At her blog, there's a fuller version of the text:
Call 412-350-6500. Ask Onorato to remove language from the proposed Human Relations Ordinance that allows organizations receiving County funding to discriminate.What's this "Human Relations Ordinance" then? If you're looking to read some legislative prose, here it is. The Stonewall Democrats have been kind enough to post the entire text.
Hey, did you know that today is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots? Frank Rich has an interesting take.
Anyway, here's the language Sue referenced:
For the purposes of this Article, the definition of "employer" shall not include any religious organization, regardless of number of employees or County funding, provided that such religious organization provides documentary evidence of its religious nature to the Human Relations Commission of the County of Allegheny, and avers in writing to the Commission that gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity constitute grounds for employment decisions under the fundamental tenets of the religion in question. Documentary evidence of an entity's religious nature may consist of articles of incorporation, a charter or other foundational document for the entity, documentary evidence of tax-exempt status as a religious institution under §501 of the Internal Revenue Code or any other applicable Pennsylvania or federal law, or any other documentary evidence deemed sufficient by the Commission.So my reading is that any employer that meets the above criteria (a religious organization - even those getting County funding - that takes matters of gender, orientation, etc, into its employment decisions) are are exempt, for instance, from the following provision:
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any individual with respect to his or her compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual's race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry or place of birth, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, familial status,age or use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical disability of any individual or independent contractor or because of the disability of an individual with whom the person is known to have an association.The ACLU offers up an analysis at Sue's blog. Here's some:
As written, Section 215-31(H)(1) exempts from the ordinance those religious organizations that "aver" in writing to the Commission that gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity constitute grounds for employment decisions under the fundamental tenets of the religion in question.” Accordingly, the ordinance would allow a religious organization that considers gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity to be grounds for employment decisions based on its tenets to discriminate in its hiring on any basis, including race and disability. Conversely, a religious organization that does not consider gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity to be grounds for employment decisions would not be permitted to discriminate in its hiring on any of the protected categories identified in the ordinance, including race, color, religion,national origin or ancestry, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, familial status, and age. This language provides a benefit to some religions — those whose beliefs require that they consider gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity in making employment decisions — that is not provided to religions whose beliefs do not require that they base employment decisions on such criteria by exempting the former from the ordinance’s nondiscrimination provisions while requiring the latter to abide by them.It's a tricky bit of legalese, but I think I bolded out the important part.
On the one hand, I am all for the separation of church and state (big fan. Big BIG fan if it) so if a private religious organization wants to discriminate, it has every right to - the state has no authority to force a church to do something against its collective will. But once that organization is on the receiving end of public funding, the law should accompany that funding, right? If, in this case, the County holds that an employer can not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity and so forth, then that should hold for all the organizations receiving funding from the county. If not then we're all contributing to the discrimination (by way of our taxes) of some of our fellow citizens (who, by the way, are also contributing).
It seems very simple to me. What part of this am I missing?