Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Maine-ly Discriminatory

Slicing and dicing reason exceedingly finely, the repeal-the-homosexual-equality laws folk must still have a hard time making their case. In the following link to the law, you can read the 12 short pages or skip to the summary on the last, which reads:
This bill ensures that all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the same civil rights protections now guaranteed in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit to citizens on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin and physical or mental handicap. A religious organization that does not receive public funds is exempt from the prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill makes it clear that this change in the Maine Human Rights Act does not confer legislative approval of or special rights to anyone or any group.
As background, see the law 1365, An Act to End Discrimination, here in HTML. The talking points in the petition effort to defeat it are on the main Maine anti site here.

The repeal people seem to be largely fundamentalists, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. Whether they really believe their talking points is debatable. Yet, they seem to want others to buy into their doublespeak.

For example, the ballot question they want to present to voters reads simply, Do you want to reject the new law that would protect people from discrimination in employment, housing, education, public accommodations and credit based on their sexual orientation.

So in response to the quite obvious query from people they want to sign, they suggest:
Q. Isn't this all about discrimination? Why would anyone want to discriminate against gays?

A. Everyone is opposed to discrimination, but the law goes far beyond legitimate forms of discrimination. It is written in such broad terms that it covers behavior which is contrary to God'’s laws, and offensive to common decency. For example, the law would allow a man who believes that he is a woman to use a woman'’s rest room. There are many other examples of this sort. By preventing citizens from speaking out against outrageous and immoral behavior, the law effectively discriminates against people with traditional religious beliefs about homosexuality. The law also grants special privileges to homosexuals, which would allow many unscrupulous individuals to gain an unfair advantage over their fellow citizens through frivolous lawsuits. To say that the law is merely about discrimination is an over-simplification which is intended to be deliberately misleading.
That's a big "Huh?" You want to discriminate, protect those who discriminate, and overturn the anti-discrimination law, but I'm supposed to believe this is not discrimination.

Likewise, the talking point about the sin states to the south reads:
Q. Why do you claim that this is about same-sex marriage when the law mentions nothing about same-sex marriage. Didn'’t the Governor and the Legislature say the law has nothing to do with same sex marriage?

A. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, the actions which made same-sex marriage and civil unions legal took into consideration, or specifically cited, existing gay rights laws as reasons why same-sex marriage laws were needed. The ultimate goal of the gay rights movement has always been same-sex marriage; and they have stated this repeatedly in their own writings. Gay rights activists call this strategy of hiding the ultimate goal of same-sex marriage "“incrementalism."”
I suspect most Mainers will distance themselves from these anti folk. Certainly recently, both voters and lawmakers have shown they don't want to punish and discriminate against folk, no matter what you pretend it's about.

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