Speaking on the Steve Deace Show Tuesday, Institute on the Constitution Director and League of the South Board member Michael Peroutka criticized the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which adds sexual orientation to existing civil rights protections. However, his criticism did not end there. He added at 30:22 into the first hour:
The civil government has no authority to tell any private employer what kind of employees to hire and fire, or what constitutes discrimination. And obviously, I do mean and I would include the so-called civil rights laws are not law, they never should’ve been passed, they’re not law now, they weren’t law then, they aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.
Despite Peroutka’s past efforts to wrap himself with the legacy of Martin Luther King, here Peroutka’s views of King’s work and discrimination more broadly come through. Peroutka has gone so far as to claim that King did not seek civil rights. However, King clearly rejected Barry Goldwater’s view of the Civil Rights Act which is a position quite similar to the one Peroutka espoused on the Deace program. Peroutka’s views expressed on this radio show are consistent with an article on his website which justifies discrimination based on race, religion and/or nationality.
One might dismiss Peroutka as without much influence, however, to me, this would be shortsighted. Peroutka’s organization Institute on the Constitution continues to make inroads in the tea party and religious right. Furthermore, Steve Deace, while far to the right in relation to the rest of the nation, seems to be mainstream in Iowa. It is alarming and disappointing to hear a voice of the right wing of the GOP in IA lament the passage of civil rights laws which protect the civil rights of all Americans.
HT: Right Wing Watch.
In 2002, the Christian support ministry, Parents and Friends of Ex-gays (PFOX) applied to the National Education Association for a booth in their annual convention exhibit hall. Despite having space at the convention and initially cashing the PFOX check for the application fee, the NEA rejected the PFOX application. The NEA said PFOX’s views of sexual orientation were at odds with those of the NEA.
Given that the NEA is based in Washington DC, PFOX filed a discrimination complaint against the NEA with the DC Office of Human Rights. The basis of the alleged discrimination was the sexual orientation of the members of PFOX. To support its action, PFOX relied on the fact that in DC, sexual orientation is included in the Human Rights Act. The definition of sexual orientation in the DC HRA is
“Sexual orientation” means male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice.
In May, 2005, the DC OHR ruled that there was no discrimination in the NEA action. However, with an appeal from PFOX, the OHR allowed a review. After another denial, PFOX filed suit in the Superior Court of DC in May, 2008. On June 26, 2009, Judge Maurice Ross affirmed the decision of the DC OHR that there was no probable cause for PFOX’s discrimination complaint. According to Ross, the NEA had not unlawfully discriminated against PFOX by excluding the group from the NEA exposition hall.
Despite losing the case, PFOX issued a press release claiming victory. In his ruling, Judge Ross evaluated the claim of discrimination in light of the DC statute. Ross found that ex-gays are covered by the DC law due to the inclusion of sexual orientation. Ex-gay as a term did not need to be included in law since the term, however defined, relates to an adult sexual practice or preference. Continue reading “PFOX: What’s good for the District of Columbia is not good for the nation”