Gay Rights: Equal Or “Special”?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois has signed a gay rights bill.

The new law adds sexual orientation to the classes of people protected by the state’s Human Rights Act. It defines sexual orientation as actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth. The definition specifically excludes a physical or sexual attraction to a minor by an adult. In deference to conservative objections, the Act states that it must not be construed as requiring any employer, employment agency, or labor organization to give preferential treatment or special rights based on sexual orientation or to implement affirmative action policies or programs based on sexual orientation.

If this report is accurate, the conservatives (and, I suspect, a few liberals) have been snookered again. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has the same empty bluster about not requiring employers to give preferences, etc., but preferentialists have successfully argued that “not requiring” is not the same thing as “not allowing.”

I have long believed, and argued here more than once, that a good deal of the opposition to equal rights for gays comes from a belief, grounded in experience, that those who say today that all they want is equal rights will say tomorrow that they deserve special preferences.

Say What? (20)

  1. actus February 28, 2005 at 5:31 pm | | Reply

    “I have long believed, and argued here more than once, that a good deal of the opposition to equal rights for gays comes from a belief, grounded in experience, that those who say today that all they want is equal rights will say tomorrow that they deserve special preferences.”

    I think its also because you call a sexual orientation bill a “gay rights” bill. Seems like you are being special about something.

  2. Nels Nelson February 28, 2005 at 5:33 pm | | Reply

    Assuming I’ve found the right page, it seems the article was accurate, quoting almost directly from the text of the bill. I’m not a lawyer, and so am unfamiliar with this type of language, but I would think that “employer, employment agency, or labor organization” doesn’t nullify the broadness of the language found later in the legislation:

    “To establish Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action as the policies of this State in all of its decisions, programs and activities, and to assure that all State departments, boards, commissions and instrumentalities rigorously take affirmative action to provide equality of opportunity and eliminate the effects of past discrimination in the internal affairs of State government and in their relations with the public.”

  3. Michelle Dulak Thomson February 28, 2005 at 6:23 pm | | Reply

    Oh, well, I wrote another post in response to actus, and it bounced, and that one I didn’t save. As usual, I don’t know what caused the “bounce.” The gist was that “gay rights” is a common phrase around here in the SF Bay Area (which “knows from Gay Rights”) and strikes no one I know as offensive. (Try Googling it in conjunction with “San Francisco Chronicle.”) If actus’ complaint is that John’s phrase leaves out the bi/TG communities, he ought to have said so.

  4. Richard Nieporent February 28, 2005 at 8:14 pm | | Reply

    Lately, actus

  5. actus February 28, 2005 at 10:00 pm | | Reply

    “If actus’ complaint is that John’s phrase leaves out the bi/TG communities, he ought to have said so.”

    Actually it leaves out the hetero community. this is a bill about ‘gay rights’ in the same way that banning race discrimination is about ‘black rights’.

    I think this is at least one way in which the idea that this sort of stuff leads to preferential treatment goes about being built.

  6. Michelle Dulak Thomson February 28, 2005 at 10:14 pm | | Reply

    actus,

    Actually it leaves out the hetero community. this is a bill about ‘gay rights’ in the same way that banning race discrimination is about ‘black rights’.

    I think this is at least one way in which the idea that this sort of stuff leads to preferential treatment goes about being built.

    Well, “this sort of stuff” has historically led to preferential treatment even when the original call was not for “black rights,” but for “civil rights.” But I take your point.

    My point was only that “gay rights” is common around here, and your snide “seems like you are being special about something” was uncalled-for.

  7. John Rosenberg February 28, 2005 at 10:20 pm | | Reply

    Actually it leaves out the hetero community. this is a bill about ‘gay rights’ in the same way that banning race discrimination is about ‘black rights’.

    actus – a very curious criticism coming from you, inasmuch as you and cobra do believe race discrimination is about only black rights. That is, you don’t believe the discrimination against whites and Asians that is an integral part of preferential admissions is race discrimination.

    As for the suggestion that describing a gay rights bill as a gay rights bill is offensive, I can only wonder whether you’re feeling O.K. If you’re serious, I assume you’re sending a protesting email to the Illinois Business Labor Report, whose article, “Blagojevich Signs Gay Rights Bill,” I quoted.

  8. Jon Rowe, Esq. February 28, 2005 at 10:58 pm | | Reply

    “It defines sexual orientation as actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality,…”

    Given that “heterosexuality” is explicitly defined as receiving protection in the bill, I don’t see how this can be seen as a “gay rights” bill, but rather a “s#xual-orientation non-discrimination” bill.

  9. Jon Rowe, Esq. February 28, 2005 at 11:01 pm | | Reply

    BTW: Preferances, i.e., quotas, typically are demanded by groups who don’t have proportional representation. There is no evidence that gays are underrepresented as such and would need the quotas like blacks & hispanics do.

  10. Jon Rowe, Esq. February 28, 2005 at 11:03 pm | | Reply

    BTW: Preferences, i.e., quotas, typically are demanded by groups who don’t have proportional representation. There is no evidence that gays are underrepresented as such and would need the quotas like blacks & Hispanics do.

    Some stats, oft. trotted out by the social right — and I’m not endorsing all of the figures — suggest that gays are more like Jews & Asians, actually overrepresented in the desirable positions, and would, as a minority, no more demand AA than Jews or Asians do.

  11. actus March 1, 2005 at 8:20 am | | Reply

    “Well, “this sort of stuff” has historically led to preferential treatment even when the original call was not for “black rights,” but for “civil rights.” But I take your point.”

    A lot of the callers for civil rights were explicit in their call for preferential treatment. People like MLK.

    “actus – a very curious criticism coming from you, inasmuch as you and cobra do believe race discrimination is about only black rights.”

    Thanks for telling me how i think!

    “As for the suggestion that describing a gay rights bill as a gay rights bill is offensive, I can only wonder whether you’re feeling O.K.”

    I didn’t say its offensive. I said its at least part of what makes people think this is about ‘special’ or ‘preferential’ treatment.

  12. ELC March 1, 2005 at 9:42 am | | Reply

    “The definition specifically excludes a physical or sexual attraction to a minor by an adult.” For now. Another way conservatives get snookered is not to notice the incremental approach the Left takes in getting where it wants to get. Those poor minor-attracted adults. They don’t choose to be that way. They can’t help it. And, really, who gets hurt? The only thing that stands in the way of their fulfillment is reactionary, bigoted taboos which a really enlightened society will someday (soon?) do away with once and for all, juast as it has done with the reactionary, bigoted taboo against sodomy.

  13. ELC March 1, 2005 at 9:48 am | | Reply

    P.S. I think that I should note that I wasn’t stating my own argument, but the kind of argument that’s already starting to be made by those interested in the further (cultural Marxist) deconstruction of our society, which we have already seen with respect to homosexuality.

  14. John Rosenberg March 1, 2005 at 10:28 am | | Reply

    actus – I wouldn’t presume to tell you what you think. My comment — that you don’t believe discrimiantion against whites and Asians is racial discrimination, or at least not proscribed racial discrimination — is based on what you’ve written here.

    Re MLK, if more people thought his message was a demand for preferential treatment, far fewer people would have shown up on the Mall to here his great speech and far fewer people would honor him today.

    To repeat: what leads many people to suspect that the demand for equal rights for gays is really a demand for special rights is their knowledge that the two great equal rights campaigns of the 20th Century — for black rights and women’s rights — quickly morphed into demands for preferential treatment.

  15. actus March 1, 2005 at 11:07 am | | Reply

    ” quickly morphed into demands for preferential treatment.”

    I don’t know about the women’s movement, but for african americans i don’t think it was a quick morphing. MLK was clear that his utopian vision, and the achievement of equality, would require a period of preference.

  16. superdestroyer March 1, 2005 at 5:06 pm | | Reply

    It is just a matter of time until sexual preference blank is put on government forms like College Admissions forms. Because how can anyone prove they are not discriminating on the basis on sexual preference unless data in collected. Then liberal activist will look around for a university that does not have the required 10% gay students and presto, a preference program.

  17. Stephen March 2, 2005 at 7:29 am | | Reply

    One thing not considered:

    How is this sexual preference going to be proved?

    I suspect more than one or two of my colleagues at my present and former jobs of pretending to be gay for the perks.

    I work in the design industry in NYC, an industry dominated by gays. It is, indeed, a negative to be publicly identified as hetero in many shops.

    I’ve long suspected at least one of my colleagues of pretending.

    What’s the test? How are we going to prove it?

    As the perks for the racial and sexual quota mongers increase, you’re going to be seeing a lot more Wade Churchills. This is an open invitation to fraud. There are already plenty of frauds milking the racial and sexual quotas.

    This law is not only silly… it’s unenforceable, and scam artists will have a field day with it.

  18. actus March 2, 2005 at 7:58 pm | | Reply

    “How is this sexual preference going to be proved?”

    Probably the subjective acts of the discriminator

    But note: discriminating against someone who is pretending to be gay — who I think is gay but who is not — is still discriminating based on sexual orientation.

  19. Stephen March 2, 2005 at 8:34 pm | | Reply

    There is no discrimination against gays going on.

    actus, why is your entire intellectual life devoted to this ridiculous obsession with discimination?

  20. actus March 2, 2005 at 8:49 pm | | Reply

    “There is no discrimination against gays going on.”

    But the bill isn’t just about whats going on “against gays.”

    If i’m straight, and I’m harmed/discriminated against because someone thinks i’m gay, I’ve been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. But I can see how someone might disagree with this. Thats probably why the law defines it as “actual or perceived.” For the stephens of the world.

    “actus, why is your entire intellectual life devoted to this ridiculous obsession with discimination?”

    I’m not the one running the website on it. I just visit it.

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