Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Anti-Gay Blacklist?

Along with Obama's inspiring, historic victory came some electoral disappointments, too. In Nebraska, voters decided to amend the state constitution to ban state affirmative action programs. And in three states, basic civil rights for gays and lesbians were curtailed. Most notably, California residents overturned a recent court decision which had legalized gay marriage.

Even so, one of the promising developments in the wake of these defeats has been a spate of nation-wide protests in support of full equality for the GLBTQ community. Even here in Omaha, an estimated 250 people came out w/ signs last Saturday and filled the pedestrian bridge that crosses Dodge Street, the main drag in the city. Not bad for Nebraska...

It now appears that a boycott of companies that supported the California ban is gaining some steam. One group - Anti-Gay Blacklist - has generated controversy by listing the names of both companies and individuals who donated $1,000 or more to support Proposition 8. It's the individuals that are controversial. Is it ethical to go after individuals, with the threat that they might lose their jobs, or not get hired, because of their political views? Or, is this a fair use of the right to boycott? Emma Ruby-Sachs doesn't think it is cool to go after individuals...

If individuals perform their jobs well, if they are good students or good human resource managers, then they should be allowed to continue in their positions. Until their actions in the workplace create harm -- dismissals based on political affiliation should not be encouraged.

This movement for equal rights is based on the fundamental belief in the equal protection of the law. That means equal protection for us, but it also means equal protection for the people who hate us. We can create an effective movement for full protection for LGBT people under the Constitution without working to unemploy individuals who, because of faith or bigotry, don't think we deserve to be treated equally. That is a movement of which we can all be proud.

What do you think? Is it cool to target individuals?

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