Part 1 of 2
August 2007 – For single people who can generally get their own dates, the television ads for eHarmony, the online dating service, are probably nothing more than an idle amusement.
But for California lesbian Linda Carlson, they were a thorn in her side. The reason for her irritation was that eHarmony – founded by evangelical Christian Dr. Neil Clark Warren and boasting more than 14 million registered users – does not pair up homosexuals.
So Carlson did what so many homosexuals do when society does not embrace their lifestyle – she sued. In a class action lawsuit, Carlson is demanding that eHarmony comply with her demands that the dating service begin including gay and lesbian options.
Foreshadowing a national showdown
Carlson is suing the dating service on the basis of a California law which forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Christians nationwide should be paying careful attention to what happens to Warren’s thriving business after the lesbian plaintiff gets through with it. That’s because a federal measure similar to California’s law has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007 (ENDA), or H.R. 2015, states that it would “prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The law is not exactly an unknown quantity in our nation’s capital. On six other occasions – in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003 – ENDA bills have come before at least one house of Congress.
What makes this latest version so dangerous is its chance for passage. With both houses of Congress under the control of the Democratic Party – which has promised to pass ENDA – the odds are good that this may be the year that Carlson’s nightmare becomes a bad dream for every Christian.
A ‘witch-hunt’ against gays?
Activists insist that ENDA must be passed in order to protect homosexuals. “Qualified, hardworking [gay and lesbian] Americans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against for reasons that have nothing to do with their performance and abilities,” says the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on its Web site (www.hrc.org). HRC claims to be the nation’s largest homosexual lobby group.
This discrimination “effectively denies qualified individuals equality and opportunity in the workplace,” HRC explains. “Those who experience this form of discrimination have no recourse under current federal law or under the Constitution as it has been interpreted by the courts.”
But just how many homosexuals have experienced “this form of discrimination?” One looks in vain at HRC’s Web site for any concrete numbers.
Instead, the lobby group basically contends that because this kind of discrimination could happen, homosexuals must have federal protection.
“In 33 states, it is legal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation,” the HRC Web site says.
Of course, this does not demonstrate that homosexuals are being fired because of their sexual orientation. Technically speaking, HRC’s argument could be made for countless categories of people. For example, there is no law in any state that says a person can’t be fired for having a beard, being a New York Yankees fan, or preferring mint chocolate chip ice cream. But that doesn’t mean they are.
So perhaps the question before Congress should be: Are homosexuals being discriminated against in sufficient numbers to justify federal intervention?
HRC tries to answer in the affirmative, but after years of asking supporters to supply the organization with personal experiences of discrimination, all it can provide is a report of “a few examples.”
Amazingly, HRC then makes a statement that would make Yogi Berra proud: “The cases documented here represent only a fraction of the uncounted people whose stories may never be told.”
How does an organization get a “fraction” of an “uncounted” number of cases that have never been told?
Despite the lack of proof that a witch-hunt is being conducted against homosexuals in the workplace, in the very next sentence HRC asserts that there is “widespread discrimination” against gays and lesbians.
The inconvenient truth
The empirical evidence that does exist suggests that homosexual activists simply have a case of the screaming meemies concerning a nonexistent problem.
For example, as even HRC notes, 20 states in the U.S. have already passed laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation – some of which have had such laws on the books for decades. Most of these measures are very similar to the wording and intent of ENDA.
So what have been the experiences of these states after passing these nondiscrimination laws?
In 2002 Senators Jim Jeffords (I-VT), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) for a review of the experiences of the 13 states that, up to that point, had passed such bills.
“For those states where the law has taken effect, relatively few formal complaints of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation have been filed, either in absolute numbers or as a percentage of all employment discrimination complaints in the state,” the GAO report said. “Moreover, the state statistics generally do not show any trend in the volume of employment discrimination cases based on sexual orientation over the periods we examined.”
For example, California’s version of ENDA was passed in 1993, and in the law’s first year, only 1.2% of total employment discrimination complaints were based on sexual orientation. Of the total number of 13,362 employment discrimination complaints filed under California state law, only 159 were cases involving sexual orientation. And with a population (at the time) of more than 30 million, 159 cases was hardly evidence of a massive discrimination problem.
Moreover, a complaint is not the equivalent of an actual case of discrimination. It must be assumed that some portion of these California complaints were invalid to begin with.
Ending the debate
In the culture war, of course, things like empirical proof aren’t always necessary. Image often trumps substance; emotion trumps logic.
In claiming to be victims of discrimination, activists are obviously hoping to trigger the built-in guilt-response of many Americans every time a minority throws out the “D-word.”
Christians should not underestimate the potency of this weapon in the public-policy wars, however. Because our country has, in the past, been guilty of real discrimination against minorities, we as a people tend to react guiltily to anyone’s claim that they, too, have been wronged.
Once activists have framed the debate over ENDA as being between equality and discrimination, the argument is as good as won. For if ENDA is merely an effort to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, opponents of the legislation can immediately be put on the defensive. “You’re not in favor of discrimination, are you?” the activists can ask.
But if there is no real problem of discrimination against homosexuals, what is it that activists are trying to accomplish by pushing for passage of ENDA?
According to Patrick J. Vaughn, AFA general counsel, “The drive by homosexuals to become a legally protected class through ENDA comes from their psychological yearning for validation, not by a history of economic disadvantage.”
Vaughn said the passage of ENDA would place homosexuality on the same list of immutable and benign characteristics as race, national origin, gender, age or physical disability. Equivalency with these categories would be a huge victory for gay activists.
“One of the functions of law is declaratory,” Vaughn said. “A society declares its values and public policy by the laws it adopts. Creating a legally protected class for people who engage in homosexual behavior has the effect of declaring that people who engage in homosexual behavior are normal, and their behavior natural.”
In essence, if ENDA is passed and signed into law by President Bush, then the homosexuals will have won the culture war – at least in this theater of it.
“Creating homosexuality as a protected class has the effect of ending legitimate discussion of a whole range of questions: Is homosexual behavior a choice? Is homosexual behavior wrong? Can homosexuals recover and change their sexual orientation?” Vaughn said. “If ENDA is adopted, the federal government will have ended the debate in favor of homosexual activists.”
As is the case with most laws, if ENDA is passed, the repercussions would not follow immediately. The aftermath would certainly be a messy process as America would begin the long and painful rearranging of its culture to reflect a homosexual view of human sexuality, marriage and family.
This new view is the goal – the endgame – of homosexual agenda issues like ENDA. “Civil rights is not an end point for the gay community. Social change and transformation is,” said Urvashi Vaid, lesbian activist and author of the book Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay & Lesbian Liberation. “The goal of the gay and lesbian movement is to achieve a society in which homosexuality is considered as healthy, natural, and normal as heterosexuality. It’s going to require a change in people’s attitudes, in people’s hearts, and in people’s values about what they think is good and bad. …”
However, there would be an even more ominous aspect to such a cultural victory for gay activists. “The passage of ENDA would do more than validate homosexuality,” Vaughn said. “It would also say that people who oppose homosexual behavior are wrong; they are bigots and prejudiced and hateful. In fact they are cultural outlaws.”
Christians would not only continue being ridiculed for their views on homosexuality, as they currently are in much of the media, but they would come under increasing legal pressure from the federal government.
Believers once saw their faith as exclusively their own business, but as the founder of eHarmony has already discovered, gay activists fully intend to introduce a different, painful reality. With the passage of ENDA, the menacing shadow of homosexual intrusion would fall upon churches, Christian schools, day cares, businesses and even ministries like AFA.
And there is nothing amusing about that.
Next month: ENDA and open season on Christians.