Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Rejected in Indiana Town September 3, 2009

Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Rejected in Indiana Town

There’s no good reason anti-discrimination laws should not be extended to people based on their sexuality and gender identity. But that doesn’t mean some religious people won’t try to justify their bigotry.

The Goshen City Council in Indiana had a chance to offer protection to GLBT people.

More than 500 people showed up to the meeting and most wanted to share their opinion on the ordinance that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of protected classes. Other classes already included are race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin and ancestry.

The council decided to hold the meeting at the high school instead of the regular meeting room to accommodate for the large crowd.

It was standing room only inside the auditorium and some people were kept outside by the fire marshal.

So how did it turn out?

The ordinance was rejected on a 4-3 vote. GLBT people won’t be getting that protection.

You know religion had to play a role in this…

Some speakers discussed religious reasons for their stance on the law.

“This is an issue of morals, if we start telling people in our schools everything’s okay, where do we draw the line? I want to know where do we draw the line,” said one resident who said he talked with his pastor about the ordinance.

You draw the line in favor of helping people who are being discriminated against for things that are not in their control. That’s what the moral thing to do would be.

When I hear things like this, it just adds to the stereotype that the “Christian” thing to do is give the middle finger to people whose sexuality you don’t understand.

It’s pathetic.

The most depressing part is that the ordinance was so close to passing, but the person who co-sponsored it switched his vote:

Councilman and co-sponsor of the ordinance Chic Lantz switched his vote. According to our news partners at the Elkhart Truth, he originally supported the ordinance in its first reading, but now says he’s changed his mind after looking at similar laws in other cities.

If you live in the region, maybe you can shed more light on this story. But no one seems to have won in this situation — not the city of Goshen, not the residents who now have to face another uphill battle, and not the religious residents who embarrassed themselves by fighting against tolerance.

(Thanks to Rodney for the link!)


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  • Oh freaking Indiana, yet again I’m ashamed to live in you. Not surprising though, it’s Goshen. Northeastern Indiana is pretty rural with a high Amish/Mennonite population…

  • You draw the line in favor of helping people who are being discriminated against for things that are not in their control. That’s what the moral thing to do would be.

    That’s the thing, Christians believe being gay is a choice.

  • Matto the Hun

    Makes me think of that line “Bad people do bad things but it takes religion to make good people do bad things.”

    other wise good people made an immoral choice.

    why?

    because of religion.

  • JHGRedekop

    Where do you draw the line? How about at the boundary that separates the set “consenting adults” from its inverse?

  • “Where do we draw the line?”

    I’ll tell you where…we draw the line at making judgments about a person based on qualities that have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO with that person’s ability to do a job, pay the rent, care for a sick friend or understand the difference between ignorance and compassion. Rather sadly, on that basis, the person who asked the question must be ruled out.

  • Sackbut

    Kirk wrote:

    That’s the thing, Christians believe being gay is a choice.

    It doesn’t matter, though. Discriminating against people for making a personal choice regarding their personal lives is still wrong. Someone shouldn’t be fired or refused accommodations because of participating in anal sex or reading Rushdie or having a vegetarian diet; nor should that happen because of one’s choice of partners (for living or love or sex or whatever).

  • @ Kirk

    That’s the thing, Christians believe being gay is a choice.

    My response to that nonsense is always the same:
    “If it’s a choice, then you could choose to be gay.”
    If you assert that you cannot be gay, why do you insist it’s any different on the other side of the fence?
    If you claim that you COULD, you must have considered the option…
    (at this point, I smile, wink and invite them for a drink…which always forces them into ‘It’s NOT a choice for ME…God made me straight!”)

    Sadly, even that degree of cognitive dissonance fails to move them an inch.

  • CybrgnX

    You have missed the main point…
    CHOICE is immaterial…Thier buy-Bull says kill’m so that’s all that counts. The meathead who reversed his decision is normal as any polititian will go the way needed to make his career. When ever you have a large population of meatheads and sissy politicians you will have these bad decisions.

  • Miko

    we draw the line at making judgments about a person based on qualities that have NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO with that person’s ability to do a job

    This is of course the correct answer, but the question then becomes how to achieve this, or even how to determine what these qualities are. To take an example that’s considered all too infrequently, people who’ve taken a few years off of work are often harassed by prospective employers to explain their “work gap,” since employers realize that it’s harder to exploit anyone who has the financial means to leave an undesirable situation.

    But then, this is just one of the thousands of ways that employers will attempt to discriminate (and like this one, you’ve never even considered most of them). Seeing how much trouble it is getting something obvious like rights based on gender and sexual identity passed by government, it becomes obvious that using government to end discrimination is a utopian dream.

    Now, as far back as Voltaire (unfortunately, I don’t have a direct quotation on hand), it’s been known that a free market makes discrimination impossible since hiring poorer-quality workers in order to ensure that they have the proper skin color, gender, ethnicity, etc., will be a huge competitive disadvantage and lead to the bankruptcy of the firm. (This also has the advantage of not requiring an enumeration of the thousands of subtle forms of discrimination: market forces will act exactly the same whether or not we understand why they do.) Discrimination will thus exist as long as we attempt to fight it through anti-market regulations carefully crafted by the very firms they’re intended to restrain so as to be worthless or even counter-productive.

  • benjdm

    A paper that really, really, helps me understand the liberal-conservative morality divide better:
    When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize by Jonathan Haidt and Jesse Graham, University of Virginia

  • In Goshen, Indiana a gay book seller can now legally refuse to sell a book to a straight person or a gay cab driver can refuse to take a straight person to their destination for no other reason than their sexuality. If Indiana has the estimated 10% gay population they could really make a fuss if they wanted to.

    Except that would be wrong.

  • “This is an issue of morals”

    Exactly. Discrimination is immoral.

  • Richard Wade

    That’s the thing, Christians believe being gay is a choice.

    Hmm. That makes me wonder whether or not being ignorant, pig-headed, backward, chauvinistic, retrogressive, xenophobic, homophobic, eduphobic, superstitious, racist, sexist, irrational, hypocritical, malevolent and violent BUMPKINS is a choice.

    Maybe the poor things can’t help it.

  • it’s been known that a free market makes discrimination impossible since hiring poorer-quality workers in order to ensure that they have the proper skin color, gender, ethnicity, etc., will be a huge competitive disadvantage and lead to the bankruptcy of the firm.

    ONLY in a market where such counter-productive choices (in the pure form assessment) carry some sort of economic penalty.
    Sadly, there are far too many markets where hiring a gay, crippled, black lesbian single parent – even if they are by wide margin “best qualified” – is the economic kiss of death.
    It is that sort of warped self-interest that invites utilizing scripture to mask racism and out-group hatred. The bible, so sadly, more often than not tends to justify repugnant choices rather than motivate pure ones.
    As I recently posted on my wee ranty blog…there are anti-Obama protesters who assert the president is the “Anti-Christ”…He who will bring about the end times and the tribulation…the return of Christ and the great final judgment.
    To which I, with great confusion, wonder: Isn’t that what you want? Should you not, then, be supportive of President Obama?
    Apparently, those who most wish for the 2nd Coming are also opposed to anything that might bring it about.
    Go figure.

  • @ Richard

    eduphobic

    I haven’t looked it up, yet…but I’m gonna. Guessing “fear of education”.

    Thanks, tho. If it turns out to be a real word, am totally adding it to my vocabulary in high rotation (and congrats…that happens so very rarely).

    It’s a recently coined term, n’est pas?

    PS. Hemant – LOVE the 4 minute countdown for edits! EVERYONE should have this. No more typos! I hate you.

  • Carlie

    I wonder how many of them would have the nerve to vote publicly for it if the wording were more accurate: “This bill affirms and codifies the right of individuals to unabashedly discriminate against others who have different sex lives than they do.”

  • Jon

    There’s no good reason anti-discrimination laws should not be extended to people based on their sexuality and gender identity. But that doesn’t mean some religious people won’t try to justify their bigotry.

    CHOICE is immaterial

    We should probably extend anti-discrimination laws to murders and pedophiles too. After all, just because people make the choice to murder people doesn’t mean they should go to jail or anything like that. People who don’t make the choice to murder people don’t go to jail. So we should treat people who murder and people who don’t murder equally.

    RIGHT?

    OF COURSE NOT! Hemant had about 60 articles in a row that showed his lack of reasoning, and then one that was semi-meaningful, and now he is back to the drivel.

  • sailor

    I think one should be able to discriminate on the basis of religion non/religion in cases where that is relevant. Religion is about ideas, not how you were born, and I can imagine if I ran a church I might want to be able to specify that the person I hired as a preacher was of the same religion.
    Similarly if I was a pharmacist, and an applicant said as a catholic he could not sell birth control I would not hire him.
    If I had to hire an executioner I would avoid a Quaker.
    Neither would I want someone who believed the world was 6000 years old teaching geology or biology or astronomy or practically anything except perhaps knitting.

  • Takma’rierah

    Jon:

    If you can’t explain using non-religious terms why being gay should be considered immoral, we don’t care. Obviously it’s not applicable.

  • Justin jm

    We should probably extend anti-discrimination laws to murders and pedophiles too. After all, just because people make the choice to murder people doesn’t mean they should go to jail or anything like that. People who don’t make the choice to murder people don’t go to jail. So we should treat people who murder and people who don’t murder equally.

    Um, duh? We do.

    We treat them equally. We don’t treat them the same. Treating people equally in this case means that both groups will face justice; the facing justice is simply N/A for people innocent of crimes.

    And being gay is not the same as pedophilia.

  • Aj

    Anti-discrimination laws discriminate: race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin and ancestry. It’s not just sexuality that’s missing, everything you could discriminate apart from the things listed are discriminated against by the writers of this legislation. I notice atheism isn’t on the list, shockingly.

    But they’re things that someone doesn’t choose, right? Wrong, religion is something people can choose. Some people can choose their race because the concept is imaginary, it’s not based on biology. The very concept of race changed throughout history. A recent study of Turkic groups found that ethnicity wasn’t based on ancestry in some groups in central Asia. Religious people only seem to care about homosexual acts, which are a choice.

    It’s inevitable that all those that disapprove of “discrimination” also discriminate on a daily basis. Not hiring a blind person to be a taxi driver is discrimination against a disability. There’s justified discrimination and unjustified discrimination. The problem is prejudging, profiling, and not basing beliefs on evidence.

    Miko,

    You’re right that this type of legislation worthless or counter-productive.

    Now, as far back as Voltaire (unfortunately, I don’t have a direct quotation on hand), it’s been known that a free market makes discrimination impossible since hiring poorer-quality workers in order to ensure that they have the proper skin color, gender, ethnicity, etc., will be a huge competitive disadvantage and lead to the bankruptcy of the firm.

    Even if that were true, that’s a utopian idea, pure free markets like that have never existed and won’t exist. In the markets that have existed and exist, discrimination can and does happen. Progress was made culturally and collectively winning equal rights not through market forces.

  • Richard Wade

    cousinavi,

    eduphobic
    I haven’t looked it up, yet…but I’m gonna. Guessing “fear of education”.
    Thanks, tho. If it turns out to be a real word, am totally adding it to my vocabulary in high rotation (and congrats…that happens so very rarely).
    It’s a recently coined term, n’est pas?

    Oui, il sont tres récent. I just made it up. Not in any of my dictionaries or online phobia lists either. But that’s how all words originate. Somebody makes it up because it is needed. You guessed right, so it works. It is a “real word” because it accurately conveyed an idea the first time it was used. Go ahead and use it, free of charge, whenever you need to. With all the eduphobia in this country lately, it’ll be in the dictionary soon enough.

    Too bad it’s a word that is needed. (sigh)

    “educrat” was coined in 1966 as a pejorative term for education bureaucrat. I think it went out of fashion when the flower children grew up to become bureaucrats themselves.

  • I think we should take “protections” away from everyone…to level the playing field. Isnt that the Rights argument about Affirmative Action!

    No “special” rights or protections for;

    Non-Whites
    Woman
    Disabled/Handicapped
    LGBT

    and

    RELIGIOUS PEOPLE.

    See how the country would feel than;

    lynchings, burning churches, hate crimes, sexism, etc… yes all, let’s go backwards…not forwards…towards a more civilized country.

    All I can say is this; If all the Christian fundamentalists in congress were to suddenly die, there would be happier, safer, and more productive Americans in the USA.

    Use that quote you trolls…put my name on it…and praise your mythical god that I am NOT the ruler or king….religion would be outlawed!

    Corey Mondello
    Boston, Massachusetts

  • llewelly

    Now, as far back as Voltaire (unfortunately, I don’t have a direct quotation on hand), it’s been known that a free market makes discrimination impossible since hiring poorer-quality workers in order to ensure that they have the proper skin color, gender, ethnicity, etc., will be a huge competitive disadvantage and lead to the bankruptcy of the firm.

    And your evidence for your claim seems to be a failure to find a single supporting Voltaire quote, despite having an internet full of Voltaire quotes at your fingertips.

  • Jon

    And being gay is not the same as pedophilia

    .

    True. But look at the statistics about the number of gay men that are interested in young boys vs. straight men involved in pedophila. It has a staggeringly higher occurence in homosexuals.

  • Jon

    We treat them equally. We don’t treat them the same.

    Exactly. Which is why people that argue for gay “marriage” are very silly.

  • Jon

    @Takma’rierah

    Jon:

    If you can’t explain using non-religious terms why being gay should be considered immoral, we don’t care. Obviously it’s not applicable

    So, if you can’t explain things in non-atheists terms than its not applicable?

    I’ll give you another chance to make your statement then.

  • Jon

    If all the Christian fundamentalists in congress were to suddenly die, there would be happier, safer, and more productive Americans in the USA.

    And this from the Atheists who claim to understand and advocate tolerance.

    What hypocrisy that Atheists whine about discrimination against them when they freely admit they would slaughter those who disagree with them if they had the ability to.

    And people wonder why Atheists don’t get elected???? There is your answer!!!

  • Justin jm

    We treat them equally. We don’t treat them the same.

    Exactly. Which is why people that argue for gay “marriage” are very silly.

    You’ve missed my point. I said that as a point against your stupid analogy between gays and murderers. Treating gay people equally means allowing gay marriage, without the damn scare quotes around the word.

    What hypocrisy that Atheists whine about discrimination against them when they freely admit they would slaughter those who disagree with them if they had the ability to.

    And people wonder why Atheists don’t get elected???? There is your answer!!!

    Do you have a coherent point in there? At most the one commenter said that (and at least part of the comment was sarcastic) and you extrapolate to all of us?

    So, if you can’t explain things in non-atheists terms than its not applicable?

    No. Re-read what Takma’rierah said.

    But look at the statistics about the number of gay men that are interested in young boys vs. straight men involved in pedophila. It has a staggeringly higher occurence in homosexuals.

    Even if this were the case (and I emphasize the if) I would like to point out that a child’s relatives are more likely to molest a child than a stranger. Should we then ban children’s relatives from interacting with them?

    Child Protection Services exist for a reason. Do you think that if we allow gay adoption and marriage that child sexual abuse rates will increase?

  • Carlie

    True. But look at the statistics about the number of gay men that are interested in young boys vs. straight men involved in pedophila. It has a staggeringly higher occurence in homosexuals.

    You are wrong.

    “the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1.”

  • ChameleonDave

    You are wrong.

    “the ratio of heterosexual to homosexual pedophiles was calculated to be approximately 11:1.”

    Except that you haven’t even read the page that you link to. It actually supports Jon’s argument, not yours.

    Please don’t make Jon look comparatively sensible.

  • Jon

    @Justinjm

    You’ve missed my point. I said that as a point against your stupid analogy between gays and murderers.

    You’ve missed your own point there buddy. Hint: You didn’t make a coherent one. I’ll look forward to your second try though.

    @Carlie

    You are wrong.

    Actually, Carlie, it is the other way around – you are wrong. Read your evidence again.

    @ChameleonDave

    Please don’t make Jon look comparatively sensible

    Sadly for you, that is unavoidable. There can be as many articles and comments promoting Atheism as you want – but the position is illogical and indefensible. Sooner or later, you will be forced to admit that. Unfortunately for most of you, your stubborness will keep you from admitting that until its too late.

  • medussa

    Way to go christians! Make yourselves look moral and ethical. Not.

  • Justin jm

    You’ve missed your own point there buddy. Hint: You didn’t make a coherent one. I’ll look forward to your second try though.

    You’re the one who can’t argue without baseless analogies between gays and murderers.

    Unfortunately for most of you, your stubborness will keep you from admitting that until its too late.

    So you think you can read minds? How can you possibly know that we disbelieve out of stubbornness? Many people on this site used to believe but couldn’t make themselves continue to do so.

  • Takma’rierah

    So, if you can’t explain things in non-atheists terms than its not applicable?

    I’ll give you another chance to make your statement then.

    Ooooh, another chance; how charitable of you.

    “Nonreligious terms” isn’t really the same as saying “atheist terms,” because I’m talking about terms without religion applied to them, not atheist-specific terms. There are a few basic morals that are true across humanity because they’ve helped us to survive by working together in groups; don’t kill, don’t lie, don’t steal, et cetera. Religion (and culture, but culture is too nebulous and vast to be relevant here) arbitrarily applies new rules on top of these that really have no outside necessity; if you’re part of this religion, obviously you will feel very strongly about it, but we’re not part of your religion so we don’t care about your particular imposed rules.

    It’s like if you walked up to someone and told them that they must never ever wear blue because wearing blue attracts flesh-eating Snorglehoffs, and then being angry because they look at you funny and wear blue anyway. Similarly, we don’t care about religious reasons to dislike homosexuality because, lacking belief in these rules, we have no reason to; therefore, all such arguments will fail. I know many Christians think that atheists are merely in denial of god’s existence in order to get away with sinning, but that’s simply not true–we don’t hide in corners cackling madly to ourselves about how bad we’re being or feeling ashamed that we’re sinning but just can’t stop. In fact, for most of us it doesn’t even cross our minds, because these arbitrary rules really, indeed, mean nothing to us. We’re about as concerned about judgement day as the person on the street is concerned about being attacked by Snorglehoffs. It doesn’t come up. Try to ban us from wearing blue, and of course we will be very upset.

  • Baconsbud

    Takma’rierah I have to disagree with you slightly on one of your basic morals. Of course I don’t know for sure when it became ok but it is extremely normal anymore for people to lie in select ways. Lies have been used most of our lives to avoid conflict with ones we care about or has the power to cause us problems. I try to not lie but there are times I know it is best to, to avoid problems with family and friends.

    Other then that point I pretty much agree with what you have said.

  • Mitur Binesderti

    If we let these religious nuts believe in a magic sky fairy what next? When will they start fucking goats? What disgusting perverts those religious nuts are. Always with the goat fucking.

  • Takma’rierah

    Certainly, Baconsbud; I agree wholeheartedly on the lying bit. I was definitely watering it down a lot. Also, all of my examples can be specified as being, at their most basic, only applicable to people you know; extending those to strangers is I think more of a culturally-inspired thing, relatively new and rather flexible.

  • LGBT ally from Goshen

    Christian does not equate with bigotry. A significant amount of the support for this ordinance came from Christian pastors in the community. Our Mennonite pastor was in favor of it. Our former pastor, also Mennonite, attended the meeting in favor of the ordinance. Apparently the councilman who switched his vote was under pressure from his fellow Republicans.

  • k.m

    yes, many religious persons are idiots, but that doesn’t mean Christianity is wrong.

    My first comment it to Jennifurret: first of all, Amish people don’t vote so it doesn’t matter that there are a lot of them in Northern Indiana. Second, mennonite and amish are not the same. Third, many, many of the mennonite churches is Goshen supported the ordinance to be passed.

    My second comment is there are a lot of christians (often they are the ones doing the talking) who disagree with gay rights and hate gays, but from my view, they aren’t Christians. They are killing the face of christianity. Yes, I am a Christian. I am a mennonite. I fully devote my life to God. I support LGBT inclusion. Jesus’ biggest lesson was to love everyone even if we disagree with them. So, so many people have lost sight of that lesson and focus on things that are hardly even mentioned in the bible (like, homosexuality).

    So, yes, the face of christianity is being desecrated by many religious people… you just have to know who the true Christians are.