SSM Advocates Start Ohio Spin Campaigns

SameSexThumbby Linda Harvey
In September and October, Equality Ohio launched campaigns to persuade Ohioans to accept same-sex marriage (SSM) and to change federal and state law on workplace issues. Their strategy is surely influenced by a recent poll of Ohio voters.

The Public Religion Research Institute found that most voters would not approve a marriage redefinition—good news for Ohio conservatives—while the majority was favorable toward non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Yet “discrimination” was conveniently undefined, a hole big enough to drive any leftist truck through.

Specifically, the survey showed that 51% of Ohio voters would not vote “yes” on changing Ohio’s constitution to allow same-sex marriage, with 45% in favor. SSM advocates know a loss would be catastrophic, so major gay advocacy groups seem to be shifting focus to “education” while another group, Freedom Ohio, collects signatures for a 2014 ballot issue.

Equality Ohio’s education effort is being spun as “Why Marriage Matters Ohio.” Meanwhile, they join a coalition of labor and other leftist groups to push an “ENDA” law in Ohio and at the federal level. That’s the “Employment Non-Discrimination Act,” which would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as categories alongside race, religion, sex, national origin, etc., to civil rights laws.

Major pressure is being exerted on Senator Rob Portman to support this bill. The focus is the national ENDA bill, but Ohio will not be ignored as it is one of the key states identified by the coalition called Americans for Workplace Opportunity.

A bill along these lines is currently at the statehouse but has seen little action. In 2009, House Bill 176 passed the Ohio House but didn’t make it through the Ohio Senate.

”Did you know LGBT people in Ohio can be fired just because of who they are?” says one of the talking points. In fact, this is exactly how a young man approached me as I entered a restaurant on High Street in Columbus.

Unfortunately for this young man (or perhaps fortunately), I was ready with the facts. Had he ever heard of Crystal Dixon? She was fired from the University of Toledo for objecting to same sex marriage in a newspaper letter to the editor, unrelated to her UT job. This was not a statewide law, but a university’s use—some would say misuse—of “non-discrimination” based on sexual orientation/gender identity.

And it also wasn’t a state law, but the private, corporate world’s approach to inclusion that motivated Macy’s as they fired Natalie Johnson in 2011. She refused to allow a teen boy into a women’s dressing room. He showed up with three other people, one of whom claimed to be his lawyer, indications of a set-up to test the “transgender” support of Macy’s. The retailer did not disappoint them. A manager backed the young transvestite and despite Natalie’s reasons—her religious faith and her concern for the privacy of women—sided with him and his companions.

So in a head-to-head contest—religious freedom vs. sexual “minority” rights—the latter justifies discrimination based on the former? Where in our Constitution does immorality trump faith?

Many people would not buy the notion that it is “who he is” that prompts a confused male to dress with women. Natalie might say her faith is “who she is.”

The ENDA bill would cover government and private companies, with some exemptions for dedicated religious institutions. But as with the current debate over ObamaCare and religious freedom to reject abortion insurance coverage, individual workers citing religious objections are sitting ducks for, ironically, discrimination resulting in fines, job loss, business closing, reputation damage, not to mention intense personal stress.

I continued to share with this young man a few other case histories, like Elaine and Jon Huguenin who, because of the application of a New Mexico non-discrimination policy, have been ordered to pay $6,000 by the courts. What horrific crime did they commit? Christian owners of a photography studio, they declined a request to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, citing their faith.

This young man on the sidewalk and I discontinued our dialogue before I could share other names he has probably never encountered. Aaron and Melissa Klein just closed their Oregon bakery rather than continue to endure threats to their children, vicious emails, boycotts of both their business and their suppliers, and an investigation by the Oregon Labor Commission. Their unspeakable crime? Declining a cake order for a same-sex wedding.

A bar owner in Portland is paying $400,000 to eleven men because of a phone call. They cited emotional distress after he phoned one man to ask him and his friends to stop patronizing his bar. Seems these eleven transvestite men were found offensive by other customers, including women who encountered them in the restroom, open stall doors and all. But the state “gender identity” non-discrimination policy prevailed.

Arlene’s Flowers in Washington State was sued by two homosexual men because providing flowers for their ceremony was against the owner’s faith. The state attorney general also sued, but the florist is counter-suing, citing religious discrimination.

Is this what is meant by “discrimination”? That certain views are not allowed if it’s offensive to homosexuals and transsexuals? It is highly probable the respondents to the above-mentioned survey, who voted 68% against “gay and lesbian” discrimination, did not have the whole story. Yet this is the research being quoted by Equality Ohio, et al., as they lobby Ohio legislators and provide grassroots education.

When the public gets the whole story, they aren’t buying the brutal treatment of small business owners. In a survey in liberal Washington state, which just voted to approve same-sex marriage, 61% either opposed or strongly opposed the state attorney general suing Arlene’s Flowers over this issue.

It’s likely that Equality Ohio would not want voters to understand how such “non-discrimination” policy is regularly applied to people of faith and small business owners in states where the LGBT lobby prevails.
MissionAmericaThumbLinda Harvey is president of Mission America and hosts a talk show on Salem affiliate WRFD in Columbus, OH. • (1465 views)

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9 Responses to SSM Advocates Start Ohio Spin Campaigns

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    This is exactly what conservatives need to do: inform the public of the reality behind all the high-minded language of the liberals, such as the consequences of “gender” anti-discrimination laws. Sam Gamgee observed when Strider (Aragorn) came into their room in Bree that a representative of Sauron (unlike Strider) would “look fair and feel foul”. Evidently the Nazgul were liberals.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Ditto. I really commend Linda for keeping her nose to the grindstone. This is exactly what people of good faith and integrity must do….even though they will surely be called a “homophobe” or “hater” by the unthinking Marxists or “Progressives.” Go, Linda!

  2. faba calculo says:

    A strong argument, Linda. Were conservatives and moderates to pursue a course against extending the non-discrimination laws while NOT standing in the way of equal marriage rights, a much stronger case could be made on the grounds of limited government.

    I’m still not sure why you put such a weak foot as the Macy’s case forward, but, other than that, this definitely shows that laws forbidding private (as opposed to public) discrimination, as they’re currently designed, are often trampling on our rights instead of enforcing them.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Note that the issue in homosexual marriage is not its legality but its formal legal recognition by the state for such purposes as taxes, inheritance, etc. Thus, there is no “limited government” basis for redefining marriage (which is what’s involved here) by government fiat. The sole basis (and the one used by its advocates) is “marriage equality”, which is based on the idea that denying legal recognition to homosexual marriage is a form of discrimination. This hardly is compatible with otherwise taking a pro-choice stance on such discrimination (as I do).

      • faba calculo says:

        It is only inconsistent if you see no difference between legally established public discrimination (e.g., the government firing someone because they found out he was gay, Mormon, etc. or barring gay or interracial civil marriage) and privately based personal discrimination (i.e., not wanting to date, work for, or hire a Jew). The former is a violation of equal protection of the law, while the latter is merely an exercising one’s right of association (just not necessarily in a particularly commendable way).

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Good point, but this is equally true regarding discrimination against blacks, women, etc. If those are banned even for private businesses, then discrimination against homosexuals will be as well — as long as the general idea that anti-homosexual discrimination is inherently wrong is prevalent.

          • faba calculo says:

            Which is why THAT is where the attack should be focused, on the idea that both forms of discrimination should be outlawed.

            I doubt that this is currently doable for classes that already have both forms of protection (i.e., against both legally established discrimination and private discrimination), as people who favor both forms have no impetus to negotiate. But gays have neither form (at least not universally) yet, so an offer of banning the former (i.e., ending the ban on gay civil marriage) in exchange for permitting the latter, at least for small businesses and small renters, would be more likely to succeed.

            Even (or, depending on how you look at things, especially) if the other side turns down the offer, it’s one worth making, as, at least in some people’s eyes, it moves the focus on who is being victimized from the gays to owners of (small) businesses and (small) renters.

            But attempting to hold in place the legality of public discrimination makes it just that much harder to beat backs laws forbidding private discrimination. People know that gays have legally victimized in recent years and severely so in decades within the lives of many of us, so attempting to defend the right of association while also defending public discrimination is going to risk looking disingenuous in the extreme.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              In theory, this is a good idea. But just as the homosexuals didn’t accept civil unions as a compromise, so they won’t accept yours. Like all liberals, they’ll accept a modest leftward shirt of the Overton window — and then seek to push it further leftward. That’s what always happens when one compromises with liberals (as we will see if the GOP ends up making any sort of deal on legalizing illegal aliens).

              • faba calculo says:

                That’s why it’d pretty much have to be done in the form of an amendment to the Constitution. Not even those things are immune to being later changed, but if the other side ever collected THAT kind of support (i.e., two-thirds in each house and majorities in 2/3 of the states), it’s pretty much game over no matter what.

                Admittedly, amendments are also subject to judicial activism, but much, much less so than mere laws. And, barring a return to the 1970s liberal domination of the Court (in which case, it’s again pretty much game no matter what), an amendment clearly saying that gays must be granted civil marriage BUT that (at least small) businesses, (small) renters, and religious-affiliated operations retain the right to refuse business and jobs (at least to gays) would be substantially bullet-proof. Hell, even the death penalty and the Second Amendment eventually clawed their way out of the grave.

                No, the real reasons that this is all theoretical is different:

                1) Progressives wouldn’t never sign on, even in name, in the first place, which means that Democrats wouldn’t either. This is all the more reason to attempt it, as it would simply show their views are threats to individual liberty, buuutttt…

                2) Social conservatives would never sign on, which means that Republicans, by and in large, wouldn’t. Perhaps they would AFTER they’ve finished losing, but, of course, by that point, there will be any reason whatsoever for the other side to even consider it.

                So how does it end? Well, certainly more blue states will, via judicial, legislative, and popular action, outlaw both forms of discrimination. Hardcore red states, on the other hand, will successfully hold out against gay marriage, at least for a while, but they’ll remain increasingly vulnerable to anti-discrimination laws in terms of employment and housing. Example: while Ohio looks almost perfectly split on gay marriage, the current business anti-discrimination law being pushed there looks to be a shoe-in (see: Then, with enough states and other countries eventually backing gay marriage, SCOTUS will hear another case on that matter, and it will be pretty much over except for the shouting, in which progressives will glare angrily at conservatives who resisted gay civil marriage, conservatives will glare equally angrily at progressives who for busy suing small businesses and renters, and a few libertarianesque people will wish a pox on both their houses.

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