Nondiscrimination laws and ordinances
Nondiscrimination laws and ordinances on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” especially in housing and employment circumstances, are the latest craze in special rights based on homosexuality. The concept advocated is quite simple: People are “born gay” so civil rights laws should cover them just as civil rights cover other innate human characteristics such as race, sex and national origin. Therefore, in cases of housing or employment, a landlord or employer may not discriminate against an applicant on the basis of homosexuality.
In Utah, a few municipalities have adopted these ordinances, most notably Salt Lake City and, in that case alone, with the blessing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which also exempted itself from the impact of the ordinances).
Opponents of these ordinances argue that (1) homosexuality is not innate and therefore not to be treated the same as innate human characteristics under the law, (2) the integrity of the law is harmed because vague terms such as “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” cannot be clearly defined, (3) all notions of justice are imperiled because a judge cannot justly rule on a plaintiff’s claim of discrimination if only the plaintiff determines the “crime,” (4) the concepts of discrimination compete against other established, many fundamental, constitutional and statutory rights such as religious freedom, conscience, private property rights and at-will employment, and (5) if ordinances are passed and exemptions to those ordinances are created (as they are in the Salt Lake City ordinances), the exemptions ought to be broadly applicable – for instance, not just religious entities exempted but also religious adherents and religious-related commercial businesses.
At the heart of this issue lies something deeper and more important – the politics attacking the definition of marriage. These lesser “rights” claimed by homosexual advocates have been effectively utilized in state and federal courts to undo the definition of marriage in the promotion of same-sex marriage – a court’s rationale being if homosexuals are granted all of the civil privileges of marriage without being allowed to legally marry, it’s discriminatory.
Contractual benefits can be arranged between consenting adults on a number of grounds, including employment and housing contracts. Nondiscrimination laws and ordinances are part of a political agenda to remove every cultural barrier against homosexuality, marriage being the final hurdle. For instance, reasonable people could agree that any two consenting adults, not involved in a sexual relationship, could enter into private contractual agreements for housing, employment, guardianship, hospital visitation, etc. But when homosexual advocates insist that sexual relationships be the basis of these agreements, they threaten the conjugal relationship of marriage in their quest for public approbation.
Blog: Homosexuality, the LDS Church, and the Supreme Court
Blog: Oops! Oh yeah, that does create a protected class for ‘gays’ …
Blog: Responses to criticisms of Sutherland’s position on nondiscrimination ordinances
Press Release: Sutherland recommends
Press Release: Sutherland statement on S.L. nondiscrimination ordinances
Article: Statement Given to Salt Lake City Council on Nondiscrimination Ordinances
Book: Preserving Sacred Ground