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FIRST-PERSON: Boy Scouts will be first target if Nashville embraces ‘sexual orientation’

WASHINGTON (BP)–The city council in Nashville, Tenn., is considering adding “sexual orientation” to its nondiscrimination code. Sold as “tolerance,” such a law leads directly to discrimination against people who think it is wrong for men to have sex with men and women to have sex with women.

“Sexual orientation” laws hijack civil rights and ensure persecution, at the outset, of the Boy Scouts. This has been the pattern from California to Maine to Florida.

People who engage in homosexual behavior have the same rights as other citizens but should not be given additional rights based on their willingness to perform peculiar — and often medically dangerous — sex acts.

Like other terms that swiftly achieve usage, “sexual orientation” is rarely examined. Yet “sexual orientation” is a radical challenge to the beliefs of all major religious faiths because it attacks the notion that sexual behavior has moral dimensions.

The underlying concept of “sexual orientation” is that all sexual behavior is equally valid. There are no good choices or bad choices, just inclinations. “Sexual orientation” laws are the legal embodiment of the old ’60s slogan, “If it feels good, do it.”

When such a naked rebuke to the moral order is inserted into the law, protections for the institutions of marriage and family cannot long survive. Traditional morality is recast as a form of “bigotry,” and “sexual orientation” becomes a springboard for more “gay” activism.

The first victims of any sexual orientation law are the Boy Scouts, who have good reason to keep their leadership free from men attracted sexually to males. For some insight on this, check out the recent troubles of the Boston Diocese of the Catholic Church.

In California, the state Supreme Court is considering banning all state judges from associating with the Boy Scouts because the Scouts are exempt from a statewide “sexual orientation” law. Good judges (mostly fathers) are being told to hang up their gavels or stop associating with this “hate group.” This is tolerance?

In many states, homosexual activists have persuaded public officials to punish the Scouts for their moral stance on homosexuality. More than two dozen United Way chapters have cut off the Scouts, and at least 359 school districts with a total of 4,418 schools in 10 states have taken action against the Scouts. They cite “sexual orientation” laws as their reason.

Nashville’s religious groups are being offered a “religious exemption” from the proposed ordinance. They shouldn’t buy it. If it is wrong for this immoral policy to be forced on the churches, it is wrong to force it on other citizens as well. This is not like taxation, which is a necessary and biblically prescribed government function from which churches and other nonprofit organizations are exempt. It is a matter of turning immorality into law, thus turning ordinary people into outlaws.

Religious exemptions are ultimately worthless. A District of Columbia human rights commission ordered Georgetown University, a Catholic college, to violate church doctrine and sponsor a pro-homosexual group on campus. A court agreed, saying the District’s “sexual orientation” law overrode the school’s religious freedom. It didn’t matter that neither “sexual orientation” nor sodomy are protected in the Constitution or that religion is specifically protected. In the hands of liberal judges, “sexual orientation” takes on a life of its own.

City officials in Portland, Maine, recently canceled a grant for a Salvation Army meals-on-wheels program for senior citizens. Why? As a Christian denomination, the Salvation Army won’t provide marital benefits to homosexual employees, thus running afoul of the city’s “sexual orientation” law.

When the Portland “sexual orientation” ordinance was introduced, proponents argued, as they do in Nashville today, that it would merely ensure that “people won’t be fired for being ‘gay.'” Unlike the sorry history of Jim Crow laws, there is no evidence that this is so widespread that it requires a radical restructuring of civil rights. People are far more likely to be fired for objecting to “gay” activism in companies than for “being gay.”

In Canada, a “velvet curtain” is coming down as Canada adopts more “sexual orientation” laws. The mayor of London, Ontario, was hauled before Ontario’s human rights commission and fined for declining to declare “Gay Pride Weekend.” A Saskatchewan newspaper publisher and a man who bought an ad featuring a list of five biblical verses about homosexuality were fined $4,500 each. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has warned Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Dr. James Dobson not to discuss homosexuality, or the radio stations that carry their shows will lose their licenses. Again, this is tolerance?

Homosexual activists used to deny that they had anything to do with men demanding the right to wear dresses. But U.S. homosexual pressure groups have now added “transgender” rights to their list. Their goal is to create grounds for lawsuits on the basis of sexual confusion and cross-dressing, even in schools.

If Nashville’s public officials add “sexual orientation” to the city’s nondiscrimination code, they will provide instant legal special rights to any kind of sexual behavior, however perverse.

Most assuredly, they will guarantee that the Boy Scouts will find themselves in the cross-hairs of homosexual activists demanding the “right” to take boys out on camping trips.
Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America, and a board member of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays.

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  • Robert Knight