Monday, May 17, 2010

Equality For All

Mayor Fenty: Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others


By Christopher Doyle


Washington, DC’s Mayor Adrian Fenty is apologizing for his recognition of the ex-gay community in the District of Columbia. After the mayor’s commendation certificate to ex-gay leader Regina Griggs – who has voluntarily served as the executive director for the Washington, DC-based Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays for 10 years – became public last week, a firestorm erupted among anti ex-gay activists who insisted Fenty explain his actions. Although some, such as gay activist Lane Hudson, went even further with their demands.


“He doesn't just need to apologize, he needs to rescind the honor that was given to this awful woman, and he needs to condemn what her organization does,” said Hudson, who was a staffer for former South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges and was later fired from his position at the Human Rights Campaign after it was revealed that he was the blogger posting former Congressman Mark Foley’s e-mails to a 16 year-old House Page.


But at a school event, Mayor Fenty fell short of rescinding the honor and condemning the “awful” work of PFOX --“It shouldn't have happened. It happened and it won't ever happen again. We apologize.” Asked if he would take back the commendation, Fenty stated: “I haven't talked to anyone about that, but I won't rule that out.”


But why exactly is Fenty apologizing? By recognizing Griggs’ service to the citizens of the District, some of whom are former homosexuals, the mayor could have set an important precedent of equality, tolerance, and respect for diversity, a platform in which he based his decision to force same-sex marriage on the citizens of DC (who by the way, were never given the opportunity to vote on the measure).


It seems the tone Fenty is really setting is that some groups are more equal than others. His actions continue a trend in the DC government of discrimination towards individuals who have left the homosexual lifestyle.


Lat year PFOX sued the DC Office of Human Rights because it refused to extend protection to former homosexuals under the city’s sexual orientation non-discrimination law. The court ruled against the District Government and held that sexual orientation does not require immutable characteristics for protection to be afforded under the law. Thus, former homosexuals are entitled to the same legal protections that gays currently receive and are recognized as a protected class under D.C.’s Human Rights Act.


But instead of acknowledging and respecting the District’s laws, Fenty and the city government are succumbing to the political intimidation of militant activists who are now threatening to disinvite Fenty from the Capital Pride Day this summer if he doesn't take back the certificate of appreciation to PFOX.


The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington DC demanded Fenty “explain” his decision and issue “a clear statement” rejecting the ex-gay movement and describe the “steps” he plans to take to undo the “false impression” that the District government supports former homosexuals. So far, a Fenty spokeswoman called Griggs' award a “staff level error” and apologized as it “runs contrary to the mayor's vision of a more open and inclusive city.” One gets the impression that a “more open and inclusive city” must be one free of former homosexuals and those who support the right of self-determination for all individuals.


At least that’s what anti ex-gay activist and former communications director for the HRC, Wayne Besen, would have you believe. Besen condemns ex-gay groups such as PFOX as “dangerous.” In a recent article posted on Besen’s hate website, he commented: “It is outrageous and surreal that one of the most dishonest and divisive organizations in Washington would be honored . . . it is mind-boggling that Griggs has been given this honor.”


What really boggles the mind is why Besen and company support the right of individuals to surgically change their gender, yet oppose those who want to change their sexual preference. This is just one of the many debacles that display the unbelievable hypocrisy of gay activists. Tolerance and diversity is demanded, yet rarely extended to those who disagree with their ideology.


As George Orwell suggested, equality is a fleeting animal, and while all animals are equal, some are more equal than others.




Christopher Doyle is a therapist, former homosexual, and officer of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).










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