Hillsborough County Commissioner, Stacy White (R-Asshole)
This one is interesting I know, but they are all three of the same situation…if it really is three. Let me explain. Last week, Hillsborough, FL, County Commissioner and conservative firebrand, Stacy White (who I will note claims to be a Methodist), supposedly got a report of an anonymous employee who found flying the Rainbow Flag in memory and honor of the victims in Orlando created a hostile work environment for her. White was quick to call the flag a, “divisive, politically-charged symbol.”
White didn’t attend the last meeting of the Commission where the display was voted on, so I guess his particular brand of Christianity was left out of the discussion, and he was feeling all butt-hurt. I’ll prove that with the internal memo he sent around about the issue. So, we have a three-way tie on this one. Commissioner Stacy White, his condescending and dishonest legislative assistant, David Garcia, and the supposedly anonymous Hillsborough County Employee.
So now we come to the end of our little journey through the latest creation of Maggie Gallagher. Maggie is the former Board Chair and President of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), but she recently left those posts to create an off-shoot group called the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, because you know, the good Christians like Maggie are being persecuted because they slowing losing their right to discriminate against whole classes of people under the civil laws of this country. Maggie started this group up with a guy named Frank Turek. Frank’s story was one of the first NOM started trotting out to try to show that people who believe in unequal treatment were being treated unequally.
Turek’s the author of several books, the most recent being a book about how gay marriage is bad. It was cited (eventually) by N.C. Senator James Forrester as the basis for introducing the anti-equality marriage amendment in the North Carolina legislature (You read about that craziness here).
So Turek’s complaint is that someone “Googled him,” (damn those inter-tubes), and was “outed”, and he was “fired” for being, “somebody who has a traditional marriage view-point.” With that setup, we launch into the scary music theme.
First, we need to start clearing something up for Frank. Frank, you weren’t “fired.” You had been hired as a consultant. Consultant’s don’t get fired, the company just ends their contract with you, or elects to not sign another contract for more work. As a consultant myself, it happens all the time.
But Frank’s got a good story to go along with it. However, his story doesn’t follow a very linear story line, and my experience is that this is usually caused when a person is being less than honest. Especially about something this important.
First, Frankly starts out saying that he done some training for Cisco, “for many years.” Well, all of this happened in late 2010 or early 2011, and Frank goes on to qualify his statement saying, “since about 2008.” Well Frank old buddy, let me explain something to you…in the world of consulting, two years does not qualify as “many years.” My company has contracts we’ve been on for as much as 15 years. You might call that “many,” two…not so much
And here’s where his story starts getting even more inconsistent. He says that during 2010, when he was doing his second training class for Cisco (so, one class in 2008 and another in 2010 does not “many years” make), someone in the class went to HR during the class and said, “Frank’s class is great, but he’s written this book, Correct, Not Politically Correct; How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone, and since Frank doesn’t live up to Cisco values, he’s against same sex marriage, he can’t work here.” Then there’s a “cutaway and we come back to Frank claiming, “He said I’m gonna call HR and try to get Frank fired.” So Frank, you went from someone calling HR during a break, to apparently hearing from someone who he heard someone say this about you. Which is it?
So now Frank apparently knows this is about to happen (not that it happened during a break), and he calls his buddy who had hired him, and clues him in. The buddy tells him to not worry about it, that he’ll take care of it. Then Frank gets a call from his buddy later that day during another break, and the guy has to come over to talk to him when the class is over. The guy comes over, and after having a woman in the class tell him it was the best class ever at Cisco, he has to take Frank into another room, and tearfully fires him. Frank goes on to claim that even the liberals at Cisco thought it was an injustice, but doesn’t explain how he knows this.
Frank then goes into a lecture about the reason THEY decided to go public with this, as if the people at Cisco support him in doing this video. I wonder how they’d feel about this? Frank says “it’s just un-American to have to have a certain political view in order to work.” Frank, you don’t have to have a certain political view to work, but companies get to hire contractors especially based on the contractor’s compatibility with their culture. They’re not obligated to hire you or not hire you based on anything they want.
But that’s not the end of the story. It gets worse for Frank. His wife starts worrying it may happen with other clients, as Frank tells us.
Well, it has happened with other client’s, but Frank says not as a result of going public about what happened at Cisco. Even though he mentions his wife being worried about it happening AFTER his contract ended at Cisco, he claims it happened with Bank of America also. He does presentations at Bank of America and been hired over and over because his presentations are always so well received. But suddenly, and coincidentally, just two days before he went public with the big news about what happened with Cisco, he gets a call from Bank of America. Like at Cisco, it was the HR director telling him that because he’s against Same Sex Marriage, he can’t work at BofA again.
So, in all my experiences as a consultant, including security clearances, I have never had any interaction with a client’s HR director. When you are a consultant, you’re hired by the person responsible for the project on which you are working, but suddenly, at these huge multi-national companies, the HR Directors are involved with this one single consultant. Frank, I’m just buying the story. There are inconsistencies, things that just don’t follow with my experiences, and most of all you have spent way too much time and energy telling us how great you did, and how much everyone at these companies loved your presentations.
As we get toward the end of the video Frank gets all fired up as is claiming that the problem is, if you don’t believe that same-sex marriage should be legal, “you’re a homophobe, a bigot, and you need to be fired.” Then it gets interesting. He blames on the silent Christians, then starts comparing his situation to that of the founders, and talks about how many of them died for religious freedom, but we’re all afraid to speak up because we might not get or promotion, or not get that job we want…”puhhff,” puhleaze.” Ah, so frank, the founders fought and died for their beliefs. You partner up with one of the biggest bigots in the country, and whine about a company putting into practice their beliefs.
Again, they never realize this whole freedom thing always cuts two ways. They have the freedom of their beliefs. Companies have the freedom to decide who they want to do business with based on whatever criteria they want. Frank, you don’t get it both ways. You seem to expect that you should have the freedom to write and say whatever you want, but companies should have to hire you, and make judgements about whether you are a good fit with their culture. I suspect Frank wouldn’t do a training program for the Human Rights Campaign, so he gets to choose, but the HRC would have the right to not hire him.
Today’s featured guest is Ruth Sheldon, but before we get to Ruth’s story, don’t you just love the intense music NOM uses at the beginning of their videos? Ruth was the Town Clerk for Granby for nearly 16 years. She wants us to be sure we know that she loved the job, but was forced to give it up because of those icky gay people expecting to be treated fairly. She wrote in her resignation letter that “New York State passed the same-sex marriage law, a law which violates my conscience and my faith.”
We get a ways in here before we find out that Ruth went to the town attorney, who actually gave her a way to accommodate her beliefs. He said the town could quit giving out marriage licenses altogether. I suppose the people in Granby would then just go to the Clerk of Court or the County Clerk’s office. But despite having an “out,” Ruth decided she just had to quit and make a video about it for NOM. Because if she hadn’t quit and just started not providing the service to anyone (which would be fair), then she couldn’t claim to have been persecuted for her religious beliefs.
Ruth quotes some scripture near the end of the video about standing for what you believe, but I’d quote another scripture, Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Laura Fotusky is another of the town clerks being trotted out by NOM with the claim that she was somehow being persecuted because, God forbid, she might have been expected to carry out her ministerial duties as prescribed by New York State law, and actually treat everyone equally under those laws. Well, we can’t go around having government employees doing that now, can we? Back in July, Laura resigned her position as the Town Clerk of Barker, NY rather than sign marriage licenses for everyone qualified to be married under civil law.
Laura starts claiming her daughter thought her life was in danger because she had to make a choice between her work and God because signing a marriage license for someone other than the type of couples she agrees with goes against God. Let’s get that out of the way right up front…first off, Laura we’re not in a theocracy, but are a nation of civil laws that are supposed to apply equally to everyone.
But most important Laura, once again…that cotton/poly blend blouse gives you away. You’re not that strict in your religious views, you just like to decide which of the Levitical laws you want to follow.
Laura claims, “my religious freedoms were violated by the Marriage Equality Act.” Sorry Laura, that’s just not true, and you know it. Just like Rose in a previous story Laura is an agent of the state (she is, in effect) the State for this purpose. She is not being asked to affirm any marriages nor offer a religious blessing nor perform a religious rite in respect to anyone’s marriage. Just like with Rose, she is expected to perform a ministerial duty, and issue a marriage license to any couple who are legally qualified to be married in the State of New York.
I contend there is no religious argument which can be made here. I suspect Laura has issued marriage licenses to mixed race couples and couples who have been perviously married and divorced. All these classes are prohibited from being married under biblical laws…so that just removes the whole religious argument. With religion, you’re either in all the way, or you’re not. But for the sake or argument, I’ll allow Laura some leeway here on that reason. The problem then arises that there are churches and religious groups which do not object to same-sex couples being married, and celebrate those just as they do heterosexual marriage. So Laura is violating their religious freedoms when she refused to perform a civil duty that is part of her job. Sorry Laura, but no one asked you to worship a specific God, nor bless a same-sex union, nor even send a wedding gift.
Laura falls back on the old standby of talking about how the Lord knows what’s in her heart, that she has love and compassion for people, and that she really cares about people. Well Laura, great. I hope you do, and I’m sure the people who know and love you believe that about you, but that’s not what is in question here. The question here is, will you carry your civil duties (not impose your religious beliefs) on the people in Barker. But NO, you state that you wanted to stay in your “government” job, and practice your religious convictions. In this country, at least for now Laura, thank God we separate those two things.
Laura, you get to keep your religious beliefs, and you get worship you want to where you want to, but as Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” When acting as an agent of the state, you don’t get to deny to me rights and privileges to which I am otherwise entitled under the laws of that state.
But Laura, you resigned. So you don’t get to play the martyr card and claim persecution. You quit. Lots of people quit their jobs for lots of reason, and I don’t hear them getting on the Youtube channel for a hate group and crying foul.
So this GOP State Senator James Forrester who is supposedly a medical doctor (fortunately the sick in his town he’s retired). The batshittery is beyond belief and goes on and on as this blow hard is caught in lie after lie as he tries to hide the animus on which the anti-gay hate bill was based. He was the primary sponsor.
Let’s take a look at what he based it all on:
He says in a town hall it’s because gay men die 20 years sooner because of AIDS…blah, blah, blah. OK, so how does keeping gay people from marrying and encouraging monogamous relationships add to that problem?
When called out on it, he first claims he got the info from the CDC. He assumed, because of his medical license I assume, that Michael would just accept that. When he didn’t, the doctor (lower case “d” is on purpose) then tries to say it’s based on his experience as a practitioner. It appears he did have one patient with AIDS at some point. Then he claims he got it out of a book by Frank Turek, a known homophobe who has no medical or scientific background.
At one point he tries to claim he didn’t say it at all, and that it had nothing to do with the Bill, but Michael plays him the tape from his town hall (oops).
Then he gets upset because Signorile is “trying to trip him up.”
Next he claims that he’s just trying to preserve marriage between one man and one woman for over 5,000 years. Well, I guess he can be forgiven since he was a doctor and not a historian. Obviously in many societies men were permitted multiple wives, and for most of that 5,000 years which the doctor seems to remember so fondly, women were not equal parties in the marriage, but property. I’d call that a pretty big change to his “traditional marriage,” but he’d probably like to see it rolled back a hundred years or so anyway.
Then he says he just wants people to vote on it so it can’t be decided by some federal judge (and he does say federal). Well, again, I guess he was too busy dissecting his cadaver to bother reading the Constitution, but if a federal judge rules, it’s lights out for his amendment anyway.
Signorile points out how gay marriage in Massachusetts hasn’t negatively affected marriage, and the doctor’s response to all that is that he’s not an expert on all these things (never mind he presented himself as such during town halls and debates on the topic), and so he can’t answer Michael’s questions because they are biased.
In the end, he claimed he introduced the bill to protect marriage, but when Michael asks him out right, how does it harm marriage, he admits he doesn’t know. Signorile calls him irresponsible…I would call him much worse.
Then despite being the primary sponsor of the Bill, our good doctor ends the conversation by inviting Michael to call someone else and ask them.