Monday, May 22, 2006

No Surprises Here



T
here must have been a celebration in the klavern when Gov. James Douglas became the first Vermont governor to veto legislation intended to extend civil rights protection to a class of Vermonters.

This veto should have come as no surprise considering some of the governor's earlier observations on societal discriminatory practices:
"I'm not sure there is segregation."
- Jim Douglas, then a Middlebury College Young Republican, in the October 9, 1970 story "Nixon's Man On Campus," from The (Middlebury) Campus
Douglas said this during a time when civil rights leaders who actively sought an end to both de jure and de facto segregation had recently been assassinated, and when millions Americans of all colors and sexual orientations were engaged in the struggle to end all forms of segregation, including those laws still enforced in 1970 that prohibited the use of public accommodations by anyone perceived to be gay or lesbian.  De-segregation of American schools continued well into the 1980's.  In 2004 Alabama voters defeated a proposal to repeal that portion of the Alabama constitution that requires that "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race."  Unenforceable though that provision may be today, it remains a part of Alamaba's constitution as it did in 1970.  As recently as in 2005 a case involving state sanctioned racial segregation of prison inmates was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, whose ruling will likely force an alteration of that policy.

Last week the head of Kevin Blier's Vermont Renewal said:
Although we wholeheartedly agree with the governor's premise that denying people a place to live or a job because of sexual identity has no place in Vermont, this legislation would have the unintended atmosphere of confusion, litigiousness, and false protection," said Steve Cable of Vermont Renewal, a Rutland-based organization that served as the legislation's primary foe.  "This bill has the potential of creating an environment of 'affirmative action' for cross-dressers and transvestites, which is a concept we vehemently oppose."
- Gov. Douglas Vetoes Gender Discrimination Bill, VPB, May 18, 2006
Just two weeks earlier, when speaking to the AP about the same bill, Kevin Blier, also a former Young Republican, opined:
(Blier) complained that some terms in the bill were ambiguous and would be open to interpretation by the courts.  Blier said it might permit a teacher who had appeared in a classroom as a man to return as a woman.  "The public has to wonder whether that's appropriate in a kindergarten classroom or a high school classroom," he said.
- Senate Approves Nondiscrimination Bill, AP, May 4, 2006
When it comes to whether there is a place or not in Vermont for discriminating against a transgendered Vermonter in an employment situation, it sounds as though the bigots at Vermont Renewal are talking out of both sides of their sheets.

What do fellow GOP conservatives say about The Center for American Cultural Renewal? "...(A)n organization with no Washington presence and little clout with social conservatives outside Vermont where it is based."


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