Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Stop the Bush administration from rolling back orientation-based discrimination laws!

In 1998, an executive order was signed by President Clinton, declaring it unlawful to discriminate against federal civilian employees based on their sexual orientation.

As a result, the Office of Special Counsel, which oversees these discrimination cases, made it clear that a section of the civil service law that bans discrimination against employees and job applicants "on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant" also meant that discrimination against federal civilian employees based on sexual orientation wasn't acceptable.

However, despite the fact that President Bush has never issued a contrary executive order, Scott J. Bloch, a Republican appointee, has taken it upon himself to remove all reference to the existing federal sexual orientation protections indefinitely from the department's forms, articles, and web pages. Discrimination complaint forms no longer list discrimination based on orientation as a valid reason for a discrimination complaint, and information about an investigation of an IRS supervisor who denied a job to an applicant because he was gay were removed.

Prior to his recent appointment as special counsel, Bloch headed up the Task Force for Faith-Based Initiatives in the Department of Justice. After Bloch's appointment, Bush appointed a friend of Bloch to the same department, who has been criticized for his open hostility to homosexuals. Clearly, such a person does not belong in a department that is supposed to protect the rights of *ALL* federal employees equally.

Note that Bloch doesn't question the existing policy's constitutionality or legality -- he just took it upon himself to have the material removed with no clear explanation or legal basis for his actions. It should also be noted that not enforcing this policy could cut both ways, allowing people to be denied jobs because they are heterosexual.

Want to do something? Then call the Office of Special Counsel directly and repeatedly at (800) 872-9855, letting them know that you request an immediate return of all references to sexual orientation discrimination, as per President Clinton's executive order. Pass this info around. Contact your representatives, requesting an investigation into Scott J. Bloch's actions.

It's important that we not let the Bush administration play political games with people's civil rights. If Bush wants to take away the rights of people based on their sexual orientation, then let him come out and say so. He will only make his discriminatory motives all the more transparent and and strengthen the cause of those who believe that *ALL* Americans should be equal under the law.

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