GetEqual: GetEQUAL NC meeting with US Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC)
This piece was written by Angel Chandler, State Lead Organizer with GetEQUAL NC…
Members of GetEQUAL NC met with Congressman Heath Shuler in Asheville this week to discuss LGBT equality, specifically three pieces of legislation that we would like to see Shuler support: The Respect of Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that defines marriage between one man and one woman; ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) which would provide LGBT protections in the workplace; and SNDA (Student Non-Discrimination Act) which would protect students from discrimination in the federally funded school system.
Here is what we heard from Shuler
1. He is not for any LGBT legislation that would bring about equality for three reasons: his “beliefs”; he doesn’t want to create “classes” of people; he thinks LGBT issues are “state issues”
2. He did not know what DOMA was (Defense of Marriage Act)
3. He did not know what the Respect for Marriage Act is (which would repeal DOMA and is working its way through Congress and has been in the news)
4. He will not be voting for the Respect for Marriage Act, ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), or SNDA (Student Non-Discrimination Act)
5. He believes marriage is only between a man and a woman.
6. He compared LGBT discrimination to discrimination people face for liking a certain sports team
7. He made the point that if we give protections to LGBT people in the workforce “who’s next?”
8. He mentioned having “gay” staffers and stated that he hires them because he doesn’t care if they are gay as long as they do their job for him, but he doesn’t agree with them.
9. When asked if he was becoming more progressive in his views on LGBT issues due to his DADT repeal vote he said ”I am not a progressive” and that he was not moving further left. He said he voted for DADT repeal because if someone wants to die for the USA he will let them and he doesn’t care if they are gay or not.
10. He made a sports analogy or two. I think it is the only thing he understands.
11. He blamed the trans community and their demand for equality for sinking ENDA in the past.
I hope we can all stop pretending that there is hope for Shuler to get on board with LGBT equality. I hope we can all stop pretending that LGB staffers are making some difference, that they are influencing him from the “inside”, and that they are really on our side.
Let me make this clear: if LGB staffers were trying to influence him and talk to him about matters of equality, WHY did he NOT know what DOMA was or what the Respect for Marriage act is? Wouldn’t they be talking about these things?
Just something for everyone to consider. This all came straight from Shuler. It is no longer me making assumptions based on what I have read or heard from others.
He is anti-LGBT, anti-woman, anti-civil rights. If this doesn’t convince folks, you choose to keep your blinders on. And that is your choice. But I will no longer make excuses for assertively addressing Shuler, his LGB staffers, or his supporters. I have been pretty tame in my assertiveness. But I don’t think tameness to be appropriate any longer.
Let’s get real folks. LGB staffers who work for Shuler work for him for one reason: It is good for their careers. They climb the ladder of success on the backs of LGBT individuals and equality. Given the above information we got from Shuler those LGB staffers cannot any longer pretend they are making a difference. So please, STOP ENABLING THEIR BEHAVIOR. Stop making excuses for them. I don’t care how many tatoos they have, how much they say they “love “the gays”, how much they “strive not to drive”, or what they have done in the past that was good. It is time to call them out. They are hurting us all.
You’ve heard of people sleeping their way to the top. These people screw equality all the way to the top.
The best message they can send to Shuler: WALK. Anything else is simply encouraging his blatant bigotry.
This piece was originally posted at GetEQUAL NC’s blog: http://getequalnc.org/blog
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