Bush Keeps Clinton Policy on Homosexual “Rights” in Federal Workplace

Lavender Revenge? 6/6/2005
By Robert Knight

Homosexual activists, liberal congressmen target agency official who angered ‘gays.’

Ever since U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch tried last year to uphold the law regarding federal employees’ civil rights by omitting a category never approved by Congress, the homosexual lobby has been working to discredit him.

The campaign heated up this week when John Aravosis, who unsuccessfully harassed Vice President Dick Cheney during the election last year over Mr. Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary Cheney, announced that he was going after Mr. Bloch. Peppered with obscenity, Aravosis’ Web site often denounces pro-family groups and politicians who won’t bend to the homosexual agenda. For example, here is Mr. Aravosis addressing Ford Motor Company, which some pro-family groups are boycotting over its recent pro-homosexual activism:

These are hate groups, they know one thing: hate. They exist for one thing: hate. They will not stop attacking you until you become as bigoted and hateful as they.

Aravosis also refers to pro-family groups as “pigs” and “sick pseudo-religious [obscene term]s.”

After Mr. Bloch’s appearance on May 24 at a Senate panel, Mr. Aravosis posted a series of obscenities against Mr. Bloch and the Bush administration.

Appointed by President Bush in late 2003 to head the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the agency that handles federal whistleblower complaints, Bloch surprised many by editing out “sexual orientation” on the agency Web site’s list of specially protected categories three months after he took office. The term had been inserted by previous Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan, a lesbian activist who directed the office for five years under Bill Clinton.

Bloch noted in a May 24, 2005, hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee that no law allows the creation of new categories of civil rights statutes, so that the agency had no authority to go beyond what was listed. He noted that neither Congress nor any federal court has authorized civil rights “status” claims based on “sexual orientation.” He said that all employees, including homosexuals, would be protected from any discrimination based on a law protecting non-work “conduct” that does not interfere with their work, but that conduct and status are vastly different levels of protection in law.

When a media firestorm hit last year after the Web site change was noticed, and Democrats held a press conference calling for Bloch’s resignation, the Bush administration reacted defensively, indicating that they expected Bloch to relent. But Bloch has stuck to his guns, insisting that he has no authority to prosecute cases based solely on mere “status” because to do so would be to elevate the status description of “sexual orientation” to the same level as civil rights protections based on race, ethnicity, and religion under the Civil Rights Act, a move which both Congress and the liberal-oriented federal courts have uniformly rejected.

Since that time, homosexual and liberal activists have charged Mr. Bloch with “homophobia,” and have accused him of targeting homosexuals for transfers to distant offices, padding his staff with Catholic employees and dismissing about a thousand backlogged complaints without proper review. The New York-based Catholic League has issued a press release accusing Bloch’s critics of engaging in Catholic bashing.

Liberals in Congress, led by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), have demanded both Bloch’s resignation and an answer to whether discrimination based solely on “sexual orientation” violates the law and whether OSC can prosecute it.

In testimony to a Senate committee, Bloch clearly indicated that since “sexual orientation” can only be described as a statement of “status” and absent any evidence that would fall within OSC’s enforcement statute’s conduct requirement, he did not have the legal authority to do that. He stated, “I can only work with what Congress has given me.”

A mere statement of “status” and nothing else would not be enough since Congress has rejected expanding the Civil Rights Act to include such heightened level of protections based on homosexuality. It is also interesting to note that no one is arguing to create a special protected class for “pro-lifers” based solely on status, even though they could easily argue the same points that homosexuals argue in this case.

“We are limited by our enforcement statutes as Congress gives them,” Mr. Bloch told Sen. Levin, who sharply questioned him during the May 24 hearing. “The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection.”

The hearing was held to examine Bloch’s management of the agency since taking office in January 2004. In a May 25 article about the hearing, The Washington Post offered this history of the law:

“In April 2004, the White House took the unusual step of clarifying its position on protections for gay men and lesbians in government workplaces, protections observed for three decades.”

The executive branch, however, only began including mention of “sexual orientation” in workplace civil rights policy during the Clinton administration. The misperception had also been advanced by the Bush White House, which issued a defensive statement in March, saying, “Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation.”

The important distinction here, however, is the same one about which OSC has been trying to educate these hostile lawmakers. OSC’s statute and a policy are two different things. OSC can prosecute federal employees and remove them from federal service based on its enforcement laws, but it has no authority to do so based merely on a proclamation of even the President’s policy unless the statute is amended.

No Republican senators showed up to defend Mr. Bloch. Subcommittee Chairman George Voinovich (R-Ohio), ranking minority member Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and committee member Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), chastised Mr. Bloch for “insensitivity” toward agency employees.

“Homosexual activists, who normally depend on the courts to do their work when legislatures decline to do so, have failed to get judges to create civil rights status based on sexual preference,” said one Washington insider. “So now they’re trying to do an end-run around the legislature and the courts by bullying the executive branch. Bloch called their bluff, and that’s why they want to see him removed. He needs support from pro-family groups and from the White House.”