State Senator Alex Mooney has once again shown how his bigotry can get in the way of the rights of certain people or the ability to pursue those who violate the rights of others.
Recently he threatened to prevent the Frederick County Human Relations Commission (HRC) from obtaining enforcement powers if the county code included the protection of our county's gay and lesbian population.
Basically what Mr. Mooney said was that he would support the HRC's obtaining the enforcement powers it desires so that they can levy penalties against those who discriminate against those classes of people who are protected by county statute, as long as gays and lesbians were not included in the county statute.
Mr. Mooney naively said: "I don't believe they (homosexuals) deserve special rights, although I don't think they deserve less rights than anybody else."
By saying that gays and lesbians can be discriminated against in the areas of housing, employment and access to public accommodations, he is indeed ensuring that gays and lesbians have fewer rights than anybody else.
It is odd that for someone like the senator, who has conveniently used his Cuban ancestry to claim discrimination has been leveled toward him, says that the protections he enjoys are not to be passed on to others.
What is so sad about this whole matter is that two years ago the HRC requested from the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) the ability to review cases of discrimination against our community's "sexually oriented" people.
The BOCC held hearings, which were full of people bused in from across the state to testify against the measure.
Those who testified in favor of the proposal pointed out repeatedly - to no avail - that if one were to read the place of residence on the sign up sheet of those who were testifying on the matter, they would discover that the overwhelming majority of those in opposition were from outside the county, while those in favor were residents of the county.
Didn't matter to the BOCC, they scrapped the idea.
In turn, they and the HRC requested that a study be done to ascertain the level of discrimination against the gay and lesbian community in Frederick.
The report showed pervasive discrimination exists.
Unfortunately nothing has happened as a result of those findings.
The former BOCC chose to do nothing with them.
The current BOCC is clearly going to ignore the findings as they helped procure Senator Mooney's support for obtaining of enforcement powers by the HRC by promising that gays and lesbians would not be given protection in Frederick County.
The HRC, finding that gaining enforcement powers is apparently more important than actually obtaining equal rights, has done nothing with the findings except ignore them when it is of some perceived benefit to them to do so.
What is so frustrating about this is the fact that at least one member of the HRC, the Rev. Samie Conyers, whose extreme religious zealotry prevents him from tolerating gays and lesbians, and one county commissioner met with Senator Mooney in a hallway to assure him that the rights of gay and lesbian people would be denied if he were to support enforcement powers for the HRC.
This act basically says that some folks are second-class citizens in Frederick County.
While it is true that sexual orientation is a protected class under state law, excluding that as a class in Frederick means that if a case of discrimination occurs for that reason in Frederick, the hearing would have to held in downtown Baltimore.
Is it fair that all other protected people can go to Winchester Hall in downtown Frederick, while others have to go to Baltimore? No, but apparently our state senator, BOCC and HRC find it fit to put the rights of others above the rights of some.
One thing that opponents of these "special rights," as Mr. Mooney calls them, forget is that the definition of "sexual orientation" is actually, "heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual."
Can you imagine Misters Mooney and the Reverend Conyers' outcry if they went into a restaurant and were denied service because they were heterosexual?
A "sexual orientation" clause would quickly be removed from "special" to "sacramental" in nature.
Additionally, folks like Senator Mooney say things like "people choose to be gay or lesbian."
Well, two quite protected classes, "marital status" and "religion" are classes made by choice.
Under Senator Mooney's theory, all people are born married and into a specific religion that is somehow clearly identifiable to everyone.
Why then is it okay to protect certain classes of people that are chosen while others can't be (not that I am saying in anyway that I believe that orientation is a choice)?
Simply, one can choose or not choose to be married and one can choose or not choose to be religious and one can choose to change one's denomination every day if they want to.
Mr. Mooney and his minions, by not recognizing that inconsistency is a part of the inherent nature of ignorance and hypocrisy, espouse their own militant heterosexual agenda of bigotry.
Mr. Mooney claims he wants no one to have "special rights." Yet, by accepting the rights he has under the law, he is the one who has "special rights" over others.
If he wants true equality, he should renounce his own status as protected under the law.
If not, the BOCC and HRC, or even the state legislature, should remove those "special rights" from the senator in order to force him into the state of equality he seems to desire so strongly.