Letter to the Editor 1-30-15

Last week, two representatives from the Commonwealth Policy Center sent a Letter to the Editor, criticizing the proposed fairness ordinance created by Murray’s Human Rights Commission. In the letter, they made claims that I for one consider to be false and show a misunderstanding of the issues at hand.

In the letter, they first claimed that the cartoon and editorial in The Murray State News were wrong, that “concerned citizens of Murray” merely shared their concerns and asked how said action could speak volumes about bigotry and negativity.

I attended the meeting referenced by The Murray State News. As a gay man, I was struck by how many citizens there seemed to have concerns about the ordinance formed out of negative stereotypes and myths about LGBT people.

I saw citizens state that they were concerned that if protection was given to LGBT people, then it would also eventually be given to criminals, for example, axe murderers. If this is not an indication of bigotry and negative attitudes thriving in Murray, I don’t know what is.

It was also claimed that there was no need for such an ordinance – that there are no documented cases of such discrimination in Murray. That may be true, or it could be that individuals were afraid or unable to report them.

However, even if it has never happened before, that doesn’t mean that an ordinance shouldn’t be made. It’s like saying that if a bank has never been robbed before, then security cameras and other precautions are unnecessary.

The writers made claims that such an ordinance would violate LGBT activists’ statements that an individual’s sexual life is their own business – that said private life would be brought to the public fore by the ordinance. Perhaps if bigots didn’t drag other people’s private lives out themselves by discriminating against them, the ordinance wouldn’t be needed.

Lastly, the writers stated that “credible employers” wouldn’t try to disqualify a well-qualified employee. True, credible employers wouldn’t, but not all employers are credible, especially bigots. This has been demonstrated time and time again, and it is why the ordinance is needed.

In short, the writers’ claims are incorrect, and originate from an ignorance of basic human rights. The proposed ordinance is needed, and I fully support it.

Letter from Robert Scott, Senior from Springville, Tenn.