E. Winter Tashlin

Unwinnable Compromise Edition [What You Need To Know]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | January 09, 2013 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: DOMA, gay marriage, GOP, Jeanne Manford, Matt Dallas, Rush Limbaugh, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson

Gallaudet University has reinstated their Chief Diversity Officer, who had been suspended after signing a petition at her church from a group of same-sex marriage opponents.


I loath this story. When it comes to bigotry and homophobia, black and white situations with mustachio-twirling bad guys are always easier to contemplate.

Within the LGBT community there is an overwhelming temptation to rail against Gallaudet; to say that this is a clear case of injustice, particularly for the LGBT students at their university.

But justice may not be so easy to suss out this time around.

On the one hand, there is something deeply troubling about the diversity officer at an educational institution making a public statement (given that government petitions are made part of the public record) that calls into question her ability to impartially serve a segment that institution's population.

At the same time, political speech in America is protected for a reason. Not to mention that I certainly wouldn't want to see a precedent enshrined in law even implying that what happens at someone's place of worship is any business of their employer.

To put this in a deeply dorky context: as soon as word of her signing that petition became public, Gallaudet was trapped in something of a public relations Kobayashi Maru. Faced with no course of action that could truly be seen as just or appropriate, they chose to do a bit of option A and a bit of option B, in the form of a suspension followed after three months by her reinstatement. It doesn't seem that anyone, on any side of the social or political spectrum, are happy with how things turned out.

But that's one definition of a compromise, and perhaps a sign Gallaudet made the best choice they could.

Here's what else you need to know today:

  • The UK's first openly trans* doctor is under investigation for providing unauthorized treatments, that he may not have been qualified to give, to trans* patients.
  • The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on two pending same-sex marriage questions in March.
  • A new settlement means that gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops discharged under DATD will receive full separation pay from the US government.
  • A Catholic Bishop is Rhode Island insists that the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage is based on "concern" for LGBT people.
  • A Pagan perspective on the queer experience as a warrior's sacred path.
  • The Pentagon has made some convoluted statements, but given no clear reason why they use a web filtering system that blocks access to sites (including this one) on the basis of LGBT content.
  • Matt Dallas, star of Kyle XY, which ran on ABC Family from 2006 - 2009, has come out as gay and announced his engagement.
  • Growing support for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage are highlighting rifts between factions within the GOP.
  • From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters comes an amazing resource: a 14 page pamphlet laying out how the anti-LGBT religious extremists really think about our lives and families, using their own words.
  • The LGBT community lost one our most influential and tireless allies yesterday with the passing at the age of 92, of Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG.
  • Bloviating gas bag Rush Limbaugh claimed on his radio show that the struggle for LGBT equality is part of an effort to "normalize pedophilia."
  • A trans* identified teacher at a NYC Catholic School is suing the school on charges that they were fired because of their gender identity/presentation.
  • A rather lyrical portion of the legal decision that produced marriage equality in Massachusetts has become a popular reading at weddings of both gay and straight people.
  • A white supremacist student in Alabama has been charged with plotting to kill at least seven people, six African Americans and one student he believed to be gay, using homemade bombs he was developing at home.
  • Finally a heartbreaking tale of DOMA-driven injustice. Although Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson was killed on duty in Afghanistan, her wife remains shut out from the treatment usually accorded a war widow. Even the death notification went to Staff Sgt. Johnson's sister rather than her wife.

(image src: "Free Speech" by Flickr user Newtown Grafitti)

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