G. T. Bynum's sexual orientation proposal

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I was fairly stunned to see the following message, from Tulsa District 9 City Councilor G. T. Bynum, on my Facebook news feed Thursday afternoon:

Proud to see Civil Service Commission approve proposal by Councilor Barnes & me banning City HR discrimination based on sexual orientation.

(Bynum crossposted the same comment to Twitter.)

I wasn't surprised to see District 4 Councilor Maria Barnes's name in connection with the proposal. She's a social liberal, and when I endorsed her for City Council, I felt certain that there would be at least six socially conservative councilors to block any left-wing initiative or appointment. I'm wondering now if I counted wrong.

Amid hearty attaboys from Bynum's left-of-center Facebook friends, I asked the question, "Why did you feel this was an important issue to push at the moment?" My question was seen by one of Bynum's congratulators as an attack, and I was instructed to "get with the program" because "it's the 21st century" -- this from a Democratic ally on fiscal issues who surely knows me well enough to know I don't leap aboard bandwagons. In response I said I thought it was a fair question and one with interesting implications for Bynum's political future.

Bynum responded a few hours later:

Michael, I think it's a very fair question. I spoke at a council candidate forum put on by Oklahomans For Equality back during the campaign, and the issue was raised that gay and lesbian employees of the Tulsa City government don't enjoy the same protections as those in other cities. I was surprised, and agreed to do what I could to fix that situation. As a conservative who believes in keeping the government out of our private lives, I don't think an employee's sexual orientation is the City's business and shouldn't play a role in HR. As to my political future, an old mentor of mine wisely advised me after I got elected to the Council that if I made decisions based on my political future I'd be a lousy elected official. I try to keep that advice in mind.

(As I reread that quote, I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if GT Bynum were as devoted to giving Tulsa's historic buildings, neighborhoods, and commercial districts the kind of protections that they enjoy in other cities?" His vote last Thursday night in support of Eric Gomez's nomination to the TMAPC isn't an encouraging sign.)

I would have thought that a conservative who worked for Senator Tom Coburn would be able to see through noble-sounding phrases like "Oklahomans for Equality" and "anti-discrimination" to the reality of the agenda or program underlying those words -- you know, the program I'm supposed to get with because it's the 21st century. I'd have thought a conservative would object to the term "sexual orientation," with its implication of the unscientific notion of the "gay gene" and its undermining of one's personal responsibility for one's sexual choices.

Most of all, I'd have thought a conservative who worked for Tom Coburn would get the idea of unintended consequences. The real effect of Bynum's push to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation is to add another pretext for someone to sue the city. An unsuccessful job applicant, a city employee passed over for a promotion, someone demoted or dismissed for poor performance -- any of them could claim "it's because I'm gay" and file a formal complaint.

With such a complaint, the focus shifts from the performance, attitude, and capabilities of the disgruntled employee or applicant to the moral opinions of the manager or supervisor who made the decision. The supervisor would be hauled up before the Civil Rights Commission and Exhibit A in the hearing would be the paperback New Testament on her bookshelf or the poster on her cubicle wall of a basket of kittens with a verse of scripture beneath. The supervisor's membership in a church that teaches that homosexual behavior is sinful (e.g., Bynum's own Roman Catholic Church) would be create a presumption of guilt that the supervisor's hiring decision or disciplinary action was based in bigotry.

After the system makes an example of a couple of city supervisors, they'll learn to cut their "out and proud" homosexual employees extra slack, just to avoid the hassle of justifying themselves to the Civil Rights Commission. This sort of thing is already happening in Europe and Canada. Ultimately, "anti-discrimination" laws to protect homosexuals are used to persecute those who hold to views of sexual morality which within living memory spanned all major religions and all civilized cultures and which are still held by the vast majority of Oklahomans.

It should also be said that the proposal backed by Bynum puts the city in the position of taking a moral and religious stand that makes abnormal sexual behavior morally equivalent to being born with a certain skin color or coming from a certain ethnic background.

I'm disappointed that a professed conservative like G. T. Bynum wouldn't understand all this. I'm hopeful that the conservatives on the City Council will use their power to overturn the proposal.

RELATED:

I was surprised to learn recently that G. T. Bynum was no longer with Williams & Williams but had set up his own Federal lobbying firm. GT Bynum Consulting has three clients listed with the Senate Office of Public Records as of April 25, 2010, according to OpenSecrets.org (fields are client, total, and industry):

  • George Kaiser Family Foundation, $20,000, Human Rights
  • Williams & Williams Marketing Services, $10,000, Unknown Business
  • City of Miami, FL, $0, Civil Servants

Last year, in 2009, GKFF gave all of its Washington lobbying business -- $150,000 -- to powerhouse law firm Akin Gump. So far in 2010, GKFF has spent $40,000, divided evenly between Akin Gump and G. T. Bynum.

MORE:

Here's an example of the use of "diversity" and "non-discrimination" policies to punish dissenting views of homosexuality: Crystal Dixon was fired by the University of Toledo for a letter to the local newspaper, as a private individual, objecting to the misappropriation of the legacy of the civil rights movement by homosexual rights activists. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Professor Rob Gagnon wrote a letter supporting Dixon and citing studies in peer-reviewed journal that undercut claims that same-sex attraction is as ingrained as skin color.

Pete Vere, co-author with Kathy Shaidle of Tyranny of Nice, explains how "Canada's human rights commissions and tribunals, originally founded to help socially-disadvantaged minorities seek redress against racism in government housing and services, have now turned their sights on Christians and pro-lifers," citing several examples both north and south of the 49th Parallel, including the case of the Christian owner of a small Toronto print shop fined for refusing to print stationery for a homosexual organization and the case of a Georgia counselor who was fired because she referred a lesbian couple to another counselor in the same office, citing a conflict with her religious convictions.

In a 2007 Daily Telegraph op-ed, James Mackay, former Lord Chancellor under two Conservative prime ministers, considers the impact of an anti-discrimination regulation then proposed by the Labour government on those who object to homosexual behavior on religious grounds.

TO COMMENTERS:

I'm not really interested in hearing from people who want to attack those who hold to traditional views of sexual behavior, and I won't be approving any comments along those lines. I am interested in hearing from social conservatives who want to debate for or against Bynum's actions from a social conservative perspective.

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Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: G. T. Bynum's sexual orientation proposal.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.batesline.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/5618

A month ago, I wrote about a proposal authored by Tulsa City Councilor G. T. Bynum adding "sexual orientation" to the city's human resources anti-discrimination policy. Tonight that proposal comes before the Tulsa City Council for approval, and six cou... Read More

Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. has announced his intention to run for a third term. Federal lobbyist and City Councilor G. T. Bynum IV has announced his intention to run against Bartlett. My one-word take: Feh. Tulsa needs better choices. (I won't s... Read More

Today begins the three-day filing period for the City of Tulsa 2016 elections. All nine councilors, the mayor, and the auditor are up for election this year. Anyone who wishes to compete must file a notarized declaration of candidacy along with a $50 c... Read More

8 Comments

My first thought on reading this was that "banning discrimination" against homosexuals will likely quickly morph into "requiring personal approval" of homosexual behavior, and that mandatory "diversity" training will soon follow.

So often, things like this wind up being less about eradicating discrimination than about putting one more tool in the thought police's toolbox.

Bob said:

GT Bynum is stepping into a spring-loaded bear trap on this one.

It's a no-win situation.

Pandering to one constituency, he risks alienating another constituency.

Not the smartest political move......

P.S. thanks for the info on Bynum's lobbying business. We now know who owns him - Kaiser.

Like Kaiser employs Smaligo's wife at his bank.

Wonder how much Kaiser Foundation contributed to Anna Falling to run against Chris Medlock in the GOP Mayoral Primary last summer??

Kind of makes a person wonder why one of the richest men in America is so interested in control of a city like Tulsa....

JW said:

You can't trust your own anymore. Liberal policy has infiltrated the GOP locally. GT is cut from the same cloth of great RINOs as Bartlett and LaFortune.

So how many cops does this put back on the street? How many street lights will this proposal illuminate? How many dollars will this slash from the budget? Maybe it will help our sales tax revenue because the gay and lesbian community will be more apt to shop in Tulsa because of this proposal?

No, this proposal doesn't solve any real problems that our city is currently facing.


It appears, however, to fix an imaginary problem that has yet to show it's self. Let's wait until we are presented with a real world example of discrimination based on sexual orientation with a lawsuit before we try and fix a problem that doesn't seem to exist.

Until then, I'd like to see our local government focusing on creating private sector jobs and bolstering our local economy...but if that's too much to ask, then by all means, lets pass this proposal.

Tex Taylor Author Profile Page said:

What's this new mantra of "get with the program" because "it's the 21st century"? That's the third time I've heard that this week in some capacity. Is this what passes for profound thinking anymore?

This "get with the program" idiocy has given us a society on the brink of ruin.

If anyone disputes this, we tried to get Tulsa Public Schools to "get with the program" and were left with exactly one student out of fourteen not requiring remedial education to pass a college course. Or folks walking over shooting victims to pick up their fried chicken orders.

Is that progress and "getting with the program?"

Jan Thomas said:

I'm with Tex. They need to get with our program! Looks to me like G.T. is pandering.

Well, sadly we part ways. I've followed you for a good year or so, being a City of Tulsa employee that liked seeing someone stand up against things, even if only in digital ink. However, to decide to encourage discrimination or divisive stances like the fairly homophobic ones you seem to have as well as your commentors on this post? I will be removing your RSS feed from my list.

In todays world, finding some kind of satisfaction at separating yourself from others because of choices they make that don't affect your personal or professional life one whit?

Sad, just sad... I hope you never find yourself sharing a similar position as the homosexuals do in this world... because whether it's genetics or choice, it's simply having the right to choose who you love and how, that matters the most. Nobody asked you to approve, just don't get in the damn way.

Peace, Love and Harmony...
( it ain't just for hippies )

Sorry to lose you as a reader, but it's hard to take seriously someone closed-minded enough to use the term "homophobic" as a substitute for serious argument.

Approval is in fact the issue here. "Anti-discrimination" rules of the sort proposed for Tulsa are already being used to punish those who disapprove of homosexual behavior.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 17, 2010 9:47 PM.

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