Overreaction award: “This is freaky, this is bizarre, and this is fruity”

LATER UPDATE: Edited video is here.
UPDATE: Video of the board discussion is available here; forward to 2:25:20 (item #9).

That is what the Supervisor from Sterling had to say this morning about Stevens Miller’s motion amending Loudoun County’s Equal Employment Opportunity Statement to include “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Let’s just savor that for a moment: We have a supervisor who thinks it’s “freaky, bizarre and fruity” to declare that county employment decisions will be made on merit alone, not on the basis of unrelated characteristics.*

I’m afraid that Mr. “Sterling American,” as he likes to refer to himself, was in the distinct minority on this one. The language will be amended, by a vote of 6-2-1, with Delgaudio and Waters opposed and York abstaining.

Bringing you not-quite-live blogging, here are some more highlights and lowlights:

First of all, Stevens Miller deserves tremendous credit for initiating this. It is an embarrassment that the county in which AOL and other fully inclusive 21st century corporate employers are headquartered has a deficient nondiscrimination policy. As Mr. Miller simply stated, “this is the right thing to do, and it’s shameful that anyone would put energy into opposing it.”

But, certain people put a lot of energy (if not effectiveness) into opposing it. As I predicted, Delgaudio and Waters tried using the addition of “gender identity” as a wedge, with Delgaudio disgorging some nonsense about “men in dresses” in ladies’ bathrooms. Waters generally would allow him to use the foolish and dehumanizing language, then chime in with sober “questions” about the definition of gender identity, and unknown “legal consequences.” (For the record – and read into the record – they were provided with the standard definition of gender identity from the federal ENDA.)

Delgaudio tried a substitute motion directing staff to prepare this “very controversial issue” for public hearing. He seems to have the notion that this has something to do with the people who wanted to have a Christmas tree or a menorah on the courthouse lawn, several times shouting things about “hundreds of moral thinking people” speaking to the board on that topic last month. The substitute motion failed.

Waters attempted to argue that the board doesn’t have the authority to make such a change, that the change would invite lawsuits, that there could be unknown “consequences” (“Does this language mean that men dressed as women [sic] could go in the ladies’ room? It could! It could!”), that there is no problem with discrimination anyway, that this was only being brought up for partisan political reasons, and most amusingly – after commenting at length about each of the above – that the board shouldn’t be spending so much time on this at the expense of “important issues.” As an editorial aside, I have to agree. This is such a no-brainer that it should have been on the consent agenda and passed by acclamation. That there was any meeting time at all spent on this agenda item was entirely due to the prejudice-driven opposition of these two board members, and it is indeed “shameful.”

To the great credit of the other board members, no one fell for any of this. In particular, Andrea McGimsey cut to the real issue in response to the spurious arguments raised by Delgaudio/Waters by pointing out that what they were actually doing was arguing for the right to discriminate, which is, as she put it, “remarkable.” With regard to Waters’ substitute motion, to send a letter to the new attorney general asking about the board’s authority in this matter, McGimsey suggested that what the letter should really ask is “Do we have the right to discriminate on the basis of irrelevant characteristics against people who want to work for the county?” (Waters’ substitute motion also failed.)

In the end, what we have is a fully inclusive employment nondiscrimination policy, and a video archive showing both the best and worst of what our county Board of Supervisors is made of. Both of these things are valuable. We’ll edit this post to include a link to the meeting video when available. If you’d like to thank the supervisors, or in some cases ask them why they think it should be legally permissible to base employment decisions on anything other than merit, contact information is below.

scott.york@loudoun.gov | Scott K. York, Chairman (At Large)
susan.buckley@loudoun.gov | Susan Klimek Buckley, Sugarland Run District, Vice-Chairman
jim.burton@loudoun.gov | Jim Burton, Blue Ridge District
lori.waters@loudoun.gov | Lori Waters, Broad Run District
sally.kurtz@loudoun.gov | Sally R. Kurtz, Catoctin District
stevens.miller@loudoun.gov | Stevens Miller, Dulles District
supervisor.kelly.burk@loudoun.gov | Kelly Burk, Leesburg District
andrea.mcgimsey@loudoun.gov | Andrea McGimsey, Potomac District
eugene.delgaudio@loudoun.gov | Eugene Delgaudio, Sterling District

* The amended language will read: “…non-merit factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and when such factors are not related directly to bona fide position qualifications…

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6 Responses to Overreaction award: “This is freaky, this is bizarre, and this is fruity”

  1. Lori says:

    Wow. I am utterly amazed that this would be debated, and that it would be suggested for public hearing? I’m SO glad it passed, but those few members must have their heads stuck certain places where their oxygen is cut off. This reminds me of the recent resolution that passed in Mecklenburg Co, NC allowing for benefits for same sex partners and a certain Mecklenburg County Commissioner who must be Delgaudio’s long lost twin brother – http://bit.ly/7UOSqO

  2. Henry Hale says:

    This is a great amendment to Loudoun County’s laws; one that shouldn’t have taken up so much of the board’s time. I’m sending an email to Lori Waters and Eugene Delgaudio after completing this comment to let them know that their homophobic attitudes are way out of line with human and basic moral thinking, that it is appalling to have them as citizens, much less supervisors, of this county.

    Congratulations to Stevens Miller for making me change my opinion of him. He has been the most effective supervisor on the board to date. There are some things he needs to make amends for, but his legislative work has been without reproach. Thank you to him and the additional five who stood for what’s right, and shame on Scott York for being too cowardly to take a stand.

  3. Henry Hale says:

    Our letter to Lori Waters and Eugene Delgaudio:

    Ms. Waters/Mr. Delgaudio,

    It is with great dismay to see your ill-informed(Ms. Waters) and utterly stupid(Mr. Delgaudio) statements concerning the Equal Employment Opportunity Statement that was passed by the Board of Supervisors. When did it become good policy and morally fit to discriminate against any person in the United States of America? As an African-American, I have tasted the bitter and nasty bile of discrimination, unlike either of you, and am repulsed by anyone who would dare want to perpetuate such a nasty and disgusting policy in the 21st century. As my representative Ms. Waters, I would expect much more from you as a person and as a woman, since women have been denied their basic rights in the not too distant past themselves. For Mr. Delgaudio, he has always been the court jester on the board and a complete embarrassment to the people of the Sterling district and this county in general, so I expect very little from him period. We could do without his presence in the state of Virginia period.

    Does your constituency demand that you follow such bigoted and racist ways at all costs, that it makes you look so boorish and obtuse? I would think that some of them would feel that this country is going in a direction that dictates that there be a willingness to have, at the very least, a basic respect for all human beings, regardless if you like their race, religion, creed, or sexual orientation. This is the 21st century, and the two of you appear as individuals that are working in the early 20th century, where you, Ms. Waters, would not have even been given the opportunity to have been on this board, so why can’t you see the complete fallacy and idiocy of your ways? The time is now from the two of you to lose your homophobia; it makes you look stupid and out of touch with society.

    Regards,

    T. Henry & Victoria Hale

  4. David says:

    Thank you for pointing out the morally bankrupt position of a woman like Lori Waters, who is standing on the shoulders of the feminists she and her mentor Phyllis Schlafly deride. Lori has the right to vote, let alone hold public office, because women like Alice Paul endured being jailed, beaten and humiliated fighting for equality. One can only turn away in disgust.

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