Thursday, February 09, 2006

PFOX doesn't quite get it, do they??

I received this memo as an email from a friend. The sheer brilliance in the DC OHR's logic is beautiful to me...

RE: Discrimination Complaint Filed Against NEA By PFOX

As you may recall, a group called "PFOX" applied for exhibit space at the 2002 NEA Representative Assembly in Dallas. PFOX represents the interests of "ex-gays," and it defines an ex-gay as a "man or woman who has left homosexuality and is now a heterosexual by preference or practice." PFOX's application was denied, and it subsequently filed a discrimination complaint against NEA with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights ("OHR"). The basis of PFOX's complaint was discrimination on the basis of "sexual orientation."

Because there were some threshold procedural issues, and because OHR is not in any event a model of efficiency, OHR did not rule until May 24, 2005. It found "no probable cause" for the complaint, and PFOX filed a request for reconsideration. OHR recently affirmed its prior determination, and closed its file on the matter.

The basis for the OHR ruling is somewhat ironic. PFOX alleged that it was being discriminated against on the basis of "sexual orientation," which is a protected category under the D.C. Human Rights Act. According to OHR, the statutorily protected categories are defined by "immutable characteristics, i.e., those characteristics that are not subject to change as race, national origin, and gender." OHR held that an ex-gay does not meet the "immutable characteristic" test in view of PFOX's assertion that an ex-gay is "a man or woman who has left homosexuality and is now heterosexual by preference or practice." Accordingly, ex-gays are not entitled to statutory protection.

PFOX has three years from May 24, 2005 to file a petition for review with the D.C. Superior Court. It is our assumption that this matter is now over, but we will let you know if anything further happens.


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