Bob Eschliman

Wednesday, Bob Eschliman explains that he doesn’t like the fact that Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virgina expects businesses not to discriminate based on sexual orientation or genter identity if they want contracts with the state. Eschliman writes: “Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe: No State Contracts if You’re ‘Anti-LGBT’.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe sent a frightening message to businesses that uphold biblical views of sexuality, biological sex and marriage:

Virginia won’t do business with you.

In a new executive order, McAuliffe decreed that the state’s Executive Branch will only will only contract with “those who abide by the non-discrimination policies set forward in Executive Order 1 (2014), namely that discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, disability or veteran status is prohibited.” Additionally, Executive Order 61 states services will not be withheld on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Eschliman is incorrect. Being anti-LGBT is not a dis-qualifier.  That is a belief that people are free to hold. It is the associated actions of discrimination that are prohibited if they want state contracts.

What is so damned “frightening” about treating people fairly? What is so terrifying about employing a gay person even if the owner disapproves of gay sex? Businesses do not “uphold biblical views” about anything. Individuals who own or operate businesses might not approve of gay or trans people. No one says that they have to. They probably don’t approve of Jews either given that we don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior. The criminal case that became the predicate for Loving v. Virginia was based upon biblical beliefs about marriage and general disapproval of black men marrying white women.

The simple truth is that none of this has anything to do with job performance or an individual’s qualifications or an individual’s capabilities. These affect the performance of the contractor which is the issue with a state contract funded by all of the taxpayers.

Last Thursday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Executive Order 61. It requires all future state contractors with the executive branch to agree to a non-discrimination policy that includes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Eschliman is echoing the idiotic rhetoric of Victoria Cobb, head of the Family Foundation of Virginia. Last week she said:

Victoria Cobb

This unconstitutional act of intimidation and bullying of businesses and charities that are operated by people of faith, from Christians to Jews to Muslims, is not only unnecessary but dangerous. It is also in direct violation of the Virginia Constitution that states, ‘… the right to be free from any governmental discrimination upon the basis of religious conviction…shall not be abridged.’

Virginians should be appalled by this act of blatant religious bigotry. As Virginia continues to slide further down on the list of states in which it’s best to do business, the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General have no real solutions other than pandering to their base.

I am offended that she lumps Jews together with this bunch of would-be Christian bigots. 6,000 years of oppression taught us something. What she is claiming (rather moronically) is that requiring businesses not to discriminate is, itself, an unconstitutional form of discrimination. It is nonsense and unsupported by case law. In 1879 in Reynolds v. United States. A federal law banning polygamy was upheld by the Supreme Court. The Court held that the Free Exercise clause forbids government from regulating belief, but does allow government to regulate actions, in this case marriage. That case is precedent today. It has withstood challenges for more than 130 years.

Nondiscrimination does not regulate belief. It regulates the actions of employers or prospective employers. Business owners are free to believe whatever they want. They can make many personal choices. Among those choices is not to enter into a same-sex marriage. They can also choose not to affirm their gender if they suffer from gender dysphoria.

The idea that this order is a form of “religious bigotry” is preposterous. Family Foundation of Virginia has an annual budget just over $1 million and Ms. Cobb is paid $84 thousand yearly.

In his piece, Eschliman quotes Cobb’s comments in their entirety. Obviously they express his sentiments. The executive order is here. By the way, included is discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. So much for my prior arguments that Trump supporters are not a protected class. In Virginia they seem to be.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.