(AP) Los Angeles Mediator and Conflict Resolution Consultant Mark Baer contends that legalizing discrimination against LGBT people, by individuals and organizations employed or funded by the government, is a reflection of moral decay within our society.
He refers to an amendment approved on July 11, 2018 by the Republican majority in the House Appropriations Committee to the 2019 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The approved amendment allows federally-funded child welfare placing agencies to discriminate against children in their care and qualified prospective parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion.
Speaking on this controversial House Appropriations funding amendment, Baer states, “Allowing people and organizations receiving taxpayer funds to discriminate against a segment of the population they view as immoral, based upon an immutable characteristic having nothing to do with character and integrity, couldn’t be more reprehensible. While people may differ in opinion as to what is sinful and immoral, such things are always based upon actions and behaviors - not unalterable traits.”
He says, “This seemingly endless mistreatment of LGBT people is based upon a sincerely held religious belief that their sexual orientation and gender identities are preferences or choices, which is contrary to uniform findings from professional mental health, medical and scientific organizations. What is unethical and immoral is denying people justice, fairness and rights because of who they are, irrespective of what they do. As Pope Francis purportedly said, earlier this year, to an abuse survivor in a private meeting, ‘God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.’”
According to an article published by Science Daily in June 2018 titled ‘Psychological Adjustment, No difference in outcomes for children of same-sex versus different-sex parents,’ it states: ’Over the years, most studies have found no difference in child psychological adjustment or in the quality of parenting and family relationships for gay or lesbian parents, compared to heterosexual parents.”
Additionally, the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law issued a report on July 19, 2018 titled, “ Mental health of young adults with lesbian parents the same as their peers, study finds.”
“As a mediator and a conflict resolution consultant,” says Baer, “I am having an incredibly difficult time understanding why it’s acceptable for the government to use taxpayer money to fund organizations that discriminate against children, under their care, and qualified prospective parents when LGBT people pay an equal share of taxes. This type of absurdity is destined to occur when people refuse to separate the person from the behavior.” He adds, “Who’s engaging in unethical and immoral behavior by punishing individuals for entering into committed relationships with other consenting adults, rather than living their entire lives alone and celibate?
“We could all learn a lesson from a bit of history that took place in 1773 in Boston, Massachusetts over taxation without representation. It was called the Boston Tea Party and came about when the American colonists revolted against being taxed by the British and threw 342 chests of British tea into Boston Harbor. This episode directly led to a series of events which escalated into the American Revolution and our independence from British rule. With this funding amendment, instead of the British, our own federal government is waging war against its own taxpaying citizens.
“As a mediator, when dealing with conflicts involving differing values and moral differences, it’s essential to develop mutual understanding and respect between all the parties. But how do you develop mutual understanding and respect when one side views a person’s sexual orientation as a ‘sin’ and therefore insists on trying to change it? How do you develop such things when one side falsely links pedophilia to a person’s sexual orientation, when all the credible research reflects that gays are no more likely to molest children or be sexually attracted to them than are straight people? The only research reflecting otherwise falsely assumes that a person who molests a child of their same sex is gay.
International mediators Tracy Allen and Eric Galton, known for their work on “Restoring Civil Discourse,” state, “The way we change our minds on moral issues is by interacting with others, especially because we are not good at seeking evidence that contradicts our beliefs.” Baer says that’s how you gain emotional self-awareness. As an example, he points to a statement made by Reverend Rob Schenck, a once militant and very self-righteous evangelical minister, who recently stated in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, “I can certainly speak for myself in those times and say that I was not the most self-aware. I really didn’t understand myself.”
Time will tell whether Congress will pass a version of the 2019 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services which includes the amendment legalizing discrimination against LGBT people by recipients of taxpayer money. If so, it’s a reflection of moral decay within our society and goes against the very principles which led to the creation of our great nation.
Mediator Mark Baer focuses his practice on conflict resolution and mediating divorces and child custody cases, among other types of family and interpersonal conflicts. A well-known thought leader in the area of Family Law, Baer was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in recognition of his exemplary dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession, and commitment to the welfare of society. He has written blogs for both the Huffington Post and Psychology Today on many topics, with the ultimate goal of improved interpersonal relationships and decision-making through a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.