Discrimination is Bad Business
June 1, 2006, 4:34 pm
Filed under: gay and lesbian, politics, Uncategorized

The Human Rights Campaign issued a press release today saying, “Colorado Governor Bill Owens’ Veto on Non-Discrimination is Anti-Business.” In the press releases, HRC President Joe Solmonese makes the argument,

“Governor Owens’ veto is out of step with the voters and businesses in Colorado,” said Solmonese. “Fears that this legislation would cause some onslaught of lawsuits can easily be assuaged by simply reading the bill. If an employee feels they’ve been wrongly discriminated against, they go through a step-by-step administrative procedure that rarely makes its way to court. These claims would be no different. Governor Owens is making excuses that don’t hold water.”

Only one other governor — then-California Gov. Pete Wilson — has ever vetoed a measure prohibiting sexual orientation-based discrimination. Wilson then signed a measure adding sexual orientation anti-discrimination protections to the state’s Labor Code law the next year.

Seventeen states and Washington, D.C., have laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and seven prohibit gender identity-based discrimination, including Colorado neighbor New Mexico.

Major employers in Colorado, including Coors Brewing Company, Qwest Communications, First Data Corp. and Ball Corp., have implemented non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

I find this strategy fascinating and representative of a larger turn happening within the Democratic Party from identity politics to what I would call “connectedness” politics.

Using the HRC press release as an example, connectedness politics argues that what’s bad for one is bad for all, where identity politics stresses the uniqueness of one group and its needs. Against connectedness politics, the “special rights” charge does not hold water. Plus it turns the conservative right-wing on itself. Who among the neocons could claim to be “anti-business”?

I like it.


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